Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Matthew Lowder


Several areas of psycholinguistics focus on the role of memory in language processing. Two of these areas are repair disfluencies and complex syntactic structures; however, these two topics have traditionally been investigated completely separately from one another. The current experiment combines these two topics by presenting listeners with spoken sentences containing subject-extracted relative clauses (SRCs) and object-extracted relative clauses (ORCs) in which the semantic similarity between the critical noun phrases (NPs) was manipulated. In addition, the sentences could be spoken fluently, or there could be a repair disfluency in which the reparandum contained information that would be potentially helpful in comprehending the sentence. Results from comprehension question accuracy as well as response times replicated previous experiments in the written domain, showing a robust ORC-SRC difference when the two NPs were similar, but a reduction in the ORC-SRC asymmetry when the two NPs were distinct. However, there was no evidence that the ORC-SRC asymmetry was reduced when the reparandum in a repair disfluency contained useful information, perhaps because ORCs in the disfluent condition overburdened working memory resources.