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The gaze-contingency paradigm is a technique for studying eye movement. It is also known as the "moving window technique", and is a method of electronically manipulating a stimulus display—typically of linguistic text—in real-time, automatic response to the location of a reader's fixations. The paradigm was first developed by Reder (1973) and McConkie & Rayner (1975). It has enabled researchers to control stimulus displays as a function of fixation location on a text.

The principle of the technique is simple. A computer is interfaced with both an eye-movement tracking system and a display of the text. As participants read the display, their eye movement is tracked, and the computer almost instantaneously modifies the display according to where the participant is fixating at any particular point in time.

The technique has given eye-movement researchers the ability to observe the processing of visual input in much greater detail (particularly its temporal characteristics), the perceptual span, and the nature of central versus peripheral processing in reading.


  • McConkie GW & Rayner K (1975) The span of the effective stimulus during a fixation in reading, Perception & Psychophysics, 17, 578–86
  • McConkie GW & Rayner K (1976) Asymmetry of the perceptual span in reading, Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 8, 365–68
  • Reder SM (1973) On-line monitoring of eye position signals in contingent and noncontingent paradigms, Behaviour Research Methods & Instrumentation, 5, 218–28

See also

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