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Information 2011, 2(4), 672-696; doi:10.3390/info2040672
Article

Sentence Comprehension as Mental Simulation: An Information-Theoretic Perspective

*  and
Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2011 / Revised: 25 October 2011 / Accepted: 17 November 2011 / Published: 23 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Communication)
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Abstract

It has been argued that the mental representation resulting from sentence comprehension is not (just) an abstract symbolic structure but a “mental simulation” of the state-of-affairs described by the sentence. We present a particular formalization of this theory and show how it gives rise to quantifications of the amount of syntactic and semantic information conveyed by each word in a sentence. These information measures predict simulated word-processing times in a dynamic connectionist model of sentence comprehension as mental simulation. A quantitatively similar relation between information content and reading time is known to be present in human reading-time data.
Keywords: sentence comprehension; mental simulation; word information; connectionist modeling; word-reading time; semantic and syntactic bootstrapping sentence comprehension; mental simulation; word information; connectionist modeling; word-reading time; semantic and syntactic bootstrapping
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Frank, S.L.; Vigliocco, G. Sentence Comprehension as Mental Simulation: An Information-Theoretic Perspective. Information 2011, 2, 672-696.

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