Pronominal reference and pragmatic enrichment: A Bayesian account

Andrew Kehler, Hannah Rohde

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

A standard assumption in linguistic, psycholinguistic, and computational research on pronoun use is that production and interpretation are guided by the same set of contextual factors. Kehler et al. (2008) and Kehler & Rohde (2013) have argued instead for a Bayesian model, one in which pronoun produc- tion is insensitive to a class of semantically- and pragmatically- driven contextual biases that have been shown to influence pro- noun interpretation. Here we evaluate the model using a pas- sage completion study that employs a subtle contextual ma- nipulation to which traditional analyses are insensitive, specif- ically by varying whether or not a relative clause that modifies the direct object in the context sentence invites the inference of a cause of the event that the sentence denotes. The results support the claim that pronoun interpretation biases, but not production biases, are sensitive to this pragmatic enrichment, revealing precisely the asymmetry predicted by the Bayesian analysis. A correlation analysis further establishes that the model provides better estimates of measured pronoun interpre- tation biases than two competing models from the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Pages1063
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9911967-2-2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2015

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