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Shorter Lines Facilitate Reading in Those Who Struggle

Figure 11

A case study of “selective attentional dyslexia” from Rayner, et al., 1989.

A gaze-contingent display was used to mask letters on either side of fixation. When the mask was composed of X’s (blue) the person with dyslexia (solid line) outperformed typical reading controls (dashed line), reading as if unimpaired when the window size was 15 characters. But, when the window was formed by randomly replacing letters (red), the dyslexic individual performed poorly. We interpret this to suggest that the individual with dyslexia was unable to maintain attention on the “uncrowded span” [39] as the gaze advanced during reading, unless it was clearly demarcated using X’s in a gaze contingent display. When this was done, the person could read at near normal rates. (Data from [42].)

Figure 11