Publication

Who is where referred to how, and why? The influence of visual saliency on referent accessibility in spoken language production

Vogels, J., Krahmer, E. & Maes, A., Nov-2013, In : Language and Cognitive Processes. 28, 9, p. 1323-1349 27 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Copy link to clipboard

Documents

  • Who is where referred to how, and why

    Final publisher's version, 650 KB, PDF document

DOI

Salient entities are assumed to be more accessible in memory, which makes them more likely to be referred to first and to be referred to with an attenuated expression, such as a pronoun. It is less clear, however, how different types of salience interact in influencing referent accessibility. In this article, we address the question whether non-linguistic factors can affect accessibility in the presence of a linguistic context. We present two story completion experiments in which we investigated the effect of visual salience (foregrounding) in interaction with linguistic salience (subjecthood) of two story characters both on the choice of referent and on the choice of referring expression. In Experiment 1, linguistic salience was moderated by inducing a topic shift in the discourse context. In Experiment 2, contexts in which linguistic salience was unclear were compared to contexts in which one of the characters was highly linguistically salient. The results show that visual salience influences referent choice independently of linguistic salience, but that it does not have an effect on the choice of referring expression. This suggests that visual salience has an influence on the global interpretation of the scene, but does not directly affect the accessibility status of individual entities. This is compatible with a view of language production in which utterance planning is influenced by conceptual and discourse factors rather than by low-level perceptual factors.\nSalient entities are assumed to be more accessible in memory, which makes them more likely to be referred to first and to be referred to with an attenuated expression, such as a pronoun. It is less clear, however, how different types of salience interact in influencing referent accessibility. In this article, we address the question whether non-linguistic factors can affect accessibility in the presence of a linguistic context. We present two story completion experiments in which we investigated the effect of visual salience (foregrounding) in interaction with linguistic salience (subjecthood) of two story characters both on the choice of referent and on the choice of referring expression. In Experiment 1, linguistic salience was moderated by inducing a topic shift in the discourse context. In Experiment 2, contexts in which linguistic salience was unclear were compared to contexts in which one of the characters was highly linguistically salient. The results show that visual salience influences referent choice independently of linguistic salience, but that it does not have an effect on the choice of referring expression. This suggests that visual salience has an influence on the global interpretation of the scene, but does not directly affect the accessibility status of individual entities. This is compatible with a view of language production in which utterance planning is influenced by conceptual and discourse factors rather than by low-level perceptual factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1323-1349
Number of pages27
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Volume28
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2013
Externally publishedYes

    Keywords

  • Accessibility, Reference, Referring expressions, Visual salience, SENTENCE FORMULATION, DISCOURSE, ATTENTION, EXPRESSIONS, CHARACTERS, PRONOUNS, CONTEXT, EYES, FORM

ID: 61564211