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ERIC Number: EJ778729
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Dec
Pages: 35
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0285
Eye Movements and Spoken Language Comprehension: Effects of Visual Context on Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution
Spivey, Michael J.; Tanenhaus, Michael K.; Eberhard, Kathleen M.; Sedivy, Julie C.
Cognitive Psychology, v45 n4 p447-481 Dec 2002
When participants follow spoken instructions to pick up and move objects in a visual workspace, their eye movements to the objects are closely time-locked to referential expressions in the instructions. Two experiments used this methodology to investigate the processing of the temporary ambiguities that arise because spoken language unfolds over time. Experiment 1 examined the processing of sentences with a temporarily ambiguous prepositional phrase (e.g., "Put the apple on the towel in the box") using visual contexts that supported either the normally preferred initial interpretation (the apple should be put on the towel) or the less-preferred interpretation (the apple is already on the towel and should be put in the box). Eye movement patterns clearly established that the initial interpretation of the ambiguous phrase was the one consistent with the context. Experiment 2 replicated these results using prerecorded digitized speech to eliminate any possibility of prosodic differences across conditions or experimenter demand. Overall, the findings are consistent with a broad theoretical framework in which real-time language comprehension immediately takes into account a rich array of relevant nonlinguistic context. [This research was supported by an NSF predoctoral fellowship, a Sloan Foundation Fellowship in Neuroscience at Cornell University, and by the NIH.]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A