“Twisting fingers”: The case for interactivity in typed language production

Svetlana Pinet, Nazbanou Nozari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Despite the obvious linguistic nature of typing, current psychological models of typing are, to a large extent, divorced from models of spoken language production. This gap has left unanswered many questions regarding the cognitive architecture of typing. In this article we advocate the use of a psycholinguistic framework for studying typing, by showing that such a framework could reveal important similarities and differences between spoken and typed production. Specifically, we investigated the interaction between the lexical and postlexical layers by using a phenomenon known in spoken production as the “repeated-phoneme effect.” Participants typed four-word sequences of “finger-twisters” (equivalent to tongue-twisters in spoken production), in which the vowel in the last two words was either repeated (e.g., “fog top”) or not (e.g., “fog tip”). We found reliably more migration errors between the consonants of the two typed words when the vowel was repeated, even after the effect of phonology was accounted for. This finding is compatible with an interactive typing system in which postlexical representations send feedback to lexical representations and reveals similar dynamics between spoken and typed production. Additional analyses showed further similarities to spoken production, such as distinct lexical and postlexical error categories, but also revealed that typing errors were much more likely than spoken errors to violate phonotactic constraints. These results provide the first demonstration of feedback between the postlexical and lexical layers in typing, and more generally demonstrate the utility of adopting a psycholinguistic framework tailored specifically to the study of typing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1457
Number of pages9
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Interactivity
  • Repeated phoneme effect
  • Segmental representation
  • Typing error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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