Conceptual similarity effects on working memory in sentence contexts: Testing a theory of anaphora

Cowles, HW, Garnham, Alan and Simner, Julia (2010) Conceptual similarity effects on working memory in sentence contexts: Testing a theory of anaphora. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63 (6). pp. 1218-1232. ISSN 1747-0218

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Abstract

The degree of semantic similarity between an anaphoric noun phrase (e.g., the bird) and its antecedent (e.g., a robin) is known to affect the anaphor resolution process, but the mechanisms that underlie this effect are not known. One proposal (Almor, 1999) is that semantic similarity triggers interference effects in working memory and makes two crucial assumptions: First, semantic similarity impairs working memory just as phonological similarity does (e.g., Baddeley, 1992), and, second, this impairment interferes with processes of sentence comprehension. We tested these assumptions in two experiments that compared recall accuracy between phonologically similar, semantically similar, and control words in sentence contexts. Our results do not provide support for Almor's claims: Phonological overlap decreased recall accuracy in sentence contexts, but semantic similarity did not. These results shed doubt on the idea that semantic interference in working memory is an underlying mechanism in anaphor resolution. © 2009 The Experimental Psychology Society.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Alan Garnham
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:31
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2013 14:12
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13108
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