Initial landing position effects on Chinese word learning in children and adults

Liang, Feifei, Ma, Jie, Bai, Xuejun and Liversedge, Simon Paul orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8579-8546 (2021) Initial landing position effects on Chinese word learning in children and adults. Journal of Memory and Language, 116 (104183). ISSN 0749-596X

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We adopted a word learning paradigm to examine whether children and adults differ in their saccade targeting strategies when learning novel words in Chinese reading. Adopting a developmental perspective, we extrapolated hypotheses pertaining to saccadic targeting and its development from the Chinese Reading Model (Li & Pollatsek, 2020). In our experiment, we embedded novel words into eight sentences, each of which provided a context for readers to form a new lexical representation. A group of children and a group of adults were required to read these sentences as their eye movements were recorded. At a basic level, we showed that decisions of initial saccadic targeting, and mechanisms responsible for computation of initial landing sites relative to launch sites are in place early in children, however, such targeting was less optimal in children than adults. Furthermore, for adults as lexical familiarity increased saccadic targeting behavior became more optimized, however, no such effects occurred in children. Mechanisms controlling initial saccadic targeting in relation to launch sites and in respect of lexical familiarity appear to operate with functional efficacy that is developmentally delayed. At a broad theoretical level, we consider our results in relation to issues associated with visually and linguistically, mediated saccadic control. More specifically, our novel findings fit neatly with our theoretical extrapolations from the CRM and suggest that its framework may be valuable for future investigations of the development of eye movement control in Chinese reading.

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