Effects of information structure cues on visual word processing

David E. Irwin, J. Kathryn Bock, Keith E. Stanovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four experiments examined effects of cues for given and new information on word processing in reading. Article definiteness (the versus a) was varied preceding target nouns which were either new or repeated from referring expressions in prior sentences. Lexical decisions on the targets were faster for repeated than for new words, but this effect was enhanced by the: in all four experiments, repetition facilitation was greater for definite than for indefinite determination. This effect held whether the article was presented before the target word or simultaneously with it, and was more consistent when targets appeared in surface subject rather than object position. These results suggest that appropriate cues for given information facilitate the processing of words conveying that information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-325
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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