Jennifer E Arnold

Jennifer E Arnold
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | UNC · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

78
Publications
19,367
Reads
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3,799
Citations
Citations since 2017
21 Research Items
1714 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250
Additional affiliations
July 2004 - present
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 2000 - July 2004
University of Rochester
Position
  • Research Assistant
September 1998 - July 2000
University of Pennsylvania
Position
  • Postodctoral Fellow

Publications

Publications (78)
Article
It is well established that people adapt to statistical regularities at phonological, lexical, and syntactic levels. Much less is known about adaptation to discourse‐level structures, such as adaptation to structures defined as the relationship between a pronoun and its antecedent. To fill this gap, this paper reviews studies on the learning of ref...
Article
Full-text available
In order to refer in any language, speakers must choose between explicit forms of expression, such as names or descriptions, or more ambiguous forms like pronouns. Current models suggest that reference form is driven by subjecthood, where speakers in English choose pronouns for the subject, and speakers of null pronoun languages like Spanish or Ita...
Article
In discourses involving implicit causality, the implicit cause of the event is referentially predictable, that is, it is likely to be rementioned. However, it is unclear how referential predictability is calculated. We test two possible explanations: (1) The frequency account suggests that people learn that implicit causes are predictable through e...
Article
Models of language comprehension show that predictable elements are easier to understand. Does predictability also guide production? While many models suggest it does (e.g., Arnold, 1998; Aylett & Turk, 2004; Levy & Jaeger, 2007; Jurafsky, Bell, Gregory, & Raymond, 2001; Mahowald, Fedorenko, Piantadosi, & Gibson; Orita, Vornov, Feldman & Daumé, 201...
Article
Full-text available
In three experiments, we measured individual patterns of pronoun comprehension (Experiments 1 and 2) and referential prediction (Experiment 3) in implicit causality (IC) contexts and compared these with a measure of participants’ print exposure (Author Recognition Task; ART). Across all three experiments, we found that ART interacted with verb bias...
Article
The pronoun “they” can be either plural or singular, perhaps referring to an individual who identifies as nonbinary. How do listeners identify whether “they” has a singular or plural sense? We test the role of explicitly discussing pronouns (e.g., “Alex uses they/them pronouns”). In three experiments, participants read short stories, like “Alex wen...
Article
Comprehenders have been shown to use both syntactic and semantic cues to understand pronouns like he and she. In Ana threw the ball to Liz. She…, there is a syntactic bias to assign "she" to the previous subject (Ana), and a semantic bias to assign it to the goal referent (Liz). How do people learn these biases? We tested how sensitivity to these c...
Article
Full-text available
How does thematic role predictability affect reference production? This study tests a planning facilitation hypothesis – that the predictability effect on reference form can be explained in terms of the time course of utterance planning. In a discourse production task, participants viewed two sequential event pictures, listened to a description of...
Article
Full-text available
Models of language production must account for how speakers select referential expressions, a process that is complicated by the range of options available to speakers (e.g. he, Pim, Dr. Levelt). This paper reviews models of reference production, and suggests that they fall into two classes: (1) Pragmatic selection models, and (2) Rational models....
Article
Full-text available
Language development requires children to learn how to understand ambiguous pronouns, as in Panda Bear is having lunch with Puppy. He wants a pepperoni slice. Adults tend to link he with Puppy, the prior grammatical subject, but young children either fail to exhibit this bias (Arnold, Brown-Schmidt & Trueswell, 2007) or do so more slowly than adult...
Preprint
Full-text available
How does thematic role predictability affect reference production? This study tests a planning facilitation hypothesis – that the predictability effect on reference form can be explained in terms of the time course of utterance planning. In a discourse production task, participants viewed two sequential event pictures, listened to a description of...
Article
Speakers use pronouns when referring to information that is topical, recently mentioned, or salient in the discourse. Although such information is often predictable, there is conflicting evidence about whether predictability affects reference form production. This debate centers on the question of whether reference form is influenced by the predict...
