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0913_sent_compr

0913_sent_compr - Sentence comprehension 9.591 24.945 Ted...

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Sentence comprehension 9.591; 24.945 September 13, 2004 Ted Gibson
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Sentence processing Research in sentence comprehension attempts to discover what representations are used in the understanding and production of sentences, and how these representations are used in the course of processing a sentence.
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Puzzle: How do we process sentences? Sometimes the context helps: Please pass me the book on the table.
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Puzzle: How do we process sentences? Often the context does not help: Giant lizard-like creatures are descending from spaceships and attacking Boston. A man with below average intelligence will someday become the leader of the most powerful nation in the free world.
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Today 1. How to address the question of how sentences are comprehended. 2. Information sources used in sentence comprehension. 3. Modularity in sentence comprehension? Syntax first? 4. The effects of plausibility, context and lexical frequency in on-line processing
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How to uncover how the language processing mechanism works? Find input that the mechanism has difficulty with; Find input that the mechanism has little or no difficulty with.
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How to uncover how the language processing mechanism works? Useful evidence: 1. Ambiguous input that is easy / hard to process. 2. Unambiguous input that is easy / hard to process.
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Easy to process temporary ambiguity John knows Mary. John knows Mary is intelligent. The desert trains young people to be tough. The desert trains are tough on young people. Is the crowd in the room? Is the crowd in the room happy?
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Hard to process temporary ambiguity: Garden-path effects # The dog walked to the park chewed the bone. (cf. The dog that was walked to the park chewed the bone.) # The horse raced past the barn fell. (cf. The horse that was raced past the barn fell. # The cotton clothing is made of comes from Mississippi. (cf. The cotton that clothing is made of comes from Mississippi.) # I put the candy on the table into my mouth. (cf. I put the candy that was on the table into my mouth.)
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Reading methods: Self-paced reading, eye- tracking
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