An eye-tracking examination of readers’ sensitivity to pragmatic scope information during the processing of conditional inducements

Wood, Jeffrey, Haigh, Matthew and Stewart, Andrew (2017) An eye-tracking examination of readers’ sensitivity to pragmatic scope information during the processing of conditional inducements. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology. ISSN 1196-1961

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1037/cep0000142

Abstract

Previous research into conditional inducements has shown that readers are sensitive after reading such conditionals to pragmatic scope differences between promises and threats; specifically, threats can be referred to as promises, but promises cannot be referred to as threats. Crucially, previous work has not revealed whether such scope effects emerge while processing the conditional itself. In the experiment reported here participants’ eye-movements were recorded whilst they read vignettes containing conditional promises and threats. We observed a reading time penalty on the conditional itself when participants read a conditional promise that was described as a “threat” (e.g., Liam threatened Perry "if you tell dad, then I'll take equal responsibility"). There was no such penalty when the word "promise" was presented before a conditional threat. These results suggest that readers are sensitive during reading of the conditional itself to pragmatic scope differences between “threats” and "promises".

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the CPA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Uncontrolled Keywords: conditionals; speech acts; inducements; experimental pragmatics; discourse processing
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Matthew Haigh
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 14:27
Last Modified: 30 May 2018 16:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/32080

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