Recurring Themes

Recurring Themes - 3/10/11 Announcements Extra credit and...

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3/10/11
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Announcements Extra credit and in-class activity points will be posted on WebCT next week. The last day to assign your credits to the appropriate class is FRIDAY, MARCH 11th, 2010
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Studying language in humans Reading
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Eye Movements and Reading Comprehension Fixations (200-350 ms) and rapid eye movements or saccades provide snapshots of 4 characters to the left and up to 15 characters to the right of each fixation point. 80% of content and 20% of function words are fixated. With time to build mental structures, 250-300 wpm is a normal reading rate.
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Process Models of Reading Immediacy Assumption: an interpretation is immediately attached to each word fixated. N400 ERPs to anomolous words reflect an attempt to assign meaning immediately.
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Process Models of Reading Eye-Mind Assumption: the duration of fixation varies proportionally with the amount of information that must be processed (e.g., a grammatically complex sentence takes more time and activates more neural tissue than a simple sentence).
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How it’s learned How it’s handled in the brain How it affects cognition Whether other animals have it.
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Studying language in animals Is language special to humans? Why do we care? We often times use animals to study processes we can’t study in humans using invasive techniques. Findings from these studies are generalized to humans. Should we really be doing this?
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What about the processes that are defined, in party, by language? Declarative memory Consciousness Rule-based learning Representing in propositions Can we assume that animals only have these processes if they also have language?
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Contrasts to Animal Communication Only language uses symbols to represent objects. Words are detached from their referents unlike the calls of a bird or chimpanzee. Displacement in space and time is thus possible with language. Productivity is ability to create novel sentences that can be understood by other speakers of the language. Although chimpanzees can learn ASL and sign novel expressions, there is a vast difference in productivity.
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Ape language What are the cognitive capacities of non-human primates? Early studies= vocal speech = failure
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Recurring Themes - 3/10/11 Announcements Extra credit and...

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