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Inspecting pictures for information to verify a sentence: Eye movements in general encoding and in focused search

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When we see combinations of text and graphics, such as photographs and their captions in printed media, how do we compare the information in the two components? Two experiments used a sentence-picture verification task in which statements about photographs of natural scenes were read in order to make a true/false decision about the validity of the sentence, and in which eye movements were recorded. In Experiment 1 the sentence and the picture were presented concurrently, and objects and words could be inspected in any order. In Experiment 2 the two components were presented one after the other, either picture first or sentence first. Fixation durations on pictures were characteristically longer than those on sentences in both experiments, and fixations on sentences varied according to whether they were being encoded as abstract propositions or as coreferents of objects depicted in a previously inspected picture. The decision time data present a difficulty for existing models of sentence verification tasks, with an inconsistent pattern of differences between true and false trials.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980343000189

Affiliations: University of Nottingham Nottingham UK

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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