Spatial Coding in the Processing of Anaphor by Good and Poor Readers: Evidence from Eye Movement Analyses

Wayne S. Murray, Alan Kennedy

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56 Citations (Scopus)


An experiment that examined the way in which young readers deployed eye movements while reading sentences and while answering questions containing either a pronominal or noun anaphor is reported. To evaluate the possible causal role played by differences in inspection strategies between readers of above- and below-average reading skill, a third "age control" group of younger children was also tested. This group was matched on absolute reading ability with the less skilled group of older children, and on relative reading ability (i.e. reading quotient) with the more skilled group. Differences in inspection strategy were apparent between the groups of good and poor readers. Good readers launched more selective reinspections, whereas the poorer readers were more inclined to engage in “backtracking” and appeared to make less use of the displayed text. In every case there was a marked similarity in the behaviour of the good readers and the “age controls”. These results suggest that the ability to code the spatial location of words in a sentence, and, where necessary, to use this information to launch accurately targetted selective reinspections of previously read text, plays a crucial role in the development of skilled reading performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-718
Number of pages26
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology


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