A1 Journal article (refereed)
Influence of reading skill and word length on fixation-related brain activity in school-aged children during natural reading (2019)

Loberg, O., Hautala, J., Hämäläinen, J. A., & Leppänen, P. H. (2019). Influence of reading skill and word length on fixation-related brain activity in school-aged children during natural reading. Vision Research, 165, 109-122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2019.07.008

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsLoberg, Otto; Hautala, Jarkko; Hämäläinen, Jarmo A.; Leppänen, Paavo H.T.

Journal or seriesVision Research



Publication year2019


Pages range109-122

PublisherElsevier Ltd

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/66392


Word length is one of the main determinants of eye movements during reading and has been shown to influence slow readers more strongly than typical readers. The influence of word length on reading in individuals with different reading skill levels has been shown in separate eye-tracking and electroencephalography studies. However, the influence of reading difficulty on cortical correlates of word length effect during natural reading is unknown. To investigate how reading skill is related to brain activity during natural reading, we performed an exploratory analysis on our data set from a previous study, where slow reading (N = 27) and typically reading (N = 65) 12-to-13.5-year-old children read sentences while co-registered ET-EEG was recorded. We extracted fixation-related potentials (FRPs) from the sentences using the linear deconvolution approach. We examined standard eye-movement variables and deconvoluted FRP estimates: intercept of the response, categorical effect of first fixation versus additional fixation and continuous effect of word length. We replicated the pattern of stronger word length effect in eye movements for slow readers. We found a difference between typical readers and slow readers in the FRP intercept, which contains activity that is common to all fixations, within a fixation time-window of 50–300 ms. For both groups, the word length effect was present in brain activity during additional fixations; however, this effect was not different between groups. This suggests that stronger word length effect in the eye movements of slow readers might be mainly due re-fixations, which are more probable due to the lower efficiency of visual processing.

KeywordsreadingwordsfluencyEEGeye tracking

Free keywordsFRP; reading; word length; eye-tracking; EEG; reading fluency

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2019

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-08-01 at 19:49