Abstract: Cataphoric devices in spoken discourse

GERNSBACHER, M. A., & JESCHENIAK, J. (1995). Cataphoric devices in spoken discourse. Cognitive Psychology, 29, 24-58.

We propose that speakers mark key words with cataphoric devices. Cataphoric devices are counterparts to anaphoric devices: Just as anaphoric devices enable backward reference, cataphoric devices enable forward reference. And just as anaphoric devices mark concepts that have been mentioned before, cataphoric devices mark concepts that are likely to be mentioned again. We investigated two cataphoric devices: spoken stress and the indefinite this. Our experiments demonstrated three ways that concepts marked by cataphoric devices gain a privileged status in listeners’ mental representations: Cataphoric devices enhance the activation of the concepts that they mark; cataphoric devices suppress the activation of previously mentioned concepts; and cataphoric devices protect the concepts that they mark from being suppressed by subsequently mentioned concepts.