Title

Retention of the Structure Underlying Sentences

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The present study investigated memory retention of the structural aspects of sentences. Participants studied five sets of eight syntactically identical but nonsensical strings of words (e.g., ‘BEAUTIFUL TRANSPORTATION SHEDS TEMPORARY PLANTS’ and ‘HARSH CLOTHING REQUIRES PORTABLE PENS’). Participants were subsequently presented with a recognition test containing studied strings, non-studied strings that adhered to the same syntactical structure as a studied set of strings (critical lures), and non-studied strings that adhered to a non-studied syntactical structure (new lures). Participants’ recognition confidence ratings were higher for critical than for new lures, but only when the word strings used in the experiment adhered to a legal grammatical structure (e.g., ‘BEAUTIFUL TRANSPORTATION SHEDS TEMPORARY PLANTS’). No such confidence ratings effect was found between critical and new lures that corresponded to ungrammatical sets (e.g., ‘SOUR A KICK CLEAN BALLOON HARD’ and ‘FLIMSY AT THROW HANG TREE CHEAP’).

Publication Title

Language and Cognitive Processes

DOI

10.1080/01690960601049438