Talk by Jenni Rodd on Understanding Word Meanings

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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.

Further information can be found here: http://www.educationalneuroscience.org.uk/seminars/

Talk at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

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Dr Jenni Rodd will be giving a talk entitled “How do we understand what words mean?” at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, The Netherlands on Tuesday 16th May (15:45-17:00).

Abstract:

Being able to understand exactly what each word in a sentence means is an essential component of language comprehension. This is a relatively challenging task because the vast majority of common words have multiple possible interpretations. The conventional view of how listeners/readers disambiguate words with multiple meanings emphasizes just two cues in facilitating access to the correct meaning: (i) the immediate sentence context (i.e. the dog’s/tree’s bark) and (ii) the relative frequencies of the two meanings. Here I propose that fluent comprehension requires that listeners rapidly integrate a far richer set of statistical cues that point to which meaning the speaker was more likely to have intended. Specifically, I present data from both large scale web-based experiments and lab-based experiments that demonstrate that listeners’ make use of (i) their recent and longer-term experience with the ambiguous word itself, and (ii) their knowledge about the linguistic background of the speaker.

Further details are available here: http://www.mpi.nl/events/mpi-colloquium-series/mpi-colloquium-series-2017/jennifer-rodd

Talk at MEG UK 2017 in Oxford

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Lucy MacGregor, a researcher at the MRC CBU in Cambridge who has been collaborating with Jenni Rodd, will be giving a talk  at the upcoming MEG UK conference which will take place in Oxford 22-24 March 2017. The title and abstract for the talk can be found below, along with a link for further information about the conference:

Title: ‘The neuromagnetic time course of semantic ambiguity resolution in speech comprehension.’

Authors: Lucy MacGregor, Matt Davis, and Olaf Hauk

Abstract: ‘Semantically ambiguous words challenge comprehension, particularly when disambiguation is delayed and serves to select a non-dominant meaning making reinterpretation necessary for accurate comprehension. Using MEG we teased apart neural responses associated with meaning selection and subsequent reinterpretation during semantic ambiguity resolution. Volunteers heard sentences containing AMBIGUOUS words and delayed disambiguation (e.g., Sally worried that the BALL was going to be too crowded). The sentences engage selection and reinterpretation processes compared to sentences: (1) with unambiguous control words (e.g., PUB substituted for BALL) or (2) in which the final word no longer favours the non-dominant meaning (expensive, not crowded). Four variants of 80 such sentences were presented in a two-by-two factorial design. Greater activity for ambiguous compared to control words (p<.05) was observed over left fronto-temporal regions 420-800 ms after word offset. The response correlated positively with individual differences in comprehension which was predicted by participants’ vocabulary scores. Reinterpretation was associated with additional neural activity (p=.06) -108 to -12 ms after sentence-final word-offset over bilateral temporal regions. Preliminary source estimation localised selection processes to right inferior frontal gyrus and reinterpretation processes to temporal cortex. Implications for the neurocognitive mechanisms of ambiguity resolution will be discussed.’

Further information available here: https://meguk2017.com/

Talk at Workshop on Multi-disciplinary Approaches to Understanding Social Communication ​Development and Disorder

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Chandler House, UCL, London

Jenni Rodd will be giving a talk about ‘Resolving ambiguities in spoken language: Evidence from skilled adult comprehenders’ at an upcoming workshop on ‘Multi-disciplinary approaches to understanding social communication development and disorder’. The two-day workshop will be held 13-14 February 2017 in Chandler House at UCL.

The slides for Jenni’s talk are available here: Slides-‘Resolving ambiguities in spoken language: Evidence from skilled adult comprehenders’

Further details about the workshop are available here: http://www.socialcommunicationworkshop.com/

Talk at the University of York: ‘Effects of recent experience on the interpretation of ambiguous words’

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York, UK

Dr Becky Gilbert has been invited to give a talk at the University of York for the York Psycholinguistics Research Group.

Title: ‘Effects of recent experience on the interpretation of ambiguous words’

When: 12.30pm Monday 16th January 2017

Where: University of York Psychology Department, Room PS/B/202

Details about the York Psycholinguistics Research Group can be found here: http://www.york.ac.uk/res/prg/

Seminar at Royal Holloway – ‘How do we understand what words mean?’

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Royal Holloway University of London, Egham

Dr Jenni Rodd was recently invited to give a talk at Royal Holloway University of London on Wednesday 11th January 2017. Details about her talk can be found below:

Title: ‘How do we understand what words mean?’

Abstract: ‘Being able to understand exactly what each word in a sentence means is an essential component of language comprehension. This is a relatively challenging task because the vast majority of common words have multiple possible interpretations. The conventional view of how listeners/readers disambiguate words with multiple meanings emphasizes just two cues in facilitating access to the correct meaning: (i) the immediate sentence context (i.e. the dog’s/tree’s bark) and (ii) the relative frequencies of the two meanings. Here I propose that fluent comprehension requires that listeners rapidly integrate a far richer set of statistical cues that point to which meaning the speaker was more likely to have intended. Specifically, I present data from both large scale web-based experiments and lab-based experiments that demonstrate that listeners’ make use of (i) their recent experience with the ambiguous word itself, and (ii) their knowledge about the linguistic background of the speaker.’

Further information is available here: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/psychology/events/eventsarticles/lma-seminar-speaker-dr-jenni-rodd.aspx

Workshop – ‘Word Meaning: Interdisciplinary Themes’

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Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

Dr Jenni Rodd will be an invited speaker at a workshop entitled ‘Word meaning: Interdisciplinary themes’. Her talk will be about ‘The Cognitive Mechanisms of Semantic Disambiguation’.

The slides from Jenni’s talk are available here: Slides – Cognitive Mechanisms of Semantic Disambiguation.pdf

The workshop will take place 2-3 November 2016 at the University of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

Further details can be found here: http://lex-meaning-concepts.wixsite.com/wordmeaningworkshop

Lunch Hour Lecture – ‘Barking up the right tree: How do we understand what words mean?’

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Dr Jenni Rodd

Dr Jenni Rodd will be giving a Lunch Hour Lecture entitled: ‘Barking up the right tree: How do we understand what words mean?’

‘If you look up just about any word in a dictionary you will usually see a long list of possible definitions, yet it takes no apparent effort to figure out the intended definition of a word when it is used in everyday life. Dr Jenni Rodd will talk about the cognitive mechanisms that allow people to make rapid ‘best guesses’ about a word’s meaning.’

When: 13:15-13:55 on Tuesday 18th October.

Where: Darwin Lecture Theatre, Darwin Building, UCL, London, WC1E 6BT (access via Malet Place).

This lecture is free and open to all, so please do come along!

Further information is available here: http://events.ucl.ac.uk/event/event:s2n-is5uz5in-rn5qji/lunch-hour-lectures-barking-up-the-right-tree-how-do-we-understand-what-words-mean