Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis




Experimental Psychology

First Advisor

Robin K. Morris


The current study investigated how readers process different types of contextual information following novel words during the course of silent reading. The two types of contextual information were action context and categorical context. Two experiments were conducted, in which the context type was manipulated following novel or familiar target words to examine their impact on reading patterns. The reading session in the first experiment was followed by a recognition test, while the reading session in the second experiment was followed by a forced choice vocabulary test. Strong familiarity effects were consistently found for measures of initial processing and rereading across both experiments. Effects of context type were found in the second experiment. These effects may be related to different types of inferential processing for each context condition. Analyses of surprise post-test data for both experiments revealed no recognition differences across context conditions, but did reveal differences in eye movement patterns associated with recognized and unrecognized novel words. Finally, contextual information (Experiment 2) was found to be successfully encoded more often for items with inanimate targets than animate targets. Implications for how this may be connected to mechanisms underlying grounded cognition will be discussed.


© 2010, Jon Randall Lowell