Displaying 1 - 100 of 794
  • Bartolozzi, F. (2023). Repetita Iuvant? Studies on the role of repetition priming as a supportive mechanism during conversation. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Düngen, D., Fitch, W. T., & Ravignani, A. (2023). Hoover the talking seal. Current Biology, 33, R50-R52. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2022.12.023.
  • Garrido Rodriguez, G., Norcliffe, E., Brown, P., Huettig, F., & Levinson, S. C. (2023). Anticipatory processing in a verb-initial Mayan language: Eye-tracking evidence during sentence comprehension in Tseltal. Cognitive Science, 47(1): e13292. doi:10.1111/cogs.13219.

    Abstract

    We present a visual world eye-tracking study on Tseltal (a Mayan language) and investigate whether verbal information can be used to anticipate an upcoming referent. Basic word order in transitive sentences in Tseltal is Verb-Object-Subject (VOS). The verb is usually encountered first, making argument structure and syntactic information available at the outset, which should facilitate anticipation of the post-verbal arguments. Tseltal speakers listened to verb-initial sentences with either an object-predictive verb (e.g., ‘eat’) or a general verb (e.g., ‘look for’) (e.g., “Ya slo’/sle ta stukel on te kereme”, Is eating/is looking (for) by himself the avocado the boy/ “The boy is eating/is looking (for) an avocado by himself”) while seeing a visual display showing one potential referent (e.g., avocado) and three distractors (e.g., bag, toy car, coffee grinder). We manipulated verb type (predictive vs. general) and recorded participants' eye-movements while they listened and inspected the visual scene. Participants’ fixations to the target referent were analysed using multilevel logistic regression models. Shortly after hearing the predictive verb, participants fixated the target object before it was mentioned. In contrast, when the verb was general, fixations to the target only started to increase once the object was heard. Our results suggest that Tseltal hearers pre-activate semantic features of the grammatical object prior to its linguistic expression. This provides evidence from a verb-initial language for online incremental semantic interpretation and anticipatory processing during language comprehension. These processes are comparable to the ones identified in subject-initial languages, which is consistent with the notion that different languages follow similar universal processing principles.
  • Mamus, E., Speed, L. J., Rissman, L., Majid, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2023). Lack of visual experience affects multimodal language production: Evidence from congenitally blind and sighted people. Cognitive Science, 47(1): e13228. doi:10.1111/cogs.13228.

    Abstract

    The human experience is shaped by information from different perceptual channels, but it is still debated whether and how differential experience influences language use. To address this, we compared congenitally blind, blindfolded, and sighted people's descriptions of the same motion events experienced auditorily by all participants (i.e., via sound alone) and conveyed in speech and gesture. Comparison of blind and sighted participants to blindfolded participants helped us disentangle the effects of a lifetime experience of being blind versus the task-specific effects of experiencing a motion event by sound alone. Compared to sighted people, blind people's speech focused more on path and less on manner of motion, and encoded paths in a more segmented fashion using more landmarks and path verbs. Gestures followed the speech, such that blind people pointed to landmarks more and depicted manner less than sighted people. This suggests that visual experience affects how people express spatial events in the multimodal language and that blindness may enhance sensitivity to paths of motion due to changes in event construal. These findings have implications for the claims that language processes are deeply rooted in our sensory experiences.
  • Snijders Blok, L., Verseput, J., Rots, D., Venselaar, H., Innes, A. M., Stumpel, C., Õunap, K., Reinson, K., Seaby, E. G., McKee, S., Burton, B., Kim, K., Van Hagen, J. M., Waisfisz, Q., Joset, P., Steindl, K., Rauch, A., Li, D., Zackai, E. H., Sheppard, S. E. and 29 moreSnijders Blok, L., Verseput, J., Rots, D., Venselaar, H., Innes, A. M., Stumpel, C., Õunap, K., Reinson, K., Seaby, E. G., McKee, S., Burton, B., Kim, K., Van Hagen, J. M., Waisfisz, Q., Joset, P., Steindl, K., Rauch, A., Li, D., Zackai, E. H., Sheppard, S. E., Keena, B., Hakonarson, H., Roos, A., Kohlschmidt, N., Cereda, A., Iascone, M., Rebessi, E., Kernohan, K. D., Campeau, P. M., Millan, F., Taylor, J. A., Lochmüller, H., Higgs, M. R., Goula, A., Bernhard, B., Velasco, D. J., Schmanski, A. A., Stark, Z., Gallacher, L., Pais, L., Marcogliese, P. C., Yamamoto, S., Raun, N., Jakub, T. E., Kramer, J. M., Den Hoed, J., Fisher, S. E., Brunner, H. G., & Kleefstra, T. (2023). A clustering of heterozygous missense variants in the crucial chromatin modifier WDR5 defines a new neurodevelopmental disorder. Human Genetics and Genomics Advances, 4(1): 100157. doi:10.1016/j.xhgg.2022.100157.

