Manual Response Dynamics Reflect Rapid Integration of Intonational Information during Reference Resolution


Intonation plays an integral role in comprehending spoken language. It encodes post-lexical pragmatic functions such as sentence modality and discourse contexts. The present experiment investigates how and when listeners integrate intonational information to anticipate reference resolution. While most work on the real-time processes of intonation-based intention recognition has utilized eye tracking, the present study uses the mouse tracking paradigm, a valuable complementary method to investigate the time course of speech processing. Participants had to choose an interpretation based on pre-recorded instructions containing different intonation contours. Recordings of the x,y coordinates of participants’ computer mouse movements reveal that listeners integrate intonational information rapidly as soon as they become available and anticipate potential referential interpretations early on.

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