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Atypical patterns of irony comprehension in children with ASD.
Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Panzeri, Silvia Silleresi, Beatrice Giustolisi, Luca Surian, unpublished conference contribution

Found in: osebi
Keywords: irony, autism, pragmatics
Published: 23.09.2021; Views: 536; Downloads: 0
.pdf Fulltext (261,96 KB)

The atypical pattern of irony comprehension in autistic children
Francesca Panzeri, Greta Mazzaggio, Beatrice Giustolisi, Silvia Silleresi, Luca Surian, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Nonliteral language understanding has always been recognized as problematic in autistic individuals. We ran a study on 26 autistic children (mean age = 7.3 years) and 2 comparison groups of typically developing children, 1 matched for chronological age, and 1 of younger peers (mean age = 6.11 years) matched for linguistic abilities, aiming at assessing their understanding of ironic criticisms and compliments, and identifying the cognitive and linguistic factors that may underpin this ability. Autistic participants lagged behind the comparison groups in the comprehension of both types of irony, and their performance was related to mindreading and linguistic abilities. Significant correlations were found between first-order Theory of Mind (ToM) and both types of irony, between second-order ToM and ironic compliments, and between linguistic abilities and ironic criticisms. The autistic group displayed an interesting, and previously unattested in the literature, bimodal distribution: the great majority of them (n = 18) displayed a very poor performance in irony understanding, whereas some (n = 6) were at ceiling. We discuss these results in terms of two different profiles of autistic children.
Found in: osebi
Keywords: irony, autism spectrum disorder, experimental pragmatics, theory of mind, irony comprehension
Published: 05.05.2022; Views: 131; Downloads: 0
.pdf Fulltext (760,17 KB)

Scalar and ad-hoc pragmatic inferences in children: guess which one is easier
Luca Surian, Francesca Panzeri, Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Foppolo, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Several studies investigated preschoolers’ ability to compute scalar and ad-hoc implicatures, but only one compared children’s performance with both kinds of implicature with the same task, a picture selection task. In Experiment 1 (N = 58, age: 4;2-6;0), we first show that the truth value judgment task, traditionally employed to investigate children’s pragmatic ability, prompts a rate of pragmatic responses comparable to the picture selection task. In Experiment 2 (N = 141, age: 3;8-9;2) we used the picture selection task to compare scalar and ad-hoc implicatures and linked the ability to derive these implicatures to some cognitive and linguistic measures. We found that four- and five-year-olds children performed better on ad-hoc than on scalar implicatures. Furthermore, we found that morphosyntactic competence was associated with success in both kinds of implicatures, while performance on mental state reasoning was positively associated with success on scalar but not ad-hoc implicatures.
Found in: osebi
Keywords: acquisition of pragmatics, scalar implicatures, ad-hoc implicatures, experimental pragmatics
Published: 17.09.2021; Views: 602; Downloads: 0
.pdf Fulltext (1,13 MB)

What's behind some (but not all) implicatures
Luca Surian, Francesca Panzeri, Francesca Foppolo, Greta Mazzaggio, 2018, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: Several studies investigated children’s derivation of pragmatic inferences by testing different items in different languages, populations and tasks (Skordos & Papafragou, 2016). In general, pre-schoolers have difficulties in the computation of the scalar implicature (SI) related to some, while a better performance has been documented in the case of non scalar or ad hoc implicatures (AIs), even in younger kids (Horowitz, Schneider and Frank, 2017; Katsos & Bishop, 2011; Stiller, Goodman & Frank, 2015). Children’s difficulty has been accounted for by different hypotheses: children are more tolerant of pragmatic violations than adults ('tolerance account', Katsos & Bishop, 2011); children do not (always) recognize what is conversationally relevant ('relevance account', Skordos & Papafragou, 2016); children have difficulties in lexicalizing the scale and/or retrieving the lexical alternatives ('lexicalist account', Barner et al., 2011; Foppolo et al., 2012; Tieu et al., 2015). Yet, the source and nature of children’s difficulty is still unknown, as well as the interplay of different factors and their impact on different inference types.Different theoretical accounts make different predictions for SIs and AIs. In principle, no difference is expected between implicature types within a pragmatic approach (like the tolerance or the relevance accounts), provided that children’s non adult-like behavior relies in a principle of pragmatic tolerance or in a failure in accessing or recognizing relevant alternatives, that would equally affect all kinds of implicature. Under lexicalist approaches, on the other hand, a difference between AIs and SIs is expected: while in the case of AIs the alternatives depend solely on context, in SIs the set of alternatives is a feature of the language that relies on the lexical representation of scales. The crucial difference is in the access to the alternatives, which depends on a linguistic representation and a lexical retrieval mechanism in the case of scalar quantifiers, while it is purely contextually determined in the case of ad hoc scales. In our study, we compared AIs and SIs by means of a Picture Selection Task modelled after Surian & Job (1987) and Stiller, Goodman & Frank (2015). Participants had to find the target (among 4 pictures) by following instructions. The tasks included 4 implicatures of each type, interspersed with control sentences. To understand the developmental factors beyond children’s performance, children were also administered tests of cognitive and linguistic development (Raven’s Progressive Matrices; BVL for lexicon and morphosyntax; the first four tasks of Wellman & Liu 2004 to test for Theory of Mind, ToM: Diverse Desires-Diverse Beliefs-Knowledge Access-Content False Belief). We tested 141 children aged 3 to 9 (75 in kindergarten: 3;10-6;0, M = 61 months; 66 in primary school: 6;10-9;2, M=90 months). Our findings add an additional piece to the understanding of children’s failure and success with scalar inferencing. In particular, we show that younger children succeed with AIs but have difficulties with SIs. We also found a significant role of linguistic (i.e., morpho-syntactic) abilities for both type of implicatures and a contribution of ToM: KA predicts implicatures derivation, and DB seems to play a role in SIs.The overall picture is rather puzzling: focusing on pre-schoolers, their ability to derive both types of implicatures seems to depend on common mechanisms, such as morpho-syntactic skills and the ability to recognize that another person can know something only if she has access to relevant information. Nevertheless, by controlling for task effects, we confirmed that SIs are harder than AIs. This finding is not easily explained within a pragmatic approach: if children were, in general, more logical or more tolerant than adults, they would be equally so with any kind of implicature; at the same time, if they were not sensitive to informativeness or unable to recognize relevance, they would fail with all pragmatic inferences. A lexical account instead predicts that, beyond general mechanisms common to SIs and AIs, the derivation of SIs requires one further step, that takes time to be acquired or automatized, namely: the lexicalization of the relevant scales. This might be the real source of the observed difference between these types of inferences, although further research is needed to fully capture its impact on children’s performance.
Found in: osebi
Keywords: scalar implicatures, adhoc implicatures, typically developing children, experimental pragmatics
Published: 21.09.2021; Views: 574; Downloads: 17
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La comprensione dell'ironia in bambini con disturbi dello spettro autistico
Luca Surian, Beatrice Giustolisi, Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Panzeri, 2018, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: Comprendere l’ironia è un compito complesso che i bambini a sviluppo tipico compiono a partire dai sei anni. Diversi studi hanno evidenziato il ruolo della Teoria della Mente (ToM) e delle abilità linguistiche nella comprensione dell’ironia. Gli individui con Disturbi dello Spettro Autistico ad alto funzionamento (AAF) sono caratterizzati da abilità linguistiche intatte ma deficit nella ToM e nella pragmatica, a volte compensati mediante strategie linguistiche. Obiettivo del nostro studio è indagare la comprensione dell’ironia (sia critiche che complimenti) in questa popolazione, al fine di individuare i fattori che la facilitano. I partecipanti sono 26 bambini con AAF (età media = 7,2) e 26 bambini a sviluppo tipico (ST) di pari età (p = .98), testati per QI non verbale, abilità linguistiche (sintassi e lessico), e ToM. Per la comprensione dell’ironia abbiamo creato un compito composto da 10 brevi storie che si concludono con un commento letterale (4, controllo) o ironico (3 complimenti e 3 critiche), a cui seguivano tre domande che richiedevano il riconoscimento del significato inteso, dell’atteggiamento del parlante, e del contesto (come controllo). Entrambi i gruppi non hanno dimostrato difficoltà nel comprendere le storie letterali (AAF: 99%; ST: 99.5%). Attraverso un’analisi di regressione logistica abbiamo riscontrato una maggiore accuratezza di risposte per entrambe le tipologie di ironia (complimento e critica) nel gruppo a ST rispetto al gruppo di AAF (β = 8.25, SE = 2.52, z = 3.27, p = .001). In entrambi i gruppi l’accuratezza è stata maggiore per le critiche ironiche rispetto ai complimenti ironici (β = 0.90, SE = 0.32, z = 2.83, p = .005). L’analisi di correlazione di Pearson ha individuato come nel gruppo di AAF solo la ToM correli con la comprensione dell’ ironia (p < .001) mentre nel gruppo di bambini a ST, invece, al netto del fattore età solo le abilità sintattiche correlano (p = .03). Nel gruppo di AAF si evidenzia una netta distribuzione bimodale nelle risposte alle storie ironiche: la maggioranza dei bambini (16) ha dimostrato enormi difficoltà (accuratezza < 25%) mentre alcuni bambini (6) hanno dimostrato piena comprensione. I bambini AAF mostrano un pattern atipico rispetto ai controlli a ST. Per spiegare questi dati ipotizziamo che i bambini con AAF con basse abilità di ToM, nella comprensione dell’ironia corrispondano al profilo degli individui AAF con deficit pragmatici e meta-rappresentazionali; i bambini con AAF che hanno una perfetta comprensione dell’ironia e alte abilità di ToM potrebbero utilizzare una strategia compensatoria, forse a seguito di una riabilitazione. Future ricerche di tipo
Found in: osebi
Keywords: irony, autism spectrum disorder, experimental pragmatics, theory of mind
Published: 22.09.2021; Views: 559; Downloads: 18
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Find a friend or a scale mate
Francesca Panzeri, Luca Surian, Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Foppolo, 2017, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Found in: osebi
Keywords: implicatures, scalar implicatures, quantifiers
Published: 23.09.2021; Views: 504; Downloads: 25
.pdf Fulltext (425,42 KB)
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