UCL logo

UCL Discovery

UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Passives are not hard to interpret but hard to remember: Evidence from online and offline studies

Paolazzi, CL; Grillo, N; Alexiadou, A; Santi, A; (2019) Passives are not hard to interpret but hard to remember: Evidence from online and offline studies. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 10.1080/23273798.2019.1602733. (In press).

[img] Text
Paolazzi_Manuscript_final_AS_NG.pdf - ["content_typename_Accepted version" not defined]
Access restricted to UCL open access staff until 6 April 2020.

Download (373kB)

Abstract

Passive sentences are considered more difficult to comprehend than active sentences. Previous online-only studies cast doubt on this generalisation. The current paper directly compares online and offline processing of passivization and manipulates verb type: state vs. event. Stative passives are temporarily ambiguous (adjectival vs. verbal), eventive passives are not (always verbal). Across 4 experiments (self-paced reading with comprehension questions), passives were consistently read faster than actives. This contradicts the claim that passives are difficult to parse and/or interpret, as argued by main perspectives of passive processing (heuristic, syntactic, frequentist). The reading time facilitation is compatible with broader expectation/surprisal theories. When comprehension targeted theta-role assignment, passives were more errorful, regardless of verb type. Verbal WM measures correlated with the difference in accuracy, but not online measures. The accuracy effect is argued to reflect a post-interpretive difficulty associated with maintaining/manipulating the passive representation as required by specific tasks.

Type: Article
Title: Passives are not hard to interpret but hard to remember: Evidence from online and offline studies
DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2019.1602733
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2019.1602733
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: language comprehension, passivization, heuristics, surprisal, self-paced reading
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071776
Downloads since deposit
1Download
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item