Comprehension and eye movements in the processing of subject- and object-relative clauses: evidence from dyslexia and individual differences

Stella, Marianna and Engelhardt, P.E. (2021) Comprehension and eye movements in the processing of subject- and object-relative clauses: evidence from dyslexia and individual differences. Brain Sciences, 11 (7). ISSN 2076-3425

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Abstract

In this study, we examined eye movements and comprehension in sentences containing a relative clause. To date, few studies have focused on syntactic processing in dyslexia and so one goal of the study is to contribute to this gap in the experimental literature. A second goal is to contribute to theoretical psycholinguistic debate concerning the cause and the location of the processing dif-ficulty associated with object-relative clauses. We compared dyslexic readers (n = 50) to a group of non-dyslexic controls (n = 50). We also assessed two key individual differences variables (working memory and verbal intelligence), which have been theorised to impact reading times and com-prehension of subject- and object-relative clauses. The results showed that dyslexics and controls had similar comprehension accuracy. However, reading times showed participants with dyslexia spent significantly longer reading the sentences compared to controls (i.e., a main effect of dys-lexia). In general, sentence type did not interact with dyslexia status. With respect to individual differences and the theoretical debate, we found that processing difficulty between the subject and object relatives was no longer significant when individual differences in working memory were controlled. Thus, our findings support theories, which assume that working memory demands are responsible for the processing difficulty incurred by (1) individuals with dyslexia and (2) ob-ject-relative clauses as compared to subject relative clauses.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: developmental dyslexia, reading disability, eye movements, sentence processing, sentence comprehension
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Young People & Education
Depositing User: Marianna Stella
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2021 13:48
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2021 14:42
URI: http://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1894

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