[PS-2.42] Interference effects in sentence comprehension: A synthesis

Jäger, L. 1 , Engelmann, F. 2 & Vasishth, S. 1, 3

1 University of Potsdam
2 University of Manchester
3 Université Paris Dauphine

Engelmann et al (2015) (http://bit.ly/1Vu1Kk1) recently reviewed 68 published papers (SPR and eyetracking) on interference effects in sentence comprehension, focusing on so-called Target Match and Mismatch configurations; in Match, the correct target for retrieval fully matches the retrieval cues, in Mismatch there is only a partial match. The studies also vary in whether interference is proactive (PI) or retroactive (RI), and in type of dependency: antecedent-reflexive/reciprocal, subject-verb, and agreement attraction configurations. We present the first-ever quantitative synthesis of these studies using a Bayesian random-effects meta-analysis. The meta-analysis shows that in Match, overall a slowdown is observed (posterior mean 2.5 ms, 95% credible intervals (CrI) -2.75,8.49). In Mismatch, too, a slowdown is seen (mean 8.43, CrI -0.8,17.74). A meta-regression further showed that (a) number-cue based agreement attraction is different from other dependencies as it leads to a speedup compared to other retrieval cues (Match: mean -5.28, CrI -10.27,-0.35; Mismatch: -8.35, CrI -16.64,-0.35), (b) in Match, PI leads to a slowdown compared to RI (mean 5.19, CrI 0.2,10.38), (c) in Mismatch, PI leads to a speedup (mean -5.48, CrI -14.05,4.09), (d) in Mismatch, if the distractor is more prominent, a greater slowdown is observed (mean 13.8, CrI -5.74,33.57).