    Abstract

    WDR5 is a broadly studied, highly conserved key protein involved in a wide array of biological functions. Among these functions, WDR5 is a part of several protein complexes that affect gene regulation via post-translational modification of histones. We collected data from 11 unrelated individuals with six different rare de novo germline missense variants in WDR5; one identical variant was found in five individuals, and another variant in two individuals. All individuals had neurodevelopmental disorders including speech/language delays (N=11), intellectual disability (N=9), epilepsy (N=7) and autism spectrum disorder (N=4). Additional phenotypic features included abnormal growth parameters (N=7), heart anomalies (N=2) and hearing loss (N=2). Three-dimensional protein structures indicate that all the residues affected by these variants are located at the surface of one side of the WDR5 protein. It is predicted that five out of the six amino acid substitutions disrupt interactions of WDR5 with RbBP5 and/or KMT2A/C, as part of the COMPASS (complex proteins associated with Set1) family complexes. Our experimental approaches in Drosophila melanogaster and human cell lines show normal protein expression, localization and protein-protein interactions for all tested variants. These results, together with the clustering of variants in a specific region of WDR5 and the absence of truncating variants so far, suggest that dominant-negative or gain-of-function mechanisms might be at play. All in all, we define a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with missense variants in WDR5 and a broad range of features. This finding highlights the important role of genes encoding COMPASS family proteins in neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Alagöz, G., Molz, B., Eising, E., Schijven, D., Francks, C., Jason L., S., & Fisher, S. E. (2022). Using neuroimaging genomics to investigate the evolution of human brain structure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(40): e2200638119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2200638119.

    Abstract

    Alterations in brain size and organization represent some of the most distinctive changes in the emergence of our species. Yet, there is limited understanding of how genetic factors contributed to altered neuroanatomy during human evolution. Here, we analyze neuroimaging and genetic data from up to 30,000 people in the UK Biobank and integrate with genomic annotations for different aspects of human evolution, including those based on ancient DNA and comparative genomics. We show that previously reported signals of recent polygenic selection for cortical anatomy are not replicable in a more ancestrally homogeneous sample. We then investigate relationships between evolutionary annotations and common genetic variants shaping cortical surface area and white-matter connectivity for each hemisphere. Our analyses identify single-nucleotide polymorphism heritability enrichment in human-gained regulatory elements that are active in early brain development, affecting surface areas of several parts of the cortex, including left-hemispheric speech-associated regions. We also detect heritability depletion in genomic regions with Neanderthal ancestry for connectivity of the uncinate fasciculus; this is a white-matter tract involved in memory, language, and socioemotional processing with relevance to neuropsychiatric disorders. Finally, we show that common genetic loci associated with left-hemispheric pars triangularis surface area overlap with a human-gained enhancer and affect regulation of ZIC4, a gene implicated in neurogenesis. This work demonstrates how genomic investigations of present-day neuroanatomical variation can help shed light on the complexities of our evolutionary past.

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  • Anijs, M., Devanna, P., & Vernes, S. C. (2022). ARHGEF39, a gene implicated in developmental language disorder, activates RHOA and is involved in cell de-adhesion and neural progenitor cell proliferation. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 15: 941494. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2022.941494.

    Abstract

    ARHGEF39 was previously implicated in developmental language disorder (DLD) via a functional polymorphism that can disrupt post-transcriptional regulation by microRNAs. ARHGEF39 is part of the family of Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs) that activate small Rho GTPases to regulate a wide variety of cellular processes. However, little is known about the function of ARHGEF39, or how its function might contribute to neurodevelopment or related disorders. Here, we explore the molecular function of ARHGEF39 and show that it activates the Rho GTPase RHOA and that high ARHGEF39 expression in cell cultures leads to an increase of detached cells. To explore its role in neurodevelopment, we analyse published single cell RNA-sequencing data and demonstrate that ARHGEF39 is a marker gene for proliferating neural progenitor cells and that it is co-expressed with genes involved in cell division. This suggests a role for ARHGEF39 in neurogenesis in the developing brain. The co-expression of ARHGEF39 with other RHOA-regulating genes supports RHOA as substrate of ARHGEF39 in neural cells, and the involvement of RHOA in neuropsychiatric disorders highlights a potential link between ARHGEF39 and neurodevelopment and disorder. Understanding the GTPase substrate, co-expression network, and processes downstream of ARHGEF39 provide new avenues for exploring the mechanisms by which altered expression levels of ARHGEF39 may contribute to neurodevelopment and associated disorders.

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  • Arana, S. (2022). Abstract neural representations of language during sentence comprehension: Evidence from MEG and Behaviour. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bai, F., Meyer, A. S., & Martin, A. E. (2022). Neural dynamics differentially encode phrases and sentences during spoken language comprehension. PLoS Biology, 20(7): e3001713. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001713.

    Abstract

    Human language stands out in the natural world as a biological signal that uses a structured system to combine the meanings of small linguistic units (e.g., words) into larger constituents (e.g., phrases and sentences). However, the physical dynamics of speech (or sign) do not stand in a one-to-one relationship with the meanings listeners perceive. Instead, listeners infer meaning based on their knowledge of the language. The neural readouts of the perceptual and cognitive processes underlying these inferences are still poorly understood. In the present study, we used scalp electroencephalography (EEG) to compare the neural response to phrases (e.g., the red vase) and sentences (e.g., the vase is red), which were close in semantic meaning and had been synthesized to be physically indistinguishable. Differences in structure were well captured in the reorganization of neural phase responses in delta (approximately <2 Hz) and theta bands (approximately 2 to 7 Hz),and in power and power connectivity changes in the alpha band (approximately 7.5 to 13.5 Hz). Consistent with predictions from a computational model, sentences showed more power, more power connectivity, and more phase synchronization than phrases did. Theta–gamma phase–amplitude coupling occurred, but did not differ between the syntactic structures. Spectral–temporal response function (STRF) modeling revealed different encoding states for phrases and sentences, over and above the acoustically driven neural response. Our findings provide a comprehensive description of how the brain encodes and separates linguistic structures in the dynamics of neural responses. They imply that phase synchronization and strength of connectivity are readouts for the constituent structure of language. The results provide a novel basis for future neurophysiological research on linguistic structure representation in the brain, and, together with our simulations, support time-based binding as a mechanism of structure encoding in neural dynamics.
  • Bai, F. (2022). Neural representation of speech segmentation and syntactic structure discrimination. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bujok, R., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2022). Visible lexical stress cues on the face do not influence audiovisual speech perception. In S. Frota, M. Cruz, & M. Vigário (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2022 (pp. 259-263). doi:10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-53.

