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Chapter 11- Language

by: Aimee Castillon

Chapter 11- Language PSYC317

Aimee Castillon
GPA 3.61

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Lecture Notes from chapter 11
Cognitive Psychology
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Aimee Castillon on Sunday November 22, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC317 at George Mason University taught by Wiese in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 49 views. For similar materials see Cognitive Psychology in Psychlogy at George Mason University.


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Date Created: 11/22/15
Organization name Student name Cognitive Psychology PSYC 317 • Fall 2015 Heading: 11/12/15 Notes: Chapter 11   What is language?    ­ language is a system of communication that uses sounds or symbols    ­ allows to express feelings, thoughts, ideas, experiences    ­ a uniquely human skill    ­ helps create sentences    ­ two main features    ­ hierarchical structure​ ­ components can be combined into    larger units    ­ governed by rules­ ​ specify permissible ways for    components to be arranged    ­ universality of language    ­ People invent sign languages     ­ Everyone develops language     ­ Universal across cultures     ­ Development is similar across cultures    ­ “Unique but the same”    ­ studying language    ­ Skinner (1957)​ : Verbal Behavior    ­ Language is learned through reinforcement    ­ Chomsky (1957): ​ Syntactic Structures    ­ Language is coded in genes and humans are genetically    programmed to use language    ­ Psycholinguistics­ ​ psychological processes by which language is acquired    and processed    ­ three main areas    ­ comprehension    ­ speech production    ­ acquisition    Perceiving and understanding words    ­ lexicon­ ​ all the words a person understands    ­ phoneme​ ­ shortest segment of speech that, if changed, changes the    meaning of the word    ­ i.e.  /i/ in bit → bat    ­ morpheme​ ­ smallest unit of language that have a definable meaning or    grammatical function    ­ i.e. truck vs. bedroom; truck vs. trucks    ­ Structure of words    ­ Words are composed of letters     ­ Letters are perceived and integrated into words → feature integration    theory    ­ Meaning associated with word creates context → word superiority    effect  What is the phonemic  ­ Meaning of the word facilitates hearing phonemes  restoration effect?  ­ effect of meaning on perception of phonemes  Phonemic restoration effect  ­ phonemic restoration effect (PRE)  example  ­ Participants fill in missing phoneme based on context   “The state governors met with  ­ PRE is influenced by meaning of following word, e.g. There  their respective legi(s)latures  was time to *ave.  convening in the capital city”  ­ perception of speech is top­down modulated  What is speech  ­ speech segmentation  segmentation and how is it  ­ speech produces a continuous signal without obvious  done?  physical breaks between words  11/17/15  ­ ability to segment speech depends on    ­ native tongue vs. foreign language    ­ accent vs. no accent    ­ sentence vs. single word    ­ context vs. no context    ­ statistical learning resolves speech segmentation  How are letters and words  ­ ability to understand words is influenced by  perceived?  ­ word frequency   How are words  ­ adult’s lexicon contains over 50,000 words  understood?  ­ frequency= relative usage of word  What influences word  ­ word frequency effect­ ​ responses are faster for  understanding?  high­frequency words  What is the word frequency  ­ lexical decision task  effect?  ­ is the word part of your lexicon?            ­       ­ high­frequency words are read faster    ­ high vs. low frequency words  ­ Sam wore the horrid coat though his p ​retty​ girlfriend      complained    ­ Pretty: 290 ms   ­ Demure: 330 ms      ­ context effects    ­ is understanding influenced by surrounding words?  ­ i.e. “The Eskimos were frightened by the walrus” vs.      “The bankers were frightened by the walrus”   ­ lexical ambiguity  Lexical priming  ­ words have different meanings which depend on context  ­ i.e. my mother is ​ bugging  me  ­ lexical priming​ ­ priming involving the naming of words.  Priming occurs if word is followed by a word with similar  meaning      ­ i.e. Rumor had it that, for years, the government    building had been plagued with problems. The man    was not surprised when he found several spiders,    roaches, and other bugs in the corner of the room.   What are basic properties of  Understanding sentences  sentences?  ­ two properties of sentences    ­ semantics­  ​meanings of words and sentences    ­ syntax​ ­ rules for combining words into sentences  Processing semantics vs.  ­ using EEG to investigate understanding of sentences  syntax                  N400 = semantics; negative  component EEG peak  ­   P600= syntax  ­ semantics and syntax are associated with different components  What is parsing? How is  ­ parsing­ mental grouping of words in a sentence into phrases  parsing accomplished?              