Testing the limits of contextual constraint: Interactions with word frequency and parafoveal preview during fluent reading

Sereno, S. C. , Hand, C. J. , Shahid, A., Yao, B. and O'Donnell, P. J. (2018) Testing the limits of contextual constraint: Interactions with word frequency and parafoveal preview during fluent reading. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(1), pp. 302-313. (doi: 10.1080/17470218.2017.1327981) (PMID:28481189) (PMCID:PMC6159772)

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Contextual constraint is a key factor affecting a word's fixation duration and its likelihood of being fixated during reading. Previous research has generally demonstrated additive effects of predictability and frequency in fixation times. Studies examining the role of parafoveal preview have shown that greater preview benefit is obtained from more predictable and higher frequency words versus less predictable and lower frequency words. In two experiments, we investigated effects of target word predictability, frequency, and parafoveal preview. A 3 (Predictability: low, medium, high) × 2 (Frequency: low, high) design was used with Preview (valid, invalid) manipulated between experiments. With valid previews, we found main effects of Predictability and Frequency in both fixation time and probability measures, including an interaction in early fixation measures. With invalid preview, we again found main effects of Predictability and Frequency in fixation times, but no evidence of an interaction. Fixation probability showed a weak Predictability effect and Predictability-Frequency interaction. Predictability interacted with Preview in early fixation time and probability measures. Our findings suggest that high levels of contextual constraint exert an early influence during lexical processing in reading. Results are discussed in terms of models of language processing and eye movement control.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was supported in part by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) postgraduate fellowship to A. Shahid and by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant RES-062-23-1900 to S.C. Sereno.
Keywords:Contextual predictability, eye movements, parafoveal preview, reading, word frequency.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sereno, Dr Sara and O'Donnell, Professor Patrick and Hand, Dr Christopher
Authors: Sereno, S. C., Hand, C. J., Shahid, A., Yao, B., and O'Donnell, P. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1747-0226
Published Online:08 May 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Experimental Psychology Society
First Published:First published in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 71(1):302-313
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
444341BBSRC doctoral training grantPhilippe SchynsBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/D526345/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING