When is irony influenced by communicative constraints? ERP evidence supporting interactive models
Motamed Haeri, Arman
Martin, Clara D.
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Caffarra S, Motamed Haeri A, Michell E, Martin CD. When is irony influenced by communicative constraints? ERP evidence supporting interactive models. Eur J Neurosci. 2019;50:3566–3577. https ://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.14503
Distinct theoretical proposals have described how communicative constraints (contextual biases, speaker identity) impact verbal irony processing. Modular models assume that social and contextual factors have an effect at a late stage of processing. Interactive models claim that contextual biases are considered early on. The constraint‐ satisfaction model further assumes that speaker's and context's characteristics can compete at early stages of analysis. The present ERP study teased apart these models by testing the impact of context and speaker features (i.e., speaker accent) on irony analysis. Spanish native speakers were presented with Spanish utterances that were ironic or literal. Each sentence was preceded by a negative or a positive context. Each story was uttered in a native or a foreign accent. Results showed that contextual biases and speaker accent interacted as early as 150 ms during irony processing. Greater N400‐like effects were reported for ironic than literal sentences only with positive contexts and native accent, possibly suggesting semantic difficulties when non‐prototypical irony was produced by natives. A P600 effect of irony was also reported indicating inferential processing costs. The results support the constraintsatisfaction model and suggest that multiple sources of information are weighted and can interact from the earliest stages of irony analysis.