Background + CV

I am currently a Directeur de Recherche (equivalent to a Full Professor for my fellow academics) at the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) in France, where I began working in 1999. My home lab is now Le Laboratoire de linguistique formelle (LLF), in Paris, which I joined at the beginning of 2020.  For twenty years (through 2019), my home lab was the Institut des Sciences Cognitives -- Marc Jeannerod (UMR5304) in Lyon.  While based in Lyon, I was fortunate to spend half a year in Princeton (2005),  I was the Directeur of our beloved laboratory (when we called it L2C2 for Laboratoire sur le Language, le Cerveau et la Cognition) for five-plus years (2005-2010) and, thanks to a friendly invitation, I was a resident scholar and scientific liaison of cognitive science at the CNRS's center in Jerusalem (Centre de Recherche Francais à Jérusalem, CRFJ) from 2011-2014.  So, I have traveled quite a bit both physically and administratively. 

My training was pretty much exclusively in Experimental Psychology.  I became a sort of lab rat while I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology (Binghamton, 1984) and this continued when I joined (the late) Marty Braine's lab in New York where I got my Masters and PhD in Experimental Psychology (NYU, 1987 & 1992). Between my PhD and my current job, I had post-docs in Paris (Université de Paris 8), Minneapolis (U. of Minnesota), and Montreal (UQAM) followed by a research position in Paris (this time at the CREA, Ecole Polytechnique) and my first and only full time teaching job (1997-2000) at the Université de Grenoble.

My interest in pragmatics arose through my study of inference-making.  I am especially taken by the way logical terms -- for example if, and, not, or, some, must, and so on -- are processed.  Though my background is in the psychology of reasoning,  it became clear to me early on that analyses from linguistics -- and specifically semantics and pragmatics -- needed to be considered as well. This led to the Experimental Pragmatics research program -- developed in collaboration with Dan Sperber -- in the mid-1990's. Following up on the pioneering work of researchers such as Guy Politzer, Sam Glucksberg, Herb Clark, Ray Gibbs & Tony Sanford, this area aims to investigate and test semantic and pragmatic theory using a panoply of experimental techniques from psycholinguistics, developmental psychology and neuro-imagery.  Though my main focus has been on logical terms, I also investigate pragmatics more generally (including figurative language and, more recently, what Grice would have called conventional implicatures).

Right now, I'm leading a group of Masters students, PhD's and post-docs that we have named le GRISP (le groupe de recherche sur l'inférence, la sémantique, et la pragmatique).  We're working on a range of issues that all loosely fall under the Experimental Pragmatics umbrella.  For instance, we have ongoing projects on discourse connectives, numerals, reasoning, idioms, and scalar inferences.  

My most recent CV can be found at

A (July 2020) online invited talk (Abralin) can be found on youtube here 

Upcoming invitations, workshops or conferences