- Domaneschi F., Di Paola S., Pouscoulous N. (2022) “The Development of Presupposition: Pre-schoolers’ understanding of regret and too”, Intercultural Pragmatics, xxx. [link]
Little is known about presuppositional skills in pre-school years. Developmental research has mostly focused on children’s understanding of too and evidence is mixed: some studies show that the comprehension of too is not adult-like at least until school age, while more recent findings suggest that even pre-schoolers can interpret too-sentences in more age-appropriate tasks. Importantly, no study has tested directly, within the same experiment, pre-schoolers’ presupposition understanding in satisfaction versus accommodation, nor with respect to other trigger types. Yet, it is well known that adults’ processing of a presupposition is costlier when accommodation is required and that the type of trigger influences the processing demands. Therefore, both the trigger type and the contextual availability of a presupposition might influence young children’s comprehension. We tested this with a story completion task that assessed 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds’ comprehension of presuppositions activated by either regret or too in contexts that either satisfied the presupposition or required accommodation. Results reveal that pre-schoolers overall exhibit an understanding of presupposition. Crucially, this starkly improves between the age of 3 and 5 and the developmental trajectory depends on both context and trigger type: understanding the presupposition of regret seems easier than that of too for younger children, and less difficulties emerge when the context satisfies the presupposition. Thus, the development of presupposition comprehension in pre-schoolers depends both on the type of trigger and the contextual availability of the presupposition – satisfied vs. requiring failure repair.
- Reinecke R., Fossard M., Di Paola S., Domaneschi F. (2022) “Presupposition processing declines with age”, Cognitive Processing, xxx. [link]
The present study investigates the processing of presuppositions across the lifespan and extends the findings of the only available study on presupposition processing and typical ageing by Domaneschi and Di Paola (2019). In an online and offline task, we investigate the impact of cognitive load during the processing and recovery of two presupposition triggers – definite descriptions and change-of-state verbs – comparing a group of younger adults with a group of older adults. The collected experimental data shows that (1) presupposition recovery declines during normal ageing, (2) presupposition recovery of change-of-state verbs is more cognitively demanding for older adults than the recovery of definite descriptions, and lastly (3) presupposition recovery for the change-of-state verb begin is more demanding than the change-of-state verb stop. As of today, few works have directly investigated presupposition processing across the lifespan. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work revealing that cognitive load directly impacts the recovery of presuppositions across the life span, which in turn suggests an involvement of verbal working memory.
- Marocchini E.,. Domaneschi F. (2022) “Can you read my mind?” Conventionalized indirect requests and Theory of Mind abilities”, Journal of Pragmatics, xxx. [link]
Recent proposals in pragmatics identified two types of pragmatics: linguistic-pragmatics and social-pragmatics, as comprehension seems to rely on linguistic and Theory of Mind (ToM) abilities to different extents depending on the phenomenon. In this respect, a clear picture of indirect requests (IRs) processing is lacking. Experimental works suggest that non-conventionalized IRs are processed by means of a conversational implicature based on metarepresentation of the whole utterance, therefore belonging to social-pragmatics. However, it is unclear whether this applies to conventionalized IRs, which are globally processed faster than non-conventionalized IRs. Conventionalized IRs are either (i) conversational implicatures requiring ToM, though “short-circuited” (but still derived globally); (ii) a linguistic-pragmatics phenomenon whose processing is triggered locally. Our study investigates to what extent mentalizing is involved in their comprehension. Ninety-one Italian adults (mean age=35.85(9.85)) performed a self-paced region-by-region reading task where Can you…? forms were presented in a directive, non-directive, and sarcastic condition. Reading times were calculated per sentence and per sentence-region. ToM abilities were also tested. Results suggest that conventionalized IRs processing starts locally, triggered by the Can you. Individual ToM differences had an impact, but mainly on the Can you sentence region. These findings seem to support a view of conventionalized IRs as a linguistic-pragmatics phenomenon.
- Vignolo. M, Domaneschi F. (2021) “Intuitions on Semantic Reference”, Review of Philosophy and Psychology, xxx. [link]
Since Machery et al. Cognition 92, B1-B12 (2004) attacked Kripke’s refutation of classical descriptivism, their experiment has been repeated several times, in its original version or in some revised ones, by theorists with contrasting intents. Some repeated the experiment for confirming its results, others for proving them unreliable. One striking characteristic of those surveys is that they mostly replicated the data collected in Machery et al.’s Cognition 92, B1-B12, 2004 experiment: less than 60% of Westerners showed preference for the causal-historical response. We side with the critics of Machery et al.’s experiment. In this paper, we present the results of a survey that tests some hypotheses for explaining that percentage of Westerners’ preferences without taking it as evidence that more than 40% of Westerners have descriptivist intuitions on semantic reference. The aim of our paper is not merely to question the reliability of Machery et al.’s experiment. In sections 4 and 5 we assess the impact of our survey on the current debate in experimental semantics. We provide a novel account of the nature of the epistemic ambiguity that affects experiments in theory of reference and explain the consequences that our account of the epistemic ambiguity has for subsequent works trying to avoid ambiguities.
