For more than three decades, research into the psycholinguistics of pronoun interpretation has argued that hearers use various interpretation ‘preferences’ or ‘strategies’ that are associated with specific linguistic properties of antecedent expressions. This focus is a departure from the type of approach outlined in Hobbs , who argues that the mechanisms supporting pronoun interpretation are driven predominantly by semantics, world knowledge and inference, with particular attention to how these are used to establish the coherence of a discourse. On the basis (...) of three new experimental studies, we evaluate a coherence-driven analysis with respect to four previously proposed interpretation biases—based on grammatical role parallelism, thematic roles, implicit causality, and subjecthood—and argue that the coherence-driven analysis can explain the underlying source of the biases and predict in what contexts evidence for each will surface. The results further suggest that pronoun interpretation is incrementally influenced by probabilistic expectations that hearers have regarding what coherence relations are likely to ensue, together with their expectations about what entities will be mentioned next, which, crucially, are conditioned on those coherence relations. (shrink)
We add to the constructivist approach of Quartz & Sejnowski (Q&S) by outlining a specific classification of sources of constraint on the emergence of representations from Elman et al. (1996). We suggest that it is important to consider behavioral constructivism in addition to neural constructivism.
PurposeThis study investigated whether the ability to utilize statistical regularities from fluent speech and map potential words to meaning at 18-months predicts vocabulary at 18- and again at 24-months.MethodEighteen-month-olds were exposed to an artificial language with statistical regularities within the speech stream, then participated in an object-label learning task. Learning was measured using a modified looking-while-listening eye-tracking design. Parents completed vocabulary questionnaires when their child was 18-and 24-months old.ResultsAbility to learn the object-label pairing for words after exposure to the artificial (...) language predicted productive vocabulary at 24-months and amount of vocabulary change from 18- to 24 months, independent of non-verbal cognitive ability, socio-economic status and/or object-label association performance.ConclusionEighteen-month-olds’ ability to use statistical information derived from fluent speech to identify words within the stream of speech and then to map the “words” to meaning directly predicts vocabulary size at 24-months and vocabulary change from 18 to 24 months. The findings support the hypothesis that statistical word segmentation is one of the important aspects of word learning and vocabulary acquisition in toddlers. (shrink)