[PS-2.79] The role of attention in sentence production: Beyond the visual modality

Pokhoday, M. 1 & Myachykov, A. 2, 1

1 Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
2 Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK

The role of attention in sentence production: Beyond the visual modality.
Syntactic choice in sentence production is sensitive to the distribution of the speaker?s attention within the described scene (Tomlin & Myachykov, 2015). Existing evidence, however, comes from the visual world studies using visual attention modality. Current study extends this research question to motor and auditory modalities.
English native speakers described visually presented transitive events (e.g. kick, chase)while their attention to the referents was manipulated by a lateral cue. The cue was either auditory (beep presented monaurally) or motor (participants were prompted to press on of the keys depending on the color of the presented circle). Hence, the Cued Referent (Agent/Patient)was crossed with the Cue Type (Auditory/Motor). Proportion of the produced passive-voice sentences was the dependent variable. We used general estimating equations for the statistical analyses. We registered the main effect of Cued Referent (more passive-voice sentences in Patient-Cue condition: X2(1) = 5.29, p=.02) as well as the main effect of Cue Type (more passive-voice sentences in Motor-Cue condition: X2(1) = 6.56, p=.01). Importantly, there was no interaction between the two factors. Our findings provide new evidence about the role of multimodal attention in motivation structural choice in sentence production.