Rosario Tomasello on The neuropragmatics of speech acts, Tuesday 14 June

Published 13 June 2022

Tuesday, 14 June, 13.00-14.30, Rosario Tomasello will visit Stockholm University via zoom. 
Title: The neuropragmatics of speech acts
Abstract: In everyday social interactions, linguistic signs are used as tools allowing effective expression of our intentions to others. These intentions, described by linguistic-pragmatic theories as speech acts, are embedded in a set of complex settings and actions, including associated commitments, that define the specific nature of their actions in context. Here I summarise a series of studies on the brain correlates underlying the fine-grained distinction between different speech act types in written, spoken and gestural modalities, including speech prosody and the role of common ground. I will provide novel insights into the long-standing debate about when brain indexes of linguistic-pragmatic information of communicative functions first occur. Further, by presenting a neuromechanistic model, the Action Prediction Model of Communicative Function, I will argue that understanding a speech act requires the expectation of typical partner actions that follow it and that this predictive knowledge is reflected in the human brain.