    Abstract

    Producing lexical stress leads to visible changes on the face, such as longer duration and greater size of the opening of the mouth. Research suggests that these visual cues alone can inform participants about which syllable carries stress (i.e., lip-reading silent videos). This study aims to determine the influence of visual articulatory cues on lexical stress perception in more naturalistic audiovisual settings. Participants were presented with seven disyllabic, Dutch minimal stress pairs (e.g., VOORnaam [first name] & voorNAAM [respectable]) in audio-only (phonetic lexical stress continua without video), video-only (lip-reading silent videos), and audiovisual trials (e.g., phonetic lexical stress continua with video of talker saying VOORnaam or voorNAAM). Categorization data from video-only trials revealed that participants could distinguish the minimal pairs above chance from seeing the silent videos alone. However, responses in the audiovisual condition did not differ from the audio-only condition. We thus conclude that visual lexical stress information on the face, while clearly perceivable, does not play a major role in audiovisual speech perception. This study demonstrates that clear unimodal effects do not always generalize to more naturalistic multimodal communication, advocating that speech prosody is best considered in multimodal settings.
  • Byun, K.-S., Roberts, S. G., De Vos, C., Zeshan, U., & Levinson, S. C. (2022). Distinguishing selection pressures in an evolving communication system: Evidence from colournaming in 'cross signing'. Frontiers in Communication, 7: 1024340. doi:10.3389/fcomm.2022.1024340.

    Abstract

    Cross-signing—the emergence of an interlanguage between users of different sign languages—offers a rare chance to examine the evolution of a natural communication system in real time. To provide an insight into this process, we analyse an annotated video corpus of 340 minutes of interaction between signers of different language backgrounds on their first meeting and after living with each other for several weeks. We focus on the evolution of shared color terms and examine the role of different selectional pressures, including frequency, content, coordination and interactional context. We show that attentional factors in interaction play a crucial role. This suggests that understanding meta-communication is critical for explaining the cultural evolution of linguistic systems.
  • Cheung, C.-Y., Yakpo, K., & Coupé, C. (2022). A computational simulation of the genesis and spread of lexical items in situations of abrupt language contact. In A. Ravignani, R. Asano, D. Valente, F. Ferretti, S. Hartmann, M. Hayashi, Y. Jadoul, M. Martins, Y. Oseki, E. D. Rodrigues, O. Vasileva, & S. Wacewicz (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE) (pp. 115-122). Nijmegen: Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE).

    Abstract

    The current study presents an agent-based model which simulates the innovation and
    competition among lexical items in cases of language contact. It is inspired by relatively
    recent historical cases in which the linguistic ecology and sociohistorical context are highly complex. Pidgin and creole genesis offers an opportunity to obtain linguistic facts, social dynamics, and historical demography in a highly segregated society. This provides a solid ground for researching the interaction of populations with different pre-existing language systems, and how different factors contribute to the genesis of the lexicon of a newly generated mixed language. We take into consideration the population dynamics and structures, as well as a distribution of word frequencies related to language use, in order to study how social factors may affect the developmental trajectory of languages. Focusing on the case of Sranan in Suriname, our study shows that it is possible to account for the
    composition of its core lexicon in relation to different social groups, contact patterns, and
    large population movements.
  • Coopmans, C. W., De Hoop, H., Kaushik, K., Hagoort, P., & Martin, A. E. (2022). Hierarchy in language interpretation: Evidence from behavioural experiments and computational modelling. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 37(4), 420-439. 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.
  • Coopmans, C. W., De Hoop, H., Hagoort, P., & Martin, A. E. (2022). Effects of structure and meaning on cortical tracking of linguistic units in naturalistic speech. Neurobiology of Language, 3(3), 386-412. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00070.

    Abstract

    Recent research has established that cortical activity “tracks” the presentation rate of syntactic phrases in continuous speech, even though phrases are abstract units that do not have direct correlates in the acoustic signal. We investigated whether cortical tracking of phrase structures is modulated by the extent to which these structures compositionally determine meaning. To this end, we recorded electroencephalography (EEG) of 38 native speakers who listened to naturally spoken Dutch stimuli in different conditions, which parametrically modulated the degree to which syntactic structure and lexical semantics determine sentence meaning. Tracking was quantified through mutual information between the EEG data and either the speech envelopes or abstract annotations of syntax, all of which were filtered in the frequency band corresponding to the presentation rate of phrases (1.1–2.1 Hz). Overall, these mutual information analyses showed stronger tracking of phrases in regular sentences than in stimuli whose lexical-syntactic content is reduced, but no consistent differences in tracking between sentences and stimuli that contain a combination of syntactic structure and lexical content. While there were no effects of compositional meaning on the degree of phrase-structure tracking, analyses of event-related potentials elicited by sentence-final words did reveal meaning-induced differences between conditions. Our findings suggest that cortical tracking of structure in sentences indexes the internal generation of this structure, a process that is modulated by the properties of its input, but not by the compositional interpretation of its output.

