Three experiments measured serial position functions for character-in-string identification in peripheral vision. In Experiment 1. random strings of five letters (e.g., P F H T M) or five symbols (e.g., lambda Gamma rho psi Upsilon were briefly presented to the left or to the right of fixation, and identification accuracy was measured at each position in the string using a post-cued two-alternative forced-choice task (e.g., was there a T or a B at the 4th position). In Experiment 2 the performance to letter stimuli was compared with familiar two-dimensional shapes (e.g., square, triangle, circle), and in Experiment 3 we compared digit strings (e.g., 6 3 7 9 2) with a set of keyboard symbols (e.g., % @ < ?). Eye-movements were monitored to ensure central fixation. The results revealed a triple interaction between the nature of the stimulus (letters/digits vs. symbols/shapes), eccentricity, and visual field. In all experiments this interaction reflected a selective left visual field advantage for letter or digit stimuli compared with symbol or shape stimuli for targets presented at the greatest eccentricity. The results are in line with the predictions of the modified receptive field hypothesis proposed by Tydgat and Grainger (2009), and the predictions of the SERIOL2 model of letter string encoding. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.