Contribution of Working Memory in the Parity and Proportional Judgments

Belgian Journal of Linguistics 25:189-206 (2011)
The paper presents an experimental evidence on differences in the sentence-picture verification under additional memory load between parity and proportional quantifiers. We asked subjects to memorize strings of 4 or 6 digits, then to decide whether a quantifier sentence is true at a given picture, and finally to recall the initially given string of numbers. The results show that: (a) proportional quantifiers are more difficult than parity quantifiers with respect to reaction time and accuracy; (b) maintaining either 4 or 6 elements in the working memory has the same effect on the processing of parity quantifiers; (c) however, in the case of proportional quantifiers subjects performed better in the verification tasks under the 6-digit load condition, and (d) even though the strings of 4 numbers were better recalled by subjects after judging parity there is no difference between quantifiers in the case of the 6-element condition. We briefly outline two alternative explanations for the observed phenomena rooted in the computational model of quantifier verification and the different theories of working memory.
Keywords generalized quantifiers  working memory
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