Clippers 3/3: Evan Jaffe on Joint Coreference and Parsing

Models of human sentence processing effort tend to focus on costs
associated with retrieving structures and discourse referents from
memory (memory-based) and/or on costs associated with anticipating
upcoming words and structures based on contextual cues
(expectation-based)(Levy 08).
Although evidence suggests that expectation and memory may play
separable roles in language comprehension (Levy et al 2013), theories of
coreference processing have largely focused on memory: how comprehenders
identify likely referents of linguistic expressions.
In this study, we hypothesize that coreference tracking also informs
human expectations about upcoming words, and we test this hypothesis by
evaluating the degree to which incremental surprisal measures generated
by a novel coreference-aware semantic parser explain human response
times in a naturalistic self-paced reading experiment.
Results indicate (1) that coreference information indeed guides human
expectations and (2) that coreference effects on memory retrieval exist
independently of coreference effects on expectations.
Together, these findings suggest that the language processing system
exploits coreference information both to retrieve referents from memory
and to anticipate upcoming material.