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Journal Article

Propositional integration and world-knowledge inference: Processes in understanding because sentences


Vonk,  Wietske
Centre for Language Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, ;
Other Research, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Cozijn, R., Noordman, L. G., & Vonk, W. (2011). Propositional integration and world-knowledge inference: Processes in understanding because sentences. Discourse Processes, 48, 475-500. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2011.594421.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-31D2-A
The issue addressed in this study is whether propositional integration and world-knowledge inference can be distinguished as separate processes during the comprehension of Dutch omdat (because) sentences. “Propositional integration” refers to the process by which the reader establishes the type of relation between two clauses or sentences. “World-knowledge inference” refers to the process of deriving the general causal relation and checking it against the reader's world knowledge. An eye-tracking experiment showed that the presence of the conjunction speeds up the processing of the words immediately following the conjunction, and slows down the processing of the sentence final words in comparison to the absence of the conjunction. A second, subject-paced reading experiment replicated the reading time findings, and the results of a verification task confirmed that the effect at the end of the sentence was due to inferential processing. The findings evidence integrative processing and inferential processing, respectively.