Displaying 1 - 100 of 717
  • Rasenberg, M., Ozyurek, A., Bögels, S., & Dingemanse, M. (in press). The primacy of multimodal alignment in converging on shared symbols for novel referents. Discourse Processes.

    Abstract

    When people establish shared symbols for novel objects or concepts, they have been shown to rely on the use of multiple communicative modalities as well as on alignment (i.e., cross-participant repetition of communicative behavior). Yet these interactional resources have rarely been studied together, so little is known about if and how people combine multiple modalities in alignment to achieve joint reference. To investigate this, we systematically track the emergence of lexical and gestural alignment in a referential communication task with novel objects. Quantitative analyses reveal that people frequently use a combination of lexical and gestural alignment, and that such multimodal alignment tends to emerge earlier compared to unimodal alignment. Qualitative analyses of the interactional contexts in which alignment emerges reveal how people flexibly deploy lexical and gestural alignment (independently, simultaneously or successively) to adjust to communicative pressures.
  • Schlag, F., Allegrini, A. G., Buitelaar, J., Verhoef, E., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Plomin, R., Rimfeld, K., Fisher, S. E., & St Pourcain, B. (in press). Polygenic risk for mental disorder reveals distinct association profiles across social behaviour in the general population. Molecular Psychiatry.
  • Hahn, L. E. (2022). Infants' perception of sound patterns in oral language play. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Hoogman, M., Van Rooij, D., Klein, M., Boedhoe, P., Ilioska, I., Li, T., Patel, Y., Postema, M., Zhang-James, Y., Anagnostou, E., Arango, C., Auzias, G., Banaschewski, T., Bau, C. H. D., Behrmann, M., Bellgrove, M. A., Brandeis, D., Brem, S., Busatto, G. F., Calderoni, S. and 60 moreHoogman, M., Van Rooij, D., Klein, M., Boedhoe, P., Ilioska, I., Li, T., Patel, Y., Postema, M., Zhang-James, Y., Anagnostou, E., Arango, C., Auzias, G., Banaschewski, T., Bau, C. H. D., Behrmann, M., Bellgrove, M. A., Brandeis, D., Brem, S., Busatto, G. F., Calderoni, S., Calvo, R., Castellanos, F. X., Coghill, D., Conzelmann, A., Daly, E., Deruelle, C., Dinstein, I., Durston, S., Ecker, C., Ehrlich, S., Epstein, J. N., Fair, D. A., Fitzgerald, J., Freitag, C. M., Frodl, T., Gallagher, L., Grevet, E. H., Haavik, J., Hoekstra, P. J., Janssen, J., Karkashadze, G., King, J. A., Konrad, K., Kuntsi, J., Lazaro, L., Lerch, J. P., Lesch, K.-P., Louza, M. R., Luna, B., Mattos, P., McGrath, J., Muratori, F., Murphy, C., Nigg, J. T., Oberwelland-Weiss, E., O'Gorman Tuura, R. L., O'Hearn, K., Oosterlaan, J., Parellada, M., Pauli, P., Plessen, K. J., Ramos-Quiroga, J. A., Reif, A., Reneman, L., Retico, A., Rosa, P. G. P., Rubia, K., Shaw, P., Silk, T. J., Tamm, L., Vilarroya, O., Walitza, S., Jahanshad, N., Faraone, S. V., Francks, C., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Paus, T., Thompson, P. M., Buitelaar, J. K., & Franke, B. (2022). Consortium neuroscience of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder: The ENIGMA adventure. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 37-55. doi:10.1002/hbm.25029.

    Abstract

    Abstract Neuroimaging has been extensively used to study brain structure and function in individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over the past decades. Two of the main shortcomings of the neuroimaging literature of these disorders are the small sample sizes employed and the heterogeneity of methods used. In 2013 and 2014, the ENIGMA-ADHD and ENIGMA-ASD working groups were respectively, founded with a common goal to address these limitations. Here, we provide a narrative review of the thus far completed and still ongoing projects of these working groups. Due to an implicitly hierarchical psychiatric diagnostic classification system, the fields of ADHD and ASD have developed largely in isolation, despite the considerable overlap in the occurrence of the disorders. The collaboration between the ENIGMA-ADHD and -ASD working groups seeks to bring the neuroimaging efforts of the two disorders closer together. The outcomes of case–control studies of subcortical and cortical structures showed that subcortical volumes are similarly affected in ASD and ADHD, albeit with small effect sizes. Cortical analyses identified unique differences in each disorder, but also considerable overlap between the two, specifically in cortical thickness. Ongoing work is examining alternative research questions, such as brain laterality, prediction of case–control status, and anatomical heterogeneity. In brief, great strides have been made toward fulfilling the aims of the ENIGMA collaborations, while new ideas and follow-up analyses continue that include more imaging modalities (diffusion MRI and resting-state functional MRI), collaborations with other large databases, and samples with dual diagnoses.
  • Karadöller, D. Z. (2022). Development of spatial language and memory: Effects of language modality and late sign language exposure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Kong, X., Postema, M., Guadalupe, T., De Kovel, C. G. F., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Hoogman, M., Mathias, S. R., Van Rooij, D., Schijven, D., Glahn, D. C., Medland, S. E., Jahanshad, N., Thomopoulos, S. I., Turner, J. A., Buitelaar, J., Van Erp, T. G. M., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Schmaal, L. and 2 moreKong, X., Postema, M., Guadalupe, T., De Kovel, C. G. F., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Hoogman, M., Mathias, S. R., Van Rooij, D., Schijven, D., Glahn, D. C., Medland, S. E., Jahanshad, N., Thomopoulos, S. I., Turner, J. A., Buitelaar, J., Van Erp, T. G. M., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Schmaal, L., Thompson, P. M., & Francks, C. (2022). Mapping brain asymmetry in health and disease through the ENIGMA consortium. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 167-181. doi:10.1002/hbm.25033.

    Abstract

    Left-right asymmetry of the human brain is one of its cardinal features, and also a complex, multivariate trait. Decades of research have suggested that brain asymmetry may be altered in psychiatric disorders. However, findings have been inconsistent and often based on small sample sizes. There are also open questions surrounding which structures are asymmetrical on average in the healthy population, and how variability in brain asymmetry relates to basic biological variables such as age and sex. Over the last four years, the ENIGMA-Laterality Working Group has published six studies of grey matter morphological asymmetry based on total sample sizes from roughly 3,500 to 17,000 individuals, which were between one and two orders of magnitude larger than those published in previous decades. A population-level mapping of average asymmetry was achieved, including an intriguing fronto-occipital gradient of cortical thickness asymmetry in healthy brains. ENIGMA’s multidataset approach also supported an empirical illustration of reproducibility of hemispheric differences across datasets. Effect sizes were estimated for grey matter asymmetry based on large, international, samples in relation to age, sex, handedness, and brain volume, as well as for three psychiatric disorders:Autism Spectrum Disorder was associated with subtly reduced asymmetry of cortical thickness at regions spread widely over the cortex; Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder was associated with altered subcortical asymmetry; Major Depressive Disorder was not significantly associated with changes of asymmetry. Ongoing studies are examining brain asymmetry in other disorders. Moreover, a groundwork has been laid for possibly identifying shared genetic contributions to brain asymmetry and disorders.
  • Wolf, M. C. (2022). Spoken and written word processing: Effects of presentation modality and individual differences in experience to written language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Yu, X. (2021). Foreign language learning in study-abroad and at-home contexts. PhD Thesis, Raboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Arunkumar, M., Van Paridon, J., Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (2021). Do illiterates have illusions? A conceptual (non)replication of Luria (1976). Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 5, 143-158. doi:10.1007/s41809-021-00080-x.

    Abstract

    Luria (1976) famously observed that people who never learnt to read and write do not perceive visual illusions. We conducted a conceptual replication of the Luria study of the effect of literacy on the processing of visual illusions. We designed two carefully controlled experiments with 161 participants with varying literacy levels ranging from complete illiterates to high literates in Chennai, India. Accuracy and reaction time in the identification of two types of visual shape and color illusions and the identification of appropriate control images were measured. Separate statistical analyses of Experiments 1 and 2 as well as pooled analyses of both experiments do not provide any support for the notion that literacy effects the perception of visual illusions. Our large sample, carefully controlled study strongly suggests that literacy does not meaningfully affect the identification of visual illusions and raises some questions about other reports about cultural effects on illusion perception.
  • Bartolozzi, F., Jongman, S. R., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). Concurrent speech planning does not eliminate repetition priming from spoken words: Evidence from linguistic dual-tasking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 47(3), 466-480. doi:10.1037/xlm0000944.

    Abstract

    In conversation, production and comprehension processes may overlap, causing interference. In 3 experiments, we investigated whether repetition priming can work as a supporting device, reducing costs associated with linguistic dual-tasking. Experiment 1 established the rate of decay of repetition priming from spoken words to picture naming for primes embedded in sentences. Experiments 2 and 3 investigated whether the rate of decay was faster when participants comprehended the prime while planning to name unrelated pictures. In all experiments, the primed picture followed the sentences featuring the prime on the same trial, or 10 or 50 trials later. The results of the 3 experiments were strikingly similar: robust repetition priming was observed when the primed picture followed the prime sentence. Thus, repetition priming was observed even when the primes were processed while the participants prepared an unrelated spoken utterance. Priming might, therefore, support utterance planning in conversation, where speakers routinely listen while planning their utterances.

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  • Bentum, M. (2021). Listening with great expectations: A study of predictive natural speech processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Çetinçelik, M., Rowland, C. F., & Snijders, T. M. (2021). Do the eyes have it? A systematic review on the role of eye gaze in infant language development. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 589096. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.589096.

    Abstract

    Eye gaze is a ubiquitous cue in child-caregiver interactions and infants are highly attentive to eye gaze from very early on. However, the question of why infants show gaze-sensitive behavior, and what role this sensitivity to gaze plays in their language development, is not yet well-understood. To gain a better understanding of the role of eye gaze in infants’ language learning, we conducted a broad systematic review of the developmental literature for all studies that investigate the role of eye gaze in infants’ language development. Across 77 peer-reviewed articles containing data from typically-developing human infants (0-24 months) in the domain of language development we identified two broad themes. The first tracked the effect of eye gaze on four developmental domains: (1) vocabulary development, (2) word-object mapping, (3) object processing, and (4) speech processing. Overall, there is considerable evidence that infants learn more about objects and are more likely to form word-object mappings in the presence of eye gaze cues, both of which are necessary for learning words. In addition, there is good evidence for longitudinal relationships between infants’ gaze following abilities and later receptive and expressive vocabulary. However, many domains (e.g. speech processing) are understudied; further work is needed to decide whether gaze effects are specific to tasks such as word-object mapping, or whether they reflect a general learning enhancement mechanism. The second theme explored the reasons why eye gaze might be facilitative for learning, addressing the question of whether eye gaze is treated by infants as a specialized socio-cognitive cue. We concluded that the balance of evidence supports the idea that eye gaze facilitates infants’ learning by enhancing their arousal, memory and attentional capacities to a greater extent than other low-level attentional cues. However, as yet, there are too few studies that directly compare the effect of eye gaze cues and non-social, attentional cues for strong conclusions to be drawn. We also suggest there might be a developmental effect, with eye gaze, over the course of the first two years of life, developing into a truly ostensive cue that enhances language learning across the board.

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  • Chen, A., Çetinçelik, M., Roncaglia-Denissen, M. P., & Sadakata, M. (2021). Native language, L2 experience, and pitch processing in music. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. Advance online publication. doi:10.1075/lab.20030.che.

    Abstract

    The current study investigated how the role of pitch in one’s native language and L2 experience influenced musical melodic processing by testing Turkish and Mandarin Chinese advanced and beginning learners of English as an L2. Pitch has a lower functional load and shows a simpler pattern in Turkish than in Chinese as the former only contrasts between presence and the absence of pitch elevation, while the latter makes use of four different pitch contours lexically. Using the Musical Ear Test as the tool, we found that the Chinese listeners outperformed the Turkish listeners, and the advanced L2 learners outperformed the beginning learners. The Turkish listeners were further tested on their discrimination of bisyllabic Chinese lexical tones, and again an L2 advantage was observed. No significant difference was found for working memory between the beginning and advanced L2 learners. These results suggest that richness of tonal inventory of the native language is essential for triggering a music processing advantage, and on top of the tone language advantage, the L2 experience yields a further enhancement. Yet, unlike the tone language advantage that seems to relate to pitch expertise, learning an L2 seems to improve sound discrimination in general, and such improvement exhibits in non-native lexical tone discrimination.
  • Coopmans, C. W., De Hoop, H., Kaushik, K., Hagoort, P., & Martin, A. E. (2021). Structure-(in)dependent interpretation of phrases in humans and LSTMs. In Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics (SCiL 2021) (pp. 459-463).

    Abstract

    In this study, we compared the performance of a long short-term memory (LSTM) neural network to the behavior of human participants on a language task that requires hierarchically structured knowledge. We show that humans interpret ambiguous noun phrases, such as second blue ball, in line with their hierarchical constituent structure. LSTMs, instead, only do so after unambiguous training, and they do not systematically generalize to novel items. Overall, the results of our simulations indicate that a model can behave hierarchically without relying on hierarchical constituent structure.
  • Coopmans, C. W., De Hoop, H., Kaushik, K., Hagoort, P., & Martin, A. E. (2021). Hierarchy in language interpretation: Evidence from behavioural experiments and computational modelling. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2021.1980595.

    Abstract

    It has long been recognised that phrases and sentences are organised hierarchically, but many computational models of language treat them as sequences of words without computing constituent structure. Against this background, we conducted two experiments which showed that participants interpret ambiguous noun phrases, such as second blue ball, in terms of their abstract hierarchical structure rather than their linear surface order. When a neural network model was tested on this task, it could simulate such “hierarchical” behaviour. However, when we changed the training data such that they were not entirely unambiguous anymore, the model stopped generalising in a human-like way. It did not systematically generalise to novel items, and when it was trained on ambiguous trials, it strongly favoured the linear interpretation. We argue that these models should be endowed with a bias to make generalisations over hierarchical structure in order to be cognitively adequate models of human language.
  • Den Hoed, J., Devaraju, K., & Fisher, S. E. (2021). Molecular networks of the FOXP2 transcription factor in the brain. EMBO Reports, 22(8): e52803. doi:10.15252/embr.202152803.

    Abstract

    The discovery of the FOXP2 transcription factor, and its implication in a rare severe human speech and language disorder, has led to two decades of empirical studies focused on uncovering its roles in the brain using a range of in vitro and in vivo methods. Here, we discuss what we have learned about the regulation of FOXP2, its downstream effectors, and its modes of action as a transcription factor in brain development and function, providing an integrated overview of what is currently known about the critical molecular networks.
  • Den Hoed, J., De Boer, E., Voisin, N., Dingemans, A. J. M., Guex, N., Wiel, L., Nellaker, C., Amudhavalli, S. M., Banka, S., Bena, F. S., Ben-Zeev, B., Bonagura, V. R., Bruel, A.-L., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Chew, H. B., Chrast, J., Cimbalistienė, L., Coon, H., The DDD study, Délot, E. C. and 77 moreDen Hoed, J., De Boer, E., Voisin, N., Dingemans, A. J. M., Guex, N., Wiel, L., Nellaker, C., Amudhavalli, S. M., Banka, S., Bena, F. S., Ben-Zeev, B., Bonagura, V. R., Bruel, A.-L., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Chew, H. B., Chrast, J., Cimbalistienė, L., Coon, H., The DDD study, Délot, E. C., Démurger, F., Denommé-Pichon, A.-S., Depienne, C., Donnai, D., Dyment, D. A., Elpeleg, O., Faivre, L., Gilissen, C., Granger, L., Haber, B., Hachiya, Y., Hamzavi Abedi, Y., Hanebeck, J., Hehir-Kwa, J. Y., Horist, B., Itai, T., Jackson, A., Jewell, R., Jones, K. L., Joss, S., Kashii, H., Kato, M., Kattentidt-Mouravieva, A. A., Kok, F., Kotzaeridou, U., Krishnamurthy, V., Kučinskas, V., Kuechler, A., Lavillaureix, A., Liu, P., Manwaring, L., Matsumoto, N., Mazel, B., McWalter, K., Meiner, V., Mikati, M. A., Miyatake, S., Mizuguchi, T., Moey, L. H., Mohammed, S., Mor-Shaked, H., Mountford, H., Newbury-Ecob, R., Odent, S., Orec, L., Osmond, M., Palculict, T. B., Parker, M., Petersen, A., Pfundt, R., Preikšaitienė, E., Radtke, K., Ranza, E., Rosenfeld, J. A., Santiago-Sim, T., Schwager, C., Sinnema, M., Snijders Blok, L., Spillmann, R. C., Stegmann, A. P. A., Thiffault, I., Tran, L., Vaknin-Dembinsky, A., Vedovato-dos-Santos, J. H., Vergano, S. A., Vilain, E., Vitobello, A., Wagner, M., Waheeb, A., Willing, M., Zuccarelli, B., Kini, U., Newbury, D. F., Kleefstra, T., Reymond, A., Fisher, S. E., & Vissers, L. E. L. M. (2021). Mutation-specific pathophysiological mechanisms define different neurodevelopmental disorders associated with SATB1 dysfunction. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 108(2), 346-356. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.01.007.

    Abstract

    Whereas large-scale statistical analyses can robustly identify disease-gene relationships, they do not accurately capture genotype-phenotype correlations or disease mechanisms. We use multiple lines of independent evidence to show that different variant types in a single gene, SATB1, cause clinically overlapping but distinct neurodevelopmental disorders. Clinical evaluation of 42 individuals carrying SATB1 variants identified overt genotype-phenotype relationships, associated with different pathophysiological mechanisms, established by functional assays. Missense variants in the CUT1 and CUT2 DNA-binding domains result in stronger chromatin binding, increased transcriptional repression and a severe phenotype. Contrastingly, variants predicted to result in haploinsufficiency are associated with a milder clinical presentation. A similarly mild phenotype is observed for individuals with premature protein truncating variants that escape nonsense-mediated decay and encode truncated proteins, which are transcriptionally active but mislocalized in the cell. Our results suggest that in-depth mutation-specific genotype-phenotype studies are essential to capture full disease complexity and to explain phenotypic variability.
  • Eekhof, L. S., Kuijpers, M. M., Faber, M., Gao, X., Mak, M., Van den Hoven, E., & Willems, R. M. (2021). Lost in a story, detached from the words. Discourse Processes, 58(7), 595-616. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2020.1857619.

    Abstract

    This article explores the relationship between low- and high-level aspects of reading by studying the interplay between word processing, as measured with eye tracking, and narrative absorption and liking, as measured with questionnaires. Specifically, we focused on how individual differences in sensitivity to lexical word characteristics—measured as the effect of these characteristics on gaze duration—were related to narrative absorption and liking. By reanalyzing a large data set consisting of three previous eye-tracking experiments in which subjects (N = 171) read literary short stories, we replicated the well-established finding that word length, lemma frequency, position in sentence, age of acquisition, and orthographic neighborhood size of words influenced gaze duration. More importantly, we found that individual differences in the degree of sensitivity to three of these word characteristics, i.e., word length, lemma frequency, and age of acquisition, were negatively related to print exposure and to a lesser degree to narrative absorption and liking. Even though the underlying mechanisms of this relationship are still unclear, we believe the current findings underline the need to map out the interplay between, on the one hand, the technical and, on the other hand, the subjective processes of reading by studying reading behavior in more natural settings.

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  • Favier, S., & Huettig, F. (2021). Are there core and peripheral syntactic structures? Experimental evidence from Dutch native speakers with varying literacy levels. Lingua, 251: 102991. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2020.102991.

    Abstract

    Some theorists posit the existence of a ‘core’ grammar that virtually all native speakers acquire, and a ‘peripheral’ grammar that many do not. We investigated the viability of such a categorical distinction in the Dutch language. We first consulted linguists’ intuitions as to the ‘core’ or ‘peripheral’ status of a wide range of grammatical structures. We then tested a selection of core- and peripheral-rated structures on naïve participants with varying levels of literacy experience, using grammaticality judgment as a proxy for receptive knowledge. Overall, participants demonstrated better knowledge of ‘core’ structures than ‘peripheral’ structures, but the considerable variability within these categories was strongly suggestive of a continuum rather than a categorical distinction between them. We also hypothesised that individual differences in the knowledge of core and peripheral structures would reflect participants’ literacy experience. This was supported only by a small trend in our data. The results fit best with the notion that more frequent syntactic structures are mastered by more people than infrequent ones and challenge the received sense of a categorical core-periphery distinction.
  • Favier, S., & Huettig, F. (2021). Long-term written language experience affects grammaticality judgments and usage but not priming of spoken sentences. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74(8), 1378-1395. doi:10.1177/17470218211005228.

    Abstract

    ‘Book language’ offers a richer linguistic experience than typical conversational speech in terms of its syntactic properties. Here, we investigated the role of long-term syntactic experience on syntactic knowledge and processing. In a pre-registered study with 161 adult native Dutch speakers with varying levels of literacy, we assessed the contribution of individual differences in written language experience to offline and online syntactic processes. Offline syntactic knowledge was assessed as accuracy in an auditory grammaticality judgment task in which we tested violations of four Dutch grammatical norms. Online syntactic processing was indexed by syntactic priming of the Dutch dative alternation, using a comprehension-to-production priming paradigm with auditory presentation. Controlling for the contribution of non-verbal IQ, verbal working memory, and processing speed, we observed a robust effect of literacy experience on the detection of grammatical norm violations in spoken sentences, suggesting that exposure to the syntactic complexity and diversity of written language has specific benefits for general (modality-independent) syntactic knowledge. We replicated previous results by finding robust comprehension-to-production structural priming, both with and without lexical overlap between prime and target. Although literacy experience affected the usage of syntactic alternates in our large sample, it did not modulate their priming. We conclude that amount of experience with written language increases explicit awareness of grammatical norm violations and changes the usage of (PO vs. DO) dative spoken sentences but has no detectable effect on their implicit syntactic priming in proficient language users. These findings constrain theories about the effect of long-term experience on syntactic processing.
  • Felker, E. R. (2021). Learning second language speech perception in natural settings. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Felker, E. R., Broersma, M., & Ernestus, M. (2021). The role of corrective feedback and lexical guidance in perceptual learning of a novel L2 accent in dialogue. Applied Psycholinguistics, 42, 1029-1055. doi:10.1017/S0142716421000205.

    Abstract

    Perceptual learning of novel accents is a critical skill for second-language speech perception, but little is known about the mechanisms that facilitate perceptual learning in communicative contexts. To study perceptual learning in an interactive dialogue setting while maintaining experimental control of the phonetic input, we employed an innovative experimental method incorporating prerecorded speech into a naturalistic conversation. Using both computer-based and face-to-face dialogue settings, we investigated the effect of two types of learning mechanisms in interaction: explicit corrective feedback and implicit lexical guidance. Dutch participants played an information-gap game featuring minimal pairs with an accented English speaker whose /ε/ pronunciations were shifted to /ɪ/. Evidence for the vowel shift came either from corrective feedback about participants’ perceptual mistakes or from onscreen lexical information that constrained their interpretation of the interlocutor’s words. Corrective feedback explicitly contrasting the minimal pairs was more effective than generic feedback. Additionally, both receiving lexical guidance and exhibiting more uptake for the vowel shift improved listeners’ subsequent online processing of accented words. Comparable learning effects were found in both the computer-based and face-to-face interactions, showing that our results can be generalized to a more naturalistic learning context than traditional computer-based perception training programs.
  • Giglio, L., Ostarek, M., Weber, K., & Hagoort, P. (2021). Commonalities and asymmetries in the neurobiological infrastructure for language production and comprehension. Cerebral Cortex. Advance online publication. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab287.

    Abstract

    The neurobiology of sentence production has been largely understudied compared to the neurobiology of sentence comprehension, due to difficulties with experimental control and motion-related artifacts in neuroimaging. We studied the neural response to constituents of increasing size and specifically focused on the similarities and differences in the production and comprehension of the same stimuli. Participants had to either produce or listen to stimuli in a gradient of constituent size based on a visual prompt. Larger constituent sizes engaged the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) and middle temporal gyrus (LMTG) extending to inferior parietal areas in both production and comprehension, confirming that the neural resources for syntactic encoding and decoding are largely overlapping. An ROI analysis in LIFG and LMTG also showed that production elicited larger responses to constituent size than comprehension and that the LMTG was more engaged in comprehension than production, while the LIFG was more engaged in production than comprehension. Finally, increasing constituent size was characterized by later BOLD peaks in comprehension but earlier peaks in production. These results show that syntactic encoding and parsing engage overlapping areas, but there are asymmetries in the engagement of the language network due to the specific requirements of production and comprehension.

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  • Goriot, C., Van Hout, R., Broersma, M., Lobo, V., McQueen, J. M., & Unsworth, S. (2021). Using the peabody picture vocabulary test in L2 children and adolescents: Effects of L1. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 24(4), 546-568. doi:10.1080/13670050.2018.1494131.

