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The importance of schemata in reading has been highlighted by many studies. However, one aspect of schemata, namely schema switching, has largely been ignored in the literature. For most texts several schemata are activated in turn, and readers' willingness to switch schemata may affect their comprehension. This paper investigates schema switching by looking at the referents readers assign to an ambiguous it in a text. Evidence for schema use comes from readers' identification of words not found in the text as referents of it. Most readers switch schemata as they read, with most changes in interpretation of the referent occurring at points where lexical cohesion plays a role. No differences in willingness to switch schemata between native speakers and non-native speakers were found.
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