title = {False Positives and Other Statistical Errors in Standard Analyses of Eye Movements in Reading},
  author = {von der Malsburg, Titus and Angele, Bernhard},
  sortname = {Malsburg},
  pdf = {MalsburgAngele2016.pdf},
  journal = {Journal of Memory and Language},
  year = {2016},
  keywords = {statistics; false positives; null-hypothesis testing; eye-tracking; reading},
  volume = {94},
  pages = {119--133},
  doi = {10.1016/j.jml.2016.10.003},
  url = {},
  abstract = {In research on eye movements in reading, it is common to analyze a number of canonical dependent measures to study how the effects of a manipulation unfold over time.  Although this gives rise to the well-known multiple comparisons problem, i.e.~an inflated probability that the null hypothesis is incorrectly rejected (Type I error), it is accepted standard practice not to apply any correction procedures.  Instead, there is a widespread belief that corrections are not necessary because the increase in false positives is too small to matter.  To our knowledge, no formal argument has ever been presented to justify this assumption.  Here, we report a computational investigation of this issue using Monte Carlo simulations.  Our results show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, false positives are increased to unacceptable levels when no corrections are applied.  Our simulations also show that counter-measures like the Bonferroni correction keep false positives in check while reducing statistical power only moderately.  Hence, there is little reason why such corrections should not be made a standard requirement.  Further, we discuss two statistical illusions that can arise when statistical power is too low, and we show how power can be improved to prevent these illusions.  In sum, our work renders a detailed picture of the various types of statistical errors than can occur in studies of reading behavior and we give concrete guidance about how these errors can be avoided.}
  author = {Metzner, Paul and von der Malsburg, Titus and Vasishth, Shravan and Rösler, Frank},
  title = {The importance of reading naturally: {Evidence} from combined recordings of eye movements and electric brain potentials},
  year = {2016},
  journal = {Cognitive Science},
  keywords = {ERP, eye movements, reading, coregistration, n400, p600},
  pages = {1232–1263},
  volume = {41},
  number = {S6},
  pdf = {MetznerEtAl2016.pdf},
  doi = {10.1111/cogs.12384},
  abstract = {How important is the ability to freely control eye movements for reading comprehension?  And how does the parser make use of this freedom?  We investigated these questions using coregistration of eye movements and event-related brain potentials (ERPs) while participants read either freely or in a computer-controlled word-by-word format (also known as RSVP).  Word-by-word presentation and natural reading both elicited qualitatively similar ERP effects in response to syntactic and semantic violations (N400 and P600 effects).  Comprehension was better in free reading but only in trials in which the eyes regressed to previous material upon encountering the anomaly.  A more fine-grained ERP analysis revealed that these regressions were strongly associated with the well-known P600 effect.  In trials without regressions, we instead found sustained centro-parietal negativities starting at around 320 ms post-onset, however, these negativities were only found when the violation occurred in sentence-final position.  Taken together, these results suggest that the sentence processing system engages in strategic choices: In response to words that don’t match built-up expectations, it can either explore alternative interpretations (reflected by regressions, P600 effects, and good comprehension) or pursue a "good-enough" processing strategy that tolerates a deficient interpretation (reflected by progressive saccades, sustained negativities, and relatively poor comprehension).}
  author = {Metzner, Paul and von der Malsburg, Titus and Vasishth, Shravan and Rösler, Frank},
  title = {Brain responses to world-knowledge violations: {A} comparison of stimulus- and fixation-triggered event-related potentials and neural oscillations},
  journal = {Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience},
  year = {2015},
  pages = {1017--1028},
  volume = {27},
  number = {5},
  doi = {10.1162/jocn_a_00731},
  pdf = {MetznerEtAl2014N400.pdf},
  keywords = {ERP, eye movements, reading, coregistration, n400},
  abstract = {Recent research has shown that brain potentials time-locked to fixations in natural reading can be similar to brain potentials recorded during rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP). We attempted two replications of Hagoort, Hald, Bastiaansen, and Petersson [Hagoort, P., Hald, L., Bastiaansen, M., \& Petersson, K. M. Integration of word meaning and world knowledge in language comprehension. Science, 304, 438–441, 2004] to determine whether this correspondence also holds for oscillatory brain responses. Hagoort et al. reported an N400 effect and synchronization in the theta and gamma range following world knowledge violations. Our first experiment (n = 32) used RSVP and replicated both the N400 effect in the ERPs and the power increase in the theta range in the time–frequency domain. In the second experiment (n = 49), participants read the same materials freely while their eye movements and their EEG were monitored. First fixation durations, gaze durations, and regression rates were increased, and the ERP showed an N400 effect. An analysis of time–frequency representations showed synchronization in the delta range (1–3 Hz) and desynchronization in the upper alpha range (11–13 Hz) but no theta or gamma effects. The results suggest that oscillatory EEG changes elicited by world knowledge violations are different in natural reading and RSVP. This may reflect differences in how representations are constructed and retrieved from memory in the two presentation modes.}
