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Effects of syntactic cues on eye movements during sentence comprehension in young adults

Mitkish, Mary (2015) Effects of syntactic cues on eye movements during sentence comprehension in young adults. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Purpose: To use the eyetracking paradigm to explore how young healthy adults take advantage of semantic information provided by a verb cue versus syntactic information associated with WH- cues. The goal is to determine how predictive processing works in a young normal population.
Method: 27 college-aged participants listened to audio content while simultaneously looking at a related visual display. Their eyes were tracked for the duration of the study in order to determine where they fixated during critical parts of each trial. Recordings of their eye movements were then statistically analyzed and interpreted.
Results: The WH- cue has a much stronger and quicker effect on predictive tendencies than the verb cue alone. In WH- conditions, subjects fixated on the direct object both faster and more consistently than in the Y/N conditions. These results show that the verb cue alone has a weaker and slower effect on predictive tendencies than the WH- cue.
Conclusion: For young unimpaired individuals, the WH- conditions allowed for faster prediction. These findings provide a basis for future studies which will help determine treatment for aphasia. Performing the same experiment on aphasic individuals will allow us to determine how to scaffold treatment efforts based on which cue is stronger and weaker for this population.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mitkish, Marymem204@pitt.eduMEM204
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDickey, Michaelmdickey@pitt.eduMDICKEY
Committee MemberLundblom, Erinlundblom@pitt.eduLUNDBLOM
Committee MemberBrown, Christophercbrown1@pitt.eduCBROWN1
Committee Memberden Ouden,
Date: 24 April 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 April 2015
Approval Date: 24 April 2015
Submission Date: 21 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 64
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Eyetracking, Syntactic Cues, Young Adults
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 15:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:27


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