Presentation on theme: "Exploring the Psychological Reality of Conversational Implicatures Thomas Holtgraves Dept. of Psychological Science Ball State University."— Presentation transcript:
Exploring the Psychological Reality of Conversational Implicatures Thomas Holtgraves Dept. of Psychological Science Ball State University
Some Basic Issues : Do recipients generate conversational implicatures? When are they generated? How are they generated? Which implicatures are generated? Do some people fail to generate implicatures?
Types of Conversational Meaning (Grice, 1975) Generalized implicatures –Context independent Particularized implicatures –Context dependent
Generalized Implicatures Idioms – He spilled the beans Conventional Indirect Requests – Could you open the door? Q-implicatures – Some of the students passed Illocutionary Force – actions performed with talk –Promise (I’ll definitely have it done tomorrow) etc.
Speech Act Processing Is speech act recognition involved in utterance comprehension? –Necessary? (Not according to relevance theory) –Good enough processing –On-line or post-hoc? Do speech acts play a role in conversation memory?
Speech Act Activation Experiments (Holtgraves & Ashley, 2001; Holtgraves, 2008) Jenny and Emily had been close friends since grade school. Now there were rooming together at college. Emily was very forgetful. Today, Jenny was sure Emily didn’t remember her dentist appointment.
Jenny: Don’t forget to go to your dentist appointment today.
Sample Experimental Materials Jenny and Emily had been close friends since grade School. Now there were rooming together at college. Emily was very forgetful. Today, Jenny was sure Emily didn’t remember (had forgotten) her dentist appointment. Jenny: Don’t forget (I’ll bet you forgot) to go to your dentist appointment today. Probe: Remind
Sample Target Utterances Directives Encourage: Don’t stop now. You can do it. Assertives Blame: It’s all Mary’s fault. Expressives Apologize: I’m so sorry that I ruined your shirt. Commissives Promise: I swear I’ll be neater after the weekend.
Recognition Probe Reaction Times Holtgraves & Ashley, 2001
Lexical Decision Times Holtgraves & Ashley, 2001
Lateralization Role of right hemisphere (RH) in pragmatics –Evidence from RHD participants (poor at recognizing nonliteral meanings) Speech Act Comprehension materials –Lateralize targets to RVF/LH or LVF/RH
Lexical Decision Speed as a Function of Utterance Type and Visual Field
Particularized Implicatures No preferred reading out of context Recipients engage in time-consuming inferential processing Example: Violations of the Relation Maxim Which inference will be generated?
Particularized Implicatures Inference based on perceived reason for violation Relevance violations occur because of face management Recipients realize this and use it as an interpretive frame In general, relevance violations should be interpreted as conveying negative information
Sample Scenarios, Questions, and Replies Holtgraves, 1997; 1998 Opinion Scenario Nick and Paul are taking the same History class. Students in this class have to give a 20 presentation to the class on some topic. Nick gave his presentation and then decided to ask Paul what he thought of it Nick: What did you think of my presentation? Paul: It’s hard to give a good presentation. Paraphrase: I didn’t like your presentation.
Sample Scenarios, Questions, and Replies Holtgraves, 1997; 1998 Self-Disclosure Scenario Bob and Andy are good friends. This semester Bob is taking introductory Chemistry and Andy wants to know how is doing in the course. Nick: How are you doing in chemistry? Paul: Chemistry is a very difficult course. Paraphrase: I’m not doing well in chemistry.
Relevance Violation Experiments Participants read scenarios, questions and replies Three types of scenarios: negative, positive, no information Judge negative interpretation paraphrase Judgment, judgment speed, reply comprehension speed examined
Relevance Violation Experiments C omprehension Speed: Replies and Judgments
Perspective and Particularized Implicatures Recipient’s perspective –Relevance violations as face management Interpret as conveying negative information Speaker’s perspective –Other reasons for relevance violations Question not understood Speaker doesn’t have opinion Speaker-Hearer divergence in interpretation (Particularized only)
Perspective and Particularized Implicatures Read Scenarios, Questions, and Replies Adopt perspective of Speaker (Taking Bob’s perspective, do you think Bob wanted Andy to believe..) or Recipient (Taking Andy’s perspective, do you think Andy would interpret Bob’s reply as meaning….) Between-Participants and Within- Participants Forced choice and open-ended
Percentage Negative Interpretations as Function of Perspective (Holtgraves, 2005)
Future Directions Face management and interpretation of uncertainty terms – Quantifiers (some) Some liked/hated your party – Probability terms (possibly) It’s possible you have deafness/insomnia – Evaluative terms (like) I liked the meal (in response to a query from the cook or someone else) – Self disclosure: It’s possible I/Jack scratched your car – Self report: I will drink some beers/steal some cars.