The effects of parafoveal word frequency and segmentation on saccade targeting during Chinese reading

Yanping Liu*, Lili Yu, Le Fu, Wenwen Li, Ziyi Duan, Erik D. Reichle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Two eye-movement experiments are reported in which a boundary paradigm was used to manipulate the presence versus absence of boundaries for high-frequency and low-frequency target words in the parafovea. In Experiment 1, this was done by introducing a blank space after the target words, whereas in Experiment 2 this was done by rendering the target words in red. In both experiments, higher frequency targets engendered longer saccades, whereas the presence of parafoveal word boundaries engendered shorter saccades. This pattern suggests the operation of two countermanding saccade-targeting mechanisms: one that uses parafoveal processing difficulty to adjust saccade lengths and a second that uses word boundaries to direct the eyes toward specific saccade targets. The implications of these findings for models of eye-movement control during reading are discussed, as are suggestions for integrating dynamic-adjustment and default-targeting accounts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1367–1376
Number of pages10
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
Early online date1 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019



  • Chinese reading
  • dynamic-adjustment model
  • eye-movement control
  • word segmentation

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