Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Dr. Alice Healy

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Olson

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Knight


Subjects were asked either to circle all the e’s in a passage or to read a passage aloud. There were four different passages, which included either the word the in prose, one in prose, the in scrambled text, or one in scrambled text. Some subjects silently read a passage viewed on paper and performed letter detection by circling all the e’s they noticed (letter detection). Other subjects read aloud a passage viewed on a computer screen (reading aloud). In the reading aloud task, the words the and one were repeated in some of the sentences of the passage. The number of missed e’s or missed repeated words was recorded. We expected letter detection and reading aloud to be explained by different processes within the Guidance Organization (GO) Model of reading (Greenberg, Healy, Koriat, & Kreiner, 2004). Specifically, we expected letter detection to be explained more by unitization processes (Healy, 1994) and predicted slightly more misses on the frequent word the than the less frequent word one (both words are relatively common) and no difference between prose and scrambled text. Alternately, we expected reading aloud to be explained more by structural processes (Koriat & Greenberg, 1994) and predicted more errors on the function word the than the content word one and more errors on prose than scrambled text. Our results are consistent with our predictions and an overall analysis of task, word, and text type indicates that there are significantly different patterns of misses for letter detection and reading aloud.