Journal of vision | 2019
Visual span and cognitive factors affect Chinese reading speed.
Visual span, which is the number of recognizable letters seen without moving the eyes, has been proven to impose a sensory limitation for alphabetic reading speed (Chung, 2011; Chung, Legge, & Cheung, 2004; Lee, Kwon, Legge, & Gefroh, 2010; Legge, Ahn, Klitz, & Luebker, 1997; Legge, Hooven, Klitz, Stephen Mansfield, & Tjan, 2002; D. Yu, Cheung, Legge, & Chung, 2010). However, little is known about the effects of visual span on Chinese reading performance. Of note, Chinese text differs greatly from that of the alphabetic writing system. There are no spaces between words, and readers are forced to utilize their lexical knowledge to segment Chinese characters into meaningful words, thus increasing the relative importance of cognitive/linguistic factors in reading performance. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to explore whether visual span and cognitive/linguistic factors have independent effects on Chinese reading speed. Visual span profiles, cognitive/linguistic factors indicated by word frequency, and Chinese sentence-reading performance were collected from 28 native Chinese-speaking subjects. We found that the visual-span size and cognitive/linguistic factors independently contributed to Chinese sentence-reading speed (all ps < 0.05). We concluded that both the visual-span size and cognitive/linguistic factors represented bottlenecks for Chinese sentence-reading speed.