Psychology Homework Help

Psychology Homework Help

Original Question:


This week's discussion assignment is a real brain strain! Try your hand at interpreting one of the "garden path" sentences below (remember that a garden path sentence is one that starts sound like it is going to mean one thing and then ends leaving you believing it means another). Don't worry if some of the sentences don't seem to make sense--you've been garden pathed!


Be sure to cite and reference all outside materials, including the text book. All posts should include at least one outside source. If you use the text book your citation should look like this (Goldstein, 2015) in the body of your post. If you are making a direct quote, you should also include the page number (Goldstein, 2015, p. 20). At the end of your post you should include the following Reference listing:

Goldstein, B. E. (2015). Cognitive psychology, connecting mind, research, and everyday experience (4th. ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


Reply to the following response with 200 words minimum.  (please make response as if having a conversation, respond directly to some of the statements in below post.)



The struggle is real this week! Human sentence processing is a complex process ruled by syntactic and language rules. Overall, the goal of all research is to discover how people understand language or the psychological processes of how we acquire and process language (Goldstein, pg. 299). In order to do so, there are several aspects that must be considered; comprehension, speech production, representation, and acquisition. Just like words, sentences can also have more than one meaning. Having the ability to determine the meaning of a particular sentence requires the ability to establish the context in which the sentence occurs as well as our individual experience or knowledge of language. We use semantics and syntax to construct language. Semantics and syntax are part of a language’s grammar. Semantics refers to the process by which we derive meaning from morphemes and words. Syntax refers to the way words are organized into sentences (Goldstein, 2015).

A “garden path” sentence is a type of sentence that a person seems to wrongly analyze a portion of the sentence and then, because of later evidence, must go back and reanalyze, or at least correct the mis-analysis of the first interpretation. Garden path sentences have acceptable syntactic structures, yet the reader will attempt to analyze the sentence with some other sort of construction (Farmer, Anderson, & Spivey, 2007).

“The horse raced past the barn fell”

As you read a sentence, we create a likely meaning for each word and a meaning for the whole sentence word by word. When a “disambiguating word" appears that changes the meaning, we switch to the new meaning and continue. When the disambiguating word is far away from the ambiguous word, the sentence can be very difficult to understand or process.

"The horse raced past the barn fell." The ambiguous word is raced and the disambiguating word is fell. For those who don't think this is a perfectly grammatical sentence, the meaning is the same as "The horse (that was) raced past the barn fell." Or perhaps more clearly using a different word, "The horse driven past the barn fell." Initially we interpret “horse” as the subject and “raced” as the main verb, but when you read “fell” we are then forced to re-analyze the sentence to discover that the main verb is actually “fell”. This garden path sentence could be read as “The horse that was raced past the barn fell”. In this case, the horse is raced, and someone else is doing the racing.



Goldstein, B. E. (2015). Cognitive psychology, connecting mind, research, and everyday experience (4th. ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Farmer, T., Anderson, A., Spivey, M. (2007). Gradiency and visual context in syntactic garden-paths. Journal of Memory and Language 57 (2007) 570-595. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Osterhout, L., Holcomb, P. J., & Swinney, D. A. (1994). Brain potentials elicited by garden-path sentences: Evidence of the application of verb information during parsing. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 20(4), 786. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/214372669?accountid=8289

Psychology Homework Help / General Psychology
12 Aug 2017
Due Date: 12 Aug 2017

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