Not fixating at the line of text comes at a cost

Antje Nuthmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous research on eye guidance in reading has investigated systematic tendencies with respect to horizontal fixation locations on letters within words and the relationship between fixation location in a word and the duration of the fixation. The present study investigates where readers place their eyes vertically on the line of text and how vertical fixation location is related to fixation duration. Analyses were based on a large corpus of eye movement recordings from single-sentence reading. The vertical preferred viewing location was found to be within the vertical extent of the font, but fixations beyond the vertical boundaries of the text also frequently occurred. Analyzing fixation duration as a function of vertical fixation location revealed a vertical optimal viewing position (vOVP) effect: Fixations were shortest when placed optimally on the line of text, and fixation duration gradually increased for fixations that fell above or below the line of text. The vOVP effect can be explained by the limits of visual resolution along the vertical meridian. It is concluded that vertical and horizontal landing positions in single-sentence reading are associated with differences in fixation durations in opposite ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1604-1609
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Volume75
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2013

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