Fast, Smart and Out of Control: The Development of Language Comprehension


WHEN November 13, 2012
6:30-8 PM EST WHERE 19 Washington Square North Part of "Research at the NYUAD Institute" WHO NYU Abu Dhabi Institute in New York Open to the Public

In ordinary conversation, we produce 2-3 words per second. As these words fly by, we must identify them, incorporate them into our syntactic analysis of the sentence, and make inferences about the speaker’s intentions. My work explores how these processes develop. We find that, by three years of age, children’s language comprehension has the central features of the adult system: 1) it employs abstract grammatical representations; 2) these representations are constructed incrementally as the utterance unfolds; 3) multiple sources of information are used to construct these representations; and 4) information flows readily between language and other cognitive systems. Children however differ from adults in critical ways: they have difficulty overcoming interference and revising their misanalyses and they are less likely to make use of top-down constraints.

In collaboration with the Neuroscience of Language Laboratory, NYUAD
Alec Marantz, Principal Investigator and Professor of Linguistics and Psychology, NYU

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