The Impact of Inhibitory Controls on Anticipatory Sentence Processing in L2

Volume 18
Issue 1
Yuree Noh & Miseon Lee
This study investigates the relationship between anticipatory behaviors and inhibitory controls in L2 learners using a visual world paradigm. Thirty-four college students with high-intermediate English proficiency participated in an eye-tracking experiment and a flanker task. The eye-tracking results show that the participants predict upcoming words, thereby incrementally processing English sentences in a similar manner to L1 speakers. The eye-movement patterns indicate that they actively made use of combinatory information extracted from subject and verb and real-world knowledge. The results from a flanker task, as a measurement of inhibitory controls, reveal that the flanker effect of accuracy, but not the flanker effect of RT, is signficantly correlated with anticipatory processing. That is, the participants who responded to the flankers more accurately were better and faster in predicting the target object. In short, our study supports the constraint-based accounts for sentence processing in L2 suggesting that inhibitory controls as an index of cognitive functions can be another constraint on predictive sentence processing.

Key words: L2 sentence processing, anticipatory processing, executive function, inhibitory control, flanker effects, constraint-based models of sentence processing