Visual Perception and Oculomotor Activity during Reading Tasks of Varying Complexity in Children Aged Seven to Ten Years


The paper presents the results of comparative analysis of visual perception (VP) and oculomotor activity in reading tasks of varying complexity in children aged seven to ten years with different levels of reading skills. We observed higher VP variables in children with good reading skills compared with poor readers. The formation of the VP system underlying the basic mechanism of reading, especially at the initial stage of learning, can be assessed by the following key parameters: noise tolerance, spatial relationships, and visual analysis/synthesis affording recognition of the graphic configuration of words, spelling (letter order), and semantics (word meaning). The speed of lexical access and eye movement programming, the accuracy of fixation point positioning, the amount of perceived symbolic information and lexemes and general context stored in the working memory are much higher in children with better qualification and reading experience. When a highly complex text beyond the current educational program is read, discrepancy in the oculomotor activity parameters (duration of progressive and adjustable fixations and the reading speed and time) between groups of children with different reading skills decreases.

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The work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 16-06-00799, “Assessment of the Functional State of Children When Reading Text from the Screen of an Electronic Device (interdisciplinary approach).”

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Correspondence to M. M. Bezrukikh.

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Conflict of interest. The authors declare that they have no obvious or potential conflict of interest related to the publication of this article.

Statement of compliance with standards of research involving humans as subjects. All studies were conducted in accordance with the principles of biomedical ethics formulated in the Helsinki Declaration of 1964 and its later amendments and approved by the local bioethical committee of the Institute of Developmental Physiology, RAE, Moscow, Russia. Informed written consent was obtained from all individual participants involved in the study and signed by them after their being explained the potential risks and advantages, as well as the nature of the forthcoming study.

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Translated by E. Babchenko

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Bezrukikh, M.M., Adamovskaya, O.N., Ivanov, V.V. et al. Visual Perception and Oculomotor Activity during Reading Tasks of Varying Complexity in Children Aged Seven to Ten Years. Hum Physiol 45, 596–603 (2019).

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  • younger schoolchildren
  • reading skills
  • oculomotor activity
  • visual perception