- Panzeri F., Di Paola S., Domaneschi F. (2021) “Does the COVID-19 war metaphor influence reasoning?”, PlosOne, 16(4): e0250651. [link]
In recent times, many alarm bells have begun to sound: the metaphorical presentation of the COVID-19 emergency as a war might be dangerous, because it could affect the way people conceptualize the pandemic and react to it, leading citizens to endorse authoritarianism and limitations to civil liberties. The idea that conceptual metaphors actually influence reasoning has been corroborated by Thibodeau and Boroditsky, who showed that, when crime is metaphorically presented as a beast, readers become more enforcement-oriented than when crime is metaphorically framed as a virus. Recently, Steen, Reijnierse and Burgers replied that this metaphorical framing effect does not seem to occur and suggested that the question should be rephrased about the conditions under which metaphors do or do not influence reasoning. In this paper, we investigate whether presenting the COVID-19 pandemic as a war affects people’s reasoning about the pandemic. Data collected suggest that the metaphorical framing effect does not occur by default. Rather, socio-political individual variables such as speakers’ political orientation and source of information favor the acceptance of metaphor congruent entailments: right wings participants and those relying on independent sources of information are those more conditioned by the COVID-19 war metaphor, thus more inclined to prefer bellicose options.
- Marocchini E., Di Paola S., Mazzaggio G., Domaneschi F., (2021) “Understanding Indirect Requests for Information in High-Functioning Autism”, Cognitive Processing, xxx, pp. xx-xx. [link]
Few works have addressed the processing of indirect requests in High-Functioning Autism (HFA), and results are conflicting. Some studies report HFA individuals’ difficulties in indirect requests comprehension; others suggest that it might be preserved in HFA. Furthermore, the role of Theory of Mind in understanding indirect requests is an open issue. The goal of this work is twofold: first, assessing whether comprehension of indirect requests for information is preserved in HFA; second, exploring whether mind-reading skills predict this ability. We tested a group of (n=14; 9- 12 yrs) HFA children and two groups of younger (n=19; 5-6 yrs) and older (n=28; 9-12 yrs) typically developing (TD) children in a semi-structured task involving direct, indirect and highly indirect requests for information. Results suggested that HFA can understand indirect and highly indirect requests, as well as TD children. Yet, while Theory of Mind skills seem to enhance older TD children understanding, this is not the case for HFA children. Therefore, interestingly, they could rely on different interpretative strategies.
- Baraldi M., Avanzino L., Pelosin E., Domaneschi F., Di Paola S., Lagravinese G. (2021) “Pragmatic abilities in early Parkinson's disease”, Brain and Cognition, 150, pp. xx-xx. [link]
Language impairment in Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been investigated at different levels of linguistic skills. Only a few studies dealt with pragmatic abilities in PD, and these suggest an impairment of pragmatic skills, which might affect quality of life. However, previous studies enrolled patients with heterogeneous symptom severity. The goal of this study is twofold: first, to investigate whether pragmatic skills are compromised at the early stage of PD; second, to explore whether an early pragmatic impairment is explained by a decay of a specific cognitive function. We assessed pragmatic abilities (discourse production, comprehension of narratives, humour, and figurative language), and a cluster of cognitive functions (memory, verbal fluency, inhibition, shifting, and ToM) in a sample of early PD patients and a group of age-matched healthy controls. Early PD patients showed impaired general pragmatic skills (the ability to perform different pragmatic tasks in language production and comprehension), as well as a deficit in the production and comprehension individual scores. Our results suggest that good general cognitive skills (a good overall cognitive level) and high education support patients’ pragmatic competence. Inhibitory processes have been found to predict patients’ ability to understand figurative language, such as metaphors, and this might be related to frontal lobe dysfunctions.
- Cepollaro B., Stojanovic I., Domaneschi F. (2020) “When Is It OK to Call Someone a Jerk? An experimental investigation of expressives”, Synthese, pp. xx-xx. [link]
We present two experimental studies of the Italian expressive ‘stronzo’ (English ‘jerk’). The first study tests whether, and to which extent, the acceptability of using an expressive is sensitive to the information available in the context. The study looks both at referential uses of expressives (as in the complex demonstrative ‘that jerk Marco’) and predicative uses of expressives (as in ‘Marco is a jerk’). The results show that expressives are sensitive to contextual information to a much higher degree than the non-expressive control items (such as ‘Piemontese’) in their referential use, but also, albeit to a lesser degree, in their predicative use. The second study tests whether the lower acceptability of expressives in their predicative use may be simply due to saying something negative about someone. A comparison between expressives, such as ‘jerk’, and non-expressive negative terms, such as ‘nasty’ or ‘unbearable’, suggests that it is the expressive nature of these terms, rather than the mere negative valence, that affects acceptability. Our studies present a major challenge to the existing accounts of expressives, and raise several theoretical issues that still call for an answer.
