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The effects of interword spacing on the eye movements of young and older readers

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posted on 2015-02-10, 10:12 authored by Victoria A. McGowan, Sarah J. White, Kevin B. Paterson
Recent evidence indicates that older adults (aged 65+) are more disrupted by removing interword spaces than young adults (aged 18-30). However, it is not known whether older readers also show greater sensitivity to the more subtle changes to this spacing that frequently occur during normal reading. In the present study the eye movements of young and older adults were examined while reading texts for which interword spacing was normal, condensed to half its normal size, or expanded to 1.5 times its normal size. Although these changes in interword spacing affected eye movement behaviour, this influence did not differ between young and older adults. Furthermore, a word frequency manipulation showed that these changes did not affect word identification for either group. The results indicate that older adults can adapt their eye moment behaviour to accommodate subtle changes in the spatial layout of text equally effectively as young adults.

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Citation

Victoria A. McGowan, Sarah J. White & Kevin B. Paterson (2014): The effects of interword spacing on the eye movements of young and older readers, Journal of Cognitive Psychology

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/Themes/Neuroscience & Behaviour

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Victoria A. McGowan

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge) for European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP)

issn

2044-5911

eissn

2044-592X

Copyright date

2014

Available date

2015-12-12

Publisher version

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/20445911.2014.988157

Language

en

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