Eye movements in reading and information processing: Keith Rayner's 40 year legacy

Charles Clifton*, Fernanda Ferreira, John M. Henderson, Albrecht W. Inhoff, Simon P. Liversedge, Erik D. Reichle, Elizabeth R. Schotter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


Keith Rayner's extraordinary scientific career revolutionized the field of reading research and had a major impact on almost all areas of cognitive psychology. In this article, we review some of his most significant contributions. We begin with Rayner's research on eye movement control, including the development of paradigms for answering questions about the perceptual span and its relationship to attention, reading experience, and linguistic variables. From there we proceed to lexical processing, where we summarize Rayner's work on effects of word frequency, length, predictability, and the resolution of lexical ambiguity. Next, we turn to syntactic and discourse processing, covering the well-known garden-path model of parsing and briefly reviewing studies of pronoun resolution and inferencing. The next section shifts from language to visual cognition and reviews research which makes use of eye movement techniques to investigate object and scene processing. Next, we summarize Rayner and colleagues' approach to computational modeling, with a description of the E-Z Reader model linking attention and lexical processing to eye movement control. The final section discusses the issues Rayner and his colleagues were focused on most recently and considers how Rayner's legacy will continue into the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Keith Rayner
  • eye movement control
  • word recognition
  • sentences and discourses
  • visual scenes
  • E-Z Reader


Dive into the research topics of 'Eye movements in reading and information processing: Keith Rayner's 40 year legacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this