The investigation of the semantic component of short-term memory in sentence comprehension
Shernoff, Eve Heather
Martin, Randi C.
Master of Arts
Auditorily presented information is processed on an on-line basis to the extent possible (Marslen-Wilson and Tyler, 1980). Using sentences where immediate, on-line processing was not possible, this study investigated whether such sentences created a greater short-term memory burden for subjects. The types of sentences in which immediate integration was not possible had either a list of adjectives preceding a noun or a list of nouns preceding a verb. These were compared with sentences which had lists of adjectives following the noun or lists of nouns following the verbs, allowing for immediate integration. Two experiments, one using word detection and the other using a sentence anomaly judgment found support for the hypothesis that the inability to immediately integrate word meanings increases memory burden and impairs comprehension. However, the effects of the memory burden did not correlate with standard measures of short-term memory.
Experimental psychology; Linguistics