Mental Models and the Interpretation of Anaphora
By Alan Garnham
Published November 9th 2000 by Psychology Press – 184 pages
Series: Essays in Cognitive Psychology
The interpretation of anaphora - how we interpret expressions such as definite pronouns (he, she, it) and verbal elliptical phrases (such as "did so, too") in the course of ordinary conversation or reading - is an important aspect of language comprehension.
In this book the author examines the research and evidence on anaphor interpretation within the context of the mental models theory of comprehension, arguing that the notion of a mental model is essential to the detailed description of the processes of anaphor resolution. The general philosophy of the mental models approach and the nature of mental models themselves and their role in language processing is discussed, followed by a review of methodological issues that bear on the interpretation of psychological research findings. Against this background, the author's own research on areas such as deep and surface anaphora, reference into anaphoric islands, the role of implicit causality in anaphor resolution and the use of pronouns to refer to characters introduced by stereotyped role names is presented.
At all times the author's research is set within the context of the general literature on anaphor resolution derived from the disciplines of linguistics, psycholinguistics, philosophy and computational linguistics, ensuring that the book will be of interest to advanced students and researchers in these fields.
One of the pleasures of Granham's book is that it calls attention to a variety of types of anaphora that will likely have fallen outside most readers' notice. - Richard J. Gerrig, State University of New York, in Contemporary Psychology
This is an excellent book. … The major strengths are its scope of coverage and the clarity of the writing … I am happy to have had the chance to review it. - Peter C. Gordon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Introduction. Mental Models: Their Nature and Construction. Mental Models and Language Processing. Lingusitic Approaches to Anaphora. Psycholinguistic Approaches to Anaphora: Methodological Issues. Psycholinguistic Approaches to Anaphora: Empirical Studies. Deep and Surface Anaphors. Anaphoric Islands. Implicit Causality. Stereotypes. A Mental Models Theory of Understanding Anaphora. References.