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Recovery from misinterpretations during online sentence processing

Blott, L; Rodd, JM; Ferreira, F; Warren, JE; (2020) Recovery from misinterpretations during online sentence processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition (In press).

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Abstract

Misinterpretations during language comprehension are common. The ability to recover from such processing difficulties is therefore crucial for successful day-to-day communication. Previous research on the recovery from misinterpretations has focused on sentences containing syntactic ambiguities. The present study instead investigated the outcome of comprehension processes and on-line reading behaviour when misinterpretations occurred due to lexical-semantic ambiguity. Ninety-six adult participants read “garden-path” sentences in which an ambiguous word was disambiguated towards an unexpected meaning (e.g. The ball was crowded), while their eye movements were monitored. A Meaning Coherence Judgement task additionally required them to decide whether or not each sentence made sense. Results suggested that readers did not always engage in reinterpretation processes but instead followed a “good enough” processing strategy. Successful detection of a violation to sentence coherence and associated reinterpretation processes also required additional processing time compared to sentences that did not induce a misinterpretation. Although these reinterpretation-related processing costs were relatively stable across individuals, there was some evidence to suggest that readers with greater lexical expertise benefited from greater sensitivity to the disambiguating information, and were able to flexibly adapt their on-line reading behaviour to recover from misinterpretations more efficiently.

Type: Article
Title: Recovery from misinterpretations during online sentence processing
Publisher version: https://psycnet.apa.org/PsycARTICLES/journal/xlm/4...
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
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 > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101418
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