Pupillometry reveals processing load during spoken language comprehension

Paul Engelhardt, Fernanda Ferreira, Elena Patsenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated processing effort by measuring peoples' pupil diameter as they listened to sentences containing a temporary syntactic ambiguity. In the first experiment, we manipulated prosody. The results showed that when prosodic structure conflicted with syntactic structure, pupil diameter reliably increased. In the second experiment, we manipulated both prosody and visual context. The results showed that when visual context was consistent with the correct interpretation, prosody had very little effect on processing effort. However, when visual context was inconsistent with the correct interpretation, prosody had a large effect on processing effort. The interaction between visual context and prosody shows that visual context has an effect on online processing and that it can modulate the influence of linguistic sources of information, such as prosody. Pupillometry is a sensitive measure of processing effort during spoken language comprehension
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-645
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Volume63
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

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