Investigating the effects of background knowledge on Chinese word processing during text reading: Evidence from eye movements

Yu Cin Jian, Hwa Wei Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the effects of background knowledge on Chinese word processing during silent reading by monitoring adult readers' eye movements. Both higher knowledge (physics major) and lower knowledge (nonphysics major) graduate students were given physics texts to read. Higher knowledge readers spent less time rereading and had lower regression rates on unfamiliar physics words and common words in physics texts than did lower knowledge readers; they also had shorter gaze durations and fewer first-pass fixations on familiar physics words than on unfamiliar physics words. For unfamiliar physics words and common words, both groups predominantly fixated first on the beginnings of words when they made multiple fixations on a word and on a left-of-centre location when they fixated only once on a word. These findings suggest that both groups comprise mature readers with strong language concepts. However, differences in background knowledge led to different reading processes at different stages of reading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S71-S86
JournalJournal of Research in Reading
Issue numberSUPPL1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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