Hidden semi-Markov models to segment reading phases from eye movements

Keywords: Eye movement, eye tracking, scanpath, reading, individual differences, hidden semi-Markov chains, segmentation


Our objective is to analyze scanpaths acquired through participants achieving a reading task aiming at answering a binary question: Is the text related or not to some given target topic? We propose a data-driven method based on hidden semi-Markov chains to segment scanpaths into phases deduced from the model states, which are shown to represent different cognitive strategies: normal reading, fast reading, information search, and slow confirmation. These phases were confirmed using different external covariates, among which semantic information extracted from texts. Analyses highlighted some strong preference of specific participants for specific strategies and more globally, large individual variability in eye-movement characteristics, as accounted for by random effects. As a perspective, the possibility of improving reading models by accounting for possible heterogeneity sources during reading is discussed.

How to Cite
Olivier, B., Guérin-Dugué, A., & Durand, J.-B. (2022). Hidden semi-Markov models to segment reading phases from eye movements. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 15(4). https://doi.org/10.16910/jemr.15.4.5