An eye movement corpus study of the age-of-acquisition effect

Published in: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Volume 24, Issue 6, December 2017, 1915-1921

“In the present study, we investigated the effects of word-level age of acquisition (AoA) on natural reading. Previous studies, using multiple language modalities, showed that earlier-learned words are recognized, read, spoken, and responded to faster than words learned later in life. Until now, in visual word recognition the experimental materials were limited to single-word or sentence studies. We analyzed the data of the Ghent Eye-tracking Corpus (GECO; Cop, Dirix, Drieghe, & Duyck, in press), an eyetracking corpus of participants reading an entire novel, resulting in the first eye movement megastudy of AoA effects in natural reading. We found that the ages at which specific words were learned indeed influenced reading times, above other important (correlated) lexical variables, such as word frequency and length. Shorter fixations for earlier-learned words were consistently found throughout the reading process, in both early (single-fixation durations, first-fixation durations, gaze durations) and late (total reading times) measures. Implications for theoretical accounts of AoA effects and eye movements are discussed.”

Written by: Nicolas Dirix, Wouter Duyck
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