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Theses Doctoral

The Effects of Text-Picture Integration and Auditory Distraction on Reading Comprehension in Adults: An Eye-tracking Study

Furnas, Daniel Wade

Many models of reading include cognitive components such as memory and attention in addition to the linguistic processing aspects; however, the particular effects of these other resources have yet to be clearly defined. The current study seeks to look at the effects of attentional resource manipulation on the reading process through the use of comic viewing, auditory distraction and dual-task paradigms. The study uses both behavioral measures (comprehension question performance) and eye-tracking measures (fixation time, revisits) to investigate the effects of increased cognitive load on the reading process in healthy, literate adults. The study found that healthy adults used the presence of comics to attenuate the effects of distraction and increased cognitive load on the comprehension process. Without the additional visual information of the comics, the participants showed a significant increase in the number of attempts to reread material (i.e. revisits) due to the distractor/dual-task presentation while still exhibiting notable decreases in comprehension. Furthermore, additional correlations were found between several cognitive testing measures and the participants’ performances in both the comprehension and eye-tracking measures across conditions. The results of this study provide valuable insight into future stages of this study, informing further research with both healthy adults and clinical populations such as people with aphasia or traumatic brain injuries.


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2019-10-13.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Speech and Language Pathology
Thesis Advisors
Edmonds, Lisa A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 24, 2017
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