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1 Cognitive Psychology C81COG 1. Language Dr Jonathan Stirk.

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1 1 Cognitive Psychology C81COG 1. Language Dr Jonathan Stirk

2 2 Summary of lectures 6 lectures 1. Psycholinguistics 2. Word recognition & reading 3. Memories in reading 4. Iconic memory & reading (Sensory memory) Categorical memory 5. Structures & processes 6. Representation of meaning

3 3 Useful Books Harley, T. (2001). The psychology of language: from data to theory (2 nd Ed). Hove: Psychology Press. Underwood, G. & Batt, V. (1996). Reading and understanding. Oxford: Blackwell. Eysenck, M. (2001). Principles of Cognitive Psychology. Hove: Psychology Press. Eysenck, M and Keane, M. (2000). Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook. (4 th Ed). Hove: Psychology Press. Payne, D. & Wenger, M. (1998). Cognitive Psychology. New York: Houghton-Mifflin.

4 4 Further reading For further information see Chapter 2 of Trevor Harley’s book

5 5 Why should we study language? Language is a unique form of abstraction, which is at the heart of cognition Language has a major impact on the form of representation of information in memory Language influences perception, from which we obtain the basic data for cognition

6 6 Why Should Psychologists Study Reading? Studies suggest that there is a large proportion of dyslexics within the prison system At start of 2003, approx 72,500 inmates. Estimates of dyslexics : % (>12,500) Dyslexics lacking appropriate support from early years of education, may lead to: – poor literacy and numeracy skills – poor employment prospects all of which play their part in the climate of offending – lack of confidence and low self esteem – boredom, disaffection – frustration, anger – behavioural problems All of these factors may affect the development of criminal behaviour

7 7 Some questions about the psychology of language Q1. How do we produce sentences we may never have heard? A1. By using generative rules (PSG) Q2. How do these rules govern the meaning of a sentence? A2. By translating underlying meanings into surface structures Q3. What else does a psychology of language need to explain? A3. How we use language (Pragmatics)

8 8 Psycholinguistics ‘The study of the psychological processes of language’ Understanding language (comprehension), producing language, remembering language, reading, speaking, writing Psycholinguists divide language into domains/aspects: – Semantics – Syntax – Pragmatics – Phonetics – Phonology – Morphology

9 9 Sentences, syntax and semantics Language Comprehension How do we understand and construct sentences? – We have the ability to understand / produce sentences which we may never have heard or used before How do we assemble a representation of the MEANING of a sentence? Word order is important in determining meaning – SYNTAX

10 1. The boy chased the dog. 2. The dog chased the boy. 3. The dog was chased by the boy. 4. Boy the dog chased the. Sentences 1 and 2 have the same word order structure (article noun verb article noun) but have different meanings Sentences 1 and 3 have different word order structure but have the same meaning Sentence 4 contains the same words as 1 & 2 but makes no sense! (not grammatical) 10 Examples of how syntax effects meaning Same syntax Same meaning

11 11 Grammar & Parsing Word order is determined by rules of grammar – Phrase Structure Grammar (PSG) THE CAT ATE THE MOUSE articlenounverbarticlenoun Noun phraseVerb phrase Rule 1. S = NP + VP; Rule 2. NP= article + noun; Rule 3. VP = verb + NP

12 Sentence Noun Phrase Verb Phrase Det AdjNounVerb Noun Phrase Det Adj Noun The aging professor taught the sleepy students. 12 Parsing – Parse Tree Subject ObjectVerb

13 13 Rule 1S=NP + VP Rule 2NP=DET + (ADJ) + N Rule 3VP=V + NP Rule 4DET=a, an, the … Rule 5ADJ=aging, sleepy … Rule 6N=professor, students… Rule 7V=taught, lectured ….. PSG Re-write Rules

14 14 Creating new sentences We can use these rules to create new well- formed sentences “The elephant drank the water” “The woman understood the joke” However, parsing may not be as easy as one would think when it comes to AMBIGUOUS PHRASES

15 15 Ambiguity She bit into the doughnut with relish! Syntactic category (lexical) ambiguity ‘relish’ as adjective‘relish’ as noun

16 16 Structurally Ambiguous Phrases THEY ARE EXCITING STUDENTS S N NP V VP N Adj. Structure 1

17 17 Phrase structure grammar helps untangle ambiguity THEY ARE EXCITING STUDENTS N NP VP N VAux. S Structure 2

