Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Word Skipping during Sentence Reading: Effects of Lexicality on Parafoveal Processing

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Word Skipping during Sentence Reading: Effects of Lexicality on Parafoveal Processing

Article excerpt

Published online: 30 October 2013

(Q> Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013

Abstract Two experiments examined how lexical status affects the targeting of saccades during reading by using the boundary technique to vary independently the content of a letter string when seen in parafoveal preview and when directly fixated. Experiment 1 measured the skipping rate for a target word embedded in a sentence under three parafoveal preview conditions: full preview (e.g., brain-brain), pseudohomophone preview (e.g., brane-brain), and orthographic nonword control preview (e.g., brant-brain)-, in the first condition, the preview string was always an English word, while in the second and third conditions, it was always a nonword. Experiment 2 inves- tigated three conditions where the preview string was always a word: full preview (e.g., beach-beach), homophone preview (e.g., beech-beach), and orthographic control preview (e.g., bench-beach). None of the letter string manipulations used to create the preview conditions in the experiments disrupted sublexical orthographic or phonological patterns. In Experiment 1, higher skipping rates were observed for the full (lexical) preview condition, which consisted of a word, than for the nonword preview conditions (pseudohomophone and orthographic control). In contrast, Experiment 2 showed no difference in skipping rates across the three types of lexical preview conditions (full, homophone, and orthographic control), although preview type did influence reading times. This pattern indicates that skipping not only depends on the presence of disrupted sublexical patterns of orthography or phonology, but also is critically dependent on processes that are sensitive to the lexical status of letter strings in the parafovea.

Keywords Eye movements and reading * Word recognition * Motor control

Computational models of eye movement control during reading have attempted to advance understanding of the extent to which oculomotor and linguistic factors affect decisions about when and where to move the eyes (Engbert, Nuthmann, Richter, & Kliegl, 2005; Pollatsek, Reichle, & Rayner, 2006; Reilly & O'Regan, 1998; Yang & McConkie, 2001; for comparisons between models, see Reichle, Rayner, & Pollatsek, 2003). The E-Z Reader model (Pollatsek et al., 2006; Reichle, Pollatsek, Fisher, & Rayner, 1998) is a prominent account that contends that word recognition, a process that is influenced by linguistic factors (e.g., word frequency, word predictability in a context), is the primary engine of eye movement control, in- cluding processes of attention shift and the timing of saccades during reading. Other models support the idea that the process of eye movement control is mainly determined by visual factors such as word length and location of the preceding fixation (Reilly & O'Regan, 1998; Yang & McConkie, 2001).

The rate of word skipping, where a word is not fixated during first-pass reading, is strongly influenced by factors that influence oculomotor processing-most notably, word length and the proximity of the preceding fixation to the start of the word. Short words are skipped more frequently than long words (Brysbaert, Drieghe, & Vitu, 2005; Brysbaert & Vitu, 1998; Rayner, Slattery, Drieghe, & Liversedge, 2011), and words with close preceding fixations are skipped more frequently than words with distant preceding fixations (Drieghe, Rayner, & Pollatsek, 2005; White, 2008). Word skipping is also influenced by factors that influence linguis- tic processing, with frequent words more likely to be skipped than less frequent words (Brysbaert et al., 2005; Choi & Gordon, 2012; Rayner & Fischer, 1996; Rayner & Raney, 1996; White, 2008), predictable words more likely to be skipped than nonpredictable words (Drieghe et al., 2005; Ehrlich & Rayner, 1981 ; Rayner & Well, 1996), and repeated words more likely to be skipped than words that have not been seen in the experiment (Choi & Gordon, 2012 ; Gordon, Plummer, & Choi, 2012; Lowder, Choi, & Gordon, in press). …

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