Grice's 4 Maxims

In 1975 Paul Grice put forward a theory of conversation interaction known today as Grice's 4 Maxims. Although Grice's theory was initially concerned with how people interact during conversations, its relevance can be applied today with designing the user interface, as people converse with the interface. Implicature Conversation implicature refers to verbal communication going beyond just the words that people say. Grice recognized that people could say one thing and mean another. The Cooperative Principle The argument that Grice put forward was that people communicate cooperatively, the Cooperative Principle provides a set of 'rules' that humans are able to subconsciously employ whilst communicating with one another, thus proving the validity of conversational implicature. The following four Maxims by Grice have been developed to enforce the Cooperative Principle, and redefined to show relevance towards User Interface Design: Maxim of Quantity Keep information as informative as required, no more, no less. Maxim of Quality Ensure that the information being provided is true and can be proven. Maxim of Relevance Ensure that the information being provided is relevant to what is being requested. Maxim of Manner Ensure that the information being provided avoids ambiguity and obscurity in expression. Ensure that the information gets to the point and is prompt.

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