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Does irony understanding decline with age?
Greta Mazzaggio, Hortense De Bettignies, Diana Mazzarella, 2021, objavljeni povzetek znanstvenega prispevka na konferenci

Opis: The use of non-literal language is deeply embedded in everyday communication and the ability to comprehend it changes across life. Research indicates that older adults sometimes struggle in understanding pragmatic aspects of language, such as presupposition (Domaneschi & Di Paola 2019), humor (Bischetti et al. 2019) or sarcasm (Phillips et al. 2015). The present study aims at broadening our understanding of these age-related changes by focusing on irony understanding. To understand irony (e.g., ‘The weather is great!’ uttered under a pouring rain), one needs to recognize that the speaker is expressing a dissociative attitude towards a proposition that is blatantly irrelevant or false, which echoes an attributed thought or statement (e.g., the proposition ‘The weather is great’ attributed to the mistaken weather forecaster). Previous research shows that the ability to process irony is closely related to Theory-of-Mind (ToM) and working memory (WM). As there is evidence of an age-related decline in both cognitive abilities, this decline may impact irony understanding in late adulthood. In our ongoing study, we test the effect of age on irony-processing by comparing self-paced reading times of ironic and literal statements across two age groups (young adults: 19-25 yo and older adults: 65-74 yo). Crucially, we manipulate the degree of explicitness of the statement echoed by the ironic speaker. We predict that the difference between the reading times for ironic and literal statements will be modulated by age. Moreover, we predict that reading times will be faster when the echo is explicit compared to when the echo is implicated and that this effect will be stronger for older adults. Finally, we expect that ToM and WM will both be significant predictors and that WM will play a crucial role when the implicitness of the echo poses higher cognitive demands
Ključne besede: irony, aging, cognitive decline, experimental pragmatics, processing
Objavljeno v RUNG: 22.09.2021; Ogledov: 1567; Prenosov: 45
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Indirect speech acts in high functioning autism
Greta Mazzaggio, Simona Di Paola, Eleonora Marocchini, Filippo Domaneschi, 2019, objavljeni povzetek znanstvenega prispevka na konferenci

Opis: Few works have addressed the processing of indirect requests in High-Functioning Autism (HFA), and results are conflicting. Some studies report HFA individuals’ difficulties in indirect requests comprehension; others suggest that it might be preserved in HFA. Furthermore, the role of Theory of Mind in understanding indirect requests is an open issue. The goal of this work is twofold: first, assessing whether comprehension of indirect requests for information is preserved in HFA; second, explor- ing whether mind-reading skills predict this ability. We tested a group of (n = 14; 9–12 years) HFA children and two groups of younger (n = 19; 5–6 years) and older (n = 28; 9–12 years) typically developing (TD) children in a semi-structured task involving direct, indirect and highly indirect requests for information. Results suggested that HFA can understand indirect and highly indirect requests, as well as TD children. Yet, while Theory of Mind skills seem to enhance older TD children under- standing, this is not the case for HFA children. Therefore, interestingly, they could rely on different interpretative strategies
Ključne besede: indirect speech act, indirect requests, theory of mind, autism developmental disorders, experimental pragmatics
Objavljeno v RUNG: 22.09.2021; Ogledov: 1593; Prenosov: 45
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The case of scalar implicature processing : an eye- tracking study
Greta Mazzaggio, Anne Colette Reboul, Chiara Caretta, Mélody Darblade, Jean-Baptiste van der Henst, Anne Cheylus, Penka Stateva, 2019, objavljeni povzetek znanstvenega prispevka na konferenci

Opis: Implicatures like ‘Some politicians are smart’ (interpreted as ‘Some but not all politicians are smart’) are defined scalar implicatures. A heated linguistic debate has focused on how we derive those implicatures: some authors consider the computational process as linguistic in nature (Levinson, 2000), others as pragmatic in nature (Sperber & Wilson, 1995). A growing body of research, prompted by pioneering work by Bott and Noveck (2004), focused on the computational cost related with the computation of scalar implicatures. The present study addresses such topic through the use of different experimental techniques. With Experiment 1 (N = 57) we replicated the third experiment of Bott and Noveck (2004), the first study that identified a cost related to a pragmatic response. With Experiment 2 (N = 58), using a pseudo-word paradigm, we excluded the possibility that the computational cost is due to an experimental artifact, such as an increased difficulty in moving up in the conceptual hierarchy (e.g., ‘Some elephants are mammals’) than in moving down (e.g. ‘Some mammals are elephants’). In Experiment 3 (N = 54), with a Sentence Evaluation Task, we collected reading times, reaction times and eye gaze data. Results showed that the cost of the computation disappears when there is contextual support. Overall, our results seem to support the idea that scalar implicatures are not automatically computed with context playing an important role.
Ključne besede: scalar implicatures, eye-tracking, experimental pragmatics, reaction times
Objavljeno v RUNG: 22.09.2021; Ogledov: 1653; Prenosov: 7
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La comprensione dell'ironia in bambini con disturbi dello spettro autistico
Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Panzeri, Beatrice Giustolisi, Luca Surian, 2018, objavljeni povzetek znanstvenega prispevka na konferenci

Opis: 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
Ključne besede: irony, autism spectrum disorder, experimental pragmatics, theory of mind
Objavljeno v RUNG: 22.09.2021; Ogledov: 1831; Prenosov: 80
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What's behind some (but not all) implicatures
Francesca Foppolo, Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Panzeri, Luca Surian, 2018, objavljeni povzetek znanstvenega prispevka na konferenci

