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Scanpaths reveal syntactic underspecification and reanalysis strategies

  • What theories best characterise the parsing processes triggered upon encountering ambiguity, and what effects do these processes have on eye movement patterns in reading? The present eye-tracking study, which investigated processing of attachment ambiguities of an adjunct in Spanish, suggests that readers sometimes underspecify attachment to save memory resources, consistent with the good-enough account of parsing. Our results confirm a surprising prediction of the good-enough account: high-capacity readers commit to an attachment decision more often than low-capacity participants, leading to more errors and a greater need to reanalyse in garden-path sentences. These results emerged only when we separated functionally different types of regressive eye movements using a scanpath analysis; conventional eye-tracking measures alone would have led to different conclusions. The scanpath analysis also showed that rereading was the dominant strategy for recovering from garden-pathing. Our results may also have broader implications for modelsWhat theories best characterise the parsing processes triggered upon encountering ambiguity, and what effects do these processes have on eye movement patterns in reading? The present eye-tracking study, which investigated processing of attachment ambiguities of an adjunct in Spanish, suggests that readers sometimes underspecify attachment to save memory resources, consistent with the good-enough account of parsing. Our results confirm a surprising prediction of the good-enough account: high-capacity readers commit to an attachment decision more often than low-capacity participants, leading to more errors and a greater need to reanalyse in garden-path sentences. These results emerged only when we separated functionally different types of regressive eye movements using a scanpath analysis; conventional eye-tracking measures alone would have led to different conclusions. The scanpath analysis also showed that rereading was the dominant strategy for recovering from garden-pathing. Our results may also have broader implications for models of reading processes: reanalysis effects in eye movements occurred late, which suggests that the coupling of oculo-motor control and the parser may not be as tight as assumed in current computational models of eye movement control in reading.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Titus von der Malsburg, Shravan VasishthORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/01690965.2012.728232
ISSN:0169-0965 (print)
ISSN:1464-0732 (online)
Parent Title (English):Language and cognitive processes
Publisher:Wiley
Place of publication:Hove
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2013
Year of Completion:2013
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:Eye movements; Individual differences; Parsing; Reading; Reanalysis; Scanpaths; Underspecification; Working memory
Volume:28
Issue:10
Pagenumber:34
First Page:1545
Last Page:1578
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Linguistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Peer Review:Referiert