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      Context-Sensitivity and Individual Differences in the Derivation of Scalar Implicature


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          The derivation of scalar implicatures for the quantifier some has been widely studied to investigate the computation of pragmatically enriched meanings. For example, the sentence “I found some books” carries the semantic interpretation that at least one book was found, but its interpretation is often enriched to include the implicature that not all the books were found. The implicature is argued to be more likely to arise when it is relevant for addressing a question under discussion (QUD) in the context, e.g., when “I found some books” is uttered in response to “Did you find all the books?” as opposed to “Did you find any books?”. However, most experimental studies have not examined the influence of context on some, instead testing some sentences in isolation. Moreover, no study to our knowledge has examined individual differences in the ability to utilize context in interpreting some, whereas individual variation in deriving implicatures for some sentences in isolation is widely attested, with alternative proposals attributing this variation to individual differences in cognitive resources (e.g., working memory) or personality-based pragmatic abilities (e.g., as assessed by the Autism-Spectrum Quotient). The current study examined how context influences the interpretation of some in a story-sentence matching task, where participants rated some statements (“I cut some steaks”) uttered by one character, in response to another character’s question (QUD) that established the implicature as relevant (“Did you cut all the steaks?”) or irrelevant (“Did you cut any steaks?”). We also examined to what extent individuals’ sensitivity to QUD is modulated by individual differences via a battery of measures assessing cognitive resources, personality-based pragmatic abilities, and language abilities (which have been argued to modulate comprehension in other domains). Our results demonstrate that QUD affects the interpretation of some, and reveal that individual differences in sensitivity to QUD are modulated by both cognitive resources and personality-based pragmatic abilities. While previous studies have argued alternatively for cognitive resources or personality-based pragmatic abilities as important for deriving implicatures for some in isolation, we argue that arriving at a context-sensitive interpretation for some depends on both cognitive and personality-based properties of the individual.

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          The role of prefrontal cortex in working-memory capacity, executive attention, and general fluid intelligence: An individual-differences perspective

          We provide an "executive-attention" framework for organizing the cognitive neuroscience research on the constructs of working-memory capacity (WMC), general fluid intelligence, and prefrontal cortex (PFC) function. Rather than provide a novel theory of PFC function, we synthesize a wealth of single-cell, brain-imaging, and neuropsychological research through the lens of our theory of normal individual differences in WMC and attention control (Engle, Kane, & Tuholski, 1999; Engle, Tuholski, Laughlin, & Conway, 1999). Our critical review confirms the prevalent view that dorsolateral PFC circuitry is critical to executive-attention functions. Moreover, although the dorsolateral PFC is but one critical structure in a network of anterior and posterior "attention control" areas, it does have a unique executive-attention role in actively maintaining access to stimulus representations and goals in interference-rich contexts. Our review suggests the utility of an executive-attention framework for guiding future research on both PFC function and cognitive control.
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            A continuous performance test of brain damage.

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              Working memory span tasks: A methodological review and user's guide.

              Working memory (WM) span tasks-and in particular, counting span, operation span, and reading span tasks-are widely used measures of WM capacity. Despite their popularity, however, there has never been a comprehensive analysis of the merits of WM span tasks as measurement tools. Here, we review the genesis of these tasks and discuss how and why they came to be so influential. In so doing, we address the reliability and validity of the tasks, and we consider more technical aspects of the tasks, such as optimal administration and scoring procedures. Finally, we discuss statistical and methodological techniques that have commonly been used in conjunction with WM span tasks, such as latent variable analysis and extreme-groups designs.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                20 September 2018
                : 9
                : 1720
                [1] 1Neurolinguistics and Language Processing Laboratory, Department of Linguistics, University of Kansas , Lawrence, KS, United States
                [2] 2Developmental Psycholinguistics Laboratory, Department of Linguistics, University of Kansas , Lawrence, KS, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Anne Colette Reboul, Claude Bernard University Lyon 1, France

                Reviewed by: Jacques Moeschler, Université de Genève, Switzerland; Cristina Grisot, Université de Genève, Switzerland

                *Correspondence: Xiao Yang, xiaoyang@ 123456ku.edu

                This article was submitted to Language Sciences, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2018 Yang, Minai and Fiorentino.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 01 June 2018
                : 24 August 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 65, Pages: 14, Words: 0
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                scalar implicature,question under discussion (qud),individual differences,working memory,attentional control,autism-spectrum quotient (aq),pragmatic abilities


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