Eye movement control during rapid reading: Evidence from empirical studies and computational modelling

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Empirical research and modelling of eye-movement control during reading has focused on reading for comprehension. Little is known about the mechanisms underlying rapid reading (skimming/scanning). Crucially, understanding how the reading task modulates behaviour reveals flexibility in the component processes (visual, oculomotor, lexical, post-lexical) and how they are co-ordinated. Here we provide an overview of seven empirical studies that examine the effects of reading task, and new model simulations (E-Z Reader, Veldre et al., 2022) of rapid reading behaviour. The results demonstrate that visual, lexical, and post-lexical processes are modulated by readers’ goals. Compared to long words, short words are especially likely to be skipped during skimming (Expt. 1). Lexical processing (word frequency effects, Expts. 2 & 3) and sentence integration processes (semantic plausibility, Expts. 4 & 5; syntactic ambiguity, Expt. 6; sentencewrap-up, Expt. 7) occur during rapid reading. However, there are interactions between task and lexical/post-lexical manipulations, with smaller effects during rapid reading. Our simulations further reveal how the underlying mechanisms may be modulated by task, e.g. ignoring short words and limiting lexical processing during rapid reading. Crucially, limiting lexical and post-lexical processing may explain poorer comprehension during skimming compared to reading for comprehension.
Period5 Jan 2023
Event titleExperimental Psychology Society London Meeting
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map