Good Enough Language Processing: A Satisficing Approach

Abstract

The “Good Enough” approach to language comprehension assumes that listeners do not always engage in full detailed processing of linguistic input. Rather, the system has a tendency to develop shallow and superficial representations when confronted with some difficulty. In this study, we investigated Good Enough processing using a challenging version of the Visual World Paradigm, in which participants had to process a garden-path sentence, and then complete a second instruction. The main hypothesis was that if there is a tradeoff between dealing with current difficulty and keeping up with the incoming material, then we might expect superficial processing of the garden path, which would be observed in more errors. The results showed more errors in completing the garden path instruction compared to the immediately following second instruction. In this version of the task, participants did not show evidence of using the visual context to constrain the interpretation of a temporary ambiguity.


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