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'The-skipping' revisited in French: programming saccades to skip the article 'les'

Three experiments were performed to verify O'Regan's (1979) [Perception & Psychophysics, 25 (6), 501-509] finding that in reading, the eye moves further forward when going towards the word 'THE' than when going towards a three-letter verb. The experiments were performed in French instead of English, and compared the plural article 'les' with different three-letter verbs. It was confirmed that the eye did indeed move about 1.5 letters further in the case of the article 'les'. Further investigation of the phenomenon suggested that the effect was present even when the prior fixation duration was short: Only when prior fixation was around 200 ms or less, and additionally when the eye started from a launch position that was far from the word, was there a suggestion that the 'les'-skipping effect disappeared.



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