Linguistic complexity and working memory structure: effect of the computational demands of reasoning on syntactic complexity Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Lee, Yoonhyoung
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • The manner in which sentence processing mechanisms interact with other cognitive processes was investigated by examining the interaction between the syntactic complexity of a sentence and the difficulty of reasoning about the information in the sentence. In the experiments, participants were presented with a sentence containing a relative clause (RC). Syntactic complexity factors (type of extraction for all four experiments, type of modified head for the first experiment) and complexity of reasoning factors (determinacy of the implicit relation present in a complex verb for Experiments 1- 4 and the nature of the relation between verbs in a complex sentence for Experiments 2- 4) were varied. Together the results of the four experiments show that reasoning occurs after basic processes of sentence interpretation and that those processes are not influenced by the cognitive demands of reasoning. These results provide evidence against the idea that sentence processing shares resources with more general processes (e.g. Just & Carpenter, 1992) and provide support for the idea that the resources used for sentence processing are separate from those used for consciously controlled processes (Waters & Caplan, 1996).
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  • Gordon, Peter
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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