Reanalysis in sentence processing: evidence against current constraint-based and two-stage models

Roger P. G. van-Gompel (Lead / Corresponding author), Martin J. Pickering, Matthew J. Traxler

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    93 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Two eye-tracking experiments investigated processing of VP-NP attachment ambiguities. Experiment 1 tested sentences in which there was an initial bias toward VP attachment. Readers experienced more difficulty when semantic information disambiguated the sentences to NP attachment than when it disambiguated them to VP attachment or when it was consistent with either analysis. Experiment 2 tested sentences in which there was no initial bias toward either VP or NP attachment. Readers experienced more difficulty when semantic information disambiguated the sentences to NP attachment or VP attachment than when it was consistent with either analysis. We argue that these results challenge theories that assume a competition mechanism, such as constraint-based lexicalist accounts (e.g., MacDonald, Pearlmutter, & Seidenberg, 1994; McRae, Spivey-Knowlton, & Seidenberg, 1998; Spivey-Knowlton & Sedivy, 1995) and fixed-choice two-stage models (e.g., Frazier, 1987). We interpret the results in terms of the unrestricted race model (cf. Traxler, Pickering, & Clifton, 1998).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)225-258
    Number of pages34
    JournalJournal of Memory and Language
    Volume45
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2001

    Keywords

    • Sentence processing
    • Syntactic ambiguity resolution
    • Reanalysis
    • Competition

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