Submitted Papers

Form and function: a study on the distribution of the inflectional endings in Italian nouns and adjectives

Journal: 

Frontiers in Psychology - Special Issue: Implications of Psycho-computational Modelling for Morphological Theory

Date: 

June, 2021

Inflectional values, such as singular and plural, sustain agreementrelations between constituents in sentences, allowing sentence parsing and prediction in online processing. Ideally, these processes would be facilitated by a consistent and transparent correspondence between  the  inflectional values and their form: for example, the value of plural should always be expressed by the same ending, and that ending should only express plural. Experimental research reports higher processing costs in presence of a non-transparent relation between endings and values.

The entropy of morphological systems in natural languages is modulated by functional and semantic properties

Journal: 

PsyArXiv Preprints

Date: 

May, 2021

Experimental research has acknowledged the role of
morphological cues of gender and number in prediction, however it is not
clear whether the distribution of words in languages are structured to
systematically exploit them. In a study on Italian, we measured the
distributions of the nominal lexicon across the morphological features,
and found that they are optimized to sustain discrimination and
prediction processes. Though, in a subset of the lexicon denoting
animate referents, the semantic interpretability of the features

Prediction at the intersection of sentence context and word form: Evidence from eye-movements in reading

Journal: 

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

Date: 

April, 2021

A key issue in language processing is how we recognize and understand words in sentences. Research on sentence reading indicates that the time we need to read a word depends on the amount of (un)expected information that it conveys. On the other side, research on single word recognition shows that each word also has its own recognition dynamics based on the relation between its orthographic form and its meaning. It is not clear, however, how these sentence-level and word-level dynamics interact.

Knowledge of statistics or statistical learning? Readers prioritize the statistics of their native language over the learning of local regularities

Journal: 

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Date: 

March, 2021

A large body of evidence suggests that people spontaneously and implicitly learn about regularities present in the visual input. Although theorized as critical for reading, this ability has so far been demonstrated only for non-linguistic materials. We tested whether local statistical regularities are also extracted from materials that closely resemble one’s native language. In two experiments, Italian speakers saw a set of letter strings modelled on the Italian lexicon and guessed which of these strings were words in a fictitious language and which were foils.

Implicit Statistical Learning in Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation

Journal: 

Cortex

Date: 

February, 2021

Humans capitalize on statistical cues to discriminate fundamental units of information within complex streams of sensory input. We sought neural evidence for this phenomenon by combining fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) and EEG recordings. Skilled readers were exposed to sequences of linguistic items with decreasing familiarity, presented at a fast rate and periodically interleaved with oddballs. Crucially, each sequence comprised stimuli of the same category, and the only distinction between base and oddball items was the frequency of occurrence of individual tokens within a stream. Frequency-domain analyses revealed robust neural responses at the oddball presentation rate in all conditions, reflecting the discrimination between two locally-emerged groups of items purely informed by token frequency. Results provide evidence for a fundamental frequency-tuned mechanism that operates under high temporal constraints and could underpin category bootstrapping. Concurrently, they showcase the potential of FPVS for providing online neural markers of implicit statistical learning.

A pre-print and all data and scripts related to this project are available here.

Letter chunk frequency does not explain morphological masked priming

Journal: 

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

Date: 

February, 2021

Research on visual word identification has extensively investigated the role of morphemes, recurrent letter chunks that convey a fairly regular meaning (e.g.,lead-er-ship). Masked priming studies highlighted morpheme identification in complex (e.g., sing-er) and pseudo-complex (corn-er) words, as well as in nonwords (e.g., basket-y). The present study investigated whether such sensitivity to morphemes could be rooted in the visual system sensitivity to statistics of letter (co)occurrence.

Morphological priming of inflectional suffixes

Journal: 

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition

Date: 

January, 2020

This paper investigates inflectional suffix priming in Slovene, and compare it to stem priming. Read more in the paper pre-print here

Masked morphological priming tracks the development of a fully mature lexical system in L2

Journal: 

Journal of Memory and Language

Date: 

June, 2019

This paper investigates masked orthographic and morphological priming in L1 Italian, L2 English readers, whose L2 proficiency profile was assessed with a wide battery of tests. Read more by clicking on the title or, to see what we found, check out our pre-print here

 

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