This article applies to:
Experiment Author: Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
This experiment used a moving window paradigm to investigate disambiguating phrases like "desert trains" that could be either noun-verb or adjective-noun depending on context. Participants read a sentence, then answered a simple question about its content.
Participants in this experiment read full sentences one word at a time and advance by pressing any keyboard key or allowing one second to elapse. There is a question after each sentence to test comprehension. There are 16 sentence and question sets in the experiment.
Desktop resolution in device settings must stay at 640x480 pixels
MacDonald, M. (1993). The interaction of lexical and syntactic ambiguity. Journal of Memory and Language, 32, 692-715.
Cited Experiment Abstract
Two experiments investigated comprehension of noun/verb lexical category ambiguities such as trains, in order to determine whether resolution of these ambiguities was similar to other types of ambiguity resolution. Frazier and Rayner (1987, Journal of Memory and Language, 26, 505-526) argued that these ambiguities were resolved with a delay strategy that is not used for other ambiguities. Experiment 1's self-paced reading data replicated Frazier & Rayner's results but also showed that evidence taken to support delay had other explanations. Experiment 2 investigated the influence of semantic biases on ambiguity resolution and found that three probabilistic factors influenced lexical category ambiguity resolution: (1) the relative frequency of head vs. modifying noun usage of a biasing noun, (2) the frequency of cooccurrence of a biasing noun and category ambiguous word in English, and (3) the combinatorial semantic information in the sentence. The extent to which alternative models account for the use of probabilistic information in ambiguity resolution is discussed.
Works Cited by the Experiment
Altmann, G.T.M. (Ed.) (1990). Cognitive models of speech processing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Altmann, G., & Steedman, M. (1988). Interaction with context during human sentence processing. Cognition, 30, 191-238.
Berg, G. (1991). Learning recursive phrase structure: Combining the strengths of PDP and x-bar syntax. Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science Tech Report, SUNY Albany.
Bock, J.K. (1986). Syntactic persistence in language production. Cognitive Psychology, 18, 355-387.
Bock, J.K., & Loebell, H. (1990). Framing sentences. Cognition, 35, 1-40.
Burgess, C., & Hollbach, S.C. (1988). A computational model of syntatctic ambiguity as a lexical process. Proceedings of the 10th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 263-269).
Elman, J.L. (1990). Representation and structure in connectionist models. In G.T.M. Altmann (Ed.)., Cognitive Models of Speech Processing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Ferreira, F., & Clifton, C. (1986). The independence of syntactic processing. The Journal of Memory and Language, 25, 348-368.
Francis, W.N., & Kucera, H. (1982). Frequency analysis of English usage: Lexicon and grammar. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Frazier, L. (1987). Sentence processing: A tutorial review. In M. Coltheart (Ed.), Attention and performance XII: The psychology of reading. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Frazier, L. (1989). Against lexical generation of syntax. In W. Marslen-WIlson, (Ed.) Lexical representation and process. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Frazier, L., & Rayner, K. (1987). Resolution of syntactic category ambiguities: Eye movements in parsing lexically ambiguous sentences. Journal of Memory and Language, 26, 505-526.
Juliano, C., & Tanenhaus, M.K. (1993). Contingent frequency effects in syntactic ambiguity resolution. Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Conference for the Cognitive Science Society.
Just, M.A., & Carpenter, P.A. (1980). A theory of reading: From eye fixations to comprehension. Psychological Review, 87, 329-354.
Just, M.A., Carpenter, P.A., & Wooley, J.D. (1982). Paradigms and processes in reading comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 3, 228-238.
Kawamoto, A. (1988). Interactive processes in the resolution of lexical ambiguity. In S. Small, G. Cottrell, & M.K. Tanenhaus (Eds.), Lexical ambiguity resolution: Computational, linguistic, and psychological perspectives. NY: Morgan Kauffman.
King, J., & Just, M.A. (1991). Individual differences in syntactic processing: The role of working memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 30, 580-602.
Kurtzman, H., & MacDonald, M.C. (1993). Resolution of quantifier scope ambiguities. Cognition, in press.
Levin, B., & Pinker, S. (1991). Introduction to special issue of Cognition on lexical and conceptual semantics. Cognition, 41, 1-8.
MacDonald, M.C. (1993). Probabilistic constraints and syntactic ambiguity resolution. Language and Cognitive Processes, in press.
MacDonald, M.C., Pearlmutter, N.J., & Seidenberg, M.S. (1993). The lexical nature of syntactic ambiguity resolution. Manuscript in preparation.
McClelland, J. L., St. John, M., & Taraban, R. (1989). Sentence comprehension: A parallel distributed processing approach. Langauge and Cognitive Processes, 4, SI287-335.
Morton, J. (1969). Interaction of information in word recognition. Psychological Review, 76, 165-178.
Pearlmutter, N.J., & MacDonald, M.C. (1992). Plausibility and syntactic ambiguity resolution. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Society.
Rayner, K., Carlson, M., & Frazier, L. (1983). The interaction of syntax and semantics during sentence processing. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 22, 358-374.
Seidenberg, M.S. (1992). Connectionism without tears. In S. Davis (Ed.), Connectionism: Theory and Practice. London/New York: Cambridge University Press.
Seidenberg, M.S., Tanenhaus, M.K., Leiman, J.M., & Bienkowski, M. (1982). Automatic access of the meanings of ambiguous words in context: Some limitations of knowledge-based processing. Cognitive Psychology, 14, 489-537.
Simpson, G.B. (1981). Meaning dominanace and semantic context in the processing of lexical ambiguity. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 20, 120-136.
Small, S., Cottrell, G., & Tanenhaus, M. (Eds.), (1988). Lexical ambiguity resolution. San Mateo, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.
Spivey-Knowlton, M., Trueswell, J., & Tanenhaus, M. (1993). Context effects in syntactic ambiguity resolution: Discourse and semantic influences in parsing reduced relative clauses. Canadian Journal of Psychology, in press.
Swinney, D.A. (1979). Lexical access during sentence comprehension: (Re)consideration of context effects. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 645-660.
Tanenhaus, M.K., Leiman, J.M., & Seidenberg, M.S. (1979). Evidence for mulitple stagesw in the processing of ambiguous words in syntactic contexts. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 427-440.
Taraban, R., & McClelland, J.L. (1988). Constituent attachment and thematic role assignment in sentence processing: Influences of content-based expectations. Jouranl of Memory and Language, 27, 597-632.
Trueswell, J.C., Tanenhaus, M.K., & Garnsey, S.M. (1993a). Semantic influences on parsing: Use of thematic role information in syntactic disambiguation. Jouranl of Memory and Language, in press.
Trueswell, J.C., Tanenhaus, M.K., & Garnsey, S.M. (1993b). Verb specific constraints in sentence processing: Separating effects of lexical preference from garden-paths. Jouranl of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, in press.
Tyler, L.K., & Marslen-Wilson, W.D. (1977). The on-line effects of semantic context on syntactic processing. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 16, 683-692.