The Reader's Spatial Code

Alan Kennedy, Rob Brooks, Lesley Anne Flynn, Carrie Prophet

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    36 Citations (Scopus)


    This chapter presents results of three experiments, each examining the way long saccades are used to reinspect elements of the previously read text. These three experiments had a relatively modest objective to demonstrate that readers can execute accurate and large reinspecting saccades to points in the previously inspected text located in peripheral vision, where physical identification of a potential target is impossible. The evidence from all three experiments supports this proposition. The practical consequences of spatial coding in reading relate to the fact that the permanence of text provides a powerful means of reducing short-term memory load. Selective reinspection of a text in the service of comprehension is a much more efficient strategy than ab initio rereading. The most striking feature of the results of the experiments discussed in the chapter is that good readers were markedly more inclined to engage in selective reinspection, whereas poorer readers tended to "backtrack" or reread. Comparison with a group of younger readers, constituting a "reading-age" control, strongly suggested that the more limited spatial knowledge of the poorer readers had played a causal role in their relative disability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Mind's Eye
    Subtitle of host publicationCognitive and Applied Aspects of Eye Movement Research
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9780080518923
    ISBN (Print)9780444510204
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2003

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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