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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.
  • Communicating attention: Gaze position transfer in cooperative problem solving
    • Author: Boris M. Velichkovsky
    • Source: Pragmatics & Cognition, Volume 3, Issue 2, 1995, pages: 199 –223
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    • The results of two experiments, in which participants solved constructive tasks of the puzzle type, are reported. The tasks were solved by two partners who shared the same visual environment hut whose knowledge of the situation and ability to change it to reach a solution were different. One of the partners — the "expert" — knew the solution in detail but had no means of acting on this information. The second partner — the "novice " — could act to achieve the goal, but knew very little about the solution. The partners were free to communicate verbally. In one third of the trials of the first experiment, in addition to verbal communication, the eye fixations of the expert were projected onto the working space of the novice. In another condition the expert could use a mouse to show the novice relevant parts of the task configuration. Both methods of facilitating the 'joint attention' state of the partners improved their performance. The nature of the dialogues as well as the parameters of the eye movements changed. In the second experiment the direction of the gaze-position data transfer was reversed, from the novice to the expert. This also led to a significant increase in the efficiency of the distributed problem solving.
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