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Methods in Sentence Processing Research Eva M. Fernández November 27, 2002.

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Presentation on theme: "Methods in Sentence Processing Research Eva M. Fernández November 27, 2002."— Presentation transcript:

1 Methods in Sentence Processing Research Eva M. Fernández November 27, 2002

2 KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGE what do people know about language? –can you get direct access to competence? the grammaticality judgment task: –if a sentence is according to your grammar, you’ll accept it (say it’s grammatical) –if it’s , you’ll reject it

3 BUT: ONE PROBLEM you might reject a grammatical sentence because it’s prescriptively bad: Where’s the library at? Who’d you meet at the party? Between you and I, the fact of the matter is …

4 AND: ANOTHER PROBLEM you might reject a grammatical sentence because it’s hard to process: The machine covered with paper plates handles with chrome. The cat the dog the boy walked bit meowed. Mary put the candy on the table in her mouth. The son of Paraoh’s daughter looked at himself in the mirror.

5 PROCESSING DIFFICULTY: WHY? inadequate knowledge of language? processing routines that have gone wrong, that have applied incorrectly?

6 PROCESSING ROUTINES: WHAT ARE THEY? mechanisms that operate during production and perception: –in constant contact with the grammar –based on working-memory limitations Minimal Attachment: build the simplest structure Late Closure: attach locally

7 HOW CAN YOU TELL THAT THEY’RE THERE? observe processing routines in action… Physics: which will fall faster, 1kg of feathers or 1kg of lead? Psycholinguistics: which linguistic stimulus will be understood more easily and faster, one with a Minimal Attachment violation or one without?

8 THE EXPERIMENTAL METHOD hypothesis testing –you have an idea about how structures are built by the sentence processor –you test it by designing an experiment –you make predictions about how the experiment will come out you think about what it will mean if the experiment comes out the “wrong way” this will be easier if you stick to BINARY COMPARISONS

9 SUBJECTS: F 1 never too many? “clones” of each other selection criteria: –language history, education history, sex, handedness, age, reading ability, etc. controlling: –use background questionnaire –use behavioral criteria

10 MATERIALS: F 2 normed in whatever relevant way interspersed among filler items –never too many? –usual filler-target ratio, 2-1 or 3-1 pseudo-randomized lists featuring binary comparisons (unless absolutely necessary)

11 METHOD try several types! (ingenuity is essential) don’t be fooled by technology: –just because it costs more doesn’t mean it’s more effective –just because everyone says it’s online doesn’t mean it taps the phase of processing you want

12 AN EXPERIMENT The legionnaires marched into the desert and searched for the nearest oasis. The legionnaires marched into the desert surprised the Persian forces. MY HYPOTHESIS… 2 nd sentence is harder: violates Minimal Attachment let’s see how!

13 S VP marched into the desert NP the legion- naires The legionnaires marched into the desert and searched for the nearest oasis. conj and VP searched for the nearest oasis

14 marched into the desert S NP the legion- naires The legionnaires marched into the desert surprised the Persian forces. NP marched into the desert VP surprised the Persian forces

15 QUESTIONNAIRES a grammaticality / acceptability judgment task On a scale of 1-7, indicate how acceptable you think each of these sentences are. –1 = perfectly acceptable (SPLENDID) –7 = perfectly awful (WOEFUL)

16 The legionnaires marched into the desert and searched for the nearest oasis The legionnaires marched into the desert surprised the Persian forces

17 ASSETS & LIABILITIES of questionnaire procedures? flexible low-tech lab test 100 people at a time off-line: metaling. awareness, presriptive rules subjects might engage in weird behavior: strategies, looking back, reading Q before sentence, etc.

18 RSVP rapid serial visual presentation –words presented center-screen –500 msec for each word presentation rate could be varied –task is to remember entire sentence and repeat or write down –measurement: accuracy of recall

19  Thelegionnairesmarchedintothedesertandsearchedforthenearestoasis.

20  ThelegionnairesmarchedintothedesertsurprisedthePersianforces.

21 SELF-PACED READING subject controls pace of presentation –constraints on speed determined by experimenter: time-outs, instructions materials presented in a series of “chunks” –word-by-word, phrase-by-phrase, clause-by- clause different types of displays –centered, incremental, moving window

22  Thelegionnairesmarchedintothedesertandsearchedforthenearestoasis. CTRD, WD-BY-WD

23  ThelegionnairesmarchedintothedesertsurprisedthePersianforces. CTRD, WD-BY-WD

24 SPR, wd-by-wd: measure Thelgnnairesmarchedintothedesert andsearchedforthenearestoasis Thelgnnairesmarchedintothedesert surprisedthePersianforces

25  The legionnaires marchedinto the desertand searchedfor the nearest oasis. CTRD, PHR-BY-PHR

26  The legionnaires marched into the desert surprised the Persian forces. CTRD, PHR-BY-PHR

27 SPR, wd-by-wd: measure The legionnaires marchedinto the desert and searchedfor the nearest oasis The legionnaires marchedinto the desert surprisedthe Persian forces

28  Thestudenttoldtheprofessorthateveryonehatedalie. INCREMENTAL

29 Thestudenttoldtheprofessorthateveryonehatedalie. MOVING WINDOW 

30 MOVING WINDOW: VARIATION Thestudenttoldtheprofessorthateveryonehatedalie.

31 KEEPING THE SUBJECTS HONEST asking questions –after every trial –after every N trials –never? excluding error-prone subjects providing instant feedback the speed-accuracy trade-off: –the faster you respond, the more likely you’ll make errors

32 Thestudenttoldtheprofessorthateveryonehatedalie. Who told a lie? the student the professor Did the professor lie? Did the student lie? correct 2359

33 SAME-DIFFERENT SENTENCE-MATCHING

34  The legionnaires marched into the desert and searched for the nearest oasis.

35  The alligator with the sharp teeth inspected the rifle. The alligator with the sharp teeth inspected his rifle.

36  The legionnaires marched into the desert surprised the Persian forces.

37  Everyone at the party knew Ann’s date had made a fool of himself. Everyone at the party knew Ann’s mate had made a fool of himself.

38 EYE-TRACKING: fine-grained

39 visual span: –9 letters, + periphery focus & move: –eyetracker records focus measurements: –first fixations –regressions –total reading

40 animation by Steve Mansfield & Tim Klitz

41 challenges a more “on-line” method than SPR? –the problem of time during saccades –the problem of as much time as necessary for a given item –the problem of peripheral vision more limitations –length of items limited by size of display –costly equipment –bite-bar –laborious analyses

42 EYETRACKING: coarse-grained “Real World” paradigm movie


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