Linguistics 1, Web Quiz #7


1. BRAIN FUNCTION AND LATERALIZATION

In the introductory lecture on language and the brain, I cited the following passage from the Bible (Psalm 137, verses 5-6):

5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

(In class, I quoted the King James version. The citation here is from the New International Version (NIV), in which the English is a little easier for us to understand today.)

WHAT IS BEST STATEMENT OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS PASSAGE FOR THE STUDY OF LANGUAGE AND THE BRAIN?

a. Even at the time the Psalms were written, lateralization of brain function was understood.

b. From early times, the consistent association of incapacity in right side motor functions with incapacity in language was well-recognized.

c. Injury to the right side of the body was known to bring about language incapacity.

d. It was believed that as punishment for sin, God would take away the two most important abilities for functioning in human society: language and the ability to use the right hand (since most people are right-handed).

e. The psalmist believes that without the ability to speak, he will not be able to write (his right hand will "forget its skill").


2. DIRECT OBSERVATION OF THE BRAIN

In the video on the brain and language, there was a segment on using PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to directly observe the active areas of the brain as it performs certain tasks. Here are pictures of three scans from the video.

Scan 1
Scan 2
Scan 3
       

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING TASKS WOULD BE MOST LIKELY TO RESULT IN THE ACTIVATION SEEN IN SCAN 1?

a. Lying quietly with no visual or auditory stimuli.

b. Just looking at words flashed on the screen.

c. Looking at a blank screen and hearing words.

d. Just repeating words flashed on the screen.

e. Saying a word associated with a word flashed on the screen.


3. EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FOR LATERALIZATION

This is a small example of a Dichotic Listening Experiment. In such an experiment, the subject hears different words played into each ear. Upon hearing the words, the subject the subject says or writes the ONE word that s/he heard even though there were two words.

To try the sample, click on "GO TO DIRECTIONS". To best appreciate this experiment, you should listen to the sounds through stereo headphones plugged into the sound port of the computer (make sure you have the headphone marked "L" over the left ear!). If you do not see a picture that says "DICHOTIC LISTENING" below, you need the free QuickTime player on your computer. Click here to download the free player.)

For this experiment, after seeing the directions and an example, you will hear five dichotic listening stimuli. Write down the word you heard. The actual words that were played will be shown in the answer key. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers! The experiment is asking for YOUR response.

(You can try a dichotic listening experiment with more stimuli and more elborate explanation on the Linguistics 1 web site.)

QUESTION: Assuming that a dichotic listening experiment gives reliable results, WHICH OF THE STATEMENTS BEST STATES WHAT A DICHOTIC LISTENING EXPERIMENT SHOWS?

a. This experiment shows that each ear can independently process auditory stimuli, allowing the hearer to correctly identify both.

b. This experiment shows that delivering different stimuli simultaneously to the two ears creates a conflict such that the subject just hears linguistic "noise" rather than identifiable words.

c. This experiment shows that the two ears must process auditory stimuli somewhat differently, causing a "preference" for which stimulus a subject hears.

d. This experiment shows that only the right ear can process linguistic stimuli.

e. This experiment shows that once a subject is primed to hear a sound played to either the right or the left ear, the subject will always say that the "heard" sound was the one played to that ear.


4. LANGUAGE PROCESSING RESEARCH: LDT

In a Lexical Decision Task (LDT), subjects see one word (the 'prime') briefly, and then shortly after they see another word (the 'target'). Their task is to decide whether the target word is a word of the language being investigated (lexical decision). The first word is said to prime the latter one if it results in a faster (smaller) reaction time.

FOR THE TARGET WORD 'cat', WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING PRIMES IS LIKELY TO RESULT IN THE GREATEST AMOUNT OF PRIMING?

a. kick

b. chair

c. girl

d. dog

e. red


5. LANGUAGE PROCESSING RESEARCH: ERP

One Event Related Potential (ERP) study involved subjects’ reactions to target words in presentations like the following:

Priming sentence:

The gambler pulled an ace from the bottom of the deck.

Target words (some subjects saw #1, some subjects saw #2):

#1 cards
#2 ship

WHICH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING WOULD BE THE MOST LIKELY RESULT OF THIS EXPERIMENT (AVERAGED OVER MANY SUBJECTS)?

a. Subjects shown target #1 cards would show an N400 spike because of the priming context that included the word "ace" (which is a type of card), and cards come in "decks".

b. Subjects shown target #2 ship would show an N400 spike because of the priming context that included the word "ace" (which is a type of card), even though a ship can have a "deck".

c. Neither target would would evoke an N400 spike because "deck" could equally well prime "cards" or "ship".

d. Both targets would evoke an N400 spike because neither "cards" nor "ship" sound anything like "deck".

e. An N400 spike would be evoked in one brain area for "cards", which is related to the context of the priming sentence, whereas an N400 spike would be evoked in another area for "ship", which is unrelated to the context.


