statistics and associations psychology 1306: language and thought

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Statistics and Associations Psychology 1306: Language and Thought. Presentation by: Evan Stephanie Favermann Review of Yoshida & Smith (2003, 2005) and Lupyan, Rakison & McClelland (2007). Purpose of Experimentation and Discussion. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Statistics and Associations Psychology 1306: Language and Thought

Statistics and AssociationsPsychology 1306: Language and ThoughtPresentation by: Evan Stephanie Favermann

Review of Yoshida & Smith (2003, 2005) and Lupyan, Rakison & McClelland (2007)1Purpose of Experimentation and DiscussionTo look at the different ways various languages mark individuals (specifically we look at Japanese and English)

To look at childrens expectations about lexical categories

To evaluate the proposal:[T]he language one learns influences - perturbs slightly but measurably - the boundaries between the psychological categories of animal, object, and substance, (Yoshida & Smith, 2003).2Ontological PartitioningThe partition of things into animals, objects and substances is sometimes considered an ontological partition, (Yoshida & Smith, 2003).Specification of categorical conceptThree different kinds of existenceDistinct psychological forms (which serve as a foundation for human category learning)

Animates Objects Substances3Individuation Continuum (Lucy, 1992) Individuation: occurs when an entity is conceptualized as bounded and discreteAnimates lie at one end and substances at the other end of a continuous spectrumThe likelihood that a particular entity is conceptualized as individual varies systematically across the continuum from animates to substancesAnimatesObjectsSubstancesMore IndividualizedLess Individualized4Individuation in EnglishIn English, individuation is frequently demonstrated by the count/mass distinction:Count Nouns: nouns that can take the plural (e.g. dogs, cups) discrete entities, bounded, thus conceptualized as individualsMass Nouns: nouns that are not pluralized (e.g. milk), instead take continuous quantifiers (e.g. some, much) continuous entities, unbounded, thus conceptualized as masses5Examples:ACCEPTABLE: I am putting the car (object) in the garageAWKWARD: I am putting much car in the garage

AWKWARD: I am putting a gas (substance) in my carPREFERRED: I am putting some gas in my car

Individuation in English

6However, sometimes nouns may take both count and mass formsExamples:Can you pass me a water? (object containing substance implied)Do you want some muffin? (part of a whole object implied)Individuation in English

7Individuation in EnglishGenerally, English treats animates and complex objects as individuals, while substances are treated as massesThe likelihood of treating an object as an individual drops markedly between objects and substances in EnglishAnimatesObjectsSubstancesMassesIndividualsEnglish Individuation Boundary8Individuation in JapaneseJapanese lexical and syntactic devices relevant to individuation are different from those in English:Japanese nouns that refer to multiple entities are not necessarily pluralized (e.g. the same expression can mean there was a dog and there were many dogs)A particular plural suffix -tachi is never used with inanimate nouns (and is optional with animate nouns)There are unique quantifiers for animates, but those used for objects and substances form an overlapping setJapanese also has separate exists/is located verbs for animates and inanimates (iru and aru respectively)

KEY POINT: The Japanese language privileges animates as individuals

9Individuation in JapaneseThe likelihood of treating an object as an individual drops markedly between animates and objects in JapaneseAnimatesObjectsSubstancesMassesIndividualsJapanese Individuation Boundary10

The Boundary Shift Hypothesis (Yoshida & Smith, 2003)The Boundary Shift Hypothesis: The likelihood function relating things in the world to the conceptual categories of object and substance is shifted slightly in Japanese relative to English.11Novel Noun Generalization Task (Soja, 1992)Purpose: To study childrens expectations about ontological distinctionsThe Test:Experimenters present children with entity and give it a novel name (e.g. this is the mel)The experimenter then asks the child to identify which of new test stimuli presented is called by the same name (e.g. show me the mel)

Childrens generalizations provide insights into expectations about how nouns map to categories 12Novel Noun Generalization TaskResult: The solidity of the substance is the dominant force on childrens extension of novel names.English-speaking children conceptualized both the complex and simple solids as discrete objectsJapanese-speaking children conceptualized only complex solid objects as individualized thingsThese results support the Boundary Shift Hypothesis

This is the mel

Show me the mel


Novel Noun Generation TaskJapaneseEnglish14Assimilation at the BoundaryThe individuation boundary concept has important implications for ambiguous kinds near the boundaryProposal (Yoshida & Smith, 2003): Solid substances are conceptualized as objects by English speakers because they fall near the individuation boundaryCorrelations between perceptual properties (cues) and linguistic devices relevant to individuation enhance perceptual properties characteristic of individualized entitiesThus, entities near the boundary that have ambiguous perceptual cues will be assimilated to the more individualized kindIs this true with ambiguity at Japanese boundary between animates and inanimates?

