Interclause Relations and Clausal Processing
In two experiments subjects were interrupted while listening to a two-clause sentence just before the last word of either the initial clause or the final clause. In Experiment I subjects were timed on their decision about whether a verb-object phrase was consistent in meaning with the sentence fragment they had just heard. Overall these decisions were made more quickly when a main clause was interrupted than when a subordinate clause was interrupted, but the size and direction of main-subordinate differences varied with the causal-temporal properties of subordinate clauses. In Experiment II subjects were timed on their decisions about whether a particular probe word had occurred in the sentence fragment. Target position effects differed for main and subordinate clauses, but again, these effects were related to causal-temporal relations between clauses. The two experiments together suggest that interclause semantic relations affect the immediate processing of clauses.
MSU Digital Commons Citation
Townsend, David and Bever, Thomas G., "Interclause Relations and Clausal Processing" (1978). Department of Psychology Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works. 291.