Date: Feb. 16, 2017:  1pm – 2:30pm Dunton Tower 2203

Speaker: Dr. Xiaoming (Jason) Jiang, Neuropragmatics and Emotion lab in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the faculty of Medicine, McGill University.

Title: Bridging Language Use and Social Cognition: Cognitive Neuroscience Evidence from Pragmatic Inference, Vocal Communication and Individual Differences

Abstract: Successful social communication not only relies on understanding “what is said”, but is also about developing critical cognitive abilities to effectively decode “what is not said” and “how a speaker says”. Inferential ability and understanding what speaker intends in social contexts are vital for learning and adaptation.

In this talk, I will present my on-going studies and elaborate how EEGs/ERPs and other non-invasive cognitive neuroscience methods are used to understand language use and social cognition. I will highlight recent evidence showing how a speaker communicates a meaning (e.g. confidence, trustworthiness) and emotion in the vocal and verbal cues, and the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying how a listener decodes the speaker meaning. I will also demonstrate how social context (e.g. social status) facilitates the decoding of communicative intentions (such as over-/im-politeness).

I will show evidence on how social inference is shaped by culture and by listener’s sex and personal characteristics such as interpersonal sensitivity and trait anxiety. In particular, I will focus on how trait empathy plays a role in deriving pragmatic implicature and resolving the pragmatic failure/ambiguity. I’ll close my talk by proposing future directions of the cognitive neuroscience studies on language use in social communication.

Note: You are welcome to bring your lunch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *