Interference patterns in subject-verb agreement and reflexives revisited: A large-sample study
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Cue-based retrieval theories in sentence processing predict two classes of interference effect: (i) Inhibitory interference is predicted when multiple items match a retrieval cue: cue-overloading leads to an overall slowdown in reading time; and (ii) Facilitatory interference arises when a retrieval target as well as a distractor only partially match the retrieval cues; this partial matching leads to an overall speedup in retrieval time. Inhibitory interference effects are widely observed, but facilitatory interference apparently has an exception: reflexives have been claimed to show no facilitatory interference effects. Because the claim is based on underpowered studies, we conducted a large-sample experiment that investigated both facilitatory and inhibitory interference. In contrast to previous studies, we find facilitatory interference effects in reflexives. We also present a quantitative evaluation of the cue-based retrieval model of Engelmann et al. (2019), with respect to the reflexives data. Data and code are available from: https://osf.io/reavs/.
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