The probability that letters are visually confused has an impact on the reading process. In the Latin alphabet, for example, the letters <b>, <d>, <d>, <p>, <q> change their identity if they are perceived mirror-inverted. Other letters may be more or less susceptible to confusion, depending on their degree of symmetry. The less symmetrical a letter is around a particular mirror axis, the more the letter changes visually and becomes susceptible to confusion when mirrored along that axis. Therefore, letter-mirroring can be used to find out how certain visual aspects affect letter recognition and the reading process. In Flip, we investigate how the susceptibility of individual letters to be mirror-confused and the resulting difference between visually difficult and visually simpler words affects eye movements during reading and orthographic learning. 

In our studies on orthographic learning, we try to simulate reading development, as it happens in children, in the laboratory with adults. This allows us to study the acquisition of specific skills independent of developmental factors such as the maturation of the visual attention system. By learning to read mirrored text in the laboratory, adults go through the different phases of learning to read again. We then track the participants´ eye-movements while they read mirrored text. This allows us to explore how quickly visual word recognition is automated and to what extent this learning process is influenced by visual factors.

Have you become curious and would like to learn more about the project? Would you like to participate in the study? Then contact Katharina Pittrich. We look forward to hearing from you!