Linguistic and non-linguistic influences on the eyes' landing positions during reading

White, Sarah.J. and Liversedge, Simon Paul orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8579-8546 (2006) Linguistic and non-linguistic influences on the eyes' landing positions during reading. Quarterly Journal Of Experimental Psychology Section A - Human Experimental Psychology, 59 (4). pp. 760-782. ISSN 1747-0218

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


Two eye tracking experiments show that, for near launch sites, the eyes land nearer to the beginning of words with orthographically irregular than with regular initial letter sequences. In addition, the characteristics of words, at least at the level of orthography, influence the direction and length of within-word saccades. Importantly, these effects hold both for lower case and for visually less distinctive upper case text. Furthermore, contrary to previous evidence (Tinker & Paterson, 1939), there is little effect of type case on reading times. Additional analyses of oculomotor behaviour suggest that there is an inverted optimal viewing position for single fixation durations on words. Both the supplementary analyses and the effects of orthography on fixation positions are relevant to current models of eye movements in reading.

Previous sectionNext section

Eye movement control in reading is influenced by both the visual and the linguistic characteristics of the text, as well as by the nature of the oculomotor control system. The present study investigates four important issues related to these factors: (a) Are there linguistic influences on where words are first fixated and refixated? (b) Do linguistic factors influence where words are fixated in the absence of visually distinctive ascenders and descenders—that is, for upper case text? (c) Does type case influence when and where the eyes move? (d) Does the fixation position within words influence fixation durations? Each of these issues are described in the Introduction, and their implications for developing comprehensive accounts of eye movement control in reading are considered in the General Discussion.

Repository Staff Only: item control page