Edited by Angeliki Athanasiadou and Herbert L. Colston
[Figurative Thought and Language 1] 2017
► pp. 219–236
Chapter 10. Defaultness shines while affirmation pales
On idioms, sarcasm, and pleasure
The Defaultness Hypothesis (Giora et al., 2015c) maintains that it is Defaultness that reigns supreme, superseding all factors known to affect processing initially, such as degree of Non/literalness, Nonsalience, Context strength, or Affirmation. Here we focus on weighing degree of Defaultness against degree of Affirmation. We show that, as predicted, processing default, salient responses to familiar Negatives is faster than processing nondefault, low-salience responses to less-familiar Affirmative counterparts. We further show that, despite benefitting from equally strong contextual support, default nonsalient Negative Sarcasm is processed faster than nondefault nonsalient Affirmative Sarcasm.1 Using linguistic and pictorial contexts, we also demonstrate that it is Defaultness that accounts for Nondefaultness’ appeal, rendering it optimally innovative and hence pleasing. It is Defaultness, then, that singlehandedly affects both processing speed as well as likability.
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