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Music and Language CogSci Incubator April 13th at 2:30 with Acevedo and Temperley

There is growing interest in the 5 Colleges in music cognition and its relation to language. To build on this, Mara Breen (Mount Holyoke Psychology and Education), Joe Pater (UMass Linguistics) and Christopher White (UMass Music and Dance) have organized the first “CogSci Incubator” event. On April 13th, Stephanie Acevedo of Yale University (https://stefanieacevedo.com) and David Temperley of the Eastman School of Music (http://davidtemperley.com) will present talks from 2:30 – 5 in N400 of the Integrative Learning Center. This will be followed by a reception at the Hangar  Pub and Grill. In preparation for Temperley’s visit, there will also be two meetings, on April 3rd and 10th, from 3-4:15, to discuss his new book The Musical Language of Rock. Details on those meetings, including location, will be forthcoming.

These events are sponsored by the CogSci Initiative, the Department of Linguistics, and the Department of Music and Dance. If you are interested in “Incubating” another emerging UMass CogSci research area, please contact Joe Pater.

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Angelika Fest in Linguistics Friday and Saturday March 9th and 10th

In celebration of Angelika Kratzer on the occasion of her retirement and of her 70th birthday, there will be a pair of talks on Friday, and a workshop on Saturday.

The two public colloquia will feature  Lisa Matthewson (“Tense systems in allegedly tenseless languages”) and Manfred Krifka (“Commitments, Judgments, Propositions”) and will be held in the Integrative Learning Center S211 on Friday 2:30-5:30. More details can be found here:  https://blogs.umass.edu/kratzerfest/fest-site/colloquia-by-manfred-krifka-and-lisa-matthewson/.

Starting at 9 am Saturday, Semantics 2018: Looking Ahead is a day-long workshop that is free and open to everyone. No registration is necessary. The program is available here: https://blogs.umass.edu/kratzerfest/fest-site/semantics-2018-looking-ahead/.

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Crnič in Linguistics Thursday March 8th

“Negative Polarity Items: A New Perspective”
Luka Crnič (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Thursday 3/8 at 4PM, ILC N400
Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) have a more restricted distribution than other expressions in their syntactic categories. While it is uncontroversial that providing an adequate description of this distribution requires recourse to semantics, such a description has remained elusive. This holds, in particular, due to the intricate behavior of NPIs in modal and non-monotone environments, in some of which they exhibit sensitivity to extra-grammatical factors. Drawing on independently-motivated mechanisms in grammar, we show how such descriptive challenges can be answered while maintaining that the special condition that NPIs are subject to is based on a notion of entailment. Along the way, we discuss two further features of the system: its ability to account for variation in the distribution of certain NPIs without further stipulations, and its straightforward compatibility with an explanation of the special condition on NPIs.
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Chang in Cognitive Brown Bag Wednesday March 7 at noon

This week’s cognitive brown bag speaker (3/7, 12:00-1:20, Tobin 521B) will be Junha Chang (PBS).  Title and abstract are below.

Search guidance is sometimes, but not always, adjusted by experience with search discriminability

These experiments show that previous experience with certain types of visual search can influence current search guidance, and explore factors that determine whether these effects of experience arise or not. In a dual-target search task, two subject groups either experienced difficult color discriminability in half of the trials (i.e., hard-discrimination group) or experienced easy discriminability in all trials (i.e., easy-discrimination group). In both experiments, subjects were required to respond whether either of two targets was present or not among distractors. In Experiment 1, the same two colors served as possible target colors for the entire experiment. Fixation rate was high for distractors with colors similar to a target color, and gradually decreased for colors less and less similar to the target color. There was no significant difference between two groups in both eye movement and behavioral results. In Experiment 2, the colors of the two targets were varied from trial to trial in order to increase working memory demand. The hard-discrimination group fixated more distractors with target-dissimilar colors than the easy-discrimination group, suggesting the hard-discrimination group used color information to guide search less than the easy-discrimination group. The results demonstrate that experience of difficult color discriminability discourages observers from guiding attention by color and encourage them to use shape information, but only when working memory load is demanding.