The use of verb-specific information for prediction in sentence processing

Manabu Arai , Frank Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent research has shown that language comprehenders make predictions about upcoming linguistic information. These studies demonstrate that the processor not only analyses the input that it received but also predicts upcoming unseen elements. Two visual world experiments were conducted to examine the type of syntactic information this prediction process has access to. Experiment 1 examined whether the verb's subcategorisation information is used for predicting a direct object, by comparing transitive verbs (e.g., punish) to intransitive verbs (e.g., disagree). Experiment 2 examined whether verb frequency information is used for predicting a reduced relative clause by contrasting verbs that are infrequent in the past participle form (e.g., watch) with ones that are frequent in that form (e.g., record). Both experiments showed that comprehenders used lexically specific syntactic information to predict upcoming syntactic structure; this information can be used to avoid garden paths in certain cases, as Experiment 2 demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-560
Number of pages36
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number4
Early online date6 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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