- Domaneschi., Bambini V. (2020) “Pragmatic Competence”, in Pavese C. & Fridland E. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Skill and Expertise, Abingdon: Routledge.
Pragmatics is the study of language in context, a field that emerged from the traditions of philosophy of language and linguistics. As such, it is characterized by a theoretical approach based on intuition and the observation of linguistic behaviour. Recently, theoretical investigations have led to an ‘experimental turn’ and the rise of Experimental Pragmatics, where pragmatic phenomena are investigated via behavioural and neurolinguistic methods. These new research programs have largely documented the processes in which pragmatic abilities are acquired and work in typical and atypical conditions. Nowadays, the main challenge of describing pragmatic competence lays in explaining which cognitive functions interact with the processing of different pragmatic phenomena. Since in the Gricean framework pragmatic interpretation involves the inferential attributions of speaker’s intentions, pragmatic processing is typically considered in strict relation with the ability of attributing mental states to others. In this chapter, we focus on figurative language, irony, deixis and presuppositions, four traditional pragmatic phenomena. We argue that language users’ pragmatic competence is not limited to the ability of understanding speaker’s intentions, but has its own characterization in terms of developmental trajectories, patterns of decay, and neural substrates. Moreover, a cluster of cognitive functions support pragmatic processing, in ways that differ across types of pragmatic inference.
- Domaneschi F., M. Vignolo (2019) “Reference and the ambiguity of truth-value judgments”, Mind & Language, pp. 1-16. [link]
Martí (2009) argued that referential intuitions are not the right kind of empirical evidence in experimental semantics. She maintained that experimentalists ought to test how people use names instead of what people think about reference. Machery, Olivola and De Blanc (2009) – MOD – replied with a survey aimed at providing evidence that referential intuitions are in sync with truth-value judgments and argued that truth-value judgments provide empirical data from linguistic usage. We present the results of a survey indicating that MOD’s experiment is vitiated by an ambiguity that affects the way participants understand the truth predicate. We conclude that MOD’s experiment fails to overcome Martí’s objection: the truth-value judgements tested by MOD do not provide data relevant for testing theories of reference. It is important to get this point clear. First, testing truth-value judgements is so far one of the main methods that have been employed for testing theories of reference against linguistic usage. Second, if MOD’s experiment were reliable, i.e. if it were not affected by the ambiguity we detected, then it would undermine Krikpe’s ignorance and error argument against classical descriptivism. This point has been surprisingly ignored by commentators.
- Di Paola S. Domaneschi F., Pouscoulous N. (2019), "Metaphorical developing minds: The role of multiple factors in the development of metaphor comprehension". Journal of Pragmatics, xx, xxx-xxx. [link]
Metaphor understanding is traditionally thought to emerge late in childhood. Although recent findings suggest that even pre-schoolers can understand metaphor in more age appropriate paradigms, it is still unclear which skills scaffold the development of metaphorical abilities. Metaphor comprehension is a complex process relying on multiple cognitive abilities with different developmental paths, such as Alternative Naming (i.e., accepting two labels for the same referent) and Analogy Perception (i.e., detecting similarities across objects). These two abilities may prove crucial to explain the development of metaphoric competence because difficulties in one or both of them may impose additional demands linked to children’s general cognitive development. This might contribute to slow down the development of metaphor understanding. This study aims at teasing apart the contribution of Alternative Naming and Analogy Perception in the development of metaphor understanding. Using a unified picture-matching paradigm, we tested 3- and 4-year-olds in three tasks: Metaphor Comprehension, Alternative Naming and Analogy Perception. Results reveal that children with better alternative naming and analogical abilities show a better performance in the metaphor task, suggesting that both Alternative Naming and Analogy Perception play a role in the development of metaphoric competence.
- Ebersole, C. R., Andrighetto, L., Casini, E., Chiorri, C., Rosa, A. D., Domaneschi, F., Ferguson, I., Fryberger, E., Giacomantonio, M., Grahe, J., Joy-Gaba, J., Langford, E. V., Nichols, A. L., Panno, A., Parks, K. P., Preti, E., Richetin, J., & Vianell, M.. (2019). Many Labs 5: Registered Replication Report of Payne, Burkley, & Stokes (2008), Study 4. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, xx, xxx-xxx. [link]
To rule out an alternative explanation to their structural fit hypothesis, Payne, Burkley, and Stokes (2008) demonstrated that correlations between implicit and explicit race attitudes were weaker when participants were put under high pressure to respond without bias compared to when they were placed under low pressure. This effect, although smaller in size, was replicated in Italy by Vianello (2015). The current investigation sought to examine the possible moderating role of sample source for this effect. Teams from eight universities, four in the United States and four in Italy, replicated the original study (N = 1,103). Although we did detect moderation by sample source, it was due to a reversal of the original effect in the United States and a lack of the original effect in the Italian samples. We discuss this curious finding and possible explanations.
