[PS-3.33] Factives and Salience - An experimental Approach

Jayez, J. 1, 2 & Reinecke, R. 1

1 Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod: Laboratoire sur le langage, le cerveau et la cognition (Université Lyon 1)
2 ENS de Lyon

Presupposition triggers jointly convey two pieces of information, a main content (MC) and also a backgrounded content, the so-called presupposition (PP). The sentence Mary knows that Elsa smokes using the factive verb know contains the MC that Mary is certain that Elsa smokes and presupposes that Elsa smokes. The current study investigates if the linguistically well-established MC/PP hierarchy (Linguistically-Oriented Hypothesis) also has a cognitive counterpart, i.e. different intrinsic degrees of cognitive salience leading to a different processing pattern of these two contents, when both pieces of information are explicitly stated as in the case of factive verb constructions. Using a rapid serial visual paradigm, two distinct event-related potential studies (Study 1 22 participants (M = 20.68, SD = 2.33) and Study 2 21 participants (M = 20.94, SD = 2.32)) investigated the time course of semantic processes with respect to the MC and PP. The results show that there is no significant difference between both contents in the time course between 350 - 500ms. The absence of a difference in the semantic time course of language processing provides evidence against the Linguistically-Oriented Hypothesis. Further research needs to investigate the processing pattern within the heterogeneous class of PP-triggers.