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Feature integration theory - Wikipedia

Feature integration theory is a theory of attention developed in 1980 by Anne Treisman and ..

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The current paper, "The Integration Hypothesis of Human Language Evolution and the Nature of Contemporary Languages," is published this week in Frontiers in Psychology. The authors are Miyagawa; Robert Berwick, a professor of computational linguistics and computer science and engineering in MIT's Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems; and Shiro Ojima and Kazuo Okanoya, scholars at the University of Tokyo.

The paper's conclusions build on past work by Miyagawa, which holds that human language consists of two distinct layers: the expressive layer, which relates to the mutable structure of sentences, and the lexical layer, where the core content of a sentence resides. That idea, in turn, is based on previous work by linguistics scholars including Noam Chomsky, Kenneth Hale, and Samuel Jay Keyser.

The expressive layer and lexical layer have antecedents, the researchers believe, in the languages of birds and other mammals, respectively. For instance, in another paper published last year, Miyagawa, Berwick, and Okanoya presented a broader case for the connection between the expressive layer of human language and birdsong, including similarities in melody and range of beat patterns.

Birds, however, have a limited number of melodies they can sing or recombine, and nonhuman primates have a limited number of sounds they make with particular meanings. That would seem to present a challenge to the idea that human language could have derived from those modes of communication, given the seemingly infinite expression possibilities of humans.

But the researchers think certain parts of human language actually reveal finite-state operations that may be linked to our ancestral past. Consider a linguistic phenomenon known as "discontiguous word formation," which involve sequences formed using the prefix "anti," such as "antimissile missile," or "anti-antimissile missile missile," and so on. Some linguists have argued that this kind of construction reveals the infinite nature of human language, since the term "antimissile" can continually be embedded in the middle of the phrase.

However, as the researchers state in the new paper, "This is not the correct analysis." The word "antimissile" is actually a modifier, meaning that as the phrase grows larger, "each successive expansion forms via strict adjacency." That means the construction consists of discrete units of language. In this case and others, Miyagawa says, humans use "finite-state" components to build out their communications.

The complexity of such language formations, Berwick observes, "doesn't occur in birdsong, and doesn't occur anywhere else, as far as we can tell, in the rest of the animal kingdom." Indeed, he adds, "As we find more evidence that other animals don't seem to posses this kind of system, it bolsters our case for saying these two elements were brought together in humans."

The results of this experiment verified Treisman and Schmidt's hypothesis.

Far from being a mere curiosity, the silvery gibbon may hold clues to the development of language in humans. In a newly published paper, two MIT professors assert that by re-examining contemporary human language, we can see indications of how human communication could have evolved from the systems underlying the older communication modes of birds and other primates.

From birds, the researchers say, we derived the melodic part of our language, and from other primates, the pragmatic, content-carrying parts of speech. Sometime within the last 100,000 years, those capacities fused into roughly the form of human language that we know today.

But how? Other animals, it appears, have finite sets of things they can express; human language is unique in allowing for an infinite set of new meanings. What allowed unbounded human language to evolve from bounded language systems?

"How did human language arise? It's far enough in the past that we can't just go back and figure it out directly," says linguist Shigeru Miyagawa, the Kochi-Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language and Culture at MIT. "The best we can do is come up with a theory that is broadly compatible with what we know about human language and other similar systems in nature."

Specifically, Miyagawa and his co-authors think that some apparently infinite qualities of modern human language, when reanalyzed, actually display the finite qualities of languages of other animals — meaning that human communication is more similar to that of other animals than we generally realized.

"Yes, human language is unique, but if you take it apart in the right way, the two parts we identify are in fact of a finite state," Miyagawa says. "Those two components have antecedents in the animal world. According to our hypothesis, they came together uniquely in human language."

Problematic integration theory - Wikipedia

Problematic integration theory is a theory of ..

The racial threat hypothesis originated in , which argued as the relative size of racial and ethnic minority group increases, members of the majority group perceive a growing threat. contends that this perceived threat can take on two different forms. The first is economic threat. That is, as increased numbers of blacks compete for jobs, housing, and other economic resources, whites increasingly feel their economic well-being and dominance are threatened. The second is political threat which occurs as blacks enhance their political power, causing whites to feel their political hegemony is threatened. Researchers have since extended Blalock’s original propositions to include criminal threat—that is, a larger black population fosters fear of crime. In response to any form of minority threat, it is hypothesized that whites will demand intensified social control to maintain dominant standing. In addition, Blalock maintained that the relationship between racial threat and social control would be nonlinear, and the nature of the nonlinear relationship is different in contexts of political versus economic threat. In particular, under conditions of economic threat, efforts geared toward maintaining economic dominance will increase with a rate. Under conditions of political threat, however, controls aimed at maintaining political power will increase with an rate. Finally, Blalock contended that racial segregation may operate as an effective way to reduce racial threat and a particular form of control imposed on minorities. The logic of Blalock’s racial threat arguments has been extended by other scholars. For example, suggests in contexts where the black population outnumbers or reaches equivalence with the white population, use of social control against blacks should be more difficult because blacks are able to mobilize resources and political power. provides an important theoretical integration of key studies testing the racial threat hypothesis.

Situated within the conflict perspective, the racial threat hypothesis argues that members of the majority group—in this case, whites—perceive the relative size of and increases in the black population as threatening and in turn take actions to reduce this perceived threat. This hypothesis has been extended to other threatening minority populations, such as ethnic minorities and immigrant populations. Most research assessing the racial threat hypothesis has specifically examined blacks as a perceived threat. In particular, much research in the field of criminology and criminal justice has tested the effect of racial threat on criminal justice outcomes. Since the outset, research in this area has typically employed a “proxy” measure of racial threat, such as the percentage of the population in a given area that is black. In recent years, the measure of racial threat has been expanded to include perceptual measures of threat, by asking individuals, for example, to report their level of agreement with statements that describe blacks as threats to public order and safety. This hypothesis has also provided useful insights into the ways in which other formal measures of social control (e.g., the welfare system) and informal social control (e.g., hate crimes and racialized violence) are used to minimize racial threat. The purpose of the present work is to direct readers to key sources for further exploration, critique, and advancement of the racial threat hypothesis and its extensions.

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Sensory processing disorder - Wikipedia

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