Radach, Ralph: Current research on reading in phonographic writing systems: A cognitive psychology perspective
The paramount importance of language and literacy in our global society has led to a substantial increase in the amount and quality of reading related research. From the viewpoint of cognitive psychology reading provides an ideal model for a complex but ecologically valid mental task. Multiple levels and modules of processing are active in a simple and well ordered perceptual setting. More specifically, the task of skilled reading involves two streams of information processing that need to be coordinated continuously: First, the acquisition of orthographically coded linguistic information feeds into the construction of a cognitive text representation. At the same time, the targeting and timing of saccadic eye movements serves to provide adequate spatio-temporal conditions for the extraction of text information.
There is a long-standing debate on how the visuomotor and cognitive streams of processing act together. According to one influential position, word processing is “the engine that drives the eyes during reading” and eye movement are sequentially triggered by discrete processing events. As an example, in the E-Z reader model (Reichle, Rayner & Pollatsek, 2003), the completion of lexical access initiates the programming of a subsequent saccadic eye movement. The Glenmore model by Reilly & Radach (in press) takes a more moderate position, assuming that routines of “active vision” determine a basic mode of oculomotor control. This provides a robust pattern of reading behavior which, in turn, is strongly modulated by ongoing parallel processing on the letter and word level.
Based on our theoretical conception of how “eye and mind” are coordinated, I will explore key issues related to inter- and intraindividual differences in reading behavior, using results from several lines of ongoing research in our laboratory. Special attention will be given to recent work on reading in Thai, addressing the question of whether results from European orthographies can be generalized to alternative writing systems. The talk will conclude with a brief discussion of limitations in our current understanding of skilled reading and a look at issues for future research (Radach & Kennedy, 2004).
Radach, R. & Kennedy, A. (2004). Theoretical perspectives on eye movements in reading: past controversies, current deficits and an agenda for future research. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 16, 3-26.
Reichle, E., Rayner, K., & Pollatsek, A. (2003). The E-Z Reader model of eye-movement control in reading: Comparisons to other models. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26, 445-526.
Reilly, R & Radach, R. (in press). Some empirical tests of an interactive activation model of eye movement control in reading. Cognitive Systems Research.