    Abstract

    This study investigated to what extent the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-4) is a reliable tool for measuring vocabulary knowledge of English as a second language (L2), and to what extent L1 characteristics affect test outcomes. The PPVT-4 was administered to Dutch pupils in six different age groups (4-15 years old) who were or were not following an English educational programme at school. Our first finding was that the PPVT-4 was not a reliable measure for pupils who were correct on maximally 24 items, but it was reliable for pupils who performed better. Second, both primary-school and secondary-school pupils performed better on items for which the phonological similarity between the English word and its Dutch translation was higher. Third, young unexperienced L2 learners’ scores were predicted by Dutch lexical frequency, while older more experienced pupils’ scores were predicted by English frequency. These findings indicate that the PPVT may be inappropriate for use with L2 learners with limited L2 proficiency. Furthermore, comparisons of PPVT scores across learners with different L1s are confounded by effects of L1 frequency and L1-L2 similarity. The PPVT-4 is however a suitable measure to compare more proficient L2 learners who have the same L1.
  • Goriot, C., Unsworth, S., Van Hout, R. W. N. M., Broersma, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2021). Differences in phonological awareness performance: Are there positive or negative effects of bilingual experience? Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 11(3), 425-460. doi:10.1075/lab.18082.gor.

    Abstract

    Children who have knowledge of two languages may show better phonological awareness than their monolingual peers (e.g. Bruck & Genesee, 1995). It remains unclear how much bilingual experience is needed for such advantages to appear, and whether differences in language or cognitive skills alter the relation between bilingualism and phonological awareness. These questions were investigated in this cross-sectional study. Participants (n = 294; 4–7 year-olds, in the first three grades of primary school) were Dutch-speaking pupils attending mainstream monolingual Dutch primary schools or early-English schools providing English lessons from grade 1, and simultaneous Dutch-English bilinguals. We investigated phonological awareness (rhyming, phoneme blending, onset phoneme identification, and phoneme deletion) and its relation to age, Dutch vocabulary, English vocabulary, working memory and short-term memory, and the balance between Dutch and English vocabulary. Small significant (α < .05) effects of bilingualism were found on onset phoneme identification and phoneme deletion, but post-hoc comparisons revealed no robust pairwise differences between the groups. Furthermore, effects of bilingualism sometimes disappeared when differences in language or memory skills were taken into account. Learning two languages simultaneously is not beneficial to – and importantly, also not detrimental to – phonological awareness.

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  • Hahn, L. E., Benders, T., Fikkert, P., & Snijders, T. M. (2021). Infants’ implicit rhyme perception in child songs and its relationship with vocabulary. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 680882. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.680882.

    Abstract

    Rhyme perception is an important predictor for future literacy. Assessing rhyme abilities, however, commonly requires children to make explicit rhyme judgements on single words. Here we explored whether infants already implicitly process rhymes in natural rhyming contexts (child songs) and whether this response correlates with later vocabulary size. In a passive listening ERP study, 10.5 month-old Dutch infants were exposed to rhyming and non-rhyming child songs. Two types of rhyme effects were analysed: (1) ERPs elicited by the first rhyme occurring in each song (rhyme sensitivity) and (2) ERPs elicited by rhymes repeating after the first rhyme in each song (rhyme repetition). Only for the latter a tentative negativity for rhymes from 0 to 200 ms after the onset of the rhyme word was found. This rhyme repetition effect correlated with productive vocabulary at 18 months-old, but not with any other vocabulary measure (perception at 10.5 or 18 months-old). While awaiting future replication, the study indicates precursors of phonological awareness already during infancy and with ecologically valid linguistic stimuli.
  • Hoeksema, N., Verga, L., Mengede, J., Van Roessel, C., Villanueva, S., Salazar-Casals, A., Rubio-Garcia, A., Curcic-Blake, B., Vernes, S. C., & Ravignani, A. (2021). Neuroanatomy of the grey seal brain: Bringing pinnipeds into the neurobiological study of vocal learning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200252. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0252.

    Abstract

    Comparative studies of vocal learning and vocal non-learning animals can increase our understanding of the neurobiology and evolution of vocal learning and human speech. Mammalian vocal learning is understudied: most research has either focused on vocal learning in songbirds or its absence in non-human primates. Here we focus on a highly promising model species for the neurobiology of vocal learning: grey seals. We provide a neuroanatomical atlas (based on dissected brain slices and magnetic resonance images), a labelled MRI template, a 3D model with volumetric measurements of brain regions, and histological cortical stainings. Four main features of the grey seal brain stand out. (1) It is relatively big and highly convoluted. (2) It hosts a relatively large temporal lobe and cerebellum, structures which could support developed timing abilities and acoustic processing. (3) The cortex is similar to humans in thickness and shows the expected six-layered mammalian structure. (4) Expression of FoxP2 - a gene involved in vocal learning and spoken language - is present in deeper layers of the cortex. Our results could facilitate future studies targeting the neural and genetic underpinnings of mammalian vocal learning, thus bridging the research gap from songbirds to humans and non-human primates.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.
  • Hoey, E., Hömke, P., Löfgren, E., Neumann, T., Schuerman, W. L., & Kendrick, K. H. (2021). Using expletive insertion to pursue and sanction in interaction. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 25(1), 3-25. doi:10.1111/josl.12439.

    Abstract

    This article uses conversation analysis to examine constructions like who the fuck is that—sequence‐initiating actions into which an expletive like the fuck has been inserted. We describe how this turn‐constructional practice fits into and constitutes a recurrent sequence of escalating actions. In this sequence, it is used to pursue an adequate response after an inadequate one was given, and sanction the recipient for that inadequate response. Our analysis contributes to sociolinguistic studies of swearing by offering an account of swearing as a resource for social action.
  • Huisman, J. L. A. (2021). Variation in form and meaning across the Japonic language family: With a focus on the Ryukyuan languages. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Huisman, J. L. A., Van Hout, R., & Majid, A. (2021). Cross-linguistic constraints and lineage-specific developments in the semantics of cutting and breaking in Japonic and Germanic. Linguistic Typology. Advance online publication, 0. doi:10.1515/lingty-2021-2090.

    Abstract

    Semantic variation in the cutting and breaking domain has been shown to be constrained across languages in a previous typological study, but it was unclear whether Japanese was an outlier in this domain. Here we revisit cutting and breaking in the Japonic language area by collecting new naming data for 40 videoclips depicting cutting and breaking events in Standard Japanese, the highly divergent Tohoku dialects, as well as four related Ryukyuan languages (Amami, Okinawa, Miyako and Yaeyama). We find that the Japonic languages recapitulate the same semantic dimensions attested in the previous typological study, confirming that semantic variation in the domain of cutting and breaking is indeed cross-linguistically constrained. We then compare our new Japonic data to previously collected Germanic data and find that, in general, related languages resemble each other more than unrelated languages, and that the Japonic languages resemble each other more than the Germanic languages do. Nevertheless, English resembles all of the Japonic languages more than it resembles Swedish. Together, these findings show that the rate and extent of semantic change can differ between language families, indicating the existence of lineage-specific developments on top of universal cross-linguistic constraints.
  • Huisman, J. L. A., van Hout, R., & Majid, A. (2021). Patterns of semantic variation differ across body parts: evidence from the Japonic languages. Cognitive Linguistics, 32, 455-486. doi:10.1515/cog-2020-0079.

    Abstract

    The human body is central to myriad metaphors, so studying the conceptualisation of the body itself is critical if we are to understand its broader use. One essential but understudied issue is whether languages differ in which body parts they single out for naming. This paper takes a multi-method approach to investigate body part nomenclature within a single language family. Using both a naming task (Study 1) and colouring-in task (Study 2) to collect data from six Japonic languages, we found that lexical similarity for body part terminology was notably differentiated within Japonic, and similar variation was evident in semantics too. Novel application of cluster analysis on naming data revealed a relatively flat hierarchical structure for parts of the face, whereas parts of the body were organised with deeper hierarchical structure. The colouring data revealed that bounded parts show more stability across languages than unbounded parts. Overall, the data reveal there is not a single universal conceptualisation of the body as is often assumed, and that in-depth, multi-method explorations of under-studied languages are urgently required.
  • Hustá, C., Zheng, X., Papoutsi, C., & Piai, V. (2021). Electrophysiological signatures of conceptual and lexical retrieval from semantic memory. Neuropsychologia, 161: 107988. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107988.

    Abstract

    Retrieval from semantic memory of conceptual and lexical information is essential for producing speech. It is unclear whether there are differences in the neural mechanisms of conceptual and lexical retrieval when spreading activation through semantic memory is initiated by verbal or nonverbal settings. The same twenty participants took part in two EEG experiments. The first experiment examined conceptual and lexical retrieval following nonverbal settings, whereas the second experiment was a replication of previous studies examining conceptual and lexical retrieval following verbal settings. Target pictures were presented after constraining and nonconstraining contexts. In the nonverbal settings, contexts were provided as two priming pictures (e.g., constraining: nest, feather; nonconstraining: anchor, lipstick; target picture: BIRD). In the verbal settings, contexts were provided as sentences (e.g., constraining: “The farmer milked a...”; nonconstraining: “The child drew a...”; target picture: COW). Target pictures were named faster following constraining contexts in both experiments, indicating that conceptual preparation starts before target picture onset in constraining conditions. In the verbal experiment, we replicated the alpha-beta power decreases in constraining relative to nonconstraining conditions before target picture onset. No such power decreases were found in the nonverbal experiment. Power decreases in constraining relative to nonconstraining conditions were significantly different between experiments. Our findings suggest that participants engage in conceptual preparation following verbal and nonverbal settings, albeit differently. The retrieval of a target word, initiated by verbal settings, is associated with alpha-beta power decreases. By contrast, broad conceptual preparation alone, prompted by nonverbal settings, does not seem enough to elicit alpha-beta power decreases. These findings have implications for theories of oscillations and semantic memory.

    Additional information

    1-s2.0-S0028393221002414-mmc1.pdf
  • Yu, X., Janse, E., & Schoonen, R. (2021). The effect of learning context on L2 listening development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 43(2), 329-354. doi:10.1017/S0272263120000534.

    Abstract

    Little research has been done on the effect of learning context on L2 listening development. Motivated by DeKeyser’s (2015) skill acquisition theory of second language acquisition, this study compares L2 listening development in study abroad (SA) and at home (AH) contexts from both language knowledge and processing perspectives. One hundred forty-nine Chinese postgraduates studying in either China or the United Kingdom participated in a battery of listening tasks at the beginning and at the end of an academic year. These tasks measure auditory vocabulary knowledge and listening processing efficiency (i.e., accuracy, speed, and stability of processing) in word recognition, grammatical processing, and semantic analysis. Results show that, provided equal starting levels, the SA learners made more progress than the AH learners in speed of processing across the language processing tasks, with less clear results for vocabulary acquisition. Studying abroad may be an effective intervention for L2 learning, especially in terms of processing speed.
  • Yu, X., Janse, E., & Schoonen, R. (2021). The effect of learning context on L2 listening development: Knowledge and processing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 43, 329-354. doi:10.1017/S0272263120000534.

    Abstract

    Little research has been done on the effect of learning context on L2 listening development. Motivated by DeKeyser’s (2015) skill acquisition theory of second language acquisition, this study compares L2 listening development in study abroad (SA) and at home (AH) contexts from both language knowledge and processing perspectives. One hundred forty-nine Chinese postgraduates studying in either China or the United Kingdom participated in a battery of listening tasks at the beginning and at the end of an academic year. These tasks measure auditory vocabulary knowledge and listening processing efficiency (i.e., accuracy, speed, and stability of processing) in word recognition, grammatical processing, and semantic analysis. Results show that, provided equal starting levels, the SA learners made more progress than the AH learners in speed of processing across the language processing tasks, with less clear results for vocabulary acquisition. Studying abroad may be an effective intervention for L2 learning, especially in terms of processing speed.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., & Ozyurek, A. (2021). Effects and non-effects of late language exposure on spatial language development: Evidence from deaf adults and children. Language Learning and Development, 17(1), 1-25. doi:10.1080/15475441.2020.1823846.

    Abstract

    Late exposure to the first language, as in the case of deaf children with hearing parents, hinders the production of linguistic expressions, even in adulthood. Less is known about the development of language soon after language exposure and if late exposure hinders all domains of language in children and adults. We compared late signing adults and children (MAge = 8;5) 2 years after exposure to sign language, to their age-matched native signing peers in expressions of two types of locative relations that are acquired in certain cognitive-developmental order: view-independent (IN-ON-UNDER) and view-dependent (LEFT-RIGHT). Late signing children and adults differed from native signers in their use of linguistic devices for view-dependent relations but not for view-independent relations. These effects were also modulated by the morphological complexity. Hindering effects of late language exposure on the development of language in children and adults are not absolute but are modulated by cognitive and linguistic complexity.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., Ünal, E., & Ozyurek, A. (2021). Spatial language use predicts spatial memory of children: Evidence from sign, speech, and speech-plus-gesture. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 672-678). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    There is a strong relation between children’s exposure to spatial terms and their later memory accuracy. In the current study, we tested whether the production of spatial terms by children themselves predicts memory accuracy and whether and how language modality of these encodings modulates memory accuracy differently. Hearing child speakers of Turkish and deaf child signers of Turkish Sign Language described pictures of objects in various spatial relations to each other and later tested for their memory accuracy of these pictures in a surprise memory task. We found that having described the spatial relation between the objects predicted better memory accuracy. However, the modality of these descriptions in sign, speech, or speech-plus-gesture did not reveal differences in memory accuracy. We discuss the implications of these findings for the relation between spatial language, memory, and the modality of encoding.
  • Kaufeld, G. (2021). Investigating spoken language comprehension as perceptual inference. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Hörpel, S. G., Mengede, J., & Firzlaff, U. (2021). A researcher’s guide to the comparison of vocal production learning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200237. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0237.

