Academic Appointments


  • Assistant Professor, Linguistics

2017-18 Courses


All Publications


  • Reasoning in Reference Games: Individual-vs. Population-Level Probabilistic Modeling PLOS ONE Franke, M., Degen, J. 2016; 11 (5)

    Abstract

    Recent advances in probabilistic pragmatics have achieved considerable success in modeling speakers' and listeners' pragmatic reasoning as probabilistic inference. However, these models are usually applied to population-level data, and so implicitly suggest a homogeneous population without individual differences. Here we investigate potential individual differences in Theory-of-Mind related depth of pragmatic reasoning in so-called reference games that require drawing ad hoc Quantity implicatures of varying complexity. We show by Bayesian model comparison that a model that assumes a heterogenous population is a better predictor of our data, especially for comprehension. We discuss the implications for the treatment of individual differences in probabilistic models of language use.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0154854

    View details for Web of Science ID 000375676800071

    View details for PubMedID 27149675

  • Talker-specificity and adaptation in quantifier interpretation JOURNAL OF MEMORY AND LANGUAGE Yildirim, I., Degen, J., Tanenhaus, M. K., Jaeger, T. F. 2016; 87: 128-143
  • Availability of Alternatives and the Processing of Scalar Implicatures: A Visual World Eye-Tracking Study. Cognitive science Degen, J., Tanenhaus, M. K. 2016; 40 (1): 172-201

    Abstract

    Two visual world experiments investigated the processing of the implicature associated with some using a "gumball paradigm." On each trial, participants saw an image of a gumball machine with an upper chamber with orange and blue gumballs and an empty lower chamber. Gumballs dropped to the lower chamber, creating a contrast between a partitioned set of gumballs of one color and an unpartitioned set of the other. Participants then evaluated spoken statements, such as "You got some of the blue gumballs." Experiment 1 investigated the time course of the pragmatic enrichment from some to not all when the only utterance alternatives available to refer to the different sets were some and all. In Experiment 2, the number terms two, three, four, and five were also included in the set of alternatives. Scalar implicatures were delayed relative to the interpretation of literal statements with all only when number terms were available. The results are interpreted as evidence for a constraint-based account of scalar implicature processing.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cogs.12227

    View details for PubMedID 25807866

  • Processing Scalar Implicature: A Constraint-Based Approach COGNITIVE SCIENCE Degen, J., Tanenhaus, M. K. 2015; 39 (4): 667-710

    Abstract

    Three experiments investigated the processing of the implicature associated with some using a "gumball paradigm." On each trial, participants saw an image of a gumball machine with an upper chamber with 13 gumballs and an empty lower chamber. Gumballs then dropped to the lower chamber and participants evaluated statements, such as "You got some of the gumballs." Experiment 1 established that some is less natural for reference to small sets (1, 2, and 3 of the 13 gumballs) and unpartitioned sets (all 13 gumballs) compared to intermediate sets (6-8). Partitive some of was less natural than simple some when used with the unpartitioned set. In Experiment 2, including exact number descriptions lowered naturalness ratings for some with small sets but not for intermediate size sets and the unpartitioned set. In Experiment 3, the naturalness ratings from Experiment 2 predicted response times. The results are interpreted as evidence for a Constraint-Based account of scalar implicature processing and against both two-stage, Literal-First models and pragmatic Default models.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cogs.12171

    View details for Web of Science ID 000353464000001

    View details for PubMedID 25265993