Home > News & Agenda > Conferences and Symposiums > Arild Hestvik, Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware : Prediction during language processing and language disorders


Arild Hestvik, Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware : Prediction during language processing and language disorders

24 Février - 11H- Zoom

Photo: Valerie Shafer’s lab, CUNY

Lien zoom: https://univ-cotedazur.zoom.us/j/9226426304

Arild Hestvik webpage: https://www.udel.edu/faculty-staff/experts/arild-hestvik/

Prediction has come to the forefront of language processing models during the last decade [1], [2]. In this talk, I discuss prediction during syntactic processing of empty categories. When adults process a long-distance dependency created by movement, they make predictions about where the trace should be, and exhibit a very early anterior negativity brain response when entailed syntactic category expectations are not met, similar to eLAN [3]–[5]. We used a design that meets criticism of previous eLAN studies [6]. We then show that children with developmental language disorder (DLD) fail to make syntactic category predictions during processing of filler-gap dependencies (which suggest they do not predict traces), while typically developing children in a control group exhibit the same brain response as adults [7]. In another study, we examined whether this lack of brain response was due to reduced verbal working memory (WM) by examining typical adults with reduced WM. These adults exhibited the same type of brain response as in a high WM control group and similar to our previous study with adults [8], but with a latency difference of about 200ms [9]. While significant, this shows that working memory limitations itself is not the underlying cause of complete lack of predictions, as we see in DLD. We discuss the findings both in light of language processing models and top-down predictions from syntax to phonetics [10], and in light of models of “parsing to learn” [11], [12]. We suggest that children with DLD fail to learn because their deficient prediction system during language processing fails to generate the appropriate error signals needed for successful language acquisition.

[1] G. R. Kuperberg and T. F. Jaeger, “What do we mean by prediction in language comprehension?,” Lang. Cogn. Neurosci., vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 32–59, Jan. 2016, doi: 10.1080/23273798.2015.1102299.
[2] C. Gambi and M. J. Pickering, “Predicting and imagining language,” Lang. Cogn. Neurosci., vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 60–72, 2016, doi: 10.1080/23273798.2015.1049188.
[3] A. Hahne, K. Eckstein, and A. D. Friederici, “Brain signatures of syntactic and semantic processes during children’s language development,” J. Cogn. Neurosci., vol. 16, no. 7, pp. 1302–1318, 2004, doi: 10.1162/0898929041920504.
[4] A. D. Friederici, “Neurophysiological aspects of language processing,” Clin. Neurosci., vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 64–72, 1997.
[5] E. Zaccarella and A. D. Friederici, “The neurobiological nature of syntactic hierarchies,” Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev., vol. 81, pp. 205–212, 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.07.038.
[6] K. Steinhauer and J. E. Drury, “On the early left-anterior negativity (ELAN) in syntax studies,” Brain Lang., vol. 120, no. 2, pp. 135–162, 2012, doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2011.07.001.
[7] A. Hestvik, B. Epstein, R. G. Schwartz, and V. L. Shafer, “Developmental Language Disorder as Syntactic Prediction Impairment (to appear),” Front. Commun., 2022.
[8] A. Hestvik, N. D. Maxfield, R. G. Schwartz, and V. L. Shafer, “Brain responses to filled gaps,” Brain Lang., vol. 100, no. 3, pp. 301–316, 2007, doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2006.07.007.
[9] A. Hestvik, E. Bradley, and C. Bradley, “Working Memory Effects of Gap-Predictions in Normal Adults: An Event-Related Potentials Study,” J. Psycholinguist. Res., vol. 41, no. 6, pp. 425–438, 2012, doi: 10.1007/s10936-011-9197-8.
[10] S. Dikker, H. Rabagliati, and L. Pylkkänen, “Sensitivity to syntax in visual cortex,” Cognition, vol. 110, no. 3, pp. 293–321, Mar. 2009, doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2008.09.008.
[11] J. C. Trueswell and L. Gleitman, “Learning to parse and its implications for language acquisition,” in Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics., G. Gaskell, Ed. 2007.
[12] A. Omaki and J. Lidz, “Linking Parser Development to Acquisition of Syntactic Knowledge,” Lang. Acquis., vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 158–192, 2015, doi: 10.1080/10489223.2014.943903.

published by Odile Deangeli on