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  • Coopmans, C. W., & Cohn, N. (2022). An electrophysiological investigation of co-referential processes in visual narrative comprehension. Neuropsychologia, 172: 108253. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2022.108253.

    Abstract

    Visual narratives make use of various means to convey referential and co-referential meaning, so comprehenders
    must recognize that different depictions across sequential images represent the same character(s). In this study,
    we investigated how the order in which different types of panels in visual sequences are presented affects how
    the unfolding narrative is comprehended. Participants viewed short comic strips while their electroencephalo-
    gram (EEG) was recorded. We analyzed evoked and induced EEG activity elicited by both full panels (showing a
    full character) and refiner panels (showing only a zoom of that full panel), and took into account whether they
    preceded or followed the panel to which they were co-referentially related (i.e., were cataphoric or anaphoric).
    We found that full panels elicited both larger N300 amplitude and increased gamma-band power compared to
    refiner panels. Anaphoric panels elicited a sustained negativity compared to cataphoric panels, which appeared
    to be sensitive to the referential status of the anaphoric panel. In the time-frequency domain, anaphoric panels
    elicited reduced 8–12 Hz alpha power and increased 45–65 Hz gamma-band power compared to cataphoric
    panels. These findings are consistent with models in which the processes involved in visual narrative compre-
    hension partially overlap with those in language comprehension.
  • Coopmans, C. W., Struiksma, M. E., Coopmans, P. H. A., & Chen, A. (2022). Processing of grammatical agreement in the face of variation in lexical stress: A mismatch negativity study. Language and Speech. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/00238309221098116.

    Abstract

    Previous electroencephalography studies have yielded evidence for automatic processing of syntax and lexical stress. However, these studies looked at both effects in isolation, limiting their generalizability to everyday language comprehension. In the current study, we investigated automatic processing of grammatical agreement in the face of variation in lexical stress. Using an oddball paradigm, we measured the Mismatch Negativity (MMN) in Dutch-speaking participants while they listened to Dutch subject–verb sequences (linguistic context) or acoustically similar sequences in which the subject was replaced by filtered noise (nonlinguistic context). The verb forms differed in the inflectional suffix, rendering the subject–verb sequences grammatically correct or incorrect, and leading to a difference in the stress pattern of the verb forms. We found that the MMNs were modulated in both the linguistic and nonlinguistic condition, suggesting that the processing load induced by variation in lexical stress can hinder early automatic processing of grammatical agreement. However, as the morphological differences between the verb forms correlated with differences in number of syllables, an interpretation in terms of the prosodic structure of the sequences cannot be ruled out. Future research is needed to determine which of these factors (i.e., lexical stress, syllabic structure) most strongly modulate early syntactic processing.

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  • Cucchiarini, C., Hubers, F., & Strik, H. (2022). Learning L2 idioms in a CALL environment: The role of practice intensity, modality, and idiom properties. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 35(4), 863-891. 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.
  • Dai, B., McQueen, J. M., Terporten, R., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2022). Distracting Linguistic Information Impairs Neural Tracking of Attended Speech. Current Research in Neurobiology, 3: 100043. doi:10.1016/j.crneur.2022.100043.

    Abstract

    Listening to speech is difficult in noisy environments, and is even harder when the interfering noise consists of intelligible speech as compared to unintelligible sounds. This suggests that the competing linguistic information interferes with the neural processing of target speech. Interference could either arise from a degradation of the neural representation of the target speech, or from increased representation of distracting speech that enters in competition with the target speech. We tested these alternative hypotheses using magnetoencephalography (MEG) while participants listened to a target clear speech in the presence of distracting noise-vocoded speech. Crucially, the distractors were initially unintelligible but became more intelligible after a short training session. Results showed that the comprehension of the target speech was poorer after training than before training. The neural tracking of target speech in the delta range (1–4 Hz) reduced in strength in the presence of a more intelligible distractor. In contrast, the neural tracking of distracting signals was not significantly modulated by intelligibility. These results suggest that the presence of distracting speech signals degrades the linguistic representation of target speech carried by delta oscillations.
  • Den Hoed, J. (2022). Disentangling the molecular landscape of genetic variation of neurodevelopmental and speech disorders. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Düngen, D., Burkhardt, E., & El‐Gabbas, A. (2022). Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) distribution modeling on their Nordic and Barents Seas feeding grounds. Marine Mammal Science, 38(4), 1583-1608. doi:10.1111/mms.12943.

