Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson
Precis of Relevance: Communication and cognition
Behavioral & Brain Sciences 10. 4 (Dec 1987): 697-710


Summarizes the present authors' book, Relevance: Communication and Cognition, which outlines an approach to the study of human communication based on a general view of human cognition. Attention and thought processes, it is argued, automatically turn toward information that seems relevant, that is, capable of yielding cognitive effects; the more, and the more economically, the greater the relevance. The present authors examine both the nature of cognitive effects and the inferential processes by which they are derived. Fundamental to the present authors' account of inferential communication is the fact that to communicate is to claim someone's attention, and hence to imply that the information communicated is relevant. This idea, that communicated information comes with a guarantee of relevance, is called the principle of relevance.


Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles