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Investigating the Role of Attention in Reading

Project description

The link between visuospatial attention and reading

Reading is a complex cognitive process that involves conscious mental activities. It involves the decoding of symbols to derive meaning and requires memory, concentration and attention. The EU-funded ROAR project is taking an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the role of attention in the reading process. It will investigate how attention is distributed across the visual field during reading, and how it is used to decipher incoming linguistic information. ROAR will use electro-encephalography and eye-tracking techniques. It will also test a newly developed reading interface that facilitates word recognition by reducing interference from surrounding words. The findings of the research will assist in addressing reading disorders such as dyslexia.


Reading is undoubtedly one of the most important cognitive skills in modern societies; yet, despite decades of reading research, some critical issues remain poorly understood. Given that the reading process is cognitively multi-faceted (involving linguistic processing, oculo-motor processing, memory and attention), getting to understand the reading process in full is by definition an interdisciplinary endeavour.
Therefore, striking an interdisciplinary alliance between the fields of reading and attention, this project's mission is to increase understanding of the role of attention in reading (ROAR). Specifically, this project aims to answer the question of how attention is distributed across the visual field during reading, and how attention is used to organize incoming linguistic information. Moreover, this project offers a novel attention-based perspective on reading problems and dyslexia, along with a practical application to help remedy such problems. In short, getting to grips with how attention operates in reading may be key to solving several long-standing questions.
This project comprises state-of-the-art electro-encephalography and eye-tracking techniques that will provide novel means to investigate attention in reading. Moreover, a recently developed reading interface, geared at facilitating word recognition by reducing interference from surrounding words, will be upgraded and tested with dyslexic readers. Thus, this project is perfectly placed in the Goldilocks zone between fundamental research and practical applicability.


Net EU contribution
€ 175 572,48
1081 HV Amsterdam

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West-Nederland Noord-Holland Groot-Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 175 572,48