Past studies have discovered that that occlusion on the right (right-top, right-bottom) or on the bottom yields faster recognition time and higher reading accuracy for Chinese characters composed of two or three radicals, regardless of vertical or horizontal arrangement, or occluding one or two sides. In order to investigate whether occlusion of single composition structure characters, in the absence of accompanying parts, would yield similar recognition results, this pilot study was undertaken. Given the hypothesis that different positions of occlusion applied to numerals and Chinese characters would yield different reading preference results, this research selected nine each of Chinese characters and Arabic numerals, occluding each at the top, bottom, left, and right, comprising 72 samples. Coming from design and non-design education backgrounds, 160 participants were recruited to investigate how and why they would rank the modes of occlusion for preference. Using nonparametric tests to analyze the experimental results revealed a significant difference among the occlusion position for numbers and Chinese characters. Chinese characters occluded on the right were most preferred, those with left occlusion least. Numbers occluded on the bottom were most preferred, those with left occlusion least. The primary reason given for preference, for both Chinese characters and numbers, was ease of recognition and balance. The main reason for not preferring either occluded Chinese characters or numbers was that they were not easily recognized, seemed unbalanced and non-aesthetic. Regarding differing education background of the participants, there was significant difference for the Chinese characters occluded at the top and bottom, and non-significant difference for reading preference of occluded numerals.
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