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Psycholinguists have commonly assumed that as a spoken linguistic message unfolds over time, it is initially structured by a syntactic processing module that is encapsulated from information provided by other perceptual and cognitive systems. To test the effects of relevant visual context on the rapid mental processes that accompany spoken language(More)
Grammatical agreement flags the parts of sentences that belong together regardless of whether the parts appear together. In English, the major agreement controller is the sentence subject, the major agreement targets are verbs and pronouns, and the major agreement category is number. The authors expand an account of number agreement whose tenets are that(More)
When listeners follow spoken instructions to manipulate real objects, their eye movements to the objects are closely time locked to the referring words. We review five experiments showing that this time-locked characteristic of eye movements provides a detailed profile of the processes that underlie real-time spoken language comprehension. Together, the(More)
When participants follow spoken instructions to pick up and move objects in a visual workspace, their eye movements to the objects are closely time-locked to referential expressions in the instructions. Two experiments used this methodology to investigate the processing of the temporary ambiguities that arise because spoken language unfolds over time.(More)
In English, words like scissors are grammatically plural but conceptually singular, while words like suds are both grammatically and conceptually plural. Words like army can be construed plurally, despite being grammatically singular. To explore whether and how congruence between grammatical and conceptual number affected the production of subject-verb(More)
During an individual's normal interaction with the environment and other humans, visual and linguistic signals often coincide and can be integrated very quickly. This has been clearly demonstrated in recent eye tracking studies showing that visual perception constrains on-line comprehension of spoken language. In a modified visual search task, we found the(More)
Recent studies have shown that the presentation of concurrent linguistic context can lead to highly efficient performance in a standard conjunction search task by the induction of an incremental search strategy (Spivey, Tyler, Eberhard, & Tanenhaus, 2001). However, these findings were obtained under anomalously slow speech rate conditions. Accordingly, in(More)
British and American speakers exhibit different verb number agreement patterns when sentence subjects have collective head nouns. From linguistic and psycholinguistic accounts of how agreement is implemented, three alternative hypotheses can be derived to explain these differences. The hypotheses involve variations in the representation of notional number,(More)
Syntactic and semantic processing of literal and idiomatic phrases were investigated with a priming procedure. In 3 experiments, participants named targets that were syntactically appropriate or inappropriate completions for semantically unrelated sentence contexts. Sentences ended with incomplete idioms (kick the...) and were biased for either a literal(More)
We present an overview of recent work in which eye movements are monitored as people follow spoken instructions to move objects or pictures in a visual workspace. Subjects naturally make saccadic eye-movements to objects that are closely time-locked to relevant information in the instruction. Thus the eye-movements provide a window into the rapid mental(More)