At this week’s lab meeting Jacob will present on processing studies from the psycholinguistic literature, with ideas for possible related future work.

  • Thursday, February 11, 13:30–14:30 (Montreal time, UTC-5).
  • Meetings are via Zoom. If you are interested in attending any of the meetings this semester, please take a moment now to register at this link. After approval, you will receive a confirmation email with the link to join.


During language comprehension, expectation of linguistic items in context affects processing cost. It is well documented that items which are more predictable have lower reading time. However, the precise relationship is an issue which has been a subject of debate. Various studies have proposed that the effect of predictability on processing time is (1) reciprocal, (2) logarithmic, or (3) linear. I will overview this literature, including very recent paper by Brothers and Kuperberg (Feb 2021) which gives evidence for a linear relationship. I will also discuss the possible repercussions these empirical results may have for probabilistic modelling.


Jacob Louis Hoover is a third year PhD student in linguistics at McGill / Mila. He likes to do work involving syntax, semantics, mathematical linguistics, and information theory.