You said it before and you'll say it again: Expectations of consistency in communication

Hadas Shintel, Boaz Keysar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Repeated reference creates strong expectations in addressees that a speaker will continue to use the same expression for the same object. The authors investigate the root reason for these expectations by comparing a cooperativeness-based account (Grice, 1975) with a simpler consistency-based account. In two eye-tracking experiments, the authors investigated the expectations underlying the effect of precedents on comprehension. The authors show that listeners expect speakers to be consistent in their use of expressions even when these expectations cannot be motivated by the assumption of cooperativeness. The authors conclude that though this phenomenon seems to be motivated by cooperativeness, listeners' expectation that speakers be consistent in their use of expressions is governed by a general expectation of consistency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-369
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Language comprehension
  • Lexical entrainment
  • Listener expectations
  • Mutual knowledge
  • Referring expressions
  • Verbal consistency

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