Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

This paper examines the time course of the use of implicit verb causality and gender agreement information in determining the antecedent of a pronominal anaphor. A crossmodal probe paradigm measured the activation of candidate antecedents at four time points during comprehension. Sentences contained two participants, an implicit causality verb, and a subsequent "because"-clause (e.g., Gary amazed Ellen time after time because he was so talented.). In Experiment 1, a general advantage for the first-mentioned participant was nullified immediately upon encountering the pronoun if the implicit causality of the verb favored the second participant. Experiment 2 showed that this effect was due to anaphor resolution processes and not priming from the verb. Experiment 3, which deleted the causal conjunction "because" and placed the pronoun in a separate sentence, continued to find an effect of implicit causality. In addition, the first-mentioned advantage was nullified at the pronoun for sentences without a gender contrast. The overall results are consistent with a model of anaphor resolution in which resolution processes are initiated immediately upon encountering the pronoun, but cannot be completed until information becomes available from other processes.


In Journal of Memory and Language, 34, (August 1995): 543-566