Talk by Prof. György Gergely

Event Date: 
Wed, 16/04/2014 - 12:00

CBC Seminars

György Gergely, from Central Europe University of Budapest (Department of Cognitive Science), invited by Luca Bonatti (RICO Group)

Title: Ostensive cues induce attribution of communicative and referential intentions by preverbal infants: The case for Turn-taking and Contingent Reactivity at a Distance.


In this talk I’ll propose to extend and go a step or two beyond the existing theoretical accounts of how infants interpret another person’s contingent distal reactivity induced by their own actions. First, we agree with earlier proposals that detecting high but imperfect levels of infant-induced contingent reactivity at a distance may indicate and induce the attribution of intentional or social agency by the infants. Second, however, I’ll argue that certain sub-types of contingent distal reactivity, in particular,non-simultaneously occurring turn-taking sequences of contingent reactivity,serve the more specific function of indicating communicative agencyand inducing the attribution ofcommunicative and referential intentionsto the agent to convey new and relevant information about the referent for the addressee to acquire.

I’ll present a variety of experimental evidence from 8- to -12-month-old preverbal infants demonstrating that the ostensive cues of Natural Pedagogy – eye-contact, being addressed by motherese, and turn-taking contingent reactivity – behave in a functionally identical manner in an automatic eye-tracker based gaze-cuing paradigm. Each of these ostensive cues induce an attribution of referential intention by the infant resulting in an active anticipation of a movement or orientation to target cue which, when provided, induce gaze-following to the lateral target whose location has been ‘pointed out’ by the referential orientation cue. Evidence will also be provided showing that as an ostensive cue turn-taking  contingency will induce a) differential enhanced encoding of kind-relevant generic information (shape) that characterizes the target object that was referentially indicated by the orientation cue that followed the ostensive cue of turn-taking contingent reactivity, while b) detection latencies for location change, a piece of purely episodic information, was selectively inhibited following the ostensive cue of turn-taking contingent reactivity.

Finally, a couple of recent results withdogs as subjects will be presented to demonstrate that just as the ostensive power of direct eye-contact induces an expectation of referent identification movement cue, so does the presentation of turn-taking contingency which induced as an ostensive cue the same kind of referential expectation as in the case of direct eye-contact being the ostensive cue.


When: (non standard day!!)

WednesdayApril 16th, at 12:00



Campus de la Comunicacio UPF, C/ Roc Boronat, 132. MAP
Edifici 52 (Ed. Roc Boronat), room 52.S25

Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

How to get there:

Metro: Llacuna or Poblenou <L4>, Glories <L1>, Tram: Ca l’aranyó [T4]