Hey Little Sister, Who's the Only One? Modulating Informativeness in the Resolution of Privative Ambiguity

Cognitive Science 39 (7):1646-1674 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX


We present two eye-tracking experiments on the interpretation of sentences like “The tall girl is the only one that …,” which are ambiguous between the anaphoric and the exophoric interpretation. These interpretations differ in informativeness: in a positive context, the exophoric reading entails the anaphoric, while in a negative context the entailment pattern is reversed and the anaphoric reading is the strongest one. We tested whether adults rely on considerations about informativeness in solving the ambiguity. The results show that participants interpreted one exophorically in both positive and negative contexts. Given these findings, we cast doubts on the idea that Informativeness plays a role in ambiguity resolution and proposes a Principle of Maximal Exploitation: When a context is provided, adults extend their domain of evaluation to include the whole scenario, independently from truth-conditional considerations about informativity and strength



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,678

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

36 (#441,654)

6 months
6 (#738,372)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Inquiries Into Truth And Interpretation.Donald Davidson - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Oxford dictionary of philosophy.Simon Blackburn - 1996 - Oxford ;: Oxford University Press.
Any.Nirit Kadmon & Fred Landman - 1993 - Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (4):353 - 422.

View all 15 references / Add more references