Actions and roles: Using depicted events for disambiguation and reinterpretation in German and English

P Knoeferle, M W Crocker, C Scheepers, M J Pickering

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Can depicted actions help in establishing role relations between participants in an event and trigger rapid disambiguation of local structural and role ambiguity in sentence comprehension? Verb information has been shown to influence visual referential processing (e.g. Altmann & Kamide, 1999; Kako & Trueswell, 2000). Moreover, results from priming studies (e.g. Ferretti, McRae & Hatherell, 2001) suggest that verbs activate typical agents, patients and instruments via event knowledge. Thus, verbs can make complex knowledge structures accessible. However, verb knowledge may sometimes not be sufficient to interpret role relations correctly. We investigated if visual information about a character's role-relation to other characters in an event influences processes of role assignment in on-line sentence comprehension. Three experiments present evidence that visual event information - actions and roles - lead to rapid disambiguation of initial structural and role ambiguity which verb knowledge alone did not disambiguate. In addition we found effects of reinterpretation processes. Findings have been replicated cross-linguistically for two different sentence structures (German SVO/OVS and English MV/RR clause).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 25th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Pts 1 and 2
EditorsR Alterman, D Kirsh
Place of PublicationMahwah
PublisherLawrence Erlbaum Associates
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0-8058-4991-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)



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