Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Eileen Davelaar

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


A major assumption in research on basic processes in word recognition has been that the phonological code which may be utilized to access meaning from printed text is unitary in nature and is always disrupted by articulatory suppression. Recent evidence however, suggests that at least two separate phonological codes are operative in adults. Besner, Davies and Daniels (1981), and Besner and Davelaar (1982) found that while the phonological code which supports the maintenance of information in short-term memory was affected by suppression, the code which supports lexical access was not. A developmental study by Barron and Baron (1977) relied heavily on the assumption that suppression disrupts a single phonological code. Consequently, their conclusions that children use only an orthographic code even in the early stages of reading may be incorrect. It is possible that children like adults are also able to use a phonological code unaffected by suppression. The present study was designed to investigate this possibility. Children from grades 2, 4, and 8 performed three separate matching tasks with and without articulatory suppression. The tasks comprised a picture-picture matching task, a picture-pseudohomophone rhyme matching task (e.g. a picture of a coat with the letter string BOTE), and a picture-pseudohomophone matching task (e.g. a picture of a cat with the letter string KAT). On some of the trials the children counted aloud from 1-10 while performing these tasks. The remaining trials were performed silently. Evidence for the presence in the children of a phonological code unaffected by suppression was demonstrated by an effect on errors of suppression in this pseudohomophone-rhyming task in conjunction with no effect on errors of suppression in the pseudohomophone-matching task. These results suggest that data obtained from previous experiments which have used the suppression technique to assess the presence/absence of phonological recoding are uninterpretable.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season