Meaning 1 has Syntactic  ambiguity      ­     ­ Determining the meaning of a sentence    ­ syntax and semantics are used to determine meaning    ­ syntax­first approach­ ​ Semantics is activated only after syntax has    determined initial parsing  When are semantics taken  ­ Parsing is determined by syntax   into account?  ­ Phrases are grouped based on structural principles     ­ Late closure­ ​ When a person encounters a new  How do we determine the  word, the parser assumes that this word is part of the  meaning of a sentence?  current phrase     ­ i.e. Because he always jogs a mile seems like    a short distance to him     ­ principle of late closure/garden path model    ­ ambiguity is resolved taking semantics into    account                      ­       ­ interactionist approach­ ​ Semantics come into play when sentence  is being read    ­ when are semantics taken into account?          Eye­tracking experiment for  interactionist approach:  Which apple should I pick?  ­   ­ does environmental context influence understanding  ­ syntax­first vs. interactionist approach  ­ which one is correct?  ­ ongoing debate    ­ evidence that semantics are taken into account early    ­ word meaning is needed to determine sentence  Where should I place the  meaning  apple?  Understanding text and stories  ­ relation between sentences  ­ understanding the narrative of a story  ­ coherence­  representation of the text in a person’s mind so that  information in one part of the text is related to information in another    part of the text  How are texts are stories  ­ texts with coherence are easier to understand than texts without  understood?  coherence    ­ how inference creates coherence    ­ most coherence is created by inference (“reading between the lines”)    ­ inference­ ​ process by which readers create information during  What is inference and what  reading that is not explicitly stated in the text  are the different types?  ­ different types of inference    ­ anaphoric­ ​ inferences that connect an object in one    sentence to an object in another sentence    ­ i.e. Riffifi, the famous poodle, won the dog show. S ​ he    has won the last three shows s ​ he has entered.    ­ i.e.            ­ instrumental​ ­ inferences about tools or methods    ­ i.e. Shakespeare wrote H ​ amlet​ while he was sitting at    his desk    ­ causal­ ​ Inferences that result in the conclusion that the  events described in one sentence were caused by events    described in previous sentences    ­ i.e. Sharon took an aspirin. Her headache went away.;    Sharon took a shower. Her headache went away    ­ causal inferences cause coherence in sentences  How does the situation model  ­ situation models​ ­ mental representation what the text is about  explain text understanding?  ­ Does not inform about phrases, sentences, paragraphs     ­ Represents situation in terms of people, objects, events     ­ Events described in the story are experienced     ­ Experience from the point of view of the protagonist    ­ info that is hard to access for the protagonist is also hard to access    for the reader                          ­     How is producing language  Producing Language  ­ how do speakers create meaning to listeners?  studied?  ­ Words need to be retrieved from memory  ­ Retrieval is rapid: more than 3 words / second   ­ Retrieval is drawn from lexicon with 50,000 words  ­ identifying speech errors  ­ what do speech errors tell us about language?    ­ Frequency of different types of errors­ ​ Most common    errors indicate basic units of language processing  What are typical speech  ­ Patterns of errors​ ­ Speech errors do not occur randomly,  errors?  rules can be identified that govern speech errors    ­ phoneme exchanges  ​(i.e. fleaky squoor vs. squeaky floor)    ­ consonant­vowel rule­ ​ Phonemes of the same type replace one    another. Vowels replace vowels, consonants replace consonants    ­ word exchanges  How are words retrieved so  rapidly and combined in a  grammatically correct way?  ­       ­ syntactic category rule  ­ When one word replaces another, the same syntactic      categories are used. Nouns → nouns, verbs → verbs  ­ word substitutions  ​(i.e. Liszt’s second Hungarian restaurant vs.    Liszt’s second Hungarian rhapsody)      ­ coordinating conversations  ­ People need to take what the other person is saying into    account      ­ We need to predict what others are going to say   How can producing language  ­ Conversations are coordinated semantically and syntactically  be structured?  ­ semantic coordination        ­   ­ given­new contract​ ­ Strategy to guide people  through conversations. Construction should  include given and new information  ­ syntactic priming­ Hearing a statement with a particular syntactic  construction increases chances that a sentence will be produced using the  same construction  ­   ­ Tasks:   ­ 1. Find matching card that correspond to the confederate’s  statement   ­ 2. Describe one of the response cards to the confederate  ­  


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