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STAGES OF COMPREHENSION discourse modelling semantic analysis syntactic “parsing” lexical access phonemic analysis sensory processing.

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Presentation on theme: "STAGES OF COMPREHENSION discourse modelling semantic analysis syntactic “parsing” lexical access phonemic analysis sensory processing."— Presentation transcript:

1 STAGES OF COMPREHENSION discourse modelling semantic analysis syntactic “parsing” lexical access phonemic analysis sensory processing

2 THE IMMEDIACY PRINCIPLE OF LANGUAGE COMPREHENSION comprehension involves building a “model” of meaning, based on –word type, meaning and order –prior context and prior knowledge to minimize load, build as much of this structure as possible “on line” –resolve ambiguities as they’re encountered: lexical: PLANE? syntactic: visiting relatives can be difficult this can result in “garden path” errors – the conductor stood before the audience left the hall. –after visiting his parents left.

3 Headline Ambiguities –Man charged with battery –Czech leader meets with opposition –Teenage prostitution problem is mounting –Lawyers let fly in court –Police: Fighting robber is foolish –The police officer saw that the lightning bolt hit the child and dialed –Bill banning nude dancing on governor’s desk –American man sentenced to 10 years in Scotland

4 CONTEXT AND WORD RECOGNITION SPEED Fischler & Bloom, 1979 Task: read sentence context frames, “As soon as they entered the room, they turned on the.. “ then make word-nonword decision to: TYPE OFspeed of COMPLETIONexamplelexical decision expectedLIGHT600 msec unexpectedSWITCH650 msec incongruousSNAKE800 msec nonwordSNOBE910 msec

5 CONTEXT EFFECTS AND THE “N400” (Kutas & Hillyard, 1981) task: read sentences while EEG is recorded and later averaged: semantically unexpected completions elicit a negative “wave” peaking at 400 msec after word onset (N400) differences can be seen as early as 250 msec after onset

6 DOES CONTEXT AFFECT “LEXICAL ACCESS?” Swinney, 1979 task: listen to spoken sentences, watch for word/nonword strings “.. the electronic detector found a bug in the... “ SPYANTPENWID 200 msec 700 msec or or or at 200 msec, both SPY and ANT faster than PEN (so: access of both meanings of homophone) at 700 msec, only SPY is faster than PEN (so: rapid selection of appropriate meaning)

7 SYNTACTIC STRUCTURE AND SENTENCE PROCESSING perceived location of “click” drifts toward clause boundaries: –“.. the man who cheated lost the hand.” actualreported perception of rapidly shown sentences better if words are grouped in syntactic constituent “chunks”: –The manThe who cheatedvsman who in classcheated in lostclass lost

8 SYNTAX, EFFORT, AND EEG (King & Kutas, 1995) subject-relative: “The secretary who gladly married the senator typed the letter” object-relative: “The secretary who the senator gladly married typed the letter”

9 A “MINIMAL ATTACHMENT STRATEGY” FOR BUILDING SYNTAX (Frazier, 1979) attach each new phrase to the current “node” if possible (“late closure”) as in (A): VP PP NP V NP The spy saw the cop with the binoculars.. but not in (B): VP NP NP V NP PP The spy saw the cop with the revolver.. (B) takes longer to read (Rayner & Frazier, ‘83) - though (A) is ambiguous

10 SYNTACTIC STRUCTURE AND SEMANTIC PROCESSING Meaning can constrain parsing: The bird saw the cop with the binoculars Read as quickly as (A) above (C) The cop [that was] arrested by the detective was guilty of taking bribes (D) The crook [that was] arrested by the detective was guilty of taking bribes (C) Is read more slowly; (D) no more difficult than the “unreduced” version – why? [McRae et al, 1998]


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