Modeling the Selective Effects of Slowed-Down Speech in Pronoun Comprehension
Jacolien van Rij, Petra Hendriks, Jennifer Spenader, and Hedderik van Rijn
291-302 (complete paper
or proceedings contents
In this paper the authors discuss a computational cognitive model of children's well-known difficulties with pronoun comprehension (the so-called Delay of Principle B Effect, or DPBE). In this DPBE/ACT-R model, Hendriks and Spenader's Optimality Theoretic account (2005/2006) is implemented in the cognitive architecture ACT-R. Hendriks and Spenader attribute the DPBE to a direction-sensitive grammar in combination with children's inability to take into account the speaker's perspective (bidirectional optimization). The cognitive model predicts that children are in principle able to consider the speaker's perspective but lack the processing efficiency to complete this process within the amount of time available for comprehension. The authors investigated this prediction of the DPBE/ACT-R model in a psycholinguistic experiment, in which children's pronoun comprehension at a normal speech rate was compared with their comprehension at a slower speech rate. By slowing down the speech rate, children are given more time for interpretation. Slowed-down speech was found to have a beneficial effect on children's pronoun comprehension, but only if the child displays a DPBE, thus supporting the hypothesis of the cognitive model.
Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2008)
edited by Jean Crawford, Koichi Otaki, and Masahiko Takahashi
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