    Abstract

    Vocal production learning (VPL) is the capacity to learn to produce new vocalizations, which is a rare ability in the animal kingdom and thus far has only been identified in a handful of mammalian taxa and three groups of birds. Over the last few decades, approaches to the demonstration of VPL have varied among taxa, sound production systems and functions. These discrepancies strongly impede direct comparisons between studies. In the light of the growing number of experimental studies reporting VPL, the need for comparability is becoming more and more pressing. The comparative evaluation of VPL across studies would be facilitated by unified and generalized reporting standards, which would allow a better positioning of species on any proposed VPL continuum. In this paper, we specifically highlight five factors influencing the comparability of VPL assessments: (i) comparison to an acoustic baseline, (ii) comprehensive reporting of acoustic parameters, (iii) extended reporting of training conditions and durations, (iv) investigating VPL function via behavioural, perception-based experiments and (v) validation of findings on a neuronal level. These guidelines emphasize the importance of comparability between studies in order to unify the field of vocal learning.
  • Lopopolo, A. (2021). Properties, structures and operations: Studies on language processing in the brain using computational linguistics and naturalistic stimuli. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lopopolo, A., Van de Bosch, A., Petersson, K. M., & Willems, R. M. (2021). Distinguishing syntactic operations in the brain: Dependency and phrase-structure parsing. Neurobiology of Language, 2(1), 152-175. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00029.

    Abstract

    Finding the structure of a sentence — the way its words hold together to convey meaning — is a fundamental step in language comprehension. Several brain regions, including the left inferior frontal gyrus, the left posterior superior temporal gyrus, and the left anterior temporal pole, are supposed to support this operation. The exact role of these areas is nonetheless still debated. In this paper we investigate the hypothesis that different brain regions could be sensitive to different kinds of syntactic computations. We compare the fit of phrase-structure and dependency structure descriptors to activity in brain areas using fMRI. Our results show a division between areas with regard to the type of structure computed, with the left ATP and left IFG favouring dependency structures and left pSTG favouring phrase structures.
  • Lutzenberger, H., De Vos, C., Crasborn, O., & Fikkert, P. (2021). Formal variation in the Kata Kolok lexicon. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 6. doi:10.16995/glossa.5880.

    Abstract

    Sign language lexicons incorporate phonological specifications. Evidence from emerging sign languages suggests that phonological structure emerges gradually in a new language. In this study, we investigate variation in the form of signs across 20 deaf adult signers of Kata Kolok, a sign language that emerged spontaneously in a Balinese village community. Combining methods previously used for sign comparisons, we introduce a new numeric measure of variation. Our nuanced yet comprehensive approach to form variation integrates three levels (iconic motivation, surface realisation, feature differences) and allows for refinement through weighting the variation score by token and signer frequency. We demonstrate that variation in the form of signs appears in different degrees at different levels. Token frequency in a given dataset greatly affects how much variation can surface, suggesting caution in interpreting previous findings. Different sign variants have different scopes of use among the signing population, with some more widely used than others. Both frequency weightings (token and signer) identify dominant sign variants, i.e., sign forms that are produced frequently or by many signers. We argue that variation does not equal the absence of conventionalisation. Indeed, especially in micro-community sign languages, variation may be key to understanding patterns of language emergence.
  • Mamus, E., Speed, L. J., Ozyurek, A., & Majid, A. (2021). Sensory modality of input influences encoding of motion events in speech but not co-speech gestures. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 376-382). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Visual and auditory channels have different affordances and this is mirrored in what information is available for linguistic encoding. The visual channel has high spatial acuity, whereas the auditory channel has better temporal acuity. These differences may lead to different conceptualizations of events and affect multimodal language production. Previous studies of motion events typically present visual input to elicit speech and gesture. The present study compared events presented as audio- only, visual-only, or multimodal (visual+audio) input and assessed speech and co-speech gesture for path and manner of motion in Turkish. Speakers with audio-only input mentioned path more and manner less in verbal descriptions, compared to speakers who had visual input. There was no difference in the type or frequency of gestures across conditions, and gestures were dominated by path-only gestures. This suggests that input modality influences speakers’ encoding of path and manner of motion events in speech, but not in co-speech gestures.
  • Manhardt, F., Brouwer, S., & Ozyurek, A. (2021). A tale of two modalities: Sign and speech influence in each other in bimodal bilinguals. Psychological Science, 32(3), 424-436. doi:10.1177/0956797620968789.

    Abstract

    Bimodal bilinguals are hearing individuals fluent in a sign and a spoken language. Can the two languages influence each other in such individuals despite differences in the visual (sign) and vocal (speech) modalities of expression? We investigated cross-linguistic influences on bimodal bilinguals’ expression of spatial relations. Unlike spoken languages, sign uses iconic linguistic forms that resemble physical features of objects in a spatial relation and thus expresses specific semantic information. Hearing bimodal bilinguals (n = 21) fluent in Dutch and Sign Language of the Netherlands and their hearing nonsigning and deaf signing peers (n = 20 each) described left/right relations between two objects. Bimodal bilinguals expressed more specific information about physical features of objects in speech than nonsigners, showing influence from sign language. They also used fewer iconic signs with specific semantic information than deaf signers, demonstrating influence from speech. Bimodal bilinguals’ speech and signs are shaped by two languages from different modalities.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Manhardt, F. (2021). A tale of two modalities. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • He, J., Meyer, A. S., Creemers, A., & Brehm, L. (2021). Conducting language production research online: A web-based study of semantic context and name agreement effects in multi-word production. Collabra: Psychology, 7(1): 29935. doi:10.1525/collabra.29935.

    Abstract

    Few web-based experiments have explored spoken language production, perhaps due to concerns of data quality, especially for measuring onset latencies. The present study highlights how speech production research can be done outside of the laboratory by measuring utterance durations and speech fluency in a multiple-object naming task when examining two effects related to lexical selection: semantic context and name agreement. A web-based modified blocked-cyclic naming paradigm was created, in which participants named a total of sixteen simultaneously presented pictures on each trial. The pictures were either four tokens from the same semantic category (homogeneous context), or four tokens from different semantic categories (heterogeneous context). Name agreement of the pictures was varied orthogonally (high, low). In addition to onset latency, five dependent variables were measured to index naming performance: accuracy, utterance duration, total pause time, the number of chunks (word groups pronounced without intervening pauses), and first chunk length. Bayesian analyses showed effects of semantic context and name agreement for some of the dependent measures, but no interaction. We discuss the methodological implications of the current study and make best practice recommendations for spoken language production research in an online environment.
  • He, J., Meyer, A. S., & Brehm, L. (2021). Concurrent listening affects speech planning and fluency: The roles of representational similarity and capacity limitation. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 36(10), 1258-1280. doi:10.1080/23273798.2021.1925130.

    Abstract

    In a novel continuous speaking-listening paradigm, we explored how speech planning was affected by concurrent listening. In Experiment 1, Dutch speakers named pictures with high versus low name agreement while ignoring Dutch speech, Chinese speech, or eight-talker babble. Both name agreement and type of auditory input influenced response timing and chunking, suggesting that representational similarity impacts lexical selection and the scope of advance planning in utterance generation. In Experiment 2, Dutch speakers named pictures with high or low name agreement while either ignoring Dutch words, or attending to them for a later memory test. Both name agreement and attention demand influenced response timing and chunking, suggesting that attention demand impacts lexical selection and the planned utterance units in each response. The study indicates that representational similarity and attention demand play important roles in linguistic dual-task interference, and the interference can be managed by adapting when and how to plan speech.

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Mickan, A. (2021). What was that Spanish word again? Investigations into the cognitive mechanisms underlying foreign language attrition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., Valentini, B., Piai, V., & Lemhöfer, K. (2021). Electrophysiological evidence for cross-language interference in foreign-language attrition. Neuropsychologia, 155: 107795. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107795.

    Abstract

    Foreign language attrition (FLA) appears to be driven by interference from other, more recently-used languages (Mickan et al., 2020). Here we tracked these interference dynamics electrophysiologically to further our understanding of the underlying processes. Twenty-seven Dutch native speakers learned 70 new Italian words over two days. On a third day, EEG was recorded as they performed naming tasks on half of these words in English and, finally, as their memory for all the Italian words was tested in a picture-naming task. Replicating Mickan et al., recall was slower and tended to be less complete for Italian words that were interfered with (i.e., named in English) than for words that were not. These behavioral interference effects were accompanied by an enhanced frontal N2 and a decreased late positivity (LPC) for interfered compared to not-interfered items. Moreover, interfered items elicited more theta power. We also found an increased N2 during the interference phase for items that participants were later slower to retrieve in Italian. We interpret the N2 and theta effects as markers of interference, in line with the idea that Italian retrieval at final test is hampered by competition from recently practiced English translations. The LPC, in turn, reflects the consequences of interference: the reduced accessibility of interfered Italian labels. Finally, that retrieval ease at final test was related to the degree of interference during previous English retrieval shows that FLA is already set in motion during the interference phase, and hence can be the direct consequence of using other languages.

    Additional information

    data via Donders Repository
  • Misersky, J., Slivac, K., Hagoort, P., & Flecken, M. (2021). The State of the Onion: Grammatical aspect modulates object representation during event comprehension. Cognition, 214: 104744. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104744.

    Abstract

    The present ERP study assessed whether grammatical aspect is used as a cue in online event comprehension, in particular when reading about events in which an object is visually changed. While perfective aspect cues holistic event representations, including an event's endpoint, progressive aspect highlights intermediate phases of an event. In a 2 × 3 design, participants read SVO sentences describing a change-of-state event (e.g., to chop an onion), with grammatical Aspect manipulated (perfective “chopped” vs progressive “was chopping”). Thereafter, they saw a Picture of an object either having undergone substantial state-change (SC; a chopped onion), no state-change (NSC; an onion in its original state) or an unrelated object (U; a cactus, acting as control condition). Their task was to decide whether the object in the Picture was mentioned in the sentence. We focused on N400 modulation, with ERPs time-locked to picture onset. U pictures elicited an N400 response as expected, suggesting detection of categorical mismatches in object type. For SC and NSC pictures, a whole-head follow-up analysis revealed a P300, implying people were engaged in detailed evaluation of pictures of matching objects. SC pictures received most positive responses overall. Crucially, there was an interaction of Aspect and Picture: SC pictures resulted in a higher amplitude P300 after sentences in the perfective compared to the progressive. Thus, while the perfective cued for a holistic event representation, including the resultant state of the affected object (i.e., the chopped onion) constraining object representations online, the progressive defocused event completion and object-state change. Grammatical aspect thus guided online event comprehension by cueing the visual representation(s) of an object's state.
  • Nota, N., Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2021). Facial signals and social actions in multimodal face-to-face interaction. Brain Sciences, 11(8): 1017. doi:10.3390/brainsci11081017.

    Abstract

    In a conversation, recognising the speaker’s social action (e.g., a request) early may help the potential following speakers understand the intended message quickly, and plan a timely response. Human language is multimodal, and several studies have demonstrated the contribution of the body to communication. However, comparatively few studies have investigated (non-emotional) conversational facial signals and very little is known about how they contribute to the communication of social actions. Therefore, we investigated how facial signals map onto the expressions of two fundamental social actions in conversations: asking questions and providing responses. We studied the distribution and timing of 12 facial signals across 6778 questions and 4553 responses, annotated holistically in a corpus of 34 dyadic face-to-face Dutch conversations. Moreover, we analysed facial signal clustering to find out whether there are specific combinations of facial signals within questions or responses. Results showed a high proportion of facial signals, with a qualitatively different distribution in questions versus responses. Additionally, clusters of facial signals were identified. Most facial signals occurred early in the utterance, and had earlier onsets in questions. Thus, facial signals may critically contribute to the communication of social actions in conversation by providing social action-specific visual information.
  • Ota, M., San Jose, A., & Smith, K. (2021). The emergence of word-internal repetition through iterated learning: Explaining the mismatch between learning biases and language design. Cognition, 210: 104585. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104585.

    Abstract

    The idea that natural language is shaped by biases in learning plays a key role in our understanding of how human language is structured, but its corollary that there should be a correspondence between typological generalisations and ease of acquisition is not always supported. For example, natural languages tend to avoid close repetitions of consonants within a word, but developmental evidence suggests that, if anything, words containing sound repetitions are more, not less, likely to be acquired than those without. In this study, we use word-internal repetition as a test case to provide a cultural evolutionary explanation of when and how learning biases impact on language design. Two artificial language experiments showed that adult speakers possess a bias for both consonant and vowel repetitions when learning novel words, but the effects of this bias were observable in language transmission only when there was a relatively high learning pressure on the lexicon. Based on these results, we argue that whether the design of a language reflects biases in learning depends on the relative strength of pressures from learnability and communication efficiency exerted on the linguistic system during cultural transmission.

