Title: The role of learning mechanisms in understanding ambiguous words
Lexical-semantic knowledge continues to be shaped by personal linguistic experience throughout the lifespan. Not only must new unfamiliar word meanings be integrated into the lexicon, but recent linguistic experiences with familiar word meanings also continues to reshape lexical knowledge. These learning mechanism are vital to supporting skilled, fluent word-meaning disambiguation.
Rachael Hulme recently gave a talk at the British Association for Applied Linguistics–Vocabulary Special Interest Group (BAAL Vocab SIG) conference that took place 9-10 July 2018 at the UCL Institute of Education in London. She was awarded a prize for the joint best student presentation. The title and abstract of the talk can be found below:
Title: Tests assist adults’ learning of new meanings for familiar L1 words from stories.
Abstract: Adults often learn new meanings for familiar words, for example due to language evolving with changes in technology (e.g., the internet-related meaning of “troll”), or when learning a new subject/activity (e.g., the sailing term “boom”). The present studies use a naturalistic web-based story-reading paradigm to examine adults’ incidental acquisition and long-term retention of novel, artificial meanings for familiar words. Our previous research on this topic found remarkably little forgetting of word meanings between immediate tests and delayed tests one day or even one week after training.
Experiment 1 investigated whether testing participants immediately after training contributed to this good long-term retention, and whether this ‘testing effect’ differs between incidental and intentional learning. Participants (N=99) learned new meanings for existing words incidentally through story reading, and intentionally through a definition learning task. They were then tested immediately (without feedback) on half the items. After 24 hours, memory was better for items that had been tested immediately compared with those that had not. This testing effect was non-significantly larger for incidental than intentional learning.
Experiment 2 compared two methods of immediate test: cued recall and recognition. Participants (N=98) learned new meanings for familiar words incidentally through reading stories, and were tested immediately on half the items with either a cued recall or recognition test. They were tested on all items 24 hours later using both test methods. Memory was better for items that were previously tested using either method than for those that had not been tested; the difference was non-significantly larger for the recognition test. The testing effect also generalised across test tasks.
These findings have important implications for word learning studies that compare memory between two test points. This research also emphasises the key role that testing can play in learning new vocabulary from storybooks in educational settings.
Dr Jenni Rodd will be giving a talk at an international workshop on ‘Ambiguity as (Information) Gaps: Processes of Creation and Resolution’. The workshop will take place at the University of Tübingen, Germany on 16-17 November 2018.
Dr Jenni Rodd has organised a symposium entitled ‘Accessing the Meanings of Words: Perspectives on Lexical Ambiguity’ for the upcoming joint meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society and the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science. The conference will take place 4-7 July 2018 in St. John’s, Canada.
Rachael Hulme, a PhD student in The Word Lab, will be giving a talk entitled “The benefit of tests for learning new meanings for familiar words from stories” as part of the Language and Cognition Seminar Series at UCL on Monday 16th April 1-2pm.
The talk will take place in room G10, Chandler House, 2 Wakefield Street, London WC1N 1PF. Details of the talk can be found below:
Title: The benefit of tests for learning new meanings for familiar words from stories.
Abstract: Adults must often learn new meanings for familiar words, for example due to language evolving with changes in technology (e.g. the internet-related meaning of “troll”), or when taking up a new subject or activity (e.g. the sailing term “boom”). Learning new word meanings generally takes place incidentally by inferring the new meaning from context, rather than through intentional memorisation. The studies I will present in this talk use a naturalistic web-based story-reading paradigm to examine adults’ incidental acquisition and long-term retention of novel, artificial meanings for familiar words. I will discuss the importance of testing memory immediately after learning for future retention of vocabulary learned in this way. I will look at how tests can benefit incidental and intentional learning of new meanings for familiar words, and the use of different test methods. I will discuss implications for vocabulary learning in educational settings.
Dr Jenni Rodd will be giving a keynote talk entitled “What can (and cannot) be learned from fMRI: lessons from 15 years of research on lexical ambiguity” at a workshop on “fMRI and language processing: State of the art and future directions” at the University of Reading.
The workshop will take place on 13th December at Palmer 1.09, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading, Reading, UK, RG6 6AL.
Further details about the workshop can be found here:
This afternoon (7th December 2017) at 4pm Jenni Rodd will be giving a talk entitled ‘How do we understand the meanings of words?’ as part of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience Research seminar series at Birkbeck University.
These seminars are held in Room 534 in Birkbeck Main Building (Malet Street) and are open to the public.