The effect of character contextual diversity on eye movements in Chinese sentence reading

Published in: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Volume 24, Issue 6, December 2017, 1971-1979

“Chen, Huang, et al. (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2017) found that when reading two-character Chinese words embedded in sentence contexts, contextual diversity (CD), a measure of the proportion of texts in which a word appears, affected fixation times to words. When CD is controlled, however, frequency did not affect reading times. Two experiments used the same experimental designs to examine whether there are frequency effects of the first character of two-character words when CD is controlled. In Experiment 1, yoked triples of characters from a control group, a group matched for character CD that is lower in frequency, and a group matched in frequency with the control group, but higher in character CD, were rotated through the same sentence frame. In Experiment 2 each character from a larger set was embedded in a separate sentence frame, allowing for a larger difference in log frequency compared to Experiment 1 (0.8 and 0.4, respectively). In both experiments, early and later eye movement measures were significantly shorter for characters with higher CD than for characters with lower CD, with no effects of character frequency. These results place constraints on models of visual word recognition and suggest ways in which Chinese can be used to tease apart the nature of context effects in word recognition and language processing in general.”

Written by: Qingrong Chen, Guoxia Zhao, Xin Huang, Yiming Yang, Michael K. Tanenhaus
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