Time course of visual information utilization during fixations in reading

Harry E. Blanchard, George W. McConkie, David Zola, Gary S. Wolverton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


16 undergraduates read short texts from a cathode-ray tube as their eye movements were being monitored. During selected fixations, the text was briefly masked and then it reappeared with 1 word changed. Ss often were unaware that the word had changed. Sometimes they reported seeing the 1st presented word, sometimes the 2nd presented word, and sometimes both. When only 1 word was reported, 2 factors were found to determine which one it was: the length of time a word was present during the fixation and the predictability of a word in its context. Results suggest that visual information was utilized for reading at a crucial period during the fixation and that this crucial period could occur at different times on different fixations. The pattern of responses suggest that the first letter of a word was not utilized before other letters and that letters were not scanned from left to right during a fixation. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • changing of word during brief masking of text, temporal parameters of information utilization during eye fixations when reading, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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