Lectures 13 and 14: Language Comprehension

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What are the levels of ambiguity in language?
Lexical - words with several senses. Syntactic- sentence structure. Speech act.
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How can we interpret the writer/speakers intention?
Some social/legal speech acts are signalled directly by use of particular words e.g. I pronounce you husband and wife. Utterances directly indicate speech act. We have to infer speech act intended from body language/general knowledge.
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What is the Mental Model?
"language of thought": specifying elements and their relationship e.g. who, what, where, why, how, when in WM.
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What is local lexical and syntactic ambguity?
Words in a sentence that may have one or more meanings (ambiguous), have to wait for further info to determine the actual meaning. Fixation is longer for ambiguous words, we sometimes backtrack to make sense of these types of ambiguity.
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What are propositions and how do we know which ones to build?
We add propositions from sentences to existing knowledge, we must link new propositions with and across sentences to pick up the 'speech act'. We know by sentence structure - hierarchy of phrases.
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What are sentence structure clues and what is the evidence for them?
Word order, word modifying, function words. Broca's patients had trouble with syntactically complex sentences, reversible sentences and sentences that rely on word functions.
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What are strategies to determine local ambiguity?
Minimal commitment - wait for new information to determine ambiguous word. Serial - construct most likely meaning and backtrack if it is wrong. Parallel - construct multiple interpretations and delete wrong ones later.
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How can we use fixation durations as measure of processing cost of lexical ambiguity?
If no helpful info before ambiguous word then fixation on that word will be longer. If context before then fixation is same as for normal word.
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What does thinking include?
Judgement and decision making. Problem Solving. Inductive reasoning: predicting future from past data. Deductive reasoning: solving logical problems that have right answer.
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What research is there on thinking?
Focuses primarily on cases where there is a right answer and/or A) way of evaluating rationality of answer, B) way of assessing efficiency of how you get to right answer.
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What is the general dual-process theory of reasonig, problem-solving and decision making?
System 1 - intuitive, automatic, problem-solving = may lead to error if applied in wrong domain. System 2 - slow, effortful but rational and logical reasoning system = constrained by limited WM capacity and other limitations of cognition.
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What is the availability of memory?
Generally easier to retrieve from memory the examples that are more frequent. Also determined by salience and similarity. So we over-estimate probability of events when we know it is easily retrievable.
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What is the neglect of base and activeness bias?
When we evaluate cases we ignore important sources of information. This is knowledge of 'base rates' - frequencies of classes of event. If something has features representative of being X, we think they have standard properties of X.
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What is the "problem space."?
Created by Newell and Simon - problem solver must search for operators that will: minimise path length, without knowing optimal path. Avoid going around in circles. Move though intermediate paths approaching goal.
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What are the design limitation intrinsic to the cognitive machinery?
in cognitive capacities refers to limited working memory. Lead to reliance on bases.
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What is the difference between abstract and concrete reasoning?
We imagine concrete scenarios to assist reasoning, but ability to do so is limited by capacity of WM so we may not consider all possible scenarios.
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What is IF THEN reasoning?
Causal. IF there are clouds THEN there must be rain. Subjects choices can be rational.
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How is working memory capacity limited in problem solving?
Given huge workspace and time we could think of all possible moves and pick shortest path, but we do not have the capacity for this. Seek goals in small steps to make as little moves as possible. Recognise familiar patterns to retrieve effective move
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Explain Mental models and syllogistic reasoning
If we construct only first mental model and find it matches conclusion, we think inference is valid. But it is not, second model also describes how it is consistent with current info. Errors arise when we don't think of all possible mental models.
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Card 2

Front

How can we interpret the writer/speakers intention?

Back

Some social/legal speech acts are signalled directly by use of particular words e.g. I pronounce you husband and wife. Utterances directly indicate speech act. We have to infer speech act intended from body language/general knowledge.

Card 3

Front

What is the Mental Model?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is local lexical and syntactic ambguity?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What are propositions and how do we know which ones to build?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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