Case Matching and Conflicting Bindings Interference

  • Pavel Logačev
  • Shravan Vasishth
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 40)


Similarity-based interference (SBI) has recently gained more attention in the domain of sentence processing (e.g. AQ: Gordon et al. 2007 is cited in text but not given in the reference list. Please chec, Gordon et al. 2007). In this paper we demonstrate that similarity can also have facilitative effects on processing, a finding that interference theories such as Gordon et al’s cannot explain. We offer an explanation for such interference effects as well as the facilitative effects in terms of independently motivated assumptions about the structure of memory representations (Hommel, Vis Cogn 5:183–216, 1998; inter alia). An attractive aspect of this explanation of similarity-based interference and facilitation effects is that so-called case-matching phenomena can also be accounted for. To this end we present two experiments: In Experiment 1 we demonstrate that case matching can occur even with non-coreferent NPs, given a sufficient level of similarity. In Experiment 2 we show that case matching is really driven by abstract case proper as opposed to other properties canonically associated with it. In sum, we provide a unified explanation for interference, facilitation and case-matching effects. A broader implication of this account is that case ambiguities are not resolved immediately but rather the multiple representations are maintained in parallel – a mechanism that is clearly not compatible with serial parsing strategies.


Noun Phrase Relative Clause Case Match Main Clause Relative Pronoun 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Gisbert Fanselow for very helpful suggestions concerning the design of Experiments 1 and 2, as well as Felix Engelmann, Esther Sommerfeld, and Titus von der Malsburg for extensive discussions of the ideas presented in this paper. Furthermore we thank Monique Lamers for very helpful comments on the first draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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