Establishing coherence relations in discourse: the influence of implicit causality and connectives on pronoun resolution.

A.W. Koornneef, T.J.M. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Many studies have shown that readers and listeners recruit verb-based implicit causality information rapidly in the service of pronoun resolution. However, since most of these studies focused on constructions in which because connected the two critical clauses, it is unclear to what extent implicit causality information affects the processing of pronouns embedded in other types of coherence relations. In an eye-tracking and completion study we addressed this void by varying whether because, but, and and joined a primary clause containing the implicit causality verb, with a secondary clause containing a critical gender-marked pronoun. The results showed that the claims made for implicit causality hold if the connective because is present (i.e., a reading time delay following a pronoun that is inconsistent with the implicit causality bias of the verb), but do not generalise to other connectives like but and and. This shows that the strength and persistence of implicit causality as a pronoun resolution cue depends on the coherence relation in which the verb, the antecedent and the pronoun appear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1206
Number of pages38
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Volume28
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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