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Cognition and Language Development

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This volume brings together contributions by prominent researchers in the fields of language processing and language acquisition on topics of common interest: how people refer to objects in the world, how people comprehend such referential expressions, and how children acquire the ability to refer and to understand reference. The contributors first discuss issues related to children's acquisition and processing of reference, then consider evidence of adults' processing of reference from eye-tracking methods (the visual-world paradigm) and from corpora and reading experiments.

Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social interaction.

Dyslexia research has made dramatic progress since the mid-1980s. Once discounted as a “middle-class myth,” dyslexia is now the subject of a complex--and confusing--body of theoretical and empirical research. In Dyslexia, Learning, and the Brain, leading dyslexia researchers Roderick Nicolson and Angela Fawcett provide a uniquely broad and coherent analysis of dyslexia theory.

In Language and Equilibrium, Prashant Parikh offers a new account of meaning for natural language. He argues that equilibrium, or balance among multiple interacting forces, is a key attribute of language and meaning and shows how to derive the meaning of an utterance from first principles by modeling it as a system of interdependent games.

Essays on Mental Structure

Ray Jackendoff's Language, Consciousness, Culture represents a breakthrough in developing an integrated theory of human cognition. It will be of interest to a broad spectrum of cognitive scientists, including linguists, philosophers, psycholinguists, neuroscientists, cognitive anthropologists, and evolutionary psychologists.

Testing the Limits

In The Genesis of Animal Play, Gordon Burghardt examines the origins and evolution of play in humans and animals. He asks what play might mean in our understanding of evolution, the brain, behavioral organization, and psychology. Is play essential to development? Is it the driving force behind human and animal behavior? What is the proper place for the study of play in the cognitive, behavioral, and biological sciences?The engaging nature of play -- who does not enjoy watching a kitten attack a ball of yarn? -- has made it difficult to study.

The Scientific Study of How Language Development Affects Reading Skill

Research on reading has tried, and failed, to account for wide disparities in reading skill even among children taught by the same method. Why do some children learn to read easily and quickly while others, in the same classroom and taught by the same teacher, don't learn to read at all? In Language Development and Learning to Read, Diane McGuinness examines scientific research that might explain these disparities.

Data Structures and Applications

In Coherence and Natural Language, Florian Wolf and Edward Gibson specify and evaluate criteria for descriptively adequate data structures for representing discourse coherence. They test the influence of discourse structure on pronoun processing, evaluate different approaches for determining the relative importance of document segments, and propose a new coherence-based algorithm to accomplish this task.

What Science Really Tells Us about How to Teach Reading

Early Reading Instruction is a comprehensive analysis of the research evidence from early writing systems to computer models of reading. In this book, Diane McGuinness provides an innovative solution to the "reading war"—the century-old debate over the efficacy of phonics (sound-based) versus whole-word (meaning- based) methods. She has developed a prototype—a set of elements that are critical to the success of a reading method.

A Parallel Distributed Processing Approach

This groundbreaking monograph offers a mechanistic theory of the representation and use of semantic knowledge, integrating the strengths and overcoming many of the weaknesses of hierarchical, categorization-based approaches, similarity-based approaches, and the approach often called "theory theory." Building on earlier models by Geoffrey Hinton in the 1980s and David Rumelhart in the early 1990s, the authors propose that performance in semantic tasks arises through the propagation of graded signals in a system of interconnected processing units.

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