Eye movements during text reading align with the rate of speech production

  • Across languages, the speech signal is characterized by a predominant modulation of the amplitude spectrum between about 4.3-5.5Hz, reflecting the production and processing of linguistic information chunks (syllables, words) every ∼200ms. Interestingly, ∼200ms is also the typical duration of eye fixations during reading. Prompted by this observation, we demonstrate that German readers sample written text at ∼5Hz. A subsequent meta-analysis with 142 studies from 14 languages replicates this result, but also shows that sampling frequencies vary across languages between 3.9Hz and 5.2Hz, and that this variation systematically depends on the complexity of the writing systems (character-based vs. alphabetic systems, orthographic transparency). Finally, we demonstrate empirically a positive correlation between speech spectrum and eye-movement sampling in low-skilled readers. Based on this convergent evidence, we propose that during reading, our brain’s linguistic processing systems imprint a preferred processing rate, i.e., the rate of spoken language production and perception, onto the oculomotor system.

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Author:Benjamin GaglORCiD, Klara GregorovaORCiD, Julius Golch, Stefan HawelkaORCiD, Jona SassenhagenORCiDGND, Alessandro TavanoORCiD, David PoeppelORCiDGND, Christian FiebachORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):bioRxiv
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2021/05/28
Date of first Publication:2021/05/28
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/04/18
Page Number:42
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / MPI für Hirnforschung
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / MPI für empirische Ästhetik
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International