  pdf = {MaruschEtAl2012.pdf},
  author = {Marusch, Tina and von der Malsburg, Titus and Bastiaanse, Roelien and Burchert, Frank},
  title = {Tense morphology in German agrammatism: {The} production of regular, irregular and mixed verbs},
  journal = {The Mental Lexicon},
  volume = {7},
  number = {3},
  month = 11,
  publishers = {John Benjamins Publishing Co.},
  pages = {351--380},
  year = {2012},
  doi = {10.1075/ml.7.3.05mar},
  keywords = {agrammatism, tense, regular and irregular verbs, mixed verbs, inflectional morphology, time reference},
  abstract = {This study investigates tense morphology in agrammatic aphasia and the predictions of two accounts on processing of regular and irregular verbs: the Dual Mechanism model, that is, for aphasic data, the Declarative/Procedural model, and the Single Mechanism approach. The production of regular, irregular and mixed verbs in the present, simple past and past participle (present perfect) was tested in German by means of a sentence completion task with a group of seven speakers with agrammatic aphasia. The results show a difference between regular verbs and irregular verbs. Mixed verbs were equally difficult as irregular verbs. A frequency effect was found for irregular verbs but not for regular and mixed verbs. A significant difference among the correctness scores for present tense and simple past forms was found. Simple past and past participle were significantly more difficult than present tense. Error types were characterized by pure infinitive responses and time reference errors. Neither of the above accounts is sufficient to explain these results. Correctness scores and error patterns for mixed verbs suggest that such minor lexical patterns can be useful in finding new evidence in the debate on morphological processing. The findings also highlight time reference as well as language specific characteristics need to be taken into consideration.}
  author = {Vasishth, Shravan and von der Malsburg, Titus and Engelmann, Felix},
  title = {What eye movements can tell us about sentence comprehension},
  journal = {Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science},
  volume = {4},
  number = {2},
  publisher = {John Wiley \& Sons, Inc.},
  issn = {1939-5086},
  doi = {10.1002/wcs.1209},
  pdf = {VasishthEtAl2013.pdf},
  pages = {125--134},
  year = {2013},
  keywords = {eyemovements, method, parsing, scanpaths, corpus},
  abstract = {Eye movement data have proven to be very useful for investigating human sentence processing. Eyetracking research has addressed a wide range of questions, such as recovery mechanisms following garden-pathing, the timing of processes driving comprehension, the role of anticipation and expectation in parsing, the role of semantic, pragmatic, and prosodic information, and so on. However, there are some limitations regarding the inferences that can be made on the basis of eye movements. One relates to the nontrivial interaction between parsing and the eye movement control system which complicates the interpretation of eye movement data. Detailed computational models that integrate parsing with eye movement control theories have the potential to unpack the complexity of eye movement data and can therefore aid in the interpretation of eye movements. Another limitation is the difficulty of capturing spatiotemporal patterns in eye movements using the traditional word-based eyetracking measures. Recent research has demonstrated the relevance of these patterns and has shown how they can be analyzed. In this review, we focus on reading, and present examples demonstrating how eye movement data reveal what events unfold when the parser runs into difficulty, and how the parsing system interacts with eye movement control. WIREs Cogn Sci 2013, 4:125–134. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1209For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.}
  author = {von der Malsburg, Titus and Kliegl, Reinhold and Vasishth, Shravan},
  sortname = {Malsburg},
  title = {Determinants of scanpath regularity in reading},
  year = {2015},
  volume = {39},
  number = {7},
  pages = {1675--1703},
  journal = {Cognitive Science},
  pdf = {MalsburgEtAl2015.pdf},
  keywords = {eyemovements, method, parsing, scanpaths, corpus},
  doi = {10.1111/cogs.12208},
