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Character-complexity effects in Chinese reading and visual search: A comparison and theoretical implications

Character-complexity effects in Chinese reading and visual search: A comparison and theoretical implications
Character-complexity effects in Chinese reading and visual search: A comparison and theoretical implications
Three eye-movement experiments were conducted to examine how the complexity of characters in Chinese words (i.e., number of strokes per character) influences their processing and eye-movement behavior. In Experiment 1, English speakers with no significant knowledge of Chinese searched for specific low-, medium-, and high-complexity target characters in a multi-page narrative containing characters of varying complexity (3-16 strokes). Fixation durations and skipping rates were influenced by the visual complexity of both the target characters and the characters being searched, with the latter findings replicating previous reports (e.g., Liversedge et al., 2014) but in participants with no knowledge of Chinese. In Experiment 2, native Chinese speakers performed the same character-search task and a similar pattern of results was observed. Finally, in Experiment 3, a second sample of native Chinese speakers read the same text used in Experiments 1 and 2, with text characters again exhibiting complexity effects. These results collectively suggest that character-complexity effects on eye movements may not be due to lexical processing per se but may instead reflect whatever visual processing is required to know whether or not a character corresponds to an episodically-represented target (Baddeley, 2002). The theoretical implications of this for our understanding of normal reading are discussed.
1747-0218
Yu, Lili
041dcf79-9499-49f3-814e-61280835eff1
Zhang, Qiaoming
cefdeedd-eb97-4c8a-8297-990b849316a4
Priest, Caspian
4a7aced5-ef08-48e1-800e-11762b0a0c7f
Reichle, Erik
44dc4e6a-e5e2-47c5-9a09-2ef759db0583
Sheridan, Heather
aa3329b3-8429-4267-ab78-d7fac7a143a9
Yu, Lili
041dcf79-9499-49f3-814e-61280835eff1
Zhang, Qiaoming
cefdeedd-eb97-4c8a-8297-990b849316a4
Priest, Caspian
4a7aced5-ef08-48e1-800e-11762b0a0c7f
Reichle, Erik
44dc4e6a-e5e2-47c5-9a09-2ef759db0583
Sheridan, Heather
aa3329b3-8429-4267-ab78-d7fac7a143a9

Yu, Lili, Zhang, Qiaoming, Priest, Caspian, Reichle, Erik and Sheridan, Heather (2017) Character-complexity effects in Chinese reading and visual search: A comparison and theoretical implications. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. (doi:10.1080/17470218.2016.1272616).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Three eye-movement experiments were conducted to examine how the complexity of characters in Chinese words (i.e., number of strokes per character) influences their processing and eye-movement behavior. In Experiment 1, English speakers with no significant knowledge of Chinese searched for specific low-, medium-, and high-complexity target characters in a multi-page narrative containing characters of varying complexity (3-16 strokes). Fixation durations and skipping rates were influenced by the visual complexity of both the target characters and the characters being searched, with the latter findings replicating previous reports (e.g., Liversedge et al., 2014) but in participants with no knowledge of Chinese. In Experiment 2, native Chinese speakers performed the same character-search task and a similar pattern of results was observed. Finally, in Experiment 3, a second sample of native Chinese speakers read the same text used in Experiments 1 and 2, with text characters again exhibiting complexity effects. These results collectively suggest that character-complexity effects on eye movements may not be due to lexical processing per se but may instead reflect whatever visual processing is required to know whether or not a character corresponds to an episodically-represented target (Baddeley, 2002). The theoretical implications of this for our understanding of normal reading are discussed.

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Accepted/In Press date: 28 November 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 15 December 2016
Published date: 13 January 2017
Organisations: Psychology, Clinical & Experimental Sciences

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Local EPrints ID: 406172
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/406172
ISSN: 1747-0218
PURE UUID: e2e2759b-3b1c-4dde-b950-a24dd1f07388

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Date deposited: 10 Mar 2017 10:41
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 06:15

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