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Speaking for seeing: Sentence structure guides visual event apprehension


Sauppe, Sebastian; Flecken, Monique (2021). Speaking for seeing: Sentence structure guides visual event apprehension. Cognition, 206:104516.

Abstract

Human experience and communication are centred on events, and event apprehension is a rapid process that draws on the visual perception and immediate categorization of event roles (“who does what to whom”). We demonstrate a role for syntactic structure in visual information uptake for event apprehension. An event structure foregrounding either the agent or patient was activated during speaking, transiently modulating the apprehension of subsequently viewed unrelated events. Speakers of Dutch described pictures with actives and passives (agent and patient foregrounding, respectively). First fixations on pictures of unrelated events that were briefly presented (for 300 ms) next were influenced by the active or passive structure of the previously produced sentence. Going beyond the study of how single words cue object perception, we show that sentence structure guides the viewpoint taken during rapid event apprehension.

Abstract

Human experience and communication are centred on events, and event apprehension is a rapid process that draws on the visual perception and immediate categorization of event roles (“who does what to whom”). We demonstrate a role for syntactic structure in visual information uptake for event apprehension. An event structure foregrounding either the agent or patient was activated during speaking, transiently modulating the apprehension of subsequently viewed unrelated events. Speakers of Dutch described pictures with actives and passives (agent and patient foregrounding, respectively). First fixations on pictures of unrelated events that were briefly presented (for 300 ms) next were influenced by the active or passive structure of the previously produced sentence. Going beyond the study of how single words cue object perception, we show that sentence structure guides the viewpoint taken during rapid event apprehension.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
06 Faculty of Arts > Zurich Center for Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
410 Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Linguistics and Language, Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Language and Linguistics
Language:English
Date:1 January 2021
Deposited On:30 Nov 2020 12:54
Last Modified:10 Dec 2020 07:57
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0010-0277
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104516
Official URL:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027720303358
PubMed ID:33228969
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100015_182845
  • : Project TitleErgativity, Event Cognition and Evolutionary Biases in Language
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100015_160011
  • : Project TitleErgativity in comprehension and production: language typology and processing

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