Accounting for individual differences in the word frequency effect

In an upcoming paper Kevin Diependaele (Diependaele et al., in press) shows that individual differences in the word frequency effect can be predicted by the participants’ vocabulary size, as measured with the LexTALE test: People with a small vocabulary size show a larger frequency effect than people with a large vocabulary size. Interestingly, differences in vocabulary size were also able to predict the larger frequency effect in second language (L2) processing than in first language (L1) processing: People on average have a larger frequency effect in L2 than in L1 because they know less L2 words. No further assumption was needed.

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