When you read about a person double-lutzing off a cliff, your ability to understand what is described depends on your experience and world knowledge. Most people will at least surmise that the person is a death-defying thrill-seeker and imagine a precipice. Winter sports aficionados might peg the double-lutzer as a suicidal ice-skater, picture an icy cliff, and note that sticking the landing will be exceptionally tricky. In addition to this, a professional figure-skater might mentally simulate the process of building up speed, jumping, and completing two revolutions while airborne or recall the last time he completed a double-lutz. This example illustrates two aspects of language comprehension that we will highlight in this chapter. First, the depth of a person’s understanding of a described event depends upon her experience and world knowledge. Second, as a reader’s relevant knowledge decreases, his understanding of an event does not suddenly disappear, but degrades grace - fully. That is, comprehension is a fault-tolerant process in which different people with various degrees of experience understand event descriptions at different levels of depth and granularity.
|Title of host publication||Language and Action in Cognitive Neuroscience|
|Editors||Yann Coello, Angela Bartolo|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Dec 2012|
|Name||Contemporary Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience|