Parafoveal-on-foveal repetition effects in sentence reading: a co-registered eye-tracking and eeg study


  • Mirault Jonathan
  • Broqua F
  • Dufau Stéphane
  • Holcomb P J
  • Grainger Jonathan

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When reading, can the next word in the sentence (word n+1) influence how you read the word you are currently looking at (word n)? Serial models of sentence reading state that this generally should not be the case, whereas parallel models predict that this should be the case. Here we focus on perhaps the simplest and the strongest para-foveal-on-foveal (PoF) manipulation: word n +1 is either the same as word n or a different word. Participants read sentences for comprehension, and when their eyes left word n, the repeated or unrelated word at position n +1 were swapped for a word that provided a syntactically cor-rect continuation of the sentence. We recorded EEG and eye-movements, and time-locked the analysis of fixation-related-potentials (FRPs) to fixation of word n. We found robust PoF repetition effects on gaze durations on word n. Most important is that we also observed significant effects in FRPs, reaching a conservative estimate of significance in a time-window spanning 250-400 ms post-fixation of word n. These effects were marginally significant (after correc-tion) in an earlier 120-250 ms time window and continued into the 400-550 ms time-window. Repetition of the target word n at position n+1 caused a reduced negativity in the FRPs. Given the timing of this effect we argue that it is driven by orthographic processing of word n+1 while read-ers’ eyes are still fixating word n.

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