Temporal Dynamics in Language Comprehension

Michael Spivey

in The Continuity of Mind

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780195170788
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786831 | DOI:
 Temporal Dynamics in Language Comprehension

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While acknowledging the importance of language dynamics at the time scales of biological evolution, cultural language change, and child development, this chapter focuses primarily on the time scale of continuous dynamics in real-time language comprehension. A brief history of research in the field of sentence processing is offered, addressing debates over continuous processing and over interactive processing. Special attention is paid to eye-tracking reading evidence (and normalized recurrence simulations) of context influencing online syntactic processing. Effects of visual context on spoken word recognition (along with simulations of human data) are also described in detail. It is argued that a fruitful approach to understanding language comprehension entails treating sentence, word, and even phoneme recognition as a continuous trajectory in a high-dimensional state space that “flirts” with attractor basins but is rarely allowed to “linger” in them.

Keywords: psycholinguistics; language evolution; language change; language learning; syntax; semantics; sentence processing; word recognition; phoneme recognition

Chapter.  14646 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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