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Title:The effects of word order, noun animacy, and verb reversibility on the syllogistic processing of children and adults
Author(s):Marx, Maureen Gutierrez
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rowan, L.E.; Johnson, Cynthia J.
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Speech Pathology
Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of grammatical cues on the processing of syllogisms by children and adults. Eighty-four grade school children and twenty-one university students participated as subjects. Five age groups (classified by reading age) were represented in the study: 7+, 9+, 11+, 13+ and adults. Twenty-four syllogisms were constructed based on specific combinations of two levels of word order, Noun-Verb-Noun (NVN) and Noun-Noun-Verb; two levels of noun animacy, Animate-Inanimate (AI) and Animate-Animate (AnAn), and two levels of verb reversibility, nonreversible (NR) and reversible (R). These 24 syllogisms in written form bound in a test booklet were presented to individual subjects tested as a group. Each syllogism was written with two premises and four possible conclusions. Subjects were asked to select the valid conclusion from these four choices. The investigation compared the performance of the five reading-age groups using a repeated measures 4 x 2 x 2 mixed effects analysis of variance design. The factors of word order, noun animacy and verb reversibility were tested for main and interaction effects across all subjects combined and across each reading-age groups. Results indicate that (a) performance improved as subjects became older, (b) word order cue is the major factor in governing syllogistic processing with noun animacy and verb reversibility serving in diminished secondary capacities, and (c) syllogisms in the NVN form were processed significantly better than syllogisms in the NNV form. It is concluded that the canonical word order form, NVN, facilitates syllogistic interpretation and that children and adult English speakers demonstrate a definitive SV bias in the processing of any linguistic stimuli.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Marx, Maureen Gutierrez
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9305614
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9305614

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