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45 Cards in this Set

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a system of communication using sounds or symbols that enables us to express our feelings, thoughts, ideas, and experiences
only applies to humans
language makes it possible to create new and unique sentences because it has a structure that is:
(1) hierarchical (series of small components that can be combined to form larger units
(2) governed by rules (components can be arranged in certain ways but not in others)
the universality of language
(1) need to communicate is so powerful deaf children create own language if nobody speaks or uses sign language
(2) everyone with normal capacities develops a language and learns to follow complex rules
(3) language is universal across all cultures
(4) language development is similar across cultures
(5) all languages serve the functions of verbs and nouns, include a system to make things negative, ask questions, and refer to the past and present
Skinner (Verbal Behavior) vs. Chomsky (Syntactic Structures)
Skinner proposed language is used through reinforcement while Chomsky said language is coded in the genes
the field concerned with the psychological study of language. Its four major concerns are:
(1) comprehension
(2) speech production
(3) representation (in mind and brain)
(4) acquisition (how do ppl learn language?)
a person's knowledge of what words mean, how they sound, and how they are used in relation to other words
what are the two smallest units of language?
phonemes: shortest segment of speech that if changed changes the meaning of the word
not same as letters because refer to different sounds the letters can make
morphemes: smallest units that have a definable meaning or grammatical function
bedroom has 2 syllables and 2 morphemes
"s" and "ed" are morphemes
experiment that demonstrates that a phoneme that is part of a sentence can be heard even if the sound of the phoneme is covered up by an extraneous noise (phonemic restoration effect)
Procedure: participants listened to a recording of the sentence " the state governors met with their respective legislatures convening in the capitol city" the first /s/ is legislatures was replaced by a cough. The task was to indicate where in the sentence the cough occurred. Nobody could do this and nobody noticed the missing /s/
phonemic restoration effect is an example of top down processing because using context to fill in the missing /s/
the way ppl pronounce words in conversational speech makes about half of the words unintelligible when taken out of context and presented alone
recorded participants convos before experiment then took individual words and presented to participants, they could only identify half
speech segmentation
the process of perceiving individual words in the continuous flow of the speech signal
why are we able to perceive individual words?
(1) knowing the meaning of words helps of perceive them
(2) we learn that certain sounds are more likely to follow one another in a word
(3) other sounds are more likely to be separated by the space between two words
word superiority effect
Definition and experiment
letters are easier to recognize when they are contained in a word than when they appear alone or are contained in a nonword
a stimulus that is either a word (such as fork), a single letter, or a nonword (such as rfok) is flashed briefly. It is followed immediately by a random pattern where the stimulus was and 2 letters, one that appeared in the original stimulus and one that did not. The task was to pick the letter that was originally presented in the stimulus. Participants did this quicker and more accurately when the letter had been part of a word then when it was by itself or in the nonword
pg 300
study chart
word frequency
the relative usage of a word in a particular language
word frequency effect
we respond more rapidly to high frequency words like home than to low frequency words like hike
lexical decision task demonstrates word frequency effect
read a list that consists of words and nonwords. Task is to indicate as quickly as possible whether each entry is a word. People read high frequency words faster than low frequency words
lexical ambiguity
words can have more than one meaning
context clears up ambiguity so quickly we are not even aware of it
lexical priming demonstrates lexical ambiguity
priming involving the naming of words can change how people interpret the meaning of a words

bug as an insect or spy device experiment
what are the two properties of sentences?
semantics and syntax
the meaning of words and sentences
specifies the rules for combining words into sentences (grammar)
the grouping of words into phrases that is a central process for determining the meaning of a sentence
what is a way to study the process of understanding a sentence?
present sentences that can have more than one meaning. An example of this is?
