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Reaction times studies

Many psycholinguistic experiment paradigms include the measuring of reaction times. Participants are instructed to react to a linguistic input under time pressure. The input may be in the form of text or videos (gestures) on a screen or presented via headphones. The participants must for example decide

  • whether the input is a real word or a pseudo-word, such as house vs. souhe (lexical decision).
  • whether the presented word was part of a preceding sentence.
  • whether two strings of words are identical or not.
  • whether a sentence is grammatical or not (speeded acceptability judgments)

One very popular reaction-time measure is the self-paced reading paradigm. The participants read through a sentence word by word. At each time only one word is visible on the screen. They proceed to the next word by pressing a button. The times between the button presses will be recorded and analyzed. Self-paced reading is therefore a very simplified version of reading-time measures with eye-trackers.