Plausibility and the processing of unbounded dependencies: An eye-tracking study

M J Traxler, M J Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Two eye-tracking experiments investigated processing or unbounded dependency constructions. Experiment 1 employed sentences like That's the garage/pistol with which the heartless killer shot the man yesterday afternoon. Readers experienced greater processing difficulty in implausible sentences than in plausible sentences immediately after encountering the verb shot. this demonstrated that they did not wait until the purported gap location after man before forming the unbounded dependency. Experiment 2 considered sentences which locally appear to have an unbounded dependency that turns out to be incorrect. Data from this experiment demonstrated that readers formed the unbounded dependency immediately, even though they had reanalyze later. However, there was no evidence that readers formed this unbounded dependency when it was rendered ungrammatical by island-constraint information. We argue that the processor constructs unbounded dependencies in a manner that is maximally efficient from the point of view of incremental processing. (C) 1996 Academic Press, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-475
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1996

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • GAPS


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