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Processing Negation Without Context - Why and When We Represent the Positive Argument

Tian, Ye, Ferguson, Heather J., Breheny, Richard (2016) Processing Negation Without Context - Why and When We Represent the Positive Argument. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31 (5). pp. 683-698. ISSN 2327-3798. E-ISSN 2327-3801. (doi:10.1080/23273798.2016.1140214) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:53523)

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Research shows that when processing negative sentences without context, participants often represent states of affairs consistent with their positive counterparts. Why and when does this process occur? In a visual world eye-tracking study, participants listened to positive and negative sentences in simple or cleft forms (e.g. [It is] Matt [who] hasn’t shut his dad’s window), while looking at a scene containing a target (matches the implied shape of the final noun, e.g. an open window) and a competitor (mismatches the implied shape of the final noun, e.g. a closed window). Results show that in the simple condition, there is more interference from the competitor in the negatives compared to the positives shortly after the verb (shut). In the cleft condition, there is no difference between negatives and positives. Our results suggest that the representation of the positive is not a mandatory first step of negation processing (as per rejection accounts). Rather results support the incremental Question Under Discussion (QUD) accommodation account wherein inferences about sentence content and contextual source of relevance (QUD) are both the target of incremental sentence processing.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/23273798.2016.1140214
Uncontrolled keywords: Negation; Question Under Discussion, pragmatics, semantics, visual world
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Heather Ferguson
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2015 14:18 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Ferguson, Heather J.:
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