Event codability was not expected to influence structure selection on its own as the difference between an active frame and a passive frame is not inherently linked to the ease of encoding event gist, but the structural primes in Experiment 2 were expected
to produce the well-documented structural priming effect. After confirming effects of these variables on structure selection, we examined whether and how they also shaped the timecourse of formulation in active sentences (i.e., descriptions of events with the preferred learn more active structure; see Van de Velde, Meyer, & Konopka, 2014, for discussion of formulation of sentences with the dispreferred passive structure). We began by testing whether first fixations
predicted sentence form across items and conditions. Timecourse analyses were then carried out to compare the distribution of fixations to the two characters over time in early (0–400 ms) and late (400 ms – speech onset) time windows across items and conditions. To summarize the predictions, character codability and lexical priming were expected to (a) favor selection of the first-fixated character as the starting point and (b) favor priority encoding of this character after picture onset (the strong version of linear incrementality). In contrast, event codability and structural priming were expected to (a) reduce the impact of first fixations on selection of starting points, (b) favor click here priority encoding of relational information about the event after picture onset, and (c) influence the timing of gaze shifts from the first character to the second character around speech onset (the strong version of hierarchical incrementality).
We highlight effects consistent with linear and hierarchical incrementality throughout the results sections, and we refer to effects that are consistent with both accounts as supporting weaker versions of linear and hierarchical incrementality. Eye-tracked participants described a long series Adenosine of pictures, including 30 target pictures of two-character events. They were asked to mention all characters shown in each picture, but, to approximate production in more naturalistic situations, they received no further instructions about sentence content or form. Event and character codability were estimated post hoc for each target picture. Codability ratings for events and agents in Experiments 1 and 2 were highly correlated (both rs > .87), showing high stability in the types of descriptions speakers produced to describe the events and warranting a direct comparison of results across experiments. The ease of character naming in target pictures in Experiment 1 was additionally manipulated with lexical priming. Target pictures were preceded by primes where speakers saw a picture of an intransitive event and heard a recorded intransitive description.