Event-related potentials in pragmatic priming

Alice Rees, Lewis Bott, Petra B. Schumacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number134435
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Early online date16 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • alignment
  • ERP
  • experimental pragmatics
  • P600
  • priming
  • scalar implicature
  • adult
  • article
  • controlled study
  • dissociation
  • event related potential
  • evoked response
  • expectation
  • female
  • human
  • human experiment
  • male


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