    Abstract

    Understanding cetacean distribution is essential for conservation planning and decision-making, particularly in regions subject to rapid environmental changes. Nevertheless, information on their spatiotemporal distribution is commonly limited, especially from remote areas. Species distribution models (SDMs) are powerful tools, relating species occurrences to environmental variables to predict the species' potential distribution. This study aims at using presence-only SDMs (MaxEnt) to identify suitable habitats for fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) on their Nordic and Barents Seas feeding grounds. We used spatial-block cross-validation to tune MaxEnt parameters and evaluate model performance using spatially independent testing data. We considered spatial sampling bias correction using four methods. Important environmental variables were distance to shore and sea ice edge, variability of sea surface temperature and sea surface salinity, and depth. Suitable fin whale habitats were predicted along the west coast of Svalbard, between Svalbard and the eastern Norwegian Sea, coastal areas off Iceland and southern East Greenland, and along the Knipovich Ridge to Jan Mayen. Results support that presence-only SDMs are effective tools to predict cetacean habitat suitability, particularly in remote areas like the Arctic Ocean. SDMs constitute a cost-effective method for targeting future surveys and identifying top priority sites for conservation measures.

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  • Eekhof, L. S., Van Krieken, K., & Willems, R. M. (2022). Reading about minds: The social-cognitive potential of narratives. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 29, 1703-1718. doi:10.3758/s13423-022-02079-z.

    Abstract

    It is often argued that narratives improve social cognition, either by appealing to social-cognitive abilities as we engage with the story world and its characters, or by conveying social knowledge. Empirical studies have found support for both a correlational and a causal link between exposure to (literary, fictional) narratives and social cognition. However, a series of failed replications has cast doubt on the robustness of these claims. Here, we review the existing empirical literature and identify open questions and challenges. An important conclusion of the review is that previous research has given too little consideration to the diversity of narratives, readers, and social-cognitive processes involved in the social-cognitive potential of narratives. We therefore establish a research agenda, proposing that future research should focus on (1) the specific text characteristics that drive the social-cognitive potential of narratives, (2) the individual differences between readers with respect to their sensitivity to this potential, and (3) the various aspects of social cognition that are potentially affected by reading narratives. Our recommendations can guide the design of future studies that will help us understand how, for whom, and in what respect exposure to narratives can advantage social cognition.
  • Frey, V., De Mulder, H. N. M., Ter Bekke, M., Struiksma, M. E., Van Berkum, J. J. A., & Buskens, V. (2022). Do self-talk phrases affect behavior in ultimatum games? Mind & Society, 21, 89-119. doi:10.1007/s11299-022-00286-8.

    Abstract

    The current study investigates whether self-talk phrases can influence behavior in Ultimatum Games. In our three self-talk treatments, participants were instructed to tell themselves (i) to keep their own interests in mind, (ii) to also think of the other person, or (iii) to take some time to contemplate their decision. We investigate how such so-called experimenter-determined strategic self-talk phrases affect behavior and emotions in comparison to a control treatment without instructed self-talk. The results demonstrate that other-focused self-talk can nudge proposers towards fair behavior, as offers were higher in this group than in the other conditions. For responders, self-talk tended to increase acceptance rates of unfair offers as compared to the condition without self-talk. This effect is significant for both other-focused and contemplation-inducing self-talk but not for self-focused self-talk. In the self-focused condition, responders were most dissatisfied with unfair offers. These findings suggest that use of self-talk can increase acceptance rates in responders, and that focusing on personal interests can undermine this effect as it negatively impacts the responders’ emotional experience. In sum, our study shows that strategic self-talk interventions can be used to affect behavior in bargaining situations.

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    data and analysis files
  • Giglio, L., Ostarek, M., Weber, K., & Hagoort, P. (2022). Commonalities and asymmetries in the neurobiological infrastructure for language production and comprehension. Cerebral Cortex, 32(7), 1405-1418. 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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    supplementary material
  • Hahn, L. E. (2022). Infants' perception of sound patterns in oral language play. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Hoeksema, N., Hagoort, P., & Vernes, S. C. (2022). Piecing together the building blocks of the vocal learning bat brain. In A. Ravignani, R. Asano, D. Valente, F. Ferretti, S. Hartmann, M. Hayashi, Y. Jadoul, M. Martins, Y. Oseki, E. D. Rodrigues, O. Vasileva, & S. Wacewicz (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE) (pp. 294-296). Nijmegen: Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE).
  • 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.
  • Huizeling, E., Arana, S., Hagoort, P., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2022). Lexical frequency and sentence context influence the brain’s response to single words. Neurobiology of Language, 3(1), 149-179. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00054.

    Abstract

    Typical adults read remarkably quickly. Such fast reading is facilitated by brain processes that are sensitive to both word frequency and contextual constraints. It is debated as to whether these attributes have additive or interactive effects on language processing in the brain. We investigated this issue by analysing existing magnetoencephalography data from 99 participants reading intact and scrambled sentences. Using a cross-validated model comparison scheme, we found that lexical frequency predicted the word-by-word elicited MEG signal in a widespread cortical network, irrespective of sentential context. In contrast, index (ordinal word position) was more strongly encoded in sentence words, in left front-temporal areas. This confirms that frequency influences word processing independently of predictability, and that contextual constraints affect word-by-word brain responses. With a conservative multiple comparisons correction, only the interaction between lexical frequency and surprisal survived, in anterior temporal and frontal cortex, and not between lexical frequency and entropy, nor between lexical frequency and index. However, interestingly, the uncorrected index*frequency interaction revealed an effect in left frontal and temporal cortex that reversed in time and space for intact compared to scrambled sentences. Finally, we provide evidence to suggest that, in sentences, lexical frequency and predictability may independently influence early (<150ms) and late stages of word processing, but interact during later stages of word processing (>150-250ms), thus helping to converge previous contradictory eye-tracking and electrophysiological literature. Current neuro-cognitive models of reading would benefit from accounting for these differing effects of lexical frequency and predictability on different stages of word processing.
  • 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.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., Ünal, E., & Ozyurek, A. (2022). Late sign language exposure does not modulate the relation between spatial language and spatial memory in deaf children and adults. Memory & Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13421-022-01281-7.

