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Dr Lewis Jayes

Teaching Fellow
+44 (0)1483 684939
21 AC 05
Monday 13.00 – 16.00

Academic and research departments

School of Psychology.



Gemma Fitzsimmons, LEWIS THOMAS JAYES, Mark J Weal, Denis Drieghe (2020)The impact of skim reading and navigation when reading hyperlinks on the web, In: PloS one15(9)e0239134 Public Library of Science
Heather J Ferguson, LEWIS THOMAS JAYES (2018)Plausibility and Perspective Influence the Processing of Counterfactual Narratives, In: Discourse processes55(2)pp. 166-186 Routledge

Previous research has established that readers' eye movements are sensitive to the difficulty with which a word is processed. One important factor that influences processing is the fit of a word within the wider context, including its plausibility. Here we explore the influence of plausibility in counterfactual language processing. Counterfactuals describe hypothetical versions of the world but are grounded in the implication that the described events are not true. We report an eye-tracking study that examined the processing of counterfactual premises that varied the plausibility of a described action and manipulated the narrative perspective ("you" vs. "he/she"). Results revealed a comparable pattern to previous plausibility experiments. Readers were sensitive to the inconsistent thematic relation in anomalous and implausible conditions. The fact that these anomaly detection effects were evident within a counterfactual frame suggests that participants were evaluating incoming information within the counterfactual world and did not suspend processing based on an inference about reality. Interestingly, perspective modulated the speed with which anomalous but not implausible words were detected.

Lewis T. Jayes, Gemma Fitzsimmons, Mark J Weal, Johanna K Kaakinen, Denis Drieghe (2022)The impact of hyperlinks, skim reading and perceived importance when reading on the Web, In: PloS one17(2)e0263669 Public Library of Science

It has previously been shown that readers spend a great deal of time skim reading on the Web and that this type of reading can affect comprehension of text. Across two experiments, we examine how hyperlinks influence perceived importance of sentences and how perceived importance in turn affects reading behaviour. In Experiment 1, participants rated the importance of sentences across passages of Wikipedia text. In Experiment 2, a different set of participants read these passages while their eye movements were tracked, with the task being either reading for comprehension or skim reading. Reading times of sentences were analysed in relation to the type of task and the importance ratings from Experiment 1. Results from Experiment 1 show readers rated sentences without hyperlinks as being of less importance than sentences that did feature hyperlinks, and this effect is larger when sentences are lower on the page. It was also found that short sentences with more links were rated as more important, but only when they were presented at the top of the page. Long sentences with more links were rated as more important regardless of their position on the page. In Experiment 2, higher importance scores resulted in longer sentence reading times, measured as fixation durations. When skim reading, however, importance ratings had a lesser impact on online reading behaviour than when reading for comprehension. We suggest readers are less able to establish the importance of a sentence when skim reading, even though importance could have been assessed by information that would be fairly easy to extract (i.e. presence of hyperlinks, length of sentences, and position on the screen).