temporary ambiguity
temporary ambiguity
the initial words of a sentence can lead to more than one meaning
we decide the meaning before we complete the sentence and may have to revise it once we have completed the sentence
garden path sentence
readers interpret different meanings as they read the sentence
cast iron sinks quickly rust
syntax-first approach to parsing
focuses on how parsing is determined by syntax and states that the parsing mechanism groups phrases together based on structural principles such as late closure
the principle of late closure
states that when a person encounters a new word, their parsing mechanism assumes that this word is part of the current phrase, so each new word is added to the current phrase for as long as possible
syntax controls things and if necessary semantics jumps in to rearrange the parsing
interactionist approach to parsing
proposes that all info both semantic and syntactic is taken into account simultaneously as we read or listen to a sentence so any corrections that need to occur are made as the sentence is unfolding
the interactionist approach is supported by the sentences
(1) the spy saw the man with the binoculars (2) the bird saw the man with the binoculars
semantics can be important in determining parsing at the beginning of the sentence
our interpretation of a sentence is influenced by the meaning of the words in the sentence as well as the meaning of the scene we are observing
experiment demonstrates contrast between syntax-first approach and interactionist approach
procedure: presented participants with objects on a table: one-apple condition (apple on towel, another towel, a pencil, and a box). They listened to the instructions: "put the apple on the towel in the box". Their eye movements were measured as they listened.
For the two-apple condition the pencil was replaced by an apple on a napkin.
Results: upon hearing put the apple on the towel their eyes went from the apple to the other towel and upon hearing in the box they looked back at the apple and then at the box
The results for the two apple approach upon hearing put the apple they looked at the apple on the napkin upon hearing on the towel they looked at the towel, upon hearing in the box they looked at the box.
The one apple condition supports the syntax-first approach but for the two-apple condition the participants took the info from the scene into account
discourse/text processing
the study of how we understand texts and stories
determining what a text means by using out knowledge to go beyond the information provided by the text that is an important part of the process of creating a coherent story
creates connections between parts of a story (typically illustrated in narrative texts)
the representation of the text in a person's mind so that info in one part of the text is related to info in another part
anaphoric inferences
inferences that connect an object or person in one sentence to an object or person in another sentence.
(say name in first sentence then she or he in other sentences)
instrument inferences
inferences about tools or methods
"Shakespeare wrote Hamlet at his desk"
we infer he wrote with a quill on a wooden desk not a computer
causal inferences
inferences that the events described in one clause or sentence were caused by events that occurred in a previous sentence
'Sharon took an aspirin. Her headache went away."
situation model
a mental representation of what a text is about. Proposes that the mental representation people form as they read a story does not consist of info about phrases, sentences, or paragraphs; instead it is a representation in terms of ppl, objects, locations and events that are being described in the story
experiment that demonstrates that a person stimulates the perceptual and motor (movement) characteristics of the objects and actions in a story
procedure: have participants read a sentence that describes a situation involving an object and then indicate as quickly as possible whether or not a picture shows the object mentioned in the sentence. for example (1) the nail was hammered into the wall vs (2) the nail was hammered into the floor. Compared to a picture of a horizontal and vertical nail
results: answer yes no matter what but participants responded faster when pictures orientation matched the situation described
the situation model approach also includes the idea that a reader or listener stimulates the motor characteristics of the objects in a story
e.g., reading about a bike elicits perceptions of properties associated with movement such as peddling, and the physical exertion required in different settings
the physiology of simulations
fMRI scans show that reading about actions activates similar areas as actually doing the action
dialogue, common form of language production
given-new contract (a way of guiding listeners through conversation)
states that the speaker should construct sentences so that they include two kinds of information: (1) given info--info the listener already knows; and (2) new info--info that the listener is hearing for the first time
syntactic coordination
when ppl converse it is common for them to use similar grammatical constructions
syntactic priming
hearing a statement with a particular syntactic construction increases the chances that a sentence will be produced with the same construction
experiment that demonstrates syntactic priming
procedure: 2 ppl engage in conversation and the experimenter determines whether a production of a specific grammatical construction by one person increases the chances that the same construction will be used by the other person. A confederate sat on one side of a screen and a participant on the other. The confederate began with priming statement such as the boy gave the girl a book, then the participant had to find the matching card and then pick a response card from the deck and describe it.
results: in 78% of the trials the form of description of the participant matched that of the confederate.
syntactic coordination reduces the computational load involved in creating a converstation