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Steven Frisson's main area of interest is semantic processing. In particular, he is interested in finding out how language users arrive at an interpretation of a word in context. While this may seem straightforward, especially since most of us do not experience much difficulty in comprehending natural language, it is in fact a remarkably complex process that involves decisions and interactions at many different levels. For example, most words have many different interpretations (eg, school can refer to a place or to an institution; Dickens can refer to a person or to his writings). How do we pick out the right one upon encountering these words? How and when do we integrate a word's meaning in the larger syntactic and semantic context? How do we get to a novel interpretation of a word? Is processing influenced by statistical properties between words? In order to investigate these, and related, questions, Dr Frisson mainly uses eye-tracking methodology as it allows us to detect what portions in a text require more cognitive effort to understand.

Dr Frisson currently works with doctoral researchers on topics including reading processes in people who stutter and figurative language processing in people with psychosis.

19992021

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