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Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Mar;11(3):105-10. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Do people use language production to make predictions during comprehension?

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, UK. martin.pickering@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

We present the case that language comprehension involves making simultaneous predictions at different linguistic levels and that these predictions are generated by the language production system. Recent research suggests that ease of comprehending predictable elements is due to prediction rather than facilitated integration, and that comprehension is accompanied by covert imitation. We argue that comprehenders use prediction and imitation to construct an "emulator", using the production system, and combine predictions with the input dynamically. Such a process helps to explain the rapidity of comprehension and the robust interpretation of ambiguous or noisy input. This framework is in line with a general trend in cognitive science to incorporate action systems into perceptual systems and has broad implications for understanding the links between language production and comprehension.

PMID:
17254833
DOI:
10.1016/j.tics.2006.12.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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