Cognitive linguists typically conduct their scholarship by relying upon their own intuitions about systematic patterns of language and what these may imply about the structure of human thought. But are linguists’ introspections reliable sources of evidence? Much work in contemporary cognitive science suggests that people’s introspections about their beliefs, feelings, and the reasons for their actions are quite inaccurate. Even trained experts often fail to recognize the real reasons for their beliefs and actions. The simple fact is that our ability to introspect upon many cognitive processes is extremely limited. This article discusses the implications of this empirical evidence for cognitive linguistic research and theory. I suggest several ways, nonetheless, by which cognitive linguists can better contribute to interdisciplinary scholarship by more systematically exploring the nature and reasons for their introspections on language and thought.
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