The Influence of Globally Ungrammatical Local Syntactic Constraints on Real-Time Sentence Comprehension: Evidence From the Visual World Paradigm and Reading

Yuki Kamide (Lead / Corresponding author), Anuenue Kukona

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We investigated the influence of globally ungrammatical local syntactic constraints on sentence comprehension, as well as the corresponding activation of global and local representations. In Experiment 1, participants viewed visual scenes with objects like a carousel and motorbike while hearing sentences with noun phrase (NP) or verb phrase (VP) modifiers like "The girl who likes the man (from London/very much) will ride the carousel." In both cases, "girl" and "ride" predicted carousel as the direct object; however, the locally coherent combination "the man from London will ride…" in NP cases alternatively predicted motorbike. During "ride," local constraints, although ruled out by the global constraints, influenced prediction as strongly as global constraints: While motorbike was fixated less than carousel in VP cases, it was fixated as much as carousel in NP cases. In Experiment 2, these local constraints likewise slowed reading times. We discuss implications for theories of sentence processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2976-2998
Number of pages23
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number8
Early online date20 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018



  • Eye movements
  • Local coherence
  • Reading
  • Sentence processing
  • Visual world paradigm

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