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Investigating the timecourse of accessing conversational implicatures during incremental sentence interpretation

Breheny, Richard, Ferguson, Heather J., Katsos, Napoleon (2013) Investigating the timecourse of accessing conversational implicatures during incremental sentence interpretation. Language and Cognitive Processes, 28 (4). pp. 443-467. ISSN 0169-0965. (doi:10.1080/01690965.2011.649040) (KAR id:28523)

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Many contextual inferences in utterance interpretation are explained as following from the nature of conversation and the assumption that participants are rational. Recent psycholinguistic research has focussed on certain of these ‘Gricean’ inferences and have revealed that comprehenders can access them in online interpretation. However there have been mixed results as to the time-course of access. Some results show that Gricean inferences can be accessed very rapidly, as rapidly as any other contextually specified information (Sedivy, 2003; Grodner, Klein, Carbery, & Tanenhaus, 2010); while other studies looking at the same kind of inference suggest that access to Gricean inferences are delayed relative to other aspects of semantic interpretation (Huang & Snedeker, 2009; in press). While previous timecourse research has focussed on Gricean inferences that support the online assignment of reference to definite expressions, the study reported here examines the timecourse of access to scalar implicatures, which enrich the meaning of an utterance beyond the semantic interpretation. Even if access to Gricean inference in support of reference assignment may be rapid, it is still unknown whether genuinely enriching scalar implicatures are delayed. Our results indicate that scalar implicatures are accessed as rapidly as other contextual inferences. The implications of our results are discussed in reference to the architecture of language comprehension.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/01690965.2011.649040
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Heather Ferguson
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2011 17:47 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Ferguson, Heather J.:
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