Three experiments investigated the processing of the implicature associated with some using a “gumball paradigm.” On each trial, participants saw an image of a gumball machine with an upper chamber with 13 gumballs and an empty lower chamber. Gumballs then dropped to the lower chamber and participants evaluated statements, such as “You got some of the gumballs.” Experiment 1 established that some is less natural for reference to small sets and unpartitioned sets compared to intermediate sets. Partitive some of was (...) less natural than simple some when used with the unpartitioned set. In Experiment 2, including exact number descriptions lowered naturalness ratings for some with small sets but not for intermediate size sets and the unpartitioned set. In Experiment 3, the naturalness ratings from Experiment 2 predicted response times. The results are interpreted as evidence for a Constraint-Based account of scalar implicature processing and against both two-stage, Literal-First models and pragmatic Default models. (shrink)
The notion of common ground is important for the production of referring expressions: In order for a referring expression to be felicitous, it has to be based on shared information. But determining what information is shared and what information is privileged may require gathering information from multiple sources, and constantly coordinating and updating them, which might be computationally too intensive to affect the earliest moments of production. Previous work has found that speakers produce overinformative referring expressions, which include privileged names, (...) violating Grice’s Maxims, and concluded that this is because they do not mark the distinction between shared and privileged information. We demonstrate that speakers are in fact quite effective in marking this distinction in the form of their utterances. Nonetheless, under certain circumstances, speakers choose to overspecify privileged names. (shrink)
Two visual world experiments investigated the processing of the implicature associated with some using a “gumball paradigm.” On each trial, participants saw an image of a gumball machine with an upper chamber with orange and blue gumballs and an empty lower chamber. Gumballs dropped to the lower chamber, creating a contrast between a partitioned set of gumballs of one color and an unpartitioned set of the other. Participants then evaluated spoken statements, such as “You got some of the blue gumballs.” (...) Experiment 1 investigated the time course of the pragmatic enrichment from some to not all when the only utterance alternatives available to refer to the different sets were some and all. In Experiment 2, the number terms two, three, four, and five were also included in the set of alternatives. Scalar implicatures were delayed relative to the interpretation of literal statements with all only when number terms were available. The results are interpreted as evidence for a constraint-based account of scalar implicature processing. (shrink)
We propose, following Clark, that generative models also play a central role in the perception and interpretation of linguistic signals. The data explanation approach provides a rationale for the role of prediction in language processing and unifies a number of phenomena, including multiple-cue integration, adaptation effects, and cortical responses to violations of linguistic expectations.
Since Horn (1972) the notion of conversational implicature proposed by Grice has been put to use to explain certain interpretive differences between expressions in natural language and their counterparts in formal logic. For example, the sentences in (1) seem to convey more than they would be expected to if the natural language disjunction or had the same meaning as the logical disjunction ∨, or if the quantiﬁcational determiner some was interpreted as the existential quantiﬁer ∃.
Christiansen & Chater propose that language comprehenders must immediately compress perceptual data by “chunking” them into higher-level categories. Effective language understanding, however, requires maintaining perceptual information long enough to integrate it with downstream cues. Indeed, recent results suggest comprehenders do this. Although cognitive systems are undoubtedly limited, frameworks that do not take into account the tasks that these systems evolved to solve risk missing important insights.
We adopt the visual-world eye-tracking paradigm to test the hypothesis that scalar implicatures are integrated very locally to the utterance of scalar terms. Focusing on the and,or scale, we show that early point-of-disambiguation effects similar to those triggered by the integration of the lexical meaning of and can be triggered by the integration of the exhaustive meaning of or. Some design issues and an independent interpretive asymmetry holding between and and or are discussed as possible explanations for remaining differences between (...) the effects found in the two cases. We conclude that the exclusivity implicature that is associated to sentences containing or seems to be calculated online, rather locally to the utterance of the disjunction. (shrink)
Norris et al.'s claim that feedback is unnecessary is compromised by (1) a questionable application of Occam's razor, given strong evidence for feedback in perception; (2) an idealization of the speech recognition problem that simplifies those aspects of the input that create conditions where feedback is useful; (3) Norris et al.'s use of decision nodes that incorporate feedback to model some important empirical results; and (4) problematic linking hypotheses between crucial simulations and behavioral data.