Effects of context in human sentence parsing: Evidence against a discourse-based proposal mechanism.

D C Mitchell, M M B Corley, A Garnham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two subject-Paced reading experiments were carried out to examine the way in which discourse information exerts its influence in sentence comprehension. The results show that whereas prior discourse context appears to affect the way in which sentences are ultimately parsed, there is no evidence that it has any direct influence on the initial assignment of structure. These findings argue against parsing models (such as the referential support model) that assume that discourse factors influence the initial structural assignment. In contrast, they support models (e.g., the "garden path" model) that posit that initial structural proposals are made on a purely syntactic basis, whereas discourse effects are confined to a later set of disposal operations. These conclusions are discussed in the light of broader accounts of interactive processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-88
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Volume18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1992

Keywords

  • EYE-MOVEMENTS
  • RELATIVE CLAUSES
  • AMBIGUOUS SENTENCES
  • COMPREHENSION
  • INFORMATION

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