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ERIC Number: EJ1073886
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Subsequent to Suppression: Downstream Comprehension Consequences of Noun/Verb Ambiguity in Natural Reading
Stites, Mallory C.; Federmeier, Kara D.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v41 n5 p1497-1515 Sep 2015
We used eye tracking to investigate the downstream processing consequences of encountering noun/verb (NV) homographs (i.e., park) in semantically neutral but syntactically constraining contexts. Target words were followed by a prepositional phrase containing a noun that was plausible for only 1 meaning of the homograph. Replicating previous work, we found increased first fixation durations on NV homographs compared with unambiguous words, which persisted into the next sentence region. At the downstream noun, we found plausibility effects following ambiguous words that were correlated with the size of a reader's first fixation effect, suggesting that this effect reflects the recruitment of processing resources necessary to suppress the homograph's context-inappropriate meaning. Using these same stimuli, Lee and Federmeier (2012) found a sustained frontal negativity to the NV homographs, and, on the downstream noun, found a plausibility effect that was also positively correlated with the size of a reader's ambiguity effect. Together, these findings suggest that when only syntactic constraints are available, meaning selection recruits inhibitory mechanisms that can be measured in both first fixation slowdown and event-related potential ambiguity effects.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Grant or Contract Numbers: T32-HD055272; DGE 11–44245 FLLW; AG026308