Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: BF
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.
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Barr, D. J., Levy, R., Scheepers, C., & Tily, H. J. (2013). Random effects structure for confirmatory hypothesis testing: Keep it maximal. Journal of memory and language, 68, 255-278.
    • Bates, D., Maechler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2014). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. R package version, 1 (7).
    • Berry, D. C., Michas, I. C., & Bersellini, E. (2003). Communicating information about medication: the benefits of making it personal. Psychology and Health, 18, 127-139.
    • Birch, S. L., Albrecht, J. E., & Myers, J. L. (2000). Syntactic focusing structures influence discourse processing. Discourse Processes, 30, 285-304.
    • Birch, S. L., & Garnsey, S. M. (1995). The effect of focus on memory for words in sentences. Journal of Memory and Language, 34, 232.
    • Birch, S., & Rayner, K. (1997). Linguistic focus affects eye movements during reading. Memory & Cognition, 25, 653-660.
    • Braze, D., Shankweiler, D., Ni, W., & Palumbo, L.C. (2002). Readers' eye movements distinguish anomalies of form and content. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 31, 25-44.
    • Bredart, S., & Modolo, K. (1988). Moses strikes again: Focalization effect on a semantic illusion. Acta Psychologica, 67, 135-144.
    • Brunyé, T. T., Ditman, T., Mahoney, C. R., Augustyn, J. S., & Taylor, H. A. (2009). When you and I share perspectives pronouns modulate perspective taking during narrative comprehension. Psychological Science, 20, 27-32.
    • Byrne, R.M.J. (2005). The Rational Imagination: How People Create Alternatives to Reality. Cambridge, M.A.: MIT Press.
    • Byrne, R.M.J. (2002). Mental models and counterfactual thoughts about what might have been. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6, 426-431.
    • Byrne, R.M.J., & Tasso A. (1999). Deductive reasoning with factual, possible, and counterfactual conditionals. Memory & Cognition, 27, 726-740.
    • Carreiras, M., & Clifton, C. (1993). Relative clause interpretation preferences in Spanish and English. Language and Speech, 36, 353-372.
    • Fauconnier, G. (1997). Mappings in thought and language, Cambridge University Press.
    • Fauconnier, G. (1994). Mental Spaces. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    • Fauconnier, G. (1985). Mental Spaces: Aspects of Meaning Construction in Natural Language, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    • Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2003). The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities. New York: Basic Books.
    • Ferguson, H. J. (2012). Eye movements reveal rapid concurrent access to factual and counterfactual interpretations of the world. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 939-961.
    • Ferguson, H. J., & Cane, J. E. (2015). Examining the cognitive costs of counterfactual language comprehension: Evidence from ERPs. Brain research, 1622, 252-269.
    • Ferguson, H.J., & Sanford, A.J. (2008). Anomalies in real and counterfactual worlds: An EyeMovement Investigation. Journal of Memory & Language, 58, 609-626.
    • Ferguson, H.J., Sanford, A.J., & Leuthold, H. (2008). Eye-movements and ERPs reveal the time-course of processing negation and remitting counterfactual worlds. Brain Research, 1236, 113-125.
    • Filik, R. (2008). Contextual override of pragmatic anomalies: Evidence from eye movements. Cognition, 106, 1038-1046.
    • Fukuda, Y., & Sanford, A. J. (2008). The effect of personalization on shallow processing. In The 18th Annual Meeting of Society for Text and Discourse (Vol. 60).
    • Gómez-Veiga, I., García-Madruga, J. A., & Moreno-Ríos, S. (2010). The interpretation of indicative and subjunctive concessives. Acta psychologica, 134, 245-252.
    • Jackson, P. L., Brunet, E., Meltzoff, A. N., & Decety, J. (2006). Empathy examined through the neural mechanisms involved in imagining how I feel versus how you feel pain. Neuropsychologia, 44, 752-761.
    • Johnson-Laird, P. N., & Byrne, R. M. (2002). Conditionals: a theory of meaning, pragmatics, and inference. Psychological review, 109, 646.
    • Joseph, H. S., Liversedge, S. P., Blythe, H. I., White, S. J., Gathercole, S. E., & Rayner, K. (2008). Children's and adults' processing of anomaly and implausibility during reading: Evidence from eye movements. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 708-723.
