Traditional mechanistic accounts of language processing derive almost entirely from the study of monologue. Yet, the most natural and basic form of language use is dialogue. As a result, these accounts may only offer limited theories of the mechanisms that underlie language processing in general. We propose a mechanistic account of dialogue, the interactive alignment account, and use it to derive a number of predictions about basic language processes. The account assumes that, in dialogue, the linguistic representations employed by the interlocutors become aligned at many levels, as a result of a largely automatic process. This process greatly simplifies production and comprehension in dialogue. After considering the evidence for the interactive alignment model, we concentrate on three aspects of processing that follow from it. It makes use of a simple interactive inference mechanism, enables the development of local dialogue routines that greatly simplify language processing, and explains the origins of self-monitoring in production. We consider the need for a grammatical framework that is designed to deal with language in dialogue rather than monologue, and discuss a range of implications of the account.
We report five experiments that investigate syntactic priming (Bock, 1986b) using a written completion task. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that priming occurs if the prime and target contain different verbs, but that stronger priming occurs if the verb is repeated. Experiment 1 also showed that priming occurs even if the detailed structure of prime and target differ. Experiments 3, 4, and 5 found that priming was unaffected by whether tense, aspect, or number of the verb stayed the same or differed between prime and target. We argue that these results provide evidence about the representation of syntactic information within the lemma stratum. We use these results to extend the model proposed by Roelofs (1992Roelofs ( , 1993. In particular, we argue that combinatorial information is phrasal in nature, is associated with the verb's lemma rather than a particular form of the verb, and is shared between different lemmas.
Repetition is a central phenomenon of behavior, and researchers make extensive use of it to illuminate psychological functioning. In the language sciences, a ubiquitous form of such repetition is structural priming, a tendency to repeat or better process a current sentence because of its structural similarity to a previously experienced ("prime") sentence (Bock, 1986). The recent explosion of research in structural priming has made it the dominant means of investigating the processes involved in the production (and increasingly, comprehension) of complex expressions such as sentences. This review considers its implications for the representation of syntax and the mechanisms of production, comprehension, and their relationship. It then addresses the potential functions of structural priming, before turning to its implications for first language acquisition, bilingualism, and aphasia We close with theoretical and empirical recommendations for future investigations.
KeywordsSyntax; Priming; Grammatical structure; Language production; Language comprehension A central phenomenon in experimental psychology is repetition -when we perform an action that is the same in some respects as an action we have performed before, or that we have observed others perform before. Repetition is central because it can reflect the operation of many different underlying psychological mechanisms. It can reflect learning and development (as we acquire a capability, we begin to repeat the products of that capability), imitation (we can repeat others' behavior to accomplish social as well as learning and development goals), and (lack of) executive control (when repetitive behavior reflects a perseverative tendency and so an inability to inhibit a previous and now potent response). Repetition is also inversely related to creativity, in that when we repeat a previous behavior, we forgo the opportunity to create a novel behavior instead.In the past couple of decades, research in the language sciences has revealed a new and striking form of repetition that we here call structural priming. When people talk or write, they tend to repeat the underlying basic structures that they recently produced or experienced others produce. This phenomenon has been the subject of heavy empirical scrutiny. Some of this scrutiny has been because, as in other domains in cognitive psychology (e.g., priming in the word-recognition literature; e.g., McNamara, 2005), the tendency to be affected by the repetition of aspects of knowledge can be used to diagnose the nature of that knowledge. So in this case, the tendency to repeat aspects of sentence structure helps researchers identify some of the representations that people construct when producing or comprehending language. As Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Martin Pickering, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, United Kingdom. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. we shall see, much structural priming is unusually abstract, evidently ...
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