[PS-3.18] Cue-based interference in the processing of polarity

de Dios-Flores, I. & Acuña-Fariña, C.

University of Santiago de Compostela

A number of studies (Vasishth et al. 2008, Xiang et al. 2009, 2013) have focused on an interesting instance of dependency resolution involving the illusory licensing of negative polarity items (NPIs). Thus, even though NPIs like 'ever' must be licensed by a c-commanding negative context, an irrelevant licensor like 'no' in '*The professor [that no student likes] will ever say that' can decrease the effects of disruption (grammatical illusion). The present study focuses on the opposite phenomenon: whether a structurally irrelevant element can induce an ungrammaticality effect. The experimental materials consisted of 36 sets of 3 items which varied the presence and location of the negative determiner 'no' with respect to 'never' (which in English cannot appear in the scope of negation), resulting in the following three contrasts (IV): grammatical licensing, grammatical licensing + interference, and ungrammatical licensing: 'The/*no authors [that the/no critics recommended] have never received a Pulitzer.' These manipulations allowed us to test whether the processing of 'never' was disrupted when linearly preceded by 'no' in a legal configuration. Word-by-word reading times (DV) by 36 native speakers were collected in a self-paced reading task. Results are analyzed in light of current models of dependency resolution and cue-based retrieval.