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Although humans are the ultimate “natural language generators”, the area of psycholinguistic modeling has been somewhat underrepresented in recent approaches to Natural Language Generation in computer science. To draw attention to the area and illustrate its potential relevance to Natural Language Generation, I provide an overview of recent work on psycholinguistic modeling of language production together with some key empirical findings, state-of-the-art experimental techniques, and their historical roots. The techniques include analyses of speech-error corpora, chronometric analyses, eyetracking, and neuroimaging.
The overview is built around the issue of cognitive control in natural language generation, concentrating on the production of single words, which is an essential ingredient of the generation of larger utterances. Most of the work exploited the fact that human speakers are good but not perfect at resisting temptation, which has provided some critical clues about the nature of the underlying system.