- Domaneschi F., Canal P., Masia V., Vallauri Lombardi E., Bambini V. (2018) “N400 and P600 modulation in presupposition accommodation: the effect of different trigger types”, Journal of Neurolinguistics, 45, 13-35. [link]
This study investigates the neurophysiological correlates of presupposition processing in conditions of satisfaction and accommodation, comparing two types of triggers: definite descriptions and change-of-state verbs. Results showed that, for both types, the accommodation of presuppositions is associated with a biphasic N400-P600 pattern at the processing point. With definite descriptions, we observed a more clear involvement of the N400, while for change-of-state verbs the costs of accommodation were associated with a more pronounced P600. Moreover, when conveyed by change of state predicates, presuppositions seem to elicit also a P200 visible already at the trigger verb. The data nicely fit into the Linking-Updating model and support two main conclusions. First, presupposition accommodation is a sequential process unfolding through a biphasic ERP pattern presumably related to search for antecedent and discourse update. Second, the kind of presupposition trigger seems to affect the cognitive cost of presupposition accommodation at different processing times, with definite description capitalizing more on the earlier search for antecedent and change-of-state verbs capitalizing more on the later updating of the discourse mental model with the presupposed information. Overall, our findings suggest that the brain understands information taken for granted by going through a process whose time course involves several phases, differently modulated based on specific linguistic expressions.
- Mazzarella D., Domaneschi F.. (2018) “Presuppositional effects and ostensive-inferential communication”, Journal of Pragmatics, 138, pp. 17-29. [link]
In this paper, we argue that presuppositions fall within the scope of ostensive-inferential communication, and present the benefits of this proposal. On the one hand, by treating presuppositions as part of what is ostensively communicated by the speaker, we can provide a unified account of so-called ‘informative’ presuppositions, and presuppositions that are part of the ‘common ground’. On the other hand, by treating presuppositions as the output of an inferential process of pragmatic interpretation, we can explain their context-sensitivity as well as the way in which their propositional content is constructed through a process of ‘mutual parallel adjustment’ with the explicit content of the utterance and its implicatures.
- Domaneschi F., M. Vignolo, S. Di Paola (2017) “Testing the Causal Theory of Reference”, Cognition, 161, pp. 1-9. [link]
Theories of reference are a crucial research topic in analytic philosophy. Since the publication of Kripke's Naming and Necessity, most philosophers have endorsed the causal/historical theory of reference. The goal of this paper is twofold: (i) to discuss a method for testing experimentally the causal theory of reference for proper names by investigating linguistic usage and (ii) to present the results from two experiments conducted with that method. Data collected in our experiments confirm the causal theory of reference for people proper names and for geographical proper names. A secondary but interesting result is that the semantic domain affects reference assignment: while with people proper names speakers tend to assign the semantic reference, with geographical proper names they are prompted to assign the speaker's reference.
- Domaneschi F., M. Romero, B. Braun (2017) “Bias in Polar Questions. Evidence from English and German production experiments”, Glossa, 2(1), 23. [link]
Different polar question forms (e.g., Do you / Do you not / Don’t you / Really? Do you... have a car?) are not equally appropriate in all situations. The present experiments investigate which combinations of original speaker belief and contextual evidence influence the choice of question type in English and German. Our results show that both kinds of bias interact: in both languages, positive polar questions are typically selected when there is no original speaker belief and positive or non-informative contextual evidence; low negation questions (Do you not...?) are most frequently chosen when no original belief meets negative contextual evidence; high negation questions (Don’t you...?) are prompted when positive original speaker belief is followed by negative or non-informative contextual evidence; positive questions with really are produced most frequently when a negative original bias is combined with positive contextual evidence. In string-identical forms, there are prosodic differences across crucial conditions.
- Domaneschi F., Carrea E., Penco C., Greco A. (2014) “The cognitive load of presupposition triggers. Mandatory and optional repairs in presupposition failure”, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 29 (1), pp. 136-146. [link]
If a speaker utters a sentence p containing a presupposition trigger that activates a presupposition q, and q does not belong to the common ground of presuppositions, it is a case of presupposition failure. If this occurs, speakers are required to repair the failure to make sense of the utterance. According to Glanzberg, two subcategories of being infelicitous may emerge in the case of presupposition failure: one is that strong presuppositions lead to obligatory repair, and the other is that weak presuppositions lead only to an optional repair. Following Glanzberg's suggestion, in this paper we present the results of an experiment supporting the idea that, depending on the kind of trigger, processing the information conveyed by a presupposition can be either optional or mandatory in case of presupposition failure. The conclusion of this paper is that the cognitive demands of different presupposition triggers do not primarily depend on whether they optionally or obligatorily lead to process the presuppositions activated. Rather, their cognitive demands seem to be related with the complexity of the mental representation of the presupposition required.
