Send to

Choose Destination
Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2012;65(11):2108-28. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2012.674951. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

Canonical word order and interference-based integration costs during sentence comprehension: the case of Spanish subject- and object-relative clauses.

Author information

Department of Basic Psychology II (Cognitive Processes), Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


Object-relative clauses are generally harder to process than subject-relative clauses. Increased processing costs for object-relatives have been attributed either to working memory demands for the establishment of long-distance dependencies or to difficulties processing unexpected, noncanonical structures. The current study uses self-paced reading to contrast the impact of both kinds of factors in Spanish object-relative clauses, manipulating the interposition of the subject of the relative clause between object and verb. In addition, object-relatives were unambiguously marked at their onset with the Spanish preposition "a". Reading times increased at the onset and final regions of object-relative clauses, regardless of interference-based working memory costs, although interference costs may affect the processing of post-relative-clause regions. These results suggest that, beyond interference-related working memory costs, end-of-clause integration processes may be affected by a preference for canonical structures, thus increasing processing difficulties when confronted with a noncanonical form.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center