REACTION TIME REDUCTION AFTER PARAFOVEAL PREVIEW IN A LEXICAL DECISION TASK1

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Abstract

Time and the accuracy of a lexical decision performed on a letter string (either a word or nonword), presented foveally after a parafoveal preview displayed at 5° of eccentricity and 100 msec. duration were measured. Students of Padova University, 10 women and 7 men, ages 19 to 23 years were subjects. The hypothesis investigated was whether the facilitatory effect, a reduction in lexical decision time due to the parafoveal preview, was tied to global visual information acquired in the visual periphery during the preview presentation. In Exp. 1, eight subjects performed the task either with no preview (No Preview) or with a preview presented at 5° eccentricity in two conditions, preview of the same foveal string (Preview-Letters) and preview of symbols (“xxx …”) of the same length as the foveal string (Preview Symbols). In Exp. 2, 9 subjects performed the task with two preview conditions, No Preview and preview of the foveal string in uppercase letters at 5° of eccentricity (Preview Uppercase). Analyses suggested the reduction in lexical decision time due to the Preview with respect to the No Preview condition is tied to global information extracted during parafoveal presentation. The reduction in lexical decision time depends on word texture, i.e., letters’ identities and also word boundary, in addition to word length.

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