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Psychol Aging. 2014 Jun;29(2):205-12. doi: 10.1037/a0036015. Epub 2014 Apr 14.

The effect of foveal and parafoveal masks on the eye movements of older and younger readers.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego.
2
School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Vienna.
4
Department of Psychology, University of South Alabama.

Abstract

In the present study, we examined foveal and parafoveal processing in older compared with younger readers by using gaze-contingent paradigms with 4 conditions. Older and younger readers read sentences in which the text was either a) presented normally, b) the foveal word was masked as soon as it was fixated, c) all of the words to the left of the fixated word were masked, or d) all of the words to the right of the fixated word were masked. Although older and younger readers both found reading when the fixated word was masked quite difficult, the foveal mask increased sentence reading time more than 3-fold (3.4) for the older readers (in comparison with the control condition in which the sentence was presented normally) compared with the younger readers who took 1.3 times longer to read sentences in the foveal mask condition (in comparison with the control condition). The left and right parafoveal masks did not disrupt reading as severely as the foveal mask, though the right mask was more disruptive than the left mask. Also, there was some indication that the younger readers found the right mask condition relatively more disruptive than the left mask condition.

PMID:
24730466
DOI:
10.1037/a0036015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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