Erik Reichle, a psychological scientist at the University of Pittsburgh, is interested in how the brain controls eye movements. “The goal is to understand how things like word comprehension and visual attention control eye movements,” he says.
Most people who study reading think that the eyes sample the information on the page and the reading mind essentially takes what it’s given, without giving much direction back to the eyes. Reichle suspected that was wrong, and thought looking at mindless reading would be an interesting way to illuminate what happens when the mind is engaged. He cowrote the study with Andrew E. Reineberg of the University of Pittsburgh and Jonathan W. Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Four undergraduate students at the University of Pittsburgh volunteered for the project. Each one came to the lab for a dozen or more one-hour reading sessions of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, chosen because it’s “fairly easy but a little bit dry,” says Reichle. “We started with Kafka’s The Trial, but people found it too engaging.” While the student read the book on a screen, a computer tracked their eye movements. They were asked to push a button marked “Z” when they noticed themselves “zoning out.” The computer also asked every few minutes if they’d just been paying attention or zoning out.
The eyes did different things while a person was paying attention than when their mind was wandering. In normal reading, the eye fixates on a word, then zips to another word. The eye spends longer on words that are less common. But when someone’s mind was wandering, the eyes did not follow these patterns. They also fixated for longer on individual words. “It was almost like they were just mechanically plodding along,” Reichle says. This suggests that the prevailing belief in his field is wrong—in fact, when people are reading, eye movements are strongly linked to the language processing going on in the brain.
For more information about this study, please contact: Erik Reichle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. For a copy of the article "Eye Movements During Mindless Reading" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Keri Chiodo at 202-293-9300 or email@example.com.
Keri Chiodo | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences