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Activation and persistence of implicit causality information in spoken language comprehension

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Title: Activation and persistence of implicit causality information in spoken language comprehension
Author: Pyykkönen, Pirita; Järvikivi, Juhani
Citation: Pyykkönen , P & Järvikivi , J 2010 , ' Activation and persistence of implicit causality information in spoken language comprehension ' Experimental Psychology , vol 57 , no. 1 , pp. 5-16 . , 10.1027/1618-3169/a000002
Belongs to series: Experimental Psychology
ISSN: 1618-3169
Abstract: A visual world eye-tracking study investigated the activation and persistence of implicit causality information in spoken language comprehension. We showed that people infer the implicit causality of verbs as soon as they encounter such verbs in discourse, as is predicted by proponents of the immediate focusing account (Greene & McKoon, 1995; Koornneef & Van Berkum, 2006; Van Berkum, Koornneef, Otten, & Nieuwland, 2007). Interestingly, we observed activation of implicit causality information even before people encountered the causal conjunction. However, while implicit causality information was persistent as the discourse unfolded, it did not have a privileged role as a focusing cue immediately at the ambiguous pronoun when people were resolving its antecedent. Instead, our study indicated that implicit causality does not affect all referents to the same extent, rather it interacts with other cues in the discourse, especially when one of the referents is already prominently in focus.
Peer review status: Peer reviewed
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/24701
Date: 2010-01-01

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