Any leftovers from a discarded prediction? Evidence from eye-movements during sentence comprehension
Gussow, Arella E.
Kapnoula, Efthymia C.
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Arella E. Gussow, Efthymia C. Kapnoula & Nicola Molinaro (2019) Any leftovers from a discarded prediction? Evidence from eye-movements during sentence comprehension, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34:8, 1041-1058, DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2019.1617887
We investigated how listeners use gender-marked adjectives to adjust lexical predictions during sentence comprehension. Participants listened to sentence fragments in Spanish (e.g. “The witch flew to the village on her…”) that created expectation for a specific noun (broomstickfem), and were completed by an adjective and a noun. The adjective either agreed (newfem), disagreed (newmasc), or was neutral (bigfem/masc) with respect to the expected noun’s gender. Using the visual-world paradigm, we monitored looks toward images of the expected noun versus an alternative of the opposite gender (helicoptermasc). While listening to the initial fragment, participants looked more towards the expected noun. Once the adjective was heard, looks shifted toward the noun that matched the adjective’s gender. Finally, upon hearing the noun, looks were affected by both previous context and adjective gender. We conclude that predictions are updated online based on gender cues, but sentence context still affects integration of the expected noun.