Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 August 2019
There is general consensus among usage-based researchers that the development of linguistic structure is driven by domain-general processes, but these processes are not always explained in light of psychological research on cognition. Chapter 3 provides a systematic overview of the various cognitive processes that are involved in language use and explains, in general terms, how grammar, usage and cognition are related. It is argued that language use involves a unconscious decision-making process that is determined by cognitive factors from three general domains: (1) social cognition (e.g., joint attention, common ground), (2) conceptualization (e.g., figure-ground, metaphor) and (3) memory-related processes (e.g., automatization, priming). The various processes can reinforce each other but can also be in competition. Of particular importance is the competition between other-oriented processes of social cognition and self-oriented processes of memory and activation spreading. One general advantage of the network approach is that it provides a natural explanation for the effects of frequency on usage and development.