March 23, 2017 at 530p: Penny Pexman, Ph.D.

I am such a big fan of Professor Pexman's work across so many different domains of semantics and language (e.g., abstract words, sound symbolism).  Professor Pexman's talk is titled:

Lexical-Semantic Processing: New Insights from Scrabble Experts and Megastudies

It is now well established that the process of generating meaning from print varies as a function of both item-level (e.g., word concreteness) and task-level influences (e.g., the particular decision category chosen in a semantic decision task). Yet the mixed findings observed across studies for effects of dimensions like word valence and ambiguity suggest additional unexplained variability in semantic processing. I will explore the possibility that some of that variability might be explained by individual differences in semantic processing, even among skilled readers. This will include studies with participants who have extraordinary lexical knowledge (competitive Scrabble players) and analyses of the Calgary Semantic Decision Project dataset that examine whether semantic processing varies as a function of individual differences even among the standard undergraduate population. Results provide new insights about semantic representation for concrete and abstract words, about the effects of emotion and ambiguity, and are consistent with a dynamic and experience-driven account of semantic processing.