Special Issue "Cognition and Communication"

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A special issue of Information (ISSN 2078-2489).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2011)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Luca Onnis

1 Department of Second Language Studies, University of Hawaii, 1890 East-West Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
2 Center for Second Language Research, University of Hawaii, 1890 East-West Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 1-808-256-0843
Interests: cognitive science of learning; computational models of language; statistical learning; embodied and situated cognition; bilingualism; psycholinguistics; interplay of cognitive and social factors in learning
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Michael J. Spivey

Department of Cognitive and Information Sciences, University of California, Merced, 5200 N. Lake Rd., Merced, CA 95343, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: language/vision interaction; dynamical systems theory; embodied and situated cognition; psycholinguistics; neural networks; eye-tracking and reach-tracking

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

“If internal relations can qualify as [representational] vehicles, why not external relations? Given a continuous complex dynamic system of reciprocal causal relations between organism and environment,what in principle stops the spread? The idea that vehicles might go external takes the notion ofdistributed processing to its logical extreme.”   - Susan Hurley (1998, Analysis)

The study of cognition and communication has at times been punctuated by harsh theoretical oppositions between internalist and externalist characterizations of the phenomenon at hand. For example, in the study of language -- a hallmark of human cognition -- different traditions and circles have characterized the core of language as being either inside the brain as a mental faculty or outside in the arena of communicative interaction among different interactants. While these views have been seen as incommensurable, this collection of papers aims to map the progression that binds together both internalist and externalist accounts in a new model visualization of language and communication.

From the original idea of a core grammar module separated from the rest of language-internal representations, to seeing language as a multidimensional system whose space encompasses brain and body (motor and perceptual components), to finally including situational models of interacting bodies and minds, we aim to defuse the internalist/externalist debate and replace it with a more integrative interpretation of what cognition and communication might mean. The coming together in this special issue of authors belonging to different but related disciplines (psychology, linguistics, education, communication, cognitive science, and information science) testifies to the widespread and urgent need for a reconciliatory turn in the social sciences.

