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On words and their letters

Determined the ratio of the left/right asymmetry in a letter discrimination task and estimated the probability of correct word recognition as a function of fixation location in the words. 37 Ss with normal or corrected-to-normal vision participated in 2 experiments. G. W. McConkie et al (see record 1990-03441-001) proposed that the amount of visual information available from a word is maximal when the eye fixates the middle of the word, and decreases on both sides of this optimal viewing position with each letter of deviation. However, data on perceptual span show that more letters are utilized to the right than to the left of a fixation point, predicting that the optimal viewing position is left of center. The predictions were compatible with empirical results on word recognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)