What is it about?
Reading is an indispensable skill in modern society that allows people to acquire new information. We have shown for the first time that unexpected sound in the readers' environment can influence how they move their eyes during reading. More particularly, we found that when readers hear an unexpected sound, they spend more time inspecting the word they are currently looking at. This may occur because the unexpected sound temporarily "freezes" their eyes, and delays the movement of the eyes to the next word in the text.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Why is it important?
This study explores how unexpected sounds may influence human performance on one essential everyday task (reading). This is important as most previous studies on the topic have used simple laboratory tasks that may have more limited real-world application. Additionally, this is one of the only few studies to explore how unexpected sounds affect the way people move their eyes.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Distraction by deviant sounds during reading: An eye-movement study, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, January 2019, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1747021818820816.
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A short demo of the experiment
A short video demonstrating how the study looks in the lab. In this demo, only several experimental trials are shown. Please note that for demonstration purposes, participant's eye position was printed on the screen. However, during the real experiment participants did not see the dot indicating their eye position.
A poster presentation of the study
Poster presented at the 10th BU Postgraduate Conference, Bournemouth, UK.
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