Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Matthew Lowder


A great deal of previous research has investigated the real-time processing and offline interpretation of garden path (GP) sentences. This work has shown that GP sentences cause substantial processing disruptions, as revealed by regressive eye movements during reading, as well as incorrect answers to comprehension questions. The current study was designed to investigate whether variability in the processing of GP sentences could be explained by individual differences in personality traits, specifically obsessive-compulsive personality traits. In an eyetracking while reading experiment, participants read GP sentences with both a comma manipulation and a verb type manipulation. Results replicated previous findings in that participants made more regressions and misinterpreted GP sentences at a higher rate than control sentences. Importantly, results of the individual differences analysis revealed that individuals with higher rates of obsessive-compulsive personality traits tended to regress more in a spillover region of the sentence following the disambiguating verb. These results show that individual differences in personality traits have the potential to explain variability in sentence processing.