Spoilt for choice: initially considering several referential expressions affects subsequent referential decisions

<p>In dialogue, speakers jointly decide how to refer to the referents under discussion. In some cases, several different referential expressions are considered before the partners can decide which one they prefer; this work examined how doing so affects subsequent referential expression reuse. Pairs of participants came up with suitable referential expressions for Tangram figures they were shown. They then referred to the same figures again during a matching task which was performed either with the same partner or a different partner. The main finding was that the preferred referential expression was less likely to be reused when several referential expressions were initially considered. This effect could not be attributed to a generation effect or to some referential expressions being a better match for the Tangram figures than others. These findings offer a better understanding of how the initial contribution of a reference shapes subsequent referential decisions through ordinary memory functioning.</p>