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Semantic Size and Contextual Congruency Effects during Reading: Evidence from Eye Movements


Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal Volume 53, Number 5, ISSN 0163-853X


Recent lexical decision studies have produced conflicting evidence about whether an object's semantic size influences word recognition. The present study examined this variable in online reading. Target words representing small and large objects were embedded in sentence contexts that were either neutral, congruent, or incongruent with respect to object size, and participants' eye movements were monitored. We found that although semantic size alone did not influence early word processing, the congruency of the object's size with the preceding context did have an effect. Rereading durations and total times were longer for targets in incongruent contexts, but this occurred regardless of a target's semantic size. We suggest that semantic size may not affect early word recognition processes but that size information is activated upon reading a word and subsequently integrated and validated against readers' knowledge and the context. These findings can be accommodated within the RI-Val view of comprehension.


Wei, W. & Cook, A.E. (2016). Semantic Size and Contextual Congruency Effects during Reading: Evidence from Eye Movements. Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 53(5), 415-429. Retrieved January 28, 2023 from .

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