  abstract = {Scanpaths have played an important role in classic research on reading behavior. Nevertheless, they have largely been neglected in later research—perhaps also due to a lack of suitable analytical tools. Recently, von der Malsburg and Vasishth (2011) proposed a new measure for quantifying differences between scanpaths and demonstrated that this measure can recover effects that were missed with the traditional eyetracking measures. However, the sentences used in that study were difficult to process and scanpath effects accordingly strong. The purpose of the present study was to test the validity, sensitivity, and scope of applicability of the scanpath measure using simple sentences that are typically read straight from left to right. We derived predictions for the regularity of scanpaths from the literature on oculomotor control, sentences processing, and cognitive aging and tested these predictions using the scanpath measure and a large database of eye movements (N=230). All predictions were confirmed: sentences with short words and syntactically more difficult sentences elicited more irregular scanpaths. Also, older readers produced more irregular scanpaths than younger readers. In addition, we found an effect that was not reported earlier: syntax had a smaller influence on the eye movements of older readers than on those of young readers. We discuss this interaction of syntactic parsing cost with age in terms of shifts in processing strategies and a decline of executive control as readers age. Overall, our results demonstrate the validity and sensitivity of the scanpath measure and thus establish it as a productive and versatile tool for reading research.}
  author = {von der Malsburg, Titus and Vasishth, Shravan},
  sortname = {Malsburg},
  title = {Scanpaths reveal syntactic underspecification and reanalysis strategies},
  journal = {Language and Cognitive Processes},
  year = {2013},
  volume = {28},
  number = {10},
  pages = {1545--1578},
  pdf = {MalsburgVasishth2013.pdf},
  url = {},
  keywords = {eyemovements, method, parsing, scanpaths, syntacticreanalysis, workingmemory},
  abstract = {What theories best characterize the parsing processes triggered upon encountering ambiguity, and what effects do these processes have on eye movement patterns in reading?  The present eye-tracking study, which investigated processing of attachment ambiguities of an adjunct in Spanish, suggests that readers sometimes underspecify attachment to save memory resources, consistent with the good-enough account of parsing. Our results confirm a surprising prediction of the good-enough account: high-capacity readers commit to an attachment decision more often than low-capacity participants, leading to more errors and a greater need to reanalyze in garden-path sentences.  These results emerged only when we separated functionally different types of regressive eye movements using a scanpath analysis; conventional eye-tracking measures alone would have led to different conclusions.  The scanpath analysis also showed that rereading was the dominant strategy for recovering from garden-pathing.  Our results may also have broader implications for models of reading processes: reanalysis effects in eye movements occurred late, which suggests that the coupling of oculo-motor control and the parser may not always be as tight as assumed in current computational models of eye movements control in reading.},
  doi = {10.1080/01690965.2012.728232}
  pdf = {MalsburgVasishth2011.pdf},
  author = {von der Malsburg, Titus and Shravan Vasishth},
  sortname = {Malsburg},
  title = {What is the scanpath signature of syntactic reanalysis?},
  journal = {Journal of Memory and Language},
  volume = {65},
  number = {2},
  pages = {109--127},
  year = {2011},
  doi = {10.1016/j.jml.2011.02.004},
  abstract = {Which repair strategy does the language system deploy when it gets garden-pathed, and what can regressive eye movements in reading tell us about reanalysis strategies? Several influential eye-tracking studies on syntactic reanalysis (Frazier \& Rayner, 1982; Meseguer, Carreiras, \& Clifton, 2002; Mitchell, Shen, Green, \& Hodgson, 2008) have addressed this question by examining scanpaths, i.e., sequential patterns of eye fixations. However, in the absence of a suitable method for analyzing scanpaths, these studies relied on simplified dependent measures that are arguably ambiguous and hard to interpret. We address the theoretical question of repair strategy by developing a new method that quantifies scanpath similarity. Our method reveals several distinct fixation strategies associated with reanalysis that went undetected in a previously published data set (Meseguer et al., 2002).  One prevalent pattern suggests re-parsing of the sentence, a strategy that has been discussed in the literature (Frazier \& Rayner, 1982); however, readers differed tremendously in how they orchestrated the various fixation strategies. Our results suggest that the human parsing system non-deterministically adopts different strategies when confronted with the disambiguating material in garden-path sentences.},
  keywords = {eyemovements, method, parsing, scanpaths, syntacticreanalysis},
  author = {Schotter, Elizabeth and Leinenger, Mallorie and von der Malsburg, Titus},
  title = {When Your Mind Ignores What Your Eyes See: {How} Forced Fixations Lead to Comprehension Illusions in Reading},
  journal = {Psychonomic Bulletin \& Review},
  year = {2018},
  volume = {25},
  number = {5},