    Abstract

    Prior work with hearing children acquiring a spoken language as their first language shows that spatial language and cognition are related systems and spatial language use predicts spatial memory. Here, we further investigate the extent of this relationship in signing deaf children and adults and ask if late sign language exposure, as well as the frequency and the type of spatial language use that might be affected by late exposure, modulate subsequent memory for spatial relations. To do so, we compared spatial language and memory of 8-year-old late-signing children (after 2 years of exposure to a sign language at the school for the deaf) and late-signing adults to their native-signing counterparts. We elicited picture descriptions of Left-Right relations in Turkish Sign Language (Türk İşaret Dili) and measured the subsequent recognition memory accuracy of the described pictures. Results showed that late-signing adults and children were similar to their native-signing counterparts in how often they encoded the spatial relation. However, late-signing adults but not children differed from their native-signing counterparts in the type of spatial language they used. However, neither late sign language exposure nor the frequency and type of spatial language use modulated spatial memory accuracy. Therefore, even though late language exposure seems to influence the type of spatial language use, this does not predict subsequent memory for spatial relations. We discuss the implications of these findings based on the theories concerning the correspondence between spatial language and cognition as related or rather independent systems.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., Ünal, E., & Ozyurek, A. (2022). Sign advantage: Both children and adults’ spatial expressions in sign are more informative than those in speech and gestures combined. Journal of Child Language. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/S0305000922000642.

    Abstract

    Expressing Left-Right relations is challenging for speaking-children. Yet, this challenge was absent for signing-children, possibly due to iconicity in the visual-spatial modality of expression. We investigate whether there is also a modality advantage when speaking-children’s co-speech gestures are considered. Eight-year-old child and adult hearing monolingual Turkish speakers and deaf signers of Turkish-Sign-Language described pictures of objects in various spatial relations. Descriptions were coded for informativeness in speech, sign, and speech-gesture combinations for encoding Left-Right relations. The use of co-speech gestures increased the informativeness of speakers’ spatial expressions compared to speech-only. This pattern was more prominent for children than adults. However, signing-adults and children were more informative than child and adult speakers even when co-speech gestures were considered. Thus, both speaking- and signing-children benefit from iconic expressions in visual modality. Finally, in each modality, children were less informative than adults, pointing to the challenge of this spatial domain in development.
  • 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.
  • Kumarage, S., Donnelly, S., & Kidd, E. (2022). Implicit learning of structure across time: A longitudinal investigation of syntactic priming in young English-acquiring children. Journal of Memory and Language, 127: 104374. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2022.104374.

    Abstract

    Theories of language acquisition vary significantly in their assumptions regarding the content of children’s early syntactic representations and how they subsequently develop towards the adult state. An important methodological tool in tapping syntactic knowledge is priming. In the current paper, we report the first longitudinal investigation of syntactic priming in children, to test the competing predictions of three different theoretical accounts. A sample of 106 children completed a syntactic priming task testing the English active/passive alternation every six months from 36 months to 54 months of age. We tracked both the emergence and development of the abstract priming effect and lexical boost effect. The lexical boost effect emerged late and increased in magnitude over development, whilst the abstract priming effect emerged early and, in a subsample of participants who produced at least one passive at 36 months, decreased in magnitude over time. In addition, there was substantial variation in the emergence of abstract priming amongst our sample, which was significantly predicted by language proficiency measured six months prior. We conclude that children’s representation of the passive is abstracted early, with lexically dependent priming coming online only later in development. The results are best explained by an implicit learning account of acquisition (Chang, F., Dell, G., S., & Bock, K. 2006. Becoming Syntactic. Psychological Review, 113, 234–272), which induces dynamic syntactic representations from the input that continue to change across developmental time.
  • Lutzenberger, H., Pfau, R., & de Vos, C. (2022). Emergence or grammaticalization? The case of negation in Kata Kolok. Languages, 7(1): 23. doi:10.3390/languages7010023.

    Abstract

    Typological comparisons have revealed that signers can use manual elements and/or a non-manual marker to express standard negation, but little is known about how such systematic marking emerges from its gestural counterparts as a new sign language arises. We analyzed 1.73 h of spontaneous language data, featuring six deaf native signers from generations III-V of the sign language isolate Kata Kolok (Bali). These data show that Kata Kolok cannot be classified as a manual dominant or non-manual dominant sign language since both the manual negative sign and a side-to-side headshake are used extensively. Moreover, the intergenerational comparisons indicate a considerable increase in the use of headshake spreading for generation V which is unlikely to have resulted from contact with Indonesian Sign Language varieties. We also attest a specialized negative existential marker, namely, tongue protrusion, which does not appear in co-speech gesture in the surrounding community. We conclude that Kata Kolok is uniquely placed in the typological landscape of sign language negation, and that grammaticalization theory is essential to a deeper understanding of the emergence of grammatical structure from gesture.
  • Lutzenberger, H. (2022). Kata Kolok phonology - Variation and acquisition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Mak, M. (2022). What's on your mind: Mental simulation and aesthetic appreciation during literary reading. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Mak, M., Faber, M., & Willems, R. M. (2022). Different routes to liking: How readers arrive at narrative evaluations. Cognitive Research: Principles and implications, 7: 72. doi:10.1186/s41235-022-00419-0.

