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ERIC Number: EJ951138
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
The Comprehension of Anomalous Sentences: Evidence from Structural Priming
Ivanova, Iva; Pickering, Martin J.; Branigan, Holly P.; McLean, Janet F.; Costa, Albert
Cognition, v122 n2 p193-209 Feb 2012
We report three experiments investigating how people process anomalous sentences, in particular those in which the anomaly is associated with the verb. We contrast two accounts for the processing of such anomalous sentences: a syntactic account, in which the representations constructed for anomalous sentences are similar in nature to the ones constructed for well-formed sentences; and a semantic account, in which the representations constructed for anomalous sentences are erroneous, or altogether missing, and interpretation is achieved on the basis of semantic representations instead. To distinguish between these accounts, we used structural priming. First, we ruled out the possibility that anomaly per se influences the magnitude of the priming effect: Prime sentences with morphologically incorrect verbs produced similarly enhanced priming (lexical boost) to sentences with the same correct verbs (Exp. 1). Second, we found that prime sentences with a novel verb (Exp. 2) or a semantically and syntactically incongruent verb (Exp. 3) produced a priming effect, which was the same as that produced by well-formed sentences. In accord with the syntactic account, we conclude that the syntactic representations of anomalous sentences are similar to those constructed for well-formed sentences. Our results furthermore suggest that lexically-independent syntactic information is robust enough to produce well-formed syntactic representations during processing without requiring aid from lexically-based syntactic information. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)
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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