Foveal and parafoveal processing during reading

Jukka Hyönä

in The Oxford Handbook of Eye Movements

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

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Foveal and parafoveal processing during reading

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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Eye movement studies on foveal and parafoveal word processing in reading are reviewed. The studies show that when a word in a text is fixated, identities of letters and their corresponding phonemes are activated early during the fixation. Orthographic and phonological coding give rise to lexical and meaning activation, which is also reflected in fixation times on words. As regards parafoveal processing, the research shows that lower-level visual features, such as the length and the visual shape of words, are extracted during reading. Moreover, readers also gain orthographic and phonological information from the parafoveal word. On the other hand, the evidence for parafoveal processing of lexical and semantic information is equivocal and inconclusive. It seems lexical and semantic parafoveal processing is not standardly achieved during reading.

Keywords: foveal; parafoveal; word processing; reading; visual features

Article.  13802 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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