Reading during sentence composing and error correction: A multilevel analysis of the influences of task complexity
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- Van Waes, L., Leijten, M. & Quinlan, T. Read Writ (2010) 23: 803. doi:10.1007/s11145-009-9190-x
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In this study we investigated the role of reading, how writers coordinate editing with other writing processes. In particular, the experiment examines how the cognitive demands of sentence composing and the type of error influence the reading and writing performance. We devised an experimental writing task in which participants corrected an embedded error (orthographic near-neighbors or far-neighbors) and completed a sentence (using 1 or 3 context words)—in either order. Data were collected by logging keystrokes and recording eye-movements. The results revealed that both error and sentence complexity influenced the approach to error-correcting. Participants generally completed the partial sentence first, and then corrected the error (approximately 90% of the items). Task complexity reinforced this tendency. Moreover, in most of these cases, the error was fixated at least once prior to sentence completion. This suggests that the error was detected (at least partially), but the correction response was inhibited. The differences in cognitive load also affect the reading activity during planning. This investigation illustrates how the interplay of two task factors, error and sentence complexity, appears to influence how writers coordinate error-correcting with sentence composing.