Reasoning in multiparty dialogue involving patients with schizophrenia

Interacting with others frequently involves making common-sense inferences linking context, background knowledge and beliefs to utterances in the dialogue. As language users we are generally good at this kind of dialogical reasoning, and might not even be aware we are involved in it while we engage in conversation. However, sometimes it is not obvious how a particular contribution should be interpreted in terms of the underpinning assumptions warranting an inference. In dialogue involving participants who demonstrate atypical linguistic behaviour, such as patients with schizophrenia, the effects may be even more marked.

In this paper we will discuss some theoretical tools for modelling reasoning in dialogue that also allow for incoherence and misunderstanding between dialogue participants. We suggest using an information state update approach where dialogue gameboards cast in TTR (a type theory with records, see section 2.3) are used to model the individual takes of the dialogue for each dialogue participant throughout a reasoning sequence. Our approach focuses on topoi – underpinning warrants – that are evoked by enthymematic arguments in the dialogue, and suggests that participants drawing on different topoi may interpret the same argument in different ways.

As part of the Dialogical Reasoning in Patients with Schizophrenia (DRiPS) project (Breitholtz et al., 2015), we aim to apply these techniques to a population in which both communication and reasoning are generally known to be impaired – namely patients with schizophrenia (see section 2.2). In addition we want to explore the possibility that patient speech may differ from non-patient speech in subtle but measurable ways that do not necessarily lead to overt disruptions or lack of cohesion.
Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Collection
Book title:
(In)Coherence of Discourse
Maxime Amblard
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