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ERIC Number: EJ1055972
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Sensitivity to Speaker Control in the Online Comprehension of Conditional Tips and Promises: An Eye-Tracking Study
Stewart, Andrew J.; Haigh, Matthew; Ferguson, Heather J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n4 p1022-1036 Jul 2013
Statements of the form if… then… can be used to communicate conditional speech acts such as tips and promises. Conditional promises require the speaker to have perceived control over the outcome event, whereas conditional tips do not. In an eye-tracking study, we examined whether readers are sensitive to information about perceived speaker control during processing of conditionals embedded in context. On a number of eye-tracking measures, we found that readers are sensitive to whether or not the speaker of a conditional has perceived control over the consequent event; conditional promises (which require the speaker to have perceived control over the consequent) result in processing disruption for contexts where this control is absent. Conditional tips (which do not require perceived control) are processed equivalently easily regardless of context. These results suggest that readers rapidly utilize pragmatic information related to perceived control in order to represent conditional speech acts as they are read.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A