What is it about?

People are slower in verifying negative sentences. It is commonly assumed that this is because it takes longer to process a sentence that contains a negation and to reach its actual meaning. However, surprisingly, we found that the effect of negation does NOT disappear even when people are given more time - up to 7 seconds - to process the sentence prior to the picture verification task.

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Why is it important?

Our results are important beyond the narrow scope of negation and shed an interesting light on linguistic representation in working memory. The finding that negative sentences take longer to verify even after a long delay is surprising. According to most theories on linguistic representation, in particular theories of mental models, the representation of the meaning of the sentence should not depend on the structure, contrary to what we found. Our results suggest that the representation must be related to the linguistic structure. Sentence meaning is never represented in a non-linguistic form.

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This page is a summary of: Negative sentences exhibit a sustained effect in delayed verification tasks., Journal of Experimental Psychology Learning Memory and Cognition, January 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/xlm0001059.
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