Language Processing: Sentence Comprehension
Three 3-page papers, briefly reviewing one or more papers to be covered in one of the classes. One of these papers will be presented orally for 20-30 minutes in class on the day that this paper is to be discussed.
Papers other than the ones listed here (but on the same topic) can be considered for presentation. Please get my approval on your choice. Due in Lecture 3.
10% for a problem set. Problem set to be handed out. Due in Lecture 3.
Final project/paper, due on the final day of classes. If this is a paper, it should be roughly 10-20 pages. This paper can be on any topic in sentence processing.
This paper may consist of novel proposals, analysis and data, or alternatively it may consist of a review article in a specified area, with evaluation and commentary.
Problem: Designing a Sentence Processing Experiment
Describe the form of the items to be used in a self-paced reading experiment (or eye-tracking) to address each of the following two questions. Describe the kinds of things that need to be controlled in the items. Write two example items for each experiment. These items do not need to be controlled for lexical frequency differences, but you need to say which words in the items need to be matched for lexical frequency in a real experiment. Describe the critical regions of comparison for the proposed experiment.
1. Design items for an experiment which would test whether the complexity of an intervening integration affects the difficulty of making an integration, in addition to the complexity of the intervening discourse structure. One comparison that has the desired properties is the comparison between subject and object-extracted relative clauses, as in (1) and (2):
(1) Subject-extracted RC: The reporter who attacked the senator admitted the error.
(2) Object-extracted RC: The reporter who the senator attacked admitted the error.
At the point of processing "admitted", this verb is integrated with its subject "the reporter". The discourse objects that have been introduced since this subject NP are the same in the two sentence structures, but the object-extracted RC version is still more complex (slower to read) at this verb. This suggests that the integration complexity of the intervening region (which is more complex in (2) than in (1)) affects the complexity of crossing integrations.
Design items for another experiment testing this hypothesis, on a different construction.
2. It has been claimed by some researchers (e.g., Fodor & Inoue, 1994) that the reanalysis complexity of (3) (in which there is a syntactic cue to ambiguity resolution) is less than the reanalysis complexity of (4) (in which the cue to reanalysis comes from the implausibility of the situation: a table can't be inside a mouth):
(3) I put the candy on the table into my mouth.
(4) I put the candy on the table in my mouth.
Design items for an experiment testing this claim.
3. The dependency locality theory hypothesizes that there are two components to computational resource use: storage and integration. Design an experiment that tests whether the two kinds of resources are additive or interact. (If they interact, there may be an overlap in the working memory resources used for each.)