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Word skipping in reading: on the interplay of linguistic and visual factors

By Denis Drieghe, Marc Brysbaert, Timothy Desmet and Constantijn De Baecke


An eye movement experiment is reported in which target words of two and four letters were presented in sentences that strongly raised the expectation of a particular word. There were three possible conditions: The expected word was present in the sentence, an unexpected word of the same length was present, or an unexpected word of a different length was present (all continuations were acceptable, but the latter two were difficult to predict). Our first purpose was to test one of the core assumptions of the Extended Optimal Viewing Position model of eye guidance in reading (Brysbaert & Vitu, 1998). This model states that word skipping is primarily a function of the length of the upcoming word. It leads to the prediction that an unpredicted two-letter word will be skipped more often than a predicted four-letter word, which is indeed what we observed. Our second aim was to determine if we could obtain an interaction between context predictability and parafoveal word length, by looking at what happens when the length of the parafoveal word does not agree with the length of the expected word. No such interaction was observed although the effects of both word length and predictability were substantial. These findings are interpreted as evidence for the hypothesis that visual and language-related factors independently affect word skippin

Topics: BF
Year: 2004
OAI identifier:
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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