Opis: 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.
Ključne besede: scalar implicatures, adhoc implicatures, typically developing children, experimental pragmatics
Objavljeno v RUNG: 21.09.2021; Ogledov: 1705; Prenosov: 53
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Reading between the lines : conversational implicature processing in typical and atypical populations
Greta Mazzaggio, 2018, doktorska disertacija

Opis: This thesis' aim is to add some pieces to the complex puzzle on the mechanism behind the comprehension of conversational implicatures. To do so, in a series of experiment we manipulated both the type of implicatures (scalar vs. ad-hoc) and the population under investigation (typical vs. atypical; children vs. adults).
Ključne besede: scalar implicatures, experimental pragmatics, autism developmental disorder, bilingualism, typically developing children, theory of mind, dissertations
Objavljeno v RUNG: 20.09.2021; Ogledov: 1979; Prenosov: 0
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Scalar and ad-hoc pragmatic inferences in children: guess which one is easier
Francesca Foppolo, Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Panzeri, Luca Surian, 2021, izvirni znanstveni članek

Opis: 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.
Ključne besede: acquisition of pragmatics, scalar implicatures, ad-hoc implicatures, experimental pragmatics
Objavljeno v RUNG: 17.09.2021; Ogledov: 1687; Prenosov: 0
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Ad-hoc and scalar implicatures in children with autism spectrum disorder
Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Foppolo, Remo Job, Luca Surian, 2021, izvirni znanstveni članek

Opis: Previous studies found that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) perform well on pragmatic inference tests that require the use of the linguistic scale . The present study extends previous research by testing two types of implicature: scalar implicatures, based on lexical scales, and ad-hoc implicatures, based on contextual scales. We tested 26 children with ASD aged 4–10 years (mean age 7.1) and 26 typically developing (TD) children – matched on chronological age and with a similar performance in non- verbal IQ and vocabulary – by means of a picture selection task for scalar and ad-hoc implica- tures. We also investigated the effect of children’s scores in standardized tests measuring non- verbal intelligence, lexical, and morphosyntactic abilities and Theory-of-Mind skills on their performance in the implicature tasks. Although more than half of the children with ASD performed above chance on both kinds of implicatures, their performance as a group was significantly lower than the performance of their TD peers. General cognitive abilities were found to affect the performance of children with ASD on both kinds of implicatures, and Theory-of-Mind reasoning skills were found to be linked to their performance on scalar, but not ad-hoc implicatures. We show that children with ASD have difficulty with both kinds of implicatures. These findings may have implications for explanatory theories of pragmatics as well as for clinical work with children with ASD.
Ključne besede: experimental pragmatics, scalar implicatures, high-functioning autism, theory of mind, development
Objavljeno v RUNG: 17.09.2021; Ogledov: 1768; Prenosov: 0
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Tanto per intenderci. Breve introduzione alla pragmatica sperimentale.
Greta Mazzaggio, 2021, znanstvena monografija

Opis: Ogni giorno, a volte senza nemmeno rendercene conto, comunichiamo alle persone attorno a noi molto più di quello che diciamo. Non veicoliamo messaggi solo attraverso le parole, ma, sorprendentemente, anche con ciò che “non diciamo”, e il contesto condiziona profondamente il messaggio. In che modo linguaggio e contesto si relazionano per risolvere le ambiguità, comprendere ciò che gli altri ci dicono implicitamente, apprezzare la metafora o l’ironia? Tutto questo sembra avvenire senza sforzo alcuno, ma è veramente così? A queste domande prova a rispondere una nuova disciplina di ricerca, la pragmatica sperimentale, la quale adotta metodologie scientifiche per studiare quanto la relazione fra parlanti e contesto sia alla base della comunicazione umana. In questo libro passeremo in rassegna molti fenomeni linguistici e pragmatici, cercando di analizzare come la ricerca possa essere d’aiuto nel capire i meccanismi che ci permettono di comunicare e cosa succede quando questi si inceppano.
Ključne besede: experimental pragmatics, italian, pragmatics, implicatures, presuppositions, pronouns, speech acts, gricean maxims, irony
Objavljeno v RUNG: 14.09.2021; Ogledov: 1917; Prenosov: 0
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Editorial: Scalar Implicatures
Anne Reboul, Penka Stateva, 2019, kratki znanstveni prispevek

Opis: In 1975, Grice introduced the notion of implicature, arguing that it was more appropriate to account for a class of apparent lexical ambiguities through pragmatic processes than by multiplying lexical meanings (Modified Ockham's razor: Do not multiply meanings beyond necessity; Grice, 1975). For the past 20 years, experimental approaches have superseded purely theoretical ones, with mixed results. Paradigms using verification tasks on infelicitous sentences, with rate of pragmatic answers and reaction time as measures, have generally concluded in favor of the post-Gricean views (Bott and Noveck, 2004; Noveck and Reboul, 2008). However, some recent studies discuss additional factors affecting implicature processing and have introduced new paradigms which suggest a different conclusion (Katsos and Bishop, 2011; Breheny et al., 2013; Degen and Tanenhaus, 2015; Foppolo and Marelli, 2017; Bill et al.; Jasbi et al.; Sikos et al.). In addition, current research has shown that lexical scales may play a role in the process in keeping with neo-Gricean views. This Frontiers topic is a collection of 12 contributions in experimental pragmatics focusing on different aspects of child and adult processing of implicatures, factors affecting their rate, relevance of testing paradigms, scale diversity, cross-linguistic differences, and variation in triggers.
Ključne besede: scalar implicature, experimental pragmatics, neo-Gricean pragmatics, post-Gricean pragmatics, grammatical theory of implicatures
Objavljeno v RUNG: 31.07.2019; Ogledov: 3196; Prenosov: 94
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