ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (5): 569-576.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00569

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An eye movement study on the perceptual span in reading Tibetan language

BAI Xuejun1; GAO Xiaolei1,2; GAO Lei2; WANG Yongsheng1   

  1. (1 Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Sciences of Ministry of Education, Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300074, China) (2 Normal College of Tibet University, Lhasa 850000, China)
  • Received:2016-04-26 Published:2017-05-25 Online:2017-05-25
  • Contact: BAI Xuejun, E-mail:; GAO Xiaolei, E-mail:


Perceptual span in reading refers to the range of useful information that can be obtained from each fixation of the reader during the reading process. Perception span is not only a basic question in reading research, but also is a problem with an important practical value. The divergence of the perceptual span in reading can effectively reflect the efficiency and the processing strategy for reading across individual readers. Perceptual span is an important component of language processing, which varies to characteristics of the languages themselves. The exploration of the perceptual span of phonetic characters and Chinese reading has been completed by a lot of researches until recently. However, the attribute of perceptual span in reading of the Tibetan language which is alphabetic writing and at the same time has the characteristics of ideograms remains largely unclear. The moving window paradigm proposed by McConkie and Rayner (1975) is one of commonly used methods in reading perceptual span studies. In order to probe the size of perceptual span in reading Tibetan language, the present study recruited 35 Tibetan university students as participants, and instructed them to complete the reading task which was presented using the classic moving window paradigm including 7 kinds of window (5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, and the entire line), in this process the EyeLink1000Plus eye tracker was applied to trace the eye movement during reading. Corresponding to the previous studies, this study took the average fixation time, fixation times, total fixation time, reading speed, and the jump magnitude to the right as the analysis index. The variance analysis of repeated measures was used to measure the window variables. The results of variance analysis showed that, with the increase of overall trend window, the average fixation time, total fixation times, and total fixation time decreased, but the reading speed and the right eye jump amplitude increased. In order to determine whether the set of the maximum window conditions are valid, two kinds of comparisons were carried out. First, the maximum window condition and the condition of the whole line were compared. It showed that the maximum window condition did not affect reading, thus the maximum window condition was set to be appropriate. Second, in order to determine the right side scope of perceptual span in reading, the conditions of L2R2, L4R4, L6R6, L8R8, L10R10 and the condition of L12R12 were compared. The result showed that when the time windows were increased to L8R8, the reading would not be disturbed. For conclusion, the data of the present study suggested that the Tibetan language perceptual span of Tibetan college students was 4~8 character spaces to the right of the fixation. Compared with other languages, the Tibetan language obtains different stylistic features, and the range of perceptual span of reading is also of difference. Together, the present study provides evidence for that the reading perceptual span the Tibetan language exist specificity during language processing.

Key words: Tibetan language, perceptual span, moving window paradigm, eye movement