  pages = {1884--1890},
  pdf = {SchotterEtAl2018b.pdf},
  abstract = {The phenomenon of forced fixations suggests that readers sometimes fixate a word (due to oculomotor constraints) even though they intended to skip it (due to parafoveal cognitive-linguistic processing). We investigate whether this leads readers to look directly at a word but not pay attention to it. We used a gaze-contingent boundary paradigm to dissociate parafoveal and foveal information (e.g., the word phone changed to scarf once the reader's eyes moved to it) and asked questions about the sentence to determine which one the reader encoded. When the word was skipped or fixated only briefly (i.e., up to 100 ms) readers were more likely to report reading the parafoveal than the fixated word, suggesting that there are cases in which readers look directly at a word but their minds ignore it, leading to the illusion of reading something they did not fixate.},
  issn = {1531-5320},
  doi = {10.3758/s13423-017-1356-y},
  author = {Schotter, Elizabeth and von der Malsburg, Titus and Leinenger, Mallorie},
  title = {Forced Fixations, Trans-saccadic Integration, and Word Recognition: {Evidence} for a Hybrid Mechanism of Saccade Triggering in Reading},
  journal = {Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition},
  year = {2018},
  pubstate = {inpress},
  abstract = {Recent studies using the gaze-contingent boundary paradigm reported a reversed preview benefit – shorter fixations on a target word when an unrelated preview was easier to process than the fixated target (Schotter & Leinenger, 2016). This is explained via forced fixations – short fixations on words that would ideally be skipped (because lexical processing has progressed enough) but could not be because saccade planning reached a point of no return. This contrasts with accounts of preview effects via trans-saccadic integration – shorter fixations on a target word when the preview is more similar to it (see Cutter, Drieghe, & Liversedge, 2015). Additionally, if the previewed word – not the fixated target – determines subsequent eye movements, is it also this word that enters the linguistic processing stream?  We tested these accounts by having 24 subjects read 150 sentences in the boundary paradigm in which both the preview and target were initially plausible but later one, both, or neither became implausible, providing an opportunity to probe which one was linguistically encoded. In an intervening buffer region, both words were plausible, providing an opportunity to investigate trans-saccadic integration. The frequency of the previewed word affected progressive saccades (i.e., forced fixations) as well as when trans-saccadic integration failure increased regressions, but, only the implausibility of the target word affected semantic encoding. These data support a hybrid account of saccadic control (Reingold, Reichle, Glaholt, & Sheridan, 2012) driven by incomplete (often parafoveal) word recognition, which occurs prior to complete (often foveal) word recognition.},
  url = {},
  pdf = {SchotterEtAl2018.pdf}
  author = {von der Malsburg, Titus and Poppels, Till and Levy, Roger P.},
  title = {Implicit Gender Bias in Linguistic Descriptions for Expected Events: {The} Cases of the 2016 {United States} and 2017 {United Kingdom} Elections},
  journal = {Psychological Science},
  year = {2020},
  month = {01},
  day = {08},
  publisher = {SAGE Publications Inc},
  abstract = {Gender stereotypes influence subjective beliefs about the world, and this is reflected in our use of language. But do gender biases in language transparently reflect subjective beliefs? Or is the process of translating thought to language itself biased? During the 2016 United States (N = 24,863) and 2017 United Kingdom (N = 2,609) electoral campaigns, we compared participants? beliefs about the gender of the next head of government with their use and interpretation of pronouns referring to the next head of government. In the United States, even when the female candidate was expected to win, she pronouns were rarely produced and induced substantial comprehension disruption. In the United Kingdom, where the incumbent female candidate was heavily favored, she pronouns were preferred in production but yielded no comprehension advantage. These and other findings suggest that the language system itself is a source of implicit biases above and beyond previously known biases, such as those measured by the Implicit Association Test.},
  issn = {0956-7976},
  pdf = {MalsburgEtAl2020.pdf},
  doi = {10.1177/0956797619890619}
  author = {Morgan, Adam Milton and von der Malsburg, Titus and Ferreira, Victor S. and Wittenberg, Eva},
  title = {Shared syntax between comprehension and production: {Multi}-paradigm evidence that resumptive pronouns hinder comprehension},
  note = {Accepted for publication},
  year = {2020},
  journal = {Cognition},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.17605/OSF.IO/9WHN6},
  publisher = {OSF},
  author = {Paape, Dario and Vasishth, Shravan and von der Malsburg, Titus},
  title = {Quadruplex negatio invertit? {The} on-line processing of depth charge sentences},
  journal = {Journal of Semantics},
  year = {2020},
  url = {},
  note = {In press},
  pdf = {PaapeEtAl2020.pdf}