    Additional information

    supplementary data data
  • Postema, M., Hoogman, M., Ambrosino, S., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bandeira, C. E., Baranov, A., Bau, C. H. D., Baumeister, S., Baur-Streubel, R., Bellgrove, M. A., Biederman, J., Bralten, J., Brandeis, D., Brem, S., Buitelaar, J. K., Busatto, G. F., Castellanos, F. X., Cercignani, M., Chaim-Avancini, T. M. and 85 morePostema, M., Hoogman, M., Ambrosino, S., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bandeira, C. E., Baranov, A., Bau, C. H. D., Baumeister, S., Baur-Streubel, R., Bellgrove, M. A., Biederman, J., Bralten, J., Brandeis, D., Brem, S., Buitelaar, J. K., Busatto, G. F., Castellanos, F. X., Cercignani, M., Chaim-Avancini, T. M., Chantiluke, K. C., Christakou, A., Coghill, D., Conzelmann, A., Cubillo, A. I., Cupertino, R. B., De Zeeuw, P., Doyle, A. E., Durston, S., Earl, E. A., Epstein, J. N., Ethofer, T., Fair, D. A., Fallgatter, A. J., Faraone, S. V., Frodl, T., Gabel, M. C., Gogberashvili, T., Grevet, E. H., Haavik, J., Harrison, N. A., Hartman, C. A., Heslenfeld, D. J., Hoekstra, P. J., Hohmann, S., Høvik, M. F., Jernigan, T. L., Kardatzki, B., Karkashadze, G., Kelly, C., Kohls, G., Konrad, K., Kuntsi, J., Lazaro, L., Lera-Miguel, S., Lesch, K.-P., Louza, M. R., Lundervold, A. J., Malpas, C. B., Mattos, P., McCarthy, H., Namazova-Baranova, L., Nicolau, R., Nigg, J. T., Novotny, S. E., Oberwelland Weiss, E., O'Gorman Tuura, R. L., Oosterlaan, J., Oranje, B., Paloyelis, Y., Pauli, P., Picon, F. A., Plessen, K. J., Ramos-Quiroga, J. A., Reif, A., Reneman, L., Rosa, P. G. P., Rubia, K., Schrantee, A., Schweren, L. J. S., Seitz, J., Shaw, P., Silk, T. J., Skokauskas, N., Soliva Vila, J. C., Stevens, M. C., Sudre, G., Tamm, L., Tovar-Moll, F., Van Erp, T. G. M., Vance, A., Vilarroya, O., Vives-Gilabert, Y., Von Polier, G. G., Walitza, S., Yoncheva, Y. N., Zanetti, M. V., Ziegler, G. C., Glahn, D. C., Jahanshad, N., Medland, S. E., ENIGMA ADHD Working Group, Thompson, P. M., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., & Francks, C. (2021). Analysis of structural brain asymmetries in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in 39 datasets. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 62(10), 1202-1219. doi:10.1111/jcpp.13396.

    Abstract

    Objective: Some studies have suggested alterations of structural brain asymmetry in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but findings have been contradictory and based on small samples. Here we performed the largest-ever analysis of brain left-right asymmetry in ADHD, using 39 datasets of the ENIGMA consortium. Methods: We analyzed asymmetry of subcortical and cerebral cortical structures in up to 1,933 people with ADHD and 1,829 unaffected controls. Asymmetry Indexes (AIs) were calculated per participant for each bilaterally paired measure, and linear mixed effects modelling was applied separately in children, adolescents, adults, and the total sample, to test exhaustively for potential associations of ADHD with structural brain asymmetries. Results: There was no evidence for altered caudate nucleus asymmetry in ADHD, in contrast to prior literature. In children, there was less rightward asymmetry of the total hemispheric surface area compared to controls (t=2.1, P=0.04). Lower rightward asymmetry of medial orbitofrontal cortex surface area in ADHD (t=2.7, P=0.01) was similar to a recent finding for autism spectrum disorder. There were also some differences in cortical thickness asymmetry across age groups. In adults with ADHD, globus pallidus asymmetry was altered compared to those without ADHD. However, all effects were small (Cohen’s d from -0.18 to 0.18) and would not survive study-wide correction for multiple testing. Conclusion: Prior studies of altered structural brain asymmetry in ADHD were likely under-powered to detect the small effects reported here. Altered structural asymmetry is unlikely to provide a useful biomarker for ADHD, but may provide neurobiological insights into the trait.

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    jcpp13396-sup-0001-supinfo.pdf
  • Postema, M. (2021). Left-right asymmetry of the human brain: Associations with neurodevelopmental disorders and genetic factors. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Redl, T. (2021). Masculine generic pronouns: Investigating the processing of an unintended gender cue. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Rodd, J., Decuyper, C., Bosker, H. R., & Ten Bosch, L. (2021). A tool for efficient and accurate segmentation of speech data: Announcing POnSS. Behavior Research Methods, 53, 744-756. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01449-6.

    Abstract

    Despite advances in automatic speech recognition (ASR), human input is still essential to produce research-grade segmentations of speech data. Con- ventional approaches to manual segmentation are very labour-intensive. We introduce POnSS, a browser-based system that is specialized for the task of segmenting the onsets and offsets of words, that combines aspects of ASR with limited human input. In developing POnSS, we identified several sub- tasks of segmentation, and implemented each of these as separate interfaces for the annotators to interact with, to streamline their task as much as possible. We evaluated segmentations made with POnSS against a base- line of segmentations of the same data made conventionally in Praat. We observed that POnSS achieved comparable reliability to segmentation us- ing Praat, but required 23% less annotator time investment. Because of its greater efficiency without sacrificing reliability, POnSS represents a distinct methodological advance for the segmentation of speech data.
  • Ruggeri, K., Većkalov, B., Bojanić, L., Andersen, T. L., Ashcroft-Jones, S., Ayacaxli, N., Barea-Arroyo, P., Berge, M. L., Bjørndal, L. D., Bursalıoğlu, A., Bühler, V., Čadek, M., Çetinçelik, M., Clay, G., Cortijos-Bernabeu, A., Damnjanović, K., Dugue, T. M., Esberg, M., Esteban-Serna, C., Felder, E. N. and 63 moreRuggeri, K., Većkalov, B., Bojanić, L., Andersen, T. L., Ashcroft-Jones, S., Ayacaxli, N., Barea-Arroyo, P., Berge, M. L., Bjørndal, L. D., Bursalıoğlu, A., Bühler, V., Čadek, M., Çetinçelik, M., Clay, G., Cortijos-Bernabeu, A., Damnjanović, K., Dugue, T. M., Esberg, M., Esteban-Serna, C., Felder, E. N., Friedemann, M., Frontera-Villanueva, D. I., Gale, P., Garcia-Garzon, E., Geiger, S. J., George, L., Girardello, A., Gracheva, A., Gracheva, A., Guillory, M., Hecht, M., Herte, K., Hubená, B., Ingalls, W., Jakob, L., Janssens, M., Jarke, H., Kácha, O., Kalinova, K. N., Karakasheva, R., Khorrami, P. R., Lep, Ž., Lins, S., Lofthus, I. S., Mamede, S., Mareva, S., Mascarenhas, M. F., McGill, L., Morales-Izquierdo, S., Moltrecht, B., Mueller, T. S., Musetti, M., Nelsson, J., Otto, T., Paul, A. F., Pavlović, I., Petrović, M. B., Popović, D., Prinz, G. M., Razum, J., Sakelariev, I., Samuels, V., Sanguino, I., Say, N., Schuck, J., Soysal, I., Todsen, A. L., Tünte, M. R., Vdovic, M., Vintr, J., Vovko, M., Vranka, M. A., Wagner, L., Wilkins, L., Willems, M., Wisdom, E., Yosifova, A., Zeng, S., Ahmed, M. A., Dwarkanath, T., Cikara, M., Lees, J., & Folke, T. (2021). The general fault in our fault lines. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 1369-1380. doi:10.1038/s41562-021-01092-x.

    Abstract

    Pervading global narratives suggest that political polarization is increasing, yet the accuracy of such group meta-perceptions has been drawn into question. A recent US study suggests that these beliefs are inaccurate and drive polarized beliefs about out-groups. However, it also found that informing people of inaccuracies reduces those negative beliefs. In this work, we explore whether these results generalize to other countries. To achieve this, we replicate two of the original experiments with 10,207 participants across 26 countries. We focus on local group divisions, which we refer to as fault lines. We find broad generalizability for both inaccurate meta-perceptions and reduced negative motive attribution through a simple disclosure intervention. We conclude that inaccurate and negative group meta-perceptions are exhibited in myriad contexts and that informing individuals of their misperceptions can yield positive benefits for intergroup relations. Such generalizability highlights a robust phenomenon with implications for political discourse worldwide.

    Additional information

    supplementary information data via OSF
  • San Jose, A., Roelofs, A., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). Modeling the distributional dynamics of attention and semantic interference in word production. Cognition, 211: 104636. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104636.

    Abstract

    In recent years, it has become clear that attention plays an important role in spoken word production. Some of this evidence comes from distributional analyses of reaction time (RT) in regular picture naming and picture-word interference. Yet we lack a mechanistic account of how the properties of RT distributions come to reflect attentional processes and how these processes may in turn modulate the amount of conflict between lexical representations. Here, we present a computational account according to which attentional lapses allow for existing conflict to build up unsupervised on a subset of trials, thus modulating the shape of the resulting RT distribution. Our process model resolves discrepancies between outcomes of previous studies on semantic interference. Moreover, the model's predictions were confirmed in a new experiment where participants' motivation to remain attentive determined the size and distributional locus of semantic interference in picture naming. We conclude that process modeling of RT distributions importantly improves our understanding of the interplay between attention and conflict in word production. Our model thus provides a framework for interpreting distributional analyses of RT data in picture naming tasks.
  • Scala, M., Anijs, M., Battini, R., Madia, F., Capra, V., Scudieri, P., Verrotti, A., Zara, F., Minetti, C., Vernes, S. C., & Striano, P. (2021). Hyperkinetic stereotyped movements in a boy with biallelic CNTNAP2 variants. Italian Journal of Pediatrics, 47: 208. doi:10.1186/s13052-021-01162-w.

    Abstract

    Background Heterozygous variants in CNTNAP2 have been implicated in a wide range of neurological phenotypes, including intellectual disability (ID), epilepsy, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and impaired language. However, heterozygous variants can also be found in unaffected individuals. Biallelic CNTNAP2 variants are rarer and cause a well-defined genetic syndrome known as CASPR2 deficiency disorder, a condition characterised by ID, early-onset refractory epilepsy, language impairment, and autistic features. Case-report A 7-year-old boy presented with hyperkinetic stereotyped movements that started during early infancy and persisted over childhood. Abnormal movements consisted of rhythmic and repetitive shaking of the four limbs, with evident stereotypic features. Additional clinical features included ID, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), ASD, and speech impairment, consistent with CASPR2 deficiency disorder. Whole-genome array comparative genomic hybridization detected a maternally inherited 0.402 Mb duplication, which involved intron 1, exon 2, and intron 2 of CNTNAP2 (c.97 +?_209-?dup). The affected region in intron 1 contains a binding site for the transcription factor FOXP2, potentially leading to abnormal CNTNAP2 expression regulation. Sanger sequencing of the coding region of CNTNAP2 also identified a paternally-inherited missense variant c.2752C > T, p.(Leu918Phe). Conclusion This case expands the molecular and phenotypic spectrum of CASPR2 deficiency disorder, suggesting that Hyperkinetic stereotyped movements may be a rare, yet significant, clinical feature of this complex neurological disorder. Furthermore, the identification of an in-frame, largely non-coding duplication in CNTNAP2 points to a sophisticated underlying molecular mechanism, likely involving impaired FOXP2 binding.

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    additional files
  • Schubotz, L. (2021). Effects of aging and cognitive abilities on multimodal language production and comprehension in context. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Schubotz, L., Holler, J., Drijvers, L., & Ozyurek, A. (2021). Aging and working memory modulate the ability to benefit from visible speech and iconic gestures during speech-in-noise comprehension. Psychological Research, 85, 1997-2011. doi:10.1007/s00426-020-01363-8.

    Abstract

    When comprehending speech-in-noise (SiN), younger and older adults benefit from seeing the speaker’s mouth, i.e. visible speech. Younger adults additionally benefit from manual iconic co-speech gestures. Here, we investigate to what extent younger and older adults benefit from perceiving both visual articulators while comprehending SiN, and whether this is modulated by working memory and inhibitory control. Twenty-eight younger and 28 older adults performed a word recognition task in three visual contexts: mouth blurred (speech-only), visible speech, or visible speech + iconic gesture. The speech signal was either clear or embedded in multitalker babble. Additionally, there were two visual-only conditions (visible speech, visible speech + gesture). Accuracy levels for both age groups were higher when both visual articulators were present compared to either one or none. However, older adults received a significantly smaller benefit than younger adults, although they performed equally well in speech-only and visual-only word recognition. Individual differences in verbal working memory and inhibitory control partly accounted for age-related performance differences. To conclude, perceiving iconic gestures in addition to visible speech improves younger and older adults’ comprehension of SiN. Yet, the ability to benefit from this additional visual information is modulated by age and verbal working memory. Future research will have to show whether these findings extend beyond the single word level.

