ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (5): 769-777.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00769

• 研究前沿 • 上一篇    下一篇



  1. (南京师范大学外国语学院, 南京 210097)
  • 收稿日期:2016-06-20 出版日期:2017-05-15 发布日期:2017-05-15
  • 通讯作者: 徐晓东, E-mail:
  • 基金资助:

    国家自然科学基金(31300929), 江苏省高校自然科学基金(16KJD180003; 12KJB180007), 南京师范大学优秀青年骨干教师(184080H102177) 和江苏省高校优势学科项目(20110101)资助。

Counterfactuals and the underlying processing mechanism

DAI Haoyun; XU Xiaodong   

  1. (School of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China)
  • Received:2016-06-20 Online:2017-05-15 Published:2017-05-15
  • Contact: XU Xiaodong, E-mail:


违实句(counterfactuals)是传递与事实相反意义的语句, 广泛存在于人们的日常生活中并被用以表达对已知事实的另外假设。研究发现, 相对于事实语义, 违实语义能够激活双重心理表征/空间(虚拟vs. 现实), 需消耗更多的认知加工资源。本文分别从句法结构和语境制约两个层面详细探讨了违实语义的加工机制。语境方面, 双重语义表征构建与消解的时间进程受到语境相关性的制约, 充足的语境信息可以消解事实表征的干扰。句法方面, 汉语违实标记的缺失使得汉语母语者更加依赖语境与语用来表达、理解违实义, 但尚不明确其在线加工机制与印欧语违实义加工有何异同。后续研究应扩大语言研究范围, 关注违实语义加工的个体差异, 进一步厘清双重语义表征构建与消解的时间进程及其对语篇加工的影响。

关键词: 违实语义, 加工机制, 双重表征, 违实标记, 语境制约


Counterfactuals are contrary-to-fact statements which are widely used in daily life to convey thoughts about what might have been. Previous studies have revealed that, different from fact-based processing, counterfactual processing triggers a dual mental representation/space (suppositional event vs. presupposed fact) and therefore engages more cognitive resources. This paper makes a detailed discussion on the processing mechanism underlying counterfactuals from the perspective of syntactic and contextual constraints. On the one hand, it is revealed that contextual relevance would influence the online construction and resolution of dual representation. The validity of real-world interference stands or falls with the provision of a sufficiently constraining context. Syntactically, on the other hand, the lack of dedicated counterfactual markers in Chinese makes its native speakers more inclined to rely on contextual cues and pragmatic implications to express and understand counterfactuality. Yet it remains unsolved whether the processing mechanism underlying Chinese counterfactuals would differentiate from that which underlies Indo-European counterfactuals due to the difference in syntactic structures. To achieve a comprehensive understanding about the cognitive neural mechanism of counterfactuals, a wider variety of languages should be explored, and the individual difference in counterfactual processing deserves more attention. Further attempts should also be made to investigate how the dual representation of counterfactuals unfolds in time and influences successive information processing.

Key words: counterfactuals, processing mechanism, dual representation, counterfactual markers, contextual constraints