Blog Archives

The role of beliefs in lexical alignment: Evidence from dialogs with humans and computers

Five experiments examined the extent to which speakers’ alignment (i.e., convergence) on words in dialog is mediated by beliefs about their interlocutor. To do this, we told participants that they were interacting with another person or a computer in a task in which they alternated between selecting pictures that matched their ‘partner’s’ descriptions and naming pictures themselves (though in reality all responses were scripted). In both text- and speech-based dialog, participants tended to repeat their partner’s choice of referring expression. However, they showed a stronger tendency to align with ‘computer’ than with ‘human’ partners, and with computers that were presented as less capable than with computers that were presented as more capable. The tendency to align therefore appears to be mediated by beliefs, with the relevant beliefs relating to an interlocutor’s perceived communicative capacity.

from Cognition

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Associations Between Syntax and the Lexicon Among Children With or Without ASD and Language Impairment

Five groups of children defined by presence or absence of syntactic deficits and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) took vocabulary tests and provided sentences, definitions, and word associations. Children with ASD who were free of syntactic deficits demonstrated age-appropriate word knowledge. Children with ASD plus concomitant syntactic language impairments (ASDLI) performed similarly to peers with specific language impairment (SLI) and both demonstrated sparse lexicons characterized by partial word knowledge and immature knowledge of word-to-word relationships. This behavioral overlap speaks to the robustness of the syntax–lexicon interface and points to a similarity in the ASDLI and SLI phenotypes.

from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

When one can write SALTO as noun but not as verb: A grammatical category-specific, modality-specific deficit

We report the naming performance of a Spanish patient (AQF) suffering from Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). AQF’s performance revealed a grammatical category-specific deficit, with poorer performance in verb than in noun naming. Furthermore, this dissociation was only present in written naming. Importantly, the patient’s dissociation between nouns and verbs was present also when we studied her performance with homonymous words. We argue that this dissociation is not due to a range of semantic factors but is a true grammatical category-specific deficit located at the lexical level of orthographic processing. Thus, we bring in new evidence in favour of grammatical category representation at a post-semantic level where output modalities are represented separately.

from Brain and Language

Hebrew Adjectives in Later Language Text Production

The study investigates the distribution and use of adjectives in 252 texts produced by 63 Hebrew-speaking children, adolescents, and adults who were asked to tell and write a story about a personal fight or a quarrel, and to present a talk and write an expository text on the topic of school violence. All adjective types and tokens in each text were identified, counted, classified, and analyzed using semantic, morphological, and syntactic criteria. Findings show that the adjective class grows larger, richer, and more diverse with age and schooling — in lexicon, morpho-semantics, and syntax. Also, adjectives configure by text genres and modalities in ways that provide independent support for text type classification from spoken narratives, on the one hand, to written expositories, on the other. Finally, gender effects point in the direction of Hebrew-speaking girls and women employing a richer and more diverse adjective lexicon than boys and men in this study.

from First Language

Lexical processing in the bilingual brain: Evidence from grammatical/morphological deficits

Conclusions: The selectivity and cross-language nature of the deficits reviewed here indicates that at least certain language substrates are shared in proficient bilingual people. The fact that these deficits affect grammatical class distinctions and verb inflections—information that is part of the lexicon—further indicates that shared neural substrates support lexical processing in proficient bilingual people.

from Aphasiology

Connectionist diagnosis of lexical disorders in aphasia

Background: In the cognitive neurolinguistic approach to lexical deficits in aphasia, impaired levels of processing are localised in a cognitive model. Model-oriented treatment may target these impaired components. Thus a precise assessment of the disorder is crucial. Connectionist models add to this by using computer simulation to specify the details of the functioning of these components. The connectionist semantic-phonological model of lexical access (Dell, Martin, & Schwartz, 2007; Schwartz, Dell, Martin, Gahl, & Sobel, 2006) explores the impairment by simulating error patterns in naming and repetition.

Aims: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the model’s range of application as a diagnostic tool, and to derive recommendations for the model’s use in clinical settings.

Methods & Procedures: We demonstrate how we adapted the error analysis to 15 German-speaking patients with aphasia, analysed the model’s accuracy in assessing naming and repetition disorders, and explained deviations between the error pattern produced by each patient and the one produced by the model’s simulation by appealing to an extended version of the model.

Outcomes & Results: Overall, the model yielded good fits of the patients’ error patterns. Larger model-patient deviations could be explained by the model’s limited set of lesionable components.

Conclusions: The “connectionist diagnosis” of naming and repetition disorders in the semantic-phonological model is a reasonable tool in model-oriented assessment. However, the diagnosis needs to be complemented by further language tests.

from Aphasiology