An Amorphous Model for Morphological Processing in Visual Comprehension Based on Naive Discriminative Learning

R. Harald Baayen*, Petar Milin, Dusica Filipović rević, Peter Hendrix, Marco Marelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

346 Citations (Scopus)


A 2-layer symbolic network model based on the equilibrium equations of the Rescorla-Wagner model (Danks, 2003) is proposed. The study first presents 2 experiments in Serbian, which reveal for sentential reading the inflectional paradigmatic effects previously observed by Milin, Filipović urević, and Moscoso del Prado Martín (2009) for unprimed lexical decision. The empirical results are successfully modeled without having to assume separate representations for inflections or data structures such as inflectional paradigms. In the next step, the same naive discriminative learning approach is pitted against a wide range of effects documented in the morphological processing literature. Frequency effects for complex words as well as for phrases (Arnon & Snider, 2010) emerge in the model without the presence of whole-word or whole-phrase representations. Family size effects (Moscoso del Prado Martín, Bertram, Häikiö, Schreuder, & Baayen, 2004; Schreuder & Baayen, 1997) emerge in the simulations across simple words, derived words, and compounds, without derived words or compounds being represented as such. It is shown that for pseudo-derived words no special morpho-orthographic segmentation mechanism, as posited by Rastle, Davis, and New (2004), is required. The model also replicates the finding of Plag and Baayen (2009) that, on average, words with more productive affixes elicit longer response latencies; at the same time, it predicts that productive affixes afford faster response latencies for new words. English phrasal paradigmatic effects modulating isolated word reading are reported and modeled, showing that the paradigmatic effects characterizing Serbian case inflection have crosslinguistic scope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-481
Number of pages44
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • A-morphous morphology
  • Compound cue theory
  • Morphological processing
  • Naive discriminative learning
  • Rescorla-Wagner equations


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