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On The Interpretation Of Word Frequency As A Variable Affecting Speed Of Recognition

Report Number: WADC TR 54-282
Author: Howes, Davis H.
Corporate Author: Aero Medical Laboratory
Laboratory: Aero Medical Laboratory
Date of Publication: 1954-06
Pages: 17
PB Number: PB129575
AD Number: AD0043066

Interpretations of the inverse relation between the duration for which a printed word must be exposed visually in order to be recognized and the frequency of occurrence of the word in a large general word count are examined critically. It is found that the most satisfactory interpretation is to regard the word's frequency in a word count as an estimate of its average probability of emission by the population of subjects used in the recognition experiment (base probability). Since the threshold of recognition is defined by the probability of emission of the word following its exposure, only a short exposure will be necessary to bring up to threshold criterion a word whose base probablility is low. The critical assumption of this interpretation is that the frequency of a word in a large general word-count represents its average probability of emission by the experimental subjects used in the recognition experiment. Three experiments evaluating the validity of this assumption for the Lorge Magazine Count are described.

Hunt Library, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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