Determinants of Fixation Positions in Words During Reading

Ralph Radach, George W. Mcconkie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores data concerning where the eyes land in words, or landing position distributions. The current investigation determines whether the model of this study, (which was originally developed to account for progressive inter-word saccades), could be extended to two other conditions, namely, refixations and interword regressive saccades. Interword regressive saccades showed different landing position characteristics than other cases. Neither word length nor distance from launch site was found to have much effect on the landing positions of these saccades, and the saccadic range effect, typically found with progressive saccades, was found absent. Interword regressions appeared to have been sent to the centers of words, with landing position distributions in “optimal” and “preferred” viewing positions, similar. Issues regarding the basis for eye movement control during reading are studied. It is argued that eye movement controls are discrete, based on the selection of word targets, rather than a graded type of control, and some of the implications of this position are explored. It has been noticed that even when a variable produces a significant effect on saccade length, it is likely that the lengths of relatively few of the saccades may have actually been changed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEye Guidance in Reading and Scene Perception
EditorsGeoffrey Underwood
PublisherElsevier Science
ISBN (Print)9780080433615
StatePublished - 1998

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