Alex Fine

HLP Lab and collaborators at CMCL, ACL, and CogSci

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The summer conference season is coming up and HLP Lab, friends, and collaborators will be presenting their work at CMCL (Baltimore, joint with ACL), ACL (Baltimore), CogSci (Quebec City), and IWOLP (Geneva). I wanted to take this opportunity to give an update on some of the projects we’ll have a chance to present at these venues. I’ll start with three semi-randomly selected papers. Read the rest of this entry »

HLP lab is grinking 2013

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Time for another update on the growing/shrinking HLP Lab. With great sadness we think of those days when the Degenkind and Mr. Fine roamed freely in The Halls of Meliora.

  • Alex Fine has left us to more fully embrace his inner Midwest. He accepted a post-doc on an NIH training grant in Psychology, Illinois with Sarah Brown-Schmidt, Duane Watson, and Gary Dell.
  • Judith Degen now enjoys Californian bliss on a post-doctoral fellowship by the Swiss National Science Foundation. She’ll be working with Noah Goodman and bring even more experimental pragmatic awesomeness to Stanford.

This loss is ameliorated by a few new additions to HLP Lab. We’re excited to welcome Scott and Job this year (and hope that Geertje will just shown up one day and demand her bike back):

  • Scott Fraundorf is joining HLP Lab as a post-doctoral researcher to work on implicit learning during syntactic processing and the acquisition of new syntactic structures in native speaker adults. His projects also include studies on how dialect background affects syntactic processing.
  • Job Schepens won a Fulbright fellowship to visit HLP Lab in the Spring of 2014. His project “Learning Additional Phonemes: A Phonological Account of L2 Learnability” will be focusing on bi-/multilingualism and how structural similarities across languages (and differences in their complexity) affect ease of acquisition.

Syntactic expectation adaptation (update your beliefs!)

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At long last, Alex Fine‘s paper on syntactic adaptation expectation is about to appear in PLOS One. You can download the pre-proof from our page (the final version will be linked there as soon as it’s available):

  1. Fine, A. B., Jaeger, T. F., Farmer, T. , and Qian, T. 2013. Rapid expectation adaptation during syntactic comprehensionPLoS One.

The paper presents a novel framework that ties together syntactic comprehension and implicit learning. We tie together work on expectation-based sentence understanding, syntactic priming in comprehension, statistical learning, and speaker-specificity in syntactic comprehension.In two self-paced reading studies, we show that readers rapidly adjust their expectations for specific syntactic structures to converge on the statistics of the current environment. They do so based on both previous experience and recent experience within the experiment. Read the rest of this entry »

Congratulations to Dr. Alex B. Fine

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It’s my great pleasure to announce to the world (i.e., all 4 subscribed readers to this blog) that Alex B. Fine successfully defended his thesis entitled “Prediction, Error, and Adaptation During Online Sentence Comprehension” jointly advised by Jeff Runner and me. Alex is the first HLP lab graduate (who started his graduate studies in the lab), so we gave him a very proper send-off and roasted the heck out of him. Alex will be starting his post-doc at the University of Illinois Psychology Department in June, working with Gary Dell, Sarah Brown-Schmidt, and Duane Watson.

Dr. Fine's defending
Dr. Fine’s defending

Read the rest of this entry »

LSA09-125: Psycholinguistics and Syntactic Corpora

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The LSA Summer Institute is almost over and it has been a lot of fun so far. I didn’t get to see nearly as many talks and classes as I had hoped to, but instead there were tons of interesting conversations, new ideas, and just nice moments hanging out in the sun.

Brief update: It couldn’t have been different — I missed my flight. That happens every time I try to leave the Bay area. I am so used to it, I am not even trying to be on time anymore ;). Ah well, it gives me a chance to enjoy a cappuccino in my favorite SF Cafe (Ritual Roasters) and even to attend Dan’s party (yippie!). Oh, and to upload some random pictures from the class room. Yeah, pretty dark I know. If you have better pictures — can you send them to me and I upload them? Also, here are some pics from our office hours at Caffee Strada (thanks to Judith and Alex for a great job!):

LSA125-ers — thanks for an enjoyable class, for all the questions, and I hope you keep enjoying your projects (or, if nothing else, now know for certain that you really really never want to work with corpora ;). Send us an update about your papers as they progress.

To everyone else out there: If you’re interested in the use of syntactic corpora to investigate language production, you may find our LSA125 class webpage useful (see especially the links and information on the corpus pages, but also the slides). If you use material from this page, please let us know. Thanks to Judith, we now have a nicely documented version of the TGrep2 Database Tools, which we have dubbed TDTlite. Alex and Judith have also prepared example projects. TDTlite allows you to combine the output of TGrep2 searchers on syntactic corpora into a nice tab-delimited database that can be importated into R, Excel, or the stats program of your choice. While it doesn’t give you the full flexibility of scripting things yourself, it makes it considerably easier to start your own corpus-based project. We’re in the progress of polishing things up for distribution (thanks to all the brave members of our class who helped us to understand which parts still need further improvement!). So, if something like that might be of interest to you, let us know whether you would like further information. We hope to have a beta release by the end of August.