Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 265–274 | Cite as

Word-Monitoring Tasks Interact with Levels of Representation During Speech Comprehension

  • David J. Townsend
  • Michael Hoover
  • Thomas G. Bever
Article

Abstract

Researchers frequently use data from monitoring tasks to argue that constraints on meaning facilitate lower-level processes. An alternate hypothesis is that the processing level that a monitoring task requires interacts with discourse-level processing. Subjects monitored spoken sentences for a synonym (semantic match), a nonsense word (phonological match), or a rhyme (phonologically and semantically constrained matching). The critical targets appeared at the beginning of the final clause in two-clause sentences that began with if, which signals a semantic analysis at the discourse level, or with though, which maintains a surface representation. Synonym-monitoring times were faster for if than for though, nonsense word-monitoring times were faster for though than for if, and rhyme-monitoring times did not differ for if and though. The results show that conjunctions influence how listeners allocate attention to semantic versus phonological information, implying that listeners form these kinds of information independently.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Cairns, H. S., Cowart, W., & Jablon, A. D. (1981). Effects of prior context upon the integration of lexical information during sentence processing. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 20, 445–453.Google Scholar
  2. Crain, S., & Steedman, M. (1985). On not being led up the garden path: The use of context by the psychological syntax processor. In D. R. Dowty, L. Karttunen, & A. M. Zwicky (Eds.), Natural language parsing: Psychological, computational, and theoretical perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Elman, J. L., & McClelland, J. L. (1984). Speech perception as a cognitive process: The interactive activation model. In N. Lass (Ed.), Speech and language, Vol. 10. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Green, D. W. (1975). The effects of tasks on the representation of sentences. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 14, 275–283.Google Scholar
  5. Liberman, A. M., Cooper, F. S., Shankweiler, D. P., & Studdert-Kennedy, M. (1967). Perception of the speech code. Psychological Review, 74, 431–461.Google Scholar
  6. Marslen-Wilson, W. D., & Tyler, L. K. (1975). Processing structure of sentence perception. Nature, 257, 784–786.Google Scholar
  7. Marslen-Wilson, W., Tyler, L., & Seidenberg, M. (1978). Sentence processing and the clause boundary. In W. J. M. Levelt & G. B. Flores d'Arcais (Eds.), Studies in the perception of language (pp. 219–246). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Marslen-Wilson, W. D., & Welsh, A. (1978). Processing interactions and lexical access during word recognition in continuous speech. Cognitive Psychology, 10, 29–63.Google Scholar
  9. McClelland, J. L., St. John, M., & Taraban, R. (1989). Sentence comprehension: A parallel distributed processing approach. Language and Cognitive Processes, 4, SI287–336.Google Scholar
  10. Rubenstein, H., Garfield, L., & Milliken, J. A. (1970). Homographic entries in the internal lexicon. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 9, 487–492.Google Scholar
  11. Samuel, A. (1981). Phonemic restoration: Insights from a new methodology. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 110, 474–494.Google Scholar
  12. Townsend, D. J., & Bever, T. G. (1978). Inter-clause relations and clausal processing. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 17, 509–521.Google Scholar
  13. Townsend, D. J., & Bever, T. G. (1991). The use of higher-level constraints in monitoring for a change in speaker demonstrates functionally distinct levels of representation during discourse comprehension. Language and Cognitive Processes, 6, 49–77.Google Scholar
  14. Tyler, L. K., & Marslen-Wilson, W. D. (1977). The on-line effects of semantic context on syntactic processing. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 16, 683–692.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Townsend
    • 1
  • Michael Hoover
    • 2
  • Thomas G. Bever
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMontclair State UniversityUpper Montclair
  2. 2.Department of Educational and Counselling PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of ArizonaTucson

Personalised recommendations