Word n  + 2 preview effects in three-character Chinese idioms and phrases.

Lili Yu, Michael G. Cutter, Guoli Yan, Xuejun Bai, Yu Fu, Denis Drieghe, Simon P. Liversedge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Prior research using the boundary paradigm suggests that Chinese readers only process word n + 2 in the parafovea when word n + 1 is a single character, high-frequency word. We attempted to replicate these findings (Experiment 1), and investigated whether greater n + 2 preview effects are observed when word n + 1 and n + 2 form an idiom rather than a phrase (Experiment 2). Experiment 1 replicated prior findings, although additional analyses of word n + 1 and n + 2 as a single region revealed significant preview effects regardless of word n + 1 frequency. In Experiment 2 there was a main effect of phrase type, such that idioms were read more quickly than phrases, and significant n + 2 preview effects. There was no interaction between these variables, suggesting that idioms are not parafoveally processed to a greater extent than phrases. These results suggest that n + 2 preview effects in Chinese occur under several circumstances. Factors influencing the observation of these effects are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1130-1149
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese reading
  • eye movements
  • multi-word units
  • Parafoveal processing
  • word n + 2 preview effect


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