Invited talk 3

"Do I need to read your mind?": Individual differences in children's and adults' processing of referring expressions

Petra Hendriks

Based on findings in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, recent studies have argued for a distinction between two types of pragmatics: social pragmatics and linguistic pragmatics. Social pragmatics requires an understanding of another person’s intentions, desires and beliefs, whereas linguistic pragmatics merely requires an understanding of structural language and discourse and does not depend on theory of mind abilities. This distinction raises the question how children learn which pragmatic phenomena and tasks belong to the domain of social pragmatics and which ones to the domain of linguistic pragmatics, and how their processing is influenced by the listener’s cognitive abilities, giving rise to individual differences. In this talk I will discuss how computational cognitive modeling may shed light on the interaction between pragmatic processing and cognitive abilities in children’s and adults’ processing of referring expressions.