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Auteur: Lívia IVASKÓ

Ostensive inferential communication, epistemic vigilance and the human frontal lobe

Abstract/Résumé: We are very sensitive to congruent and incongruent stimuli around us, which means that we are able to have expectations of the next period of physical stimuli on the basis of our heuristics. These mathematically created rules enable us to enforce the previous forms as typical ones (Dodge–Lakoff, 2005). But if any discrepancies arise we reinterpret these forms. As it was emphasized by Bambini (2010, 13), „there are no principled boundaries between literal and figurative meaning, but rather literal meaning is an epiphenomenon resulting from statistically relevant and repeated configurations”. Special contextual conditions have special priming effects on creating the most relevant interpretation of the stimuli in pattern recognition (Winkler, 2003). In our experimental work our main goal was to explore the relationship between inferential processes underlying the interpretation of natural causality and the so-called pragmatic inferential processes. We have data from clinical populations with aphasia and dyshyponoia (Paradis, 2009), and we also have examined young children to measure typical and atypical developmental features of communicative behaviour. Our aim was to see more precisely the dissociation between pragmatic and grammatical competence (Chomsky, 1968; Perkins, 2007). In the sense of Sperber-Wilson's (1986; 1995) definition of ostensive behaviour and ostensive inferential communication humans' informative and communicative intentions have to be mutually manifested. „The ostensive nature of stimuli can also be inferred from contextual factors (Csibra, 2010,144)". According to Frith, (2007, 175) communication is not a one-way process. The way we respond to others alters others’ behaviour. He defines this as a communication loop. Two brain areas are consistently activated by mind reading: the posterior superior sulcus and medial prefrontal cortex. When we are pretending to do something our partner has a belief what would happen if she/he has a pattern of our behavior in his/her mind (Frith, 2007). In the case of the comprehension and interpretation of nonliteral meanings in communication, it is essential to have a set of mental and social mechanisms that help us understand the perspectives of other people (Sperber et al., 2010). Children develop their theory of mind gradually, literature refers to this ability as “mentalization”, “theory of mind” or “mindreading” ? (Baron-Cohen, 1985, 1995, 2000; Happé, 2003). First-order representational abilities are not enough to interpret certain implicatures. On the basis of our data we should agree with Stemmer-Schönle (2000, 234). Data from pragmatic development and form pragmatically impaired discourses show that the right hemisphere and frontal lobes are involved in the final stage of understanding.