Salient alternatives facilitate implicatures

Lewis Bott*, Steven Frisson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Sentences can be enriched by considering what the speaker does not say but could have done, the alternative. We conducted two experiments to test whether the salience of the alternative contributes to how people derive implicatures. Participants responded true or false to underinformative categorical sentences that involved quantifiers. Target sentences were sometimes preceded by the alternative and sometimes by a control sentence. When the target was preceded by the alternative, response times to implicature responses were faster than when preceded by the control sentence. This suggests that (1) alternative salience influences higher-level reasoning (2) the cost of deriving implicatures in sentence verification paradigms is due in part to low alternative salience.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0265781
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2022 Bott, Frisson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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