The time course of the use of implicit causality information in the processing of pronouns: A visual world paradigm study
Cozijn, R., Commandeur, E., Vonk, W., & Noordman, L. G.
The time course of the use of implicit causality information in the processing of pronouns: A visual world paradigm study. Journal of Memory and Language, 64
, 381-403. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2011.01.001.
Several theoretical accounts have been proposed with respect to the issue how quickly the implicit causality verb bias affects the understanding of sentences such as “John beat Pete at the tennis match, because he had played very well”. They can be considered as instances of two viewpoints: the focusing and the integration account. The focusing account claims that the bias should be manifest soon after the verb has been processed, whereas the integration account claims that the interpretation is deferred until disambiguating information is encountered. Up to now, this issue has remained unresolved because materials or methods have failed to address it conclusively. We conducted two experiments that exploited the visual world paradigm and ambiguous pronouns in subordinate because clauses. The first experiment presented implicit causality sentences with the task to resolve the ambiguous pronoun. To exclude strategic processing, in the second experiment, the task was to answer simple comprehension questions and only a minority of the sentences contained implicit causality verbs. In both experiments, the implicit causality of the verb had an effect before the disambiguating information was available. This result supported the focusing account.