Word predictability depends on parafoveal preview validity in Chinese reading.

Research with alphabetic scripts shows that providing an invalid parafoveal preview eliminates or diminishes effects of contextual predictability on word identification, revealing that such effects depend on the interplay between top-down contextual expectations and bottom-up perceptual information. Whether similar effects are observed in character-based scripts like Chinese is unknown. However, such knowledge would extend our understanding of contextual prediction in different writing systems. Accordingly, we conducted an eye movement experiment using the boundary paradigm to assess contextual predictability effects on the processing of target words with valid and invalid parafoveal previews. Interactions between predictability and preview validity were observed in early reading times but not word-skipping for targets. This suggests an interplay between top-down and bottom-up processes drives contextual processing in Chinese reading, but that word-skipping is not strongly mediated by contextual expectations in this script. We consider these findings in relation to differences between alphabetic and non-alphabetic writing systems.