ERIC Number: EJ799602
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
Priming in Sentence Comprehension: Strategic or Syntactic?
Traxler, Matthew J.; Tooley, Kristen M.
Language and Cognitive Processes, v23 n5 p609-645 Aug 2008
Two eye-tracking experiments and two self-paced reading experiments investigated processing of sentences containing reduced relative clauses. Processing of a reduced relative is facilitated when it is preceded by a sentence that has the same syntactic structure, as long as the preceding sentence contains the same critical verb as the target (LeDoux, Traxler, & Swaab, 2007; Pickering & Traxler, 2004; Traxler & Pickering, 2005). This study tests whether facilitative effects result from readers using the prime sentence as a strategic cue to predict an upcoming reduced relative target. This hypothesis was tested in three ways. In the first experiment, properties of the filler items were manipulated to reduce or eliminate the strategic value of repeated verbs as a structural cue. In the second experiment, noun overlap, rather than verb overlap, created a valid strategic cue to the upcoming sentence structure. In the third experiment, readers were warned that a reduced relative sentence would be forthcoming. Significant priming occurred in the absence of a valid cue in the first experiment; and no structural priming occurred in the presence of a valid cue in the second and third experiments. The fourth experiment demonstrated that the self-paced reading method is sensitive to priming effects. These results are consistent with previous studies showing the same dissociation between strategic cues and priming effects and therefore further indicate that priming effects are the result of a set of processes intrinsic to the parser. (Contains 4 tables, 4 figures, and 2 footnotes.)
Descriptors: Prediction, Cues, Sentence Structure, Verbs, Language Processing, Eye Movements, Reading Processes, Nouns, Reading Comprehension, Reading Strategies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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