02 Mar On Communicating for Someone about Something: Pointing and Personal Pronouns in Autism
Jessica Hobson (Institute of Child Health, Department of Behavioural and Brain Sciences, University College London)
Peter Hobson (Institute of Child Health, Department of Behavioural and Brain Sciences, University College London)
Friday, March 2 / 1:30 PM
What is the nature of communicating for someone about something – or indeed, referring to a third person? We shall describe two studies of children with autism in order to provide a starting-point for discussing this profound question. We shall begin with studies of pointing. Then we shall summarize a recently published study of personal pronoun comprehension and use, giving special attention to children’s use of the third-person pronoun ‘he’. We shall consider how the findings reveal something important about the structure of interpersonal engagement that underpins human communication.
Hobson and Hobson focus on the developmental implications of children’s natural propensity to identify with the attitudes of other people; children with autism appear to be limited in this propensity. By studying the nature of this “basic” abnormality among children with autism, and tracing the implications for their cognitive and social development, Hobson and Hobson gain unique insights into processes of typical development, as well as autism itself. Both are widely published in a number of key journals, including Autism, Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders, Developmental Science, British Journal of Psychiatry, and International Journal Of Philosophical Studies.
Sponsored by the IHC’s LISO RFG and the Department of Linguistics.