The Influence of Causal Information on Pronoun Disambiguation
|Title||The Influence of Causal Information on Pronoun Disambiguation|
|Publication Type||Conference Presentation|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Secondary Title||The 56th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society|
|Place Published||Chicago, IL|
|Type of Work||Poster|
The disambiguation of pronouns is a complicated process that has been shown to be influenced by many syntactic and grammatical factors. Here I present evidence that non-linguistic knowledge, specifically causal information, informs these processes. For example, in the sentence pair ‘John accused Mark of stealing a car. He called the police’, the antecedent of ‘he’ is more likely to be John than Mark because of the perceived causal link between the accusation and calling the police. A series of experiments explored the implication of this link between causality and pronoun disambiguation. The results demonstrated that the underlying process is similar to that used to track the identities of individuals and objects over time. This suggests that the process of pronoun disambiguation makes use general cognitive processes in addition to psycholinguistic ones.