Dark Forces in Language Comprehension: The Case of Neuroticism and Disgust in a Pupillometry Study

AbstractWe report on initial findings from a pupillometry study that investigated the influence of two extra-linguistic variables, namely Neuroticism and disgust sensitivity, on auditory language comprehension in adults. Results suggest that: (1) Language comprehension is influenced by extra-linguistic variables and individual differences; (2) the processing of different kinds of linguistic errors, as opposed to clashes with an individual’s value or belief system, are influenced by different extra-linguistic variables; and that (3) disgust sensitivity at least partially predicts pupillary responses to utterances clashing with an individual’s belief system. Results are discussed with regards to linguistic anticipation, cognitive effort and arousal, and resource allocation.

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