Eye movements and the use of parafoveal word length information in reading

Juhasz, Barbara J., White, Sarah J., Liversedge, Simon Paul orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8579-8546 and Rayner, Keith (2008) Eye movements and the use of parafoveal word length information in reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 34 (6). pp. 1560-1579. ISSN 0096-1523

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0012319


Eye movements were monitored in 4 experiments that explored the role of parafoveal word length in reading. The experiments employed a type of compound word where the deletion of a letter results in 2 short words (e.g., backhand, back and). The boundary technique (K. Rayner, 1975) was employed to manipulate word length information in the parafovea. Accuracy of the parafoveal word length preview significantly affected landing positions and fixation durations. This disruption was larger for 2-word targets, but the results demonstrated that this interaction was not due to the morphological status of the target words. Manipulation of sentence context also demonstrated that parafoveal word length information can be used in combination with sentence context to narrow down lexical candidates. The 4 experiments converge in demonstrating that an important role of parafoveal word length information is to direct the eyes to the center of the parafoveal word.

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