In this paper we report on a visual world eye-tracking experiment that investigated the differing abilities of adults and children to use referential scene information during reanalysis to overcome lexical biases during sentence processing. The results showed that adults incorporated aspects of the referential scene into their parse as soon as it became apparent that a test sentence was syntactically ambiguous, suggesting they considered the two alternative analyses in parallel. In contrast, the children appeared not to re-analyze their initial analysis, even over shorter distances than have been investigated in prior research. We argue that this reflects the children's over-reliance on bottom-up, lexical cues to interpretation. The implications for the development of parsing routines are discussed.
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