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Chapter 11

PSYCO258 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Word Superiority Effect, Speech Segmentation, Psycholinguistics


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCO258
Professor
James Farley
Chapter
11

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Chapter 11: Language
What is Language?
Language: A system of communication using sounds or symbols that enables us to express
ourselves.
The Creativity of Human Language
-It is possible to create new and unique sentences because language is hierarchical and governed
by rules.
The Universal Need to Communicate With Language
-When deaf children are in an environment where nobody speaks or uses sign language, they
create their own sign language.
-All humans with normal capacities develop language and follow its complex rules.
-Language and language development is universal.
-All languages have nouns and verbs, and all languages include a system to make things negative,
to ask questions, and to refer to the past and present.
Studying Language
Psycholinguistics: The field concerned with the psychological study of language.
-The four major concerns of psycholinguistics are:
1. Comprehension: How do people understand language?
2. Speech Production: How do people produce language?
3. Representation: How is language represented in the mind and brain?
4. Acquisition: How do people learn language?
Perceiving Phonemes, Words, and Letters
Lexicon: A person's knowledge of what words mean, how they sound, and how they are used in
relation to other words.
Components of Words
Phoneme: The shortest segment of speech that, if changed, changes the meaning of a word.
-Indicated by phonetic symbols that are set off with slashes.
Morphemes: The smallest unit of language that has a definable meaning or a grammatical
function.
-Endings such as 's' and 'ed' have no meaning in themselves but are considered morphemes
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because they change the meaning of a word.
How Perceiving Sounds and Letters is Affected by Meaning
Speech: The Phonemic Restoration Effect
Phonemic Restoration Effect: When a phoneme in a word is heard even though it is obscured
by noise, such as a cough.
-In an experiment by Richard Warren, it was found that participants did not notice a missing
phoneme when it was covered by a cough, and they did not remember where the cough was.
Speech: Perceiving Individual Words in Sentences
-Irwin Pollack and J. M. Pickett found that participants couldn't understand half of their own words
when they were isolated out of full sentences.
-Speech segmentation is aided by being aware of the context of words in a sentence, but also by
knowing which sounds are most likely to follow others within a word.
Reading: The Word Superiority Effect
Word Superiority Effect: The idea that letters are easier to identify when they are a part of a
word than when they are seen in isolation or in a string of letters that do not form a word.
-Gerald Reicher found that participants identified if a certain letter was presented more quickly
when the letter was in a word than when it was alone.
Understanding Words
Corpus: The frequency with which specific words are used and the frequency of different
meanings and grammatical constructions in a particular language.
The Word Frequency Effect
Word Frequency: The relative use of words in a particular language.
Word Frequency Effect: The phenomenon of faster reading time for high-frequency words than
for low-frequency words.
-Low frequency words may take more time to process because it takes us more time to
access their meaning.
Lexical Ambiguity
Lexical Ambiguity: When a word can have more than one meaning.
Meaning Dominance: Some meanings of words occur more frequently than others.
Biased Dominance: When a word has more than one meaning and one meaning is more
likely.
Balanced Dominance: When a word has more than one meaning and all meanings are
equally likely.
-Words that are more likely either in general or contextually take less time to process in a reading
task.
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