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Sarah Risse; Effects of visual span on reading speed and parafoveal processing in eye movements during sentence reading. Journal of Vision 2014;14(8):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.8.11.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The visual span (or “uncrowded window”), which limits the sensory information on each fixation, has been shown to determine reading speed in tasks involving rapid serial visual presentation of single words. The present study investigated whether this is also true for fixation durations during sentence reading when all words are presented at the same time and parafoveal preview of words prior to fixation typically reduces later word-recognition times. If so, a larger visual span may allow more efficient parafoveal processing and thus faster reading. In order to test this hypothesis, visual span profiles (VSPs) were collected from 60 participants and related to data from an eye-tracking reading experiment. The results confirmed a positive relationship between the readers' VSPs and fixation-based reading speed. However, this relationship was not determined by parafoveal processing. There was no evidence that individual differences in VSPs predicted differences in parafoveal preview benefit. Nevertheless, preview benefit correlated with reading speed, suggesting an independent effect on oculomotor control during reading. In summary, the present results indicate a more complex relationship between the visual span, parafoveal processing, and reading speed than initially assumed.
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