CompLex: An eye-movement database of compound word reading in English


The CompLex database presents a large-scale collection of eye-movement studies on English compound word processing. A combined total of 440 participants completed eye tracking experiments in which they silently read unspaced English compound words (e.g., goalpost) embedded in sentence contexts (e.g., Dylan hit the goalpost when he was aiming for the net.). Three studies were conducted using participants representing the non-college bound population (300 participants), and four studies included participants recruited from the student population (140 participants). The database comprises trial-level eye-movement data (47,763 trials), participant data (including a measure of reading experience estimated via the Author Recognition Test), and lexical characteristics for the set of 931 English compound words used as critical stimuli in the studies. One contribution of the present paper is a set of regression analyses conducted on the full database and individual experiments. We report that the most reliable and consistent main effects were those elicited by compound word length, left constituent frequency, right constituent frequency, compound frequency and semantic transparency. Separately, we also found that the effect of left frequency and compound word length is weaker among more frequent compounds. Another contribution is a power analysis, in which we determined the sample sizes required to reliably detect effect sizes that are comparable to those observed in our regression models. These sample size estimates serve as a recommendation for researchers wishing to either collect eye-movement data for compound word reading, or use the current database as a resource for the study of English compound word processing.

In Behavior Research Methods, 53(1), 59-77