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language 2.3.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2134A/B
Marc Joanisse

LECTURE 2.3 – Theories of Language Processing  The Modularity Hypothesis... o Modularity theories believe that our mental operations are divided into separate modules. o Modules have 3 characteristics...  Domain Specific  Each module only processes certain types of information.  Information Encapsulation  Data is processed bottom-up only.  Localization of Function  Each module is in a specific brain region.  Modular Theories hypothesize that language is a “special” function and is processed only bottom-up.  When considering top-down versus bottom-up processing, it is important to distinguish between low level processing (perception of stimuli) and high level processing (use of LTM and context).  Bottom-up processing relies solely on low level information whereas top-down processing is an interaction between high level and low level processing.  The Connectionist/PDP Theories are sit contra to modular theories. They hold that speech processing, like other functions, is distributed across the brain with neurons as its basic unit of function.  PDP Models... o There are processing units called nodes (representation of neurons). o The nodes are connected in a network; these connections become stronger the more frequently they are used. o This model supports top-down processing.  How do we recognize spoken words? Words are stored individually, we recognize auditory input and use fast mapping to facilitate lexical access. This is a fast and largely automatic process.  Language processing and lexical access is tested primarily through measurements of reaction times in lexical decision tasks. There have been many interesting effects which we will consider.  Kucera & Francis studied the relationship between the commonality of a word and its reaction time. They found that the more common a word is, the faster a person could name it. This finding is called the Word Frequency Effect.  Another interesting finding is something called the Neighbourhood Effect. This is difficulty in recognizing a word because many other words sound similar to it.  The Cohort Model... o Modular. o Argues that we recognize words phoneme by phoneme and that a lexical decision is made when we reach the uniqueness point. o Very literal approach and doesn’t incorporate semantic or phonolo
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