Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Elaine R. Silliman, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Nathan Maxfield, Ph.D.

Keywords

Relative clause comprehension, Perspective taking, Complex syntax, Sentence processing, Cross-modal picture priming

Abstract

Fourteen young adults participated in a cross-modal picture priming study. Perspective shift processing, in four types of relative clause sentences and in control sentences, was assessed using reaction times. Predictions were: 1) the easier the perspective shifts, the faster the reaction times and 2) subject relative clauses would reveal a priming effect versus attenuated or no priming in object relative clauses due to difficulty following perspective. A priming effect was observed for 1- switch relative clause sentences and for control sentences, while no priming effect was observed for 0 switch, 1+ switch, or 2 switch sentences. Results suggest that variations in local syntactic constructions and word order facilitated relative clause processing. Violations of semantic expectations and noun-noun-verb distance in following perspective can both contribute to the complexity of relative clause processing.

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