Attention, Working Memory, and Grammaticality Judgment in Typical Young Adults PurposeTo examine resource allocation and sentence processing, this study examined the effects of auditory distraction on grammaticality judgment (GJ) of sentences varied by semantics (reversibility) and short-term memory requirements.MethodExperiment 1: Typical young adult females (N = 60) completed a whole-sentence GJ task in distraction (Quiet, Noise, or Talk). Participants judged ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2011
Attention, Working Memory, and Grammaticality Judgment in Typical Young Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Pamela A. Smith
    Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA
    Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA
  • Correspondence to Pamela A. Smith: psmith@bloomu.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Christine Weber-Fox
    Associate Editor: Christine Weber-Fox×
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   June 01, 2011
Attention, Working Memory, and Grammaticality Judgment in Typical Young Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2011, Vol. 54, 918-931. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0009)
History: Received January 18, 2010 , Revised May 24, 2010 , Accepted October 31, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2011, Vol. 54, 918-931. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0009)
History: Received January 18, 2010; Revised May 24, 2010; Accepted October 31, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

PurposeTo examine resource allocation and sentence processing, this study examined the effects of auditory distraction on grammaticality judgment (GJ) of sentences varied by semantics (reversibility) and short-term memory requirements.

MethodExperiment 1: Typical young adult females (N = 60) completed a whole-sentence GJ task in distraction (Quiet, Noise, or Talk). Participants judged grammaticality of Passive sentences varied by sentence (length), grammaticality, and reversibility. Reaction time (RT) data were analyzed using a mixed analysis of variance. Experiment 2: A similar group completed a self-paced reading GJ task using the similar materials.

ResultsExperiment 1: Participants responded faster to Bad and to Nonreversible sentences, and in the Talk distraction. The slowest RTs were noted for Good–Reversible–Padded sentences in the Quiet condition. Experiment 2: Distraction did not differentially affect RTs for sentence components. Verb RTs were slower for Reversible sentences.

ConclusionsResults suggest that narrative distraction affected GJ, but by speeding responses, not slowing them. Sentence variables of memory and reversibility slowed RTs, but narrative distraction resulted in faster processing times regardless of individual sentence variables. More explicit, deliberate tasks (self-paced reading) resulted in less effect from distraction. Results are discussed in terms of recent theories about auditory distraction.

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