Eye movements of developing Chinese readers: Effects of word frequency and predictability

Nina Liu, Xia Wang, Guoli Yan, Kevin Paterson, Ascensión Pagán

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The frequency and contextual predictability of words have a fundamental role in determining where and when the eyes move during reading in both alphabetic and non-alphabetic languages. However, surprising little is known about the how the influence of these variables develops, although this is important for understanding how children learn to read. Accordingly, to gain insight into their use during reading development, we examined the effects of orthogonally manipulating the frequency and contextual predictability of a specific target word in sentences on the eye movements of developing Chinese readers. The findings show that both factors influence eye movement behavior associated with the early processing of words during reading, but that effects of contextual predictability are mediated by the lexical frequency of words. We consider these effects in the context of visual and linguistic demands associated with reading Chinese and in relation to current models of eye movement control during reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-250
Number of pages17
JournalScientific Studies of Reading
Issue number3
Early online date4 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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