The best-laid plans of mice and men: Competition between top-down and preceding-item cues in plan execution

AbstractThere is evidence that the process of executing a planned utterance involves the use of both preceding-context and top-down cues. Utterance-initial words are cued only by the top-down plan. In contrast, non-initial words are cued both by top-down cues and preceding-context cues. Co-existence of both cue types raises the question of how they interact during learning. We argue that this interaction is competitive: items that tend to be preceded by predictive preceding-context cues are harder to activate from the plan without this predictive context. A novel computational model of this competition is developed. The model is tested on a corpus of repetition disfluencies and shown to account for the influences on patterns of restarts during production. In particular, this model predicts a novel Initiation Effect: following an interruption, speakers re-initiate production from words that tend to occur in utterance-initial position, even when they are not initial in the interrupted utterance.

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