The positive side of a negative reference: the delay between linguistic processing and common ground

Publication
TitleThe positive side of a negative reference: the delay between linguistic processing and common ground
Publication TypeJournal Article
Année de publication2017
AuthorsKronmüller, E., Noveck I., Rivera N., Jaume-Guazzini F., & Barr D.
JournalISSN: 2054-5703
Date Published2017-02-08
Call Numberoai:HAL:hal-01878723v1
Keywordscommon ground, dialogue, language, negation, reference, SCCO Cognitive science
Abstract

Interlocutors converge on names to refer to entities. For example, a speaker might refer to a novel looking object as the jellyfish and, once identified, the listener will too. The hypothesized mechanism behind such referential precedents is a subject of debate. The common ground view claims that listeners register the object as well as the identity of the speaker who coined the label. The linguistic view claims that, once established, precedents are treated by listeners like any other linguistic unit, i.e. without needing to keep track of the speaker. To test predictions from each account, we used visual-world eyetracking, which allows observations in real time, during a standard referential communication task. Participants had to select objects based on instructions from two speakers. In the critical condition, listeners sought an object with a negative reference such as not the jellyfish. We aimed to determine the extent to which listeners rely on the linguistic input, common ground or both. We found that initial interpretations were based on linguistic processing only and that common ground considerations do emerge but only after 1000 ms. Our findings support the idea that—at least temporally—linguistic processing can be isolated from common ground.

URLISSN: 2054-5703
DOI10.1098/rsos.160827