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- PublicationAccès libreSocial cognition and Relevance: How stereotypes impact the processing of definite and indefinite descriptions(2023-03)
;Mari, MagaliThis paper focuses on the impact of social cognition on thes processing of linguistic information. More specifically, it brings some insights to Relevance theory's construal of MeaningNN, which seeks to account for non-propositional meanings. It shows, through two experiments, how gender and nationality-related stereotypes guide the processing of definite and indefinite descriptions. Experiment 1 consists of a self-paced reading task (with 59 French native speakers), introducing information confirming vs. violating gender stereotypes within a nominal phrase (NP). The NP (e.g., “chirurgien/chirurgienne”, “surgeonmale/female”) was itself introduced either by a definite article (presupposition) or an indefinite article (assertion). Results showed that information violating gender stereotypes was costlier to process than stereotype-congruent information. Moreover, when information violated gender stereotypes, definite descriptions became significantly costlier than indefinite ones, because they required the identification of a salient referent which contradicted stereotypical expectations. Experiment 2 tested the effects of definite vs. indefinite NP on processing nationality-related stereotypes in a self-paced reading task (with 49 French native speakers). Participants read definite vs. indefinite NPs referring to representatives of a country. The NP was subsequently paired with information that confirmed vs. contradicted nationality stereotypes. Results showed that information contradicting nationality stereotypes were significantly costlier to process than information confirming stereotypes. Furthermore, when information contradicted nationality stereotypes, indefinite descriptions (which promote a single occurrence reading) failed to facilitate information processing compared to definite descriptions (which promote a generalized representation of the social category). Overall, the present findings are consistent with research on stereotypes, in that they show that stereotype-incongruent information affect sentence processing. Importantly, while Experiment 1 revealed that stereotypes affected the processing of linguistic markers, Experiment 2 suggested that linguistic markers could not modulate the processing of stereotypes.
- PublicationAccès libreDefinite Descriptions in the Light of the Comprehension vs. Acceptance Distinction: Comparing Self-Paced Reading with Eye-Tracking Measures(2021)
;Mari, MagaliThis paper presents two experiments on the processing of informative definite descriptions in plausible vs. implausible contexts. Experiment 1 is a self-paced reading task (with French native speakers,n= 69), with sentences containing a definite vs.indefinite NP, each preceded byplausibleorimplausiblecontexts. Our study replicated Singh and colleagues’ findings, namely that definite descriptions are significantly costlier when they occur inimplausiblecontexts. The translation of the original stimuli from English to French did not affect the results, suggesting that the phenomenon applies cross-linguistically. Experiment 2 consists in an eye-tracking task, designed to measure the participants’ (n= 44) gaze patterns on complete sentences with the same four conditions (definite vs.indefinite NP; implausible vs. implausible contexts). A mixed effect model analysis revealed that (a) thetotal gaze durationon target segments and (b) theprocessing of the complete sentencewere significantly longer in implausible conditions. These results show that implausible contexts predict a marked increase in the offline processing costs of definite descriptions. However, no significant difference was found for online processing measures (i.e.,first fixation duration, first-pass reading timeandregression path timemeasures) across all experimental conditions. These results suggest that it is only once the sentence is fully processed that implausible contexts increase processing costs. Furthermore, these results raise methodological issues related to the study of the online processing of definite descriptions, to the extent that self-paced reading and eye-tracking methods in the present study lead to incompatible results. With respect to the eye-tracking results, we suggest that the contrast between online and offline processing is likely to reflect the fact that participants first adopt a stance of trust to understand utterances before filtering the information through their epistemic vigilance module.