15Experiment 1: Animates and Inanimates in Japanese (Yoshida & Smith, 2003)Experimental Question: Are objects that are ambiguous with respect to animacy assimilated toward the individuated end of the continuum?

Motivation: (Jones & Smith, 2002) Adults judged animal categories to be well organized by similarities in shape and texture, whereas they judged artifact categories to be well organized by shape alone.If novel names are extended based on shape and texture, it can be assumed the kind was judged as an animate. If the name is extended based on shape alone, it is assumed the kind was judged as an artifact.16

Experiment 1Prediction: Japanese - Individualized if judged similar on both texture and shape17Experiment 1Method:20 two and three-year-old monolingual Japanese-speaking participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions (were the verb means exists/is located):Iru condition - animate privileged conditionAru condition - inanimate conditionBoundary ambiguous exemplars (at the animate/artifact boundary) were named using either iru or aru according to the condition to which the child was assigned Training:Participants were presented with objects that either were identical to the exemplar or different from it on all properties (shape, texture, and color). They were asked whether the new object had the same name as the first. Feedback was given in the training trials.18Experiment 1Test:The experimental trials were identical to the training trials with the exception that no feedback was providedEach exemplar was named with a unique nameParticipants were presented with test objects that matched the exemplar on one, two, or all three of the properties.

Two examples of exemplars:

Test Framing:

PresentationQuestionIru (animate)Koko-ni____-ga iru-yoKoko-ni____-ga iru-kana?Aru (artifact)Kok-ni____-ga aru-yoKoko-ni____-ga aru-kana?

19Experiment 1Results:

Conservativism with naming in Iru condition.Participants in the Aru condition generalized the name to more test objects.Children overall were more likely to generalize the name to new instances that matched the exemplar on multiple properties than on just one property

20Experiment 1Discussion:Overall, performance in the Iru condition fits what is expected if children interpret the named exemplar as an animate thing and if they generalize names for animate things conservatively (by judging similarity in both texture and shape). Similarly, performance in the Aru condition fits what is expected if the named object is viewed as an artifact (inanimate) and names for artifacts are generalized more broadly by shape alone.Thus, linguistic cues influence whether an object is conceptualized as animate or artifact when perceptual cues are ambiguousLinguistic cues (iru/aru) alter the way Japanese-speaking children categorize novel objectsThe differing impact of iru and aru likely depends on the ambiguity of perceptual cues. In experiments with less ambiguous objects, linguistic cues have little influence.

21Experiment 2: Individualization Across Languages (Yoshida & Smith, 2003)Experimental Question: Does a history of using linguistic cues influence conceptualization of ambiguous stimuli? Or is the explicit presence of linguistic cues required for influencing conceptualization as seen in Experiment 1?

Motivation: Using the Boundary Shift Hypothesis, if the default is to individualize ambiguous forms at the boundary, then interpretation of animate-like forms should be more acutely animate (more narrowly defined) for Japanese-speaking participants than for English-speaking ones.22

Experiment 2JapaneseEnglishPrediction: Japanese - individualized if judged similar on both texture and shape English - Individualized if only judged similar on shape alone23Experiment 2Method:10 two and three-year-old monolingual English-speaking participants and 10 two and three-year-old monolingual Japanese-speaking participants participated in an experiment identical to that of Experiment 1 with the exception of the sentence frames in which the novel names were presentedFrames were animate/artifact neutralFraming:

Note: novel names given to exemplars were altered for English-speakers to sound natural in English (e.g. mobito/mobit, keppuru/kipple, tema/teema)PresentationQuestionJapaneseKore-wa____da-yoKore-wa____-kana?EnglishThis is a ______Is this a _______?24Results:

Main effect of language.English-speaking children generalized exemplars names more broadly to m