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ERIC Number: ED528478
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 131
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-3752-9
What Talking about Them Reveals about Us: The Organization of Person Reference in Conversations about Family Photographs
Mates, Andrea Wong
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
Talking with friend about personal photographs is a recognizable as an activity in which people participate in the modern world. This dissertation presents three studies examining the locally initial person reference formulations used to refer to people in the photographs in such an activity. The first study shows how the speakers narrating the photographs operate under epistemic obligations to attend to recipients' knowledge of who a person was relationally and visually. Their person reference formulations (PRFs) were chosen to fill any information gap. Speakers "identified" persons who were known to their recipient but assumed to be unfamiliar with the appearance of that person. This was accomplished using recognitional bare, first names. Speakers "introduced" persons who were completely unfamiliar in both relationship and appearance. This was accomplished using associative non-recognitional descriptors. In the second study, we examined how reference was accomplished when a person appeared in the photograph collection more than once. This examination revealed what kinds of information participants were "holding online" and for how long during the interaction. These observations were compared with psychological and neuroscientific models of working memory and revealed that in interaction, working memory appears to work hand in hand with theory of mind as participants choose socially felicitous PRFs. The third study compared the data from the first two studies with the interactions of two frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients in a similar activity. The FTD patients were less able to fine tune their PRFs to fit the moment by moment exigencies of their social participation. The ventral medial frontal lobe atrophy common in FTD was hypothesized to contribute to their non-normative PRF deployment in that the atrophy led to impaired perspective taking ability and decreased social motivations. The "inappropriate" PRFs deployed by the FTD patients suggested that without the inhibitory control of frontal lobe mediated perspective taking and social motivation, procedural memory and priming were the underlying neurobiological systems for their PRFs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A