Psycho-Argumentation

In this project, we study how people process argumentative texts, relying on psycho-linguistic theories of language processing and associated research methods (e.g., self-paced reading, eye tracking, EEG). Through this approach, we will gain insights into people’s immediate and, in part, unconscious responses to arguments of different types and forms. We have a particular interest in the role of specific linguistic properties of arguments (e.g., semantics/valency of words used, grammatical properties of sentences, such as voice, aspect, evidentiality), and manipulations thereof, for ease/difficulty of argument processing. Further, it will allow us to compare responses on these online measures of processing to people’s offline assessment of arguments, shedding light on the effectiveness of arguments.

Activities and publications

KeynoteMonique Flecken will give a keynote lecture at the third international workshop CARLA, as part of the Bolzano Summer of Knowledge (BOSK) 2021, hosted by the Research Centre for Knowledge and Data of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano.

Conference talk – at Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP) 2021, hosted by the Universite de Paris, France: Santin, M., Shao, Y., Verhoeven, E., Hoeksema, J., Flecken, M., van Hout, A. What the fuzz is an event result? Affectedness and telicity in the meaning of verbs across languages.

Conference talk – at Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Processing and Learning (X-PPL) 2021, hosted by the University of Zurich, Switzerland: Santin, M., Shao, Y., Verhoeven, E., Hoeksema, J., Flecken, M., van Hout, A. What the fuzz is an event result? Affectedness and telicity in the meaning of verbs across languages.

Journal article (*open access*) – Linguistic labels cue biological motion perception and misperception. Slivac, K., Hervais-Adelman, A., Hagoort, P. & Flecken, M. (2021). Scientific reports, 11: 17239.

The above paper is the result of an international collaboration between researchers from the Netherlands (University of Amsterdam, MPI psycholinguistics) and Switzerland (UZH Zurich). In the paper, we show that presenting participants with words such as “walker”, which express human motion, increases the chances of them reporting the presence of human figures in noisy displays, not only when a target figure is presented (masked in noise) but even when no figure is actually presented. This indicates a potentially powerful role for language in shaping our interpretation of the visual world. We are now analysing brain-imaging data that will help us to localise the interface between language and vision