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Priming of pragmatic enrichment has been found in behavioural studies. We extend this by examining the neural correlates of priming for two implicature categories, quantifiers and disjunctions. Participants engaged in a primed sentence-picture matching task where they were presented with a sentence (e.g., “some of the letters are Bs”) followed by a picture. In prime trials the pictures were either consistent with an enriched interpretation (some but not all) or a basic interpretation (some and possibly all) of the sentence. The pictures in target trials were always consistent with the enriched interpretation. Using ERPs, we found a priming effect on the picture reflected in a reduced positivity for quantifiers when the preceding trial had an enriched interpretation, and no effect for disjunction. The pragmatic priming effect can be dissociated from expectation-based processes. It suggests that abstract derivation processes are primed during pragmatic alignment.
- experimental pragmatics
- scalar implicature
- controlled study
- event related potential
- evoked response
- human experiment
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- School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences - Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
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