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Psycholinguistics: The Study of Language Processing

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Hannah Clzianoski

on 23 April 2014

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Transcript of Psycholinguistics: The Study of Language Processing

Psycholinguistics: The Study of Language Processing
What is Language Processing?
The way we formulate words, phrases and sentences

The way we understand what we are reading and what is being said to us

We do this everyday subconsciously:
Television
Radio
Billboard
Weather Conversations
What about Psycholinguistics?
The study of language processing mechanisms

How word meaning, sentence meaning, and discourse meaning are computed and represented in the mind

Basically, psycholinguists study how language is done (pg. 429)
Methods of Psycholinguistic Research
Mixing and Matching

Morphemes are exchanged within a sentence

Example:
rules of word formation
words of rule formation

Field techniques: observing natural occurrences
Methods of Psycholinguistic Research
Slips of the Tongue
Spoonerism: Reverend William A. Spooner
Example:
The dear old Queen
The queer old dean
Tendency to exchange the initial consonants of words
In order for these exchanges to occur, the sentence would have to be planned out before the person begins to say it (pg. 431)
Sentence Processing
Lexical Decision and priming help with word processing, but limited in sentence processing

Parsing: Sentences are understood through analysis of the meanings of its words and through the analysis of its syntactic structure (pg. 436)

Measured in:
Timed-Reading Experiments: the assumption that the more difficult sentence processing is, the longer it should take
Bar-pressing paradigm
Experimental Methods
How are words organized in the mind?

Word recognition takes less than 1/3 of a second and the average adult reads at a rate of about 250 words per minute (pg. 432)

Tip of the Tongue Phenomena:
when we are unable to access a word

We have many questions about the mental lexicon but some remain unanswered because there is no way to observe it
Lexical Decision:
"yes" to
glove
"no" to
blove
Priming: a preceding stimulus to target word
"cat-dog"
"bat-dog"
Hannah Clzianoski
Measuring Sentence Processing
Timed-Reading Experiments: the assumption that the more difficult sentence processing is, the longer it should take
bar-pressing paradigm

Eye Movement
Saccades: a series of jerks in eye movement
Regressive Saccades: backwards jumps in a sentence (10-15%)
At rest: eyes take a "snapshot" of two or three words
Fixation usually occurs on nouns and verbs (content words) such as determiners (function words)
Language Processing and Linguistics
Phonetics and Phonology
The sound system of language is richly structured and contains different levels of representation
Bottom-up Processing: interpretation is based on information available to us
Top-down Processing: interpretation is based on a breaking-down process

Language production makes use of the individual feature components of phonemes and that the phonemes that we produce in speech may actually be put together "on the fly" out of bundles of such features (pg. 442)

Morphological Processing
Morphology: the study of word structures
Does morphology play a role in language processing?
Morphological Processing
Morpheme Activation
Individual morphemes are automatically activated during word recognition.
For example:
"suntan"

Postlexical Decomposition:
whole-word access occurs first
morphological decomposition occurs second
Prelexical Decomposition:
morphological decomposition occurs first
whole-word access occurs second
Sentence Processing
Lexical Decision and priming help with word processing, but limited in sentence processing

Parsing: Sentences are understood through analysis of the meanings of its words and through the analysis of its syntactic structure (pg. 436)

Measured in:
Timed-Reading Experiments: the assumption that the more difficult sentence processing is, the longer it should take
Bar-pressing paradigm
Sentence Processing
Lexical Decision and priming help with word processing, but limited in sentence processing

Parsing: Sentences are understood through analysis of the meanings of its words and through the analysis of its syntactic structure (pg. 436)

Measured in:
Timed-Reading Experiments: the assumption that the more difficult sentence processing is, the longer it should take
Bar-pressing paradigm
Morphological Processing
Lexical Decision and priming help with word processing, but limited in sentence processing

Parsing: Sentences are understood through analysis of the meanings of its words and through the analysis of its syntactic structure (pg. 436)

Measured in:
Timed-Reading Experiments: the assumption that the more difficult sentence processing is, the longer it should take
Bar-pressing paradigm
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