Paralinguistic correlates of conceptual structure

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

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


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
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barr, Dr Dale
Authors: Barr, D.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Psychonomic Bulletin and Review
ISSN (Online):1531-5320

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record