Guest Prof. Peter Langland-Hassan of the University of Cincinnati. Langland-Hassan has done very interesting work in both philosophy and psychology, and is engaged in exciting interdisciplinary research projects with philosophical roots. He will be giving two talks (see below). HE’d be happy to meet to discuss any of his work. There are still a couple of slots available to meet with him on Tuesday (at UCHI). If you’d like to meet with him, or join dinner on Mon or Tues please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange it and cc email@example.com
- A Role for Inner Speech in Abstract Thought: Results from People with Aphasia, Monday April 8, 3:30-5, Arjona 307 (The Language and Cognition Brown Bag)
Peter Langland-Hassan, Aimee Dietz, Michael J. Richardson, Frank R. Faries, and Maxwell Gatyas
What cognitive roles are played by inner speech (or “the little voice in the head”)? Were we to lose inner speech altogether, are there non-linguistic cognitive tasks that would become more difficult, or even impossible? I begin with some theoretical background on the relations among inner speech, thought, and language more generally. Next, our team’s efforts at developing objective measures for assessing inner speech abilities in a population with outer speech deficits are described. Some of this evidence suggests that inner speech can be more severely affected by stroke than outer speech. Results from a proprietary semantic memory task, developed for the experiment, are then described. Each trial of this task was initially normed for a level of “abstractness.” As would be expected, people with aphasia, on average, scored lower than matched controls across all semantic memory trials. Interestingly, however, the aphasic population showed proportionately more pronounced difficulties as the trials grew more abstract in nature. This suggests an especially strong role for language (and inner speech) in specific kinds of categorization tasks that are not overtly language-involving.
- Explaining Imagination: A Reductive Account, Tuesday April 9, 4:30-6, UCHI Seminar Room (Babbidge Lib 4th floor)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that imagination is a primitive mental state type, irreducible to other mental state types. This is, at least, “one of four basic claims about imagination that enjoy near universal agreement” (Kind, 2016). I will challenge this orthodox view, arguing that imagination can in fact be reduced to, and explained in terms of, one’s being other kinds of familiar folk psychological mental states. The full case for this account is developed in a book I am now completing. Today I simply aim to clear space for the approach by undermining the most commonly voiced—and seemingly most decisive—reasons for thinking that imagination is irreducible to other mental state types.
(For another reminder: Registration for ECOM’s Spring Workshop Communication, Context, Conversation will close April 15. (See attached flyer.) You can register here.