Eye movement control during reading: II. Frequency of refixating a word

George W. McConkie, Paul W. Kerr, Michael D. Reddix, David Zola, Arthur M. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An analysis of over 40,000 eye fixations made by college students during reading indicates that the frequency of immediately refixating a word following an initial eye fixation on it varies with the location ofthat fixation. The refixation frequency is lowest near the center of the word, posi-tively accelerating with distance from the center. The data are well fit by a parabolic function. Assuming that refixation frequency is related to the frequency of successful word identification, the observed curvilinear relation results naturally from models that postulate a linear decrease in visual information with retinal eccentricity. A single letter difference in fixation location in a word can make a sizeable difference in the likelihood of refixating that word. The effects of word length and cultural frequency on the frequency of refixating are also examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)


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