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Eye movements of highly skilled and average readers: Differential effects of frequency and predictability

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This study offers a glimpse of the moment-by-moment processes used by highly skilled and average readers during silent reading. The eye movements of adult readers were monitored while they silently read sentences. Fixation durations and the spatial–temporal patterns of eye movements were examined to see whether the two groups of readers exhibited differential effects of frequency and/or predictability. In Experiment 1, high- and low-frequency target words were embedded in nonconstraining sentence contexts. In Experiment 2, the same participants read high- and low-frequency target words that were either predictable or unpredictable, embedded in highly constraining sentence contexts. Results indicated that when target words appeared in highly constraining sentence contexts, the average readers showed different effects of frequency and predictability from those shown in the highly skilled readers. It appears that reading skill can interact with predictability to affect the word recognition processes used during silent reading.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980443000476

Affiliations: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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