The number of times a motion repeats influences sentence processing.

Abstract

We investigated how verbs’ semantics influences the way in which individuals process sentences and how well they remember the verb. Our study focused on the frequency of motion repetition, that is, how many times actions generally repeat in a row. Experimental sentences contained action verbs. A half contained verbs denoting actions that generally repeat once or twice in a row in the world (determined by norming; sneezing, coughing). The other half contained verbs referring to actions that typically repeat many times in row (hiccupping, clapping). Korean speakers performed a sensicality judgment task and decided whether Korean sentences were sensical. We also tested how well participants remember the verbs in target sentences. Results show an effect of repetition frequency: Participants judged sentences with low repetition frequency verbs more accurately than sentences containing high repetition frequency verbs. Verbs describing multiple repetitions may place a greater processing load than verbs involving fewer repetitions.


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