Homework #2: Word recognition in context


Posted December 3rd 2018, due December 14th, 2018, via email.



“How does context affect word recognition?”

Synthesize the problem and the evidence for an intelligent non-expert (language scientist).

We have examined in detail the question of how words are recognized in context. This has taken us on a tour of different experimental paradigms and literatures, sometimes considering apparently contradictory findings. For this final assignment of the semester, please give a brief synopsis of what we should conclude from this literature. Do different experimental measures lead us to a consistent view on how context affects word recognition?

This should be no longer than 3 pages (single spaced).



Assume that you are writing for an informed professional reader (a language scientist of some flavor). You need to provide enough context for the reader to understand what you’re talking about, but you don’t need to provide detailed background on what EEG or eye-tracking are. You will need to explain the key evidence that you take to indicate how word recognition is(n’t) guided by context. Also, if the framing of the question is too simplistic, then clarifying that for the reader will be very helpful. If you see contradictions between different findings, explain why they are contradictory or why the contradiction is only apparent. You do not need to talk about everything — there won’t be enough space for that — just the things that you think the reader most needs to understand.

The goal of this assignment is to encourage you to reflect on our extensive discussions, and also to give practice in the important skill of writing concise summaries and opinion pieces. This skill is useful in writing papers, funding proposals, job applications, and referee reports.

The slides that we used in class for this topic are available on the course website, under “notes”. You’ll see that the slides do not follow exactly the order that we followed, and that we skipped some things in the slides, and discussed some things in greater depth or out of order.