ERIC Number: EJ780886
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Reference Count: 44
Tracking the Continuity of Language Comprehension: Computer Mouse Trajectories Suggest Parallel Syntactic Processing
Farmer, Thomas A.; Cargill, Sarah A.; Hindy, Nicholas C.; Dale, Rick; Spivey, Michael J.
Cognitive Science, v31 n5 p889-909 Sep 2007
Although several theories of online syntactic processing assume the parallel activation of multiple syntactic representations, evidence supporting simultaneous activation has been inconclusive. Here, the continuous and non-ballistic properties of computer mouse movements are exploited, by recording their streaming x, y coordinates to procure evidence regarding parallel versus serial processing. Participants heard structurally ambiguous sentences while viewing scenes with properties either supporting or not supporting the difficult modifier interpretation. The curvatures of the elicited trajectories revealed both an effect of visual context and graded competition between simultaneously active syntactic representations. The results are discussed in the context of 3 major groups of theories within the domain of sentence processing. (Contains 4 figures, 3 tables and 4 notes.)
Descriptors: Reading Comprehension, Sentence Structure, Computers, Language Processing, Syntax, Visual Stimuli, Linguistic Theory, Undergraduate Students, Task Analysis
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/default.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A