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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Irony is a compelling pragmatic phenomenon to investigate experimentally because a) it clearly exposes how an utterance’s meaning can change as a function of context; b) it invites investigations of the cognitive functions that go beyond mere linguistic decoding and, specifically; c) it allows one to have a clearer understanding of the role played by attitude ascription, which we show is central. This chapter will review how attitude ascription became a central topic in the theoretical debate on irony in the 1980s, how it almost disappeared from the experimental literature for about twenty years and how it deserves a place both as a hallmark of irony processing and as a hallway that connects various subfields of cognitive science, including neuroscience.

Keywords: irony, Theory of Mind (ToM), attitude ascription, Relevance Theory, intention-reading

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