This study examined whether and how the morphological structure of written words affects reading in word-based neglect dyslexia (neglexia), and what can be learned about morphological decomposition in reading from the effect of morphology on neglexia. The oral reading of 7 Hebrew-speaking participants with acquired neglexia at the word level—6 with left neglexia and 1 with right neglexia—was evaluated. The main finding was that the morphological role of the letters on the neglected side of the word affected neglect errors: When an affix appeared on the neglected side, it was neglected significantly more often than when the neglected side was part of the root; root letters on the neglected side were never omitted, whereas affixes were. Perceptual effects of length and final letter form were found for words with an affix on the neglected side, but not for words in which a root letter appeared in the neglected side. Semantic and lexical factors did not affect the participants' reading and error pattern, and neglect errors did not preserve the morpho-lexical characteristics of the target words. These findings indicate that an early morphological decomposition of words to their root and affixes occurs before access to the lexicon and to semantics, at the orthographic-visual analysis stage, and that the effects did not result from lexical feedback. The same effects of morphological structure on reading were manifested by the participants with left- and right-sided neglexia. Since neglexia is a deficit at the orthographic-visual analysis level, the effect of morphology on reading patterns in neglexia further supports that morphological decomposition occurs in the orthographic-visual analysis stage, prelexically, and that the search for the three letters of the root in Hebrew is a trigger for attention shift in neglexia.
- Morphological decomposition
- Neglect dyslexia