Implicit Context-Specific Learning Leads to Rapid Shifts in Syntactic Expectations

Abstract

During incremental language understanding, comprehenders draw on a rich base of probabilistic cues to efficiently process the noisy perceptual input they receive. One challenge listeners face in employing such cues is that most cues are context-dependent. Here, we present an experiment that investigates the extent to which listeners learn situation-specific adjustments in the information and/or weight of the lexical bias of a verb. Specifically, we ask to what extent comprehenders are able to rapidly change their interpretation of lexical cues to syntactic structure, where such behavior would be rational due to situation-specific statistics in the environment.


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