- Domaneschi F., Vignolo M. (2017) “Referential intuitions are still problematic”, Analysis, 148, pp. 1-12. [link]
In order to uphold the claim that referential intuitions are a reliable source of evidence for theories of reference, Machery et al. (2009) conducted an empirical research by testing truth-value judgments. First, we discuss a conceptual limitation of Machery et al.’s experiment on truth-value judgments. Then, we present the data of an empirical survey that shows that people’s truth-value judgments are not congruent with their use of proper names. We explain why the results of our empirical research refute the conclusions of Machery et al.’s experiment on truth-value judgments. We conclude that referential intuitions are still problematic.
- Balletta S., Domaneschi F. (2019) “Predication and Cognitive Context: Between Minimalism and Contextualism”, Ratio, pp. 1-10. [link]
In this paper, we suggest a strategy for modelling cognitive context within a truth‐conditional semantics, using Asher's model of predication. This allows us to introduce the notion of type presupposition intended as a lexical constraint to the composition of the truth‐conditional content. More specifically, we suggest that this model of predication produces a notion of truth‐conditional meaning where the cognitive context fixes a set of lexical restrictions and forced modifications. We conclude that this model might offer an intermediate position between Minimalism and Contextualism: an account that provides intuitive truth conditions within a formal semantic theory.
- Domaneschi F., Di Paola S. (2017) “The Processing Costs of Presupposition Accommodation”, Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, pp. 1-21. [link]
The present study investigates the processing of presupposition accommodation. In particular, it concerns the processing costs and the time-course of accommodation as compared to presupposition satisfaction. Data collected in a self-paced word-by-word reading times experiment support three results. First, independently on the presupposition trigger in use, accommodation is costlier than satisfaction. Second, presupposition accommodation takes places immediately just as the trigger becomes available and proceeds incrementally during the sentence processing. Third, accommodated information is harder to be recalled. The results offer evidence for the on-line processing of presuppositions and, consistently with the traditional semantic framework, support the idea that, presuppositions are semantic properties encoded in the lexical meaning of the presupposition triggers.
- Domaneschi F., Di Paola S. (2019), “The Aging Factor in Processing Presuppositions”, Journal of Pragmatics, 140, pp. 70-87. [link]
This work takes a first step towards a psycholinguistic investigation on the role of aging in processing presuppositions. Experimental data collected support two main results. First, in online language comprehension older adults exhibit higher processing costs when presuppositions involve demanding mental representations. Second, the ability to recover information introduced in the discourse as taken for granted is affected by the age factor. Overall, beyond other more explored levels of pragmatic processing, the decline with age of processing speed and working memory ability seems to affect presuppositions processing.
- Domaneschi F., Passarelli M., Andrighetto L. (2018) “Performing orders: Speech acts, Facial Expressions and Gender Bias”, Journal of Cognition and Culture, 18, pp. 360-374. [link]
The business of a sentence is not only to describe some state of affairs but also to perform other kinds of speech acts like ordering, suggesting, asking, etc. Understanding the kind of action performed by a speaker who utters a sentence is a multimodal process which involves the computing of verbal and non-verbal information. This work aims at investigating if the understanding of a speech act is affected by the gender of the actor that produces the utterance in combination with a certain facial expression. Experimental data collected show that, as compared to men, women are less likely to be perceived as performers of orders and are more likely to be perceived as performers of questions. This result reveals a gender bias which reflects a process of women’s subordination according to which women are hardly considered as holding the hierarchical social position required for the correct execution of an order.
- Domaneschi F., Carrea E., Penco C., Greco A. (2014) “Propositional attitudes towards presuppositions. An experimental approach”, Pragmatics and Cognition, 22:3, 291–309. [link]
According to the Common Ground account proposed by Stalnaker (2002, 2009), speakers involved in a verbal interaction have different propositional attitudes towards presuppositions. In this paper we propose an experimental study aimed at estimating the psychological plausibility of the Stalnakerian model. In particular, the goal of our experiment is to evaluate variations in accepting as appropriate a sentence that triggers a presupposition, where different attitudes are taken towards the presupposition required. The study conducted suggests that if a speaker has the attitude of belief towards the content of a presupposition, she may evaluate an utterance as more appropriate in a shorter time than in cases where she holds an attitude of presumption or of assumption. Therefore, data collected support the psychological soundness of what might be considered the main, but also most debated, theory of presupposition on the market.
