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《Chinese Journal of Optometry & Ophthalmology》 2008-02
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The effects of font, stroke and contrast on the reading speed of Chinese characters

ZHU Lian, WANG Chenxiao, HE Jicang, et al. Department of Ophthalmology & Optometry, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou China, 325027  
Objective To investigate the effects of font size,stroke and contrast on the reading speed of Chinese characters. Methods Thirty university students were recruited for this study. Chinese reading texts containing subject matter that could easily be comprehended by the students were randomly selected for presentation. Chinese characters of five font sizes (0.4 to 1.2 logMAR) and three stroke categories (sparse strokes, medium strokes and dense strokes, based on the number of strokes in the characters) were grouped accordingly for reading material. All subjects were measured for the reading speed of Chinese text that was presented under two contrast conditions (100% and 10%) with RSVP (rapid serial visual presentation). The reading distance was 50 cm. Sequence and condition were determined randomly. Results Under each condition, reading speed for individual subjects was plotted against log font size. The critical font sizes (CFS) for the sparse-stroke, medium-stroke and dense-stroke groups under 100% contrast were (8.43±0.25)pt, (9.29±0.51)pt and (10.89±2.75)pt, respectively, and the CFS for the sparse-stroke, medium-stroke and dense-stroke groups under 10% contrast was (16.54±8.11)pt, (17.36±5.88)pt and (17.15±3.31)pt, respectively. When font size was below the critical level, there was a rapid and significant increase in reading speed with an increase in font size (P0.01). However, when font size was above the critical level, reading speed reached a plateau, and there was no significant difference between the reading speeds of the different font sizes (P0.05). Reading speeds of the three stroke groups were also compared. Reading speed was fastest for the sparse-strokes group and slowest for the dense-strokes group. Low contrast and dense strokes slowed the reading speed of small fonts, but did not slow reading speed for large fonts. Conclusion Strokes and contrast affect critical font size. Low contrast and dense strokes can influence the reading speed of Chinese characters, but these influences can be eliminated by adjusting font size.
【Fund】: 浙江省科技计划基金资助项目(2005C14001);; 温州市科技局基金资助项目(Y20060227)
【CateGory Index】: R77
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