Chinese Deaf Readers Have Early Access to Parafoveal Semantics

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In the present study, we manipulated different types of information available in the parafovea during the reading of Chinese sentences and examined how deaf readers make use of the parafoveal information. Results clearly indicate that although the reading-level matched hearing readers make greater use of orthographic information in the parafovea, parafoveal semantic information is obtained earlier among the deaf readers. In addition, a phonological preview benefit effect was found for the better deaf readers (relative to less-skilled deaf readers), although we also provide an alternative explanation for this effect. Providing evidence that Chinese deaf readers have higher efficiency when processing parafoveal semantics, the study indicates flexibility across individuals in the mechanisms underlying word recognition adapting to the inputs available in the linguistic environment.

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