Sure, that’s plausible

I am happy to say that the results from the recently revived Video Experiment have been excellent, and while we’re still collecting some data just in case, the revised paper should be submitted for publication shortly. That is one month since we got the reviewer’s comments back on the original manuscript, which is a faster turn-around than I’ve ever managed before.

In the meantime, a lab-mate is running a new online survey called, “How Likely? A Plausibility Study.”
The idea goes like this. We use lots of different types of information to understand what people are saying: Word order, general knowledge, intonation, emotion… and plausibility. If you hear a restaurant employee ask, “Can I bake your order?” you know that the resulting interpretation is implausible. It would be much more plausible to ask, “Can I take your order?”
That sounds like common sense, but we still don’t have a good idea of how and when plausibility is used in comprehension. To do research in this area, the first thing we need is some sentences that are more or less plausible than others. The easy way to do it might be to decide for ourselves what we consider to be plausible and implausible sentences.
However, being people who study language all day, we probably aren’t very typical. The point of this study is to get a range of people to say how plausible they think different sentences are. Then, these sentences and those ratings can be used in further research.
The survey contains 48 sentences and should take about 10 minutes to do. You can participate in it by clicking here.

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