New publication by Andrea Beltrama and Anna Papafragou: Pragmatic violations affect social inferences about the speaker.

New paper: Beltrama, A. and Papafragou, A. (accepted) Pragmatic violations affect social inferences about the speaker. Glossa Psycholinguistics


Abstract: Listeners systematically extract two types of information from linguistic utterances: information about the world; and information about the speaker– i.e., their social background and personality. While both varieties of content have been widely investigated across different approaches to the study of language, research in pragmatics has mostly focused on the former kind. Here we ask how listeners reason about a speaker’s conversational choices to form an impression about their personality. In three experiments, we show that a speaker’s adherence to, or violation of, the pragmatic principles of Relevance and Informativeness, as well as the reasons underlying these violations, affect the evaluation of the speaker’s personality along the major dimensions of Warmth and Competence. These findings highlight the value of enriching work in pragmatics with insights from sociolinguistics and social psychology about how people reason about human speech and behavior to form impressions of others.