Reactivation of antecedents by overt vs null pronouns: Evidence from Persian

Niloofar Keshtiari, Cluster of Languages of Emotion, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Shravan Vasishth, Universität Potsdam, GERMANY, Germany


In Persian, a construction exists in which a gap can optionally be replaced by an overt pronoun.  A self-paced reading study (110 participants) suggests that the overt pronoun results in deeper encoding (higher activation) of the antecedent noun, presumably because of richer retrieval cue specifications during antecedent retrieval at the pronoun; this higher activation has the consequence that the antecedent is easier to retrieve at a subsequent stage.  This provides new evidence for reactivation effects of the type assumed in the cue-based retrieval model of parsing (Lewis and Vasishth, 2005), and shows that dependency resolution is not simply a matter of connecting two co-dependents; the retrieval cue specification has a differential impact on processing.


sentence comprehension; pronoun processing; reactivation

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ISSN of the paper edition: 2299-856X