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This event will be held in person and online.

There is widespread agreement that successful text comprehension involves constructing a mental representation of the situations described in the text. One of the features of text is that writers may use different expressions to refer to the same entity, for example they may use personal pronouns, he or she, to refer to protagonists introduced earlier by name. Successful comprehenders rapidly resolve these co-references to achieve a cohesive and coherent mental model of the situation. This is a remarkable achievement and, as a result, identifying factors that influence adults’ and children’s pronoun resolution has been the subject of considerable research in the literature. An influential account of adults’ pronoun resolution, The Event Structure Hypothesis, suggests that the temporal characteristics of events (verbs and their predicates) influence their pronoun resolution.

In this talk I will first present findings supporting this claim, from an experiment where we examined previously untested predictions of this account on adults’, adolescents’, and children’s pronoun resolution. Next, I will present experimental evidence showing an age increase in sensitivity to the temporal characteristics of events on children’s perception of the ongoingness of events within narratives, and a similar pattern of influence on children’s pronoun resolution within the same narrative passages. I will close by discussing a potential explanation for the developmental trends observed and briefly describe a pilot study examining the hypothesis that exposure to print may be an important source of influence.

 

Find out more about the speaker: https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/psychology/about-us/people/gillian-francey.

 

How to attend

A link will be circulated via the departmental ep-seminars mailing list during the week before the talk. If you'd like to attend online and are not on the ep-seminars mailing list, please email emma.james@psy.ox.ac.uk for the link.