Letter identification is mediated by just one spatial frequency channel (Solomon & Pelli, 1994). But what about reading? We wondered whether larger features, e.g. words, at lower spatial frequencies are used when reading text as opposed to just identifying letters. We characterized the channel for reading by measuring reading rate as a function of the spatial frequency of a narrow-band noise mask. We found that reading text is mediated by the same 1.6 octave wide channel as that used to identify letters. No channel tuned to words was revealed.
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