The Dennes Room

Event Detail

Fri Mar 11, 2011
5101 Tolman, 11 AM–1 PM
Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Teenie Matlock (UC Merced)
Grammatical aspect in everyday thought and reasoning

The goal of the talk is to report new findings on the use and understanding of grammatical aspect in everyday language. Results are presented from studies that use a variety of experimental methods, including eye-tracking, surveys, and mouse-tracking, to investigate the conceptual structure of aspect and its function in event descriptions. The studies focus on distinctions between English perfective and imperfective (e.g., “The senator had an affair with his assistant last year” versus “The senator was having an affair with his assistant last year”). The results, which show how aspect can systematically influence reasoning about situations ranging from attitudes toward politicians to perceptions of vehicular mishaps, provide further evidence to support the idea that language use and understanding is grounded in dynamic simulations.