Quantitative discourse psychology


Discourse psychologists investigate the cognitive representations, procedures, and processes that transpire in the human mind when discourse is comprehend and produced. Quantitative discourse psychologists build sophisticated computational, statistical, and mathematical models that simulate these mechanisms. We believe that quantitative discourse psychologists will be important players in the field of discourse processing in future years. The practice of quantitative discourse psychology is illustrated in five research projects that we have conducted, all of which examined naturalistic discourse. These projects investigated reading time, inference generation, the construction of multiple agents (i.e., narrators, characters) in literary short stories, tutorial dialogue, and dialogue patterns in two-party conversations. There was a major conceptual advance in each of these projects when we adopted an appropriate quantitative approach. The fact that discourse psychologists frequently investigate the processing of naturalistic discourse refutes a common misconception that psychologists are confined to investigating unnatural, experimenter-generated "textoids" in unnatural experimental situations. ©1997 Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Publication Title

Discourse Processes