The effects of frequency and predictability on eye fixations in reading

implications for the E-Z Reader model

Keith Rayner, Jane Ashby, Alexander Pollatsek, Erik Reichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

197 Citations (Scopus)


Readers read sentences containing target words varying in frequency and predictability. The observed pattern of data for fixation durations only mildly departed from additivity, with predictability effects that were slightly larger for low-frequency than for high-frequency words. The pattern of data for skipping was different as predictability affected only the probability of skipping for high-frequency target words. Simulations of these data using the E-Z Reader model indicated that a single-process model was unlikely to provide a good fit for both measures. A version of the model that assumes that (a) word-encoding time is additively affected by frequency and predictability and (b) difficulty with postlexical processing of the target word causes a double take accounted for the data while indicating that the relationship between the duration of hypothesized word-encoding stages and observed fixation durations is not likely to be transparent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-732
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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