Demonstrative “This” and Hand Pointing Can Promote Socio-Centric Interpretations About Invisible Objects

AbstractConveying referential intention is essentially important to cooperate with others. It is reported that even adults sometimes take ego-centric perspective (i.e., perspective that is based on one's own perspective ignoring other's perspective) in comprehending other’s utterances. In the present study we used a modified version of Keysar’s paradigm of 4x4 grid, and examined whether the interpretation of the instruction by the addressee was affected by the director’s use of two social-pragmatics aspects; demonstratives and gestures. Results showed if the director did not use a demonstrative and hand pointing, the addressees interpreted the object from ego-centric perspective. In contrast, if the director used a demonstrative and hand pointing, the addressees correctly interpreted the referred object showing their use of the director’s perspective. The result suggested that demonstratives and hand pointing may promote the addressee’s interpretation based on the director’s perspectives.

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