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Title:Reading experience predicts eye movements during online auditory comprehension
Author(s):James, Ariel
Advisor(s):Watson, Duane G.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
individual differences
visual world paradigm
language experience
Abstract:Current theories of language processing suggest that individuals use the probabilities in the language they experience to constrain comprehension as language unfolds, predicting that properties of the linguistic input, such as frequency and predictability, will affect online processing (MacDonald, Pearlmutter, & Seidenberg, 1994; Hale, 2001; MacDonald & Christiansen, 2002; Levy, 2008; Smith & Levy, 2013). It follows that differences between individuals in their idiosyncratic experience with their language should also affect processing, and this has been shown as well (Stanovich & West, 1989; Kuperman & Van Dyke, 2011; Mani & Huettig, 2012; Mishra, Pandey, Singh, & Huettig, 2012). The current set of studies addresses three questions related to individual differences in language experience: (1) whether experience with language that is not specific to the spoken domain nonetheless affect eye movements during auditory comprehension, (2) if so, does experience show an influence even when controlling for other theoretically motivated cognitive factors, and (3) whether language experience shows its influence on more low-level word recognition processes, top-down processes, or both. This paper describes two studies that use individual differences in language experience to predict performance in a visual world eyetracking task following Altmann and Kamide (1999). The design allows an effect of predictability of the target (top-down process) to be assessed separately from an overall facilitation in fixating the target (bottom-up effect). Study 1 finds trending evidence that language experience predicts an overall facilitation in fixating the target, and Study 2 replicates this effect and finds that it remains significant even when controlling for working memory, inhibitory control, phonological ability, and perceptual speed.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Ariel James
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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