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Avi Caspi, Ari Z. Zivotofsky; Multi-word buffering during bilingual bidirectional reading as evidenced by saccade direction reversals. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):805. doi: 10.1167/5.8.805.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The study of eye movements in reading is among the earliest field of oculomotor research. During reading, the text is scanned by means of saccades separated by periods of fixation during which the information is acquired. The saccades are several letter-lengths long, and at each fixation several characters are acquired. English is read from left-to-right thus most of the saccades are rightward and the perceptual span is asymmetric to the right. Hebrew is read from right to left and thus the saccades are leftward and the asymmetric span is asymmetric to the left of the fixation point.
In modern Israeli society numerous English words are embedded within Hebrew text, especially in scientific and technical texts. In addition, in Israel the same numerals are used as in the West, and are read from left to right. Herein we present the results of a study of eye movement during the reading of Hebrew texts in which English words, phrases, and/or numbers are embedded within Hebrew sentences.
Subjects included both native English speakers and native Hebrew speakers and were instructed to read once silently the text presented. Subjects sat 70 cm in front of a 19″ monitor on which were displayed 2 or 3 lines of text, with the “X” character subtending 0.43 deg. Eye movements were recorded monocularly at 120 Hz using the ISCAN video based system.
Results show that when subjects encountered a left-to-right phrase, they reversed directions and read from left to right only for unfamiliar terms. A familiar multi-word term is acquired backwards. The later, indicates the existence of a low level buffer that can store and reverse words within a single phrase.
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