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Word ambiguity and the optimal viewing position in reading

Proposes an explanation of the optimal viewing position of initial eye fixation on a word during reading discovered by J. K. O'Regan et al (1984). A model of word recognition that supposes readers recognize the identity of letters at the ends of words and a number of letters at a fixation location in the interior of the word. It is shown that the optimal viewing position is near to the position that minimizes word ambiguity arising from incomplete recognition of the letters in the word. This conclusion is supported by a statistical analysis based on inter-letter correlations in English and French word corpuses. An appendix of statistical measures of ambiguity is provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)



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