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Albrecht W. Inhoff

Emeritus Professor of Psychology



Encoding of visual text differs fundamentally from the encoding of spoken language in that it requires the active selection of to-be-recognized words from a spatially ordered set of visual symbols. Inhoff's research examines the coordination of two mechanisms, overt and covert selection of words in reading. Covert selection precedes overt selection. It involves the inhibition of previously attended areas of text (inhibition of return) and the active orienting toward new words. Covert selection and linguistic processing can encompass more than one word at a time, and it guides overt selection, i.e., movements of eyes, to new text. His recent work examines counter-directional eye movements, and whether/how readers use spatial memory to move the eyes to previously read text (regressions). Readers also hear what they read, and Inhoff has sought to elucidate the nature and function of readers’ covert (subvocal) speech.

His research is conducted in a state-of-the-art laboratory. Most experiments involve the measurement of eye movements with relatively high spatial and temporal accuracy. They assume that movements of the eyes during reading are tightly controlled by ongoing perceptual and cognitive processes. Measurement of eye movements thus provides them with a direct, on-line index of mental processes during fluent reading.

Many of their laboratory techniques involve the creation of sophisticated and often spectacular viewing conditions. This includes the creation of artificial scotomas and tunnel-vision. They have recently developed a new experimental technique, the contingent speech technique, that allows them to present auditory information (via headphones) when the eyes reach a pre-determined word during reading. Effects of visual and auditory manipulations on eye movements during sentence reading are then being used to determine whether, when, and how a particular type of information is used during silent reading.


  • Vordiplom, Hauptdiplom, Christian-Albrechts-Universität
  • PhD, University of Massachusetts

Research Interests

  • Word recognition
  • eye-voice coordination
  • subvocal speech
  • Perceptual processes during reading
  • Oculomotor control during reading
  • Neurological structures and cognitive processes

Teaching Interests

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuropsychology
  • Attention & Consciousness
  • The Psychology of Reading
  • Psychology in the Visual Arts


  • University Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring
  • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae