The Brain and the Book - Session 12

Session 12. April 3. How Do We Read? We will discuss the standard psychology of reading.

  1. Smith, Understanding Reading, "Identification of Meaning," "Reading, Writing, and Thinking," chs. 9-10, pp. 148-179, and "Notes," 276-88. Handout
  2. Crowder and Wagner, Psychology of Reading, "The Word in Context," "Comprehension," chs. 6-7, pp. 93-136. Handout
  3. Hilts, "Brain's Memory System." Handout
  4. Taylor, "Language and Brain," 362-394. Handout

Ask who will be here for two semesters more?
Psychologists of reading

    Note how all of this is colored by school problems: chn learning to read; dyslexia.
  1. Smith, Understanding Reading, "Identification of Meaning," "Reading, Writing, and Thinking," chs. 9-10, pp. 148-179, and "Notes," 276-88.
        Raises questions about literary reading. Poe, fict.
    1. 149-50. We don't read word by word, he sez. What is his evidence? The Cattell experiment. But what about poetry, "theory"? 151.5: attention to individ words and to meaning are alternative ways of reading. Does this hold true for poe? For fiction? 277.5 Reading does not nvolve identifying words. Phonics vs. "whole word"--how did this get to be political?
    2. 152.9 We get meaning of written words wo speech. Writing not just written speech.
    3. 154.1. "Meaning identification"--what does he mean? Meaning is relative to reader's knowl & what rdr wants to know. Cp. lit theory. Deconstruction, etc. which make texts active. Rdr's uncertainty, prediction. 157.8 "Meaning . . . cannot be captured in a net of words."
    4. 157.7 "Meaning cannot be captured in a net of words." How does this jibe with deconstruction?
    5. 158.2 Rdg poe is a diff't kind of reading.
    6. 162.4. Use meaning of whole to provide meaning for individual word. N.B. what kind of reasoning is this?
    7. What does this tell you about brain activity in reading? Top-down, therefore prefrontal cortex projecting backward to primary sensory areas.

    8. 165.9. Reading defined by diff't purposes in reading--again, neglected in lit theory (179.2). 166.8. It is the rdr's specification of a text tt determines its genre. Rdg sports column for lit value, novel for psyche of author. 173.2, he explains specification.
    9. 166.8. Disputs over meaning or correct ways of reading = usually disputes over questions to be asked. New crit, marxist, post-colonial, feminist . . .
    10. 170.1 His diagram: as he describes it, what kind of processing is this?
    11. 175.6 4 characterisics of meaningful reading. Reading for this seminar?
    12. 178.9 Human brain is a narrative device. Do you believe that? Where have we encountered this idea before?
    13. 278.2. Morton's logogen model.
    14. 279.2 Cloze and cheating detection programs.

