Sentence perception units and levels of syntactic structure

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Subjects listened to recorded sentences which were followed by probe words. They performed a next-word naming task-uttering the word that followed the probe word in the original sentence as quickly as possible. Other things being equal, naming latencies are longer when the juncture between the probe word and the response word in the original sentence sequence terminates a "functionally complete" unit than when this position corresponds to the boundary of a "functionally incomplete" unit. These results are not predicted by existent "syntactic" theories of sentence perception units, and these theories are to that extent shown to be inadequate. A "functional" program for the study of sentence perception is suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-514
Number of pages9
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • General Psychology


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