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An ERP study of anaphor resolution with focused and non-focused antecedents
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 08:27 authored by Lea A Hald, H Wind Cowles, Alan GarnhamAlan Garnham
The goal of this study is to better understand when (and why) the combination of semantic overlap between antecedent and anaphor and antecedent focus leads to difficulty in anaphor processing. To investigate these questions, three ERP experiments manipulating semantic overlap and focus compared the ERPs from the onset of the anaphor as well as from the onset of the last word in the sentence containing the anaphor. Our results suggest that although the focus status of an antecedent and the semantic overlap between the antecedent and anaphor are important, these factors are not the only significant contributors to online anaphor resolution. Factors such as readers‘ expectations about thematic shifts also influence the processing. We consider our results in relation to two accounts of anaphor resolution, the Informational Load Hypothesis (Almor, 1999; Almor & Eimas, 2008) and JANUS (Garnham & Cowles, 2008).
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