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Title:Aging and semantic integration in sentence processing: Testing the cognitive workload of wrap-up
Author(s):Payne, Brennan R.
Advisor(s):Stine-Morrow, Elizabeth A.L.; Christianson, Kiel; Garnsey, Susan M.
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Cognitive aging
Language processing
Parafoveal preview
Eye-movement control
Semantic integration
Abstract:The current study investigated the cognitive workload of sentence and clause wrap-up in younger and older readers. A large number of studies have demonstrated the presence of wrap-up effects, peaks in processing time at clause and sentence boundaries that some argue reflect attention to organizational and integrative semantic processes. However, the exact nature of these wrap-up effects is still not entirely clear, with some arguing that wrap-up is not related to processing difficulty, but rather is triggered by a low-level oculomotor response or the implicit monitoring of intonational contour. The notion that wrap-up effects are resource-demanding was directly tested by examining the degree to which sentence and clause wrap-up affects the parafoveal preview benefit. Older and younger adults read passages in which a target word N occurred in a sentence-internal, clause-final, or sentence-final position. A gaze-contingent boundary change paradigm was used in which, on some trials, a non-word preview of word N+1 was replaced by a target word once the eyes crossed an invisible boundary located between words N and N+1. All measures of reading time on word N were longer at clause and sentence boundaries than in the sentence-internal position. In the earliest measures of reading time, sentence and clause wrap-up showed evidence of reducing the magnitude of the preview benefit similarly for younger and older adults. However, this effect was moderated by age in gaze duration, such that older adults showed a complete reduction in the preview benefit in the sentence-final condition. Additionally, sentence and clause wrap-up were negatively associated with the preview benefit. Collectively, the findings from the current study suggest that wrap-up is cognitively demanding and may be less efficient with age, thus, resulting in a reduction of the parafoveal preview during normal reading.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Brennan R. Payne
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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