6. SPLIT BRAIN STUDIES

In class, we saw a video clip about a man named Joe whose brain hemispheres has been surgically separated. The box at the top of page 104 of the course reader describes the effect of this procedure on Joe's behaviors when presented with linguistic stimuli. Here is another clip from the same video (we did not see this in class):

HOW DOES JOE'S BEHAVIOR AS ILLUSTRATED IN THIS CLIP SUGGEST THAT THE LEFT HEMISPHERE IS DESIGNED TO PROCESS LANGUAGE IN A WAY THAT THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE IS NOT?

a. An image flashed to the left visual field (processed by the right hemisphere) primes the subject to more quickly recognize words having "global" meanings, while an image flashed to the right hemisphere primes the subject to more quickly recognize words having "specific" meanings.

b. The left hemisphere analyzes complex objects in terms of their component parts, the right hemisphere scans objects for their global properties.

c. The left hemsiphere stores all the words of the language (at least all the ones that the speaker has learned), whereas the right hemisphere stores only words for objects and concepts that it is attuned to process, such as "face", "music", "love", etc.

d. The right hemisphere is controlled by the WHOLE OBJECT PRINCIPLE, giving a single name to something that functions as a unit, the left hemisphere is controlled by the LEXICAL CONTRAST PRINCIPLE and the MUTUAL EXCLUSIVITY PRINCIPLE, which work toward a single word for a single object.

e. The left hemisphere is "rational" and would not entertain the idea of forming a picture from vegetables, books, and the like, whereas the right hemisphere is "artistic/imaginative" and would view a picture as "art", regardless of the medium.


7. TYPES OF APHASIA
      

Area 1
Area 2

The sound files here illustrate two aphasic subjects trying to describe the picture, "The Cookie Theft", on the right above. It is likely that these speakers suffered trauma to Areas 1 and 2 of the left hemisphere of the brain respectively .Here are transcripts:

Area 1:  "Yeah … mess … uh … ladder … fall down … and uh … a girl … and … the… cookie … all … fall. And … wife … spill … water … and disses … and, uh, tsups … and, uh … saucers … plate … ah, no … done."

Area 2:  "Which … is the bezest. He is packing to masneez beck and back bessing, while the belt is hissing selt bassling bess, pack and best. But this one is essling off and pessing a gesner. … Klipun this one here keeps kip pissing. This one … the kitchen back from the kerfesing is trying from the kasbessing is baaad basning."

WHAT TYPE OF APHASIA DOES THE EXAMPLE FROM TRAUMA TO AREA 1 EXEMPLIFY?

a. Broca's Aphasia

b. Wernicke's Aphasia

c. anomina

d. Conduction Aphasia

e. Transcortical Aphasia


8. LANGUAGE IN THE BRAIN

In the lecture on the brain and language, we saw a case of a man who had a tumor covering part of the left hemisphere of the brain and the difficulty of surgically removing such a tumor while inflicting miminum damage to the cognitive processes to that area of the brain. Here is a selection fom the same article that decribes the man's linguistic abilities after his surgery to remove the tumor:

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING DOES INFORMATION FROM THE ARTICLE SUPPORT WITH REGARD TO PLACEMENT OF LANGUAGE IN THE BRAIN?

a. The ability to control grammar and the ability to control vocabulary (= lexicon) are controlled by different parts of the brain.

b. Vocabulary (= lexicon) is distributed in the brain something like books in a library, with items related to different subjects located in different spots.

c. Vocabulary storage in the brain seems to be sensitive to grammatical categories.

d. Mental processing of concepts about things in the world takes place in different areas of the brain from the areas that process the language used to name those concepts.

e. All the above.


9. PARALLELS IN DESIGN OF AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE (ASL) AND SPEECH

Here are five expressions in ASL with an English expression that translates the idea of the ASL sign.

1
2
3
4
5
 
'work' 'work regularly' 'true' 'seriously' 'workshop'
(as in 'theater workshop')
These are finger spelling
signs--see word for
'workshop'.

WHICH OF THE ASL SIGNS 1-5 MOST CLEARLY HAS THE STRUCTURE OF A COMPOUND?

a. Sign 1 (meaning 'work')

b. Sign 2 (meaning 'work regularly')

c. Sign 3 (meaning 'true')

d. Sign 4 (meaning 'seriously')

e. Sign 5 (meaning 'workshop')


10. DUALITY OF PATTERNING IN ASL SIGNS

We have argued that the signs of American Sign Language (ASL) have the property of Duality of Patterning, that is, a sign with a particular meaning can be broken down into a set of components which, in themselves, do not carry meaning. This can be demonstrated by "minimal sets", that is, sets of signs where the change in just one of the following four components makes a change in meaning:  hand shape, hand position, type of movement, orientation of the palm of the hand.

Which of one of the pairs of signs in the following videos illustrates meaning differences based on PALM ORIENTATION?

a.

b.

c.

d.

e.