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The structure-sensitivity of memory access: evidence from Mandarin Chinese

Dillon, B; Chow, W-Y; Wagers, M; Guo, T; Liu, F; Phillips, C; (2014) The structure-sensitivity of memory access: evidence from Mandarin Chinese. [Magazine_article]. Frontiers in Psychology , 5 , Article 1025. 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01025. Green open access

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Abstract

The present study examined the processing of the Mandarin Chinese long-distance reflexive ziji to evaluate the role that syntactic structure plays in the memory retrieval operations that support sentence comprehension. Using the multiple-response speed-accuracy tradeoff (MR-SAT) paradigm, we measured the speed with which comprehenders retrieve an antecedent for ziji. Our experimental materials contrasted sentences where ziji's antecedent was in the local clause with sentences where ziji's antecedent was in a distant clause. Time course results from MR-SAT suggest that ziji dependencies with syntactically distant antecedents are slower to process than syntactically local dependencies. To aid in interpreting the SAT data, we present a formal model of the antecedent retrieval process, and derive quantitative predictions about the time course of antecedent retrieval. The modeling results support the Local Search hypothesis: during syntactic retrieval, comprehenders initially limit memory search to the local syntactic domain. We argue that Local Search hypothesis has important implications for theories of locality effects in sentence comprehension. In particular, our results suggest that not all locality effects may be reduced to the effects of temporal decay and retrieval interference.

Type: Article
Title: The structure-sensitivity of memory access: evidence from Mandarin Chinese
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01025
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01025
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 Dillon, Chow, Wagers, Guo, Liu and Phillips. This is an open- access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms
Keywords: Working memory, Reflexive processing, Speed-accuracy Trade-off, Mandarin Chinese, Sentence processing
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1450447
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