Silent reading of music and texts; eye movements and integrative reading mechanisms

Keywords: Eye-movements, integrative mechanisms, music reading, text reading, working memory, spatial memory, saccades, eye-tracking, visual memory


This study investigates to what extent structural units defined by physical and structural markers elicit different eye movement patterns when reading contrasting stimuli of music and verbal texts. Eye movements were tracked and compared in ten musicians undergoing Bachelor’s degrees as they silently read six texts and six pieces of music for piano: the music was contemporary, in modal style, and the style of the texts was informative and literary. Participants were music students at Universidad de Chile studying for Bachelor’s degrees. Information integration for both local (intrasentence/phrase) and global (intersentence/phrase) levels of processing was assessed through regressive fixations at the first pass and re-reading stages. Memory involvement in musical and verbal processing was investigated using verbal working memory and spatial memory tasks, suggesting a link between spatial memory and the reading of contemporary music. Both local and global integrative controls vary according to the reading stages, with differences between music styles and text types. These differences relate to information intake and integrative reading mechanisms. Despite the fact that musicians used different strategies for processing verbal and musical information, no cross-patterns of individual reading strategies were observed between conditions. Although the underlying processes are different, resource-sharing between the two domains cannot be ruled out.

Author Biographies

Michel André Cara, Music Institute (IMUS), Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso. Pilcomayo 478 Cerro Concepción - Valparaíso CHILE Tel: +56 9 52195419

Department of Pedagogy

Associate Professor

Gabriela Gómez, Universidad de Chile Periodista José Carrasco Tapia, 75 Santiago
Centro de Investigación Avanzada en Educación (CIAE)
How to Cite
Cara, M. A., & Gómez, G. (2016). Silent reading of music and texts; eye movements and integrative reading mechanisms. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 9(7).