Typicality effects on reciprocity
(with Marijn Struiksma, Nir Kerem, Naama Friedmann and Yoad Winter)
Reciprocal sentences are known to give rise to a variety of logical interpretations. For example, the sentence the boys know each other is interpreted to mean strong reciprocity: each boy knows every other boy. By contrast, a sentence like the boys are standing on each other receives a weaker interpretation. Using several different methods and types of stimuli, we have shown that typicality effects of binary predicates such as know or stand on affect the logical interpretation of reciprocal sentences containing those predicates.
Typicality effects on predicate conjunction
Plural sentences with conjoined predicates are sometimes interpreted strictly intersectively (e.g. the boys are sitting and reading), sometimes strictly non-intersectively (e.g. the boys are sitting and standing), and sometimes both interpretations appear to be available (e.g. the boys are sitting and cooking). I propose that the logical interpretation of such sentences can be predicted systematically through typicality effects of the complex predicate in the sentence – in line with our findings on reciprocals. With sets of behavioral experiments on both adjective conjunction and verb conjunction I have shown that typicality and acceptability measurements correlate – explicitly specifying at least one of the relevant pragmatic considerations.
Predicate conjunction in acquisition
(with Lyn Tieu, Jacopo Romoli, Stephen Crain and Yoad Winter)
This work directly compares adults’ and children’s interpretation of predicate conjunction. The main aim is to determine the basic meaning of conjunction, by investigating whether the non-intersective reading is derived from the intersective one via a process of weakening or visa versa, via a process of strengthening.
Predicate conjunction in the brain
(with Liina Pylkkänen)
In this project, we compared the processing of intersective conjunction (e.g. the houses are big and green) to the processing of non-intersective conjunction (e.g. the houses are big and small) using magnetoencephalography (MEG). We showed that the brain responds differently to these different types of conjunction, shedding light on the specific computations of particular brain areas that have been implicated in linguistic composition.
Non-existential readings of locative indefinites
(with Robert Grimm, Choonkyu Lee and Yoad Winter)
This side-project deals with sentences containing locative indefinites that can give rise to non-existential readings (e.g. we are far from a gas station). We constructed an experiment that confirmed such readings, supporting Mador-Haim & Winter’s property eigenspace hypothesis.