Paralinguistic correlates of conceptual structure

Barr, D.J. (2003) Paralinguistic correlates of conceptual structure. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 10(2), pp. 462-467. (doi:10.3758/BF03196507)

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Abstract

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.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:cognitive_science
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barr, Dr Dale
Authors: Barr, D.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Publisher:Springer-Verlag
ISSN:1069-9384
ISSN (Online):1531-5320

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