The Use of Higher-Level Constraints in Monitoring for a Change in Speaker Demonstrates Functionally Distinct Levels of Representation in Discourse Comprehension

David Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We test and disprove the common assumption that pragmatic probability facilitates the processing of lower linguistic levels. Two experiments show that detection of the acoustic properties that distinguish two speakers is harder in sentences that are pragmatically more probable. At the same time, detection of the same acoustic properties is easier at later points in a clause than at earlier points. The pragmatic inhibition in detecting acoustic properties suggests that different levels of linguistic processing compete for processing resources, while the within-sentence facilitation suggests limited interactions between processes at adjacent levels. The two results together demonstrate that discourse-level and sentence-level representations are.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-77
Number of pages29
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1991

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