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Auteur: Jill DE VILLIERS

Co-Auteur(s): Peter de Villiers

Language and Theory of Mind in High-functioning Children with Autism: Evidence from Grammar and Pragmatics

Abstract/Résumé: In this talk I will review evidence of the role of language in representing the beliefs of others, and what the special role might be for sentential complements in this regard. The argument proposes a role for grammatical development in Theory of Mind development, but the relationship of language and belief understanding becomes more nuanced when pragmatics is at issue. I present data from our work on high-functioning children with autism that suggests that for certain areas of pragmatics, in particular relevance implicatures, Theory of Mind ability predicts performance. But in areas of pragmatics that entail contextual computations of a different sort, Theory of Mind skill seems irrelevant. Together, these findings begin to sketch a picture of the language-cognition interface.