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Natural Order: why social psychologists should study (a constructed version of) natural language and why they have not done so

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  • Linguistics
  • Psychology


This article argues that the notion of natural language should be treated with caution, for natural language is not an empirical object so much as the product of a particular analytic stance that is sensitive to the action orientation and sequential embeddedness of discourse. The virtue of studying materials that are generated without the influence of researchers (e.g., records of talk in home and work situations) is pressed. However, it is suggested that social psychologists are impeded in pursuing such a course by their adherence to hypothetico deductivist methods, tocognitivist metatheory, and toetic rather than emic styles of analysis.

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