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Two eyes diverged in a sentence (ref: RDF20/PSY/BLYTHE)

Project Description

Often, when reading, the two eyes fixate different letters within a word and yet the reader does not experience double vision. There are two possible mechanisms for single vision: either the two retinal images are fused, despite the eyes’ different views, or one eye is suppressed. We have developed a paradigm that, for the first time, allows us to distinguish between these possibilities when people are reading normally. We inject probe stimuli behind the text plane, consisting of gratings at different orientations for each eye (/// and \\\). If retinal inputs are fused then, at the point of probe, participants should report a plaid pattern (XXX). If one retinal input is suppressed, lines at a single orientation should be reported. You will extend this method, and include eye-movement recording, to establish whether skilled adult readers achieve single vision through fusion or suppression.

There is an important clinical context for this research. Atypical binocular vision has, contentiously, been linked with dyslexia. A key factor that distinguishes between seemingly contradictory studies is their recruitment of children with reading difficulties. Some have recruited through schools, and report patterns of cognitive processing difficulties but no binocular impairments. Others have recruited through vision clinics and report atypical binocular vision that is argued to cause the child’s reading difficulties. No study to date has recruited and directly compared both populations. You will, therefore, go on to examine children’s reading in three groups: (1) typically developing children; (2) children with dyslexia and unimpaired vision; (3) children with poor binocular vision and reading difficulties. The dichoptic probe will assess binocular fusion during reading, whilst eye-movement records will index cognitive processing difficulties. Discrepant patterns on these measures across the groups will determine whether there is a subgroup of children whose reading difficulties are specifically associated with atypical binocular vision.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students with a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Nikolova, M., Jainta, S., Blythe, H.I., & Liversedge, S.P. (2018). Binocular advantages for parafoveal processing in reading. Vision Research, 145, 56-63.

Nikolova, M., Jainta, S., Blythe, H.I., & Liversedge, S.P. (2017). Using a dichoptic moving window presentation technique to investigate binocular advantages during reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43, 265-280.

Jainta, S., Blythe, H.I., Nikolova, M., Jones, M.O., & Liversedge, S.P. (2015). A comparative analysis of vertical and horizontal fixation disparity in sentence reading. Vision Research, 110, 118-127.

Nikolova, M., Jainta, S., Blythe, H.I., Jones, M.O., & Liversedge, S.P. (2014). Vergence responses to vertical binocular disparity during lexical identification. Vision Research, 106, 27-35.

Jainta, S., Blythe, H.I., & Liversedge, S.P. (2014). Binocular advantages in reading. Current Biology, 24, 526-530.

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