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Listener's personality traits predict changes in pupil size during auditory language comprehension.


ABSTRACT: Research suggests that listeners' comprehension of spoken language is concurrently affected by linguistic and non-linguistic factors, including individual difference factors. However, there is no systematic research on whether general personality traits affect language processing. We correlated 88 native English-speaking participants' Big-5 traits with their pupillary responses to spoken sentences that included grammatical errors, "He frequently have burgers for dinner"; semantic anomalies, "Dogs sometimes chase teas"; and statements incongruent with gender stereotyped expectations, such as "I sometimes buy my bras at Hudson's Bay", spoken by a male speaker. Generalized additive mixed models showed that the listener's Openness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism traits modulated resource allocation to the three different types of unexpected stimuli. No personality trait affected changes in pupil size across the board: less open participants showed greater pupil dilation when processing sentences with grammatical errors; and more introverted listeners showed greater pupil dilation in response to both semantic anomalies and socio-cultural clashes. Our study is the first one demonstrating that personality traits systematically modulate listeners' online language processing. Our results suggest that individuals with different personality profiles exhibit different patterns of the allocation of cognitive resources during real-time language comprehension.

SUBMITTER: Hubert Lyall I 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7940482 | BioStudies | 2021-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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