Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium: Duane Watson, Vanderbilt University

Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium: Duane Watson, Vanderbilt University promotional image

Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium

Duane Watson, Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Frank W. Mayborn Chair in Cognitive Science, Vanderbilt University

Language Experience Drives Language Understanding

The language environment is critical for language learning and vocabulary growth in children and in predicting the difficulty of processing words and sentences in adults. However, psycholinguists have traditionally measured language experience by aggregating over populations. In this talk, I will share experimental evidence suggesting that an individual’s specific experience with language is linked to their specific preferences for different constructions. By using NLP tools to analyze the linguistic properties of participants’ favorite websites, we compare effects of internet reading habits to effects of cognitive factors such as working memory and inhibitory control on reading difficulty. Consistent with statistical models of language comprehension, we find that prior experience with language is an important predictor of language comprehension.

Friday, November 3, 2023 3:30pm
Psychological and Brain Sciences Building
340 Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52240
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