World Languages and Culture*

Word skipping in deaf and hearing bilinguals: Cognitive control over eye movements remains with increased perceptual span

ID: 4093
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: World Languages and Culture*
Status: Completed
Start date: September 2000
End Date: February 2021


Deaf readers may have larger perceptual spans than ability-matched hearing native English readers, allowing them to read more efficiently (Belanger & Rayner, 2015). To further test the hypothesis that deaf and hearing readers have different perceptual spans, the current study uses eye-movement data from two experiments in which deaf ASL-English bilinguals, hearing native English speakers, and hearing Chinese-English bilinguals read semantically unrelated sentences and answered comprehension questions after a proportion of them. We analyzed skip rates, fixation times, and accuracy on comprehension questions. Additionally, we analyzed how lexical properties of words affected skipping behavior and fixation durations. Deaf readers skipped words more often than native English speakers, who skipped words more often than Chinese-English bilinguals. Deaf readers had shorter first-pass fixation times than the other two groups. All groups’ skipping behaviors were affected by lexical frequency. Deaf readers' comprehension did not differ from hearing Chinese-English bilinguals, despite greater skipping and shorter fixation times. Overall, the eye-tracking findings align with Belanger’s word processing efficiency hypothesis. Effects of lexical frequency on skipping behavior indicated further that eye-movements during reading remain under cognitive control in deaf readers. ID: 4093

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