  2. Crowder and Wagner, Psychology of Reading, "The Word in Context," "Comprehension," chs. 6-7, pp. 93-136.
        This is the kind of research that ed psych people do. Which side of the Alp?
    1. 94.2 "Bottom up" vs. "top down." Is this the same as Smith's multipurpose diagram? How have we modeled so far? Closer to a simple feedback network: standard = top; sensing relation to environment = bottom.
    2. 94.6 ff. Morton's logogen system in detail. 3 inputs: auditory; visual; context. Later, C&W add presence of referent itself. An attempt to conceptualize the lexicon in a generative grammar. Note that no grammar is included in some, no irregular forms à la Pinker.
      1. Once a logogen fires, returns to prior state slowly.
      2. Once one logogen fires, threshholds of all are lowered.
      3. Which of the four kinds of social science procedures is this?
      4. 100.5 McClelland & Rumelhart bring in PDP.
    3. Stroop task. Shows automatic reading.
    4. 106.7 Opposite of Smith: both decoding and meaning analysis are on, split attention. Query, query. Recommend rote drill. Recent program on noontime radio: kids in inner city school chanting.
    5. 108.6 Analysis by synthesis: context first, then compare possibles, select right one. Active, not passive. Cp lit theory.
    6. Know term "auding." Cp. Saussure and word-image ---> signifier.
    7. 114.7. In auding, heavier demands on memory than reading. Rdg you can look back.
    8. 115.1 Comprehension easier for reading than auding, yet we persist in lectures.
    9. 116.4 priming. Where in brain? Pally: "Priming means that prior exposure to words, sounds or shapes enhances their recognition from limited cues. Priming uses the "pre-semantic" perceptual centers in posterior sensory cortex (occipital lobe for visual). Semantic meanings are more anterior. Priming can be, often is, unconscious. Primary operates separately in different sensory modes (e.g., hearing vs. seeing)."
          Priming important for repetition, foreshadowing effects in lit.
    10. 118.2. When word is decoded, multiple meanings selected, then right one chosen. 120ff. Expts. Aren't these more consistent with Smith than these guys?
    11. Kintsch & van Dijk. Propositional representations of text represent possible meanings. Semantic memory vs. episodic? 132.1-3. No difference in time between implicit and explicit. They decide that inference occurs at time of testing.
    12. 119.1. "Garden path" constructions: Fish on rdr resp. Relevant for poets like Ashbery who shift metaphorical fields.
    13. 124.7. X-bar - verb as header. Cp. scholarly use of "is." But Kintsch&van Dijk's propositions hark back to Chomsky's early "kernel" sntences. Cp. Ohmann paper.
    14. What does proposit'l represenation say about fiction? What is the relation of the actual wording to the story?
    15. 130.6-7. Readability. MSWord offers scales.
    16. 133.3. Rdr participates actively in comprehension process. Neglected in lit theory.

  3. Hilts, "Brain's Memory System"
    1. 1b5 Note that brains have to be resized for this.
    2. 2b4 Convergence zones: indices for picking up info from various categories. Suggest tt perception or knowledge is categorized.
    3. 3a3 Bi-directional: features light up index; index lights up features.
    4. 3a7 "Individuality is the hallmark of all knowledge."
    5. 3b2 Some knowl (e.g., social) maybe innate. Cp. who?
    6. IMPORTANT: Review Robeck & Wallace, pp. 162-169. Temporal, occipital, and parietal lobes each has three areas. Primary reception areas: for auditory, somatosensory, visual. Locate them on the brain diagrams. Secondary association area where impulses from primary areas are comapred with stored experience and perceptual interpretations are made, generally w/i mode of initial message in primary area. Tertiary integration area which overlaps cortical processes of other lobes and performs bimodal integrations.
      1. Can animals do this? The cat at the beach.

  4. Taylor, "Language and Brain," 362-394. These peo specialize in comprehension of Asian languages. There are a lot of particulars in this one. Remember the ideas in broad outline. V impt, seems to me, for poetry, lesser extent fiction.
    1. 371.9 Sperry later retracted. See p. 374.3. There's only one mind. Split-brains are not the model for non-split-brains.
    2. 373.4 Is RH important therefore for metaphor? Wholistic pcptn.
    3. 374.5 Paragraph. Diff't word relations processed in different places in the brain. Look at 384.5. Varies from language to language. Also varies with individuality. So why do we play with word relations as in poetry? What is the purpose? Dissanayake.
    4. 378.9 Broca's aphasia involves Broca plus premotor cortex and insula.
    5. 379.8 Compare this table of aphasia with Bownds, Bear.
    6. 390.9 - 391.2 Speech production. Trace out this circuit on other diagrams.
    7. 392.3 Different processing for different features of language. LANGUAGE FACULTY (CHOMSKY'S LAD) IS IN FACT IN DIFF'T PLACES IN BRAIN???
    8. How does this relate to lit? Poetic language plays with different features of language. Do we do it for brain exercise, exercise our linguistic ability? Fun? Dissanayake - make special. How would that apply? Make the medium of language special.

  • April 10. What Is Metaphor? BOOK SUMMARIES DUE ON APR. 8.
    1. Basic theory.
      1. Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, chs. 1-17, 20, 25-30.
    2. Role of body in primary schemas
      1. Damasio, Descartes' Error, "The Body-Minded Brain," pp. 223-244. Handout
      2. Lakoff and Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh, "Time," "The Mind," "The Self," chs. 12, 13, pp. 235-289. Handout