Cognitive architectures and language acquisition: A case study in pronoun comprehension

Jacolien van Rij*, Hedderik van Rijn, Petra Hendriks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we discuss a computational cognitive model of children's poor performance on pronoun interpretation (the so-called Delay of Principle B Effect, or DPBE). This cognitive model is based on a theoretical account that attributes the DPBE to children's inability as hearers to also take into account the speaker's perspective. The cognitive model predicts that child hearers are unable to do so because their speed of linguistic processing is too limited to perform this second step in interpretation. We tested this hypothesis empirically in a psycholinguistic study, in which we slowed down the speech rate to give children more time for interpretation, and in a computational simulation study. The results of the two studies confirm the predictions of our model. Moreover, these studies show that embedding a theory of linguistic competence in a cognitive architecture allows for the generation of detailed and testable predictions with respect to linguistic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-766
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2010

Keywords

  • SENTENCE COMPREHENSION
  • INTEGRATED THEORY
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • PRINCIPLE-B
  • CHILDREN
  • MODEL
  • INTERFERENCE
  • IMPAIRMENT
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • BINDING

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