Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 578–586 | Cite as

The span of the effective stimulus during a fixation in reading

  • George W. McConkie
  • Keith Rayner


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.


Window Size Fixation Duration Central Vision Display Change Normal Text 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Reference Note

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    McConkie. G. W., & Rayner. K. Identifying the span of the effective stimulus in reading. Final Report OEG2-71-0531. US Office of Education. 1974. This report is available from ERIC Document Reproduction Service.Google Scholar


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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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