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Distributional effects of word frequency on eye fixation durations

By Adrian Staub, Sarah J White, Denis Drieghe, Elizabeth C Hollway and Keith Rayner


Much recent research using word recognition paradigms such as lexical decision and speeded pronunciation has investigated how a range of variables affect the location and shape of response time distributions, using both parametric and non-parametric techniques. In the present article, we explore the distributional effects of a word frequency manipulation on fixation durations in normal reading, making use of data from two recent eye movement experiments (Drieghe, Rayner, & Pollatsek, 2008; White, 2008). The ex-Gaussian distribution provided a good fit to the shape of individual subjects’ distributions in both experiments. The frequency manipulation was found to affect both the shift and skew of the distributions, in both experiments, and this conclusion was supported by the non-parametric vincentizing technique. Finally, a new experiment demonstrated that White’s (2008) frequency manipulation also affects both shift and skew in RT distributions in the lexical decision task. These results argue against models of eye movement control in reading that propose that word frequency influences only a subset of fixations, and are taken to support models in which there is a tight connection between eye movement control and the progress of lexical processing

Topics: BF
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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