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Title:What the Eye Says About Sentence Planning
Author(s):Griffin, Zenzi Margareta
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bock, Kathryn
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Speech Communication
Abstract:Three experiments used the eye movements made by speakers across pictured events to investigate the time course of sentence planning and execution. The first experiment explored the relationship between perceptually encoding actors in simple events and the temporal sequence of linguistic expressions referring to them in speech. When possible, speakers appeared to begin fluent descriptions soon after fixating every actor in an event briefly, thereby comprehending the event. The time spent looking at actors before and during speech indicated that, when speaking extemporaneously, the sentential subject was lexically encoded before speech onset whereas the direct object was lexically encoded during speech. The subsequent experiments more rigorously tested this difference. In Experiment 2, the event roles of the actors in each picture were exchanged while retaining as much other detail as possible. For one picture set, switching the agent of a depicted action changed the identity of the actor encoded as subject. This in turn caused a change in eye movement patterns across the actors. For the other picture set, switching event roles did not affect the order in which actors were mentioned, but required a different syntactic structure to accommodate the change. This exchange of event roles did not substantially alter the time course of eye movements across actors, further indicating that order of mention determined the distribution of fixation times across time. In Experiment 3, speakers were provided with verbs to use in their descriptions. Because the verbs preferred different mappings between event roles and grammatical roles, the sequence of eye movements changed accordingly. Furthermore, being provided with a verb allowed speakers to start speaking earlier than they would otherwise, fixating fewer actors in the event, and looking at the named actors for less time before speaking. The results demonstrate the utility of eye movement data in the stud of sentence processing and provide new evidence about the time course of lexically encoding nouns in sentences.
Issue Date:1998
Description:91 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9912245
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998

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