Abstract / Description of output
In two eye-tracking reading experiments, we used a variant of the filled gap technique to investigate how strong and weak islands are processed on a moment-to-moment basis during comprehension. Experiment 1 provided a conceptual replication of previous studies showing that real time processing is sensitive to strong islands. In the absence of an island, readers experienced processing difficulty when a pronoun appeared in a position of a predicted gap, but this difficulty was absent when the pronoun appeared inside a strong island. Experiment 2 showed an analogous effect for weak islands: a processing cost was seen for a pronoun in the position of a predicted gap in a that-complement clause, but this cost was absent in a matched whether clause, which constitutes a weak island configuration. Overall, our results are compatible with the claim that active dependency formation is suspended, or reduced, in both weak and strong island structures.