Prediction in the Processing of Repair Disfluencies: Evidence From the Visual-World Paradigm

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Abstract

Two visual-world eye-tracking experiments investigated the role of prediction in the processing of repair disfluencies (e.g., “The chef reached for some salt uh I mean some ketchup . . .”). Experiment 1 showed that listeners were more likely to fixate a critical distractor item (e.g., pepper) during the processing of repair disfluencies compared with the processing of coordination structures (e.g., “. . . some salt and also some ketchup . . .”). Experiment 2 replicated the findings of Experiment 1 for disfluency versus coordination constructions and also showed that the pattern of fixations to the critical distractor for disfluency constructions was similar to the fixation patterns for sentences employing contrastive focus (e.g., “. . . not some salt but rather some ketchup . . .”). The results suggest that similar mechanisms underlie the processing of repair disfluencies and contrastive focus, with listeners generating sets of entities that stand in semantic contrast to the reparandum in the case of disfluencies or the negated entity in the case of contrastive focus.

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