Seeing Morphemes: Loss of Visibility During the Retinal Stabilization of Compound and Pseudocompound Words

Albrecht Werner Inhoff, Richard Topolski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


When stabilized, a retinal image fades from vision. Earlier studies suggested that knowledge constrains the loss of vision, as disappearing images fragment into familiar subpatterns. Effects of image stabilization on word perception were used in the current study to examine effects of morphemic knowledge on stimulus fragmentations. Bimorphemic compound words (in which beginning and ending trigrams formed morphemic subword units) and monomorphemic pseudocompound words (with a similar trigram structure) were stabilized. Stimulus fragmentations generally resulted in the visibility of lexically nondistinct strings of letters. However, internal morpheme boundaries also affected the loss of vision when compound words were stabilized. Two follow-up experiments indicated that morpheme-related loss of vision was neither the result of differential forgetting rates nor of guessing bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)840-853
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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