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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Reading Notes.odt

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Todd Ferretti

READING NOTES Chapter 3: Psychological Mechanisms Main Points: • The acts of comprehending and producing language are performed within the constraints of our information-processing system ◦ This system consists of working memory and long-term memory ▪ Long term-memory comprises of: • Episodic memory • Semantic memory • Anumber of issues regarding language processing have been raised ◦ These include whether serial processes or parallel process, whether we tend to use top-down or bottom-up processes, whether language processes are primarily automatic or controlled, and the extent to which language processing displays modularity • Children appear to process information very differently than adults, but studies of the development of the processing system suggest that most of the system is developmentally invariant The Information-Processing System • Working memory is also known as primary memory • Long-term memory is also know as secondary memory Working Memory • Working memory has been defined as referring to “the temporary storage of information that is being processed in any range of cognitive tasks” ◦ e.g.) When we are remembering a phone number while dialling or having a conversation • The most simple measure is a memory span test in which participants are given a series of items (words, letters, numbers, and so forth) and asked to recall the items in the order presented • Apersons memory span is the number of items that can be reliably recalled in the correct order • The Baddeley – Hitch Model of working memory Visuospatial Sketchpad Central Executive Phonological Loop • Central Executive ◦ Initially, it was conceived as a limited capacity pool of general processing resources ▪ That is, the assumption that we are limited in terms of the number of things we an do at once ◦ It is assumed that the central executive exerts executive control ▪ It determines what activities the slave systems (phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad) should be doing at any given time • Phonological Loop ◦ Consists of: ▪ Phonological Store • Holds phonological representations for a brief period of time ▪ Articulatory Rehearsal System • Enables us to covertly or overtly rehearse materials, thus prolonging their stay in the phonological store ◦ The model assumes that there are phonological representations of both auditory and visual materials ▪ When visual material such as printed letters are presented, we may convert them into phonological representations and thus hold them in the phonological store • Visuospatial Sketchpad ◦ This temporarily maintains and manipulates visuospatial information ◦ The system allows us to form visual images, rotate them in our minds, convert words into images, and so on Tests of the Model • Predictions of the model pertaining to the articulatory loop: ◦ The model predicts that hen people make errors in working memory tasks, the errors tend to be in the direction of similar sounds ◦ What might happen if a person had to remember letters, while at the same time, speaking some sounds over and over? ▪ Reduced memory overall and in particular a reduction in similar-sound errors ◦ The number of words remembered in a memory span study are related to the length of the words ▪ It is the pronunciation time of words that is critical ▪ called the world-length effect • e.g.) (tip, pack, cat) versus (fine, wish lob) ◦ The phonological loop may help explain certain deficits in working memory • Predictions of the model pertaining to the central executive: ◦ Complex measure span (involves both storage and processing components) successfully predicted scores on the reading comprehension test of the SATs ◦ Working memory capacity predicted performance on the Stroop Task ▪ Atask in which colour words are written in non-congruent colours • Individuals with smaller working memories made more errors on the task ◦ Individuals with a strong working memory do better on antisaccade tasks ▪ Atask where individuals fixate in the middle of a visual display and must respond to a target that is presented to the left or right of the fixation point ◦ Individuals with higher levels of math anxiety had small working memory span Long-Term Memory • Long-term memory is defined as a memory structure that holds permanent knowledge ◦ Two types: ▪ Episodic memory deals with personally experienced facts • Turving has emphasized that the activation of episodic memory is not merely retrieving personal facts from long-term memory, rather it is retrieving information from a person's own perspective • Autonoetic consciousness is the type of consciousness of subjectively experienced time, past, present, or future ▪ Semantic memory refers to our organized knowledge of words, concepts, symbols, and objects • It includes information such as motor skills, general knowledge, spatial knowledge, and social skills Relevance for Language Processing • Working memory is only able to hold about seven units of information ◦ This could simply be seven words, but because sentences are longer than this, we need some way to deal immediately with more than seven words ▪ One way we do this is chunking the words into grammatical constituents • e.g.) into nouns and verb phrases • Semantic memory contains information on the speech sounds and words that we retrieve during pattern recognition ◦ While this process is going on, we are also building up an episodic memory representation of the ongoing discourse Central Issues in Language Processing Serial and Parallel Processing • If a group of processes takes place at one time, it is called serial processing • If two or more processes take place simultaneously, it is called parallel processing ◦ The parallel distributed processing model views the mind as “massively parallel” - that is, as simultaneously processing a large amount of information ▪ e.g.) Figure 3.2 (page 55) “THE CAT” (obscured letters) • In the first word, we interpret the middle letter as h but as a in the second
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