Article
Reference production is often studied through single dimensions of contrast (e.g., “tall glass” when there are one or two glasses of varying height). Yet real-world communication is rarely so simple, raising questions about the factors guiding more complex referents. The current study examines decisions to mention set relations (e.g., using quantit...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the relationship between the timing of utterance initiation and the choice of referring expressions, e.g., pronouns (it), zeros (…and went down), or descriptive NPs (the pink pentagon). We examined language production in healthy adults, and used anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to test the involvement of the left pr...
Article
Full-text available
It is well established that language production and comprehension are influenced by information status, for example, whether information is given, new, topical, or predictable, and many scholars suggest that an important component of information status is keeping track of what information is in common ground (i.e., what is shared), and what is not....
Article
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An unstudied source of linguistic variation is the use of discourse-appropriate language. Sometimes individuals use linguistic devices (anaphors, connectors) to connect utterances to the discourse context, and sometimes not. We asked how this variation is related to utterance planning, using eyetracking with a narrative production task. Participant...
Article
Pronoun comprehension is facilitated for referents that are focused in the discourse context. Discourse focus has been described as a function of attention, especially shared attention, but few studies have explicitly tested this idea. Two experiments used an exogenous capture cue paradigm to demonstrate that listeners' visual attention at the onse...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments examine how men and women interpret pronouns in discourse. Adults are known to show a strong “first-mention bias”: When two characters are mentioned (Michael played with William…), comprehenders tend to interpret subsequent pronouns as coreferential with the first of the two characters and to find pronouns more natural than names fo...
Article
Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session Dedicated to the Contributions of Charles J. Fillmore (1994)
Article
Upon hearing a disfluent referring expression, listeners expect the speaker to refer to an object that is previously unmentioned, an object that does not have a straightforward label, or an object that requires a longer description. Two visual-world eye-tracking experiments examined whether listeners directly associate disfluency with these propert...
Conference Paper
Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by deficits in communication, frequently involving impairment in prosody. One prosodic function is to mark information status, where stressed/prominent pronunciations are used for New or Contrastive information, while reduced pronunciations are used for Given (previously-mentioned) informa...
Article
Words vary in acoustic prominence; for example, repeated words tend to be reduced, while focused elements tend to be acoustically prominent. We discuss two approaches to this phenomenon. On the message-based view, acoustic choices signal the speaker's meaning or pragmatics, or are guided by syntactic structure. On the facilitation-based view, reduc...
Article
Full-text available
Speakers tend to reduce the duration of words that they have heard or spoken recently. We examine the cognitive mechanisms behind duration variation, focusing on the contributions of speaker-internal constraints and audience design. In three experiments, we asked speakers to give instructions to listeners about how to move objects. In Experiment 1,...
Article
Language form varies as a result of the information being communicated. Some of the ways in which it varies include word order, referential form, morphological marking, and prosody. The relevant categories of information include the way a word or its referent have been used in context, for example, whether a particular referent has been previously...
Article
Full-text available
MacDonald's (2013) paper makes two strong contributions to the psycholinguistics literature, in my opinion. First, it calls for a serious consideration of how cognitive pressures affect production processing, which is a necessary step for the development of mechanistic theories of language use. A second major contribution of the PDC is that it prov...
Article
Full-text available
How do speakers accommodate distracted listeners? Specifically, how does prosody change when speakers know that their addressees are multitasking? Speakers might use more acoustically prominent words for distracted addressees, to ensure that important information is communicated. Alternatively, speakers might disengage from the task and use less pr...
Article
The four points above represent my "wish list" for a theory of pronoun interpretation. The Obama speech provides one example of how real-life pronouns require consideration of 1) how comprehenders arrive at speaker meaning, not just text meaning, 2) the importance of both on-line and off-line processing, 3) the importance of considering all forms o...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we examine the hypothesis that acoustic variation (e.g., reduced vs. prominent forms) results from audience design. Bard et al. (Journal of Memory and Language 42:1-22, 2000) have argued that acoustic prominence is unaffected by the speaker's estimate of addressee knowledge, using paradigms that contrast speaker and addressee knowl...
