BA, Linguistics, Smith College
I am interested in the relationship between language development and social cognition. Although children show an early awareness of other?s perspectives in non-linguistic tasks, there is a robust finding showing that children have difficulty explicitly reasoning about the beliefs of others. This is usually tested via a traditional False Belief task and using the language of clausal complementation, which is required to use verbs that express belief. I am interested in exactly how this asymmetry arises, and the nature of their ability to represent the beliefs of others before it can be expressed linguistically. I hope to do this by looking at different types of linguistic markers of perspective. One example of this is indexical pronouns, which change reference depending on the context but are syntactically much simpler. Another way I hope to shed light on this asymmetry is by looking at children?s representations of different kinds of mental state verbs, for example desire verbs.