How WM Load Influences Linguistic Processing in Adults: A Computational Model of Pronoun Interpretation in Discourse

van Rij, J., van Rijn, H. & Hendriks, P., Jul-2013, In : Topics in Cognitive Science. 5, 3, p. 564-580 17 p.

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  • How WM Load Influences Linguistic Processing in Adults A Computational Model

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This paper presents a study of the effect of working memory load on the interpretation of pronouns in different discourse contexts: stories with and without a topic shift. We discuss a computational model (in ACT-R, Anderson, 2007) to explain how referring expressions are acquired and used. On the basis of simulations of this model, it is predicted that WM constraints only affect adults' pronoun resolution in stories with a topic shift, but not in stories without a topic shift. This latter prediction was tested in an experiment. The results of this experiment confirm that WM load reduces adults' sensitivity to discourse cues signaling a topic shift, thus influencing their interpretation of subsequent pronouns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-580
Number of pages17
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2013


  • Working memory load, Language processing, Cognitive modeling, Pronouns, WORKING-MEMORY, INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES, RESOLUTION, COMPREHENSION

ID: 5910863