Traditional mechanistic accounts of language processing derive almost entirely from the study of monologue. Yet, the most natural and basic form of language use is dialogue. As a result, these accounts may only offer limited theories of the mechanisms that underlie language processing in general. We propose a mechanistic account of dialogue, the interactive alignment account, and use it to derive a number of predictions about basic language processes. The account assumes that, in dialogue, the linguistic representations employed by the (...) interlocutors become aligned at many levels, as a result of a largely automatic process. This process greatly simplifies production and comprehension in dialogue. After considering the evidence for the interactive alignment model, we concentrate on three aspects of processing that follow from it. It makes use of a simple interactive inference mechanism, enables the development of local dialogue routines that greatly simplify language processing, and explains the origins of self-monitoring in production. We consider the need for a grammatical framework that is designed to deal with language in dialogue rather than monologue, and discuss a range of implications of the account. Key Words: common ground; dialogue; dialogue routines; language comprehension; language production; monitoring; perception-behavior link. (shrink)
Our target article proposed that language production and comprehension are interwoven, with speakers making predictions of their own utterances and comprehenders making predictions of other people's utterances at different linguistic levels. Here, we respond to comments about such issues as cognitive architecture and its neural basis, learning and development, monitoring, the nature of forward models, communicative intentions, and dialogue.
Most models of lexical access assume that bilingual speakers activate their two languages even when they are in a context in which only one language is used. A critical piece of evidence used to support this notion is the observation that a given word automatically activates its translation equivalent in the other language. Here, we argue that these findings are compatible with a different account, in which bilinguals “carry over” the structure of their native language to the non-native language during (...) learning, and where there is no activation of translation equivalents. To demonstrate this, we describe a model in which language learning involves mapping native language phonological relationships to the non-native language, and we show how it can explain the results attributed to automatic activation of translation equivalents. (shrink)
The interactive-alignment model of dialogue provides an account of dialogue at the level of explanation normally associated with cognitive psychology. We develop our claim that interlocutors align their mental models via priming at many levels of linguistic representation, explicate our notion of automaticity, defend the minimal role of “other modeling,” and discuss the relationship between monologue and dialogue. The account can be applied to social and developmental psychology, and would benefit from computational modeling.
It is often assumed that cognitive science is built upon folk psychology, and that challenges to folk psychology are therefore challenges to cognitive science itself. We argue that, in practice, cognitive science and folk psychology treat entirely non-overlapping domains: cognitive science considers aspects of mental life which do not depend on general knowledge, whereas folk psychology considers aspects of mental life which do depend on general knowledge. We back up our argument on theoretical grounds, and also illustrate the separation between (...) cognitive scientific and folk psychological phenomena in a number of cognitive domains. We consider the methodological and theoretical significance of our arguments for cognitive science research. (shrink)
Foundations of Language sets out to reconcile generative accounts of language structure with psychological accounts of language processing. We argue that Jackendoff's “parallel architecture” is a particularly appropriate linguistic framework for the interactive alignment account of dialogue processing. It offers a helpful definition of linguistic levels of representation, it gives an interesting account of routine expressions, and it supports radical incrementality in processing.
The target article says surprisingly little about the possible role of shared circuits in language and communication. This commentary considers how they might contribute to linguistic communication, particularly during dialogue. We argue that shared circuits are used to promote alignment between linguistic representations at many levels and to support production-based emulation of linguistic input during comprehension.
Natural language processing involves a tight coupling between action (the production of language) and perception (the comprehension of language). We argue that similar theoretical principles apply to language processing as to action/perception in general. Language production is not driven solely by the speaker's intentions; language comprehension is not only input-driven; production and perception use common representations. We will relate recent findings from our language production lab to the Theory of Event Coding (TEC)'s principle of feature binding.
Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer (henceforth Levelt et al. 1999) propose a model of production incorporating a lemma stratum, which is concerned with the syntactic characteristics of lexical entries. We suggest that syntactic priming experiments provide evidence about how such syntactic information is represented, and that this evidence can be used to extend Levelt et al.'s model. Evidence from syntactic priming experiments also supports Levelt et al.'s conjecture that the lemma stratum is shared between the production and comprehension systems.
A second-person perspective in neuroscience is particularly appropriate for the study of communication. We describe how the investigation of joint language tasks can contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying interaction.
The authors' claim that analogical reasoning is the product of relational priming is compatible with language processing work that emphasizes the role of low-level automatic processes in the alignment of situation models in dialogue. However, their model ignores recent behavioral evidence demonstrating a effect on relational priming. We discuss implications of these data.
Grodzinsky claims that “normal language users demonstrate trace-antecedent relations in real-time tasks.” However, the cited evidence is equally compatible with a traceless account of processing. Moreover, Pickering and Barry (1991) and Traxler and Pickering (1996) have demonstrated that the processor does not wait until the purported trace location before forming the dependency. Grodzinsky's claims about Broca's area should be interpreted in terms of a transformation-free account.