Priority Program

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The overall goal of is to develop a precise pragmatic theory that is informed by evidence using experimental methods. The programme is addressed at researchers in linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy and related fields who seek to advance pragmatic theory by simultaneously formulating formally explicit models of the cognitive mechanisms underlying pragmatics and testing these models using experimental methods. The new field of Experimental Pragmatics has emerged gradually since 2004, primarily through efforts in Germany and other parts of Europe. Experimental Pragmatics represents a new approach to pragmatics, which is one of the most challenging areas of linguistic theory, where progress has been difficult. Three reasons why progress in pragmatics has been slow are the absence of formally explicit models and correspondingly precise hypotheses, the lack of relations from pragmatic theory to cognitive mechanisms, and the sole reliance on natural observation, which is a coarse-grained method, to test hypotheses.