The Characteristics And Application Of Reading Dynamic Horizontally Scrolling Text

Hannah Harvey

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The dynamic horizontally scrolling text format is theoretically interesting, providing a challenging reading situation with an unusual profile of difficulties: reduced sustained availability of text, increased difficulty in creating a spatial map of the text, and a conflict in the deployment of attention. It also has a range of possible applications, both in digital media and as a potential reading aid for populations with certain visual impairments. Despite this, comparatively little research has considered how the processes involved in successful reading are affected by this format. This investigation aimed to provide a more detailed overview of some of these key processes: the global oculomotor pattern employed to read the text, word-level and sentence-level linguistic processing, the deployment of attention, and text comprehension. Experiments demonstrated that word-level processing was unaffected by the scrolling format, with successful replication of the word-length and word-frequency effects, but that establishing and using sentence-level context information appeared to be compromised. One factor that may play a role in this processing deficit is the reduced extent of the perceptual span, with the effective preview ahead of the point of fixation seemingly compressed from 12 characters to the right of fixation with static text to 8 characters to the right with scrolling text. Together, these changes produced a reduction in levels of text understanding, with a particular deficit in inference-based comprehension. This finding and the elimination of the predictability effect were both apparent regardless of display speed. Overall, these studies provide a basis for further investigation of reading horizontally scrolling text: this may produce insights into factors which limit successful reading with any text display format, and allow optimization of its application in digital media and as a reading aid (the latter of which is also briefly investigated in the final experimental chapter, providing support for its utility).
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Walker, Robin, Supervisor
Award date1 Dec 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016

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