Encoding multiple words simultaneously in reading is implausible

Reichle, Erik D., Liversedge, Simon Paul orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8579-8546, Pollatsek, Alexander and Rayner, Keith (2009) Encoding multiple words simultaneously in reading is implausible. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13 (3). pp. 115-119. ISSN 1364-6613

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2008.12.002


Several prominent models of reading posit that attention is distributed to support the parallel lexical processing of multiple words. We contend that the auxiliary assumptions underlying this attention-gradient hypothesis are not well founded. Here, we address three specific issues related to the ongoing debate about attention allocation during reading: (i) why the attention-gradient hypothesis is widely endorsed, (ii) why processing several words in parallel in reading is implausible and (iii) why attention must be allocated to only one word at a time. Full consideration of these arguments supports the hypothesis that attention is allocated serially during reading.

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