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Tilburg center for Cognition and Communication (TiCC)

We study how people communicate with each other and how computer systems can be taught to communicate with us.


TiCC Colloquium: Matthew Crocker

What: Integrating linguistic experience and world knowledge in a neurocomputational model of sentence comprehension
Where: WZ 206
When: Wednesday, 25 April 2018, 12:45 - 13:45 hours


Cognitive models of language comprehension seek to map utterances to meanings in a manner that is informed by, and also explains, online behavioural and neurophysiological indices such as reading times and event-related potentials. In this talk I will outline our ongoing efforts efforts to develop such a neurocomputational model. I will begin by introducing the distributed situation-space (DSS) approach to representing meaning that we adopt. The framework not only supports the representation of arbitrarily complex compositional logical forms, but also encodes their likelihood in the world, and supports knowledge-driven inference. Further, as shown in Venhuizen, Crocker & Brouwer (2018), DSS representations supports the computation of a 'meaning-centric' notion of surprisal, on a word-by-word basis. I will then show how training a recurrent network to recover such DSS representations for input utterance – in which the training corpus reflects the linguistic frequency distribution – results in a model where the surprisal of a word reflects both the likelihood of the meaning it induces and linguistic expectancy of that word. I will briefly outline ongoing work to integrate this model into the neurocomputational model of Brouwer, Crocker, Venhuizen & Hoeks (2017), which identifies a clear linking hypothesis to the N400 (lexical retrieval) and P600 (semantic integration) ERP components in the EEG signal. A key prediction of the model is that semantic integration difficulty should (a) result in increased surprisal, and (b) be manifest as an increased P600 amplitude. I will then present the findings of a recents ERP experiment we conducted to test this prediction (Delogu, Brouwer & Crocker, 2018).

When: 25 April 2018 12:45

End date: 25 April 2018 13:45