Children reading on a screen
Reading and language

Understanding how we read and acquire language

Eye tracking has become an established tool to objectively measure human language processing with important applications in linguistics and education research.

Why use eye tracking?

Eye tracking is a scientific research methodology used to understand human cognitive processes and behavioral patterns, as we perceive, process, and comprehend language.

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Eye tracking insights

Eye movement data provide valuable insight into written language comprehension. It helps understand language processing at various levels of analysis within the sentence: character, syllable, word, phrase, or sentence.

In educational psychology, eye tracking can prove to be a great tool to gain insights into learning behavior, cognitive load, and engagement. The results help effectively design, evaluate, and improve educational materials and learning situations.

Moreover, eye tracking methodology can be used to reveal atypical reading patterns. It provides a robust source of insight into conditions, therefore opening the possibility of an objective, unobtrusive diagnostic  tool for learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

What does eye tracking data tell us?

Eye movement analysis allows for objective insight into text processing, by providing information about the duration of visual attention assigned to specific text parts at the level of phrase, word, or even character.

Person reading at a laptop using Tobii Pro Lab software

Eye tracking data can be used to draw valuable conclusions such as:

  • Skipping to read a unit may indicate ease of processing due to very high predictability in the given context.

  • Longer reading times may indicate confusion, or difficulty to comprehend.

  • Long regressions (more than 10 letter spaces back along the line or to another line) may indicate difficulty in comprehending or incorporating a unit into the previous context.

Reading Research with Tobii Pro Spectrum Eye Tracker

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