Practice effects in large-scale visual word recognition studies: a lexical decision study on 14,000 Dutch mono- and disyllabic words and nonwords

Emmanuel Keuleers*, Kevin Diependaele, Marc Brysbaert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, psycholinguistics has seen a remarkable growth of research based on the analysis of data from large-scale studies of word recognition, in particular lexical decision and word naming. We present the data of the Dutch Lexicon Project (DLP) in which a group of 39 participants made lexical decisions to 14,000 words and the same number of nonwords. To examine whether the extensive practice precludes comparison with the traditional short experiments, we look at the differences between the first and the last session, compare the results with the English Lexicon Project (ELP) and the French Lexicon Project (FLP), and examine to what extent established findings in Dutch psycholinguistics can be replicated in virtual experiments. Our results show that when good nonwords are used, practice effects are minimal in lexical decision experiments and do not invalidate the behavioral data. For instance, the word frequency curve is the same in DLP as in ELP and FLP. Also, the Dutch-English cognate effect is the same in DLP as in a previously published factorial experiment. This means that large-scale word recognition studies can make use of psychophysical and psychometrical approaches. In addition, our data represent an important collection of very long series of individual reaction times that may be of interest to researchers in other areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number174
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • lexical decision
  • visual word recognition
  • reaction time
  • practice effect
  • megastudy
  • Dutch
  • word frequency
  • pseudowords

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