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Abstract: A connectionist approach to processing in quasi-regular domains, as exemplified by English word reading, is developed. Networks using appropriately structured orthographic and phonological representations were trained to read both regular and exception words, and yet were also able to read pronounceable nonwords as well as skilled readers. A mathematical analysis of a simplified system clarified the close relationship of word frequency and spelling-sound consistency in influencing naming latencies. These insights were verified in subsequent simulations, including an attractor network that accounted for latency data directly in its time to settle on a response. Further analyses of the ability of networks to reproduce data on acquired surface dyslexia support a view of the reading system that incorporates a graded division of labor between semantic and phonological processes, and contrasts in important ways with the standard dual-route account.
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