What’s non-linguistic visual context?
This article contributes to the volume “What is a Context” by delineating “non-linguistic visual context” from a language-processing perspective. Psycholinguistic research has shown that visual context can influence language processing through referential and lexico-semantic links. We review these findings, and discuss incremental visual context effects on language comprehension that emerged even without these links and even when visual context was irrelevant for the comprehension task. The reviewed evidence suggests our notion of non-linguistic visual context must be relatively broad and encompass language-world relationships that go beyond reference or lexico-semantic associations. At the same time, a strong utterance-mediated link seems necessary, predicting visual context effects closely time-locked to relevant words in the utterance and to dynamic motion in visual context.