• Directing and requesting: two interactive uses of the mental state terms want and need

      Childs, Carrie; University of Derby (De Gruyter, 2012-11-15)
      This article is focused on the uses of the terms want and need to build directives and requests in family interaction. The study is located within the theoretical framework of discursive psychology, using the methods of conversation analysis. Within social cognitive research, mental state terms are analyzed as references to inner mental experiences. In contrast, this article analyzes the selection of want and need as sequential phenomena. The use of I want to deliver directives increases the likelihood of compliance when one cannot monitor or control whether a projected action will be carried out. Requests built using I need are recurrently delivered following a request from an interlocutor and delay the granting of the request while maintaining alignment. Thus rather than simply expressing an internal mental experience, the verbs want and need have specific practical uses in their normative sequential environments.