Re-evaluating split-fovea processing in word recognition: effects of fixation location within words

Timothy R Jordan, Kevin B Paterson, Stoyan Kurtev, Mengyun Xu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    13 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    It has been claimed that word recognition is affected fundamentally by the precise location at which a word is fixated because a precise split in hemispheric processing at the point of fixation causes all letters to the left and right of fixation to project to different, contralateral hemispheres. To assess this claim, 5-letter words (and nonwords) were presented for lexical decision when participants fixated the space immediately to the left (location 1) or right (location 6) of each stimulus, or one of the four possible inter-letter spaces (locations 2-5). Fixation location was controlled using an eye-tracker linked to a fixation-contingent display and all stimuli were presented entirely within foveal vision to avoid confounding influences of extrafoveal hemispheric projections. Performance was equally poorest when fixating locations 1 and 6 (when words were shown entirely to either the right and left of fixation), intermediate for location 5, and equally superior for locations 2, 3, and 4. Additional word-specific analyses also showed no evidence of the effects of fixation location on optimal word recognition predicted by split-fovea processing. These findings suggest that, while fixation location influences word recognition, word recognition is apparently not affected by a split in hemispheric processing at the point of fixation and does not depend critically on the precise location at which a word is fixated. Implications of these findings for the role of fixation location in word recognition are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)298-309
    Number of pages12
    JournalCortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
    Volume46
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

    Keywords

    • Analysis of Variance
    • Eye Movement Measurements
    • Fixation, Ocular
    • Fovea Centralis
    • Functional Laterality
    • Humans
    • Neuropsychological Tests
    • Pattern Recognition, Visual
    • Photic Stimulation
    • Reaction Time
    • Reading
    • Recognition (Psychology)
    • Vocabulary
    • Journal Article
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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