My colleagues Yue Ji, Anna Papafragou, and I presented our research, “Cognitive Signatures of Aspectual Coercion,” at the Annual Conference of Cognitive Science Society 2023. Our study explores the complex interaction between lexical aspect and temporal structure-building in event apprehension, as elucidated through the lens of aspectual coercion.
Aspectual coercion is a linguistic phenomenon that arises when there is a semantic mismatch between constituents in terms of their lexical aspect. Our research involves a novel paradigm to reliably investigate how comprehenders process aspectual coercion and subsequently commit to an aspectual alternative when interpreting the referential world of dynamic events.
In two distinct experiments, we examine how sentence processing can influence event construals, thereby affecting responses to questions related to the depiction of an action. Our findings unveil the cognitive implications of aspectual coercion on event perception and expose unexpected asymmetries among subtypes of coercion, such as subtractive vs. additive.