CARREIRAS, M., GERNSBACHER, M. A., & Villa, V. (1995). The advantage of first mention in Spanish. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 2, 124-129.
An advantage of first mention–that is, faster access to participants mentioned first in a sentence–has previously been demonstrated only in English. We report three experiments demonstrating that the advantage of first mention occurs also in Spanish sentences, regardless of whether the first-mentioned participants are syntactic subjects, and regardless, too, of whether they are proper names or inanimate objects. Because greater word-order flexibility is allowed in Spanish than in English (e.g., nonpassive object-verb-subject constructions exist in Spanish), these findings provide additional evidence that the advantage of first mention is a general cognitive phenomenon.