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Article: The case for the visual span as a sensory bottleneck in reading

TitleThe case for the visual span as a sensory bottleneck in reading
Authors
KeywordsCharacter size
Contrast
Low vision
Reading
Reading speed
Vision
Visual span
Issue Date2007
PublisherAssociation for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. The Journal's web site is located at http://wwwjournalofvisionorg/
Citation
Journal Of Vision, 2007, v. 7 n. 2, article no. 9 How to Cite?
AbstractThe visual span for reading is the number of letters, arranged horizontally as in text, that can be recognized reliably without moving the eyes. The visual-span hypothesis states that the size of the visual span is an important factor that limits reading speed. From this hypothesis, we predict that changes in reading speed as a function of character size or contrast are determined by corresponding changes in the size of the visual span. We tested this prediction in two experiments in which we measured the size of the visual span and reading speed on groups of five subjects as a function of either character size or character contrast. We used a "trigram method" for characterizing the visual span as a profile of letter-recognition accuracy as a function of distance left and right of the midline (G. E. Legge, J. S. Mansfield, & S. T. L. Chung, 2001). The area under this profile was taken as an operational measure of the size of the visual span. Reading speed was measured with the Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) method. We found that the size of the visual span and reading speed showed the same qualitative dependence on character size and contrast, reached maximum values at the same critical points, and exhibited high correlations at the level of individual subjects. Additional analysis of data from four studies provides evidence for an invariant relationship between the size of the visual span and RSVP reading speed; an increase in the visual span by one letter is associated with a 39% increase in reading speed. Our results confirm the visual-span hypothesis and provide a theoretical framework for understanding the impact of stimulus attributes, such as contrast and character size, on reading speed. Evidence for the visual span as a determinant of reading speed implies the existence of a bottom-up, sensory limitation on reading, distinct from attentional, motor, or linguistic influences.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/89475
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 2.341
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 1.042
PubMed Central ID
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLegge, GEen_HK
dc.contributor.authorCheung, SHen_HK
dc.contributor.authorYu, Den_HK
dc.contributor.authorChung, STLen_HK
dc.contributor.authorLee, HWen_HK
dc.contributor.authorOwens, DPen_HK
dc.date.accessioned2010-09-06T09:57:30Z-
dc.date.available2010-09-06T09:57:30Z-
dc.date.issued2007en_HK
dc.identifier.citationJournal Of Vision, 2007, v. 7 n. 2, article no. 9en_HK
dc.identifier.issn1534-7362en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/89475-
dc.description.abstractThe visual span for reading is the number of letters, arranged horizontally as in text, that can be recognized reliably without moving the eyes. The visual-span hypothesis states that the size of the visual span is an important factor that limits reading speed. From this hypothesis, we predict that changes in reading speed as a function of character size or contrast are determined by corresponding changes in the size of the visual span. We tested this prediction in two experiments in which we measured the size of the visual span and reading speed on groups of five subjects as a function of either character size or character contrast. We used a "trigram method" for characterizing the visual span as a profile of letter-recognition accuracy as a function of distance left and right of the midline (G. E. Legge, J. S. Mansfield, & S. T. L. Chung, 2001). The area under this profile was taken as an operational measure of the size of the visual span. Reading speed was measured with the Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) method. We found that the size of the visual span and reading speed showed the same qualitative dependence on character size and contrast, reached maximum values at the same critical points, and exhibited high correlations at the level of individual subjects. Additional analysis of data from four studies provides evidence for an invariant relationship between the size of the visual span and RSVP reading speed; an increase in the visual span by one letter is associated with a 39% increase in reading speed. Our results confirm the visual-span hypothesis and provide a theoretical framework for understanding the impact of stimulus attributes, such as contrast and character size, on reading speed. Evidence for the visual span as a determinant of reading speed implies the existence of a bottom-up, sensory limitation on reading, distinct from attentional, motor, or linguistic influences.en_HK
dc.languageengen_HK
dc.publisherAssociation for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. The Journal's web site is located at http://wwwjournalofvisionorg/en_HK
dc.relation.ispartofJournal of Visionen_HK
dc.subjectCharacter sizeen_HK
dc.subjectContrasten_HK
dc.subjectLow visionen_HK
dc.subjectReadingen_HK
dc.subjectReading speeden_HK
dc.subjectVisionen_HK
dc.subjectVisual spanen_HK
dc.titleThe case for the visual span as a sensory bottleneck in readingen_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.openurlhttp://library.hku.hk:4550/resserv?sid=HKU:IR&issn=1534-7362&volume=7&issue=2&spage=1&epage=15&date=2007&atitle=The+case+for+the+visual+span+as+a+sensory+bottleneck+in+readingen_HK
dc.identifier.emailCheung, SH:singhang@hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityCheung, SH=rp00590en_HK
dc.description.naturelink_to_OA_fulltext-
dc.identifier.doi10.1167/7.2.9en_HK
dc.identifier.pmid18217824-
dc.identifier.pmcidPMC2729064-
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-33847774784en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros141859en_HK
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-33847774784&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_HK
dc.identifier.volume7en_HK
dc.identifier.issue2en_HK
dc.identifier.spagearticle no. 9-
dc.identifier.epagearticle no. 9-
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000251614400010-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Statesen_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridLegge, GE=7005064208en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridCheung, SH=7202473508en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridYu, D=14833561400en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridChung, STL=10440472700en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridLee, HW=7501492287en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridOwens, DP=16033675400en_HK
dc.identifier.citeulike3744067-

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