Knowing what, where, and when: Event comprehension in language processing
We investigated the retrieval of location information, and the deployment of attention to these locations, following (described) event-related location changes. In two visual world experiments, listeners viewed arrays with containers like a bowl, jar, pan, and jug, while hearing sentences like “The boy will pour the sweetcorn from the bowl into the jar, and he will pour the gravy from the pan into the jug. And then, he will taste the sweetcorn”. At the discourse-final “sweetcorn”, listeners fixated context-relevant “Target” containers most (jar). Crucially, we also observed two forms of competition: listeners fixated containers that were not directly referred to but associated with “sweetcorn” (bowl), and containers that played the same role as Targets (goals of moving events; jug), more than distractors (pan). These results suggest that event-related location changes are encoded across representations that compete for comprehenders’ attention, such that listeners retrieve, and fixate, locations that are not referred to in the unfolding language, but related to them via object or role information.
Citation : Kukona, A., Altmann, G.T.M., and Kamide, Y. (2014) Knowing what, where, and when: Event comprehension in language processing. Cognition, 133 (1), pp. 25-31
Peer Reviewed : Yes