Talk: Valentina Bambini

Valentina Bambini is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University School for Advanced Studies (IUSS) of Pavia, Staff Member of the IUSS Lab for Neurolinguistics, Computational Linguistics, and Theoretical Syntax (NETS), and Coordinator of the joint IUSS-San Raffaele University PhD Program in Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind. She is expert in neurolinguistics including neuropragmatics and experimental pragmatics, focusing on the cognitive and neural underpinnings of communicative abilities. She will talk to us, via Zoom, about some of her recent work on metaphor and theory of mind.

For those who want to meet on campus, a room is booked. To join in via Zoom, please email the organisers for the link.

Metaphors, pragmatics and theory of mind: A developmental perspective

Valentina Bambini

Is pragmatics a special type of theory of mind? This question has been addressed through a variety of approaches, from brain imaging to studies on atypical populations. In this talk I will address the issue of the relationship between pragmatics and theory of mind from a developmental perspective, focusing on a specific aspect of the pragmatic competence, namely metaphor understanding. I will present a series of studies on metaphor comprehension in middle childhood indicating that children’s ability to interpret metaphors develops hand in hand with mind reading skills, yet the two domains are sufficiently distinct (Lecce et al. 2019, Del Sette et al. 2020, 2021). I will present also a novel training program to promote metaphor comprehension (MetaCom) in children (Tonini et al., 2022), and describe its effects on metaphor skills, as well as reading skills and socio-cognitive skills.


Lecce, S., Ronchi, L., Del Sette, P., Bischetti, L., and Bambini, V., 2019. Interpreting physical and mental metaphors: Is Theory of Mind associated with pragmatics in middle childhood? Journal of Child Language, 46 (2), 393–407.

Del Sette, P., Bambini, V., Bischetti, L., and Lecce, S., 2020. Longitudinal associations between theory of mind and metaphor understanding during middle childhood. Cognitive Development, 56, 100958.

Del Sette, P., Ronchi, L., Bambini, V., and Lecce, S., 2021. Longitudinal associations between metaphor understanding and peer relationships in middle childhood. Infant and Child Development, (April), 1–22.

Tonini, E., Lecce, S., Del Sette, P., Bianco, F., Canal, P., and Bambini, V., 2022. Efficacy and benefits of the MetaCom training to promote metaphor comprehension in typical development. First Language.

Tags: Linguistics, Pragmatics, Lingvistikk, Pragmatikk
Published Jan. 21, 2022 10:30 AM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2022 10:05 AM