Sensitivity to speaker control in the online comprehension of conditional tips and promises: an eye-tracking study

Stewart, Andrew J. and Haigh, Matthew and Ferguson, Heather J. (2013) Sensitivity to speaker control in the online comprehension of conditional tips and promises: an eye-tracking study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39 (4). pp. 1022-1036. ISSN 0278-7393. (Full text available)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0031513

Abstract

Statements of the form if...then.... can be used to communicate conditional speech acts such as tips and promises. Conditional promises require the speaker to have perceived control over the outcome event while conditional tips do not. In an eye-tracking study we examined whether readers are sensitive to information about perceived speaker control during processing of conditionals embedded in context. On a number of eye-tracking measures we found that readers are sensitive to whether or not the speaker of a conditional has perceived control over the consequent event; conditional promises (which require the speaker to have perceived control over the consequent) result in processing disruption for contexts where this control is absent. Conditional tips (which do not require perceived control) are processed equivalently easily regardless of context. These results suggest that readers rapidly utilise pragmatic information related to perceived control in order to represent conditional speech acts as they are read.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: conditionals, indirect meaning, psycholinguistics, speech acts, eye-tracking, speaker control, comprehension
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Depositing User: Heather Ferguson
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2012 09:22
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 14:15
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/32182 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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