About this Research Topic
Debate 1: Theory of Mind use. A long tradition in psycholinguistics emphasises that communication relies on shared knowledge between speaker and hearer. Recent studies, however, cast doubts on people’s ability to use “theory of mind” in many situations. Reference is the key battleground in this debate.
Debate 2: Rationality. Rationality is central to many (e.g., Gricean and Game Theoretic) models of human behaviour. However, models based on rationality struggle to account for certain types of referential overspeciﬁcation, which instead suggest “fast heuristics” in the style of Kahneman & Tversky.
Debate 3: Variation. Language production shows substantial diﬀerences, both between and within speakers. There is, however, no agreement yet as to how variation should be modelled.
In general, contributions are encouraged that focus on novel psychological and computational approaches to the comprehension and production of referring expressions. Potantial topics include, but are not limited to:
• Models of referential collaboration in dialogue, including alignment
• References to times, events, and other “non-standard” types of reference
• Reference using logically complex expressions (e.g., quantified or relational descriptions)
• “Theory of mind” use in reference by children and people with autism
• Reference under uncertainty over hearers’ knowledge
• Development of reference
• Reference and the brain
• Social and contextual eﬀects on reference production and comprehension
• Referential over- and underspecification
• Realisation of referring expressions (e.g., including prosody, gesture)
• The role of visual scene perception
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.