The Influence of Implicit Causality and End-state Focus on the Processing of Pronouns in Causal Relations
Leeuw, L.C. de
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This study examined two factors that are considered to influence coreferential preferences, viz. 1) Implicit Causality (Koornneef & Van Berkum, 2006; Crinean & Garnham, 2006) which argues for a special status of Implicit Causal verbs and 2) End-state focus hypothesis (Stevenson et al., 1994; 2000) which argues in favour of a focussing strategy for thematic roles. I claim that these two factors cannot be treated independently, but should be seen as affiliated factors. A Sentence Completion Task and an Eye-tracking study were conducted to support my claim. Both methods show that there is no reason to suggest that pronoun resolution is influenced by thematic roles only. In addition, the results show that Implicit Causal verbs have a special status with respect to Reason relations, but not to Consequence relations. Thus, it seems like Implicit Causal verbs carry a special element that endorses the preference of a referent referring to the causal instigator of the event.