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Matteo Valsecchi, Karl R. Gegenfurtner, Alexander C. Schütz; Saccadic and smooth-pursuit eye movements during reading of drifting texts. Journal of Vision 2013;13(10):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.10.8.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Reading is a complex visuomotor behavior characterized by an alternation of fixations and saccadic eye movements. Despite the widespread use of drifting texts in various settings, very little is known about eye movements under these conditions. Here we investigated oculomotor behavior during reading of texts which were drifting horizontally or vertically at different speeds. Consistent with previous reports, drifting texts were read by an alternation of smooth-pursuit and saccadic eye movements. Detailed analysis revealed several interactions between smooth pursuit and saccades. On one side, the gain of smooth pursuit was increased after the execution of a saccade. On the other side, the peak velocity of saccades was reduced for the horizontally drifting text, in which saccades and pursuit were executed in opposite directions. In addition, we show that well-known findings from the reading of static texts extend to drifting text, such as the preferred viewing location, the inverted optimal viewing position, and the correlation between saccade amplitude and subsequent pursuit/fixation duration. In general, individual eye-movement parameters such as saccade amplitude and fixation/pursuit durations were correlated across self-paced reading of static text and time-constrained reading of static and drifting texts. These results show that findings from basic oculomotor research also apply to the reading of drifting texts. Similarly, basic reading principles apply to the reading of static and drifting texts in a similar way. This exemplifies the reading of drifting text as a visuomotor behavior which is influenced by low-level eye-movement control as well as by cognitive and linguistic processing.
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