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Shao-Min Hung, Po-Jang Hsieh; Unconscious Syntactic Processing in the Absence of Semantics. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1246. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1246.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Syntactic processing is long regarded autonomous. However, whether people can process syntax unconsciously even in the absence of semantics is still unknown. In the current study, we tested the possibility of unconscious syntactic processing by presenting syntactically congruent and incongruent sentences and measured whether they could be processed differently even without awareness due to visual suppression. Syntactically congruent sentences follow the Subject-Verb-Object format while syntactically incongruent sentences follow the Subject-Verb-Verb (Experiment 1a) or Subject-Verb-Adjective (Experiment 2a) format. In each trial, the first two words were presented consciously while the third word being suppressed with continuous flash suppression. Our results showed that syntactically incongruent words broke suppression significantly faster than syntactically congruent words. Furthermore, the same effect was obtained with sentences composed of pseudo-words that contained no semantics at all. These findings indicate that both consciousness and semantics are not necessary for syntactic processing.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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