Perceptual span in oral reading: The case of Chinese

Jinger PAN, Ming YAN, Jochen LAUBROCK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The present study explores the perceptual span, that is, the physical extent of the area from which useful visual information is obtained during a single fixation, during oral reading of Chinese sentences. Characters outside a window of legible text were replaced by visually similar characters. Results show that the influence of window size on the perceptual span was consistent across different fixation and oculomotor measures. To maintain normal reading behavior when reading aloud, it was necessary to have information provided from three characters to the right of the fixation. Together with findings from previous research, our findings suggest that the physical size of the perceptual span is smaller when reading aloud than in silent reading. This is in agreement with previous studies in English, suggesting that the mechanisms causing the reduced span in oral reading have a common base that generalizes across languages and writing systems. Copyright © 2017 Jinger Pan, Ming Yan, and Jochen Laubrock.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-263
JournalScientific Studies of Reading
Issue number3
Early online dateMar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Pan, J., Yan, M., & Laubrock, J. (2017). Perceptual span in oral reading: The case of Chinese. Scientific Studies of Reading, 21(3), 254-263. doi: 10.1080/10888438.2017.1283694


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