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Synchronous Linguistic and Visual Processing

Objective

When humans process language, they rarely do so in isolation. Linguistic input often occurs synchronously with visual input, e.g., in everyday activities such as attending a lecture or following directions on a map. The visual context constrains the interpretation of the linguistic input, and vice versa, making processing more efficient and less ambiguous. Given the ubiquity of synchronous linguistic and visual processing, it is surprising that there is only a sparse experimental literature that deals with this topic, while virtually no computational models exist that capture the synchronous interpretation process. We propose an experimental research program that will investigate key features of synchronous processing by tracking participants' eye movements when they view a naturalistic scene and listen to a speech stimulus at the same time. The aim is to understand synchronous processing better by studying the interaction of saliency and ambiguity, and the role of incrementality, object context, and task factors. These experimental results will feed into a series of computational models that predict the eye-movement patterns that humans exhibit when they view a scene and listen to speech at the same time. The key modeling idea is to treat synchronous processing as an alignment problem, for which a rich literature exists in computational linguistics. Building on this literature, we will develop models that incrementally construct aligned linguistic and visual representations, and that can be evaluated against eye-tracking data.

Field of science

  • /humanities/languages and literature/literature - general
  • /humanities/languages and literature/linguistics/phonetics
  • /humanities/languages and literature/linguistics
  • /humanities/languages and literature/languages - general
  • /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/software/application software/graphic design

Call for proposal

ERC-2007-StG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 126 000
Principal investigator
Frank Keller (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Angela Noble (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 126 000
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Frank Keller (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Angela Noble (Ms.)