Abstract

We compared the effects of fixed and variable (proportional) spacing on reading speeds and found variable pitch to yield better performance at medium and large character sizes and fixed pitch to be superior for character sizes approaching the acuity limit. The data indicate at least two crowding effects at the smallest sizes: one that interferes with individual character identification and one that interferes with word identification. A control experiment using rapid serial visual presentation suggests that it is the greater horizontal compression and consequently reduced eye-movement requirements of variable pitch that are responsible for its superiority at medium and large character sizes.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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