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Eye Movements of Older and Younger Readers When Reading Disappearing Text

Older and younger readers read sentences in which target words were masked 40 to 60 ms after fixation onset. Masking only the target word caused more disruption than did masking each word in the sentence, and this effect was stronger for the younger readers than for the older readers. Although older readers had longer eye fixations than did younger readers, the results indicated that the masking effect was comparable for the 2 groups. However, for both groups, how long the eyes remained in place was strongly influenced by the frequency of the fixated word (even though it had been rapidly replaced by the mask and was no longer there when the eyes did move). This is compelling evidence that for both older and younger readers, cognitive/lexical processing has a very strong influence on when the eyes move in reading.

from Psychology and Aging

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Preview Benefit During Eye Fixations in Reading for Older and Younger Readers

Older and younger readers read sentences as their eye movements were recorded, and the boundary paradigm (Rayner, 1975) was used to present either a valid or an invalid parafoveal preview of a target word. During the saccade to the target word, the preview word changed to the target word. For early measures of processing time (first fixation duration and single fixation duration), the standard preview benefit effect (shorter fixation times on the target word with a valid preview than an invalid preview) was obtained for both older and younger readers. However, for gaze duration and go-past time, the preview benefit was somewhat attenuated in the older readers in comparison to the younger readers, suggesting that on some fixations older readers obtain less preview benefit from the word to the right of fixation.

from Psychology and Aging

Eye Movements and the Perceptual Span in Older and Younger Readers

The size of the perceptual span (or the span of effective vision) in older readers was examined with the moving window paradigm (G. W. McConkie & K. Rayner, 1975). Two experiments demonstrated that older readers have a smaller and more symmetric span than that of younger readers. These 2 characteristics (smaller and more symmetric span) of older readers may be a consequence of their less efficient processing of nonfoveal information, which results in a riskier reading strategy.

from Psychology and Aging