Optimizing the reading of electronic text using rapid serial visual presentation

Castelhano, Monica S. and Muter, Paul (2001) Optimizing the reading of electronic text using rapid serial visual presentation. [Journal (Paginated)]

Full text available as:



The focus on communications technology in recent years has led to the question of how to best display electronic text onto small-screened devices. Past studies have shown that the compact method of Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) is efficient but not well liked. Two experiments were conducted to explore ways of improving the preference for and feasibility of RSVP. In Experiment 1, the effects of a completion meter, punctuation pauses, and variable word duration were studied. Although the Normal Page and Sentence-by Sentence formats were still superior, post-experiment ratings indicated that punctuation pauses improved user preference, and preference for RSVP in general increased with practice. In Experiment 2, a modified RSVP condition included a completion meter, punctuation pauses, interruption pauses, and pauses at clause boundaries. This condition was significantly preferred to a normal RSVP condition. The present enhancements may increase the feasibility of using RSVP with small displays.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:reading electronic displays RSVP
Subjects:Psychology > Applied Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:1934
Deposited By:Muter, Prof. Paul
Deposited On:03 Dec 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Aaronson, D. and Scarborough, H. S. (1977). Performance theories for sentence

coding: Some quantitative models. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal

Behaviour, 16, 277-303.

Bouma, H. and deVoogd, A. H. (1974). On the control of eye saccades in

reading. Vision Research, 14, 273-284.

Calvo, M. G., Castillo M. D., and Estevez, A. (1999). On-line predictive

inferences in reading: Processing time during versus after the priming

context. Memory and Cognition, 27, 834-843.

Chen, H.-C. (1986). Effects of reading span and textual coherence on

rapid-sequential reading. Memory and Cognition, 14, 202-208.

Chen, H.-C., Chan, K.-T., and Tsoi, K.C. (1988). Reading self-paced moving

text on a computer display. Human Factors, 30, 285-291.

Clark, H. H., and Clark, E. V. (1977). Psychology and language. New York:


Fine, E. M., Peli, E., and Reeves, A. (1996). Simulated cataract does not

reduce the benefit of RSVP. Vision Research, 37, 2639-2647.

Forster, K. L. (1970). Visual perception of rapidly presented text segments

of varying complexity. Perception and Psychophysics, 8, 215-221.

Fries, C.C. (1962). Linguistics and reading. New York: Holt.

Goldman-Eisler, F. (1972). Pauses, clauses, and sentences. Language and

Speech,15, 103-113.

Granaas, M.M. (1985). Simple, applied text parsing. Behavior Research

Methods, Instruments and Computers, 17, 209-216.

GRE: Practising to Take the General Test, Ninth Edition. (1996).

Princeton, N.J.: Educational Testing Service.

Haber, R. N., and Schindler, R. M. (1981). Error in proofreading evidence of

syntactic control of letter processing? Journal of Experimental

Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 7, 573-579.

Healy, A. F. (1976). Detection errors on the word The: evidence for reading

units larger than letters. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human

Perception and Performance, 2, 235-242.

Juola, J. F. (1988). The use of computer displays to improve reading

comprehension. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 3, 87-95.

Juola, J. F., Haugh, D., Trast, S., Ferraro, R., and Lienbhaber, M. (1987).

Reading with and without eye movements. In J. K. O'Regan and A. Levy-Schoen

(Eds.), Eye movements: From physiology to cognition. Amsterdam:


Juola, J. F., Tiritoglu, A., and Pleunis, J. (1995). Reading text presented

on a small display. Applied Ergonomics, 26, 227-229.

Juola, J. F., Ward, N. J., and McNamara, T. (1982). Visual search and reading

of rapid serial presentations of letter strings, words, and text. Journal

of Experimental Psychology: General, 111, 208-227.

Just, M. A., and Carpenter, P. A. (1980). A theory of reading: From eye

fixations to comprehension. Psychological Review, 87, 329-354.

Just, M. A., Carpenter, P. A., and Woolley, J. D. (1982). Paradigms and

processes in reading comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology:

General, 111, 228-238.

Kang, T. J. and Muter, P. (1989). Reading dynamically displayed text.

Behaviour and Information Technology, 8, 33-42.

Masson, M. E. J. (1983). Conceptual processing of text during skimming and

rapid sequential reading. Memory and Cognition, 11, 262-274.

Moore, D. and Zabrucky, K. (1995). Adult age differences in comprehension and

memory for computer-displayed and printed text. Educational Gerontology,

21, 139-150.

Muter, P. (1996). Interface design and optimization of reading of continuous

text. In van Oostendorp, H. and de Mul, S. (Eds.), Cognitive aspects of

electronic text processing. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.

Muter, P., Kruk, R. S., Buttigieg, M. A., and Kang, T. J. (1988).

Reader-controlled computerized presentation of text. Human Factors, 30,


Muter, P. and Maurutto, P. (1991). Reading and skimming from computer screens

and books: the paperless office revisited? Behaviour and Information

Technology, 10, 257-266.

Noordman, L.G.M. & Vonk, W. (1997). The different functions of a conjunction

in constructing a representation of the discourse. In J. Costermans, and M.

Fayol (Eds.), Processing interclausal relationships: Studies in the

production and comprehension of text. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum

Associates Inc.

O'Connell, D. C. and Kowai, S. H. (1986). Use of punctuation for pausing:

oral readings by German radio homilists. Psychological Research, 48,


O’Hara, K. and Sellen, A. A comparison of reading paper and on-line documents

(1997). In Proceedings of CHI '97 (Atlanta, Georgia), New York: ACM Press.

Postigo, J.M.L., Valverde, G.M., & Llobell, J.P. (1992). Analisis y

segmention de textos. Investigaciones Psicologicas, 10, 213-223.

Potter, M. C. (1984). Rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP): A method for

studying language processing. In D. E. Kieras and M. A. Just (Eds.), New

Methods in Reading Comprehension Research. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Rahman, T. and Muter, P. (1999). Designing an interface to optimize reading

with small display windows. Human Factors, 41, 106-117.

Reicher, G. M. (1962). Perceptual recognition as a function of meaningfulness

of stimulus material. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 81, 275-280.

Rothkopf, E. Z. (1971). Incidental memory for location of information in

text. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour, 10, 608-613.

Rubin, G. S., and Turano, K. (1992). Reading without saccadic eye movements.

Vision Research, 32, 895-902.

Stevens, J. (1996). Applied Multivariate Statistics for the Social

Sciences, Third Edition. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Stevens, S. S. and Galanter, E. H. (1957). Ratio scales and category scales

for a dozen perceptual continua. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 54,


Stine, E. A. L. (1990). On-line processing of written text by younger and

older adults. Psychology and Aging, 5, 68-78.

Taylor, I. (1976). Introduction to Psycholinguistics. New York: Holt,

Rinehart, and Winston.

Townsend, D.J. (1983). Thematic processing in sentences and texts.

Cognition, 13, 223-261.

Townsend, D.J., Carrithers, C., and Bever, T.G. (1987) Listening and reading

processes in college- and middle school-age readers. In R. Horowitz and S.J.

Samuels (Eds.), Comprehending oral and written language. San Diego:

Academic Press, Inc.

Williamson, N. L., Muter, P., and Kruk, R. S. (1986). Computerized

presentation of text for the visually handicapped. In E. Hjelmquist and L. G.

Nilsson (Eds.), Communication and handicap: Aspects of psychological

compensation and technical aids. Amsterdam: North Holland.


Repository Staff Only: item control page