Expert marker of Chinese character recognition: Left-side bias versus holistic processing?


Holistic processing and left-side bias are both behavioral markers of expert face recognition. In contrast, Chinese character recognition expertise involves left-side bias but reduced holistic processing (Hsiao & Cottrell, 2009). Here we examine whether the reduction in holistic processing associated with expert Chinese character recognition can be better explained by writing rather than reading experience. Compared with non-Chinese readers (novices), Chinese readers who had limited writing experience (Limited-writers) showed increased holistic processing, whereas Chinese readers who could also write characters fluently (Writers) showed reduced holistic processing. This result suggests that writing/sensorimotor experience can modulate holistic processing effects, and that the reduced holistic processing observed in expert Chinese readers may depend on writing rather than reading experience. By contrast, both Writers and Limited-writers showed a similar level of left-side bias in processing symmetric Chinese characters, left-side bias may therefore be a consistent expertise marker for object recognition uninfluenced by motor experience.

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