A validation of parafoveal semantic information extraction in reading Chinese


Address for correspondence: Ming Yan, Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24/25, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany.

E-mail: mingyan@uni-potsdam.de


Parafoveal semantic processing has recently been well documented in reading Chinese sentences, presumably because of language-specific features. However, because of a large variation of fixation landing positions on pretarget words, some preview words actually were located in foveal vision when readers' eyes landed close to the end of the pretarget words. None of the previous studies has completely ruled out a possibility that the semantic preview effects might mainly arise from these foveally processed preview words. This case, whether previously observed positive evidence for parafoveal semantic processing can still hold, has been called into question. Using linear mixed models, we demonstrate in this study that semantic preview benefit from word N + 1 decreased if fixation on pretarget word N was close to the preview. We argue that parafoveal semantic processing is not a consequence of foveally processed preview words.