April 19, 2012

A new article from Rubio & Geurts that addresses the way verbal features can affect performance on False Belief tasks

How to pass the false-belief task before your 4th birthday

Paula Rubio-Fernández
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London
Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature, University of Oslo

Bart Geurts
Department of Philosophy, University of Nijmegen

(In press, Psychological Science)


The experimental record of the last three decades shows that children under four fail all sorts of variations on the standard false-belief task, while more recent studies reveal that infants are able to pass non-verbal versions of the task. We argue that these paradoxical results are an artefact of the type of false-belief tasks that have been used to test infants and children: whereas non-verbal designs allow infants to stay with a protagonist's perspective over a course of events, verbal designs tend to disrupt the perspective-tracking process in various ways, making it too hard for younger children to demonstrate their capacity for perspective tracking. We report three experiments that confirm this hypothesis, showing that 3-year olds can pass a suitably streamlined version of the verbal false-belief task. We conclude that young children can pass the verbal false-belief task provided they are allowed to track the protagonist's perspective without too much disruption.


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June 14, 2011

Book announcement

Experimental Pragmatics/Semantics
Gutenberg University Mainz / Georg-August University Göttingen

In recent years, a lively debate ensued on an old issue, namely the proper distinction between semantics and pragmatics against the background of the classical Gricean distinction between 'what is said' and 'what is implicated'. From a linguist's point of view, however, there has always been a regrettable lack of empirical data in this otherwise sophisticated debate. Recently, a new strand of research emerged under the name of experimental pragmatics, the attempt to gain experimental data on pragmatic and semantic issues by using psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic methods. This volume brings together work by scholars engaging in experimental research on the semantics/ pragmatics distinction. The contribution of experimental pragmatics to pragmatic and semantic theory is discussed from a number of different angles, ranging from implicature and pragmatic enrichment to pragmatic acquisition, pragmatic impairment, and pragmatic processing. In addition, methodological issues are discussed. The contributions will appeal to theoretical linguists, psycholinguists, neurolinguists, and language philosophers.

To view the link to the announcement go here.
John Benjamins

Posted by ira at 4:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 8, 2010

Call for Papers XPRAG 2011

XPRAG 2011, Call for papers

Experimental Pragmatics 2011, June 2-4, 2011, Barcelona

Submission deadline: February 1, 2011

The 4th biennial Experimental Pragmatics conferences will be held from June 2-4, 2011, at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, under the auspices of the ESF research network EuroXprag.

The Experimental Pragmatics series aims at fostering interaction between linguistic, psychological, and philosophical approaches to utterance interpretation. Previous conferences in this series were held in Cambridge (2005), Berlin (2007), and Lyon (2009).

Invited speakers

David Barner (San Diego)
Ulrike Hahn (Cardiff)
Christopher Kennedy (Chicago)
Asli Ozyurek (Nijmegen)
Paula Rubio-Fernández (Oslo/Princeton)
Yoad Winter (Utrecht)

Submission of abstracts

We invite abstracts for oral presentations as well as posters on any topic related to experimental pragmatics. Abstracts should be strictly anonymous, in pdf format. They should not exceed two pages DIN A4, have 2.5cm margins on all sides, and in 12pt font.

Abstracts must be submitted electronically via Easychair. When you submit your abstract, you will be asked to indicate whether it is submit for oral or poster presentation, or both.

The number of submissions is limited to 1 individual and 1 joint abstract or 2 joint abstracts per author.

Abstracts will be evaluated through peer reviewing. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is February 1, 2011. Authors will be notified by March 1, 2011.

Important Dates

Submission deadline: February 1, 2011
Notification of acceptance: March 1, 2011
Conference date: June 2-4, 2011

Contact Information

Conference website: http://www.euro-xprag.org/events/barcelona-conference/
Email contact: xprag2011@upf.edu

Posted by ira at 9:22 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2010

Save the date

The next Experimental Pragmatics conference is coming

2-4 June 2011

The invited speakers are:

David Barner (San Diego)
Ulrike Hahn (Cardiff)
Chris Kennedy (Chicago)
Asli Ozyurek (Nijmegen)
Paula Rubio-Fernández (Oslo/Princeton)
Yoad Winter (Utrecht)

Information on the Call for Papers will be arriving soon. Stay tuned.

