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date: 06 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses electrophysiological studies of anaphora, attempting to situate findings within the context of literature on language processing as a whole. First, it reviews what is known about electrophysiological indices of processing long-distance anaphoric dependencies, linking these brain responses to cognitive operations required to form anaphoric relations. Then the focus turns to the brain’s response to referentially ambiguous anaphors and it is argued that these responses, rather than being specific to ambiguity, reflect general cognitive processes. Finally, the chapter focuses on an array of recent studies, including research on parallels between processing of referential and syntactic dependencies, the role of referential specificity in reference resolution, and cataphoric dependencies. In doing so, it summarizes where the field currently stands, in terms of what we know and the outstanding issues that remain. In all cases, from the brain’s perspective, the ultimate question is: is there anything special about processing referential anaphora?

Keywords: language processing, reference resolution, electrophysiological studies, anaphoric relations, (long distance) anaphoric dependencies, cataphoric dependencies

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