Interdependence of Form and Function in Cognitive Systems Explains Perception of Printed Words

Guy C. Van Orden, Stephen Goldinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

230 Scopus citations


Perception is described within a complex systems framework that includes several constructs: resonance, attractors, subsymbols, and design principles. This framework was anticipated in J. J. Gibson's ecological approach (M. T. Turvey & C. Carello, 1981), but it is extended to cognitive phenomena by assuming experimential realism instead of ecological realism. The framework is applied in this article to explain phonologic mediation in reading and a complex array of published naming and lexical decision data. The full account requires only two design principles: covariant learning and self-consistency. Nonetheless, it organizes and explains a vast empirical literature on printed word perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1291
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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