A warm welcome (back) to Dr Felicity Deamer, who will be joining the HtV team as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Department of English. Felicity writes:

Felicity DeamerI am extremely excited to be returning to HtV, and am very energised to get the ball rolling with my planned work for the coming year.

Perhaps first and foremost, I will be continuing to use Conversation Analysis to examine participant/Avatar interactions in the context of the Avatar Therapy trial.  I hope to unpack the structure and dynamic of these interactions, and explore how they facilitate the behavioural and emotional change required for the intended reduction in negative content and associated distress.

In addition, and among other things, I will be looking to tackle the issue of the pragmatics of inner speech, and by extension self-talk, which I hope will inform our understanding of voice hearing.  Communication is defined as information exchange, but in the case of self-talk, why would we exchange information with ourselves? In contrast with recent work (by Bart Geurts) which argues that communication should be analysed as a way of negotiating commitments between speaker and hearer (rendering communication useful even when speaker and hearer coincide in the case of self-talk), I intend to explore the possibility that our access to our own minds is via the interpretation of our own feelings and behaviours, including talking in general and self-talk in particular. What this means is that self-talk (a fortiori inner speech), can after all be thought of in terms of information exchange, namely, exchange between myself as speaker, and myself as interpreter. On this account, speaking must be cashed out as an expressive skill that shows my state of mind rather than as the careful vocalizing of a pre-existing “thought” that is already in my mind and that I have knowledge of prior to vocalisation.


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