NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ934504
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Event-Based Plausibility Immediately Influences On-Line Language Comprehension
Matsuki, Kazunaga; Chow, Tracy; Hare, Mary; Elman, Jeffrey L.; Scheepers, Christoph; McRae, Ken
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v37 n4 p913-934 Jul 2011
In some theories of sentence comprehension, linguistically relevant lexical knowledge, such as selectional restrictions, is privileged in terms of the time-course of its access and influence. We examined whether event knowledge computed by combining multiple concepts can rapidly influence language understanding even in the absence of selectional restriction violations. Specifically, we investigated whether instruments can combine with actions to influence comprehension of ensuing patients of (as in Rayner, Warren, Juhuasz, & Liversedge, 2004; Warren & McConnell, 2007). Instrument-verb-patient triplets were created in a norming study designed to tap directly into event knowledge. In self-paced reading (Experiment 1), participants were faster to read patient nouns, such as "hair", when they were typical of the instrument-action pair ("Donna used the shampoo to wash" vs. "the hose to wash"). Experiment 2 showed that these results were not due to direct instrument-patient relations. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 1 using eyetracking, with effects of event typicality observed in first fixation and gaze durations on the patient noun. This research demonstrates that conceptual event-based expectations are computed and used rapidly and dynamically during on-line language comprehension. We discuss relationships among plausibility and predictability, as well as their implications. We conclude that selectional restrictions may be best considered as event-based conceptual knowledge rather than lexical-grammatical knowledge. (Contains 2 figures, 12 tables and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada