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Title:Great (Syntactic) Expectations: Multiple Structures and the Case for Parallelism in Language Processing
Author(s):Wilson, Michael
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Garnsey, Susan M.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Psychobiology
Abstract:Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) are used to address a controversial issue in language-processing research, namely whether the parser proposes more than one possibility for how a sentence will continue. Relatively little research has used ERPs to answer this question, and previous studies have examined brain responses at a point in the sentence when competing theories would make similar predictions. In two experiments, sentences were presented to participants like The claim that the cop shot the informant might have affected the jury. At shot, these sentences continue as preferred plausible complement clauses. If comprehenders are considering a relative clause, however, this will become implausible at shot (*The claim that the cop shot...). According to serial models, only one interpretation---usually the preferred one---will be selected, and thus plausibility in the relative clause version shouldn't matter. The results show a consistent N400 effect at verbs like shot, suggesting that even though sentences continue plausibly in a way that comprehenders expect, they are nonetheless considering the dispreferred relative clause. These results support parallel interactive models.
Issue Date:2006
Description:103 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3223750
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2006

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