Conceptual Match as a Determinant of Reference Reuse in Dialogue

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As speakers interact, they add references to their common ground, which they can then reuse to facilitate listener comprehension. However, all references are not equally likely to be reused. The purpose of this study was to shed light on how the speakers’ conceptualizations of the referents under discussion affect reuse (along with a generation effect in memory documented in previous studies on dialogic reuse). Two experiments were conducted in which participants interactively added references to their common ground. From each participant’s point of view, these references either did or did not match their own conceptualization of the referents discussed, and were either self- or partner-generated. Although self-generated references were more readily accessible in memory than partner-generated ones (Experiment 1), reference reuse was mainly guided by conceptualization (Experiment 2). These results are in line with the idea that several different cues (conceptual match, memory accessibility) constrain reference reuse in dialogue.

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