RuCCS Colloquia

Verb-argument representations and world knowledge in language comprehension (talk recording available)

Dr. Michael Walsh Dickey

Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

University of Pittsburgh, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

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This talk describes work aimed at disentangling the contributions of language and non-language information to rapid language comprehension.  The particular focus of this work is verbs – at the center of most/all sentences, in English and every other language, and a very common locus of impairment in aphasia.  Recent work (e.g., Hare, et al., 2009; Metusalem, 2012) has blurred the line between language-specific and non-linguistic information in verb-argument processing, arguing that the apparent rapid use of verb-specific information (like selectional restrictions) may in fact be reduced to activation of non-linguistic event-related representations in long-term memory.  We describe results from three studies (two reading and one visual world) arguing against such a conclusion.  Across the studies, there is an advantage for the use of verb-specific knowledge for the prediction and rapid integration of verbal arguments, among both unimpaired adults and adults with aphasia.

Furthermore, even adults with measurable impairments in their access to non-linguistic event representations show relatively intact verb-argument processing.  Together, these findings suggest that selectional restrictions rapidly influence processing and are used differently from event-related world knowledge during sentence comprehension (e.g. Warren & McConnell, 2007; Paczynski & Kuperberg, 2012)

To view a recording of this talk click here (You will need a Rutgers NetID and password) 

Dr. Michael Walsh Dickey

The RuCCS Colloquia Series is organized by Dr. Julien Musolino and Dr. Sara Pixley. The talks are held on Tuesdays in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on the Busch Campus from 1:00-2:30pm.

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