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Eye-tracking while reading passives: An event structure account of difficulty

Paolazzi, C; Grillo, N; Cera, C; Karageorgou, F; Bullman, E; Chow, WY; Santi, A; (2022) Eye-tracking while reading passives: An event structure account of difficulty. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 10.1080/23273798.2021.1946108. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Among existing accounts of passivisation difficulty, some argue it depends on the predicate semantics (i.e. passives are more difficult with subject-experiencer than agent-patient verbs). Inconsistent with the accounts that predict passive difficulty, Paolazzi et al. (2019) found that passives were read faster than actives at the verb and object by-phrase in a series of self-paced reading experiments, with no modulation of verb type. However, self-paced reading provides limited direct measurement of late revision/interpretive processing. We used modified stimuli from Paolazzi et al. (2019) to re-examine this issue in two eye-tracking while reading experiments. We found that in late measures, passives with subject-experiencer verbs had longer fixation durations than actives at the verb and two subsequent regions but no difference was observed across agent-patient verbs. Subject-experiencer verbs provide a state, but the passive structure requires an event. Thus, the required eventive interpretation is coerced with subject-experiencers (if possible) and induces difficulty.

Type: Article
Title: Eye-tracking while reading passives: An event structure account of difficulty
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2021.1946108
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2021.1946108
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Event structure, sentence processing, eye-tracking, passive sentence
UCL classification: UCL
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: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129847
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