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The Perceptual Span in Second Language Reading: An Eye-Tracking Study Using a Gaze-Contingent Moving Window Paradigm

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DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2014.45051    3,505 Downloads   4,342 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The perceptual span, which is the visual area providing useful information to a reader during eye fixation, has been well investigated among native or first language (L1) readers, but not among second language (L2) readers. Our goal was to investigate the size of the perceptual span among Japanese university students who learn English as a foreign language (EFL) to investigate parafoveal processing during L2 reading. In an experiment using the gaze-contingent moving window paradigm, we compared perceptual span between Japanese EFL readers (N = 42) and native English L1 readers (N = 14). Our results showed that (1) the EFL readers had a smaller perceptual span than the L1 readers did, and (2) the facilitating effect of parafoveal information was greater for faster EFL readers than it was for slower EFL readers. These findings provide evidence that EFL readers can only utilize little parafoveal information during fixation when compared with L1 readers.

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Leung, C.Y., Sugiura, M., Abe, D. and Yoshikawa, L. (2014) The Perceptual Span in Second Language Reading: An Eye-Tracking Study Using a Gaze-Contingent Moving Window Paradigm. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 4, 585-594. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2014.45051.

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