Does the timing of visual support affect sentence comprehension? An eye-tracking study

Miriam Rivero-Contreras, Paul Engelhardt, Pablo Delgado, David Saldana

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Purpose: Recent research suggests that visual elements improve sentence processing for students, even at the university level. However, few studies have systematically examined the timing of visual support in reading. Method: We examined the impact of visual support and its timing on sentence comprehension in a sample of 40 typically developing university students. Across 60 sentences, half with images and half without, participants either viewed images simultaneously with sentences or before sentences. Word frequency was also manipulated. Results: Results showed that visual support facilitated sentence processing and that participants who viewed images before sentences exhibited a lower probability of regressions. Conclusion: In conclusion, incorporating images with text can benefit language comprehension. Moreover, the results suggest implications regarding the timing of visual support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalJournal of Experimental Education
Early online date29 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2023


  • Eye movements
  • image timing
  • sentence processing
  • visual support

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