Reading and Writing

, Volume 31, Issue 7, pp 1619–1643 | Cite as

Oculomotor planning in RAN and reading: a strong test of the visual scanning hypothesis

  • Regina HenryEmail author
  • Julie A. Van Dyke
  • Victor Kuperman


The current study investigates the validity of the visual scanning hypothesis, which posits that rapid automatized naming (RAN) predicts reading skill partly because both require the ability to perform rapid sequential eye-movements. Our data consist of eye-movements collected while 124 young English speaking adults of variable reading skill read passages and performed six modifications of RAN. These modifications isolated articulatory, lexical, oculomotor and attentional task components of RAN. A further requirement for participants was to perform each of the RAN tasks in two directions—the habitual direction of reading (RAN forward) and from right to left and top to bottom (RAN backward). Participants who were better at oculomotor control in RAN-like tasks were better readers regardless of task type or direction. Our most crucial finding is that the explanatory contribution of oculomotor control in the RAN-reading relationship is independent of the practice effect afforded by the habitual direction of visual scanning in reading.


RAN Oculomotor control Visual scanning hypothesis Reading Scanning direction 



This research was supported in part by the SSHRC Graduate Fellowship to the first author; the NIH R01 HD 073288 (PI Julie A. Van Dyke) to the second and third authors; and by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council or Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant 402395-2012, the McMaster Arts Research Board funding, the Early Research Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the CFI equipment grant, the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2; Kuperman, PI), and the SSHRC Partnership Training Grant 895-2016-1008 (Libben, PI) to the third author. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Canadian government. An earlier version of this project was presented at the European Conference for Eye Movements, Aug 2017, Wuppertal, Germany.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and LanguagesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Haskins LaboratoriesNew HavenUSA

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