Comparing Semantic and Syntactic Expectation between Verbs and Thematic Roles: Evidence from Eyetracking

Park, Hyejin and Edmonds, Lisa A. (2013) Comparing Semantic and Syntactic Expectation between Verbs and Thematic Roles: Evidence from Eyetracking. [Clinical Aphasiology Paper]

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It has been shown with priming paradigms at the single word level (e.g., Edmonds & Mizrahi, 2011; Ferretti, McRae, & Hatherell, 2001) and eyetracking methods at the sentence level (e.g., Altmann & Kamide, 1999; Kamide, Scheepers, & Altmann, 2003) that a verb generates semantic expectations about an upcoming noun (McRae, Ferretti, & Amyote, 1997). In addition to semantic relationships, syntactic constraint is also involved in the expectation process (e.g., Friederici, Steinhauer, & Frisch, 1999; Gunter, Friederici, & Schriefers, 2000). Therefore, both semantic and syntactic constraints are important for fast and accurate language comprehension. However, previous studies have investigated the importance of each constraint independently and have not compared the two constraint effects. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of semantic and syntactic constraint to evaluate whether one constraint plays a more important role in expectancy generation. We presented pictures of objects representing the thematic roles of patient (a receiver of the action) and instrument (an object used to do the action) with simultaneous auditory presentation of verbs. With respect to syntax, the patient (bathtub) would be required after a 2-place verb (scrubbing), but the related instrument (sponge) would be optional and not syntactically required. To evaluate semantic expectation, we manipulated the degree of the semantic relationship (see Materials) of the patients and instruments as they related to the presented verb. Using eyetracking, we hypothesized that if participants looked at the patient picture regardless of how strongly the patient was semantically related to the verb, it would indicate that syntactic expectation overrides semantic expectation. Alternatively, if participants looked at the highly-related picture regardless of whether it was a patient or instrument, it would indicate that semantic expectation overrides syntactic expectation.

Item Type: Clinical Aphasiology Paper
Depositing User: OSCP Staff 1
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2013
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 12:54
Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference > Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2013 : 43rd : Tucson, AZ : May 28-June 2, 2013)

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