    • Liversedge, S. P., & Findlay, J. M. (2000). Saccadic eye movements and cognition. Trends in cognitive sciences, 4, 6-14.
    • Liversedge, S. P., Paterson, K. B., & Pickering, M. J. (1998). Eye movements and measures of reading time. Eye guidance in reading and scene perception, 55-75.
    • Matsuki, K., Chow, T., Hare, M., Elman, J.L., Scheepers, C., & McRae, K. (2011). Eventbased plausibility immediately influences on-line language comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37, 913-934.
    • Morris, R. K., & Folk, J. R. (1998). Focus as a contextual priming mechanism in reading. Memory & Cognition, 26, 1313-1322.
    • Ni, W., Fodor, J.D., Crain, S., & Shankweiler, D.P. (1998). Anomalous strings: Eye movement patterns. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 27, 515-539.
    • Nieuwland, M. S. (2013). “If a lion could speak…”: Online sensitivity to propositional truthvalue of unrealistic counterfactual sentences. Journal of Memory and Language, 68, 54-67.
    • Nieuwland, M. S., & Martin, A. E. (2012). If the real world were irrelevant, so to speak: The role of propositional truth-value in counterfactual sentence comprehension. Cognition, 122, 102-109.
    • Nieuwland, M.S. & Van Berkum, J.J.A. (2006). When peanuts fall in love: N400 evidence for the power of discourse. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 1098-1111.
    • Pickering, M. J., & Traxler, M. J. (1998). Plausibility and recovery from garden paths: An eyetracking study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 24, 940.
    • Rayner, K. (1998). Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 372-422.
    • Rayner, K. (2009). Eye movements and attention in reading, scene perception, and visual search. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 1457-1506.
    • Rayner, K., Warren, T., Juhasz, B., & Liversedge, S. (2004). The effects of plausibility on eye movements in reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 30, 1290-1301.
    • Sanford, A. J., & Emmott, C. (2012). Mind, brain and narrative. Cambridge University Press.
    • Sanford, A. J., & Garrod, S. C. (2005). Memory-based approaches and beyond. Discourse Processes, 39, 205-224.
    • Sanford, A.J., Leuthold, H., Bohan, J. and Sanford, A.J., 2011. Anomalies at the borderline of awareness: An ERP study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 514-523.
    • Sanford, A. J., Price, J., & Sanford, A. J. (2009). Enhancement and suppression effects resulting from information structuring in sentences. Memory & Cognition, 37, 880-888.
    • Sanford, A. J., Sanford, A. J., Molle, J., & Emmott, C. (2006). Shallow processing and attention capture in written and spoken discourse. Discourse Processes, 42, 109-130.
    • Santamaria, C., Espino, O., & Byrne, R.M.J. (2005). Counterfactual and semifactual conditionals prime alternative possibilities. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 31, 1149-1154.
    • Sturt, P., Sanford, A. J., Stewart, A., & Dawydiak, E. (2004). Linguistic focus and goodenough representations: An application of the change-detection paradigm. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 11, 882-888.
    • Thompson, V., & Byrne, R.M.J. (2002). Reasoning about things that didn't happen. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 28, 1154-1170.
    • Thornton, R., & MacDonald, M. C. (2003). Plausibility and grammatical agreement. Journal of Memory and Language, 48, 740-759.
    • Urrutia, M., de Vega, M., & Bastiaansen, M. (2012). Understanding counterfactuals in discourse modulates ERP and oscillatory gamma rhythms in the EEG. Brain research, 1455, 40-55.
    • de Vega, M., & Urrutia, M. (2012). Discourse Updating after Reading a Counterfactual Event. Psicologica: International Journal of Methodology and Experimental Psychology, 33, 157-173.
    • de Vega, M., Urrutia, M., & Riffo, B. (2007). Cancelling Updating in the Comprehension of Counterfactuals embedded in narratives. Memory and Cognition, 35, 1410-1421.
    • Warren, T., & McConnell, K. (2007). Investigating effects of selectional restriction violations and plausibility violation severity on eye-movements in reading. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 14, 770-775.
    • Warren, T., McConnell, K., & Rayner, K. (2008). Effects of context on eye movements when reading about possible and impossible events. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 1001.
  • No related research data.
  • No similar publications.

Share - Bookmark

Download from

Cite this article