Psycholinguistics is the study of how the human mind produces and understands language. Although all language is at its heart creative, there are specific types of creative language that have attracted attention from language researchers due to an assumed deviation from a utilitarian mode of communication. Specifically, this entry reviews psycholinguistic research into figurative language (e.g., metaphor and irony) and humor, and summarizes current psycholinguistic investigations into how creative meaning is processed in the human mind. The entry ends by making connections between creative language and the larger field of creativity research.

Psycholinguistics is the discipline that investigates and describes the psychological processes that make it possible for humans to master and use language. Psycholinguists conduct research on speech development and language development and how individuals of all ages comprehend and produce language. For descriptions of language, the field relies on the findings of linguistics, which is the discipline that describes the structure of language.

Computational Psycholinguistics

Computational psycholinguistics is a sub discipline of psycholinguistics, which is the scientific discipline that studies how people acquire a language and how they comprehend and produce this language. The increasing complexity of the models of human language processing which have been evolved in this discipline makes the development and evaluation of computer implemented versions of these models more and more important to understand these models and to derive predictions from them. Computational psycholinguistics is the branch of psycholinguistics that develops and uses computational models of language processing to evaluate existing models with respect to consistency and adequacy as well as to generate new hypotheses. Based on a characterization of the different tasks in human language processing, the article presents different computational models of these tasks. The architectural basis, the processing strategy, and the predictions made by the programs are described to show the merits of computer modeling in psycholinguistics.

Psycholinguistic Approaches to the Study of Syndromes and Symptoms of Aphasia

Psycholinguistic studies of the clinical syndromes of aphasia have provided a unique window into the neurobiology of language. Such studies offer insights that behavioral and neuroimaging studies alone cannot. Behavioral studies do not provide evidence of the neural systems underlying a particular deficit. Neuroimaging studies are unable to determine whether activation of a neural area indicates that it is necessary for a particular linguistic function. Coupled with these approaches, technological advances now available for detailed mapping of lesion profiles coupled with careful clinical examination and classification of patients hold the promise of not only gaining a deeper understanding of the functional and neural architecture of language but also providing critical insights into the bases of language deficits that can be used in developing rehabilitation programs for patients with aphasia.

Sarah Rose
Managing Editor
International Journal of Swarm Intelligence and Evolutionary Computation