Toward a Computational Psycholinguistics of Reference Production


should be sent to Kees van Deemter, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK. E-mail:


This article introduces the topic ‘‘Production of Referring Expressions: Bridging the Gap between Computational and Empirical Approaches to Reference’’ of the journal Topics in Cognitive Science. We argue that computational and psycholinguistic approaches to reference production can benefit from closer interaction, and that this is likely to result in the construction of algorithms that differ markedly from the ones currently known in the computational literature. We focus particularly on determinism, the feature of existing algorithms that is perhaps most clearly at odds with psycholinguistic results, discussing how future algorithms might include non-determinism, and how new psycholinguistic experiments could inform the development of such algorithms.