On the outside, the reader has rotated his eyes only a few millimeters… But on the inside, there has been a rapid succession of intricate events. Clearly, this succession could only by the product of a complex information processing system… It contains components that are asked to perform amazing feats with amazing rapidity, and precisely in concert. –Gough (1972, p. 341)
My research attempts to answer the question: What determines and where you move your eyes as you are reading sentences like this one? Although this question may seem esoteric, answering this question required an understanding of how the perceptual, cognitive, and motor processes that support reading interact to guide the eyes through text. At a minimum, this includes some understanding of the visual processes that encode words from the printed page, the cognitive processes that retrieve word meanings from memory so that this information can be used to construct a representation of the text, and the motor procedures involved in programming and executing eye movements. My efforts to understand how this happens have largely focused on the development of a computer model, E-Z Reader, that describes these mental processes and that simulates readers’ eye movements (Reichle, Pollatsek, Fisher, & Rayner, 1998; for a review, see Reichle, 2011). I am currently developing a more comprehensive model of reading—one that describes the mental processes involved in reading in significantly more detail. This model, Über-Reader, will be described in my forthcoming book, Computational Models of Reading: A Handbook, which will be published by Oxford University Press.
Professor & Head of Department of Psychology, Macquarie University
Erik D. Reichle, Ph.D.