language processing

Special issue in “Cross-linguistic Psycholinguistics”

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At long last! It’s my great pleasure to announce the publication of the special issue on “Laboratory in the field: advances in cross-linguistic psycholinguistics”, edited by Alice Harris (UMass), Elisabeth Norcliffe (MPI, Nijmegen), and me (Rochester), in Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience. It is an exciting collection of cross-linguistic studies on language production and comprehension and it feels great to see the proofs for the whole shiny issue:

Front cover of special issue
Front cover of special issue

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Presentation at CNS symposium on “Prediction, adaptation and plasticity of language processing in the adult brain”

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Earlier this week, Dave Kleinschmidt and I gave a presentation as part of a mini-symposium at Cognitive Neuroscience Conference  on “Prediction, adaptation and plasticity of language processing in the adult brain” organized by Gina Kuperberg.  For this symposium we were tasked to address the following questions:

  1. What is prediction and why do we predict?
  2. What is adaptation and why do we adapt?
  3. How do prediction and adaptation relate?

Although we address these questions in the context of language processing, most of our points are pretty general. We aim to provide intuitions about the notions of distribution, prediction, distributional/statistical learning and adaptation. We walked through examples of belief-updating, intentionally keeping our presentation math-free. Perhaps some of the slides are of interest to some of you, so I attached them below. A more in-depth treatment of these questions is also provided in Kleinschmidt & Jaeger (under review, available on request).

Comments welcome. (sorry – some of the slides look strange after importing them and all the animations got lost but I think they are all readable).

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It was great to see these notions discussed and related to ERP, MEG, and fMRI research in the three other presentations of the symposium by Matt Davis, Kara Federmeier and Eddy Wlotko, and Gina Kuperberg. You can read their abstracts following the link to the symposium I included above.

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 »