Parafoveal-on-Foveal Effects in High-Skill Spellers: Disambiguating Previews Influence Ambiguous Word Recognition

AbstractParafoveal-on-foveal (POF) effects occur when reading time on a fixated word in the fovea is influenced by the upcoming word in the parafovea. Evidence for POF effects have been inconsistent and met with methodological scrutiny (Drieghe, 2011), but recent research suggests that skill differences in spelling may impact POF effects (Veldre & Andrews, 2014). To extend this literature, the current study examines the influence of spelling ability on POF effects by leveraging semantic ambiguity. Participants read sentences containing an ambiguous target immediately followed by a disambiguating word as their eye movements were recorded. Disambiguating words were manipulated to be either consistent or inconsistent with the likely interpretation of the ambiguous word. Results indicate that high-skilled spellers have longer reading times on the target word when the disambiguating word is inconsistent. These findings suggest that POF effects may be possible, particularly within a highly-skilled subset of skilled readers.

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