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How is conceptual knowledge transmitted during conversation? When a speaker refers to an object, the name that the speaker chooses conveys information about categoryidentity. In addition, I propose that a speaker’s confidence in a classification can convey information about categorystructure. Because atypical instances of a category are more difficult to classify than typical instances, when speakers refer to these instances their lack of confidence will manifest itself “paralinguistically”—that is, in the form of hesitations, filled pauses, or rising prosody. These features can help listeners learn by enabling them to differentiate good from bad examples of a category. So that this hypothesis could be evaluated, in a category learning experiment participants learned a set of novel colors from a speaker. When the speaker’s paralinguistically expressed confidence was consistent with the underlying category structure, learners acquired the categories more rapidly and showed better category differentiation from the earliest moments of learning. These findings have important implications for theories of conversational coordination and language learning.
|Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:||Barr, Dr Dale|
|College/School:||College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology|
|Journal Name:||Psychonomic Bulletin & Review|