Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Albert Katz

Second Advisor

Dr. Debra Jared

Third Advisor

Dr. Marc Joanisse


An experiment was conducted to examine the production of familiar proverbs following either a figurative discourse context or one of two literal contexts. Materials from Ferretti, Schwint and Katz (2007) were adapted for a cloze task. Data were collected for 42 proverbs from 240 participants. Booklets presented a series of context paragraphs each followed by a sentence stem of one to four words, which participants were asked to complete as they thought most appropriate. Item analysis revealed a higher percentage of target completions following a literal context containing content words of the target proverb, and with each succeeding word in the stem. An interaction was also observed whereby figurative completions, which were initially lower relative to literal completions, rose to comparable levels by the third word presented. Completions were correlated with ERP measures of the ease of comprehension reported by Ferretti et al. (2007). Findings are discussed in terms of predictions derived from models of comprehension and a constraint satisfaction approach.



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