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Colloquium Series with Neuroscience Expert Duane Watson

Understanding the link between language experience and language processing


Tuesday, May 3, 2022
11:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT

Duane Watson, Ph.D.
Psychology and Human Development
Vanderbilt University




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Event Description

A speaker’s language environment plays an important role in language use. The language environment is critical for language learning and vocabulary growth in children, and in predicting the difficulty of processing words and sentences in adults. In this talk I will present a set of studies that will show that the relationship between language exposure and language use is complex. I will present experimental evidence suggesting that daily internet reading habits are linked to language processing skills. On the other hand, I will also present evidence showing that multiple exposures to complex sentences do not necessarily make these sentences easier to understand. Finally, I will discuss some of the ways in which the spoken language environment can play a role in language use, and will present a pilot study showing that social factors, such as a shared opinion with a conversational partner, can influence subtle linguistic factors such as speech prosody.