Currently, production and comprehension are regarded as quite distinct in accounts of language processing. In rejecting this dichotomy, we instead assert that producing and understanding are interwoven, and that this interweaving is what enables people to predict themselves and each other. We start by noting that production and comprehension are forms of action and action perception. We then consider the evidence for interweaving in action, action perception, and joint action, and explain such evidence in terms of prediction. Specifically, we assume (...) that actors construct forward models of their actions before they execute those actions, and that perceivers of others' actions covertly imitate those actions, then construct forward models of those actions. We use these accounts of action, action perception, and joint action to develop accounts of production, comprehension, and interactive language. Importantly, they incorporate well-defined levels of linguistic representation. We show how speakers and comprehenders use covert imitation and forward modeling to make predictions at these levels of representation, how they interweave production and comprehension processes, and how they use these predictions to monitor the upcoming utterances. We show how these accounts explain a range of behavioral and neuroscientific data on language processing and discuss some of the implications of our proposal. (shrink)
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. Key Words: common ground; dialogue; dialogue routines; language comprehension; language production; monitoring; perception-behavior link. (shrink)
Dialog is a joint action at different levels. At the highest level, the goal of interlocutors is to align their mental representations. This emerges from joint activity at lower levels, both concerned with linguistic decisions (e.g., choice of words) and nonlinguistic processes (e.g., alignment of posture or speech rate). Because of the high‐level goal, the interlocutors are particularly concerned with close coupling at these lower levels. As we illustrate with examples, this means that imitation and entrainment are particularly pronounced during (...) interactive communication. We then argue that the mechanisms underlying such processes involve covert imitation of interlocutors’ communicative behavior, leading to emulation of their expected behavior. In other words, communication provides a very good example of predictive emulation, in a way that leads to successful joint activity. (shrink)
Within the cognitive sciences, most researchers assume that it is the job of linguists to investigate how language is represented, and that they do so largely by building theories based on explicit judgments about patterns of acceptability – whereas it is the task of psychologists to determine how language is processed, and that in doing so, they do not typically question the linguists' representational assumptions. We challenge this division of labor by arguing that structural priming provides an implicit method of (...) investigating linguistic representations that should end the current reliance on acceptability judgments. Moreover, structural priming has now reached sufficient methodological maturity to provide substantial evidence about such representations. We argue that evidence from speakers' tendency to repeat their own and others' structural choices supports a linguistic architecture involving a single shallow level of syntax connected to a semantic level containing information about quantification, thematic relations, and information structure, as well as to a phonological level. Many of the linguistic distinctions often used to support complex syntactic structure are instead captured by semantics; however, the syntactic level includes some specification of “missing” elements that are not realized at the phonological level. We also show that structural priming provides evidence about the consistency of representations across languages and about language development. In sum, we propose that structural priming provides a new basis for understanding the nature of language. (shrink)
Linguistic interaction between two people is the fundamental form of communication, yet almost all research in language use focuses on isolated speakers and listeners. In this innovative work, Garrod and Pickering extend the scope of psycholinguistics beyond individuals by introducing communication as a social activity. Drawing on psychological, linguistic, philosophical and sociological research, they expand their theory that alignment across individuals is the basis of communication, through the model of a 'shared workspace account'. In this workspace, interlocutors are actors who (...) jointly manipulate and control the interaction and develop similar representations of both language and social context, in order to achieve communicative success. The book also explores dialogue within groups, technologies, as well as the role of culture more generally. Providing a new understanding of cognitive representation, this trailblazing work will be highly influential in the fields of linguistics, psychology and cognitive linguistics. (shrink)
Our target article proposed that language production and comprehension are interwoven, with speakers making predictions of their own utterances and comprehenders making predictions of other people's utterances at different linguistic levels. Here, we respond to comments about such issues as cognitive architecture and its neural basis, learning and development, monitoring, the nature of forward models, communicative intentions, and dialogue.
Structural priming offers a powerful method for experimentally investigating the mental representation of linguistic structure. We clarify the nature of our proposal, justify the versatility of priming, consider alternative approaches, and discuss how our specific account can be extended to new questions as part of an interdisciplinary programme integrating linguistics and psychology as part of the cognitive sciences of language.
Most models of lexical access assume that bilingual speakers activate their two languages even when they are in a context in which only one language is used. A critical piece of evidence used to support this notion is the observation that a given word automatically activates its translation equivalent in the other language. Here, we argue that these findings are compatible with a different account, in which bilinguals “carry over” the structure of their native language to the non-native language during (...) learning, and where there is no activation of translation equivalents. To demonstrate this, we describe a model in which language learning involves mapping native language phonological relationships to the non-native language, and we show how it can explain the results attributed to automatic activation of translation equivalents. (shrink)
The interactive-alignment model of dialogue provides an account of dialogue at the level of explanation normally associated with cognitive psychology. We develop our claim that interlocutors align their mental models via priming at many levels of linguistic representation, explicate our notion of automaticity, defend the minimal role of “other modeling,” and discuss the relationship between monologue and dialogue. The account can be applied to social and developmental psychology, and would benefit from computational modeling.
The target article says surprisingly little about the possible role of shared circuits in language and communication. This commentary considers how they might contribute to linguistic communication, particularly during dialogue. We argue that shared circuits are used to promote alignment between linguistic representations at many levels and to support production-based emulation of linguistic input during comprehension.
The standardization account predicts short message service (SMS) interactions, allowed by current technology, will support the use and conventionalization of ideographs. Relying on psycholinguistic theories of dialogue, we argue that ideographs (such as emoji) can be used by interlocutors in SMS interactions, so that the main contributor can use them to accompany language and the addressee can use them as stand-alone feedback.
Foundations of Language sets out to reconcile generative accounts of language structure with psychological accounts of language processing. We argue that Jackendoff's “parallel architecture” is a particularly appropriate linguistic framework for the interactive alignment account of dialogue processing. It offers a helpful definition of linguistic levels of representation, it gives an interesting account of routine expressions, and it supports radical incrementality in processing.
Natural language processing involves a tight coupling between action (the production of language) and perception (the comprehension of language). We argue that similar theoretical principles apply to language processing as to action/perception in general. Language production is not driven solely by the speaker's intentions; language comprehension is not only input-driven; production and perception use common representations. We will relate recent findings from our language production lab to the Theory of Event Coding (TEC)'s principle of feature binding.
Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer (henceforth Levelt et al. 1999) propose a model of production incorporating a lemma stratum, which is concerned with the syntactic characteristics of lexical entries. We suggest that syntactic priming experiments provide evidence about how such syntactic information is represented, and that this evidence can be used to extend Levelt et al.'s model. Evidence from syntactic priming experiments also supports Levelt et al.'s conjecture that the lemma stratum is shared between the production and comprehension systems.
A second-person perspective in neuroscience is particularly appropriate for the study of communication. We describe how the investigation of joint language tasks can contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying interaction.
Grodzinsky claims that “normal language users demonstrate trace-antecedent relations in real-time tasks.” However, the cited evidence is equally compatible with a traceless account of processing. Moreover, Pickering and Barry (1991) and Traxler and Pickering (1996) have demonstrated that the processor does not wait until the purported trace location before forming the dependency. Grodzinsky's claims about Broca's area should be interpreted in terms of a transformation-free account.
The authors' claim that analogical reasoning is the product of relational priming is compatible with language processing work that emphasizes the role of low-level automatic processes in the alignment of situation models in dialogue. However, their model ignores recent behavioral evidence demonstrating a effect on relational priming. We discuss implications of these data.