Prominence-sensitive pronoun resolution: New evidence from the speed-accuracy tradeoff procedure

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2019 Jul;45(7):1234-1251. doi: 10.1037/xlm0000646. Epub 2018 Jul 26.


Past studies have shown that antecedent prominence affects the processing of a pronoun, but these studies have used experimental methodologies that do not make it possible to determine at what stage(s) of pronominal resolution these effects occur. We used the speed-accuracy tradeoff procedure to investigate whether antecedent prominence affects the accuracy of antecedent retrieval, the speed of resolution, or both. Consistent with previous results, we find that accuracy is higher when antecedents are prominent than when they are not (cf. Foraker & McElree, 2007). However, in contrast to previous results, we also find that prominence impacts the speed with which the pronominal dependency is resolved. We consider the implications of our findings for various models of pronoun resolution and offer suggestions for how to implement prominence-sensitive speed differences within a cue-based retrieval architecture. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Psycholinguistics*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Young Adult