Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Greg Simpson

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Lorsbach

Third Advisor

Dr. James Thomas


Sentence context effects for ambiguous words were investigated in a repetition format. Subjects read sentences which presented homographs in either a dominant or subordinate context and were asked to decide if these sentences made sense. On a later trial, the homograph appeared in another sentence either in the same or different context. The sentences were separated by O, 1, or 6 intervening sentences. Control sentences were also constructed in which the homograph was replaced with a word which made sense within the context of the sentence. The results showed that subjects were able to read a sentence faster when it was preceded by a sentence in the same context, and these reading times were faster than those for unrelated control sentences. This effect was seen for both subordinate and dominant sentences. We interpreted these results as providing evidence for facilitation. When the two sentences differed in context the results revealed sentence reading times that were slower than unrelated control sentences, therefore, providing evidence for inhibition.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1990 Merilee A. Krueger.