Agreement attraction in comprehension: Do active dependencies and distractor position play a role?

Patrick Sturt, Nayoung Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Across four eye-tracking studies and one self-paced reading study, we test whether attraction in subject-verb agreement is affected by (a) the relative linear positions of target and distractor, and (b) the active dependency status of the distractor. We find an effect of relative position, with greater attraction in retro-active interference configurations, where the distractor is linearly closer to the critical verb (Subject…Distractor…V) than in pro-active interference where it is more distant (Distractor…Subject…V). However, within pro-active interference configurations, attraction was not affected by the active dependency status of the distractor: attraction effects were similarly small whether or not the distractor was waiting to complete an upcoming dependency at the critical verb, with Bayes Factor analyses showing evidence in favour of a null effect of active dependency status. We discuss these findings in terms of the decay of activation, and whether such decay is affected by maintenance of features in memory.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Early online date26 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • comprehension
  • number agreement
  • attraction
  • reading

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