ERIC Number: EJ1168154
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Abstractor: As Provided
Plausibility and Perspective Influence the Processing of Counterfactual Narratives
Ferguson, Heather J.; Jayes, Lewis T.
Discourse Processes: A multidisciplinary journal, v55 n2 p166-186 2018
Previous research has established that readers' eye movements are sensitive to the difficulty with which a word is processed. One important factor that influences processing is the fit of a word within the wider context, including its plausibility. Here we explore the influence of plausibility in counterfactual language processing. Counterfactuals describe hypothetical versions of the world but are grounded in the implication that the described events are not true. We report an eye-tracking study that examined the processing of counterfactual premises that varied the plausibility of a described action and manipulated the narrative perspective ("you" vs. "he/she"). Results revealed a comparable pattern to previous plausibility experiments. Readers were sensitive to the inconsistent thematic relation in anomalous and implausible conditions. The fact that these anomaly detection effects were evident within a counterfactual frame suggests that participants were evaluating incoming information within the counterfactual world and did not suspend processing based on an inference about reality. Interestingly, perspective modulated the speed with which anomalous but not implausible words were detected.
Descriptors: Eye Movements, Word Processing, Context Effect, Native Speakers, English, College Students, Educational Experiments, Sentence Structure, Syntax, Foreign Countries, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A