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      Effects of Aging, Word Frequency, and Text Stimulus Quality on Reading Across the Adult Lifespan: Evidence From Eye Movements


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          Reductions in stimulus quality may disrupt the reading performance of older adults more when compared with young adults because of sensory declines that begin early in middle age. However, few studies have investigated adult age differences in the effects of stimulus quality on reading, and none have examined how this affects lexical processing and eye movement control. Accordingly, we report two experiments that examine the effects of reduced stimulus quality on the eye movements of young (18–24 years), middle-aged (41–51 years), and older (65+ years) adult readers. In Experiment 1, participants read sentences that contained a high- or low-frequency critical word and that were presented normally or with contrast reduced so that words appeared faint. Experiment 2 further investigated effects of reduced stimulus quality using a gaze-contingent technique to present upcoming text normally or with contrast reduced. Typical patterns of age-related reading difficulty (e.g., slower reading, more regressions) were observed in both experiments. In addition, eye movements were disrupted more for older than younger adults when all text (Experiment 1) or just upcoming text (Experiment 2) appeared faint. Moreover, there was an interaction between stimulus quality and word frequency (Experiment 1), such that readers fixated faint low-frequency words for disproportionately longer. Crucially, this effect was similar across all age groups. Thus, although older readers suffer more from reduced stimulus quality, this additional difficulty primarily affects their visual processing of text. These findings have important implications for understanding the role of stimulus quality on reading behavior across the lifespan.

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          Mathematical models have become an important tool for understanding the control of eye movements during reading. Main goals of the development of the SWIFT model (R. Engbert, A. Longtin, & R. Kliegl, 2002) were to investigate the possibility of spatially distributed processing and to implement a general mechanism for all types of eye movements observed in reading experiments. The authors present an advanced version of SWIFT that integrates properties of the oculomotor system and effects of word recognition to explain many of the experimental phenomena faced in reading research. They propose new procedures for the estimation of model parameters and for the test of the model's performance. They also present a mathematical analysis of the dynamics of the SWIFT model. Finally, within this framework, they present an analysis of the transition from parallel to serial processing. Copyright (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved.
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            We summarize the various strands of research on peripheral vision and relate them to theories of form perception. After a historical overview, we describe quantifications of the cortical magnification hypothesis, including an extension of Schwartz's cortical mapping function. The merits of this concept are considered across a wide range of psychophysical tasks, followed by a discussion of its limitations and the need for non-spatial scaling. We also review the eccentricity dependence of other low-level functions including reaction time, temporal resolution, and spatial summation, as well as perimetric methods. A central topic is then the recognition of characters in peripheral vision, both at low and high levels of contrast, and the impact of surrounding contours known as crowding. We demonstrate how Bouma's law, specifying the critical distance for the onset of crowding, can be stated in terms of the retinocortical mapping. The recognition of more complex stimuli, like textures, faces, and scenes, reveals a substantial impact of mid-level vision and cognitive factors. We further consider eccentricity-dependent limitations of learning, both at the level of perceptual learning and pattern category learning. Generic limitations of extrafoveal vision are observed for the latter in categorization tasks involving multiple stimulus classes. Finally, models of peripheral form vision are discussed. We report that peripheral vision is limited with regard to pattern categorization by a distinctly lower representational complexity and processing speed. Taken together, the limitations of cognitive processing in peripheral vision appear to be as significant as those imposed on low-level functions and by way of crowding. © ARVO
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              The E-Z reader model of eye-movement control in reading: comparisons to other models.

              The E-Z Reader model (Reichle et al. 1998; 1999) provides a theoretical framework for understanding how word identification, visual processing, attention, and oculomotor control jointly determine when and where the eyes move during reading. In this article, we first review what is known about eye movements during reading. Then we provide an updated version of the model (E-Z Reader 7) and describe how it accounts for basic findings about eye movement control in reading. We then review several alternative models of eye movement control in reading, discussing both their core assumptions and their theoretical scope. On the basis of this discussion, we conclude that E-Z Reader provides the most comprehensive account of eye movement control during reading. Finally, we provide a brief overview of what is known about the neural systems that support the various components of reading, and suggest how the cognitive constructs of our model might map onto this neural architecture.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                Role: Incoming Editor
                J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn
                J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn
                Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition
                American Psychological Association
                19 April 2018
                November 2018
                : 44
                : 11
                : 1714-1729
                [1 ]Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, University of Leicester
                Author notes
                This work was supported by The Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2015-099) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/L010836/1). Kayleigh L. Warrington, Victoria A. McGowan, Kevin B. Paterson, and Sarah J. White contributed to the design of the experiments and the writing of the manuscript. Kayleigh L. Warrington and Victoria A. McGowan set up the study. Kayleigh L. Warrington collected and analyzed the data. We thank Denis Drieghe and Reinhold Kliegl for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.
                [*] [* ]Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kayleigh L. Warrington, Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, University of Leicester, George Davies Centre, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 7HA, United Kingdom klw53@ 123456le.ac.uk
                xlm_44_11_1714 2018-16994-001
                © 2018 The Author(s)

                This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s). Author(s) grant(s) the American Psychological Association the exclusive right to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher.

                : 5 September 2017
                : 7 December 2017
                : 13 December 2017
                Research Articles

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                eye movements,stimulus quality,reading,aging
                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                eye movements, stimulus quality, reading, aging


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