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VIEWPOINTS : Linguistic Talk Series

Friday, September 20, 2013
3:30 p.m.
Lattimore 513

Constraints of the Binding Theory:

Evidence from Visual World Eye-Tracking


Presented by: Jeffrey T. Runner

University of Rochester, Department of Linguistics


A presentation of the results of a visual world eye-tracking experiment (done in collaboration with Kellan Head, Teach For America) that tests two claims in the literature: (a) that the binding theory is a set of "linked" constraints as in the classic binding theory (Chomsky 1981) and HPSG's binding theory (Sag, Wasow & Bender 2003); and (b) that the binding theory applies as an initial filter on processing (Nicol & Swinney 1989, Sturt 2003). Our results instead support two different claims: (a) that the constraint on pronouns and the constraint on reflexives are separate constraints that apply differently and with different timelines, in line with the "reflexivity" theory (Reinhart & Reuland 1993) and the "primitives of binding" theory, Reuland (2001, 2011); and (b) that neither constraint applies as an initial filter on processing, as in Badecker & Straub (2001).