J Bock

Profile picture for J Bock

Contact Information

603 E. Daniel
M/C 716
Champaign, IL 61820
Professor Emeriti

Research Interests

cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, adult language use

Research Description

My work focuses on how people turn thoughts into speech. There are three questions behind much of the research. One is how the features of ideas affect language forms. A prospective graduate student might say either "The application took forever to fill out" or "It took forever to fill out the application." What determines which kind of sentence is used? A second question has to do with the cognitive processes that control how words are arranged. Speakers begin with scenes or ideas whose components may be present to the eye -- or the mind's eye -- all at once. But the words to communicate these mental pictures have to be spoken one at a time. If a mental picture is worth a thousand words, I ask: Which words? In what order? How does the speaker manage the flow of information? A third issue in my research involves what goes wrong when speakers make errors in selecting or arranging words. If you say "I have a room in my phone" when you mean "I have a phone in my room", what slipped? And why? The answers to these questions draw on theories about language and about cognitive processes, and emerge from new experimental techniques for examining language production.

Education

Ph.D. from the University of Illinois