Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 578–586

The span of the effective stimulus during a fixation in reading

  • George W. McConkie
  • Keith Rayner

DOI: 10.3758/BF03203972

Cite this article as:
McConkie, G.W. & Rayner, K. Perception & Psychophysics (1975) 17: 578. doi:10.3758/BF03203972


A computer-based eye-movement controlled, display system was developed for the study of perceptual processes in reading. A study was conducted to identify the region from which skilled readers pick up various types of visual information during a fixation while reading. This study involved making display changes, based on eye position, in the text pattern as the subject was in the act of reading from it, and then examining the effects these changes produced on eye behavior. The results indicated that the subjects acquired word-length pattern information at least 12 to 15 character positions to the right of the fixation point, and that this information primarily influenced saccade lengths. Specific letter- and word-shape information were acquired no further than 10 character positions to the right of the fixation point.

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • George W. McConkie
    • 2
  • Keith Rayner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of RochesterRochester
  2. 2.Cornell UniversityItahca

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