Tourtouri, Elli; Delogu, Francesca; Crocker, Matthew W.

Specificity and entropy reduction in situated referential processing

39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Austin, Texas, USA, 2017.

In situated communication, reference to an entity in the shared visual context can be established using eitheranexpression that conveys precise (minimally specified) or redundant (over-specified) information. There is, however, along-lasting debate in psycholinguistics concerningwhether the latter hinders referential processing. We present evidence from an eyetrackingexperiment recordingfixations as well asthe Index of Cognitive Activity –a novel measure of cognitive workload –supporting the view that over-specifications facilitate processing. We further present originalevidence that, above and beyond the effect of specificity,referring expressions thatuniformly reduce referential entropyalso benefitprocessing