Chapter
This chapter examines the relative accessibility of different referents to a particular speaker during language comprehension, focusing on disfluency effects and how new information can be accessed. It describes experiments in which people’s eye movements to different physical objects in a scene were recorded while the degree of fluency of pronunci...
Article
Full-text available
Many models suggest that the use of pronouns and other underspecified forms of reference is supported when the referent is in the listener's focus of attention, but it is unclear whether the mechanisms of production are conditioned by psychological attention, independently from the discourse structure. To get at this question, we examined effects o...
Chapter
A number of different factors influence the ordering of constituents after the verb in English. These include the syntactic complexity of the phrases, the discourse status of the information expressed, how tightly the meaning of each constituent is connected to that of the verb, and idiosyncratic lexical biases. Perhaps surprisingly, English speake...
Article
One of the core components of language is referring, which requires the speaker to choose between expressions that are highly explicit (e.g., the UNC professor, or Peter), and reduced lexical forms (e.g., he). This paper reviews claims that this process is largely driven by the accessibility or salience of the referent, and the psychological proces...
Article
We examine the referential choices (pronouns/zeros vs. names/descriptions) made during a narrative by high-functioning children and adolescents with autism and a well-matched typically developing control group. The process of choosing appropriate referring expressions has been proposed to depend on two areas of cognitive functioning: (a) judging th...
Article
Two eye-tracking experiments examine whether adults and 4- and 5-year-old children use the presence or absence of accenting to guide their interpretation of noun phrases (e.g., the bacon) with respect to the discourse context. Unaccented nouns tend to refer to contextually accessible referents, while accented variants tend to be used for less acces...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reviews research on the production of referential expressions, examining the choice between explicit and attenuated lexical forms (e.g., pronouns vs. names), and between acoustically prominent and attenuated pronunciations. Both choices can be explained in terms of addressee-design, in that explicit expressions tend to be used in situati...
Article
Importance and predictability each have been argued to contribute to acoustic prominence. To investigate whether these factors are independent or two aspects of the same phenomenon, naïve participants played a verbal variant of Tic Tac Toe. Both importance and predictability contributed independently to the acoustic prominence of a word, but in dif...
Article
Full-text available
Research has shown that the comprehension of definite referring expressions (e.g., the triangle) tends to be faster for given (previously mentioned) referents, compared with new referents. This has been attributed to the presence of given information in the consciousness of discourse participants (e.g., Chafe, 1994) suggesting that given is always...
Article
Full-text available
Eye-tracking and gating experiments examined reference comprehension with fluent (Click on the red. . .) and disfluent (Click on [pause] thee uh red . . .) instructions while listeners viewed displays with 2 familiar (e.g., ice cream cones) and 2 unfamiliar objects (e.g., squiggly shapes). Disfluent instructions made unfamiliar objects more expecte...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments were conducted to examine the on-line processing mechanisms used by young children to comprehend pronouns. The work focuses on their use of two highly relevant sources of information: (1) the gender and number features carried by English pronouns, and (2) the differing accessibility of discourse entities, as influenced by order-of-m...
Article
Two story-telling experiments examine the process of choosing between pronouns and proper names in speaking. Such choices are traditionally attributed to speakers striving to make referring expressions maximally interpretable to addressees. The experiments revealed a novel effect: even when a pronoun would not be ambiguous, the presence of another...
Article
Full-text available
Generative grammarians have relied on introspective intuitions of well-formedness as their primary source of data. The overreliance on this one type of data and the unsystematic manner in which they are collected cast doubt on the empirical basis of a great deal of syntactic theorizing. These concerns are illustrated with examples and one more deta...
Article
Most research on the rapid mental processes of on-line language processing has been limited to the study of idealized, fluent utterances. Yet speakers are often disfluent, for example, saying "thee, uh, candle" instead of "the candle." By monitoring listeners' eye movements to objects in a display, we demonstrated that the fluency of an article ("t...
