Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Eye Movements Reveal the Influence of Event Structure on Reading Behavior


Psychology Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


Individuals segment information presented in narrative texts into discrete events, with distinct boundaries between those events. Event structure in narrative texts affects how readers build and update their working memory representations of events. But, how might event structure affect reading behavior? The present study examines whether eye-movements during the reading of discourse reveal how readers respond online to event structure. Participants read narrative passages as their eye movements were monitored. Based on norms from prior segmentation data, the extent to which a clause represented an event boundary was coded on a continuous scale, onto which we regressed measures of eye-movement behavior. A number of eye-movement measures revealed that event structure predicted eye-movement behavior. For example, fixation durations were longer for event boundaries and regressions were more likely to land on event boundaries. Eye movements provide a rich set of online data to support the cognitive reality of event segmentation during reading.

Conference Name

Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society

Conference Location

Minneapolis, MN

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