What the eyes say about speaking
To study the time course of sentence formulation, we monitored the eye movements of speakers as they described simple events. The similarity between speakers' initial eye movements and those of observers performing a nonverbal event-comprehension task suggested that response-relevant information was rapidly extracted from scenes, allowing speakers to select grammatical subjects based on comprehended events rather than salience. When speaking extemporaneously, speakers began fixating pictured elements less than a second before naming them within their descriptions, a finding consistent with incremental lexical encoding. Eye movements anticipated the order of mention despite changes in picture orientation, in who-did-what-to-whom, and in sentence structure. The results support Wundt's theory of sentence production.
Publication typeJournal article