Knowledge and Implicature: Modeling Language Understanding as Social Cognition
Article first published online: 17 JAN 2013
Copyright © 2013 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Topics in Cognitive Science
Volume 5, Issue 1, pages 173–184, January 2013
How to Cite
Goodman, N. D. and Stuhlmüller, A. (2013), Knowledge and Implicature: Modeling Language Understanding as Social Cognition. Topics in Cognitive Science, 5: 173–184. doi: 10.1111/tops.12007
- Issue published online: 17 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 17 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 26 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 18 SEP 2012
- Bayesian model;
- Scalar implicature
Is language understanding a special case of social cognition? To help evaluate this view, we can formalize it as the rational speech-act theory: Listeners assume that speakers choose their utterances approximately optimally, and listeners interpret an utterance by using Bayesian inference to “invert” this model of the speaker. We apply this framework to model scalar implicature (“some” implies “not all,” and “N” implies “not more than N”). This model predicts an interaction between the speaker's knowledge state and the listener's interpretation. We test these predictions in two experiments and find good fit between model predictions and human judgments.