Presentation on theme: "PSY 369: Psycholinguistics Language Comprehension: Propositional meaning."— Presentation transcript:
PSY 369: Psycholinguistics Language Comprehension: Propositional meaning
Propositions A mouse bit a cat bit (mouse, cat) Good memory for meaning but not for form How do we represent sentence meaning? Propositions Two or more concepts with a relationship between them
Propositions A mouse bit a cat bit (mouse, cat) Good memory for meaning but not for form How do we represent sentence meaning? Propositions Two or more concepts with a relationship between them Can represent this within a network framework
Meaning as Propositions Propositions A set of conceptual nodes connected by labeled pathways that expresses the meaning of a sentence A mouse bit a cat or A cat was bitten by a mouse mouse bit cat agent patient relation
Deriving Propositions More complex example: Children who are slow eat bread that is cold Slow children Children eat bread Bread is cold relation subject time relation subject SlowChildren PastEat Cold Bread
Evidence for Propositions Memory better for sentences with fewer propositions The horse stumbled and broke a leg horse stumbled horse broke leg Three propositions Two propositions The crowded passengers squirmed uncomfortably passengers crowded passengers squirmed passengers uncomfortable
Evidence for Propositions Bransford & Franks, 1971 Constructed four-fact sentences, and broke them down into smaller sentences: 4 - The ants in the kitchen ate the sweet jelly that was on the table. 3 - The ants in the kitchen ate the sweet jelly 2 - The ants in the kitchen ate the jelly. 1 - The jelly was sweet.
Evidence for Propositions Bransford & Franks, 1971 Study: Heard 1-, 2-, and 3-fact sentences only Test: Heard 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-fact sentences (most of which were never presented) and noncase sentences
Evidence for Propositions Bransford & Franks, 1971 Results: the more facts in the sentences, the more likely Ss would judge them as old and with higher confidence Even if they hadnt actually seen the sentence Constructive Model: we integrate info from individual sentences in order to construct larger ideas; emphasizes the active nature of our cognitive processes
Priming Propositions Ratcliff and McKoon (1978) Involves two propositions: P1 [OVERLOOK, MAUSOLEUM, SQUARE] P2 [ENSHRINE, MAUSOLEUM, TSAR]. The mausoleum that enshrined the tsar overlooked the square.
Priming Propositions ConditionExamplesRT to TargetPriming Effects Across sentences Between two propositions in the same sentence Within a single proposition square- clutch square-Tsar square- mausoleum 671 msec 571 msec 551 msec None; baseline 100 msec facilitation 120 msed facilitation Ratcliff and McKoon (1978) Results in a cued memory task (how long does it take to verify square was in the sentence:
Alternative Representations Propositions are symbolic Problems: The referential problem The implementation problem The lack of scientific productivity The lack of a biological foundation Alternative Embodied representations (e.g., Barsalou; 1999; Glenberg, 1999)
Embodied representations Perceptual and motor systems play a central role in language production and comprehension Theoretical proposals Linguistics: Lakoff, Langacker, Talmy Neuroscience: Damasio, Edelman Cognitive psychology: Barsalou, Gibbs, Glenberg, MacWhinney Computer science: Steels, Feldman
Embodiment in language Embodied representations Perceptual and motor systems play a central role in language production and comprehension Words and sentences are usually grounded to perceptual, motoric, and emotional experiences. In absence of inmediate sensory-motor referents, words and sentences refer to mental models or simulations of experience.
Embodiment in language Embodied representations Brain activity Comprehension and images Concrete words Action words activate motor representations
We understand utterances by mentally simulating their content. Simulation exploits some of the same neural structures activated during performance, perception, imagining, memory… Linguistic structure parametrizes the simulation. Language gives us enough information to simulate Simulation hypothesis
Inference in comprehension Not all propositions come from the bottom-up Elaboration - integration of new information with information from long term memory Memory for the new information improves as it is integrated Inferences - a proposition (or other representation) drawn by the comprehender From LTM, not directly from the input
We draw inferences in the course of understanding new events. The inferences get encoded into our memory of the events. e.g., drawing inferences of instruments Bransford, and colleagues (1972, 73) Inference in comprehension
John was trying to fix the birdhouse. He was looking for the nail when his father came out to watch him and to help him do the work. Bransford, and colleagues (1972, 73) John was using the hammer to fix the birdhouse when his father came out to watch him and to help him do the work. Inference in comprehension
John was trying to fix the birdhouse. He was looking for the nail when his father came out to watch him and to help him do the work. Bransford, and colleagues (1972, 73) John was using the hammer to fix the birdhouse when his father came out to watch him and to help him do the work. was not mentioned in the text, but was inferred Inference in comprehension
What does language do? Harry walked to the cafe. Harry walked into the cafe. A sentence can evoke an imagined scene and resulting inferences : CAFE –Goal of action = inside cafe –Source = outside cafe –cafe = containing location –Goal of action = at cafe –Source = away from cafe –cafe = point-like location
Embodied inferences WALL Bonk!! The scientist walked into the wall. The hobo drifted into the house. The smoke drifted into the house.