Pawlow und sein Hund

Abstract

Due to the m a n n e r in which the Engl ish language is used, words exhib i t s t rong in te rna l cons t ra in ts on le t ters , bu t some add i t iona l constrain~ m a y be imposed b y the con tex t in which words appear . I n order to e s t ima te t he in te rna l cons t ra in ts of words and the overal l effect of context , an exper imen t was carr ied out using 225 h u m a n subjec ts who p red ic ted le t te rs in each of the f irst four posi t ions wi th in words, bo th wi th and wi thou t con tex t pr ior to the words. I t was found t h a t as more le t te rs a t the beginning of words are given, p red ic t ion of the following le t ters increases monotonica l ly , b u t the increase is no t smooth. Predict ion of the t h i rd l e t t e r of words given the f irst two le t ters is only a l i t t le be t t e r t han pred ic t ion of the second l e t t e r g iven on ly the first. This effect m a y be exp la ined b y the p robab le combina t ions of vowels and consonants a t the beginning of words. Le t te rs in the f i rs t two posi t ions show no i m p r o v e m e n t due to long con tex t b u t p red ic t ion of l a te r le t te rs is increased b y such con tex t so t h a t p red ic t ion rises smoo th ly from the in i t ia l l e t t e r to the four th le t ter . Also, the t y p e of word in which the le t te r s are to be p red ic t ed affects the predic t ion , funct ion words showing more cons t r a in t on le t te rs t h a n content words. The difference be tween funct ion and conten t words does not t ake effect, however , un t i l the first two le t ters of the word are given. Using the pred ic t ion d a t a f rom words p receded b y long context , ex t r apo la t ions of cons t r a in t out to the t e n t h l e t t e r were obta ined . F r o m the values of cons t ra in t a t the f irst t en le t te r posi t ions i t was possible to e s t ima te the m a x i m u m uni la te ra l sequent ia l cons t ra in t in English. A value of abou t 48% was ob ta ined which compares wi th previous es t imates of 50 %. A fu r the r eva lua t ion of the overal l effect of contex t ind ica tes t h a t a b o u t 81% of the cons t ra in t in Engl i sh is conta ined wi th in the words themselves , and the o the r 19% is due to any addit iona l context .

DOI: 10.1007/BF00293855

Cite this paper

@article{Kohler1961PawlowUS, title={Pawlow und sein Hund}, author={Ivo Kohler}, journal={Kybernetik}, year={1961}, volume={1}, pages={54-56} }