Vowel processing during silent reading: Evidence from eye movements

Jane Ashby, Rebecca Treiman, Brett Kessler, Keith Rayner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Two eye movement experiments examined whether skilled readers include vowels in the early phonological representations used in word recognition during silent reading. Target words were presented in sentences preceded by parafoveal previews in which the vowel phoneme was concordant or discordant with the vowel phoneme in the target word. In Experiment 1, the orthographic vowel differed from the target in both the concordant and discordant preview conditions. In Experiment 2, the vowel letters in the preview were identical to those in the target word. The phonological vowel was ambiguous, however, and the final consonants of the previews biased the vowel phoneme either toward or away from the target's vowel phoneme. In both experiments, shorter reading times were observed for targets preceded by concordant previews than by discordant previews. Implications for models of word recognition are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-424
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Eye movements
  • Parafoveal processing
  • Phonology
  • Silent reading
  • Vowels


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