The span of the effective stimulus during a fixation in reading

Abstract

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.

Reference Note

  1. 1.

    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.

References

  1. Bouma, H. Visual recognition of isolated lower-case lettersVision Research, 1971,11.459–474

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Bouma, H. Visual interference in the parafoveal recognition of initial and final letters of words.Vision Research. 1973,13. 707–782.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bouma, H., &DeVoogd, A. H. On the control of eye saccades in readingVisum Research. 1974,14, 273–284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Haber, R. N., &Hershenson, M.The psychology of visual perception New York: Holt. Rinehart & Winston, 1973.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Hochberg, J Components of literacy Speculations and exploratory research. In H. Levin and J. P. Williams (Eds.)Basic studies on reading New York. Basic Books. 1970

    Google Scholar 

  6. Hodgf, D. C. Legibility of a uniform-stroke width alphabet I Relative legibility of upper and lower-case letters.Journal of Engineering Psychology. 1962,1, 34–46,

    Google Scholar 

  7. Hufy, E B. The psychology and pedagogy of reading. New York. Macmillan. 1908

    Google Scholar 

  8. Mackworth, H H. Visual noise causes tunnel visionPsychonomic Science. 1965,3, 67–68.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Newman, E. B Speed of reading when the span of letters is restrictedAmerican Journal of Psychology. 1966,79, 272–278.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Poulton, E. C. Peripheral vision, refractoriness and eye movements in last oral reading.British Journal of Psychology. 1962,53, 409–419.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Rayner, K The perceptual span and peripheral cues in reading.Cognitive Psychology. 1975,7, 65–81.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Reder, S. M. On-line monitoring of eye position signals in contingent and noncontingent paradigms.Behavior Research Methods & Instrumentation. 1973,5, 218–228.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Smith, F.Understanding reading New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971

    Google Scholar 

  14. Woodworth, R. SExperimental psychology New York Holt. 1938

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to George W. McConkie.

Additional information

The research described in this report was earned out at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The research was made possible by a Special Fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health to the senior author and by Grant OEG-2-71-0531 from the Office of Education. Portions of these data were reported at the 1973 meetings of the Eastern Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

McConkie, G.W., Rayner, K. The span of the effective stimulus during a fixation in reading. Perception & Psychophysics 17, 578–586 (1975). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03203972

Download citation

Keywords

  • Window Size
  • Fixation Duration
  • Central Vision
  • Display Change
  • Normal Text