Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 355–378 | Cite as

Comprehending Pronouns: A Role for Word-Specific Gender Stereotype Information

  • Shelia M. Kennison
  • Jessie L. Trofe


The research investigated how word-specific gender stereotype information can be used during language comprehension. In a rating study, the gender stereotypes for 405 noun and noun compounds were assessed. From these norms, 32 words strongly stereotyped to refer mostly to males and 32 words strongly stereotyped to refer mostly to females were selected and used in a reading experiment. Comprehenders read pairs of sentences. The subject of the first sentence was a gender stereotyped word (e.g., executive or secretary). The subject of the second sentence was either the pronoun he or she. Reading time was significantly longer when gender of the pronoun mismatched the gender stereotype of the antecedent than when the genders of pronoun and antecedent matched. This gender mismatch effect occurred on the two regions immediately following the region containing the pronoun. The results indicated that word-specific gender stereotypes can influence coreference resolution of pronouns.

Gender stereotypes pronouns sentence processing lexical information language processing 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelia M. Kennison
    • 1
  • Jessie L. Trofe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwater
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyTexas Lutheran UniversitySeguin

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