Tag: Syntax

Does syntax bias serial order reconstruction of verbal short-term memory?

Does syntax bias serial order reconstruction of verbal short-term memory?

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 98-122

Abstract
“Existing models of short-term sequence memory can account for effects of long-term knowledge on the recall of individual items, but have rarely addressed the effects of long-term sequential constraints on recall. We examine syntactic constraints on the ordering of words in verbal short-term memory in four experiments. People were found to have better memory for sequences that more strongly conform to English syntax, and that errors in recall tended to make output sequences more syntactic (i.e., a syntactic bias). Model simulations suggest that the syntactic biasing in verbal short-term recall was more likely to be accounted for by a redintegration mechanism acting over multiple items in the sequence. The data were less well predicted by a model in which syntactic constraints operate via the chunking of sequences at encoding. The results highlight that models of short-term memory should be extended to include syntactic constraints from long-term representations—most likely via redintegration mechanisms acting over multiple items—but we also note the challenge of incorporating such constraints into most existing models.”

Written by: Timothy Jones, Simon Farrell
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2018.02.001

Beyond cloze probability: Parafoveal processing of semantic and syntactic information during reading

Beyond cloze probability: Parafoveal processing of semantic and syntactic information during reading

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 1-17

Abstract
“Theories of eye movement control in reading assume that early oculomotordecisions are determined by a word’s frequency and cloze probability. This assumption is challenged by evidence that readers are sensitive to the contextual plausibility of an upcoming word: First-pass fixation probability and duration are reduced when the parafoveal preview is a plausible, but unpredictable, word relative to an implausible word. The present study sought to establish whether the source of this effect is sensitivity to violations of syntactic acceptability. In two experiments, the gaze-contingent boundary paradigm was used to compare contextually plausible previews to semantically acceptable and anomalous previews that either matched or violated syntactic rules. Results showed that readers benefited from the convergence of semantic and syntactic acceptability early enough in the timecourse of reading to affect skipping. In addition, both semantic and syntactic plausibility yielded preview effects on target fixation duration measures, providing direct evidence of parafoveal syntactic processing in reading. These results highlight the limitations of relying solely on cloze probability to index contextual influences on early lexical processing. The implications of the data for models of eye movement control and language comprehension are discussed.”

Written by: Aaron Veldre, Sally Andrews
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2017.12.002

Skip to toolbar