Influence of connectives on language comprehension: Eye-tracking evidence for incremental interpretation

M J Traxler, M D Bybee, M J Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An eye-tracking experiment investigated whether incremental interpretation applies to interclausal relationships. According to Millis and Just's (1994) delayed-integration hypothesis, interclausal relationships are not computed until the end of the second clause, because the processor needs to have two full propositions before integration can occur. We investigated the processing of causal and diagnostic sentences (Sweetser, 1990; Tversky & Kahneman, 1982) that contained the connective because. Previous research (Traxler, Sanford, Aked, & Moxey, 1997) has demonstrated that readers have greater difficulty processing diagnostic sentences than causal sentences. Our results indicated that difficulty processing diagnostic sentences occurred well before the end of the second clause. Thus comprehenders appear to compute interclausal relationships incrementally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-497
Number of pages17
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A - Human Experimental Psychology
Volume50
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997

Keywords

  • SYNTACTIC AMBIGUITY RESOLUTION
  • SENTENCE COMPREHENSION
  • EXPOSITORY TEXTS
  • UNBOUNDED DEPENDENCIES
  • SEMANTIC INFLUENCES
  • ARGUMENT STRUCTURE
  • WORD-RECOGNITION
  • CONTEXT
  • VERB
  • INFORMATION

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