9.59J | Spring 2017 | Undergraduate

Lab in Psycholinguistics



Baayen, R. Harald. Analyzing linguistic data: A practical introduction to statistics using R (PDF - 5.1MB). Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780521709187

Wickham, Hadley, and Garrett Grolemund. R for data science. O’Reilly Media, 2016. ISBN: 9781491910399

Topic reading
1: Course introduction No required readings
2: Quantitative Methods


Mahowald, Kyle, Peter Graff, Jeremy Hartman, and Edward Gibson. “SNAP Judgments: A Small N Acceptability Paradigm (SNAP) for Linguistic Acceptability Judgments.” Language 92, no. 3 (2016): 619-635.

Linzen, Tal, and Yohei Oseki. “The Reliability of Acceptability Judgments Across Languages (PDF).” New York: New York University, ms (2015).


Gibson, Edward, Steven T. Piantadosi, and Evelina Fedorenko. “Quantitative Methods in Syntax/Semantics Research: A Response to Sprouse and Almeida.” Language and Cognitive Processes 28, no. 3 (2013): 229-240.

Sprouse, Jon, and Diogo Almeida. “The Empirical Status of Data in Syntax: A Reply to Gibson and Fedorenko.” Language and Cognitive Processes 28, no. 3 (2013): 222-228.

Gibson, Edward, and Evelina Fedorenko. “Weak Quantitative Standards in Linguistics Research (PDF).” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14, no. 6 (2010): 233-234.

3: Language as Communication


Tanenhaus, Michael K., Michael J. Spivey-Knowlton, Kathleen M. Eberhard, and Julie C. Sedivy. “Integration of Visual and Linguistic Information in Spoken Language Comprehension.” Science 268, no. 5217 (1995): 1632.

Mahowald, Kyle, Evelina Fedorenko, Steven T. Piantadosi, and Edward Gibson. “Info/Information Theory: Speakers Choose Shorter Words in Predictive Contexts.” Cognition 126, no. 2 (2013): 313-318.

Piantadosi, Steven T., Harry Tily, and Edward Gibson. “Word Lengths are Optimized for Efficient Communication.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, no. 9 (2011): 3526-3529.

Piantadosi, Steven T., Harry Tily, and Edward Gibson. “The Communicative Function of Ambiguity in Language.” Cognition 122, no. 3 (2012): 280-291.


Trueswell, J., and M. Tanenhaus. “Toward a Lexical Framework of Constraint-Based Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution.” Perspectives on Sentence Processing (1994): 155-179.

Shannon, Claude E. “Prediction and Entropy of Printed English.” Bell Labs Technical Journal 30, no. 1 (1951): 50-64.

Schneider, Thomas D. “Information Theory Primer (PDF).” (1995): 370-379.

4: Language Processing Over a Noisy Channel


Gibson, Edward, Leon Bergen, and Steven T. Piantadosi. “Rational Integration of Noisy Evidence and Prior Semantic Expectations in Sentence Interpretation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 20 (2013): 8051-8056.

Gibson, Edward, Caitlin Tan, Richard Futrell, Kyle Mahowald, Lars Konieczny, Barbara Hemforth, and Evelina Fedorenko. “Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Being Misunderstood.” Psychological Science (2017): 0956797617690277.

Bergen, Leon, Roger Levy, and Edward Gibson. “Verb Omission Errors: Evidence of Rational Processing of Noisy Language Inputs.” Cognitive Science. 2012.

Buy at MIT Press  “The Dependency Locality theory: A distance-based theory of linguistic complexity.” in Gibson, Edward, Alec Marantz, Yasushi Miyashita, and Wayne O’Neil. Image, Language, Brain. (2000). ISBN: 9780262133715

Poppels, Till, and Roger Levy. “Structure-Sensitive Noise iIference: Comprehenders Expect Exchange Errors (PDF).” Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, pp. 378-383. 2016.


Jaeger, T. Florian. “Redundancy and Reduction: Speakers Manage Syntactic Information Density.” Cognitive Psychology 61, no. 1 (2010): 23-62.

5: What makes a long-distance extraction unacceptable?


Gibson, Edward, and James Thomas. “Memory Limitations and Structural Forgetting: The Perception of Complex Ungrammatical Sentences as Grammatical.” Language and Cognitive Processes 14, no. 3 (1999): 225-248.

Futrell, Richard, and Roger Levy. “Noisy-Context Surprisal as a Human Sentence Processing Cost Model (PDF).” Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, pp. 688-698. 2017.

Ambridge, Ben, and Adele E. Goldberg. “The Island Status of Clausal Complements: Evidence in Favor of an Information Structure Explanation.” Cognitive Linguistics 19, no. 3 (2008): 357-389.

Sprouse, Jon, Matt Wagers, and Colin Phillips. “A Test of the Relation Between Working-Memory Capacity and Syntactic Island Effects.” Language 88, no. 1 (2012): 82-123. 

6: Pragmatics


Keysar, Boaz, Dale J. Barr, Jennifer A. Balin, and Jason S. Brauner. “Taking Perspective in Conversation: The Role of Mutual Knowledge in Comprehension (PDF).” Psychological Science 11, no. 1 (2000): 32-38.

Sedivy, Julie C., Michael K. Tanenhaus, Craig G. Chambers, and Gregory N. Carlson. “Achieving Incremental Semantic Interpretation Through Contextual Representation.” Cognition 71, no. 2 (1999): 109-147.

Sedivy, Julie C. “Pragmatic Versus Form-Based Accounts of Referential Contrast: Evidence for Effects of Informativity Expectations.” Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 32, no. 1 (2003): 3-23.

Heller, Daphna, Daniel Grodner, and Michael K. Tanenhaus. “The Role of Perspective in Identifying Domains of Reference.” Cognition 108, no. 3 (2008): 831-836.

Lane, Liane Wardlow, Michelle Groisman, and Victor S. Ferreira. “Don’t Talk About Pink Elephants! Speakers’ Control Over Leaking Private Information During Language Production.” Psychological Science 17, no. 4 (2006): 273-277.

Huang, Yi Ting, and Jesse Snedeker. “Online Interpretation of Scalar Quantifiers: Insight Into the Semantics–Pragmatics Interface.” Cognitive Psychology 58, no. 3 (2009): 376-415.

Grodner, Daniel J., Natalie M. Klein, Kathleen M. Carbary, and Michael K. Tanenhaus. ““Some,” and Possibly All, Scalar Inferences are Not Delayed: Evidence for Immediate Pragmatic Enrichment.” Cognition 116, no. 1 (2010): 42-55.

Degen, Judith, and Michael K. Tanenhaus. “Processing Scalar Implicature: A Constraint‐Based Approach.” Cognitive Science 39, no. 4 (2015): 667-710.

7: The Foreign Language Effect


Goodman, Noah D., and Andreas Stuhlmüller. “Knowledge and Implicature: Modeling language Understanding as Social Cognition.” Topics in Cognitive Science 5, no. 1 (2013): 173-184.

Frank, Michael C., and Noah D. Goodman. “Predicting Pragmatic Reasoning in Language Games.” Science 336, no. 6084 (2012): 998-998.

Keysar, Boaz, Sayuri L. Hayakawa, and Sun Gyu An. “The Foreign-Language Effect Thinking in a Foreign Tongue Reduces Decision Biases.” Psychological Science 23, no. 6 (2012): 661-668.

Costa, Albert, Alice Foucart, Sayuri Hayakawa, Melina Aparici, Jose Apesteguia, Joy Heafner, and Boaz Keysar. “Your Morals Depend on Language.” PloS One 9, no. 4 (2014): e94842.

8: Syntactic Priming


Scheepers, Christoph, Patrick Sturt, Catherine J. Martin, Andriy Myachykov, Kay Teevan, and Izabela Viskupova. “Structural Priming Across Cognitive Domains: From Simple Arithmetic to Relative-Clause Attachment.” Psychological Science 22, no. 10 (2011): 1319-1326.

