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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
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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.
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