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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The role of eye movement pattern and global-local information processing abilities in isolated English word reading


In isolated word reading, readers have the best performance when fixating between the beginning and center of a word, i.e., the optimal viewing position (OVP). Also, perceptual expertise literature suggests that both global and local processing are important for visual stimulus recognition. Here we showed that in lexical decision, higher similarity to an eye movement pattern that focused at the OVP and better local processing ability predicted faster response time (RT), in addition to verbal working memory and lexical knowledge. Also, this eye movement pattern was associated with longer RT in naming isolated single letters, suggesting conflicting visual abilities required for identifying isolated letters and letter strings. In contrast, word and pseudoword naming RT, and lexical decision and naming accuracy, were predicted by lexical knowledge but not eye movement pattern or global-local processing abilities. Thus, visual processing abilities are important factors accounting for isolated word reading fluency not involving naming.

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