Kush, Lidz & Phillips on processing bound variable pronouns
Now in Journal of Memory and Language from alumnus Dave Kush "Relation-sensitive retrieval: Evidence from bound variable pronouns," work done with Jeffrey Lidz and Colin Phillips. The paper asks whether memory access mechanisms are able to exploit relational information, c-command relations in particular, by investigating the processing of bound variable pronouns. With off-line judgment studies and eye-tracking studies it shows that referential NPs are easily accessed as antecedents, irrespective of whether they c-command the pronoun, but that quantificational NPs are accessed as antecedents only when they c-command the pronoun. This suggests either that memory access mechanisms can make use of relational information as a guide for retrieval, or that the set of features that is used to encode syntactic relations in memory must be enriched.