Bilyana Martinovsky
Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California, Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Stacy Marsella
Information Science Institute, University of Southern California, Marina del Rey, CA 90292
The purpose of this study is to present a framework for analysis of the interplay between discourse, cognition, and emotion. We observe linguistic and discursive features, which realize internal (self related) and external (social) coping processes of mitigation and management of accusation and doubt. The data on which the study is based consist of video- and audio-recordings of inquisitorial court trials where the defendants and plaintiffs have to defend not only their position with respect to a conflict but their credibility, memories, actions, and evaluations, all of which are inherent aspects of their sense of self. By mitigation is meant linguistic behavior the main purpose of which is coping with threatening situations by reduction of vulnerability. Within the suggested framework coping processes such as active coping, planning, seeking support, suppression, restraint, acceptance, denial, behavioral, and mental disengagement (Lazarus 1991, 1999) are realized by defensive coping processes (minimization and aggravation), copying moves (concession, prolepsis or anticipation, and counter-attack), copying arguments (common knowledge, shared responsibility, reference to authority, lack-of-memory, no agency, no intentions, certainty, and credibility), and mitigating communicative acts such as excuses, justifications, rebuts, admissions, denials, and objections (Martinovsky 2000).