Is RAN capturing the efficiency of processing multiple stimuli presented in serial fashion? Evidence from an eye-movement study.

Is RAN capturing the efficiency of processing multiple stimuli presented in serial fashion? Evidence from an eye-movement study.

First Author: Pamela Eberharter -- University of Alberta
Additional authors/chairs: 
George K. Georgiou
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: It has been argued that RAN assesses the ability to simultaneously process
multiple stimuli when presented in serial fashion (Protopapas, Altani, & Georgiou, 2013). If this
is true, RAN (particularly number of fixations in RAN; the fewer fixations the more efficient the
processing of multiple stimuli is) should be predictive of text reading speed over and above
individual word reading accuracy and speed. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine if
different RAN components (number of fixations, average fixation time, average saccade
amplitude, and number of regressions) predict text reading speed over and above word reading
accuracy and speed.

Method: One hundred English-speaking university students (67 females; mean age = 22.63
years) attending a large Canadian university were assessed on RAN letters and their eye
movements were recorded with Eye-Link II. They were also assessed on word identification
(Woodcock, 1998), word reading efficiency (Torgesen et al., 1999), and text reading speed
(Wiederholt & Bryant, 2001).

Results: Results of hierarchical regression analysis with text reading speed as a dependent
variable revealed that over and above word reading accuracy (entered at step 1 of the regression equation), word reading speed (entered at step 2 of the regression equation), and number of fixations and number of regressions (entered interchangeably at step 3) were accounting for 5% of unique variance in text reading speed.

Conclusion: This suggests that the ability to simultaneously process multiple items presented in
serial fashion (reflected in RAN) plays a significant role in text reading speed.