    Abstract

    When two people read the same story, they might both end up liking it very much. However, this does not necessarily mean that their reasons for liking it were identical. We therefore ask what factors contribute to “liking” a story, and—most importantly—how people vary in this respect. We found that readers like stories because they find them interesting, amusing, suspenseful and/or beautiful. However, the degree to which these components of appreciation were related to how much readers liked stories differed between individuals. Interestingly, the individual slopes of the relationships between many of the components and liking were (positively or negatively) correlated. This indicated, for instance, that individuals displaying a relatively strong relationship between interest and liking, generally display a relatively weak relationship between sadness and liking. The individual differences in the strengths of the relationships between the components and liking were not related to individual differences in expertize, a characteristic strongly associated with aesthetic appreciation of visual art. Our work illustrates that it is important to take into consideration the fact that individuals differ in how they arrive at their evaluation of literary stories, and that it is possible to quantify these differences in empirical experiments. Our work suggests that future research should be careful about “overfitting” theories of aesthetic appreciation to an “idealized reader,” but rather take into consideration variations across individuals in the reason for liking a particular story.
  • Marcoux, K. (2022). Non-native Lombard speech: The acoustics, perception, and comprehension of English Lombard speech by Dutch natives. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Marcoux, K., Cooke, M., Tucker, B. V., & Ernestus, M. (2022). The Lombard intelligibility benefit of native and non-native speech for native and non-native listeners. Speech Communication, 136, 53-62. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2021.11.007.

    Abstract

    Speech produced in noise (Lombard speech) is more intelligible than speech produced in quiet (plain speech). Previous research on the Lombard intelligibility benefit focused almost entirely on how native speakers produce and perceive Lombard speech. In this study, we investigate the size of the Lombard intelligibility benefit of both native (American-English) and non-native (native Dutch) English for native and non-native listeners (Dutch and Spanish). We used a glimpsing metric to measure the energetic masking potential of speech, which predicted that both native and non-native Lombard speech could withstand greater amounts of masking to a similar extent, compared to plain speech. In an intelligibility experiment, native English, Spanish, and Dutch listeners listened to the same words, mixed with noise. While the non-native listeners appeared to benefit more from Lombard speech than the native listeners did, each listener group experienced a similar benefit for native and non-native Lombard speech. Energetic masking, as captured by the glimpsing metric, only accounted for part of the Lombard benefit, indicating that the Lombard intelligibility benefit does not only result from a shift in spectral distribution. Despite subtle native language influences on non-native Lombard speech, both native and non-native speech provides a Lombard benefit.
  • Merkx, D. (2022). Modelling multi-modal language learning: From sentences to words. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Merkx, D., Frank, S. L., & Ernestus, M. (2022). Seeing the advantage: Visually grounding word embeddings to better capture human semantic knowledge. In E. Chersoni, N. Hollenstein, C. Jacobs, Y. Oseki, L. Prévot, & E. Santus (Eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics (CMCL 2022) (pp. 1-11). Stroudsburg, PA, USA: Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).

    Abstract

    Distributional semantic models capture word-level meaning that is useful in many natural language processing tasks and have even been shown to capture cognitive aspects of word meaning. The majority of these models are purely text based, even though the human sensory experience is much richer. In this paper we create visually grounded word embeddings by combining English text and images and compare them to popular text-based methods, to see if visual information allows our model to better capture cognitive aspects of word meaning. Our analysis shows that visually grounded embedding similarities are more predictive of the human reaction times in a large priming experiment than the purely text-based embeddings. The visually grounded embeddings also correlate well with human word similarity ratings.Importantly, in both experiments we show that he grounded embeddings account for a unique portion of explained variance, even when we include text-based embeddings trained on huge corpora. This shows that visual grounding allows our model to capture information that cannot be extracted using text as the only source of information.
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., Brehm, L., & Lemhöfer, K. (2022). Individual differences in foreign language attrition: a 6-month longitudinal investigation after a study abroad. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2022.2074479.

    Abstract

    While recent laboratory studies suggest that the use of competing languages is a driving force in foreign language (FL) attrition (i.e. forgetting), research on “real” attriters has failed to demonstrate
    such a relationship. We addressed this issue in a large-scale longitudinal study, following German students throughout a study abroad in Spain and their first six months back in Germany. Monthly,
    percentage-based frequency of use measures enabled a fine-grained description of language use.
    L3 Spanish forgetting rates were indeed predicted by the quantity and quality of Spanish use, and
    correlated negatively with L1 German and positively with L2 English letter fluency. Attrition rates
    were furthermore influenced by prior Spanish proficiency, but not by motivation to maintain
    Spanish or non-verbal long-term memory capacity. Overall, this study highlights the importance
    of language use for FL retention and sheds light on the complex interplay between language
    use and other determinants of attrition.
  • Misersky, J. (2022). About time: Exploring the role of grammatical aspect in event cognition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Misersky, J., Peeters, D., & Flecken, M. (2022). The potential of immersive virtual reality for the study of event perception. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 3: 697934. doi:10.3389/frvir.2022.697934.

