Optimality Theory
as a General Cognitive Architecture

Workshop held at the 33rd annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society

July 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts


Petra Hendriks (University of Groningen, Netherlands): Asymmetries between production and comprehension and the development of Theory of Mind

Childrenís development of production and comprehension do not always go hand in hand. Particularly puzzling are cases where childrenís production seems to be well ahead of their comprehension, as with object pronouns in languages such as English and Dutch. Such asymmetries between production and comprehension present a challenge to rule-based theories of language, but receive a straightforward explanation in constraint-based frameworks like Optimality Theory. A crucial aspect of such an explanation is the assumption that the adult grammar is the result of bidirectional optimization, which formalizes the idea that mature listeners take into account the speakerís options and choices and vice versa. This talk will discuss the implications of this view for language acquisition and its relation to the development and use of Theory of Mind reasoning.