Linguistic and cognitive influences on eye movements during reading

Keith Rayner and Simon P. Liversedge

in The Oxford Handbook of Eye Movements

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199539789
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Linguistic and cognitive influences on eye movements during reading

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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In this chapter we consider the extent to which eye movements are influenced by linguistic processing during reading. We contrast the linguistic/cognitive position, according to which eye movements are influenced to a significant degree by language processing with the oculomotor view, according to which fixation durations are largely independent of linguistic processing. We then briefly discuss eye movement measures in relation to language processing, before turning to four topics associated with lexical processing during reading (frequency effects, predictability effects, disappearing text, and distributional analyses of word frequency effects). We conclude this section by considering how processing associated with lexical identification is distributed across fixations during reading. In the next section we discuss higher order linguistic influences on reading. In particular, we examine plausibility effects, referential effects, and focus operator effects. We then describe some recent findings from studies investigating mindless reading. Finally, we conclude that any comprehensive account of eye movements during reading must specify the nature of linguistic processes associated with comprehension in relation to the oculomotor decisions of where and when to move the eyes.

Keywords: eye movements; linguistic; cognitive; reading; oculomotor decisions; language processing

Article.  11109 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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