Working memory, reading ability and the effects of distance and typicality on anaphor resolution in children.
Joseph HSSL., Bremner G., Liversedge SP., Nation K.
We investigated the time course of anaphor resolution in children and whether this is modulated by individual differences in working memory and reading skill. The eye movements of 30 children (10-11 years) were monitored as they read short paragraphs in which (1) the semantic typicality of an antecedent and (2) its distance in relation to an anaphor were orthogonally manipulated. Children showed effects of distance and typicality on the anaphor itself and also on the word to the right of the anaphor, suggesting that anaphoric processing begins immediately but continues after the eyes have left the anaphor. Furthermore, children showed no evidence of resolving anaphors in the most difficult condition (distant atypical antecedent), suggesting that anaphoric processing that is demanding may not occur online in children of this age. Finally, working memory capacity and reading comprehension skill affect the magnitude and time course of typicality and distance effects during anaphoric processing.