Anomaly Detection: Eye Movement Patterns

Weijia Ni*, Janet Dean Fodor, Stephen Crain, Donald Shankweiler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


The symptom of a garden path in sentence processing is an apparent anomaly in the input string. This anomaly signals to the parser that an error has occurred, and provides cues for how to repair it. Anomaly detection is thus an important aspect of sentence processing. In the present study, we investigated how the parser responds to unambiguous sentences that contain syntactic anomalies and pragmatic anomalies, examining records of eye movement during reading. While sensitivity to the two kinds of anomaly was very rapid and essentially simultaneous, qualitative differences existed in the patterns of first-pass reading times and eye regressions. The results are compatible with the proposal that syntactic information and pragmatic information are used differently in garden-path recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-539
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1998
Externally publishedYes


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