When is schematic participant information encoded? Evidence from eye-monitoring

Gail Mauner (Lead / Corresponding author), Alissa Melinger, Jean Pierre Koenig, Breton Bienvenue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Two eye-monitoring studies examined when unexpressed schematic participant information specified by verbs is used during sentence processing. Experiment 1 compared the processing of sentences with passive and intransitive verbs hypothesized to introduce or not introduce, respectively, an agent when their main clauses were preceded by either agent-dependent rationale clauses or adverbial clause controls. While there were no differences in the processing of passive clauses following rationale and control clauses, intransitive verb clauses elicited anomaly effects following agent-dependent rationale clauses. To determine whether the source of this immediately available schematic participant information is lexically specified or instead derived solely from conceptual sources associated with verbs, Experiment 2 compared the processing of clauses with passive and middle verbs following rationale clauses (e.g., To raise money for the charity, the vase was/had sold quickly. . .). Although both passive and middle verb forms denote situations that logically require an agent, middle verbs, which by hypothesis do not lexically specify an agent, elicited longer processing times than passive verbs in measures of early processing. These results demonstrate that participants access and interpret lexically encoded schematic participant information in the process of recognizing a verb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-406
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002


  • Argument structure
  • Construction grammar
  • Event participant
  • Eye-monitoring
  • Sentence interpretation
  • Sentence processing
  • Verb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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