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ERIC Number: EJ883274
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 53
ISSN: ISSN-0169-0965
First Things First: Order Bias in Deontic Disjunctions
Elqayam, Shira; Ohm, Eyvind; St. B. T. Evans, Jonathan; Over, David E.
Language and Cognitive Processes, v25 n3 p375-401 2010
In this paper we examine the way disjunctive choices work in conversational context. We focus on disjunctive deontic rules, such as "you must either submit an essay or attend an exam". According to the Gricean "maxim of orderliness", a derivative of the "maxim of manner", people should interpret the first-mentioned option as the one preferred by the speaker. Two experiments demonstrated order bias, a non-logical preference for the first-mentioned option in the disjunctive situations of obligatory choice and free choice permissions, but not in the non-disjunctive situation of obligatory consequences. Order bias influences interpretations of the speaker's preferences, but not of the recipient's preferences; it was mainly a function of the nature of the situation, while linguistic form had only limited effect. We offer a general theoretical framework for order bias as a communicative device, constraining both interpretation and generation of utterances. (Contains 9 footnotes and 6 tables.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom