Accounting for regressive eye-movements in models of sentence processing: a reappraisal of the selective reanalysis hypothesis

Mitchell, Don C. and Shen , Xingjia and Green, Matthew J. and Hodgson, Timothy L. (2008) Accounting for regressive eye-movements in models of sentence processing: a reappraisal of the selective reanalysis hypothesis. Journal of Memory & Language, 59 (3). pp. 266-293. ISSN 0749-596X

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Accounting for regressive eye-movements in models of sentence processing: a reappraisal of the selective reanalysis hypothesis
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Abstract

When people read temporarily ambiguous sentences, there is often an increased prevalence of regressive eye-movements launched from the word that resolves the ambiguity. Traditionally,such regressions have been interpreted at least in part as reflecting readers’ efforts to re-read and reconfigure earlier material, as exemplified by the Selective Reanalysis hypothesis [Frazier, L., & Rayner, K. (1982). Making and correcting errors during sentence
comprehension: Eye movements in the analysis of structurally ambiguous sentences. Cognitive Psychology, 14, 178–210]. Within such frameworks it is assumed that the selection of saccadic landing-sites is linguistically supervised. As an alternative to this proposal, we consider
the possibility (dubbed the Time Out hypothesis) that regression control is partly decoupled from linguistic operations and that landing-sites are instead selected on the basis of low-level spatial properties such as their proximity to the point from which the regressive saccade was launched. Two eye-tracking experiments were conducted to compare the explanatory potential of these two accounts. Experiment 1 manipulated the formatting of linguistically identical sentences and showed, contrary to purely linguistic supervision, that the landing site of the first regression from a critical word was reliably influenced by the physical layout of the text. Experiment 2 used a fixed physical format but manipulated the position in the display at which reanalysis-relevant material was located. Here the
results showed a highly reliable linguistic influence on the overall distribution of regression landing sites (though with few effects being apparent on the very first regression). These results are interpreted as reflecting mutually exclusive forms of regression control with fixation
sequences being influenced both by spatially constrained, partially decoupled supervision systems as well as by some kind of linguistic guidance. The findings are discussed
in relation to existing computational models of eye-movements in reading.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:When people read temporarily ambiguous sentences, there is often an increased prevalence of regressive eye-movements launched from the word that resolves the ambiguity. Traditionally,such regressions have been interpreted at least in part as reflecting readers’ efforts to re-read and reconfigure earlier material, as exemplified by the Selective Reanalysis hypothesis [Frazier, L., & Rayner, K. (1982). Making and correcting errors during sentence comprehension: Eye movements in the analysis of structurally ambiguous sentences. Cognitive Psychology, 14, 178–210]. Within such frameworks it is assumed that the selection of saccadic landing-sites is linguistically supervised. As an alternative to this proposal, we consider the possibility (dubbed the Time Out hypothesis) that regression control is partly decoupled from linguistic operations and that landing-sites are instead selected on the basis of low-level spatial properties such as their proximity to the point from which the regressive saccade was launched. Two eye-tracking experiments were conducted to compare the explanatory potential of these two accounts. Experiment 1 manipulated the formatting of linguistically identical sentences and showed, contrary to purely linguistic supervision, that the landing site of the first regression from a critical word was reliably influenced by the physical layout of the text. Experiment 2 used a fixed physical format but manipulated the position in the display at which reanalysis-relevant material was located. Here the results showed a highly reliable linguistic influence on the overall distribution of regression landing sites (though with few effects being apparent on the very first regression). These results are interpreted as reflecting mutually exclusive forms of regression control with fixation sequences being influenced both by spatially constrained, partially decoupled supervision systems as well as by some kind of linguistic guidance. The findings are discussed in relation to existing computational models of eye-movements in reading.
Keywords:Syntactic ambiguity resolution, Human parsing, Regressions, Eye-movements, Selective Reanalysis, Computational models
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C860 Neuropsychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:4810
Deposited By: Alison Wilson
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 17:20
Last Modified:23 Apr 2013 08:58

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