ERIC Number: EJ1050594
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 60
Women and Men Have Different Discourse Biases for Pronoun Interpretation
Arnold, Jennifer E.
Discourse Processes: A multidisciplinary journal, v52 n2 p77-110 2015
Two experiments examine how men and women interpret pronouns in discourse. Adults are known to show a strong "first-mention bias": When two characters are mentioned ("Michael played with William…"), comprehenders tend to interpret subsequent pronouns as coreferential with the first of the two characters and to find pronouns more natural than names for reference to the first character. However, this bias is not absolute. Experiment 1 demonstrates a stronger first-mention bias for women than men in their naturalness ratings for short stories. Experiment 2 monitors eye movements during story comprehension and finds that women are more likely than men to consider the first-mentioned character as the pronoun referent. These findings reveal the first known gender difference in reference processing and reinforce the view that reference processing is driven by more than the discourse context alone.
Descriptors: Gender Differences, Form Classes (Languages), Literary Genres, Eye Movements, Reading Processes, Language Processing, Adults, Context Effect, Individual Differences, Computer Software, Statistical Analysis, Psycholinguistics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS-0745627