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Neuroimage. 2015 Oct 1;119:390-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.072. Epub 2015 Jul 4.

Neural correlates of fixation duration in natural reading: Evidence from fixation-related fMRI.

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Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis, USA; Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, USA. Electronic address:
Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis, USA.
Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, USA.


A key assumption of current theories of natural reading is that fixation duration reflects underlying attentional, language, and cognitive processes associated with text comprehension. The neurocognitive correlates of this relationship are currently unknown. To investigate this relationship, we compared neural activation associated with fixation duration in passage reading and a pseudo-reading control condition. The results showed that fixation duration was associated with activation in oculomotor and language areas during text reading. Fixation duration during pseudo-reading, on the other hand, showed greater involvement of frontal control regions, suggesting flexibility and task dependency of the eye movement network. Consistent with current models, these results provide support for the hypothesis that fixation duration in reading reflects attentional engagement and language processing. The results also demonstrate that fixation-related fMRI provides a method for investigating the neurocognitive bases of natural reading.


Eye movements; Fixation duration; Reading; fMRI

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