Choice-based experiments indicate that readers draw sophisticated inferences from logically equivalent frames. Readers may infer that a glass was previously ‘full’ if described as currently ‘half empty’, and previously ‘empty’ if described as currently ‘half full’ (McKenzie & Nelson, 2003). The information leakage framework suggests these inferences are made because information about a previous state is leaked from speaker’s choice of frame. We examine if similar inferences are made during reading in two eye-tracking experiments. In Experiment 1, participants read a passage where a character describes a glass as currently “half full” or “half empty” before making a statement about the previous volume. We hypothesized that participants would infer that the glass was previously “empty” or “full” respectively. Results suggest processing a previous volume of “full” is simpler regardless of the frame provided. In Experiment 2, materials were constructed to ensure inferences were based on participants’ beliefs as opposed to characters’. Results support the information leakage framework; previous volumes of “full” and “empty” were processed more easily after current volumes of “half empty” and “half full” respectively. We suggest that processing discrepancies between the two experiments are driven by word-related factors (e.g. markedness) or by participants’ integration of characters’ expectations.
- eye movements