Do adult readers know how they read? Evidence from eye movement patterns and verbal reports

  • Hyönä J
  • Nurminen A
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Abstract

The present study was carried out to investigate individual differences in reading styles among competent adult readers and to examine whether readers are aware of their reading style. Individual reading strategies were studied by having the participants read a long expository text while their eye fixation patterns were registered. A cluster analysis was performed on the eye movement data to distinguish between different reading styles. The analysis revealed three types of readers that were coined, following Hyönä, Lorch, and Kaakinen (2002), fast linear readers, slow linear readers, and topic structure processors. Readers' procedural awareness of their reading behaviour was assessed by a questionnaire. The verbal reports obtained by the questionnaire were then correlated with the corresponding eye behaviour to investigate the extent to which the readers behave the way they report doing. The correlations showed that adult readers are well aware of their general reading speed and reasonably aware of their lookback and rereading behaviour. The amount of time spent looking back in text also correlated positively with the relative success in recalling the main points expressed in the text. It is concluded that systematic and extensive looking back in text is indicative of strategic behaviour.

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