18 18 Click displacement studies – Garrett, Bever & Fodor (1966) – Spoken sentence presented to 1 ear with headphones – Click presented in other ear at some point in the sentence – Aim is to report at what point the click appeared – Major syntactic\processing units should resist interruption and hence the position of the click should be displaced (migrate) from its’ actual position THAT HE WAS HAPPY WAS EVIDENT FROM THE WAY HE SMILED – Click displaced to right to end of a clause Investigating Parsing & Unit Size

19 19 Investigating Parsing & Unit Size However, one has to perceive, parse, understand, remember & respond – Demands are high, and displacement could occur at any of these stages really – Reber & Anderson (1970) used ‘subliminal’ clicks – Listeners asked to guess where the non-audible clicks were – Displacement occurred as in Garrett et al (1966) study Suggests that displacement may occur in the RESPONSE stage Phrase structure grammar is real but click displacement is not a good demonstration of it

20 20 PSG has trouble with meanings Phrase structure grammar rules however allow us to produce meaningless yet grammatically correct sentences COLOURLESS GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY Adj. Verb Adv. Noun Noun PhraseVerb Phrase Ugly biology students groan considerably Ageing university lecturers die painfully ARE MEANINGFUL

21 21 PSG has trouble with Related Sentences 1. The vampire chases the ghost. 2. The ghost is chased by the vampire. These sentences are clearly related in meaning but PSG fails to capture this meaning. This is where Transformational Grammar steps in

22 22 Transformational Grammar Noam Chomsky influential during the linguistic period of the 60’s & 70’s Competence & Performance – Competence is our knowledge of language in general & the rules of language (linguistics) – Performance refers to our actual use of the language we know. Our ability to actually follow the rules at any specific time (psycholinguistics) He developed the idea of transformational grammar to help explain the role of meaning in sentence production

23 23 Transformational Grammar Special set of re-write rules which act on a string of symbols (Unlike PSG rules which act on single units) – Active to Passive: “John eats the food” -> “John ate the food” – Statement to questions: “This is a cat” -> “Is this a cat?” etc.

24 24 Transformational Grammar Sentences have surface structure and deep structure (s- and d-structure) Surface structure – grammatical form (written or spoken) Deep structure – meaning 1. The shooting of the lecturers was terrible (SS) Derived from: 2. The way in which the lecturers shoot was terrible (DS1) OR 3. It was terrible that the lecturers were shot (DS2) Transformed to:

25 25 Transformational Grammar Chomsky argued that sentences (written or spoken) are generated by the operation of transformational rules on a deep-structure representation generated by phrase-structure rules (grammar), resulting in a surface- structure representation PSG → Deep structure →TG →Surface structure

26 26 Transformational Grammar 1. Jonathan is easy to please 2. Jonathan is eager to please 3. It is easy to please Jonathan 4. It is eager to please Jonathan * *(non-grammatical) Harley, T (p. 39) Similar surface structures But different deep structures Transform using same rule

27 27 Pragmatics The study of the INTENDED meaning of language / sentences. E.g. We may say “wonderful weather!” on a rainy day

28 28 A psychology of language must account for performance in language use A. MEMORY PERFORMANCE LIMITATIONS The man ran. ^ The man the dog bit ran. ^ The man the dog the girl owned bit ran. ^ The man the dog the girl who fed the cat owned bit ran. [This is a self-embedded (centre embedded) sentence]

29 29 A psychology of language must account for performance in language use B. SOCIAL CONTEXT INFLUENCES SENTENCE PRODUCTION / MEANING (Pragmatics) e.g. "Can you pass the salt?" e.g. Sergeant to Soldier: "Do you see that cigarette butt?“ C. DIFFERENCES IN THE JUSTIFICATION AND VERIFICATION OF SENTENCES Compare: "This is a language lecture" With: "Life is an empty dream"

30 30 A psychology of language must account for performance in language use D. PRODUCTION OF NON-GRAMMATICAL SENTENCES You: “Time for a drink?” Me: “Trying to give it up” You: “Please yourself” E. PERCEPTION - PRODUCTION VARIATIONS PERCEPTION: recognition of words, their relations and the theme of the incoming message PRODUCTION: translation of an idea (Deep Structure) into a form (Surface Structure) which will both capture the intended meaning and be recognizable. Hesitations reflect planning of the translation process.

31 31 A psychology of language must account for performance in language use F. STYLE AND SKILL "It was the man with the red nose" "Was it not the man with the red nose?" G. METAPHORICAL & POETIC USE OF LANGUAGE Question: "Where are my chocolates?" (hesitation) Answer: "Ah... where are the snows of yesteryear?“ Question: "Is Mrs Thatcher a good politician?" (hesitation) Answer: "She has good taste in hats" Statement: Adolf Hitler was a Butcher Statement: David kicked the bucket!


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