Form-to-expectation matching effects on first-pass eye movement measures during reading

Thomas A. Farmer*, Shaorong Yan, Klinton Bicknell, Michael K. Tanenhaus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Recent Electroencephalography/Magnetoencephalography (EEG/MEG) studies suggest that when contextual information is highly predictive of some property of a linguistic signal, expectations generated from context can be translated into surprisingly low-level estimates of the physical form-based properties likely to occur in subsequent portions of the unfolding signal. Whether form-based expectations are generated and assessed during natural reading, however, remains unclear. We monitored eye movements while participants read phonologically typical and atypical nouns in noun-predictive contexts (Experiment 1), demonstrating that when a noun is strongly expected, fixation durations on first-pass eye movement measures, including first fixation duration, gaze duration, and go-past times, are shorter for nouns with category typical form-based features. In Experiments 2 and 3, typical and atypical nouns were placed in sentential contexts normed to create expectations of variable strength for a noun. Context and typicality interacted significantly at gaze duration. These results suggest that during reading, form-based expectations that are translated from higher-level category-based expectancies can facilitate the processing of a word in context, and that their effect on lexical processing is graded based on the strength of category expectancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)958-976
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Eye movements
  • Form-based expectations
  • Prediction
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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