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Investigating a neural language model's replicability of psycholinguistic experiments: A case study of NPI licensing

Title
Investigating a neural language model's replicability of psycholinguistic experiments: A case study of NPI licensing
Authors
Shin, UnsubYi, EunkyungSong, Sanghoun
Ewha Authors
이은경
SCOPUS Author ID
이은경scopus
Issue Date
2023
Journal Title
FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY
ISSN
1664-1078JCR Link
Citation
FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY vol. 14
Keywords
neural language modelBERTnegative polarity itemsNPI licensinggrammatical illusionlicensing strengthscale of negativitypsycholinguistics
Publisher
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
Indexed
SSCI; SCOPUS WOS scopus
Document Type
Article
Abstract
The recent success of deep learning neural language models such as Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) has brought innovations to computational language research. The present study explores the possibility of using a language model in investigating human language processes, based on the case study of negative polarity items (NPIs). We first conducted an experiment with BERT to examine whether the model successfully captures the hierarchical structural relationship between an NPI and its licensor and whether it may lead to an error analogous to the grammatical illusion shown in the psycholinguistic experiment (Experiment 1). We also investigated whether the language model can capture the fine-grained semantic properties of NPI licensors and discriminate their subtle differences on the scale of licensing strengths (Experiment 2). The results of the two experiments suggest that overall, the neural language model is highly sensitive to both syntactic and semantic constraints in NPI processing. The model's processing patterns and sensitivities are shown to be very close to humans, suggesting their role as a research tool or object in the study of language.
DOI
10.3389/fpsyg.2023.937656|http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.937656
Appears in Collections:
사범대학 > 영어교육과 > Journal papers
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