How do i remember that i know you know that i know?

Rachael D. Rubin, Sarah Brown-Schmidt, Melissa C. Duff, Daniel Tranel, Neal J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Communication is aided greatly when speakers and listeners take advantage of mutually shared knowledge (i.e., common ground). How such information is represented in memory is not well known. Using a neuropsychological-psycholinguistic approach to real-time language understanding, we investigated the ability to form and use common ground during conversation in memory-impaired participants with hippocampal amnesia. Analyses of amnesics' eye fixations as they interpreted their partner's utterances about a set of objects demonstrated successful use of common ground when the amnesics had immediate access to common-ground information, but dramatic failures when they did not. These findings indicate a clear role for declarative memory in maintenance of common-ground representations. Even when amnesics were successful, however, the eye movement record revealed subtle deficits in resolving potential ambiguity among competing intended referents; this finding suggests that declarative memory may be critical to more basic aspects of the on-line resolution of linguistic ambiguity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1574-1582
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • cognitive neuroscience
  • language
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'How do i remember that i know you know that i know?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Rubin, R. D., Brown-Schmidt, S., Duff, M. C., Tranel, D., & Cohen, N. J. (2011). How do i remember that i know you know that i know? Psychological Science, 22(12), 1574-1582.