Prof. Dr. Luca Onnis
Prof. Dr. Michael J. Spivey
Guest Editors

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The World Within Wikipedia: An Ecology of Mind
Information 2012, 3(2), 229-255; doi:10.3390/info3020229
Received: 22 May 2012 / Revised: 11 June 2012 / Accepted: 12 June 2012 / Published: 18 June 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (324 KB)
Abstract
Human beings inherit an informational culture transmitted through spoken and written language. A growing body of empirical work supports the mutual influence between language and categorization, suggesting that our cognitive-linguistic environment both reflects and shapes our understanding. By implication, artifacts that manifest this
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Human beings inherit an informational culture transmitted through spoken and written language. A growing body of empirical work supports the mutual influence between language and categorization, suggesting that our cognitive-linguistic environment both reflects and shapes our understanding. By implication, artifacts that manifest this cognitive-linguistic environment, such asWikipedia, should represent language structure and conceptual categorization in a way consistent with human behavior. We use this intuition to guide the construction of a computational cognitive model, situated in Wikipedia, that generates semantic association judgments. Our unsupervised model combines information at the language structure and conceptual categorization levels to achieve state of the art correlation with human ratings on semantic association tasks including WordSimilarity-353, semantic feature production norms, word association, and false memory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Communication)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Toward a New Scientific Visualization for the Language Sciences
Information 2012, 3(1), 124-150; doi:10.3390/info3010124
Received: 31 December 2011 / Accepted: 29 January 2012 / Published: 20 February 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (557 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
All scientists use data visualizations to discover patterns in their phenomena that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Likewise, we also use scientific visualizations to help us describe our verbal theories and predict those data patterns. But scientific visualization may also constitute a hindrance
[...] Read more.
All scientists use data visualizations to discover patterns in their phenomena that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Likewise, we also use scientific visualizations to help us describe our verbal theories and predict those data patterns. But scientific visualization may also constitute a hindrance to theory development when new data cannot be accommodated by the current dominant framework. Here we argue that the sciences of language are currently in an interim stage using an increasingly outdated scientific visualization borrowed from the box-and-arrow flow charts of the early days of engineering and computer science. The original (and not yet fully discarded) version of this obsolete model assumes that the language faculty is composed of autonomously organized levels of linguistic representation, which in turn are assumed to be modular, organized in rank order of dominance, and feed unidirectionally into one another in stage-like algorithmic procedures. We review relevant literature in psycholinguistics and language acquisition that cannot be accommodated by the received model. Both learning and processing of language in children and adults, at various putative ‘levels’ of representation, appear to be highly integrated and interdependent, and function simultaneously rather than sequentially. The fact that half of the field sees these findings as trivially true and the other half argues fiercely against them suggests to us that the sciences of language are on the brink of a paradigm shift. We submit a new scientific visualization for language, in which stacked levels of linguistic representation are replaced by trajectories in a multidimensional space. This is not a mere redescription. Processing language in the brain equates to traversing such a space in regions afforded by multiple probabilistic cues that simultaneously activate different linguistic representations. Much still needs to be done to convert this scientific visualization into actual implemented models, but at present it allows language scientists to envision new concepts and venues for research that may assist the field in transitioning to a new conceptualization, and provide a clear direction for the next decade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Communication)
Open AccessArticle Sentence Comprehension as Mental Simulation: An Information-Theoretic Perspective
Information 2011, 2(4), 672-696; doi:10.3390/info2040672
Received: 2 July 2011 / Revised: 25 October 2011 / Accepted: 17 November 2011 / Published: 23 November 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (453 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It has been argued that the mental representation resulting from sentence comprehension is not (just) an abstract symbolic structure but a “mental simulation” of the state-of-affairs described by the sentence. We present a particular formalization of this theory and show how it gives
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It has been argued that the mental representation resulting from sentence comprehension is not (just) an abstract symbolic structure but a “mental simulation” of the state-of-affairs described by the sentence. We present a particular formalization of this theory and show how it gives rise to quantifications of the amount of syntactic and semantic information conveyed by each word in a sentence. These information measures predict simulated word-processing times in a dynamic connectionist model of sentence comprehension as mental simulation. A quantitatively similar relation between information content and reading time is known to be present in human reading-time data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Communication)
Open AccessArticle Raising the Ante of Communication: Evidence for Enhanced Gesture Use in High Stakes Situations
Information 2011, 2(4), 579-593; doi:10.3390/info2040579
Received: 19 August 2011 / Revised: 9 September 2011 / Accepted: 27 September 2011 / Published: 10 October 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (323 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Theorists of language have argued that co-speech hand gestures are an intentional part of social communication. The present study provides evidence for these claims by showing that speakers adjust their gesture use according to their perceived relevance to the audience. Participants were asked
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Theorists of language have argued that co-speech hand gestures are an intentional part of social communication. The present study provides evidence for these claims by showing that speakers adjust their gesture use according to their perceived relevance to the audience. Participants were asked to read about items that were and were not useful in a wilderness survival scenario, under the pretense that they would then explain (on camera) what they learned to one of two different audiences. For one audience (a group of college students in a dormitory orientation activity), the stakes of successful communication were low; for the other audience (a group of students preparing for a rugged camping trip in the mountains), the stakes were high. In their explanations to the camera, participants in the high stakes condition produced three times as many representational gestures, and spent three times as much time gesturing, than participants in the low stakes condition. This study extends previous research by showing that the anticipated consequences of one’s communication—namely, the degree to which information may be useful to an intended recipient—influences speakers’ use of gesture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Communication)
Open AccessArticle Experimental Approaches to Referential Domains and the On-Line Processing of Referring Expressions in Unscripted Conversation
Information 2011, 2(2), 302-326; doi:10.3390/info2020302
Received: 8 February 2011 / Revised: 8 March 2011 / Accepted: 28 April 2011 / Published: 6 May 2011
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (743 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article describes research investigating the on-line processing of language in unscripted conversational settings. In particular, we focus on the process of formulating and interpreting definite referring expressions. Within this domain we present results of two eye-tracking experiments addressing the problem of how
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This article describes research investigating the on-line processing of language in unscripted conversational settings. In particular, we focus on the process of formulating and interpreting definite referring expressions. Within this domain we present results of two eye-tracking experiments addressing the problem of how speakers interrogate the referential domain in preparation to speak, how they select an appropriate expression for a given referent, and how addressees interpret these expressions. We aim to demonstrate that it is possible, and indeed fruitful, to examine unscripted, conversational language using modified experimental designs and standard hypothesis testing procedures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Communication)

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