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ERIC Number: EJ1008783
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Processing "the" in the Parafovea: Are Articles Skipped Automatically?
Angele, Bernhard; Rayner, Keith
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n2 p649-662 Mar 2013
One of the words that readers of English skip most often is the definite article "the". Most accounts of reading assume that in order for a reader to skip a word, it must have received some lexical processing. The definite article is skipped so regularly, however, that the oculomotor system might have learned to skip the letter string "t-h-e" automatically. We tested whether skipping of articles in English is sensitive to context information or whether it is truly automatic in the sense that any occurrence of the letter string "the" will trigger a skip. This was done using the gaze-contingent boundary paradigm (Rayner, 1975) to provide readers with false parafoveal previews of the article "the". All experimental sentences contained a short target verb, the preview of which could be correct (i.e., identical to the actual subsequent word in the sentence; e.g., ace), a nonword ("tda"), or an infelicitous article preview ("the"). Our results indicated that readers tended to skip the infelicitous "the" previews frequently, suggesting that, in many cases, they seemed to be unable to detect the syntactic anomaly in the preview and based their skipping decision solely on the orthographic properties of the article. However, there was some evidence that readers sometimes detected the anomaly, as they also showed increased skipping of the pretarget word in the "the" preview condition. (Contains 9 tables, 1 figure and 2 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California