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Aging and Pattern Complexity Effects on the Visual Span: Evidence from Chinese Character Recognition

Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjin Normal University, Hexi District, Tianjin 300374, China
Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 9HN, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Vision 2019, 3(1), 11;
Received: 23 February 2019 / Revised: 16 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Research suggests that pattern complexity (number of strokes) limits the visual span for Chinese characters, and that this may have important consequences for reading. With the present research, we investigated age differences in the visual span for Chinese characters by presenting trigrams of low, medium or high complexity at various locations relative to a central point to young (18–30 years) and older (60+ years) adults. A sentence reading task was used to assess their reading speed. The results showed that span size was smaller for high complexity stimuli compared to low and medium complexity stimuli for both age groups, replicating previous findings with young adult participants. Our results additionally showed that this influence of pattern complexity was greater for the older than younger adults, such that while there was little age difference in span size for low and medium complexity stimuli, span size for high complexity stimuli was almost halved in size for the older compared to the young adults. Finally, our results showed that span size correlated with sentence reading speed, confirming previous findings taken as evidence that the visual span imposes perceptual limits on reading speed. We discuss these findings in relation to age-related difficulty reading Chinese. View Full-Text
Keywords: aging; visual span; Chinese reading; character recognition aging; visual span; Chinese reading; character recognition

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Xie, F.; Li, L.; Zhao, S.; Wang, J.; Paterson, K.B.; White, S.J.; Warrington, K.L. Aging and Pattern Complexity Effects on the Visual Span: Evidence from Chinese Character Recognition. Vision 2019, 3, 11.

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