Functionally Illiterate Adults Resolve Reading Difficulties Presented by Lexically Ambiguous Words: An Investigation of the Ability of the Lexical Quality Hypothesis to Describe Differential Reading Skill



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The present study examined the characteristics of functionally illiterate adult readers reading skill using the Lexical Quality Hypothesis (Perfetti & Hart, 2001). The quality of less skilled adult readers word representations was expected to affect reading time differentially when compared with two control populations (skilled adult readers and children). Three populations were presented with balanced or biased lexically ambiguous words embedded into sentences that manipulated the location of disambiguating context. Participants reading times were recorded for two regions: the target word and post-target region. Results were not completely consistent with the set of predictions. Location of context affected reading time. Target word meaning frequency affected readers post-access processing of lexically ambiguous words. A stronger manipulation and increased sample size are likely to yield more significant effects and interactions among variables.



adult literacy, ambiguity resolution, reading acquisition