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Vision Res. 1998 Apr;38(8):1129-44.

Unspaced text interferes with both word identification and eye movement control.

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Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 01003, USA.


Subjects read either normal text, text in which the space information between words was absent (either spaces were removed filled with x), or text in which spaces were preserved but the words were flanked by x. In two experiments, reading rate decreased by approx. 50% when space information was not available, suggesting that reading unspaced text is relatively difficult. The removal of space information increased the effect of word frequency on the fixation times for selected target words, indicating that word identification was interfered with by the lack of spaces. In addition, removal of space information influenced the initial landing positions on words, indicating that eye movement control was affected by the absence of spaces. Further analyses were conducted that explored the relationship between these two effects.

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