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Type: Thesis
Title: The effect of working memory on word stress placement and processing
Author: Dang, Jessica
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: Investigating the role of word stress has been prevalent in linguistics literature, but not from a cognitive perspective. One way of understanding the underlying cognitive mechanisms used when assigning word stress is through the use of computational models of reading. An important difference between these models exists in whether they assume stress is imputed serially from left to right or whether they assume all aspects of a word are processed together (i.e. in parallel). We tested this prediction by examining the effect working memory load had on stress assignment in words and nonwords. If processing is serial, then current computational models predict that, in high versus low memory load conditions, a greater proportion of responses should start with a trochaic compared to iambic feet, and that processing speed should be slowed more for words that start with iambic compared to trochaic feet. The results from a stress judgement task examining this showed that, in a high compared to low memory load condition, participants gave significantly more trochaic responses to both words and nonwords and that reaction times were slowed more with words starting with iambic compared to trochaic feet. These results support models of stress assignment that are serial and occur from left to right.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (B.PsychSc(Hons)) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2020
Keywords: Honours; Psychology
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