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Cognition. 2004 Nov;94(1):1-18.

Putting the bits together: an information theoretical perspective on morphological processing.

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  • 1Medical Research Council-Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK.


In this study we introduce an information-theoretical formulation of the emergence of type- and token-based effects in morphological processing. We describe a probabilistic measure of the informational complexity of a word, its information residual, which encompasses the combined influences of the amount of information contained by the target word and the amount of information carried by its nested morphological paradigms. By means of re-analyses of previously published data on Dutch words we show that the information residual outperforms the combination of traditional token- and type-based counts in predicting response latencies in visual lexical decision, and at the same time provides a parsimonious account of inflectional, derivational, and compounding processes.

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