Department of Linguistics University of Kansas
I am a PhD student in Department of Linguistics at the University of Kansas. My research focuses on how the mind and the brain process language at word, sentence, and discourse levels, and how the parser rapidly and incrementally uses subtle linguistic information to construct complex meanings. My research also explores the variability among native speakers, comprehensively examining a range of individual abilities that subserve language processing. My work implements a variety of experimental techniques, including offline judgment, eye tracking, and EEG (electroencephalography). I am experienced in experiment design, data collection, and data analysis involved in these techniques, in collaboration with the Neurolinguistics and Language Processing Lab and the Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab at KU.
Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, National Science Foundation (recommended for funding)
Predictive processing of Mandarin relative clauses (dissertation project)
This project investigates the linguistic cues that guide the prediction of relative clauses in Mandarin Chinese. Due to their head-finality Mandarin relative clauses present a challenge for incremental processing and necessiate that the parser pre-build the complex syntactic structure, which may require predictive cues. The project will examine whether the parser can predict Mandarin relative clauses by using local linguistic cues, and whether the predictive ability is modulated by individual differences in verbal and non-verbal cognitive abilities. Using EEG, the project will track online processing of relative clauses at millisecond level throughout the entire sentence.
Context and individual differences in scalar implicature
This project examined whether scalar implicature (associated with 'some') is derived under different contexts, approximating natural conversations where meaning derivation must rely on wider contexts. Three kinds of individual differences were also examined, comprehensively testing the sources of variability in derivation. Results suggested that deriving scalar implicature as demanded by context relies on both cognitive abilities and socio-pragmatic abilities.
Yang, X., Minai, U., & Fiorentino, R. (2018). Context-sensitivity and Individual Differences in the Derivation of Scalar Implicature. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:1720. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01720.
Yang, X. (2018, April). The Role of Context and Individual Differences in Scalar Implicature Derivation. Talk at KU Linguistics Colloquy series, University of Kansas. Lawrence, KS.
Yang, X. (2018, January). The Role of Question Under Discussion and Individual Differences in Scalar Implicature (Yujing he geti chayi zai dengji hanyi zhong de zuoyong). Talk at the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Fudan University. Shanghai, China.
Yang, X., Fiorentino, R., & Minai, U. (2017, March). The role of individual differences in the context-dependent interpretation of 'some'. Poster presented at the 30th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing. Cambridge, MA. [pdf]
Select publications and presentations:
Surface and underlying representations of Mandarin sandhi words
Chien, Y.-F., Fiorentino, R., Yang, X., & Sereno, J. (2016). Surface phonetic or underlying phonological representations: A mismatch negativity study of Mandarin tone assimilation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140(4), pp. 3224-3225.
Chien, Y-F., Fiorentino, R., Yang, X., & Sereno, J. (2016, December). Surface phonetic or underlying phonological representations: A mismatch negativity study of Mandarin tone assimilation. Poster presentation at the 5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Society of Japan. Honolulu, HI.
Publications and presentations:
Prediction and individual differences in semantic priming
Covey, L., Coughlin, C. E., Yang, X., Johnson, A., Siew, C. S. Q., Martinez-Garcia, M. T., & Fiorentino, R. (under revision). An ERP investigation of the role of prediction and individual differences in semantic priming.
Covey, L., & Yang, X. (2016, October). An EEG investigation of the role of prediction and individual differences in word-pair semantic priming. Talk at 2016 KU Cognitive Brain Science Brownbag Talk series. Lawrence, KS.
Yang, X. (2016, March). An EEG investigation of the role of prediction and individual differences in word-pair semantic priming. Talk at 2016 KU Graduate Research Competition. Lawrence, KS.
Covey, L., Coughlin, C., Martinez-Garcia, M., Johnson, A., Yang, Xiao, Siew, C., Major, T., & , R. (2015, October). An ERP investigation of the role of prediction and individual differences in semantic priming. Poster presented at 7th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language. Chicago, IL.
Publications and presentations:
|2018 - 19||Curriculum Development Project, Department of Linguistics, University of Kansas|
|2017 - 18||Instructor, Department of Linguistics, University of Kansas|
|Summer 2018: LING110 Language and Mind|
|Summer 2017: LING106 Introductory Linguistics|
|2015 - 18||Guest Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, University of Kansas|
|LING738 / 742 Neurolinguistics I / II|
|LING106 Introductory Linguistics|
|LING420 Capstone: Research in Language Science|
|2014 - 18||Teaching Assistant, Department of Linguistics, University of Kansas|
|LING106 Introductory Linguistics|
|2017||Research Consultant, Center for Undergraduate Research, University of Kansas|
|Assisting undergraduate students conducting hands-on research for capstone projects (for LING420) and incorporating research components into the curriculum|
|2015 - 16||Chinese Drill Instructor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Kansas|
|CHIN204 / 206 Chinese Level II|
|2013||Teaching Assistant, Linguistics Program, Purdue University|
|LING521 English Syntax and Syntactic Theory (Grad-level)|
|2012 - 14||Research Assistant, Purdue Libraries, Purdue University|
|Information Literacy project (PI: Dr. Clarence Maybee)|
Qualtrics is a convenient tool for doing simple web experiments and norming studies, but since it's geared towards business surveys Qualtrics doesn't have lots of experiment-friendly features (e.g., batch-copy stimuli list, set up conditions, etc.). This means that putting your 80+ sentences into a Qualtrics survey entails a lot of tedious copying / pasting / mouse clicking / coffee drinking... you get it. So I did this little coding project to batch upload stimuli into Qualtrics and I hope it makes your life a bit easier!
Currently, the codes can handle multiple choice-type surveys (e.g., rating, grammaticality judgment, choose pronoun referent, etc.) and text entry surveys (e.g., sentence completion, open-ended answers, etc).
Also see Qualtrics' guide to batch import surveys: Import and export surveys. For more fine-grained web experiments, check out PennController, an online experiment tool developed for psycholinguistic studies.
Awards and Scholarships
Frances Ingemann Dissertation Fellowship (2018), KU Linguistics
Graduate Teaching Award (2018), KU Linguistics
Student Travel Award (2017), CUNY Conference on Sentence Processing
Frances Ingemann Linguistics Scholarship (2017), KU Linguistics
Certificate of Excellence (2013), Purdue Office of Interdisciplinary Program
Outstanding Undergraduate Award (2012), Shanghai Ministry of Education,
National Scholarship (2009), China Ministry of Education
CASIO Scholarship (2009), Shanghai Interntational Studies University
Univerity Scholarship (2008-2011), Shanghai Interntational Studies University