Read sideways or not: vertical saccade advantage in sentence reading

  • Ming Yan
  • Jinger PanEmail author
  • Wenshuo Chang
  • Reinhold Kliegl


During the reading of alphabetic scripts and scene perception, eye movements are programmed more efficiently in horizontal direction than in vertical direction. We propose that such a directional advantage may be due the overwhelming reading experience in the horizontal direction. Writing orientation is highly flexible for Traditional Chinese sentences. We compare horizontal and vertical eye movements during reading of such sentences and provide first evidence of a text-orientation effect on eye-movement control during reading. In addition to equivalent reading speed in both directions, more fine-grained analyses demonstrate a tradeoff between longer fixation durations and better fixation locations in vertical than in horizontal reading. Our results suggest that with extensive reading experience, Traditional Chinese readers can generate saccades more efficiently in vertical than in horizontal direction.


Chinese Eye movement Reading Text orientation 



This research was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Grant KL 955/18 and by the start-up research grant from the Education University of Hong Kong (RG 84/2017-2018R). The authors thank Prof. Xiaolin Zhou for his effort during data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MacauMacau SARChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe Education University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  3. 3.School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and Center for Brain and Cognitive SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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