Connectionist principles in theories of speech production

Matthew Goldrick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


In psycholinguistics, speech production refers broadly to the processes mapping a message the speaker intends to communicate onto its form. If a speaker wishes to tell someone "The picture I'm looking at is an animal-a feline pet", these processes allow the speaker to generate the spoken form "cat". Psycholinguistic theories have focused on "formulation processes": the construction/retrieval of a plan to produce an utterance. This plan specifies the phonological structure of the utterance. Subsequent articulatory/motoric processes execute this plan, producing the actual movements of the speech organs. Since the mid-1980s, connectionist architectures have served as the dominant paradigm for characterizing theories of formulation processes. This article examines how two connectionist principles (localist representations and spreading activation) have influenced the development of speech production theories. It discusses the use of these principles in framing theories of speech production and shows how the principles have been used to account for three sets of empirical observations. The article also examines distributed representations, focusing on learning and processing as well as learning and syntactic priming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743955
ISBN (Print)9780198568971
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Connectionist principles
  • Distributed representations
  • Formulation processes
  • Learning
  • Localist representations
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Speech production
  • Spreading activation
  • Syntactic priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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