Posted by ira at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2010

Call for Papers -- NPI's


Beyond 'Ever' and 'Any': Challenging Theories of NPI Licensing

University of Goettingen
January 14 and 15, 2011

Workshop website: http://www.negative-polarity-items.uni-goettingen.de/wiki/index.php/BeyondAny

Invited speakers:

Jon Gajewski
Jack Hoeksema
Utpal Lahiri
Bob Levine

Meeting description

Is polarity sensitivity a syntactic, semantic, or pragmatic phenomenon? Licensing theories in all three fields have reached a high level of sophistication. However, theories in the three fields compete rather than converge, which we take to indicate that the phenomenon has not as yet
been fully understood. In this workshop, we propose to focus on under-researched NPIs, under-researched licensing contexts, and to challenge theories by empirical methods from corpus linguistics and psycholinguistics. The list of open issues includes, but is not limited to, the following:

- Polarity items in non-assertive speech acts
- Polarity items with idiosyncratic licensing patterns
- Parasitic licensing
- Intervention effects
- NPIs in pycholinguistics and corpus linguistics
- Historical rise and fall of NPIs
- Patterns of use versus licensing conditions
- Verbal NPIs
- Comparison of approaches

Abstract submissions

We invite papers for 30 min. talks (plus 15 min. discussion) that pertain to one or more of these questions, or offer other new insights in the phenomenon of polarity sensitivity. Abstracts should be anonymous and at most 2 pages in length. Please send your abstracts electronically in pdf- or doc-format to


and include your name, affiliation and the title of the abstract in the body of the email. Submissions will be reviewed by two reviewers.

Important dates

Deadline for submission: September 15, 2010

Notification: October 18, 2010

Workshop: January 14-15, 2011

Posted by ira at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2010

Call for Papers DGfS

What is a Context? Theoretical & Experimental Evidence

Workshop organized as part of the Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS) to be held in Göttingen, Germany, February 23-25, 2011. (http://dgfs2011.uni-goettingen.de/index_en.html)

Jörg Meibauer, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Petra Schumacher, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Keynote speakers:
Robyn Carston (University College London)
Katarzyna M. Jaszczolt (University of Cambridge)

Call deadline: August 31, 2010

Final Call For Papers

Most linguists will agree that 'context' is a fundamental notion for linguistic analysis and theory. But when it comes to pinpoint what exactly a context is, most researchers act reluctantly, i.e. they parameterize their notion according to their empirical or theoretical aims. For example, Bach (2005: 21), in a paper devoted to an attack on so-called contextualists, explains: 'What is loosely called 'context' is the conversational setting broadly construed. It is the mutual cognitive context, or salient common ground. It includes the current state of the conversation (what has just been said, what has just been referred to, etc.), the physical setting (if the conversants are face to face), salient mutual knowledge between the conversants, and relevant broader common knowledge'. However, such definitions cannot substitute a comprehensive theory of context. The very fact that in recent discussions on the semantics-pragmatics interface, rivaling camps such as 'minimalists' versus 'contextualists' entertain quite different notions of
context and context-dependent meaning, shows that there is a need for in-depth discussion of the notion(s) and theories dealing with context. Even in recent psycho- and neurolinguistic research that is devoted to the semantics-pragmatics interface and pragmatic enrichment, it becomes increasingly clear that aspects of contextual knowledge that should be controlled are in fact not always under control, this possibly having to do with the 'emergent' character of context.

Our workshop aims at bringing together all linguists interested in context research, be it from the perspective of the semantics-pragmatics interface in general, from the conversationalist perspective, from computational linguistics, or from psycho- and neurolinguistics. In particular, we invite contributions that focus on specific aspects of contextual information and that are geared towards choosing between distinct notions of context.

