Context, you need: Experimental approaches to information structure processing

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

Two clauses can contain the same information, yet display differences with respect to information structure. As an example, “He invited her” and “Her, he invited” contain the same information, but display syntactic differences. Previous language experiments, e.g. from German and English, have shown that object-initial clauses like “Her, he invited” are more difficult to read and comprehend than subject-initial clauses like “He invited her”. Neuroimaging studies have shown that the difference particularly affects a brain area known by the name of Broca’s area.
Whether one says “He invited her” or “Her, he invited” depends on the context – it is therefore relevant to take contextual factors into account when examining how language users process information structure. The dissertation is based on a psycholinguistic reading experiment and three neuroimaging experiments that all examine the interplay between context and information structure.
The experimental results indicate that context plays a significant role when it comes to sentence comprehension and that the activity in Broca’s area is also affected by contextual factors. Based on the results of the four language experiments, it is also argued that linguistic processing is based on general cognitive functions (as opposed to isolated linguistic modules), and that the recipient’s ability to predict future input and attend to salient parts of a sentence are central to sentence processing.
ForlagDet Humanistiske Fakultet, Københavns Universitet
Antal sider193
StatusUdgivet - 2013

Note vedr. afhandling

Forsvaret 1. marts 2013

ID: 44660887