TYPOGRAPHY AND EXECUTIVE CONTROL PROCESSES IN READING . . . . . . .3
James Hartley University of Keele, U.K.
Reading is a complex cognitive task. The simple word reading describes a skill that subsumes a number of different component processes, many of which are discussed in detail in other chapters of this textbook. In this chapel I begin by making a few simple and rather obvious remarks about reading which have relevance for the typographic setting of text. The aim of the chapter as a whole, however, is to suggest how the typographic design of text can support the component processes that readers must perform.
At the molecular level, reading involves discriminating between meaningful marks on paper, marks that come in all shapes and sizes. In addition, reading at the molecular level involves discriminating between the ordering of the marks and their grouping to form meaningful wholes or words. Clearly, the order of letters can have a profound effect on their meaning (compare god with dog), and so too can their spacing (compare therapist with the rapist). Punctuation also plays a part (compare Give experience with dates and Give experience, with dates), and so too does prior knowledge (consider the young man the jumps where the verb is to man the jumps . . .).
Normally, of course, we carry out these molecular processes unconsciously in pursuing the more global objectives of skilled reading (the search for the important ideas and meaning). We are not often aware of the fixations, the saccades, and the regressions of our eyes when we are reading. We are not concerned with the laborious blending of letters and