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Colloquium: Lisa S. Pearl

October 15, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

How children are and aren’t like adults when interpreting pronouns: A computational cognitive modeling investigation
Lisa S. Pearl


Interpreting pronouns in context is a complex linguistic task, especially when cues to a pronoun’s intended interpretation conflict. Children have to learn to interpret pronouns like adults do, and computational cognitive modeling can help identify what potentially needs to change for them to do so. Here, I present a case study of pronoun interpretation in Mexican Spanish, using computational cognitive modeling to capture observed differences between children and adults interpreting pronouns in context in a picture-selection task. Modeling results suggest that children are likely either always deploying inaccurate representations of their input, or selectively deploying accurate representations, but not selectively deploying inaccurate representations. In contrast, adults are likely always deploying inaccurate representations. So, this would mean that becoming adult-like doesn’t mean becoming accurate; rather, to become adult-like, children would need to learn how to be inaccurate in the right ways for potentially both representation and deployment of pronoun information.


Meeting Information
This event will be hosted over Zoom. For a link, please contact the organizers:
Indira Das (indira.das [at]
Tatevik Yolyan (tatevik.yolyan [at]
Jiaxing Yu (jiaxing.j.yu [at]


October 15, 2021
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm