Threats may be negative promises (but warnings are more than negative tips)

Helen Wray, Jeffrey Wood, Matthew Haigh, Andrew Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


In everyday situations conditional promises, threats, tips, and warnings are commonplace. Previous research has reported disruption to eye movements during reading when conditional promises are produced by someone who does not have control over the conditional outcome event, but no such disruption for the processing of conditional tips. In the present paper, we examine how readers process conditional threats and warnings. We compare one account which views conditional threats and warnings simply as promises and tips with negative outcomes, with an alternative account which highlights their broader pragmatic differences. In an eye-tracking experiment we find evidence suggesting that, in processing terms, while threats operate like negative promises, warnings are more than negative tips.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-600
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date25 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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