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Examining inter-sentential influences on predicted verb subcategorization

Brady, Jill Louise (2009) Examining inter-sentential influences on predicted verb subcategorization. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study investigated the influences of prior discourse context and cumulative syntactic priming on readers' predictions for verb subcategorizations. An additional aim was to determine whether cumulative syntactic priming has the same degree of influence following coherent discourse contexts as when following series of unrelated sentences. Participants (N = 40) read sentences using a self-paced, sentence-by-sentence procedure. Half of these sentences comprised a coherent discourse context intended to increase the expectation for a sentential complement (S) completion. The other half consisted of scrambled sentences. The trials in both conditions varied according to the proportion of verbs that resolved to an S (either 6S or 2S). Following each condition, participants read temporarily ambiguous sentences that resolved to an S. Reading times across the disambiguating and postdisambiguating regions were measured. No significant main effects or interactions were found for either region. However, the lack of significant findings for these analyses may have been due to low power. In a follow-up analysis, data from each gender were analyzed separately. For the data contributed by males, there were no significant findings. For the data contributed by females, the effect of coherence was significant (by participants but not by items) across the postdisambiguating region, and there was a marginally significant interaction (p =.05) between coherence and frequency across this region suggesting that discourse-level information may differentially influence the local sentence processing of female and male participant.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Brady, Jill
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTompkins, Connie Atompkins@pitt.eduTOMPKINS
Committee MemberPerfetti, Charlesperfetti@pitt.eduPERFETTI
Committee MemberDollaghan, Christine
Committee MemberYaruss, J. Scottjsyaruss@pitt.eduJSYARUSS
Date: 22 January 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 21 July 2008
Approval Date: 22 January 2009
Submission Date: 5 December 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: sentence processing; syntax; verb; verb subcategorization
Other ID:, etd-12052008-121729
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:08
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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