Poster C55, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Dissociating the Effect of Dependency from Embedding in Syntactic Hierarchy
Kyung-Hwan Cheon1, Hee-Dong Yoon1, Hyeon-Ae Jeon1,2; 1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), Daegu, Korea, 2Partner Group of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, DGIST, Daegu, Korea
We investigated cognitive subcomponents supporting syntactic hierarchy by dissociating dependency from embedding using a left-branching language. We hypothesized that dependency would impose an additional processing demand on the modificand, whereas embedding would increase overall processing demand due to additional working memory caused by holding a main clause subject. In a non-cumulative self-paced reading experiment, participants read Korean sentences and answered comprehension questions. By exploiting the free word order nature of Korean, we controlled not only the length of sentences but also the type and number of constituents. Accordingly, every sentence had 2 clauses and each clause was composed of a subject, an object, and a verb. Using a factorial design (dependency × embedding), we manipulated embedding either by linearly conjoining two clauses (S1-O1-V1-S2-O2-V2) or embedding a subordinate clause within a main clause (S1-[S2-O2-V2]-O1-V1). To manipulate dependency, different types of suffix (conjunctive or adjective) were adhered to the verb of the subordinate clause. A main effect was found in both dependency and embedding. Dependency increased reaction time (RT) of the modificand and the remaining clause, whereas embedding slightly increased RT of the subordinate clause only when there was no dependency. With our precisely controlled design, we suggest that dependency recruits most of the cognitive resources in processing syntactic hierarchy.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Syntax