Two LCNL projects will be presented at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, held in New Orleans, November 15-18, 2018.
Collaborators Natalie Schwob and Amy Lebkuecher will present a cross-disciplinary, multi-university collaboration by Natalie Schwob, Amy Lebkuecher, Misty Kabasa, Joy Kwon, Andrea Mason, Maryellen MacDonald, and Dan Weiss,
“Common Constraints in Language and Motor Planning”
While language is uniquely human, it is possible that language
shares similar constraints with other aspects of cognition
observed in nonhuman animals, such as action planning. The
current study aims to examine common constraints in motor
and language planning by utilizing comparable tasks between
domains. These tasks test hysteresis (plan re-use) and easy-
first (executing shorter/easier subgoals earlier) constraints
in sentence-level language production, reaching, and maze
tasks, each with two-alternative responses possible. If planning
is similarly constrained across domains, then we predict
participants will exhibit both hysteresis and easy-first biases in
both motor and language planning tasks. Preliminary results
show that participants are demonstrating hysteresis in the
reaching task, easy-first in the maze task, and a combination of
these plans in the syntactic production task. Future analyses will
examine individual behavior across the domains to help shed
light on the presence of shared planning constraints between
motor and language planning.
LCNL members Steve Schwering and Maryellen MacDonald will present
“The Effect of Syntax in Serial Recall”
Is there hierarchical structure in working memory
(WM)? Previous research demonstrated effects of transition
statistics and semantics on serial order processing, supporting
theories of WM maintained through long-term memory. Yet,
these effects do not correspond to complex or unique linguistic
structures and do not always reflect real-world statistics.
Does long-term experience with abstract linguistic sequences
uniquely impact recall of word order in a serial recall task?
In multiple experiments, we examined effects of learned
grammatical structures on WM while controlling for effects of
semantics and transition probabilities. Transition probabilities
and grammatical relationships were confirmed via corpus
analyses. We found better recall for word orders consistent with
learned structures, suggesting long-term linguistic experience
affects performance on tasks tapping immediate verbal WM.
These results support theories suggesting a closer link between
language production planning and WM with consequences for
both theories of language production/comprehension and the
nature of WM.