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Title:The Influence of Sentence Constraint on The Processing of Upcoming Words
Author(s):Schwanenflugel, Paula Joan
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Experimental
Abstract:The influence of the strength of readers' word-level expectancies on the processing of upcoming words was investigated. Highly constraining sentences yield larger facilitation than do lesser constraining contexts (Fischler & Bloom, 1979). Facilitation is generally greater for more expected than less expected words (Kleiman, 1980). Since sentences in text vary in constraint and expected words are not always encountered, experiments were performed to determine how constraint influences the range of alternatives that are readily processed.
Experiment 1 used a 2(context versus neutral) x 2(high versus low constraint) x 2(expected versus unexpected) design. A sentence context-lexical decision task was employed, with a 500 msec ISI between sentence frame reading and final word presentation. For high constraint sentences, expected words were facilitated by context while unexpected words were not. All words in low constraint contexts were facilitated, indicating a broader facilitation scope for such sentences.
Using only high constraint sentences, Experiment 2 examined whether increasing the proportion of times that subjects' expectations were confirmed (cue validity) influences facilitation scope. Inhibition was obtained for unexpected words, indicating a narrow facilitation scope in such situations. In Experiment 3 where a low constraint group was also included, a braod facilitation scope still was shown for low constraint sentences.
Experiments 4 and 5 were similar to Experiments 3 and 1 respectively except that 10 msec ISI was employed. Strategy differences between 500 msec and 10 msec ISI subjects precluded conclusions about the effect of ISI.
Experiment 6 included an incongruous completion condition. Whereas facilitation patterns for congruous words were similar to Experiment 1, the results for incongruous completions were inconsistent with models in which broad expectations are said to lead to more inhibition than narrow expectations. Patterns of facilitation across experiments indicated that facilitation scope is narrowed by increases in sentence constraint and cue validity.
Issue Date:1983
Description:104 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8324639
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1983

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