- Domaneschi F. (2011) “Towards a normative epistemic account of presuppositions”, Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 15, pp. 3822-3831. [link]
In this paper I propose a normative account of pragmatic presupposition as a criticism and enrichment of Gauker's theory. By an appeal to epistemic contextualism, my aim is to integrate Gauker's normative account with an explanation of the different ways in which speakers ought to share presuppositions. In particular, I focus my analysis on some stereotypical situations to show that the epistemic goal of a conversation determines the level of justification of a presupposition. Finally, I claim that coherence with the level of justification is a condition for appropriateness of assertions: in order to appropriately assert a sentence p that requires a presupposition q, speakers should recognize how they ought to be able to justify q in a specific communicative context.
- Domaneschi F., Carrea E., Penco C., Greco A. (2016) “Selecting presuppositions in conditional clauses. Results from a psycholinguistic experiment”, Frontiers in Psychology, 6, pp. 2026-2036. [link]
In this paper, we propose an experiment concerning presupposition selection in conditional sentences containing a presupposition trigger in the consequent. Many theories claim that sentences like if p, qq'—where q is the presupposition of the assertive component q'—have unconditional presuppositions, namely, they simply project q. Other theories suggest that these kinds of conditional sentences project conditional presuppositions of the form if p, q. Data collected suggest two results: (i) in accordance with other experiments (by Romoli), dependence between the presupposition q and the antecedent p favors the selection of a conditional presupposition if p, q. (ii) presupposition selection in conditional sentences with a trigger in the consequent is affected by speakers' cognitive load: if speakers are highly cognitive loaded, then they are less disposed to select a conditional presupposition. We conclude by arguing that cognitive load represents a key factor for the analysis of linguistic and philosophical theories of context.
- Domaneschi F. (2016) “Presuppositions: philosophy, linguistics and psychology”, Topoi, 30(1):5, 5-8.[link]
- Domaneschi F., Di Paola S. (2018), “Relevance and non-factive knowledge attributions”, Acta Analytica, 1-33. [link]
Philosophers and cognitive scientists agree that knowledge requires truth: a cognitive subject S knows a proposition p if and only if p is true. In ordinary language, however, knowledge can sometimes be appropriately attributed under false belief. According to Hazlett (2010), factivity is a myth, know does not entail truth and cases of this sort can be explained as non-factive literal attributions of knowledge. Supporters of the Protagonist Projection Hypothesis (Holton, 1997), conversely, claim that know is factive and knowledge attributions under false belief can be explained as cases of non-literal occurrences of know: speakers project themselves into the perspective of someone else who has a false belief. In this paper we present results from five experiments showing that, in ordinary language, propositions of the form S knows that p can convey three kinds of knowledge attributions, regularly interpreted with three decreasing propositional attitudes depending on the truth-value of the proposition p: (i) S really knows p; (ii) S simply believes p; and (iii) S has just the feeling that p. Our claim is that only the first case constitutes a literal knowledge attribution while the others are best described as non-literal uses. In conclusion, we argue that our results disconfirm the idea that factivity is a myth and support the protagonist projection hypothesis. We propose that non-factive knowledge attributions are better explained as cases of ad hoc concepts construction and, in particular, of approximations based on logical properties.
- Domaneschi F., M. Passarelli, C. Chiorri (2017) “Facial Expressions and Speech Acts. Experimental evidences on the role of the Upper Face as an Illocutionary Force Indicating Device in Language Comprehension”, Cognitive Processing, (18) 3, pp. 285-306. [link]
Language scientists have broadly addressed the problem of explaining how language users recognize the kind of speech act performed by a speaker uttering a sentence in a particular context. They have done so by investigating the role played by the illocutionary force indicating devices (IFIDs), i.e., all linguistic elements that indicate the illocutionary force of an utterance. The present work takes a first step in the direction of an experimental investigation of non-verbal IFIDs because it investigates the role played by facial expressions and, in particular, of upper-face action units (AUs) in the comprehension of three basic types of illocutionary force: assertions, questions, and orders. The results from a pilot experiment on production and two comprehension experiments showed that (1) certain upper-face AUs seem to constitute non-verbal signals that contribute to the understanding of the illocutionary force of questions and orders; (2) assertions are not expected to be marked by any upper-face AU; (3) some upper-face AUs can be associated, with different degrees of compatibility, with both questions and orders.
