Shallow processing of ambiguous pronouns: Evidence for delay Academic Article uri icon


  • Two self-paced reading-time experiments examined how ambiguous pronouns are interpreted under conditions that encourage shallow processing. In Experiment 1 we show that sentences containing ambiguous pronouns are processed at the same speed as those containing unambiguous pronouns under shallow processing, but more slowly under deep processing. We outline three possible models to account for the shallow processing of ambiguous pronouns. Two involve an initial commitment followed by possible revision, and the other involves a delay in interpretation. In Experiment 2 we provide evidence that supports the delayed model of ambiguous pronoun resolution under shallow processing. We found no evidence to support a processing system that makes an initial commitment to an interpretation of the pronoun when it is encountered. We extend the account of pronoun resolution proposed by Rigalleau, Caplan, and Baudiffier (2004) to include the treatment of ambiguous pronouns under shallow processing.

publication date

  • December 2007