UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Linguistics Seminar - Why memory for syntax is so terrible

10 May 2017, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Event Information


Room 118, Chandler House

Speaker: Matt Wagers - Department of Linguistics, University of California Santa Cruz

It is not too hard to remember what people say, but it can be quite difficult to remember precisely how they say it.

 In this talk, I will explore the science behind 'verbatim memory,' or memory for exact wording. Uncovering why verbatim memory is typically so fragile (but occasionally resilient) offers a window onto how rapid-acting short-term memory processes support the rich structure of language. 

This has implications not only for questions that interest linguists and psychologists, like how language acquired is by children; but also for ones with broader practical applications - like how much we should trust recollected speech in everyday contexts that matter, like the courtroom.