Attentional distribution and semantic parafoveal processing in natural readingco-registration of eeg and eye movements

  1. Antúnez García, Martín
Supervised by:
  1. Horacio Barber Friend Director
  2. Juan Andrés Hernández Cabrera Co-director

Defence university: Universidad de La Laguna

Fecha de defensa: 28 January 2022

  1. Jonathan Grainger Chair
  2. Markus Conrad Secretary
  3. José Antonio Hinojosa Poveda Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 697074 DIALNET lock_openRIULL editor


The current thesis aims to increase the current knowledge about how we can access to the meaning of parafoveal words and the role of individual differences in visual attentional distribution of readers over semantic parafoveal processing. The thesis starts by providing a theoretical background of reading and parafoveal perception, focusing on semantic parafoveal processing. The initial theoretical chapters also cover the role of individual differences of readers in reading, focusing mainly on attentional distribution and the perceptual span. An informative section of the co-registration technique of EEG and EM is also provided, to better understand the avantages and limitations of the chosen technique of this thesis. The three aims and hyptheses of the current work are also showed and discussed. As the reader will see, our studies aimed to obtain neurological markers of semantic parafoveal processing in artifitial and, more importantly, ecologically valid scenarios of natural reading. The next step was to explore how these neurological markers are modulated by individual differences in the ability of readers to distribute their attentional resources across the visual field, highlighting the importance of considering such variable when studying semantic parafoveal processing. We show here the three studies with all detailed information, including theoretical introduction, methodology, results and discussion of each sepparated study. We then conclude by interpreting the results obtained in the three studies and highlighting the maing conclusions extracted from the thesis. As it is showed in the final sections, the thesis fulfilled the presented aims. The results obtained here allowed to obtain electrophysiological markers of semantic parafoveal processing in both artifitial and natural reading scenarios, which adds evidence that the meaning of parafoveal words can be accessed and used to modulate reading behaviour. Importantly, the results obtained showed that individual differences in attentional distribution of readers modulate such mentioned semantic parafoveal processing, highlighting the importance of understanding the visual spatial distribution of readers during natural reader in future research involving parafoveal processing.