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Extra info for Individual Differences in Language Ability and Language Behavior

Sample text

As I see it, by address­ ing himself to subgroup comparisons, the researcher has a means of teasing out and testing the roles played by various recurrent processes, alone and in combination, and also testing each process for its univer­ sality. Incidentally, the psychologist's belief in the universality of psy­ chological processes is shared by many behavioral scientists, I find, lin­ guists included, and this is probably what Chomsky—with his strong belief in the universality of linguistic mechanisms—means when he refers to himself as a psychologist of language.

Part 2, entitled "Phonetic Script/' presents the task of learning to iden­ tify the transcriptions of certain English phonemes. The transcription system used is actually that of Träger and Smith (1951), familiar to many linguists but presumably unfamiliar to the typical college student or adult who might happen to take the MLAT. Subjects are told that they will hear a series of nonsense syllables spoken on a tape recording, while they observe the transcriptions of these syllables on their answer sheets.

The auditory coding factor was measured by several experimental tasks, including two memory span or free recall tasks in which the stimuli were phonetic nonsense syllables, and a task analogous to that devised by Peterson and Peterson (1959) in which subjects have to repeat, at a signal, an auditory stimulus (a se­ quence of 2 or 3 phonemic nonsense syllables) which they have heard just before having to perform an interfering task (reading a series of numbers aloud). The visual memory coding factor was measured by tasks in which subjects had the opportunity to remember stimuli in terms of alphabetic spellings (either presented directly in the visual stimuli, or imposed on auditory stimuli by the subjects).

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