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Psychophysical methods in experimental morphology
Maria Falikman, Maria Vasilyeva, Olga Fedorova, Ekaterina Pechenkova
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
[email protected], [email protected]
Among the current issues in morphology is the subjective representation of so-called "morphemic
seams" (junctions between word roots and affixes, including prefixes and flections). One of the
ways to probe into these representations is to manipulate perceptual characteristics of visually
presented words and word parts, measuring response parameters for various presentation
conditions. There is a number of methods in visual psychophysics which might be useful here. In
one of our experiments, we used simultaneity judgements on asynchronously presented word parts
(Pechenkova, Sinitsyna, 2009) to address two issues regarding "morphemic seams": first, whether
words are stored in the mental lexicon in all possible forms (Manelis, Tharp, 1977), or they are
constructed from roots and affixes stored separately (McKay, 1978), or both options are
implemented in the mental lexicon architecture (Taft, Nguyen-Hoan, 2010); second, whether there
is a difference in subjective representation of derivational and inflectional morphology. To do so, we
compared perception of words split at the morphemic junction and across the root (Vasilyeva et al.,
2013). In the other experiment (Vasilyeva, Falikman, Fedorova, submitted), we combined a
standard lexical decision task with color segregation of the word stimuli, the method proved to be
an analogue to spatial segregation in visual attention tasks (Baylis, Driver, 1992). Although far from
the clear understanding of the representation of Russian morphology in the mental lexicon, we were
able to get a bit closer to the understanding of how the morphological structure of a word might be
implemented in its architecture. Supported by RFBR, #12-06-00268-a.
psycholinguistics, visual psychophysics, morphology