Abstract/Details

Modeling Semantic Structure and Spreading Activation in Retrieval Tasks

Kumar, Abhilasha A.  Washington University in St. Louis, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2021. 28419129.

Abstract (summary)

Considerable work in the past decade has focused on representational accounts of how semantic information is acquired and organized, leading to the advent of modern Distributional Semantic Models (DSMs) that learn word meanings by extracting statistical information from large text corpora. However, mechanistic accounts for how meaning-related information is accessed and retrieved from semantic representations to ultimately produce responses within semantic tasks remain relatively understudied, especially for production-based tasks that require the selection of a single response amongst several activated competitors, such as in free association and sentence completion tasks. This dissertation evaluated the extent to which state-of-the-art DSMs combined with algorithmic and process models account for performance in two familiarity-driven tasks (relatedness and similarity judgments) and two production-based tasks (free association and sentence completion). Model comparisons revealed that while a process-based model based on the spreading activation mechanism successfully accounted for relatedness and similarity judgments, an interactive model based on word frequency and semantic similarity, combined with a thresholding function that incorporated competition from neighboring words best accounted for free association responses and response latencies. In addition, the results indicated that when participants produced multiple responses in the free association task, the second response was highly dependent upon the first response, instead of primarily being driven by the cue. In predicting Cloze sentence completion performance, a contextual “attention”-based DSM significantly outperformed other models, suggesting that information is accessed and retrieved in a syntactically constrained manner in language production tasks. Collectively, these findings shed light on how meaning-related information is activated and responses are differentially produced depending upon task demands. Importantly, there appears to be little evidence for a task-independent model of semantic memory representation, indicating the importance of incorporating both task-specific retrieval mechanisms and different representational formats in theories of semantic memory structure and processing. Abandoning a common semantic representation for models of knowledge-driven tasks is a major departure from previous approaches.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Experimental psychology;
Cognitive psychology
Classification
0633: Cognitive psychology
0623: Experimental psychology
Identifier / keyword
Cloze task; Distributional semantic models; Free association; Semantic memory; Spreading activation
Title
Modeling Semantic Structure and Spreading Activation in Retrieval Tasks
Author
Kumar, Abhilasha A.  VIAFID ORCID Logo 
Number of pages
138
Publication year
2021
Degree date
2021
School code
0252
Source
DAI-B 82/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9798728223382
Advisor
Balota, David A.
Committee member
Dobbins, Ian G.; Duchek, Jan; Hyde, Brett; Zacks, Jeffrey M.
University/institution
Washington University in St. Louis
Department
Psychology
University location
United States -- Missouri
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
28419129
ProQuest document ID
2520826914
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
https://www.proquest.com/docview/2520826914