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    supplementary material
  • Shapland, C. Y., Verhoef, E., Smith, G. D., Fisher, S. E., Verhulst, B., Dale, P. S., & St Pourcain, B. (2021). Multivariate genome-wide covariance analyses of literacy, language and working memory skills reveal distinct etiologies. npj Science of Learning, 6: 23. doi:10.1038/s41539-021-00101-y.

    Abstract

    Several abilities outside literacy proper are associated with reading and spelling, both phenotypically and genetically, though our knowledge of multivariate genomic covariance structures is incomplete. Here, we introduce structural models describing genetic and residual influences between traits to study multivariate links across measures of literacy, phonological awareness, oral language, and phonological working memory (PWM) in unrelated UK youth (8-13 years, N=6,453). We find that all phenotypes share a large proportion of underlying genetic variation, although especially oral language and PWM reveal substantial differences in their genetic variance composition with substantial trait-specific genetic influences. Multivariate genetic and residual trait covariance showed concordant patterns, except for marked differences between oral language and literacy/phonological awareness, where strong genetic links contrasted near-zero residual overlap. These findings suggest differences in etiological mechanisms, acting beyond a pleiotropic set of genetic variants, and implicate variation in trait modifiability even among phenotypes that have high genetic correlations.

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    supplementary information
  • Slivac, K., Hervais-Adelman, A., Hagoort, P., & Flecken, M. (2021). Linguistic labels cue biological motion perception and misperception. Scientific Reports, 11: 17239. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-96649-1.

    Abstract

    Linguistic labels exert a particularly strong top-down influence on perception. The potency of this influence has been ascribed to their ability to evoke category-diagnostic features of concepts. In doing this, they facilitate the formation of a perceptual template concordant with those features, effectively biasing perceptual activation towards the labelled category. In this study, we employ a cueing paradigm with moving, point-light stimuli across three experiments, in order to examine how the number of biological motion features (form and kinematics) encoded in lexical cues modulates the efficacy of lexical top-down influence on perception. We find that the magnitude of lexical influence on biological motion perception rises as a function of the number of biological motion-relevant features carried by both cue and target. When lexical cues encode multiple biological motion features, this influence is robust enough to mislead participants into reporting erroneous percepts, even when a masking level yielding high performance is used.
  • Snijders Blok, L., Vino, A., Den Hoed, J., Underhill, H. R., Monteil, D., Li, H., Reynoso Santos, F. J., Chung, W. K., Amaral, M. D., Schnur, R. E., Santiago-Sim, T., Si, Y., Brunner, H. G., Kleefstra, T., & Fisher, S. E. (2021). Heterozygous variants that disturb the transcriptional repressor activity of FOXP4 cause a developmental disorder with speech/language delays and multiple congenital abnormalities. Genetics in Medicine, 23, 534-542. doi:10.1038/s41436-020-01016-6.

    Abstract

    Heterozygous pathogenic variants in various FOXP genes cause specific developmental disorders. The phenotype associated with heterozygous variants in FOXP4 has not been previously described. We assembled a cohort of eight individuals with heterozygous and mostly de novo variants in FOXP4: seven individuals with six different missense variants and one individual with a frameshift variant. We collected clinical data to delineate the phenotypic spectrum, and used in silico analyses and functional cell-based assays to assess pathogenicity of the variants. We collected clinical data for six individuals: five individuals with a missense variant in the forkhead box DNA-binding domain of FOXP4, and one individual with a truncating variant. Overlapping features included speech and language delays, growth abnormalities, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, cervical spine abnormalities, and ptosis. Luciferase assays showed loss-of-function effects for all these variants, and aberrant subcellular localization patterns were seen in a subset. The remaining two missense variants were located outside the functional domains of FOXP4, and showed transcriptional repressor capacities and localization patterns similar to the wild-type protein. Collectively, our findings show that heterozygous loss-of-function variants in FOXP4 are associated with an autosomal dominant neurodevelopmental disorder with speech/language delays, growth defects, and variable congenital abnormalities.
  • Stärk, K., Kidd, E., & Frost, R. L. A. (2021). Word segmentation cues in German child-directed speech: A corpus analysis. Language and Speech. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0023830920979016.

    Abstract

    To acquire language, infants must learn to segment words from running speech. A significant body of experimental research shows that infants use multiple cues to do so; however, little research has comprehensively examined the distribution of such cues in naturalistic speech. We conducted a comprehensive corpus analysis of German child-directed speech (CDS) using data from the Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES) database, investigating the availability of word stress, transitional probabilities (TPs), and lexical and sublexical frequencies as potential cues for word segmentation. Seven hours of data (~15,000 words) were coded, representing around an average day of speech to infants. The analysis revealed that for 97% of words, primary stress was carried by the initial syllable, implicating stress as a reliable cue to word onset in German CDS. Word identity was also marked by TPs between syllables, which were higher within than between words, and higher for backwards than forwards transitions. Words followed a Zipfian-like frequency distribution, and over two-thirds of words (78%) were monosyllabic. Of the 50 most frequent words, 82% were function words, which accounted for 47% of word tokens in the entire corpus. Finally, 15% of all utterances comprised single words. These results give rich novel insights into the availability of segmentation cues in German CDS, and support the possibility that infants draw on multiple converging cues to segment their input. The data, which we make openly available to the research community, will help guide future experimental investigations on this topic.

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    supporting materials
  • Stoehr, A., Benders, T., Van Hell, J. G., & Fikkert, P. (2021). Feature generalization in Dutch–German bilingual and monolingual children’s speech production. First Language. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/01427237211058937.

    Abstract

    Dutch and German employ voicing contrasts, but Dutch lacks the ‘voiced’ dorsal plosive /ɡ/. We exploited this accidental phonological gap, measuring the presence of prevoicing and voice onset time durations during speech production to determine (1) whether preliterate bilingual Dutch–German and monolingual Dutch-speaking children aged 3;6–6;0 years generalized voicing to /ɡ/ in Dutch; and (2) whether there was evidence for featural cross-linguistic influence from Dutch to German in bilingual children, testing monolingual German-speaking children as controls. Bilingual and monolingual children’s production of /ɡ/ provided partial evidence for feature generalization: in Dutch, both bilingual and monolingual children either recombined Dutch voicing and place features to produce /ɡ/, suggesting feature generalization, or resorted to producing familiar /k/, suggesting segment-level adaptation within their Dutch phonological system. In German, bilingual children’s production of /ɡ/ was influenced by Dutch although the Dutch phoneme inventory lacks /ɡ/. This suggests that not only segments but also voicing features can exert cross-linguistic influence. Taken together, phonological features appear to play a crucial role in aspects of bilingual and monolingual children’s speech production.

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    supplemental material
  • Todorova, L. (2021). Language bias in visually driven decisions: Computational neurophysiological mechanisms. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Trompenaars, T. (2021). Bringing stories to life: Animacy in narrative and processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Trompenaars, T., Kaluge, T. A., Sarabi, R., & De Swart, P. (2021). Cognitive animacy and its relation to linguistic animacy: Evidence from Japanese and Persian. Language Sciences, 86: 101399. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2021.101399.

    Abstract

    Animacy, commonly defined as the distinction between living and non-living entities, is a useful notion in cognitive science and linguistics employed to describe and predict variation in psychological and linguistic behaviour. In the (psycho)linguistics literature we find linguistic animacy dichotomies which are (implicitly) assumed to correspond to biological dichotomies. We argue this is problematic, as it leaves us without a cognitively grounded, universal description for non-prototypical cases. We show that ‘animacy’ in language can be better understood as universally emerging from a gradual, cognitive property by collecting animacy ratings for a great range of nouns from Japanese and Persian. We used these cognitive ratings in turn to predict linguistic variation in these languages traditionally explained through dichotomous distinctions. We show that whilst (speakers of) languages may subtly differ in their conceptualisation of animacy, universality may be found in the process of mapping conceptual animacy to linguistic variation.
  • Tsoukala, C. (2021). Bilingual sentence production and code-switching: Neural network simulations. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Tsoukala, C., Frank, S. L., Van Den Bosch, A., Valdés Kroff, J., & Broersma, M. (2021). Modeling the auxiliary phrase asymmetry in code-switched Spanish–English. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 24(2), 271-280. doi:10.1017/S1366728920000449.

    Abstract

    Spanish–English bilinguals rarely code-switch in the perfect structure between the Spanish auxiliary haber (“to have”) and the participle (e.g., “Ella ha voted”; “She has voted”). However, they are somewhat likely to switch in the progressive structure between the Spanish auxiliary estar (“to be”) and the participle (“Ella está voting”; “She is voting”). This phenomenon is known as the “auxiliary phrase asymmetry”. One hypothesis as to why this occurs is that estar has more semantic weight as it also functions as an independent verb, whereas haber is almost exclusively used as an auxiliary verb. To test this hypothesis, we employed a connectionist model that produces spontaneous code-switches. Through simulation experiments, we showed that i) the asymmetry emerges in the model and that ii) the asymmetry disappears when using haber also as a main verb, which adds semantic weight. Therefore, the lack of semantic weight of haber may indeed cause the asymmetry.
  • Tsoukala, C., Broersma, M., Van den Bosch, A., & Frank, S. L. (2021). Simulating code-switching using a neural network model of bilingual sentence production. Computational Brain & Behavior, 4, 87-100. doi:10.1007/s42113-020-00088-6.

    Abstract

    Code-switching is the alternation from one language to the other during bilingual speech. We present a novel method of researching this phenomenon using computational cognitive modeling. We trained a neural network of bilingual sentence production to simulate early balanced Spanish–English bilinguals, late speakers of English who have Spanish as a dominant native language, and late speakers of Spanish who have English as a dominant native language. The model produced code-switches even though it was not exposed to code-switched input. The simulations predicted how code-switching patterns differ between early balanced and late non-balanced bilinguals; the balanced bilingual simulation code-switches considerably more frequently, which is in line with what has been observed in human speech production. Additionally, we compared the patterns produced by the simulations with two corpora of spontaneous bilingual speech and identified noticeable commonalities and differences. To our knowledge, this is the first computational cognitive model simulating the code-switched production of non-balanced bilinguals and comparing the simulated production of balanced and non-balanced bilinguals with that of human bilinguals.

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    dual-path model
  • Van Paridon, J. (2021). Speaking while listening: Language processing in speech shadowing and translation. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Van Paridon, J., Ostarek, M., Arunkumar, M., & Huettig, F. (2021). Does neuronal recycling result in destructive competition? The influence of learning to read on the recognition of faces. Psychological Science, 32, 459-465. doi:10.1177/0956797620971652.

    Abstract

    Written language, a human cultural invention, is far too recent for dedicated neural infrastructure to have evolved in its service. Culturally newly acquired skills (e.g. reading) thus ‘recycle’ evolutionarily older circuits that originally evolved for different, but similar functions (e.g. visual object recognition). The destructive competition hypothesis predicts that this neuronal recycling has detrimental behavioral effects on the cognitive functions a cortical network originally evolved for. In a study with 97 literate, low-literate, and illiterate participants from the same socioeconomic background we find that even after adjusting for cognitive ability and test-taking familiarity, learning to read is associated with an increase, rather than a decrease, in object recognition abilities. These results are incompatible with the claim that neuronal recycling results in destructive competition and consistent with the possibility that learning to read instead fine-tunes general object recognition mechanisms, a hypothesis that needs further neuroscientific investigation.

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  • Van Dijk, C. N. (2021). Cross-linguistic influence during real-time sentence processing in bilingual children and adults. PhD Thesis, Raboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Van Dijk, C. N., Van Wonderen, E., Koutamanis, E., Kootstra, G. J., Dijkstra, T., & Unsworth, S. (2021). Cross-linguistic influence in simultaneous and early sequential bilingual children: A meta-analysis. Journal of Child Language. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/S0305000921000337.

    Abstract

    Although cross-linguistic influence at the level of morphosyntax is one of the most intensively studied topics in child bilingualism, the circumstances under which it occurs remain unclear. In this meta-analysis, we measured the effect size of cross-linguistic influence and systematically assessed its predictors in 750 simultaneous and early sequential bilingual children in 17 unique language combinations across 26 experimental studies. We found a significant small to moderate average effect size of cross-linguistic influence, indicating that cross-linguistic influence is part and parcel of bilingual development. Language dominance, operationalized as societal language, was a significant predictor of cross-linguistic influence, whereas surface overlap, language domain and age were not. Perhaps an even more important finding was that definitions and operationalisations of cross-linguistic influence and its predictors varied considerably between studies. This could explain the absence of a comprehensive theory in the field. To solve this issue, we argue for a more uniform method of studying cross-linguistic influence.
  • Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Fisher, S. E., Dale, P. S., & St Pourcain, B. (2021). The developmental genetic architecture of vocabulary skills during the first three years of life: Capturing emerging associations with later-life reading and cognition. PLoS Genetics, 17(2): e1009144. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1009144.

