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Examining Cognitive Mechanisms of Text Comprehension Using Eye-tracking And Working Memory Measures University of Alberta


Author or creator
Coutts, Brittany
Mitchell, Megan
Cartmell, Melissa
Additional contributors
Leung, Ada
Kim, Esther
working memory capacity
reading comprehension
online (eye-movement) measures
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Traditionally, research on reading comprehension has relied on offline measures such as answering questions after reading a passage. However, for individuals with aphasia (an acquired neurological language impairment), working memory impairments may confound such measures. In contrast, eye-tracking methods represent an online method of assessing comprehension processes during reading, and may be especially helpful for individuals with aphasia because they do not require a verbal response. Moment-to-moment comprehension processes can be inferred based on eye-movement measures, including number and duration of fixations and number of regressions. In general, these measures tend to increase when readers encounter inconsistencies in text, but are dependent on both working memory capacity and the distance between inconsistent words. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the relationship between working memory capacity and reading comprehension, as indexed by online (eye-movement) measures. Two measures of working memory (n-back and reading span) will be compared to determine which is better correlated with eye movements associated with reading comprehension. This study will take the first steps in establishing the relationship between on-line text-reading comprehension in relation to working memory in healthy individuals. Control group measures will be used as a reference to compare to individuals with aphasia. In this article we describe the development of stimuli for eye tracking and behavioural assessments, and describe procedures for analyzing the data.
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