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Article №190

TitleAgainst parafoveal semantic preprocessing during eye fixations in reading
JournalCANADIAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY, 1986, 40(4), 473-483
Year of publishing1986
AbstractSubjects eye movements were recorded as they read sentences, and a display change occurred before they fixated on a critical target word (song). In the target word location one of four alternative previews was initially present: the target word itself, a word that was semantically related to the target (tune), a word that was unrelated to the target (door), or a nonword that was visually similar to the target (sorp). When the readers eye movement crossed over an invisible boundary location, the initially displayed preview was replaced by the target word. If automatic semantic preprocessing of parafoveal words occurs in reading, the presence of a semantically related word should facilitate processing of the target word relative to the unrelated word. While the visually similar preview facilitated processing almost as much as the target itself, there was no difference between the semantically related preview and the unrelated preview, even though the semantically related words used in the study produced strong facilitation effects in a standard priming experiment. The results of the study are thus inconsistent with a model in which words in parafoveal vision are semantically preprocessed. It was concluded that the meanings of unidentified parafoveal words do not modulate our reading performance.
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