The next cognitive brown bag is Weds. 3/5 at 12:00 in Tobin 521B. The speaker is Jon Burnsky (UMass PBS); title and abstract are below.
What does it mean to predict a word and what can predictions tell us?
I will present data from three experiments investigating prediction in language comprehension. First, I will discuss an eyetracking experiment providing suggestive (though inconclusive) evidence that predicted words that are not encountered are activated similarly to words that are actually encountered. Then, I will discuss two experiments using the cloze task in which comprehenders’ predictions are used as a tool to probe their syntactic or thematic representations of complex sentences. The results suggest that non-veridical representations are computed online when doing so yields a more plausible interpretation of the sentence, perhaps by way of Bayesian inference on the part of the comprehender.