The Influence of Writing Experiences on Holistic Processing in Chinese Character Recognition


Holistic processing has been shown to be a behavioral marker of face recognition and object recognition in experts. We tested Chinese literates who can read and write Chinese characters (Writers) and Chinese literates whose reading performance far exceeded their writing ability (Limited-writers). We found that Writers perceived Chinese characters less holistically than Limited-writers. In addition, the holistic processing effect was found to be dependent of writing experiences rather than reading and copying performances. This effect may be due to Chinese Writers exhibiting a better awareness of the orthographic components of Chinese characters than Limited-writers. While Hsiao and Cottrell (2009) showed that reduced holistic processing is a marker of visual expertise in Chinese character recognition, our findings further suggest that such reduction is related to writing experiences in Chinese. This study is also the first to report on the Chinese reading population that has far poorer writing performance than reading performance.

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