You read ten sentences, and the amount of time it took you to get the meaning of the sentence was recorded. Click the "Load Latest Data" below to see a comparison of the response times for garden path sentences and unambiguous sentences.
Most people take longer to read garden path sentences that contain ambiguous elements than unambiguous sentences.
Example of a garden path sentence:
The cotton clothing is made of grows in Mississippi.
Example of an unambiguous sentence:
The coffee beans are grown in Colombia.
The fact that people take longer to understand garden path sentences supports the immediacy principle (that people interpret the meaning of a word as soon as they see or hear it). The immediacy principle reduces memory load, but it can mean that some sentences don’t make sense when they are first heard.