Article

On the role of visual and oculomotor processes in reading

Françoise Vitu

in The Oxford Handbook of Eye Movements

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199539789
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199539789.013.0040

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 On the role of visual and oculomotor processes in reading

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  • Cognitive Psychology
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In the present chapter, I provide an analysis of the last 40 years of research on eye movements in reading, but from visual and oculomotor points of view. I first report rather robust and universal eye movement patterns that arise from the effects of two main variables, word length and fixation position, on where and when the eyes move. I then show that such regularities of eye behaviour cannot be solely explained by the strong visual constraints that apply to letter extraction and word identification during a fixation. These more likely reflect low-level visuomotor mechanisms associated with the computation of saccade metrics and adaptive visuomotor strategies that aim at maximizing visual-information intake by regulating when the eyes move. I conclude in favour of a rather low-level view of eye guidance in reading, where visual attention and spatial-selection processes play only a minor, delayed role.

Keywords: eye movements; word length; fixation position; low-level visuomotor; spatial-selection

Article.  12489 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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