A Programmatic Theory of Linguistic Performance

M. J. Steedman, P. N. Johnson-Laird

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The aim of this paper is to present a unitary model of some of the mental processes involved in speaking and listening. The model is cast in the form of a computer program, but the program is not intended as a contribution to either Artificial Intelligence or Computer Simulation. We regard it as an exercise in programmatic psychology, and perhaps a few words are necessary in order to explain the nature of this claim. On the one hand, proponents of Artificial Intelligence (AI) aim to develop machines capable of intelligent behaviour and, in particular, to devise computer programs capable of such tasks as interpreting visual scenes, providing theorems, and understanding natural language. Although the methods implemented in these programs are likely to interest a psychologist, any resemblance to human performance may be entirely coincidental. AI is concerned with intelligence in general, not merely its embodiment in living organisms. On the other hand, proponents of Computer Simulation aim to understand human behaviour by simulating it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecent Advances in the Psychology of Language
Subtitle of host publicationFormal and Experimental Approaches
EditorsRobin N. Campbell, Philip T. Smith
Place of PublicationBoston, MA
PublisherSpringer US
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4684-2532-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-4684-2534-5
Publication statusPublished - 1978

Publication series

NameNATO Conference Series
PublisherSpringer US

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