Reading words and pseudowords: an eye movement study of developmental dyslexia

Maria De Luca, Marta Borrelli, Anna Judica, Donatella Spinelli, Pierluigi Zoccolotti
Brain and Language 2002, 80 (3): 617-26
The pattern of eye movements during reading was studied in 12 developmental dyslexics and in 10 age-matched controls. According to standard reading batteries, dyslexics showed marked reading slowness and prevalently used the sublexical procedure in reading. Eye movements were recorded while they read lists of short and long words or pseudowords. In normal readers, saccade amplitude increased with word length without a concomitant change in the number of saccades; in contrast, the number of saccades increased for long pseudowords. In dyslexics, the eye movement pattern was different. The number of saccades depended on stimulus length for both words and pseudowords while saccade amplitude remained small and constant. The sequential scanning shown by dyslexics for both words and pseudowords appears consistent with the cognitive description of the reading disorder which indicates the preferential use of the sublexical print-to-sound correspondence rules.

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