A well-worn criticism directed at cognitive psychologists is that their experimental methodologies are too contrived to capture human processing in its natural environment in any realistic sense. As far as reading is concerned, this criticism can be applied in various ways. For instance, as is reflected in this volume, a good deal of experimental research on reading has stressed word recognition. Now, while word recognition may comprise an essential part of the reading process (Besner & Humphreys, this volume), it can be argued with some

justification that reading involves much more than word recognition alone, and that word recognition itself may be strongly affected by higher-order contextual factors. Such factors may mislead attempts to extrapolate from word recognition in isolation to word recognition in context (see, for instance, Humphreys, 1985; McClelland, 1987, for alternative views on this). However, even if such extrapolations are valid, it remains the case that the very stimuli habitually used in these studies are to some extent artificial. This is because in very nearly all instances the stimuli are presented in a type-written format. Typescript has existed only since William Caxton. Although it appears widely in everyday life, in newspapers and books etc., typescript is by no means the sole or even the predominant means of presenting words visually. Our understanding of word recognition, and, by extension of reading, will at best be incomplete if it is confined to typescript.