Abstract submission

Abstracts are invited for 30-minute talks (20 minutes presentations plus 10 minutes for discussion). Abstracts should be anonymous and confined to one page (including examples and references) with 1-inch margins and a font no smaller than 11 point.

Please send a pdf-file to petra.schumacher(at)uni-mainz.de. The subject of the message should specify 'DGfS Abstract', and the body of the message should include author name(s), affiliation(s) and contact information (including email address), and the title of the abstract.

Posted by ira at 4:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2010

Call for papers: New Trends on Experimental Psycholinguistics

Here's an early call for papers for a workshop in Madrid in September next year (deadline for abstracts 1st April 2011). The main workshop url is


and the call for papers is here:



Posted by Billy at 9:53 AM | Comments (0)

July 7, 2010

Post-Doc in Experimental Pragmatics

A two year Postdoctoral Research Associate is required to work on an ESRC funded project entitled, "The time course of inferences in language comprehension," awarded to Dr. Lewis Bott, Dr Todd Bailey and Dr. Dan Grodner. The project involves developing and testing processing models of how linguistic inferences are understood. The successful candidate will have a PhD in a Linguistics or Cognitive Psychology, and experience of psycholinguistics research. Desirable criteria include familiarity with theoretical linguistic pragmatics and expertise in online psycholinguistics techniques such as eyetracking. Please contact Dr. Lewis Bott (BottLA@Cardiff.ac.uk) for informal enquiries or see http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/ABJ191/research-associate/ for application details. The deadline for applications is 26th July, 2010.
Cardiff School of Psychology

The School of Psychology at Cardiff is one of the largest and most successful departments of psychology in the United Kingdom. There are currently over 50 academic staff, 100+ research staff and a further 20+ Research Fellows (including Royal Society, BBSRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust and British Academy Research Fellows). The School also has over 120 full-time students studying for Doctorates, both in research and on our professional Doctorate programmes. The quality and relevance of our research has been recognised in every Research Assessment Exercise. High rankings in the 2008 results follow the highest possible ratings under the assessments in 1996 and 2001.
Lewis Bott, PhD
School of Psychology
Cardiff University
Tower Building
Park Place
CF10 3AT

Posted by ira at 3:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2010


From Kasia Dyzman:

Developments in Experimental Pragmatics

The upcoming issue of LPP aims at presenting and exploring new research evidence concerning a range of pragmatic phenomena by employing experimental methodologies developed in psycholinguistics and experimental social psychology to investigate issues raised in linguistic-pragmatics literature.

We welcome contributions on a wide range of issues, such as: psychology of reasoning, spontaneous communicative inferencing, macro- and micro-pragmatic analysis of reasoning tasks, automaticity vs. controllability of pragmatic processes, psychological and neurophysiological investigations into online comprehension processes of (figurative) communication, weak and strong communication, speaker's meaning versus sentence meaning, processing models of sentence and utterance meaning, figurative language comprehension, direct and indirect speech acts, explicatures and implicatures, reference resolution, quantifiers scope, lexical disambiguation, and other issues of interest to pragmalinguistics.

The interdisciplinary framework of experimental pragmatics offers an opportunity to explore a range of communicative meaning phenomena that have been so far explored separately in autonomous and unconnected domains of linguistics, psychology and neurology. In order to obtain detailed communicative comprehension models of (on-line) meaning construction, interdisciplinary approach needs to be adopted to allow for integrating both theory and research tools of all the branches of cognitive sciences that strive to uncover the nature meaning.

For more information: Go to http://versita.com/science/socialsciences/lpp/

Deadline: 3-May-2010
Dr. Iwona Witczak-Plisiecka (LPP editor): iw.plisiecka@gmail.com
Dr. Katarzyna Bromberek-Dyzman, (LPP special issue guest editor) kasia.dyzman@ifa.amu.edu.pl

Posted by ira at 1:37 PM | Comments (0)