Here is my poster for CogSci 2018.
Our study evaluated whether listeners can use spatial deixis (e.g., this, that, these, and those) to predict the plurality and proximity of a speaker’s referent. In an eye-tracking task, L1 adults, L1 children and L2 adults viewed scenes while listening to deictic sentences (e.g., Look at that beautiful baby) and neutral sentences (e.g., Look at the beautiful baby). We found that L1 adults, L1 children and L2 adults all used deixis to predict the plurality of the referent (e.g., using this to anticipate a singular referent). However, only L1 adults used deixis to predict the proximity of the referent to the speaker (e.g., using this to anticipate a referent proximal to the speaker). Thus, our findings suggest that language processing experience influences verbal prediction. We argue that, beyond determining whether listeners predict, determining how listeners predict is crucial to understand prediction’s role in language processing and learning.
Big thanks to all participant families, to Claire Robertson for her assistance with stimuli, and to Mia Sullivan to her assistance with ongoing data collection and CHILDES coding!
I’m looking forward to spending time at my alma mater and catching up with family and friends in Madison!