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Determinants of Scanpath Regularity in Reading

  • Scanpaths have played an important role in classic research on reading behavior. Nevertheless, they have largely been neglected in later research perhaps due to a lack of suitable analytical tools. Recently, von der Malsburg and Vasishth (2011) proposed a new measure for quantifying differences between scanpaths and demonstrated that this measure can recover effects that were missed with the traditional eyetracking measures. However, the sentences used in that study were difficult to process and scanpath effects accordingly strong. The purpose of the present study was to test the validity, sensitivity, and scope of applicability of the scanpath measure, using simple sentences that are typically read from left to right. We derived predictions for the regularity of scanpaths from the literature on oculomotor control, sentence processing, and cognitive aging and tested these predictions using the scanpath measure and a large database of eye movements. All predictions were confirmed: Sentences with short words and syntactically moreScanpaths have played an important role in classic research on reading behavior. Nevertheless, they have largely been neglected in later research perhaps due to a lack of suitable analytical tools. Recently, von der Malsburg and Vasishth (2011) proposed a new measure for quantifying differences between scanpaths and demonstrated that this measure can recover effects that were missed with the traditional eyetracking measures. However, the sentences used in that study were difficult to process and scanpath effects accordingly strong. The purpose of the present study was to test the validity, sensitivity, and scope of applicability of the scanpath measure, using simple sentences that are typically read from left to right. We derived predictions for the regularity of scanpaths from the literature on oculomotor control, sentence processing, and cognitive aging and tested these predictions using the scanpath measure and a large database of eye movements. All predictions were confirmed: Sentences with short words and syntactically more difficult sentences elicited more irregular scanpaths. Also, older readers produced more irregular scanpaths than younger readers. In addition, we found an effect that was not reported earlier: Syntax had a smaller influence on the eye movements of older readers than on those of young readers. We discuss this interaction of syntactic parsing cost with age in terms of shifts in processing strategies and a decline of executive control as readers age. Overall, our results demonstrate the validity and sensitivity of the scanpath measure and thus establish it as a productive and versatile tool for reading research.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Titus von der Malsburg, Reinhold KlieglORCiDGND, Shravan VasishthORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12208
ISSN:0364-0213 (print)
ISSN:1551-6709 (online)
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=25530253
Parent Title (English):Cognitive science : a multidisciplinary journal of anthropology, artificial intelligence, education, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology ; journal of the Cognitive Science Society
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication:Hoboken
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Aging; Development; Eye movements; Individual differences; Language understanding; Oculo-motor control; Reading; Scanpaths
Volume:39
Issue:7
Pagenumber:29
First Page:1675
Last Page:1703
Funder:International Graduate Program for Experimental and Clinical Linguistics at the University of Potsdam; research group Mind and Brain Dynamics - German Research Foundation [FOR 868]
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Linguistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Peer Review:Referiert