Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Martin Chodorow

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandeep Prasada

Academic Program Adviser

Martin Chodorow


Proofreading, or reading with the purpose of finding and correcting errors, has been used in psycholinguistic research to study the relationship between bottom-up and top-down cognitive processes. The current study examined the effects of word predictability on reading time using a word-by-word self-paced reading (SPR) task. A sample of 102 native English speakers read sentences containing letter transposition errors in predictable and unpredictable contexts. Half of the sentences were followed by a question asking if there was an error in the sentence they had just read. Participants’ accuracy in detecting the errors and the time they spent reading the error-bearing words were measured. Results indicated that participants were able to detect more errors when the context was lower in predictability as measured by surprisal (negative log probability) of the target word. Target word reading times also increased as surprisal increased, suggesting a logarithmic relationship between predictability and reading time.



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