The Pragmatics of Spatial Language


How do people understand the pragmatics of spatial language? We propose a rational-speech act model for spatial reasoning, and apply it to the terms ‘in’ and ‘near’. We examine people’s fine-grain spatial reasoning in this domain by having them locate where an event occurred, given an utterance. Our pragmatic listener model provides a quantitative and qualitative fit to people’s inferences.

Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Tomer Ullman
Primary Investigator

My research focuses on the structure and origin of knowledge, guided by perspectives and methods from cognitive science, cognitive development, and computational modeling. By combining these, I hope to better understand the form and development of the basic commonsense reasoning that guides our interaction with the world and the people in it.