Emotion: The always neglected, all-essential ingredient of language acquisition and processing


The cognitive sciences originated with a computational metaphor in mid 20th century, with the results that emotion was long viewed as either not worthy of study or at least as very distinct from cognition.
With the rise of cognitive neuroscience in the last 15 years, an "emotion revolution" has swept the cognitive sciences and psychology more generally. Neuroscientists have frequently employed animal models of behavior, and thus find motivation and emotion natural objects of study. While this approach has changed our understanding of decision making and problem solving (and other areas of cognition), the emotion revolution has not yet touched language processing. I argue that understanding the importance of emotional processing for language acquisition and language use is long overdue. Psycholinguists should study the processing of emotional language, and the social goals of language learners should inform our models of the language acquisition process.

Paper which provides background for this talk