Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 121–141 | Cite as

Self-Guided Reading: Touch-Based Measures of Syntactic Processing

  • Hunter Hatfield


A novel online reading methodology termed Self-Guided Reading (SGR) is examined to determine if it can successfully detect well-studied syntactic processing behaviours. In SGR, a participant runs their finger under masked text in order to reveal a sentence. It is therefore similar to self-paced reading in presentation of stimuli, but different in the motion that the participant makes to interact with the stimuli. The phenomena of relative clause, adverb and noun phrase/sentential attachment are utilised to allow comparison to previous research that employed self-paced reading and eye-tracking. SGR was able to detect the predicted processing behaviours in all sentence types. Moreover, once design choices and task effects are accounted for, SGR was the most consistent in triggering a motor movement change at the predicted point in the sentence. Able to provide a semi-continuous reading measure at low cost, SGR should be investigated further to uncover the full potential of the method for psycholinguistic research.


Reading Experimental methodology Relative clauses Touchscreen Syntactic processing 



The tools to collect this data were created with a 2012 University of Otago Research Grant. Heartfelt thanks also go to Tonic Artos who developed all Android applications and to Naoko Witzel and co-authors who generously provided SPR scripts and stimuli to the author. Thanks also to Annie Tremblay for useful feedback during preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and LinguisticsUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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