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K-State Today

June 12, 2015

Michael Vitevitch to present 'Using Network Science to Examine the Mental Lexicon'

By Tawny Ochs

ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture Series and Kristin Pelczarski, assistant professor of family studies and human services, will host Michael Vitevitch at 1:30 p.m. June 15 in 164 Justin Hall. Vitevitch will present "Using Network Science to Examine the Mental Lexicon."

The lecture abstract:

Network science is an emerging discipline drawing from sociology, computer science, physics and a number of other fields to examine complex systems in economical, biological, social, and technological domains. To examine these complex systems, nodes are used to represent individual entities, and connections are used to represent relationships between entities, forming a web-like structure, or network, of the entire system. The structure that emerges in these complex networks influences the dynamics of that system. This approach has increased our understanding of the brain, psychological disorders, and the mental processes involved in semantic memory and in human collective behavior. I will summarize recent work from my lab that has used this approach to examine the structure found in a network representation of the mental lexicon. Using conventional psycholinguistic tasks we further demonstrate that the structural characteristics of the phonological network influence various language-related processes, including word retrieval during the recognition and production of spoken words, recovery from instances of failed lexical retrieval, and the acquisition of word-forms. This approach allows researchers to examine multiple levels of the language system, holding much promise for increasing our understanding of language-related processes and representations.