The role of noun imagery in the speed of processing the grammaticality of adjective-noun phrases
This experiment investigated speed of processing the grammaticality of phrases consisting of the adjective "one" or "two" followed by a singular or plural noun. The subject's task was to press one of two keys, depending upon whether the phrase was grammatically correct or incorrect. There were eight types of phrases, formed by the factorial combinations of singular or plural adjectives, singular or plural nouns, and high or low noun imagery. These served as within-subjects variables. Between-subjects variables were the factorial combinations of sex of subject, duration of stimulus phrase (.2 or 2.5 sec), and hand assigned to the correct-grammar key. A fourth between-subjects variable was whether or not the subject reported using an artificial phrase-scanning strategy to determine grammaticality. Correct grammar, singular noun form, high noun imagery, and reported use of the strategy all produced highly significant reductions in reaction times. Only 1% of the interactions were significant. A multistage serial processing model that could be based upon Sternberg's additive factor paradigm or even Donders' subtraction method was found to be highly successful in describing the results.
Grant DA, Kadlac JA, Schwartz M, Zajano MJ, Hellige JB, Perry LC, Solberg KB. The role of noun imagery in the speed of processing the grammaticality of adjective-noun phrases. Mem Cognit. 1977 Jul;5(4):491-8.