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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 9/2010

01-09-2010 | Original Paper

Scalar Inferences in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Auteurs: Coralie Chevallier, Deirdre Wilson, Francesca Happé, Ira Noveck

Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | Uitgave 9/2010

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Abstract

On being told “John or Mary will come”, one might infer that not both of them will come. Yet the semantics of “or” is compatible with a situation where both John and Mary come. Inferences of this type, which enrich the semantics of “or” from an ‘inclusive’ to an ‘exclusive’ interpretation, have been extensively studied in linguistic pragmatics. However, the phenomenon has not been much explored in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), where pragmatic deficits are commonly reported. Here, we present an experiment investigating these inferences. We predicted that, as a result of the reported pragmatic deficits, participants with ASD would produce fewer inferential enrichments of “or” than matched controls. However, contrary to expectations, but in line with recent findings by Pijnacker et al. (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 607–618, 2009), performances did not differ across groups. This unexpected finding is discussed in light of the literature on pragmatic abilities in autism.
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Voetnoten
1
Alternative, more semantic, treatments are suggested in recent work by Chiercha and his colleagues (Chierchia, 2004, to appear).
 
2
These studies have also shown that children are more likely to draw implicatures when task demands are reduced, which suggests that limitations in cognitive resources—rather than diminished pragmatic competence—may play an important role in children’s pragmatic difficulties (Siegal and Surian 2004).
 
3
This rate of pragmatic enrichment (leading to an exclusive interpretation) is among the highest reported in laboratory tasks dealing with scalar terms.
 
4
The correlation between VIQ and scalar inference rate is not reported for the ASD group as a whole. This correlation is not found in the AS group or in the TD group, both ps > .1.
 
5
“A and B” is only true if both A and B are true, whereas “A or B” is true if A alone is true, or if B alone is true, or if both A and B are true when an inclusive reading of the disjunction is chosen.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Scalar Inferences in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Auteurs
Coralie Chevallier
Deirdre Wilson
Francesca Happé
Ira Noveck
Publicatiedatum
01-09-2010
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders / Uitgave 9/2010
Print ISSN: 0162-3257
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-3432
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-0960-8