Event Boundaries, Inconsistency Detection, and Anaphoric Reference

Doctoral Dissertation


According to theories of event cognition, people parse information into event models, and this parsing can have meaningful influences on cognition. The current study explores the idea that parsing a narrative into separate events can influence the monitoring of prior text information that occurs during comprehension, such as inconsistency detection and anaphor resolution. On the one hand, event segmentation may serve to facilitate the access of prior text information. On the other hand, it may be that the removal of information from the current working event model reduces its accessibility, thereby making inconsistencies more difficult to detect and anaphors harder to resolve. In the current experiments, people were given sets of stories to read in which the presence of event boundaries was explicitly manipulated and inconsistent sentences or anaphors were separated by either an boundary or not. These event boundaries were present either in the context of a narrative, or were extra-textual event boundaries in the form of reading interruptions. The results of four experiments revealed that narrative event boundaries did impede anaphor resolution, but not inconsistency detection, and reading interruption impeded both inconsistency resolution and anaphor resolution. This work has implications for theories of event cognition and narrative comprehension.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-05202014-142107

Author Alexis Nicole Thompson
Advisor G.A. Radvansky
Contributor G.A. Radvansky, Committee Chair
Contributor Sidney DMello, Committee Member
Contributor James Brockmole, Committee Member
Contributor Julie Turner, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Defense Date
  • 2014-04-29

Submission Date 2014-05-20
  • United States of America

  • memory

  • event segmentation

  • inconsistency detection

  • event boundaries

  • anaphoric reference

  • narrative text

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units

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