To Name or to Describe: Shared Knowledge Affects Referential Form
Article first published online: 2 MAR 2012
Copyright © 2012 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Topics in Cognitive Science
Volume 4, Issue 2, pages 290–305, April 2012
How to Cite
Heller, D., Gorman, K. S. and Tanenhaus, M. K. (2012), To Name or to Describe: Shared Knowledge Affects Referential Form. Topics in Cognitive Science, 4: 290–305. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2012.01182.x
- Issue published online: 11 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 2 MAR 2012
- Received 1 March 2010; received in revised form 1 March 2011; accepted 30 March 2011
- Common ground;
- Language production;
- Perspective taking;
- Referring expressions;
The notion of common ground is important for the production of referring expressions: In order for a referring expression to be felicitous, it has to be based on shared information. But determining what information is shared and what information is privileged may require gathering information from multiple sources, and constantly coordinating and updating them, which might be computationally too intensive to affect the earliest moments of production. Previous work has found that speakers produce overinformative referring expressions, which include privileged names, violating Grice’s Maxims, and concluded that this is because they do not mark the distinction between shared and privileged information. We demonstrate that speakers are in fact quite effective in marking this distinction in the form of their utterances. Nonetheless, under certain circumstances, speakers choose to overspecify privileged names.