    Abstract

    Individual differences in early-life vocabulary measures are heritable and associated with subsequent reading and cognitive abilities, although the underlying mechanisms are little understood. Here, we (i) investigate the developmental genetic architecture of expressive and receptive vocabulary in early-life and (ii) assess timing of emerging genetic associations with mid-childhood verbal and non-verbal skills. We studied longitudinally assessed early-life vocabulary measures (15–38 months) and later-life verbal and non-verbal skills (7–8 years) in up to 6,524 unrelated children from the population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort. We dissected the phenotypic variance of rank-transformed scores into genetic and residual components by fitting multivariate structural equation models to genome-wide genetic-relationship matrices. Our findings show that the genetic architecture of early-life vocabulary involves multiple distinct genetic factors. Two of these genetic factors are developmentally stable and also contribute to genetic variation in mid-childhood skills: One genetic factor emerging with expressive vocabulary at 24 months (path coefficient: 0.32(SE = 0.06)) was also related to later-life reading (path coefficient: 0.25(SE = 0.12)) and verbal intelligence (path coefficient: 0.42(SE = 0.13)), explaining up to 17.9% of the phenotypic variation. A second, independent genetic factor emerging with receptive vocabulary at 38 months (path coefficient: 0.15(SE = 0.07)), was more generally linked to verbal and non-verbal cognitive abilities in mid-childhood (reading path coefficient: 0.57(SE = 0.07); verbal intelligence path coefficient: 0.60(0.10); performance intelligence path coefficient: 0.50(SE = 0.08)), accounting for up to 36.1% of the phenotypic variation and the majority of genetic variance in these later-life traits (≥66.4%). Thus, the genetic foundations of mid-childhood reading and cognitive abilities are diverse. They involve at least two independent genetic factors that emerge at different developmental stages during early language development and may implicate differences in cognitive processes that are already detectable during toddlerhood.

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    supporting information
  • Verhoef, E. (2021). Why do we change how we speak? Multivariate genetic analyses of language and related traits across development and disorder. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Fisher, S. E., Dale, P. S., & St Pourcain, B. (2021). The developmental origins of genetic factors influencing language and literacy: Associations with early-childhood vocabulary. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 62(6), 728-738. doi:10.1111/jcpp.13327.

    Abstract

    Background The heritability of language and literacy skills increases from early‐childhood to adolescence. The underlying mechanisms are little understood and may involve (a) the amplification of genetic influences contributing to early language abilities, and/or (b) the emergence of novel genetic factors (innovation). Here, we investigate the developmental origins of genetic factors influencing mid‐childhood/early‐adolescent language and literacy. We evaluate evidence for the amplification of early‐childhood genetic factors for vocabulary, in addition to genetic innovation processes. Methods Expressive and receptive vocabulary scores at 38 months, thirteen language‐ and literacy‐related abilities and nonverbal cognition (7–13 years) were assessed in unrelated children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, Nindividuals ≤ 6,092). We investigated the multivariate genetic architecture underlying early‐childhood expressive and receptive vocabulary, and each of 14 mid‐childhood/early‐adolescent language, literacy or cognitive skills with trivariate structural equation (Cholesky) models as captured by genome‐wide genetic relationship matrices. The individual path coefficients of the resulting structural models were finally meta‐analysed to evaluate evidence for overarching patterns. Results We observed little support for the emergence of novel genetic sources for language, literacy or cognitive abilities during mid‐childhood or early adolescence. Instead, genetic factors of early‐childhood vocabulary, especially those unique to receptive skills, were amplified and represented the majority of genetic variance underlying many of these later complex skills (≤99%). The most predictive early genetic factor accounted for 29.4%(SE = 12.9%) to 45.1%(SE = 7.6%) of the phenotypic variation in verbal intelligence and literacy skills, but also for 25.7%(SE = 6.4%) in performance intelligence, while explaining only a fraction of the phenotypic variation in receptive vocabulary (3.9%(SE = 1.8%)). Conclusions Genetic factors contributing to many complex skills during mid‐childhood and early adolescence, including literacy, verbal cognition and nonverbal cognition, originate developmentally in early‐childhood and are captured by receptive vocabulary. This suggests developmental genetic stability and overarching aetiological mechanisms.

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  • Verhoef, E., Grove, J., Shapland, C. Y., Demontis, D., Burgess, S., Rai, D., Børglum, A. D., & St Pourcain, B. (2021). Discordant associations of educational attainment with ASD and ADHD implicate a polygenic form of pleiotropy. Nature Communications, 12: 6534. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-26755-1.

    Abstract

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are complex co-occurring neurodevelopmental conditions. Their genetic architectures reveal striking similarities but also differences, including strong, discordant polygenic associations with educational attainment (EA). To study genetic mechanisms that present as ASD-related positive and ADHD-related negative genetic correlations with EA, we carry out multivariable regression analyses using genome-wide summary statistics (N = 10,610–766,345). Our results show that EA-related genetic variation is shared across ASD and ADHD architectures, involving identical marker alleles. However, the polygenic association profile with EA, across shared marker alleles, is discordant for ASD versus ADHD risk, indicating independent effects. At the single-variant level, our results suggest either biological pleiotropy or co-localisation of different risk variants, implicating MIR19A/19B microRNA mechanisms. At the polygenic level, they point to a polygenic form of pleiotropy that contributes to the detectable genome-wide correlation between ASD and ADHD and is consistent with effect cancellation across EA-related regions.

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    supplementary information
  • Wagner, M. A., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., Dhaene, S., & Lemhöfer, K. (2021). Phonetic convergence to non-native speech: Acoustic and perceptual evidence. Journal of Phonetics, 88: 101076. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2021.101076.

    Abstract

    While the tendency of speakers to align their speech to that of others acoustic-phonetically has been widely studied among native speakers, very few studies have examined whether natives phonetically converge to non-native speakers. Here we measured native Dutch speakers’ convergence to a non-native speaker with an unfamiliar accent in a novel non-interactive task. Furthermore, we assessed the role of participants’ perceptions of the non-native accent in their tendency to converge. In addition to a perceptual measure (AXB ratings), we examined convergence on different acoustic dimensions (e.g., vowel spectra, fricative CoG, speech rate, overall f0) to determine what dimensions, if any, speakers converge to. We further combined these two types of measures to discover what dimensions weighed in raters’ judgments of convergence. The results reveal overall convergence to our non-native speaker, as indexed by both perceptual and acoustic measures. However, the ratings suggest the stronger participants rated the non-native accent to be, the less likely they were to converge. Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that natives can phonetically converge to non-native speech, even without any apparent socio-communicative motivation to do so. We argue that our results are hard to integrate with a purely social view of convergence.
  • Wolf, M. C., Meyer, A. S., Rowland, C. F., & Hintz, F. (2021). The effects of input modality, word difficulty and reading experience on word recognition accuracy. Collabra: Psychology, 7(1): 24919. doi:10.1525/collabra.24919.

    Abstract

    Language users encounter words in at least two different modalities. Arguably, the most frequent encounters are in spoken or written form. Previous research has shown that – compared to the spoken modality – written language features more difficult words. Thus, frequent reading might have effects on word recognition. In the present study, we investigated 1) whether input modality (spoken, written, or bimodal) has an effect on word recognition accuracy, 2) whether this modality effect interacts with word difficulty, 3) whether the interaction of word difficulty and reading experience impacts word recognition accuracy, and 4) whether this interaction is influenced by input modality. To do so, we re-analysed a dataset that was collected in the context of a vocabulary test development to assess in which modality test words should be presented. Participants had carried out a word recognition task, where non-words and words of varying difficulty were presented in auditory, visual and audio-visual modalities. In addition to this main experiment, participants had completed a receptive vocabulary and an author recognition test to measure their reading experience. Our re-analyses did not reveal evidence for an effect of input modality on word recognition accuracy, nor for interactions with word difficulty or language experience. Word difficulty interacted with reading experience in that frequent readers were more accurate in recognizing difficult words than individuals who read less frequently. Practical implications are discussed.
  • Zhang, Y., Ding, R., Frassinelli, D., Tuomainen, J., Klavinskis-Whiting, S., & Vigliocco, G. (2021). Electrophysiological signatures of second language multimodal comprehension. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 2971-2977). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Language is multimodal: non-linguistic cues, such as prosody, gestures and mouth movements, are always present in face-to- face communication and interact to support processing. In this paper, we ask whether and how multimodal cues affect L2 processing by recording EEG for highly proficient bilinguals when watching naturalistic materials. For each word, we quantified surprisal and the informativeness of prosody, gestures, and mouth movements. We found that each cue modulates the N400: prosodic accentuation, meaningful gestures, and informative mouth movements all reduce N400. Further, effects of meaningful gestures but not mouth informativeness are enhanced by prosodic accentuation, whereas effects of mouth are enhanced by meaningful gestures but reduced by beat gestures. Compared with L1, L2 participants benefit less from cues and their interactions, except for meaningful gestures and mouth movements. Thus, in real- world language comprehension, L2 comprehenders use multimodal cues just as L1 speakers albeit to a lesser extent.
  • Arana, S., Marquand, A., Hulten, A., Hagoort, P., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2020). Sensory modality-independent activation of the brain network for language. The Journal of Neuroscience, 40(14), 2914-2924. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2271-19.2020.

    Abstract

    The meaning of a sentence can be understood, whether presented in written or spoken form. Therefore it is highly probable that brain processes supporting language comprehension are at least partly independent of sensory modality. To identify where and when in the brain language processing is independent of sensory modality, we directly compared neuromagnetic brain signals of 200 human subjects (102 males) either reading or listening to sentences. We used multiset canonical correlation analysis to align individual subject data in a way that boosts those aspects of the signal that are common to all, allowing us to capture word-by-word signal variations, consistent across subjects and at a fine temporal scale. Quantifying this consistency in activation across both reading and listening tasks revealed a mostly left hemispheric cortical network. Areas showing consistent activity patterns include not only areas previously implicated in higher-level language processing, such as left prefrontal, superior & middle temporal areas and anterior temporal lobe, but also parts of the control-network as well as subcentral and more posterior temporal-parietal areas. Activity in this supramodal sentence processing network starts in temporal areas and rapidly spreads to the other regions involved. The findings do not only indicate the involvement of a large network of brain areas in supramodal language processing, but also indicate that the linguistic information contained in the unfolding sentences modulates brain activity in a word-specific manner across subjects.
  • Azar, Z. (2020). Effect of language contact on speech and gesture: The case of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals in the Netherlands. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Baranova, J. (2020). Reasons for every-day activities. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Barthel, M., & Levinson, S. C. (2020). Next speakers plan word forms in overlap with the incoming turn: Evidence from gaze-contingent switch task performance. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(9), 1183-1202. doi:10.1080/23273798.2020.1716030.

    Abstract

    To ensure short gaps between turns in conversation, next speakers regularly start planning their utterance in overlap with the incoming turn. Three experiments investigate which stages of utterance planning are executed in overlap. E1 establishes effects of associative and phonological relatedness of pictures and words in a switch-task from picture naming to lexical decision. E2 focuses on effects of phonological relatedness and investigates potential shifts in the time-course of production planning during background speech. E3 required participants to verbally answer questions as a base task. In critical trials, however, participants switched to visual lexical decision just after they began planning their answer. The task-switch was time-locked to participants' gaze for response planning. Results show that word form encoding is done as early as possible and not postponed until the end of the incoming turn. Hence, planning a response during the incoming turn is executed at least until word form activation.

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  • Barthel, M. (2020). Speech planning in dialogue: Psycholinguistic studies of the timing of turn taking. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bosma, E., & Nota, N. (2020). Cognate facilitation in Frisian-Dutch bilingual children’s sentence reading: An eye-tracking study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 189: 104699. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104699.
  • Bouhali, F., Mongelli, V., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., & Cohen, L. (2020). Reading music and words: The anatomical connectivity of musicians’ visual cortex. NeuroImage, 212: 116666. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116666.