Mahowald, Kyle, Ariel James, Richard Futrell, and Edward Gibson. “A Meta-Analysis of Syntactic Priming in Language Production.” Journal of Memory and Language 91 (2016): 5-27.

Troyer, Melissa, Timothy J. O’Donnell, Evelina Fedorenko, and Edward Gibson. “Storage and Computation in Syntax: Evidence from Relative Clause Priming (PDF).” Cognitive Science. 2011.

Fine, Alex B., T. Florian Jaeger, Thomas A. Farmer, and Ting Qian. “Rapid Expectation Adaptation During Syntactic Comprehension.” PloS One 8, no. 10 (2013): e77661.

Fedzechkina, Maryia, T. Florian Jaeger, and Elissa L. Newport. “Language Learners Restructure Their Input to Facilitate Efficient Communication.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, no. 44 (2012): 17897-17902.

Gibson, Edward, Steven T. Piantadosi, Kimberly Brink, Leon Bergen, Eunice Lim, and Rebecca Saxe. “A Noisy-Channel Account of Crosslinguistic Word-Order Variation.” Psychological Science (2013): 0956797612463705.

Culbertson, Jennifer, and Paul Smolensky. “A Bayesian Model of Biases in Artificial Language Learning: The Case of a Word‐Order Universal.” Cognitive Science 36, no. 8 (2012): 1468-1498.

9: Color Language


Winawer, Jonathan, Nathan Witthoft, Michael C. Frank, Lisa Wu, Alex R. Wade, and Lera Boroditsky. “Russian Blues Reveal Effects of Language on Color Discrimination.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, no. 19 (2007): 7780-7785.

Regier, Terry, Paul Kay, and Naveen Khetarpal. “Color Naming Reflects Optimal Partitions of Color Space.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, no. 4 (2007): 1436-1441.

Gilbert, Aubrey L., Terry Regier, Paul Kay, and Richard B. Ivry. “Whorf Hypothesis is Supported in the Right Visual Field but Not the Left.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103, no. 2 (2006): 489-494.

Davidoff, Jules, Ian Davies, and Debi Roberson. “Colour Categories in a Stone-Age Tribe.” Nature 398, no. 6724 (1999): 203-204.

10: Language and Thought: Number


Gordon, Peter. “Numerical Cognition Without Words: Evidence from Amazonia.” Science 306, no. 5695 (2004): 496-499.

Frank, Michael C., Daniel L. Everett, Evelina Fedorenko, and Edward Gibson. “Number as a Cognitive Technology: Evidence from Pirahã Language and Cognition.” Cognition 108, no. 3 (2008): 819-824.

11: Culture and Language: Recursion


Everett, Daniel, Brent Berlin, Marco Antonio Gonalves, Paul Kay, Stephen C Levinson, Andrew Pawley, Alexandre Surralls, Michael Tomasello, Anna Wierzbicka, and Daniel Everett. “Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Piraha: Another Look at the Design Features of Human Language.” Current Anthropology 46, no. 4 (2005): 621-646.

Futrell, Richard, Laura Stearns, Daniel L. Everett, Steven T. Piantadosi, and Edward Gibson. “A Corpus Investigation of Syntactic Embedding in Pirahã.” PloS One 11, no. 3 (2016): e0145289.

Hauser, Marc D., Noam Chomsky, and W. Tecumseh Fitch. “The Faculty of Language: What is it, Who has it, and How Did it Evolve?” Science 298, no. 5598 (2002): 1569-1579.

Nevins, Andrew, David Pesetsky, and Cilene Rodrigues. “Pirahã Exceptionality: A Reassessment.” Language 85, no. 2 (2009): 355-404.

Everett, Daniel L. “What Does Pirahã Grammar Have to Teach Us About Human Language and the Mind?” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science 3, no. 6 (2012): 555-563.

Everett, Daniel L. “Pirahã Culture and Grammar: a Response to Some Criticisms.” Language 85, no. 2 (2009): 405-442.

Colapinto, John. “The Interpreter: Has a Remote Amazonian Tribe Upended our Understanding of Language?The New Yorker, April 16, 2007.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017
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Lecture Notes
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