What do eye movements in the visual world reflect? A case study from adjectives

Ciyang Qing, Daniel Lassiter, Judith Degen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

A common dependent measure used in visual-world eye-tracking experiments is the proportion of looks to a visually depicted object in a certain time window after the onset of the critical stimulus. When interpreting such data, a common assumption is that looks to the object reflect the listener's belief that the object is the intended target referent. While this is intuitively plausible (at least for paradigms in which the task requires selecting a referent), relatively little is known about how exactly the proportion of looks to an object is related to a listener's current belief about that object. Here, we test a simple, explicit linking hypothesis: the proportion of looks to an object correlates with the probability that the listener assigns to the object being the target. To test this hypothesis, we supplement the eye-tracking data from Leffel, Xiang, and Kennedy (2016) with an offline incremental decision task to measure participants' beliefs about the intended referent at various points in the unfolding sentence, and assess the extent to which these beliefs predict the eye-tracking data. The results suggest that the degree to which an object is believed to be the referent is only one factor that affects eye movements in referential tasks. Preliminary free production data we have collected for the scenes suggests that utterance expectations also play a role. We discuss methodological implications of these results for experimental linguistics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2018
Subtitle of host publicationChanging / minds
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages2297-2302
Number of pages6
Volume40
ISBN (Print)9780991196784
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2018
Event40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Changing Minds, CogSci 2018 - Madison, United States
Duration: 25 Jul 201828 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Volume40
ISSN (Electronic)1069-7977

Conference

Conference40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Changing Minds, CogSci 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMadison
Period25/07/1828/07/18

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • eye-tracking
  • gradable adjectives
  • imprecision
  • linking functions
  • pragmatics
  • semantics
  • vagueness
  • visual world

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