Eye movement control during reading: I. The location of initial eye fixations on words

G. W. McConkie, P. W. Kerr, M. D. Reddix, David Zola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sixty-six college students read two chapters from a contemporary novel while their eye movements were monitored. The eye movement date were analyzed to identify factors that influence the location of a reader's initial eye fixation on a word. When the data were partitioned according to the location of the prior fixation (i.e. launch site), the distribution of fixation locations on the word (i.e. landing site distribution) was highly constrained, normal in shape, and not influenced by word length. The locations of initial fixations on words can be accounted for on the basis of five principles of perceptuo-oculomotor control: a word-object has a specific functional target location, a saccadic range error occurs that produces a systematic deviation of landing sites from the functional target location, the saccadic range error is reduced somewhat for saccades that follow longer eye fixations, there exists perceptuo-oculomotor variability that is a second, nonsystematic source of variation in landing sites, and the perceptuo-oculomotor variability increases with distance of the launch site from the target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1118
Number of pages12
JournalVision Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1988


  • Convenient viewing hypothesis
  • Eye movement
  • Reading Eye fixation
  • Saccade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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