Article
Three experiments investigated whether speakers use constituent ordering as a mechanism for avoiding ambiguities. In utterances like “Jane showed the letter to Mary to her mother,” alternate orders would avoid the temporary PP-attachment ambiguity (“Jane showed her mother the letter to Mary,” or “Jane showed to her mother the letter to Mary”). A pr...
Article
Three experiments investigated whether speakers use constituent ordering as a mechanism for avoiding ambiguities. In utterances like “Jane showed the letter to Mary to her mother,” alternate orders would avoid the temporary PP-attachment ambiguity (“Jane showed her mother the letter to Mary,” or “Jane showed to her mother the letter to Mary”). A pr...
Article
Full-text available
Speakers are often disfluent, for example, saying "theee uh candle" instead of "the candle." Production data show that disfluencies occur more often during references to things that are discourse-new, rather than given. An eyetracking experiment shows that this correlation between disfluency and discourse status affects speech comprehensions. Subje...
Article
Eye movements of listeners were monitored to investigate how gender information and accessibility influence the initial processes of pronoun interpretation. Previous studies on this issue have produced mixed results, and several studies have concluded that gender cues are not automatically used during the early processes of pronoun interpretation (...
Article
Full-text available
Variations in postverbal constituent ordering have been attributed to both grammatical complexity (heaviness) and discourse status (newness), although few studies compare the two factors explicitly. Through corpus analysis and experimentation, we demonstrate that both factors simultaneously and independently influence word order in two English cons...
Article
Full-text available
Variations in postverbal constituent ordering have been attributed to both grammatical complexity (heaviness) and discourse status (newness), although few studies compare the two factors explicitly. Through corpus analysis and experimentation, we demonstrate that both factors simultaneously and independently influence word order in two English cons...
Article
Full-text available
. Thornton and MacDonald (1999) tested length-based predictions by examining two-site verb phrase modification ambiguities, as in (1): This research was supported by NSF Grant SBR-9511270 to the second author. We would like to thank Wind Cowles and Mariela Gil for their assistance. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Robert Thornton, Hed...
Article
Submitted to the Department of Linguistics. Copyright by the author. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Stanford University, 1998.
Article
Full-text available
Goal and source thematic roles have been shown to influence pronoun resolution, an effect that has been linked to the reader's tendency to focus on the consequences of the event (Stevenson, Crawley, & Kleinman, 1994). Using a story continuation ex-periment, I show that speakers also tend to use pronouns more often for goal entities than source enti...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments explore how pronoun resolution is influenced by a) properties of discourse referents, specifically whether they are underspecified and in need of description, and b) the contribution of the pronoun-containing utterance, specifically whether it provides a description or specifies an event. We find that these factors interact, such th...
Article
Full-text available
Reference comprehension is influenced by disfluency; listeners are biased toward given (already mentioned) objects when the speaker is fluent ("the candle), and new objects when the speaker is disfluent ("thee uh candle"; Arnold et al., 2004). One interpretation is that listeners attribute disfluency to a particular difficulty, e.g., naming difficu...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments explored discourse and communicative factors that contribute to the perceived prominence of a word in an utterance, and how that prominence is realized acoustically. In Experiment 1 two hypotheses were tested: (1) acoustic prominence is a product of the given-new status of a word and (2) acoustic prominence depends on the degree to...
Article
Acoustic variation in word pronunciation occurs primarily for two reasons: predictability, where context makes uttering a word predictable (e.g. Bell et al., 2009); and givenness, where the word has been spoken otherwise evoked in conversation (e.g. Prince 1992). Predictable and/or given words often take a reduced form, and listeners expect reducti...
Article
This volume collects selected papers from the twenty-third New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV23) conference held at Stanford University. It is a collection of innovative papers on the newest developments in research on variation. The range of topics covered in this collection include: phonological variation, morphosyntactic variation, register a...

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