    Abstract

    Musical score reading and word reading have much in common, from their historical origins to their cognitive foundations and neural correlates. In the ventral occipitotemporal cortex (VOT), the specialization of the so-called Visual Word Form Area for word reading has been linked to its privileged structural connectivity to distant language regions. Here we investigated how anatomical connectivity relates to the segregation of regions specialized for musical notation or words in the VOT. In a cohort of professional musicians and non-musicians, we used probabilistic tractography combined with task-related functional MRI to identify the connections of individually defined word- and music-selective left VOT regions. Despite their close proximity, these regions differed significantly in their structural connectivity, irrespective of musical expertise. The music-selective region was significantly more connected to posterior lateral temporal regions than the word-selective region, which, conversely, was significantly more connected to anterior ventral temporal cortex. Furthermore, musical expertise had a double impact on the connectivity of the music region. First, music tracts were significantly larger in musicians than in non-musicians, associated with marginally higher connectivity to perisylvian music-related areas. Second, the spatial similarity between music and word tracts was significantly increased in musicians, consistently with the increased overlap of language and music functional activations in musicians, as compared to non-musicians. These results support the view that, for music as for words, very specific anatomical connections influence the specialization of distinct VOT areas, and that reciprocally those connections are selectively enhanced by the expertise for word or music reading.

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    Supplementary data
  • Connaughton, D. M., Dai, R., Owen, D. J., Marquez, J., Mann, N., Graham-Paquin, A. L., Nakayama, M., Coyaud, E., Laurent, E. M. N., St-Germain, J. R., Snijders Blok, L., Vino, A., Klämbt, V., Deutsch, K., Wu, C.-H.-W., Kolvenbach, C. M., Kause, F., Ottlewski, I., Schneider, R., Kitzler, T. M. and 79 moreConnaughton, D. M., Dai, R., Owen, D. J., Marquez, J., Mann, N., Graham-Paquin, A. L., Nakayama, M., Coyaud, E., Laurent, E. M. N., St-Germain, J. R., Snijders Blok, L., Vino, A., Klämbt, V., Deutsch, K., Wu, C.-H.-W., Kolvenbach, C. M., Kause, F., Ottlewski, I., Schneider, R., Kitzler, T. M., Majmundar, A. J., Buerger, F., Onuchic-Whitford, A. C., Youying, M., Kolb, A., Salmanullah, D., Chen, E., Van der Ven, A. T., Rao, J., Ityel, H., Seltzsam, S., Rieke, J. M., Chen, J., Vivante, A., Hwang, D.-Y., Kohl, S., Dworschak, G. C., Hermle, T., Alders, M., Bartolomaeus, T., Bauer, S. B., Baum, M. A., Brilstra, E. H., Challman, T. D., Zyskind, J., Costin, C. E., Dipple, K. M., Duijkers, F. A., Ferguson, M., Fitzpatrick, D. R., Fick, R., Glass, I. A., Hulick, P. J., Kline, A. D., Krey, I., Kumar, S., Lu, W., Marco, E. J., Wentzensen, I. M., Mefford, H. C., Platzer, K., Povolotskaya, I. S., Savatt, J. M., Shcherbakova, N. V., Senguttuvan, P., Squire, A. E., Stein, D. R., Thiffault, I., Voinova, V. Y., Somers, M. J. G., Ferguson, M. A., Traum, A. Z., Daouk, G. H., Daga, A., Rodig, N. M., Terhal, P. A., Van Binsbergen, E., Eid, L. A., Tasic, V., Rasouly, H. M., Lim, T. Y., Ahram, D. F., Gharavi, A. G., Reutter, H. M., Rehm, H. L., MacArthur, D. G., Lek, M., Laricchia, K. M., Lifton, R. P., Xu, H., Mane, S. M., Sanna-Cherchi, S., Sharrocks, A. D., Raught, B., Fisher, S. E., Bouchard, M., Khokha, M. K., Shril, S., & Hildebrandt, F. (2020). Mutations of the transcriptional corepressor ZMYM2 cause syndromic urinary tract malformations. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 107(4), 727-742. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.08.013.

    Abstract

    Congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) constitute one of the most frequent birth defects and represent the most common cause of chronic kidney disease in the first three decades of life. Despite the discovery of dozens of monogenic causes of CAKUT, most pathogenic pathways remain elusive. We performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) in 551 individuals with CAKUT and identified a heterozygous de novo stop-gain variant in ZMYM2 in two different families with CAKUT. Through collaboration, we identified in total 14 different heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in ZMYM2 in 15 unrelated families. Most mutations occurred de novo, indicating possible interference with reproductive function. Human disease features are replicated in X. tropicalis larvae with morpholino knockdowns, in which expression of truncated ZMYM2 proteins, based on individual mutations, failed to rescue renal and craniofacial defects. Moreover, heterozygous Zmym2-deficient mice recapitulated features of CAKUT with high penetrance. The ZMYM2 protein is a component of a transcriptional corepressor complex recently linked to the silencing of developmentally regulated endogenous retrovirus elements. Using protein-protein interaction assays, we show that ZMYM2 interacts with additional epigenetic silencing complexes, as well as confirming that it binds to FOXP1, a transcription factor that has also been linked to CAKUT. In summary, our findings establish that loss-of-function mutations of ZMYM2, and potentially that of other proteins in its interactome, as causes of human CAKUT, offering new routes for studying the pathogenesis of the disorder.
  • Coopmans, C. W., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2020). Dissociating activation and integration of discourse referents: Evidence from ERPs and oscillations. Cortex, 126, 83-106. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2019.12.028.

    Abstract

    A key challenge in understanding stories and conversations is the comprehension of ‘anaphora’, words that refer back to previously mentioned words or concepts (‘antecedents’). In psycholinguistic theories, anaphor comprehension involves the initial activation of the antecedent and its subsequent integration into the unfolding representation of the narrated event. A recent proposal suggests that these processes draw upon the brain’s recognition memory and language networks, respectively, and may be dissociable in patterns of neural oscillatory synchronization (Nieuwland & Martin, 2017). We addressed this proposal in an electroencephalogram (EEG) study with pre-registered data acquisition and analyses, using event-related potentials (ERPs) and neural oscillations. Dutch participants read two-sentence mini stories containing proper names, which were repeated or new (ease of activation) and semantically coherent or incoherent with the preceding discourse (ease of integration). Repeated names elicited lower N400 and Late Positive Component amplitude than new names, and also an increase in theta-band (4-7 Hz) synchronization, which was largest around 240-450 ms after name onset. Discourse-coherent names elicited an increase in gamma-band (60-80 Hz) synchronization compared to discourse-incoherent names. This effect was largest around 690-1000 ms after name onset and exploratory beamformer analysis suggested a left frontal source. We argue that the initial activation and subsequent discourse-level integration of referents can be dissociated with event-related EEG activity, and are associated with respectively theta- and gamma-band activity. These findings further establish the link between memory and language through neural oscillations.

    Additional information

    materials, data, and analysis scripts
  • Coopmans, C. W., & Schoenmakers, G.-J. (2020). Incremental structure building of preverbal PPs in Dutch. Linguistics in the Netherlands, 37(1), 38-52. doi:10.1075/avt.00036.coo.

    Abstract

    Incremental comprehension of head-final constructions can reveal structural attachment preferences for ambiguous phrases. This study investigates how temporarily ambiguous PPs are processed in Dutch verb-final constructions. In De aannemer heeft op het dakterras bespaard/gewerkt ‘The contractor has on the roof terrace saved/worked’, the PP is locally ambiguous between attachment as argument and as adjunct. This ambiguity is resolved by the sentence-final verb. In a self-paced reading task, we manipulated the argument/adjunct status of the PP, and its position relative to the verb. While we found no reading-time differences between argument and adjunct PPs, we did find that transitive verbs, for which the PP is an argument, were read more slowly than intransitive verbs, for which the PP is an adjunct. We suggest that Dutch parsers have a preference for adjunct attachment of preverbal PPs, and discuss our findings in terms of incremental parsing models that aim to minimize costly reanalysis.
  • Cucchiarini, C., Hubers, F., & Strik, H. (2020). Learning L2 idioms in a CALL environment: The role of practice intensity, modality, and idiom properties. Computer Assisted Language Learning. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/09588221.2020.1752734.

    Abstract

    Idiomatic expressions like hit the road or turn the tables are known to be problematic for L2 learners, but research indicates that learning L2 idiomatic language is important. Relatively few studies, most of them focusing on English idioms, have investigated how L2 idioms are actually acquired and how this process is affected by important idiom properties like transparency (the degree to which the figurative meaning of an idiom can be inferred from its literal analysis) and cross-language overlap (the degree to which L2 idioms correspond to L1 idioms). The present study employed a specially designed CALL system to investigate the effects of intensity of practice and the reading modality on learning Dutch L2 idioms, as well as the impact of idiom transparency and cross-language overlap. The results show that CALL practice with a focus on meaning and form is effective for learning L2 idioms and that the degree of practice needed depends on the properties of the idioms. L2 learners can achieve or even exceed native-like performance. Practicing reading idioms aloud does not lead to significantly higher performance than reading idioms silently.These findings have theoretical implications as they show that differences between native speakers and L2 learners are due to differences in exposure, rather than to different underlying acquisition mechanisms. For teaching practice, this study indicates that a properly designed CALL system is an effective and an ecologically sound environment for learning L2 idioms, a generally unattended area in L2 classes, and that teaching priorities should be based on degree of transparency and cross-language overlap of L2 idioms.
  • Den Hoed, J., & Fisher, S. E. (2020). Genetic pathways involved in human speech disorders. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development, 65, 103-111. doi:10.1016/j.gde.2020.05.012.
  • Drijvers, L., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Non-native listeners benefit less from gestures and visible speech than native listeners during degraded speech comprehension. Language and Speech, 63(2), 209-220. doi:10.1177/0023830919831311.

    Abstract

    Native listeners benefit from both visible speech and iconic gestures to enhance degraded speech comprehension (Drijvers & Ozyürek, 2017). We tested how highly proficient non-native listeners benefit from these visual articulators compared to native listeners. We presented videos of an actress uttering a verb in clear, moderately, or severely degraded speech, while her lips were blurred, visible, or visible and accompanied by a gesture. Our results revealed that unlike native listeners, non-native listeners were less likely to benefit from the combined enhancement of visible speech and gestures, especially since the benefit from visible speech was minimal when the signal quality was not sufficient.
  • Egger, J., Rowland, C. F., & Bergmann, C. (2020). Improving the robustness of infant lexical processing speed measures. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 2188-2201. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01385-5.

    Abstract

    Visual reaction times to target pictures after naming events are an informative measurement in language acquisition research, because gaze shifts measured in looking-while-listening paradigms are an indicator of infants’ lexical speed of processing. This measure is very useful, as it can be applied from a young age onwards and has been linked to later language development. However, to obtain valid reaction times, the infant is required to switch the fixation of their eyes from a distractor to a target object. This means that usually at least half the trials have to be discarded—those where the participant is already fixating the target at the onset of the target word—so that no reaction time can be measured. With few trials, reliability suffers, which is especially problematic when studying individual differences. In order to solve this problem, we developed a gaze-triggered looking-while-listening paradigm. The trials do not differ from the original paradigm apart from the fact that the target object is chosen depending on the infant’s eye fixation before naming. The object the infant is looking at becomes the distractor and the other object is used as the target, requiring a fixation switch, and thus providing a reaction time. We tested our paradigm with forty-three 18-month-old infants, comparing the results to those from the original paradigm. The Gaze-triggered paradigm yielded more valid reaction time trials, as anticipated. The results of a ranked correlation between the conditions confirmed that the manipulated paradigm measures the same concept as the original paradigm.
  • Ergin, R., Raviv, L., Senghas, A., Padden, C., & Sandler, W. (2020). Community structure affects convergence on uniform word orders: Evidence from emerging sign languages. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 84-86). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Favier, S. (2020). Individual differences in syntactic knowledge and processing: Exploring the role of literacy experience. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Gerakaki, S. (2020). The moment in between: Planning speech while listening. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Gilbers, S., Hoeksema, N., De Bot, K., & Lowie, W. (2020). Regional variation in West and East Coast African-American English prosody and rap flows. Language and Speech, 63(4), 713-745. doi:10.1177/0023830919881479.

    Abstract

    Regional variation in African-American English (AAE) is especially salient to its speakers involved with hip-hop culture, as hip-hop assigns great importance to regional identity and regional accents are a key means of expressing regional identity. However, little is known about AAE regional variation regarding prosodic rhythm and melody. In hip-hop music, regional variation can also be observed, with different regions’ rap performances being characterized by distinct “flows” (i.e., rhythmic and melodic delivery), an observation which has not been quantitatively investigated yet. This study concerns regional variation in AAE speech and rap, specifically regarding the United States’ East and West Coasts. It investigates how East Coast and West Coast AAE prosody are distinct, how East Coast and West Coast rap flows differ, and whether the two domains follow a similar pattern: more rhythmic and melodic variation on the West Coast compared to the East Coast for both speech and rap. To this end, free speech and rap recordings of 16 prominent African-American members of the East Coast and West Coast hip-hop communities were phonetically analyzed regarding rhythm (e.g., syllable isochrony and musical timing) and melody (i.e., pitch fluctuation) using a combination of existing and novel methodological approaches. The results mostly confirm the hypotheses that East Coast AAE speech and rap are less rhythmically diverse and more monotone than West Coast AAE speech and rap, respectively. They also show that regional variation in AAE prosody and rap flows pattern in similar ways, suggesting a connection between rhythm and melody in language and music.

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