Effects of topic headings on text processing: Evidence from adult readers' eye fixation patterns

Jukka Hyönä, Robert F. Lorch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Effects of topic headings on the processing of multiple-topic expository texts were examined with the help of readers' eye fixation patterns. Adult participants read two texts, one in which topic shifts were signaled by topic headings and one in which topic headings were excluded. The presence of topic headings facilitated the processing of topic sentences and increased the number of topics mentioned in the text summaries written after reading the texts. The facilitatory effect of headings was reflected both in the fixations made during the first-pass reading as well as in the later look-backs directed to the topic sentences. A framework is outlined to depict the process of reading and comprehending multiple-topic expository texts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-152
Number of pages22
JournalLearning and Instruction
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by grants from Turun Yliopistosäätiö (Turku University Foundation) and Suomen Akatemia (the Academy of Finland) to the first author. We thank Miia Juntunen and Lauri Nummenmaa for their help in collecting and analyzing the data.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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