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      Comparing predictors of sentence self-paced reading times: Syntactic complexity versus transitional probability metrics

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      PLoS ONE
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          Abstract

          When estimating the influence of sentence complexity on reading, researchers typically opt for one of two main approaches: Measuring syntactic complexity (SC) or transitional probability (TP). Comparisons of the predictive power of both approaches have yielded mixed results. To address this inconsistency, we conducted a self-paced reading experiment. Participants read sentences of varying syntactic complexity. From two alternatives, we selected the set of SC and TP measures, respectively, that provided the best fit to the self-paced reading data. We then compared the contributions of the SC and TP measures to self-paced reading times when entered into the same model. Our results showed that while both measures explained significant portions of variance in reading times (over and above control variables: word/sentence length, word frequency and word position) when included in independent models, their contributions changed drastically when SC and TP were entered into the same model. Specifically, we only observed significant effects of TP. We conclude that in our experiment the control variables explained the bulk of variance. When comparing the small effects of SC and TP, the effects of TP appear to be more robust.

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          Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models Usinglme4

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            Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items

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              Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research.

              Recent studies of eye movements in reading and other information processing tasks, such as music reading, typing, visual search, and scene perception, are reviewed. The major emphasis of the review is on reading as a specific example of cognitive processing. Basic topics discussed with respect to reading are (a) the characteristics of eye movements, (b) the perceptual span, (c) integration of information across saccades, (d) eye movement control, and (e) individual differences (including dyslexia). Similar topics are discussed with respect to the other tasks examined. The basic theme of the review is that eye movement data reflect moment-to-moment cognitive processes in the various tasks examined. Theoretical and practical considerations concerning the use of eye movement data are also discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – original draft
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Formal analysisRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draft
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                plos
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                12 July 2021
                2021
                : 16
                : 7
                : e0254546
                Affiliations
                [001]Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
                Tohoku University, JAPAN
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2444-3303
                Article
                PONE-D-21-07218
                10.1371/journal.pone.0254546
                8274840
                34252165
                7add2c5f-0ca7-4c63-80d0-5cc886e55b10
                © 2021 Kapteijns, Hintz

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 4 March 2021
                : 29 June 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 9, Pages: 21
                Funding
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100003246, Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek;
                Award ID: 024.001.006
                BK and FH were funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), Gravitation grant ‘Language in Interaction’ (grant number 024.001.006). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Social Sciences
                Linguistics
                Grammar
                Syntax
                Social Sciences
                Linguistics
                Semantics
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
                Behavior
                Social Sciences
                Psychology
                Behavior
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Neuroscience
                Cognitive Science
                Cognitive Psychology
                Language
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
                Cognitive Psychology
                Language
                Social Sciences
                Psychology
                Cognitive Psychology
                Language
                Social Sciences
                Linguistics
                Neurolinguistics
                Sentence Processing
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Neuroscience
                Neurolinguistics
                Sentence Processing
                Social Sciences
                Linguistics
                Psycholinguistics
                Physical Sciences
                Mathematics
                Probability Theory
                Markov Models
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Mathematical and Statistical Techniques
                Statistical Methods
                Forecasting
                Physical Sciences
                Mathematics
                Statistics
                Statistical Methods
                Forecasting
                Custom metadata
                The data underlying the results presented in the study are available at the Archive of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, NL): https://hdl.handle.net/1839/fa97ca32-897d-4f3b-b3f9-80cb84a5a180. By signing the consent form, our participants explicitly agreed that their anonymized data may only be shared with other academics and for academic purposes only. This aspect of the consent form was a requirement of the board that approved the ethics application ( ecsw@ 123456ru.nl , for further information and requests). That is, the present study was covered by an ‘umbrella’ that provided ethical approval for a larger research program involving the collection and analysis of genetic material from participants. To comply with the requirements, we included the above restriction, which applies to sharing all data acquired within the larger research program. Interested researchers need to create an account with the Archive of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics providing a user name, email address, their full name and affiliation. Alternatively, in case their institution is part of one of the supported Identity Federations (Shibboleth), which is the case for many academic/research institutions, interested individuals may simply use their own institutional account to log in.

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