Ingeborg Endter     11/14/97   Problem set 9

My Legibility Tester.
This program can be used to test the readability of text. The same string is presented each time. The total elapsed time for reading the text is 10 seconds for each of the variations. In the spirit of many of the studies reviewed in "The Psychology of Reading," I have provided variables that can be manipulated to observe their effect on legibility. I'm particularly interested in the reader's ability to absorb the meaning of the text as a whole, not just individual words. I'm trying to observe the effect of text size, text placement on the page (Does it help the reader to move the words across the page, as the eye usually scans printed pages?), and word grouping, on reading comprehension.

The variations in word grouping are: words presented one at a time, words presented in pairs - counting by two's from the beginning of the string, and finally, words grouped in one's or two's keeping "meaningful pairs" together. I am interested in whether the flow of the entire passage is helped by selecting word pairs based on significance of the pair. For example, here is the fragment "like being banished into forests far from everyone," presented on the left in consecutive pairs, and on the right in meaningful one's or pairs:
like being like
banished into being banished
forests far into forests
from everyone far
from everyone