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Pragmatics & Cognition

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ISSN 0929-0907
E-ISSN 1569-9943


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  • Towards interactive robots in autism therapy: Background, motivation and challenges
    • Authors: Kerstin Dautenhahn, and Iain Werry
    • Source: Pragmatics & Cognition, Volume 12, Issue 1, 2004, pages: 1 –35
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    • This article discusses the potential of using interactive environments in autism therapy. We specifically address issues relevant to the Aurora project, which studies the possible role of autonomous, mobile robots as therapeutic tools for children with autism. Theories of mindreading, social cognition and imitation that informed the Aurora project are discussed and their relevance to the project is outlined. Our approach is put in the broader context of socially intelligent agents and interactive environments. We summarise results from trials with a particular mobile robot. Finally, we draw some comparisons to research on interactive virtual environments in the context of autism therapy and education. We conclude by discussing future directions and open issues.
  • Speech-gesture mismatches: Evidence for one underlying representation of linguistic and nonlinguistic information
    • Authors: Justine Cassell, David McNeill, and Karl-Erik McCullough
    • Source: Pragmatics & Cognition, Volume 7, Issue 1, 1999, pages: 1 –34
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    • Adults and children spontaneously produce gestures while they speak, and such gestures appear to support and expand on the information communicated by the verbal channel. Little research, however, has been carried out to examine the role played by gesture in the listener's representation of accumulating information. Do listeners attend to the gestures that accompany narrative speech? In what kinds of relationships between gesture and speech do listeners attend to the gestural channel? If listeners do attend to information received in gesture, how is this information represented— is it 'tagged' as originating in the gestural channel? In this article research is described that addresses these questions. Results show that listeners do attend to information conveyed in gesture, when that information supplements or even contradicts the information conveyed by speech. And information received via gesture is available for retelling in speech. These results are taken to demonstrate that gesture is not taken by the listener to be epiphenomenal to the act of speaking, or a simple manual translation of speech. But they also suggest that the information conveyed in a discourse may be represented in a manner that is neither gesture nor language, although accessible to both channels.
  • The enactive approach: Theoretical sketches from cell to society
    • Authors: Tom Froese, and Ezequiel A. Di Paolo
    • Source: Pragmatics & Cognition, Volume 19, Issue 1, 2011, pages: 1 –36
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    • There is a small but growing community of researchers spanning a spectrum of disciplines which are united in rejecting the still dominant computationalist paradigm in favor of the enactive approach. The framework of this approach is centered on a core set of ideas, such as autonomy, sense-making, emergence, embodiment, and experience. These concepts are finding novel applications in a diverse range of areas. One hot topic has been the establishment of an enactive approach to social interaction. The main purpose of this paper is to serve as an advanced entry point into these recent developments. It accomplishes this task in a twofold manner: (i) it provides a succinct synthesis of the most important core ideas and arguments in the theoretical framework of the enactive approach, and (ii) it uses this synthesis to refine the current enactive approach to social interaction. A new operational definition of social interaction is proposed which not only emphasizes the cognitive agency of the individuals and the irreducibility of the interaction process itself, but also the need for jointly co-regulated action. It is suggested that this revised conception of ‘socio-cognitive interaction’ may provide the necessary middle ground from which to understand the confluence of biological and cultural values in personal action.
  • Distributed cognition, representation, and affordance
    • Authors: Jiajie Zhang, and Vimla L. Patel
    • Source: Pragmatics & Cognition, Volume 14, Issue 2, 2006, pages: 333 –341
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    • This article describes a representation-based framework of distributed cognition. This framework considers distributed cognition as a cognitive system whose structures and processes are distributed between internal and external representations, across a group of individuals, and across space and time. The major issue for distributed research, under this framework, are the distribution, transformation, and propagation of information across the components of the distributed cognitive system and how they affect the performance of the system as a whole. To demonstrate the value of this representation-based approach, the framework was used to describe and explain an important, challenging, and controversial issue — the concept of affordance.
  • Pragmatics and Critical Discourse Analysis: A cross-disciplinary inquiry
    • Author: Ruth Wodak
    • Source: Pragmatics & Cognition, Volume 15, Issue 1, 2007, pages: 203 –225
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    • This paper discusses important and fruitful links between (Critical) Discourse Analysis and Pragmatics. In a detailed analysis of three utterances of an election speech by the Austrian rightwing politician Jörg Haider, it is illustrated in which ways a discourse-analytical and pragmatic approach grasps the intricacy of anti-Semitic meanings, directed towards the President of the Viennese Jewish Community. The necessity of in-depth context-analysis in multiple layers (from the socio-political context up to the co-text of each utterance) moreover emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary approaches when investigating such complex issues as racism and anti-Semitism as produced and reproduced in discourse. More specifically, the relevance of pragmatic devices such as insinuations, presuppositions and implicatures, is discussed when analyzing instances of ‘coded language’, i.e., utterances with indirect and latent racist and anti-Semitic meanings as common in official discourses in Western Europe.
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