An Investigation of Chinese Character Complexity and Legibility from Eye-Tracking

  • 莊 賢智

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Past studies found that character structure affects character legibility and perception (Cai 2000; Yeh 2000) but no empirical evidence indicates how it affects the cognitive processes of viewing This study investigated the legibility of Chinese character complexity (number of strokes amount of nodes and image density) and eye movement information (saccade amplitude and number of fixations) to explore the viewing process of Chinese characters to understand the vision distribution and saccade amplitude of the character viewing process and analyze the key correlation factors between character feature complicacy and legibility This study investigated the correlations between the form features and legibility of Chinese characters by employing the eye tracking method in two experiments: It was found that character structure is a key influencer of character legibility as different types of character arrangements and character form features was shown to significantly affect eye movement behavior Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was applied to explore the relationship between Chinese character feature complicacy and legibility and it was found that the number of strokes in the character the number nodes and stroke density can directly affect the number of fixation and saccadic amplitude of eye movement A suitable Chinese character complicacy scale and an eye movement model were established Experiment 1 examined factors affecting Chinese character legibility with character modules; and identified the correlations between the visual feature and legibility of crossing strokes Experiment 2 examined the effect of crossing strokes on subjective complicacy perception in both Chinese characters and English letters This study determined that enclosed Chinese characters affect subjective complicacy perception and reduce saccadic amplitude In addition greater the number of crossing strokes produced higher subjective complicacy perceived for both Chinese characters and English letters The results of this study serve as a reference for predicting Chinese character legibility and assessing type design superiority
Date of Award2016 Jan 26
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMin-Yuan Ma (Supervisor)

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