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The role of feedback in language processing

I wrote the thesis supervised by Professor Stanislaw Puppel and defended in 2000.

The thesis did not involve any experiments and does not require any experimentation. Feel welcome to my website,

Human langauge processing can be viewed as human processing of information. With the concepts of processing of options, a program, and a processing system being necessary for any consideration of information processing phenomena, the use of terminology associated with computer science should not be understood as an attempt to draw close an analogy, as human language remains a scope of skill unmatched by artificial intelligence. Therefore, human neurophysiology shall be the primary area of reference for the following discussion of the role of feedback in language behavior.

Live organisms have been recognized to use DNA encoded endowment for growth and sustention (Young, 1984). This genetic code has been compared to a program, where a program may be understood as a systematic plan for an automatic solution of a problem (Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1989). Further, biological activity may be posited to found on development, renewal, and maintenance of own internal structure (Young, 1984). Thus, the term problem as in the hitherto definition of a program may be comprehended generally for the task of homeostasis uphold to require substance selection and exchange within an environment.

The systemic selection and exchange to concern the single cell as well as entire complex structures such as human beings, a biological program may be exemplified by a DNA pattern for active protein production. Importantly, even basic programs of cellular activity may be claimed to rely on feedback for execution (Vander et al., 1985), feedback to be defined here as returning of part the output of a system to be reintroduced as input (Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1989).

Positive and negative feedback cycles may be further recognized, where the former, also being known as regenerative feedback, aids the input, whereas the latter opposes it, hence the alternate term inverse feedback. As elementary programs of cellular activity accrue into schemata that allow learned behaviors, total and integrated patterns of human activity can be argued to build on feedback for their formation, effectuation, and permanence.

The role of feedback in controlling automatic operations was recognized by Norbert Wiener, who insisted that the concept of a feedback process might be applied in neuroscience. Within this perspective, feedback performance could be understood as closed-loop processes to influence open-loop sequences (Puppel, 1988, 1996). The human nervous system thus may be explored for feedback functions with regard to language. The investigation to comprise cellular, intercellular as well as interschematic neural functioning, dependence on feedback can be evaluated as a potentially principled phenomenon.

For a competent insight into human language functions, the inquiry should include human communication as an interplay of aspects of intra-individual as well as inter-invidual valence. Psycholinguistics to constitute the framework for the intended quest, dependence on feedback shall be examined for language acquisition, use, and deficit. A principled occurrence to become affirmed in neurophysiological as well as psychological dimensions of human existence, human dependence on feedback may become recognized as approximate to a drive, the relevant instinct being that for self-preservation. In this view to human information processing, feedback would have the role of an initiating, mediating, and modeling factor.