Eye movements and identifying words in parafoveal vision


Subjects either named or made lexical decisions about words presented in parafoveal vision. In one condition, subjects were required to maintain fixation, and in another condition, they were allowed to make eye movements. In the no eye movement condition, performance decreased as the stimulus was presented further from fixation. Words could be identified more quickly when eye movements were made than when they were not. The experiments also indicated that holding fixation takes up a certain amount of processing capacity, so that foveally presented targets are identified more quickly when eye movements are allowed than when they are not.


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Correspondence to Keith Rayner.

Additional information

This research was supported by Grant HD12727 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development We would like to thank Arnold Well and Alexander Pollatsek for their assistance and comments on the paper.

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Rayner, K., Morrison, R.E. Eye movements and identifying words in parafoveal vision. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 17, 135–138 (1981). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03333690

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  • Lexical Decision
  • Visual Angle
  • Vision Research
  • Lexical Decision Task
  • Naming Task