Eye Movements During Writing

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Eye movements during writing It is common knowledge that once the skill of handwriting has been acquired, it can be performed without visual guidance or feedback. However during acts of normal writing or signature signing, along with movements made by the hand, eye movements and fixations occur in the vicinity of the line trace being performed. The role of these eye movements are to date unexplored. The aim of this preliminary study is to begin to investigate the nature and function of these movements. Eye movements are controlled by complex motor programs that are influenced both by internal schemas and external cues and consist of fast ballistic saccadic movements, made to objects or features as a means of locating them. As the eye gathers information, it maintains its position for a duration of time, in a fixation. Together these fixations and saccadic eye movements are used to locate and gather information from objects or features of interest from the environment. Land (2009, p. 51) states that “ in the time before vision had become domesticated by writing and computers, the primary role of gaze would have been to provide the information needed to carry out tasks for everyday life - hunting, foraging, constructing shelters, cooking and so on” ….. and that even though the role for perceiving our environment was important, of greater importance of eye movements, would have been in the of guidance of action: helping steer the individual though their environment and guiding the body in the execution of actions. Eye movements have been studied during many everyday activities involving body movements; including walking (Reynolds & Day, 2005; Patla & Vickers, 2003), driving and steering a car (Land & Lee, 1994), food preparation (Land & Hayhoe, 2001; Hayhoe, Land, & Shrivastava, 1999), pointing and drawing (Tchalenko, 2007), tracing (Gowen & Miall,

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