Two experiments examined parafoveal preview for words located in the middle of sentences and at sentence boundaries. Parafoveal processing was shown to occur for words at sentence-initial, mid-sentence, and sentence-final positions. Both Experiments 1 and 2 showed reduced effects of preview on regressions out for sentence-initial words. In addition, Experiment 2 showed reduced preview effects on first-pass reading times for sentence-initial words. These effects of sentence position on preview could result from reduced parafoveal processing for sentence-initial words, or other processes specific to word reading at sentence boundaries. In addition to the effects of preview, the experiments also demonstrate variability in the effects of sentence wrap-up on different reading measures, indicating that the presence and time course of wrap-up effects may be modulated by text-specific factors. We also report simulations of Experiment 2 using version 10 of E-Z Reader (Reichle, Warren, & McConnell, 2009), designed to explore the possible mechanisms underlying parafoveal preview at sentence boundaries.
reading; eye movements; E-Z Reader; parafoveal preview; wrap-up effects
Measles, mumps, and rubella are viral diseases that may adversely affect non-immune pregnant women and their fetuses/neonates. Prevention of these diseases and their complications can be achieved through measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination prior to pregnancy. The vaccine is contraindicated during pregnancy because it contains live, attenuated viruses that pose a theoretical risk to the fetus. However, accidental receipt of MMR vaccination is not known to cause maternal/fetal complications. MMR immunization is recommended to non-immune obstetric patients upon completion or termination of pregnancy.
Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine; Measles; Mumps; Rubella; Congenital Rubella Syndrome; Obstetrics
Our objective was to replicate previously reported associations between cytokine and cytokine receptor SNPs and humoral and CMI (cell-mediated immune) responses to measles vaccine. All subjects (n=758) received two doses of MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine. From these subjects, candidate cytokine and cytokine receptor SNPs were genotyped and analyzed in 29–30 subjects falling into one of four “extreme” humoral (Abhigh/low) and CMI (CMIhigh/low) response quadrants. Associations between seven SNPs (out of 11 in the discovery study) and measles-specific neutralizing antibody levels and IFN-γ ELISPOT responses were evaluated using chi-square tests. We found one replicated association for SNP rs372889 in the IL12RB1 gene (P=0.03 for AbhighCMIhigh versus AblowCMIlow). Our findings demonstrate the importance of replicating genotypic-phenotypic associations, which can be achieved using immunophenotypic extremes and smaller sample sizes. We speculate that IL12RB1 polymorphisms may affect IL-12 and IL-23 binding and downstream effects, which are critical cytokines in the CMI response to measles vaccine.
Measles immunity; SNP; Cytokine Receptor; IL12RB1; Replication Study
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders have highly characteristic impairments in social interaction and this is true also for those with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome (AS). These social cognitive impairments are far from global and it seems likely that some of the building blocks of social cognition are intact. In our first experiment, we investigated whether high functioning adults who also had a diagnosis of AS would be similar to control participants in terms of their eye movements when watching animated triangles in short movies that normally evoke mentalizing. They were. Our second experiment using the same movies, tested whether both groups would spontaneously adopt the visuo-spatial perspective of a triangle protagonist. They did. At the same time autistic participants differed in their verbal accounts of the story line underlying the movies, confirming their specific difficulties in on-line mentalizing. In spite of this difficulty, two basic building blocks of social cognition appear to be intact: spontaneous agency perception and spontaneous visual perspective taking.
theory of mind; mental state; social cognition; eye movements; triangle animations
Participants’ eye movements were recorded as they read sentences with words containing transposed adjacent letters. Transpositions were either external (e.g., problme, rpoblem) or internal (e.g., porblem, probelm) and at either the beginning (e.g., rpoblem, porblem) or end (e.g., problme, probelm) of words. The results showed disruption for words with transposed letters compared to the normal baseline condition, and the greatest disruption was observed for word-initial transpositions. In Experiment 1, transpositions within low frequency words led to longer reading times than when letters were transposed within high frequency words. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the position of word-initial letters is most critical even when parafoveal preview of words to the right of fixation is unavailable. The findings have important implications for the roles of different letter positions in word recognition and the effects of parafoveal preview on word recognition processes.
reading; eye movements; word recognition; transposed letters; parafoveal processing
Recent research using word recognition paradigms such as lexical decision and speeded pronunciation has investigated how a range of variables affect the location and shape of response time distributions, using both parametric and non-parametric techniques. In this article, we explore the distributional effects of a word frequency manipulation on fixation durations in normal reading, making use of data from two recent eye movement experiments (Drieghe, Rayner, & Pollatsek, 2008; White, 2008). The ex-Gaussian distribution provided a good fit to the shape of individual subjects’ distributions in both experiments. The frequency manipulation affected both the shift and skew of the distributions, in both experiments, and this conclusion was supported by the non-parametric vincentizing technique. Finally, a new experiment demonstrated that White’s (2008) frequency manipulation also affects both shift and skew in RT distributions in the lexical decision task. These results argue against models of eye movement control in reading that propose that word frequency influences only a subset of fixations, and support models in which there is a tight connection between eye movement control and the progress of lexical processing.
