Perceiving the structure and meaning of sentences

Kenneth I. Forster, Leonie A. Ryder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The effects of syntactic complexity on visual perception of very rapidly presented word sequences were examined under three different semantic conditions. It was found that more words were reported from one-clause sentences than from two-clause sentences, and that this effect was present for semantically anomalous and semantically bizarre sentences, as well as for normal sentences. It was also found that the relative difficulty of different sentence types was approximately constant under all three semantic conditions. Semantically bizarre sentences were markedly more difficult than normal sentences, as were anomalous sentences. It was concluded that the effect of syntactic structure on perception was essentially independent of the effects of semantics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-296
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1971
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceiving the structure and meaning of sentences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this