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Data from: Task Effects Reveal Cognitive Flexibility Responding to Frequency and Predictability: Evidence from Eye Movements in Reading and Proofreading
Bicknell, Klinton
Howard, Ian
Levy, Roger
Schotter, Elizabeth R
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
UC San Diego, Library, Research Data Curation Program
Keith Rayner Eye Movements in Reading Data Collection
Rights Information
Under copyright
Constraint(s) on Use: This work is protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Use of this work beyond that allowed by "fair use" requires written permission of the UC Regents. Responsibility for obtaining permissions and any use and distribution of this work rests exclusively with the user and not the UC San Diego Library. Inquiries can be made to the UC San Diego Library program having custody of the work.
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Publication abstract: It is well-known that word frequency and predictability affect processing time. These effects change magnitude across tasks, but studies testing this use tasks with different response types (e.g., lexical decision, naming, and fixation time during reading; Schilling, Rayner, & Chumbley, 1998), preventing direct comparison. Recently, Kaakinen and Hyönä (2010) overcame this problem, comparing fixation times in reading for comprehension and proofreading, showing that the frequency effect was larger in proofreading than in reading. This result could be explained by readers exhibiting substantial cognitive flexibility, and qualitatively changing how they process words in the proofreading task in a way that magnifies effects of word frequency. Alternatively, readers may not change word processing so dramatically, and instead may perform more careful identification generally, increasing the magnitude of many word processing effects (e.g., both frequency and predictability). We tested these possibilities with two experiments: subjects read for comprehension and then proofread for spelling errors (letter transpositions) that produce nonwords (e.g., trcak for track as in Kaakinen & Hyona) or that produce real but unintended words (e.g., trial for trail) to compare how the task changes these effects. Replicating Kaakinen and Hyona, frequency effects increased during proofreading. However, predictability effects only increased when integration with the sentence context was necessary to detect errors (i.e., when spelling errors produced words that were inappropriate in the sentence; trial for trail). The results suggest that readers adopt sophisticated word processing strategies to accommodate task demands. Subject population: Adults, student
Research Data Curation Program, UC San Diego, La Jolla, 92093-0175 (
Schotter, Elizabeth R; Bicknell, Klinton; Howard, Ian; Levy, Roger; Rayner, Keith (2015): Data from: Task effects reveal cognitive flexibility responding to frequency and predictability: Evidence from eye movements in reading and proofreading. In Keith Rayner Eye Movements in Reading Data Collection. UC San Diego Library Digital Collections.
Schotter, E.R., Bicknell, K., Howard, I., Levy, R., & Rayner, K. (2014). Task effects reveal cognitive flexibility responding to frequency and predictability: Evidence from eye movements in reading and proofreading. Cognition, 131, 1-27.
This package contains eye movement data for two experiments comparing frequency and predictability manipulations during reading for comprehension compared to proofreading for spelling errors: in Experiment 1, spelling errors were letter transpositions that produced nonwords; in Experiment 2, the errors produced real but unintended words. The data for each experiment are contained in the components titled "Data", in the raw "ASC" format as well as interim "DA1" format. Completely processed data are in the .csv files in the "Analysis" sub-directories (one for the target word, one for the pretarget word, and one for the posttarget word). For both experiments, an individual subject contributes two data files. Data from the reading task are indicated with an “A” in the filename (e.g., 60P2A01.asc) and the corresponding proofreading data are indicated with a “B” in the filename (e.g., 60P2B01.asc). The asclist and da1list files contain a list of the files that were used in data processing and the .sum and .trc files (all located in the "Processing" sub-directories) record the data processing procedures. The ‘questions’ (.xlsx) file in "Analysis" records information about the responses to comprehension questions (for the reading task) and responses about whether there was an error in the sentence (for the proofreading task). The DAMP folder contains data for global reading measures. The .cnt file codes the locations of the regions of interest for each stimulus in each condition marked in character position. The Experiment 1 component titled "Materials” contains an .xlsx file with the sentences, target words, and lexical variables. The .script file in this component was used to run the experiments. See the Guide (Related Resource link, below) for details on some of the different types of files and column definitions that are contained in the data collection.
Word frequency
Eye movements
Word predictability

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