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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2006;30(6):872-84. Epub 2006 Aug 9.

SWIFT explorations of age differences in eye movements during reading.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, P.O. Box 601553, 14415 Potsdam, Germany.


Research on eye movements in reading has made significant advances during the past few years, due to both experimental and computational research. Age effects have not been extensively studied, but the overall pattern suggests more quantitative than qualitative differences in fixation durations and fixation probabilities. Here we focus on age-differential effects of word frequency on reading time and on probabilities of skipping a word or regressing to previous ones. We present an overview of SWIFT [Engbert, R., Nuthmann, A., Richter, E.M., Kliegl, R., 2005. SWIFT: a dynamical model of saccade generation during reading. Psychological Review 112, 777-813], a fully implemented computational model of saccade generation and lexical processing during reading, based on spatially distributed processing over several words. Preliminary simulations of age differences recovered most, but not all experimental effects. Age differences in parameter estimates point towards an important role of visual acuity for oculomotor as well as lexical processing.

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