Reading Influence of Letter Size, Display Quality, and Anticipation

  • C. C. Krischer
  • J. Zihl
  • R. Meissen


Measurements of reading speed (WPM) serve to study how visually degraded input — as found in computer work — affects the speed of information processing. We observe for each of the different qualities (v) of display we used characteristic WPM-letter size dependencies. Maximal reading speeds (WPMmax) were reached for letters magnified about five times the threshold size. For blurred and dimmed display WPMmax changes characteristically with v and can be described by a simple equation with one constant characterizing the difference in function for blur or dim. By analyzing reading speed in terms of eye jumps (saccades) occuring at intervals of about 250 ms (fixation durations) it is calculated that saccade size is chosen to render well resolvable fixated letters. Based on results of other authors of eye movement recordings and neuro-networking we derive a working hypothesis in which saccadic eye movement (progress in reading) depends on the quality of the retinal images and on cognitive anticipation of images, both being closely related to the structure of the retina and visual cortex.


Fixation Duration Retinal Image Reading Speed Threshold Size Display Quality 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. C. Krischer
    • 1
  • J. Zihl
    • 2
  • R. Meissen
    • 1
  1. 1.Forschungszentrum JülichThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Universität und Max-Planck Institut für PsychiatrieMünchenGermany

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