Word scanning in native and non-native languages: insights into reading with declined accommodation

  • Wataru Teramoto
  • Shinji Kawano
  • Shuji Mori
  • Kaoru SekiyamaEmail author
Research Article


This study investigated the effects of declined accommodation on reading performance in non-native and native languages. Eighteen native Japanese speakers participated: eight presbyopes and ten non-presbyopes. In the experiment, participants were asked to scan, or sequentially read six-word items presented in two-line texts, identify a non-word target as quickly as possible, and indicate its location. In addition to the participant type (presbyopes/non-presbyopes) and language of the reading material (Japanese/English), viewing distance (35 cm/70 cm) and contrast (18%/100%) were manipulated. The results showed that the presbyopes exhibited worse reading performance than the non-presbyopes at closer distances irrespective of the language. Notably, the inferiority of the presbyopes’ reading performance was more pronounced when they read in a non-native language than in their native language. It should be noted that differences in reading performance between the presbyopes and non-presbyopes were subtle for high-contrast words at longer viewing distances, indicating that age- or cohort-related perceptual, motor, and cognitive differences were almost negligible, but accommodation mattered. These results suggest that the effect of accommodation decline is influenced by the language of the reading material.


Presbyopia Accommodation Reading Native language Non-native language Visual scanning Viewing distance 



This research is based on the Master’s thesis of the second author, submitted to Kumamoto University. This study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grants 16H06325 to KS, 25240023 to SM, and 17K18708 to WT.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wataru Teramoto
    • 1
  • Shinji Kawano
    • 1
  • Shuji Mori
    • 2
  • Kaoru Sekiyama
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Cognitive Psychology, Faculty of LettersKumamoto UniversityKumamotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Informatics, Faculty of Information Science and Electrical EngineeringKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies for Human SurvivabilityKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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