Using Cross-Modal Lexical Decision Tasks to Investigate Sentence Processing

Janet L. Nicol, Janet Dean Fodor, David Swinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Recent investigations of sentence processing have used the cross-modal lexical decision task to show that the antecedent of a phonologically empty noun phrase (specifically, WH-trace) is reactivated at the trace position. G. McKoon, R. Ratcliff, and G. Ward (1994) claimed that (a) a design feature concerning the choice of related and unrelated targets is a possible confound in this work and (b) the conclusions drawn from this previous research are therefore called into question. These claims are considered in light of both McKoon et al.'s experimental findings and results of our own experiments in which we test their linguistic materials. We argue that their results may be due to the nature of their materials. Additionally, we argue that a follow-up experiment reported by G. McKoon and R. Ratcliff (1994) used a technique that is not comparable to the cross-modal lexical decision task. It is concluded that current evidence supports the claim that structural information is used during on-line sentence processing and that the cross-modal technique is sensitive to this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1238
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Using Cross-Modal Lexical Decision Tasks to Investigate Sentence Processing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this