Effects of order of mention and grammatical role on anaphor resolution

Kumiko Fukumura, Roger P. G. van Gompel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A controversial issue in anaphoric processing has been whether processing preferences of anaphoric expressions are affected by the antecedent’s grammatical role or surface position. Using eye tracking, Experiment 1 examined the comprehension of pronouns during reading, which revealed shorter reading times in the pronoun region and later regions when the antecedent was the subject than when it was the prepositional object. There was no effect of antecedent position. Experiment 2 showed that the choice between pronouns and repeated names during language production is also primarily affected by the antecedent’s grammatical role. Experiment 3 examined the comprehension of repeated names, showing a clear effect of antecedent position. Reading times in the name region and in later regions were longer when the antecedent was 1st mentioned than 2nd mentioned, whereas the antecedent’s grammatical role only affected regression measures in the name region, showing more processing difficulty with a subject than prepositional-object antecedent. Thus, the processing of pronouns is primarily driven by antecedent grammatical role rather than position, whereas the processing of repeated names is most strongly affected by position, suggesting that different representations and processing constraints underlie the processing of pronouns and names.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-525
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Volume41
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jul 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • anaphor
  • pronoun
  • repeated names
  • discourse
  • language comprehension

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