Negative Sentences Exhibit a Sustained Effect in Delayed Verification Tasks

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Negated sentences are known to be more cognitively taxing than positive ones (i.e., polarity effect). We present evidence that two factors contribute to the polarity effect in verification tasks: processing the sentence and verifying its truth value. To quantify the relative contribution of each, we used a delayed verification task. The results show that even when participants are given a considerable amount of time for processing the sentence prior to verification, the polarity effect is not entirely eliminated. We suggest that this sustained effect stems from a retained negation-containing representation in working memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-141
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Negation
  • Quantifiers
  • Sentence processing
  • Sentence representation
  • Verification

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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