- Domaneschi F. (2012) “Presuppositions and appropriateness of assertions”, Lodz Papers in Pragmatics, 7(2), pp. 205-222. [link]
In this paper I aim to compare and evaluate two theoretic approaches to pragmatic presuppositions: the Common Ground account and Propositional Context account. According to the Common Ground account proposed by Stalnaker (2002), it is appropriate to assert a sentence p that requires a presupposition q only if q is mutually believed as accepted as true and taken for granted by the interlocutors. Otherwise, Gauker (2002, 2008) claims that the ground of propositions taken for granted coincides with what he calls the objective propositional context, that is the set of objectively relevant propositional elements that speakers ought to share in order to evaluate the appropriateness of utterances so as to reach the goal of a conversation. The main purpose of my paper is to show that, according to the Propositional Context account, a theory of presupposition has to take into account a normative-objective notion of context. Secondly, I aim to develop a criticism of Gauker's point of view claiming that the Propositional Context account does not account for the number of ways in which a proposition can be taken for granted by the speakers depending on the context. Finally, I propose to integrate Gauker's account with a further condition for appropriateness of assertion which states that: in order to appropriately assert a sentence p that requires a presupposition q, speakers ought to recognize how they should justify q in a specific communicative context.
- Balostro S., Domaneschi F., Frixione F. (2019) “Giudizi deontici e pragmatica nel selection task”, Sistemi Intelligenti, XXXI, 1, pp. 173-188.
Gli individui spesso pensano e agiscono in modo non razionale quando viene chiesto loro di risolvere elementari problemi di ragionamento. Gli errori di ragionamento dipendono non solo dalla forma di un’inferenza ma anche dal suo contenuto. Nel classico test delle quattro carte di Wason, ad esempio, gli individui confondono più facilmente lo schema logico del Modus Tollens con quello della Fallacia dell’affermazione del conseguente quando l’inferenza è presentata in forma astratta, rispetto a quando è dotata di contenuto. Due ulteriori fattori giocano un ruolo determinante: l’errore di ragionamento sembra occorrere meno frequentemente se la premessa condizionale è deontica e se il contenuto del condizionale è pertinente rispetto al contesto. In questo lavoro mostriamo come, manipolando il livello di pertinenza tra antecedente e conseguente di un enunciato condizionale deontico, l’aspettativa di pertinenza che si crea nei soggetti elicita risposte differenti nel test delle quattro carte. I risultati sperimentali evidenziano che, se il livello di pertinenza tra antecedente e conseguente di un condizionale è basso o nullo, i soggetti sono portati a commettere più frequentemente l’errore sistematico di ragionamento rispetto a quando il livello di pertinenza è alto.
- Domaneschi F., (2013) “Pragmatic Presuppositions: a psycholinguistic approach”, Epistemologia, XXXVI, pp. 81-99. [link]
Lo scopo di questo lavoro è valutare due teorie delle presupposizioni pragmatiche: la teoria del Common Ground (CG) e la teoria del Propositional Context (PC). Inizialmente, fornirò argomenti in favore della teoria PC e, in accordo con tale proposta, sosterrò che avere un qualche tipo di atteggiamento proposizionale nei confronti delle presupposizioni non rappresenta una condizione necessaria per valutare il proferimento di un enunciato come appropriato. Dopodiché, presenterò uno studio sperimentale i cui risultati sembrano offrire evidenza del fatto che gli atteggiamenti proposizionali nei confronti delle presupposizioni giochino un ruolo nel processo cognitivo di valutazione di appropriatezza del proferimento di un enunciato. Concluderò sostenendo che il modello normativo del Propositional Context, per essere non solo teoricamente valido ma anche psicologicamente plausibile, dovrebbe essere integrato con l’analisi del ruolo giocato dagli atteggiamenti proposizionali dei parlanti nei confronti delle presupposizioni, distinguendo tra la condizione di appropriatezza e la valutazione di appropriatezza di un enunciato.
- Domaneschi F., Carrea E. (2015) “Istruzioni semantiche di aggiornamento del contesto: gli attivatori presupposizionali”, Sistemi Intelligenti, 2, 303-322. [link]
When a speaker utters a sentence p containing a presupposition trigger that activates a presupposition q, and q does not belong to the common ground of presuppositions, it is a case of presupposition failure. When it occurs, speakers are supposed to repair the failure in order to make sense of the utterance. According to Glanzberg, there are two categories of triggers: those activating strong presuppositions lead to obligatory repair, while triggers generating weak presuppositions simply require an optional repair. In this paper we present a psycholinguistic experiment supporting the idea that, depending on the kind of trigger in use, processing the information conveyed by a presupposition can be either optional or mandatory.
