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The effect of word and character frequency on the eye movements of Chinese readers

Authors


Correspondence should be addressed to Keith Rayner, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA (e-mail: rayner@psych.umass.edu

Abstract

Eye movements of native Chinese readers were monitored as they read sentences containing target words that varied in terms of word frequency and character frequency. There was an effect of word frequency on fixation times on a target word and it was comparable in size to that typically found with readers of English. Furthermore, character frequency also influenced fixation time on the target word. The effect of the initial character in two character words was more pronounced than that of the second character. However, word frequency modulated the effect of character frequency. The effect of character frequency was attenuated with high frequency target words while it was quite apparent with low frequency target words.

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