ProComPrag: Probabilistic computational models of pragmatic inference

Principal investigators:
Dr. Judith Degen
Stanford University
Dr. Michael Franke
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Jäger
Universität Tübingen

Funding period:
2014-2017; this project is continued by “Pro^3: Probabilistic Modeling of pragmatic processing and utterance production”

Project description:
We pursue a game theoretic approach to explain the production and interpretation of quantifiers and gradable adjectives with models of probabilistic social reasoning. Similar approaches have recently proven insightful in the analysis of scalar implicatures and quantity inferences involved in the use and interpretation of referential descriptions. These previous models have assumed that the goal of communication was to convey exactly what the speaker had in mind. The current project dispenses with this specific assumption and considers the more general case where communicative success can be gradient. Drawing on methods from mathematical psychology and corpus linguistic we will develop probabilistic models that aim to predict quantitative patterns in production and interpretation of quantifiers and gradable adjectives in context.