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Home Research Topics Eye Movement Corpus Analysis Kliegl et al. (2006, JEP:GEN). Tracking the mind during reading: The influence of past, present, and future words on fixation durations

Kliegl et al. (2006, JEP:GEN). Tracking the mind during reading: The influence of past, present, and future words on fixation durations


Kliegl, R., Nuthmann, A., & Engbert, R. (2006). Tracking the mind during reading: The influence of past, present, and future words on fixation durations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135,13-35.

Abstract: Reading requires the orchestration of visual, attentional, language-related, and oculomotor processing constraints. This study replicates previous effects of frequency, predictability, and length of fixated words on fixation durations in natural reading and demonstrates new effects of these variables related to previous and next words. Results are based on fixation durations recorded from 222 persons, each reading 144 sentences. Such evidence for distributed processing of words across fixation durations challenges psycholinguistic immediacy-of-processing and eye-mind assumptions. Most of the time the mind processes several words in parallel at different perceptual and cognitive levels. Eye movements can help to unravel these processes.

Rayner et al. (2007). Tracking the Mind During Reading Via Eye Movements: Comments on Kliegl, Nuthmann, and Engbert (2006). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 520–529

Abstract. R. Kliegl, A. Nuthmann, and R. Engbert (2006) reported an impressive set of data analyses dealing with the influence of the prior, present, and next word on the duration of the current eye fixation during reading. They argued that outcomes of their regression analyses indicate that lexical processing is distributed across a number of words during reading. The authors of this comment question their conclusions and address 4 different issues: (a) whether there is evidence for distributed lexical process- ing, (b) whether so-called parafoveal-on-foveal effects are widespread, (c) the role of correlational analyses in reading research, and (d) problems in their analyses because they use only cases in which words are fixated exactly once.

Kliegl, R. (2007). Toward a Perceptual-Span Theory of Distributed Processing in Reading: A Reply to Rayner, Pollatsek, Drieghe, Slattery, and Reichle (2007). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 530–537

Abstract. K. Rayner, A. Pollatsek, D. Drieghe, T. J. Slattery, and E. D. Reichle (2007) argued that the R. Kliegl, A. Nuthmann, and R. Engbert (2006) corpus-analytic evidence for distributed processing during reading should not be accepted because (a) there might be problems of multicollinearity, (b) the distinction between content and function words and the skipping status of neighboring words was ignored, and (c) there are inconsistencies with experimental results. Reanalyses with linear mixed-effect models demon- strate that (a) regression coefficients are stable across 9 samples, (b) lexical status and skipping status (and their interactions) are highly significant but do not account for the effects of word frequency for content and for function words, and (c) there is strong evidence for lexical processing of content words while fixating function words to the left of them. A critical result about fixation durations prior to skipped words is replicated in an experiment. The distinction between correlational analyses and well-controlled experiments and questions about generalizability of results are discussed. The author argues for a complementary role of corpus analysis, computational modeling, and experiments in reading research.

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