Chronic (+)-methamphetamine (METH) use during pregnancy increases the health risk for both mother and fetus. To provide insights into these risks, the relationship between changes in METH disposition and METH-induced pharmacological effects were studied in Sprague-Dawley rat dams and litters. Timed-pregnant rats (n = 5–6) were given saline or METH (5.6–17.8 mg/kg/day) by continuous sc infusion from gestational day (GD) 7 (before organogenesis) until GD21 (0–2 days before delivery). By GD11, all rats in the 17.8-mg/kg/day group died or were sacrificed for humane reasons. There were significant (p < 0.05) dose- and gestational time-dependent decreases in maternal body weight in the 10- to 13.2-mg/kg/day groups, which slowly recovered to near normal by GD21. Continued METH dosing in the surviving groups did not affect the mean pups/litter weight at the end of the experiment on GD21. While maternal and fetal METH and (+)-amphetamine serum concentrations were similar on GD21, brain concentrations were significantly greater in the dams (p < 0.05). Importantly, brain-to-serum ratios in the dams were 9:1 and 3:1 in the pups. METH systemic clearance (ClS) in dams significantly (p < 0.05) decreased from 52 ± 14 ml/min/kg on GD10 to 28 ± 6 ml/min/kg on GD21 in all dose groups, indicating late-gestational stage reductions in METH ClS. Overall, these findings suggest that there were two periods of increased susceptibility for dams and fetuses during chronic METH treatment. First was the period after the start of METH dosing in which neuroadaptation and tolerance to METH occurs in the adult. The second was at the end of pregnancy when METH clearance was significantly reduced.
methamphetamine; pregnancy; rat; drug abuse; pharmacokinetics
Two experiments were undertaken to examine whether there is an age-related change in the speed with which readers can capture visual information during fixations in reading. Children’s and adults’ eye movements were recorded as they read sentences that were presented either normally or as “disappearing text”. The disappearing text manipulation had a surprisingly small effect on the children, inconsistent with the notion of an age-related change in the speed with which readers can capture visual information from the page. Instead, we suggest that differences between adults and children are related to the level of difficulty of the sentences for readers of different ages.
children; eye movements; reading
Wrap-up effects in reading have traditionally been thought to reflect increased processing associated with intra- and inter-clause integration (Just & Carpenter, 1980; Rayner, Kambe & Duffy, 2000; cf. Hirotani, Frazier, & Rayner, 2006). We report an eye-tracking experiment with a strong manipulation of integrative complexity at a critical word that was either sentence-final, ended a comma-marked clause, or was not comma marked. Although both complexity and punctuation each had reliable effects, they did not interact in any eye-movement measure. These results and simulations using the E-Z Reader model of eye-movement control (Reichle, Warren, & McConnell, 2009) suggest that traditional accounts of clause wrap-up are incomplete.
Eye movements were monitored in 4 experiments that explored the role of parafoveal word length in reading. The experiments employed a type of compound word where the deletion of a letter results in 2 short words (e.g., backhand, back and). The boundary technique (K. Rayner, 1975) was employed to manipulate word length information in the parafovea. Accuracy of the parafoveal word length preview significantly affected landing positions and fixation durations. This disruption was larger for 2-word targets, but the results demonstrated that this interaction was not due to the morphological status of the target words. Manipulation of sentence context also demonstrated that parafoveal word length information can be used in combination with sentence context to narrow down lexical candidates. The 4 experiments converge in demonstrating that an important role of parafoveal word length information is to direct the eyes to the center of the parafoveal word.
eye movements; reading; parafoveal length information
The eye movements of 24 children and 24 adults were monitored to compare how they read sentences containing plausible, implausible, and anomalous thematic relations. In the implausible condition the incongruity occurred due to the incompatibility of two objects involved in the event denoted by the main verb. In the anomalous condition the direct object of the verb was not a possible verb argument. Adults exhibited immediate disruption with the anomalous sentences as compared to the implausible sentences as indexed by longer gaze durations on the target word. Children exhibited the same pattern of effects as adults as far as the anomalous sentences were concerned, but exhibited delayed effects of implausibility. These data indicate that while children and adults are alike in their basic thematic assignment processes during reading, children may be delayed in the efficiency with which they are able to integrate pragmatic and real-world knowledge into their discourse representation.