The frequency-predictability interaction in reading: it depends where you're coming from.

Christopher J. Hand, Sebastien Miellet, Patrick J. O'Donnell, Sara C. Sereno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


A word's frequency of occurrence and its predictability from a prior context are key factors determining how long the eyes remain on that word in normal reading. Past reaction-time and eye movement research can be distinguished by whether these variables, when combined, produce interactive or additive results, respectively. Our study addressed possible methodological limitations of prior experiments. Initial results showed additive effects of frequency and predictability. However, we additionally examined launch site (the distance from the pretarget fixation to the target) to index the extent of parafoveal target processing. Analyses revealed both additive and interactive effects on target fixations, with the nature of the interaction depending on the quality of the parafoveal preview. Target landing position and pretarget fixation time were also considered. Results were interpreted in terms of models of language processing and eye movement control. Our findings with respect to parafoveal preview and fixation time constraints aim to help parameterize eye movement behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1294–1313
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • reading
  • eye movements
  • word frequency
  • contextual predictability
  • launch site


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