- Domaneschi F., De Vita L., Di Paola S (forth) “La pragmatica di :-) e :-(. Quando e quanto usiamo le emoticon su WhatsApp”, Sistemi Intelligenti, X, xxx-xxx. [link]
Le emoticon sono una serie di segni grafici utilizzati per arricchire e supportare le interazioni verbali mediate dal computer (CMC). La tipologia più nota è costituita dalle icone di espressioni facciali: :-), :-(, ;-), etc., che occorrono con maggiore frequenza nella messaggistica istantanea e nei messaggi di posta elettronica. Questo articolo si inserisce nell’ambito della pragmatica della CMC, in quanto prende in esame in che misura lo scopo conversazionale e la natura conflittuale o cooperativa di una conversazione influenzano la frequenza d’uso di emoticon (con valenza positiva o negativa) su WhatsApp. I dati raccolti in un esperimento comportamentale supportano alcune conclusioni preliminari: gli utenti di WhatsApp tendono a utilizzare più frequentemente emoticon in contesti positivi, cooperativi e in scambi verbali di natura socio-emotiva. Sebbene nelle conversazioni orientate allo svolgimento di un compito si osservi una minore frequenza d’uso di emoticon, è proprio in questi contesti che occorre un uso più frequente di emoticon con valenza positiva (e.g., :-) ).
- Domaneschi F. (2013) “Scambi di Sensi e Comprensione Metaforica”, Rivista di Estetica, 53, 2, LIII. [link]
This paper deals with the process involved in understanding metaphors. My aim is to suggest that synaesthetic sentences constitute a controvertial case that partly moderate the conflict between the minimalist point of view and the radical contextualist standpoint. Synaesthetic sentences are constituted by a term that belongs to a perceptual domain which is referred to by a term that corresponds to another perceptual domain (for example “caressing voice”, “dark sound”, or “sweet smell”). In particular, I will defend two claims: first, against radical contextualism, it is possible to maintain the distinction between “what is literal” and “what is metaphorical”. Second, against the minimalist view, the literal meaning of a metaphorical utterance is not necessarily computed as a first step by default.
- Domaneschi F., Bambini V. (2017) “Behavioral and Neural Evidence on Pragmatic Processing”, Frontiers in Psychology, 1. doi: 10.3389/conf.fpsyg.2017.71.00001 [link]
- Domaneschi F., Di Paola S. (2017) “The Aging Factor in Processing Presuppositions”, Frontiers in Psychology, 1. doi: 10.3389/conf.fpsyg.2017.71.00013 [link]
- Domaneschi F., Di Paola S. (2017), “The Cost of Context Repair: Presupposition Accommodation” (with S. Di Paola), CEUR-Proceedings of the Workshop on Contexts in Philosophy – Paris, June, 20, 2017, Vol-1845, urn:nbn:de:0074-1845-7, pp. 36-47. [link]
- Romero M., Arnhold A., Braun B. & Domaneschi F. (2017) “Negative Polar Question Types in English”, NELS 47, Proceedings of the 47th Annual Meeting of North East Linguistic Society, x, pp. xx-xx. [link]
- Domaneschi F., Pistoia-Reda S. (2017)“Theoretical and experimental perspectives on meaning and communication”, in Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Approaches on Implicatures and Presuppositions (eds. with Pistoia-Reda S.), Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 1-10. [link]
- Domaneschi F., Penco C. (2015) “Semiotics’ internal conflict. The role of pragmatic processing in the constitution of meaning” , It Journal of Philosophy of Language, 9(1), 215-231.[link]
- Domaneschi F., M. Passarelli, C. Chiorri (2017), “Facial Expressions and Speech Acts”, CEUR-Proceedings of the AIC 2016 – Artificial Intelligence and Cognition 2016 – New York City, NY, USA, July 16-17, 2016, Vol-1895, urn:nbn:de:0074-1895-0, pp. 73-80. [link]
- Domaneschi F., Penco C. (2017), “Presupposizioni”, APHEX, Portale Italiano di Filosofia Analitica, 15, pp. 1-63. [link]
- Voltolini A., Barbero C., Enrici I. Domaneschi F., (work in progress), “Ficta and their Properties: a Matter of Co(n)text”.
- Marocchini E, Mazzaggio G., Di Paola S., Domaneschi F. (submitterd), “Indirect requests in High Functioning Autism”.
- Baraldi MA., Avanzino L., Lagravinese G., Pelosin E., Di Paola S., Domaneschi F. (work in progress), “Pragmatic abilities in early Parkinson's disease”.
- Reinecke R., Di Paola S., Domaneschi F. (work in progress), “Presuppositions in late adulthood. The role of working memory”
- Di Paola S., Pouscoulous N., Domaneschi F. (work in progress), “The development of presuppositions. Preschoolers' understanding of regret and also”.
- Di Paola S., Mazzone M., Domaneschi F. (work in progress), “Automatic and controlled processes in metaphor comprehension”.
- Domaneschi F., Vignolo M. (submitted), “Assigning reference to Natural Kind Names and Artifact Names”.
- Domaneschi F., Vignolo M. (submitted), “Reference in the house of the rising sun”.
- Vaccarezza MS., Domaneschi F. (submitted). “Expressing virtue-oriented and talent-oriented admiration. An experimental investigation”.