Dissociating Preview Validity and Preview Difficulty in Parafoveal Processing of Word n+1 during Reading

Sarah Risse, Reinhold Kliegl

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Many studies have shown that previewing the next word n+1 during reading leads to substantial processing benefit (e.g., shorter word viewing times) when this word is eventually fixated. However, evidence of such preprocessing in fixations on the preceding word n when in fact the information about the preview is acquired is far less consistent. A recent study suggested that such effects may be delayed into fixations on the next word n+1 (Risse & Kliegl, 2012). In order to investigate the time course of parafoveal information-acquisition on the control of eye movements during reading, we conducted two gaze-contingent display- change experiments and orthogonally manipulated the processing difficulty (i.e., word frequency) of an n+1 preview word and its validity relative to the target word. Preview difficulty did not affect fixation durations on the pretarget word n but on the target word n+1. In fact, the delayed preview-difficulty effect was almost of the same size as the preview benefit associated with the n+1 preview validity. Based on additional results from quantile- regression analyses on the time course of the two preview effects, we discuss consequences as to the integration of foveal and parafoveal information and potential implications for computational models of eye guidance in reading.

Journal of Experimental Psycholog: Human Perception and Performance