Fun with Eye-Tracking #2


Part one, and the study setup, is here.

After much more of a delay than intended, I’ve finally finished the video analysis of our Methods in Neuroscience Project.

This was an interesting one to make, as while I’m used to being behind the camera,  I’ve never been behind the microphone. So this is the first time I’ve ever consented to having my voice recorded for something (feel special, anyone who is reading this) :P

Anyway, here’s the video:

You’ll notice from this that what we originally meant to do barely got mentioned, as the qualitative findings of the differences between dyslexic, hyperlexic, and typical participants was so interesting. After putting all of this together, I was very curious as to whether has there been other research on this topic.

The answer is, very little. Mainly because there isn’t much consensus on hyperlexia itself.

Is hyperlexia an opposite of dyslexia? A variant of dyslexia? A learning disability? A splinter skill attached to autism? Unrelated to autism? The pathologisation of a personal trait?

There are arguments for and against all of these options, and I’ve written about hyperlexia itself in more detail here, if you’re interested.

Eye-movement and hyperlexia is an even smaller topic. In fact, when I googled “eye movement hyperlexia”, the week-old video above was the third-place result. While I found two studies that appeared to be on hyperlexia and eye movement, both were heavily paywalled so I couldn’t actually access them.

So, while this could be an interesting topic, I might not be able to get much more information without being at uni again.

Of course, our study itself doesn’t mean much. We used a small and fairly homogenous group of psychology students, in a very small-scale study in conditions unlike normal reading. So, while the results could lead to something interesting, our result doesn’t show anything without support from bigger and better studies. Larger research is also undecided, as some studies find differences in eye-movements between dyslexic and non-dyslexic people, while others don’t. So we could have gone off on the wrong tangent entirely.

Even if we did go off on the wrong tangent, it was still a good learning experience, so I’m glad we got to set up this study.

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