, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 875-890

Semantic codes are not used in integrating information across eye fixations in reading: Evidence from fluent Spanish-English bilinguals


The question of whether meaning can be extracted from unidentified parafoveal words was examined using fluent Spanish-English bilinguals. In Experiment 1, subjects fixated on a central cross, and a preview word was presented to the right of fixation in parafoveal vision. During the saccade to the parafoveal preview word, the preview was replaced by the target word, which the subject was required to name. In Experiment 2, subjects read sentences containing the target word, and, as in the naming task, a preview word was replaced by the target word when the subject’s saccade crossed a boundary location. In both experiments, preview words were identical to the target word, translations, orthographic controls for the translations, or unrelated words in the opposite language. In both experiments, the preview benefit from the translation conditions was no greater than would be predicted by the orthographic similarity of the preview to the target. Hence, the data indicated that subjects obtained no useful semantic information from words seen parafoveally that enabled them to identify them more quickly on the subsequent fixation.

The order of authors is alphabetical; this was a totally collaborative effort. The research was supported by Grant HD26765 from the National Institute of Health. The first and second authors were also supported by Training Grant HD07327 from the National Institute of Health awarded to the University of Massachusetts, and the fourth author was supported by Research Scientist Award MH01255 from the National Institute of Mental Health. Experiment 1 was conducted while the first author was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts. Portions of the data from Experiment 1 were presented at the 1996 meeting of the Psychonomic Society, and portions of the data from Experiment 2 were presented at the 2000 meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.