Representing syllable information during silent reading: Evidence from eye movements

Jane Ashby, Keith Rayner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Two eye movement experiments investigated the nature of the phonological representations used in reading English. Each tested whether sublexical, syllable information is part of that representation. Target words with CV-initial syllables (DE.MAND) or CVC-initial syllables (LAN.TERN) were preceded by primes that exactly matched or mismatched their initial syllable. In Experiment 1, the primes were presented foveally using a fast-priming technique. Target words of both types were read faster when preceded by a three-letter than a two-letter prime, and no effect of matching syllable information was observed. In Experiment 2, primes were presented parafoveally using a preview technique. First fixation durations were shorter on words which were preceded by a matching syllable preview than a mismatching preview. These results indicate that proficient readers do process sublexical, syllable information while reading, which provides evidence for a multi-layered phonological representation. The results of Experiments 1 and 2 suggest that syllable information is encoded as part of the memory processes that preserve information across saccades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-426
Number of pages36
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'Representing syllable information during silent reading: Evidence from eye movements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this