ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (1): 36-49.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00036

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Landing Position Effects of Coordinate and Attributive Structure Compound Words

MENG Hongxia;BAI Xuejun;ZANG Chuanli;YAN Guoli   

  1. (1 Faculty of Fundamental Courses, Tianjin Foreign Studies University, Tianjin 300204, China) (2 Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300074, China)
  • Received:2012-09-26 Published:2014-01-25 Online:2014-01-25
  • Contact: BAI Xuejun;MENG Hongxia


For alphabetic language scripts, the decision about where to move the eyes next during reading is strongly influenced by low-level visual variables such as word length, which is provided by spacing information. In contrast, high-level linguistic variables, such as word frequency and word predictability do not influence where readers move their eyes (Rayner, 2009). Similar to the alphabetic writing systems, there has been evidence that word frequency and word predictability do not influence initial landing positions during Chinese reading (Wu et al., 2011; Guo, 2012). However, written Chinese is a kind of ideographic writing system, which differs from alphabetic writing systems in many dimensions. There are different constructions of two-character compound words according to the semantic relationship between the two constituent characters of a compound word, such as coordinate and attributive structure. Some researchers found that the structure of compound words influenced vocabulary recognition processing (Feng, 2003; Gan, 2009; Zhang, 1993). In this study, two experiments were conducted to explore whether the high-level lexical properties (the semantic relationship between the two constituent characters of a compound word) influenced landing positions. In Experiment 1, we manipulated the constructions of 2-character compound words (coordinate and attributive structure). In Experiment 2, compound words pairs shared the same first constituent character but different constructions (coordinate or attributive) were used as target words to further investigate the influence on landing positions of compound words’ constructions. 32 undergraduates were asked to read the experimental sentences which included target words in Experiment 1, and another 28 undergraduates took part in Experiment 2. Their eye movements were recorded by an SR Research EyeLink II eyetracker (sampling rate = 500 Hz) that monitored the position of the right eye every two milliseconds. The results showed that there were different eye movement patterns in different fixation cases. When there was only one fixation on a target word, the first fixation mostly landed on the centre of the word. When there were multiple fixations, readers first fixated at the beginning of the target word. There was a preferred viewing location in single-fixation cases during Chinese reading. In multiple fixation cases, if the first fixation landed at the beginning of a target word, the probability of refixating this word was highest, and refixations tended to land at the end of the word. There were similar fixation patterns when readers fixated the target words with different construction of compound words. We argue that Chinese children use the “strategy-tactics” approach during reading.

Key words: landing position effects, preferred viewing location, optimal viewing position, construction of compound words, reading