The Human Language Processing (HLP/Jaeger) Lab in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester is looking for PhD researchers to join the lab. Admission is through the PhD program in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences, which offers full five-year scholarship. International applications are welcome.
Effects of phonological overlap on fluency, speech rate, and word order in unscripted sentence production
The last two papers based on Katrina Furth’s and Caitie Hilliard’s work back when they were at Rochester just came out in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition and the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
The JEP:LMC paper investigates how lemma selection (i.e., word choice) is affected by phonological overlap. We find evidence for a (weak) bias against sequences of phonologically onset overlapping words. That is, when speakers have a choice, they seem to prefer sentences like “Hannah gave the hammer to the boy”, rather than “Hannah handed the hammer to the boy”. This suggests very early effects of phonology on lexical production, which seem to be incompatible with strictly serial models of word production.
Jaeger, T. F., Furth, K., and Hilliard, C. 2012. Phonological overlap affects lexical selection during sentence production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38(5), 1439-1449. [doi: 10.1037/a0027862]
The Frontiers paper investigates Read the rest of this entry »
In case, there’s interest, have a look at the papers to be presented at this year’s Cognitive Science meeting in Boston (July, 20th-23rd). HLP lab will be represented by two talks and four posters. The two talks will presenting work employing artificial language learning to address questions about typological generalizations:
- Masha Fedzechkina(BCS, University of Rochester) will present evidence that language learners are biased to reduced the uncertainty in the mapping from form to meaning. Her work is comparing the acquisition of miniature languages with and without case-marking in terms of to what extent learners tend to regularize or even fix variable word orders for these two types of languages (Fedzechkina, Jaeger, & Newport, 2011). Together with other recent work (e.g. by Newport, by Culbertson), this work provides evidence that language learners deviate from the input provided to them in a predictable manner. In this case, we designed the experiment to directly test the functionalist claim that language learners are biases towards acquiring languages that support communication (cf. Bates and MacWhinney’s early work).
- Hal Tily (BCS, MIT) will present work employing a novel web-based artificial language learning paradigm, in which hundreds of participants can be run within a matter of a few days. Using this paradigm, we first replicated and extended a well-known study on determiner learning (Hudson Kam and Newport, 2004) and then investigate to what extent cross-linguistically observed quantitative patterns in argument and determiner order are replicated by language learners. We discuss how this paradigm will facilitate further tests of typological generalizations (Tily, Frank, & Jaeger, 2011).