Comparing individual and collective management of referential choices in dialogue.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Q J Exp Psychol (Hove), p.17470218211037117 (2021)


<p>Past research shows that when a discourse referent is mentioned repeatedly, it is usually introduced with a full noun phrase and maintained with a reduced form such as a pronoun. Is this also the case in dialogue, where the same referent may be introduced by one person and maintained by another person? An experiment was conducted in which participants either told entire stories to each other or told stories together, thus enabling us to contrast situations in which characters were introduced and maintained by the same person (control condition) and situations in which the introduction and the maintaining of each character were performed by different people (alternating condition). Story complexity was also manipulated through the introduction of one or two characters in each story. We found that participants were less likely to use reduced forms to maintain referents in the alternating condition. The use of reduced forms also depended on the context in which the referent was maintained (in particular, first or second mention of a character) and on story complexity. These results shed light on how the pressure to signal understanding to one's conversational partner affects referential choices throughout the interaction.</p>

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