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Visual Word Reading

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1 Author(s)
Taenzer, J.C. ; Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

In an attempt to gain more knowledge about the human reading process, some experiments were performed using a computer-controlled array of 144 neon lights to simulate a "moving belt" of English text. Subjects were asked to read aloud as the width of the display and horizontal resolution over the display were varied. For the variable-width high-resolution conditions, excellent comprehension was obtained if each point of the moving patterns was visible for at least 150 ms while traveling across the aperture of the display. This 150-ms display-time requirement means that, for a high level of comprehension, reading rate is proportional to the width of the display aperture until the maximum reading speed of the subject is reached. If the subjects are reading over 50 words per minute, the variable resolution results indicate that greater reading speed can be obtained by distributing the same number of neon lights over a wider field of view. Reading with analogous tactile arrays by blind subjects was compared with these visual results and showed good agreement. A simple model of the human reading process consistent with these results is presented and discussed. These results have direct bearing on the design of displays with optimum information-transfer capabilities.

Published in:

Man-Machine Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )