This study used an on-line method to explore whether the perception of irony occurs before considering common ground between speaker and listener. In Experiment 1 and 2, the shared common ground between the speaker and the listener was manipulated, and a meaningfulness-decision task was conducted immediately after the presentation of ironical utterances. The results showed that a priming effect was obtained only when common ground was shared by the speaker and the listener when utterances were presented with long duration (1 800 ms). When utterances were presented with a short duration (1 000 ms), however, priming effects were obtained regardless of the common ground. In Experiment 3, no priming effect was obtained when the contexts were presented without the utterances. The results suggest that ironic meaning is activated from an egocentric perspective at an early stage of processing and is inhibited at a later stage if it is not intended.
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