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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In the present chapter, I provide an analysis of the last 40 years of research on eye movements in reading, but from visual and oculomotor points of view. I first report rather robust and universal eye movement patterns that arise from the effects of two main variables, word length and fixation position, on where and when the eyes move. I then show that such regularities of eye behaviour cannot be solely explained by the strong visual constraints that apply to letter extraction and word identification during a fixation. These more likely reflect low-level visuomotor mechanisms associated with the computation of saccade metrics and adaptive visuomotor strategies that aim at maximizing visual-information intake by regulating when the eyes move. I conclude in favour of a rather low-level view of eye guidance in reading, where visual attention and spatial-selection processes play only a minor, delayed role.

Keywords: eye movements, word length, fixation position, low-level visuomotor, spatial-selection

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