ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (6): 871-882.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00871

• Conceptual Framework •     Next Articles

The spatial extent and depth of parafoveal pre-processing during Chinese reading

ZHANG Manman(), ZANG Chuanli(), BAI Xuejun   

  1. Center of Collaborative Innovation for Assessment and Promotion of Mental Health, Tianjin 300387, China
  • Received:2019-04-24 Online:2020-06-15 Published:2020-04-22
  • Contact: ZHANG Manman,ZANG Chuanli;


The ability to pre-process information from the parafovea, a hallmark component of skilled reading ( Blythe & Joseph, 2011), refers to the fact that readers visually and linguistically analyse upcoming words prior to their direct fixation. Previous findings regarding depth of pre-processing effects that are based on alphabetic language reading are mixed. One very important reason is that there is considerable variability in the length of target words in those studies conducted on alphabetic reading scripts. By contrast, it is possible to conduct such studies in Chinese to allow for parafoveal processing of text to be operationalized over characters without length variability. Chinese is a language with characteristics that are optimal for investigating parafoveal processing. The present project will take advantage of Chinese text characteristics to examine three aspects of parafoveal processing by using the eye tracking technique: (1) the first study aims at exploring how parafoveal load affects the spatial extent of pre-processing; (2) the second study attempts to examine whether and how foveal load influences the spatial extent and depth of pre-processing; on the basis of the first two studies, (3) the third study will investigate how reading skill modulates the spatial and depth effects of parafoveal processing, and also how reading efficiency interacts with spatial extent and depth of pre-processing. The findings of the current project will seek to illuminate currently controversial issues on parafoveal processing, and will be beneficial for examining and extending the current reading models of eye movement control (e.g., E-Z reader model, SWIFT model).

Key words: Chinese reading, the spatial extent of parafoveal pre-processing, the depth of parafoveal pre-processing, eye movements

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