Mindless reading: Eye-movement characteristics are similar in scanning letter strings and reading texts

Françoise Vitu, J. Kevin O'Regan, Albrecht W. Inhoff, Richard Topolski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

152 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to compare the oculomotor behavior of readers scanning meaningful and meaningless materials. Four conditions were used-a normal-text-reading control condition, and three experimental conditions in which the amount of linguistic processing was reduced, either by presenting the subjects with repeated letter strings or by asking the subjects to search for a target letter in texts or letter strings. The results show that global eye-movement characteristics (such as saccade size and fixation duration), as well as local characteristics (such as word-skipping rate, landing site, refixation probability, and refixation position), are very similar in the four conditions. The finding that the eyes are capable of generating an autonomous oculomotor scanning strategy in the absence of any linguistic information to process argues in favor of the idea that such predetermined oculomotor strategies might be an important determinant of eye movements in reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-364
Number of pages13
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)

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