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Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Dr. Brian Dillon
Dr. Lyn Frazier
Dr. Kyle Johnson
Dr. Adrian Staub
Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics | Syntax
It has been claimed that comprehenders use the Binding Theory (Chomsky, 1986) to restrict the search for a reflexive’s antecedent in early stages of comprehension (Dillon, Mishler, Sloggett, & Phillips, 2013; Sturt, 2003; Nicol & Swinney, 1989) However, recent findings challenge this view, demonstrating that comprehenders occasionally access antecedents on the basis of their match with a reflexive’s morphosyntactic features (Chen, Jäger, & Vasishth, 2012; Patil, Lewis, & Vasishth, 2016, Parker, & Phillips, 2017). In this dissertation, I investigate the source of this ’grammatical fallibility’ in the real-time application of Principle A of the Binding Theory. Specifically, I ask whether this pattern of behavior is the direct consequence of an error-prone retrieval mechanism, or if it is instead the result of a discourse-oriented, logophoric interpretation of reflexive forms. This work presents four experiments demonstrating that comprehenders only consider non-Principle A antecedents which act as prominent perspective holders in the discourse. I explain these findings by appealing to local, logophoric center available for reflexive reference.
Sloggett, Shayne, "When errors aren't: How comprehenders selectively violate Binding Theory" (2017). Doctoral Dissertations. 1125.