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J Psycholinguist Res. 2013 Dec;42(6):505-25. doi: 10.1007/s10936-012-9233-3.

Effect of repeated evaluation and repeated exposure on acceptability ratings of sentences.

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Health Services Research and Development, Durham VA Medical Center (152), Department of Veteran Affairs, 508 Fulton St., Durham, NC, 27705, USA,


This study investigated the effect of repeated evaluation and repeated exposure on grammatical acceptability ratings for both acceptable and unacceptable sentence types. In Experiment 1, subjects in the Experimental group rated multiple examples of two ungrammatical sentence types (ungrammatical binding and double object with dative-only verb), and two difficult to process sentence types [center-embedded (2) and garden path ambiguous relative], along with matched grammatical/non-difficult sentences, before rating a final set of experimental sentences. Subjects in the control group rated unrelated sentences during the exposure period before rating the experimental sentences. Subjects in the Experimental group rated both grammatical and ungrammatical sentences as more acceptable after repeated evaluation than subjects in the Control group. In Experiment 2, subjects answered a comprehension question after reading each sentence during the exposure period. Subjects in the experimental group rated garden path and center-embedded (1) sentences as higher in acceptability after comprehension exposure than subjects in the control group. The results are consistent with increased fluency of comprehension being misattributed as a change in acceptability.

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