Comparisons of online reading paradigms: eye tracking, moving-window, and maze

Naoko Witzel*, Jeffrey Witzel, Kenneth Forster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


This study compares four methodologies used to examine online sentence processing during reading. Specifically, self-paced, non-cumulative, moving-window reading (Just et al. in J Exp Psychol Gen 111:228-238, 1982), eye tracking (see e. g., Rayner in Q J Exp Psychol 62:1457-1506, 2009), and two versions of the maze task (Forster et al. in Behav Res Methods 41:163-171, 2009)-the lexicality maze and the grammaticality maze-were used to investigate the processing of sentences containing temporary structural ambiguities. Of particular interest were (i) whether each task was capable of revealing processing differences on these sentences and (ii) whether these effects were indicated precisely at the predicted word/region. Although there was considerable overlap in the general pattern of results from the four tasks, there were also clear differences among them in terms of the strength and timing of the observed effects. In particular, excepting sentences that tap into clause-closure commitments, both maze task versions provided robust, "localized" indications of incremental sentence processing difficulty relative to self-paced reading and eye tracking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-128
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Eye tracking
  • Maze task
  • Moving-window reading
  • Sentence processing


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