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   2011, Vol. 43 Issue (08) : 851-862     DOI:
The Landing Positions of Dyslexic, Age-matched and Ability-matched Children during Reading Spaced Text
BAI Xue-Jun;MENG Hong-Xia;WANG Jing-Xin;TIAN Jing;ZANG Chuan-Li;YAN Guo-Li
Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300074, China
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Abstract  Research investigating eye movement control during reading of alphabetic languages has demonstrated that the decision of where the eyes move is generally considered to be made on a word-unit basis. Consequently, one of the central concerns is the properties of words that influence readers’ landing positions during reading. For alphabetic writing system, a widely accepted view is that the spaces between words have an important influence on where the eyes land. However, some languages (e.g., Chinese and Japanese), are written without spaces between successive characters or words. Whether the decision about where to move the eyes during Chinese reading is also made on a word-unit basis is still an open question. Zang (2010) monitored native Chinese adults and children’s eye movements as they read text that did or did not demark word boundary information. Zang found that the adults’ and children’s pattern of landing positions were very similar to each other when they read word spaced and normal unspaced sentences. The author suggested that Chinese reading was on a word-unit basis, similar to that of alphabetic writing systems. However, the refixation patterns of the two age groups differed from each other. Children tended to be less effective and systematic than adults when targeting refixations. Zang argued that the different levels of skill for reading between adults and children might be the reason. However, this study could not eliminate the influences of age difference from reading skill difference.
We tested 11 dyslexic fifth graders together with their age-matched group (15 normal fifth graders) and reading ability-matched group (13 normal third graders) under both the word spaced and normal unspaced experimental conditions to explore how reading skill and age influenced their landing positions during reading. Their eye movements were recorded by a SR Research EyeLink II eyetracker (sampling rate = 500 Hz) that monitored the position of the right eye every two milliseconds.
We found that there was no reliable interaction between the presentation conditions and the participant groups on all eye movement measures. In terms of the patterns of landing positions, there was no significant difference between all three groups under the two presentation conditions. Specifically, their fixations landed at the centre of the words when there was only one single fixation on them; however, the initial landing position shifted to the beginning of the words when there were multiple fixations on those words. In the latter case, they made more refixations on those words and generally landed on the end of the words. To sum up, the present study indicated that all participants had similar landing positions when reading word spaced and normal unspaced sentences. We argued that Chinese children use the “strategy-tactics” approach during reading.
Keywords landing position effect      preferred viewing location      optimal viewing position      dyslexia      space     
Corresponding Authors: BAI Xue-Jun;MENG Hong-Xia   
Issue Date: 30 August 2011
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BAI Xue-Jun
MENG Hong-Xia
WANG Jing-Xin
ZANG Chuan-Li
YAN Guo-Li
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BAI Xue-Jun,MENG Hong-Xia,WANG Jing-Xin, et al. The Landing Positions of Dyslexic, Age-matched and Ability-matched Children during Reading Spaced Text[J]. , 2011, 43(08): 851-862.
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