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Involvement of prefrontal cortex in scalar implicatures: evidence from magnetoencephalography.

Politzer-Ahles S, Gwilliams L - Lang Cogn Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: The present study investigated the neural correlates of the realisation of scalar inferences, i.e., the interpretation of some as meaning some but not all.The middle portion of the lateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 46) showed an increased response to some in contexts with fewer cues to the inference, suggesting that this condition elicited greater effort.While the results are not predicted by traditional all-or-nothing accounts of scalar inferencing that assume the process is always automatic or always effortful, they are consistent with more recent gradient accounts which predict that the speed and effort of scalar inferences is strongly modulated by numerous contextual factors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: NYUAD Institute, New York University Abu Dhabi , Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates.

ABSTRACT

The present study investigated the neural correlates of the realisation of scalar inferences, i.e., the interpretation of some as meaning some but not all. We used magnetoencephalography, which has high temporal resolution, to measure neural activity while participants heard stories that included the scalar inference trigger some in contexts that either provide strong cues for a scalar inference or provide weaker cues. The middle portion of the lateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 46) showed an increased response to some in contexts with fewer cues to the inference, suggesting that this condition elicited greater effort. While the results are not predicted by traditional all-or-nothing accounts of scalar inferencing that assume the process is always automatic or always effortful, they are consistent with more recent gradient accounts which predict that the speed and effort of scalar inferences is strongly modulated by numerous contextual factors.

No MeSH data available.


Left: mean percentages of “yes” responses (indicating lower-bounded or non-pragmatic readings); error bars represent ±2 × SE (the standard error of the by-subject means). Right: histograms of the subject means for some and only some items (averaged across upper-bounded and lower-bounded contexts).
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f0001: Left: mean percentages of “yes” responses (indicating lower-bounded or non-pragmatic readings); error bars represent ±2 × SE (the standard error of the by-subject means). Right: histograms of the subject means for some and only some items (averaged across upper-bounded and lower-bounded contexts).

Mentions: On the filler items, participants correctly answered “yes” (i.e., indicated that an “all” interpretation was possible) to 98.70% (SD = 3.39%) of all-quantifier fillers and only answered “yes” to 0.52% (SD = 3.33%) of no-quantifier fillers, indicating that participants were attentive to the final sentences of the vignettes. One of the critical items was incorrectly coded in the web version of the experiment and was removed from subsequent analyses. The mean percentages of “yes” responses (indicating upper-bounded or non-pragmatic readings) for the rest of the critical items are shown in the left portion of Figure 1 below. For statistical analysis, responses were treated as a categorical variable and were modelled with generalised linear mixed models, with fixed effects of quantifier, context, and the quantifier × context interaction, and maximal random effects structures for subject, item, and Latin square list.


Involvement of prefrontal cortex in scalar implicatures: evidence from magnetoencephalography.

Politzer-Ahles S, Gwilliams L - Lang Cogn Neurosci (2015)

Left: mean percentages of “yes” responses (indicating lower-bounded or non-pragmatic readings); error bars represent ±2 × SE (the standard error of the by-subject means). Right: histograms of the subject means for some and only some items (averaged across upper-bounded and lower-bounded contexts).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4487593&req=5

f0001: Left: mean percentages of “yes” responses (indicating lower-bounded or non-pragmatic readings); error bars represent ±2 × SE (the standard error of the by-subject means). Right: histograms of the subject means for some and only some items (averaged across upper-bounded and lower-bounded contexts).
Mentions: On the filler items, participants correctly answered “yes” (i.e., indicated that an “all” interpretation was possible) to 98.70% (SD = 3.39%) of all-quantifier fillers and only answered “yes” to 0.52% (SD = 3.33%) of no-quantifier fillers, indicating that participants were attentive to the final sentences of the vignettes. One of the critical items was incorrectly coded in the web version of the experiment and was removed from subsequent analyses. The mean percentages of “yes” responses (indicating upper-bounded or non-pragmatic readings) for the rest of the critical items are shown in the left portion of Figure 1 below. For statistical analysis, responses were treated as a categorical variable and were modelled with generalised linear mixed models, with fixed effects of quantifier, context, and the quantifier × context interaction, and maximal random effects structures for subject, item, and Latin square list.

Bottom Line: The present study investigated the neural correlates of the realisation of scalar inferences, i.e., the interpretation of some as meaning some but not all.The middle portion of the lateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 46) showed an increased response to some in contexts with fewer cues to the inference, suggesting that this condition elicited greater effort.While the results are not predicted by traditional all-or-nothing accounts of scalar inferencing that assume the process is always automatic or always effortful, they are consistent with more recent gradient accounts which predict that the speed and effort of scalar inferences is strongly modulated by numerous contextual factors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: NYUAD Institute, New York University Abu Dhabi , Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates.

ABSTRACT

The present study investigated the neural correlates of the realisation of scalar inferences, i.e., the interpretation of some as meaning some but not all. We used magnetoencephalography, which has high temporal resolution, to measure neural activity while participants heard stories that included the scalar inference trigger some in contexts that either provide strong cues for a scalar inference or provide weaker cues. The middle portion of the lateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 46) showed an increased response to some in contexts with fewer cues to the inference, suggesting that this condition elicited greater effort. While the results are not predicted by traditional all-or-nothing accounts of scalar inferencing that assume the process is always automatic or always effortful, they are consistent with more recent gradient accounts which predict that the speed and effort of scalar inferences is strongly modulated by numerous contextual factors.

No MeSH data available.