    Abstract

    In everyday life, we actively engage in different activities from a first-person perspective. However, experimental psychological research in the field of event perception is often limited to relatively passive, third-person computer-based paradigms. In the present study, we tested the feasibility of using immersive virtual reality in combination with eye tracking with participants in active motion. Behavioral research has shown that speakers of aspectual and non-aspectual languages attend to goals (endpoints) in motion events differently, with speakers of non-aspectual languages showing relatively more attention to goals (endpoint bias). In the current study, native speakers of German (non-aspectual) and English (aspectual) walked on a treadmill across 3-D terrains in VR, while their eye gaze was continuously tracked. Participants encountered landmark objects on the side of the road, and potential endpoint objects at the end of it. Using growth curve analysis to analyze fixation patterns over time, we found no differences in eye gaze behavior between German and English speakers. This absence of cross-linguistic differences was also observed in behavioral tasks with the same participants. Methodologically, based on the quality of the data, we conclude that our dynamic eye-tracking setup can be reliably used to study what people look at while moving through rich and dynamic environments that resemble the real world.
  • Nordlinger, R., Garrido Rodriguez, G., & Kidd, E. (2022). Sentence planning and production in Murrinhpatha, an Australian 'free word order' language. Language, 98(2), 187-220. Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/857152.

    Abstract

    Psycholinguistic theories are based on a very small set of unrepresentative languages, so it is as yet unclear how typological variation shapes mechanisms supporting language use. In this article we report the first on-line experimental study of sentence production in an Australian free word order language: Murrinhpatha. Forty-six adult native speakers of Murrinhpatha described a series of unrelated transitive scenes that were manipulated for humanness (±human) in the agent and patient roles while their eye movements were recorded. Speakers produced a large range of word orders, consistent with the language having flexible word order, with variation significantly influenced by agent and patient humanness. An analysis of eye movements showed that Murrinhpatha speakers' first fixation on an event character did not alone determine word order; rather, early in speech planning participants rapidly encoded both event characters and their relationship to each other. That is, they engaged in relational encoding, laying down a very early conceptual foundation for the word order they eventually produced. These results support a weakly hierarchical account of sentence production and show that speakers of a free word order language encode the relationships between event participants during earlier stages of sentence planning than is typically observed for languages with fixed word orders.
  • Quaresima, A., Fitz, H., Duarte, R., Van den Broek, D., Hagoort, P., & Petersson, K. M. (2022). The Tripod neuron: A minimal structural reduction of the dendritic tree. The Journal of Physiology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1113/JP283399.

    Abstract

    Neuron models with explicit dendritic dynamics have shed light on mechanisms for coincidence detection, pathway selection and temporal filtering. However, it is still unclear which morphological and physiological features are required to capture these phenomena. In this work, we introduce the Tripod neuron model and propose a minimal structural reduction of the dendritic tree that is able to reproduce these computations. The Tripod is a three-compartment model consisting of two segregated passive dendrites and a somatic compartment modelled as an adaptive, exponential integrate-and-fire neuron. It incorporates dendritic geometry, membrane physiology and receptor dynamics as measured in human pyramidal cells. We characterize the response of the Tripod to glutamatergic and GABAergic inputs and identify parameters that support supra-linear integration, coincidence-detection and pathway-specific gating through shunting inhibition. Following NMDA spikes, the Tripod neuron generates plateau potentials whose duration depends on the dendritic length and the strength of synaptic input. When fitted with distal compartments, the Tripod encodes previous activity into a dendritic depolarized state. This dendritic memory allows the neuron to perform temporal binding, and we show that it solves transition and sequence detection tasks on which a single-compartment model fails. Thus, the Tripod can account for dendritic computations previously explained only with more detailed neuron models or neural networks. Due to its simplicity, the Tripod neuron can be used efficiently in simulations of larger cortical circuits.
  • Rasenberg, M., Ozyurek, A., Bögels, S., & Dingemanse, M. (2022). The primacy of multimodal alignment in converging on shared symbols for novel referents. Discourse Processes, 59(3), 209-236. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2021.1992235.

    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.
  • de Reus, K., Carlson, D., Lowry, A., Gross, S., Garcia, M., Rubio-García, A., Salazar-Casals, A., & Ravignani, A. (2022). Body size predicts vocal tract size in a mammalian vocal learner. In A. Ravignani, R. Asano, D. Valente, F. Ferretti, S. Hartmann, M. Hayashi, Y. Jadoul, M. Martins, Y. Oseki, E. D. Rodrigues, O. Vasileva, & S. Wacewicz (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE) (pp. 154-156). Nijmegen: Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE).
  • De Rue, N. (2022). Phonological contrast and conflict in Dutch vowels: Neurobiological and psycholinguistic evidence from children and adults. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Ruggeri, K., Panin, A., Vdovic, M., Većkalov, B., Abdul-Salaam, N., Achterberg, J., Akil, C., Amatya, J., Amatya, K., Andersen, T. L., Aquino, S. D., Arunasalam, A., Ashcroft-Jones, S., Askelund, A. D., Ayacaxli, N., Bagheri Sheshdeh, A., Bailey, A., Barea Arroyo, P., Basulto Mejía, G., Benvenuti, M. and 151 moreRuggeri, K., Panin, A., Vdovic, M., Većkalov, B., Abdul-Salaam, N., Achterberg, J., Akil, C., Amatya, J., Amatya, K., Andersen, T. L., Aquino, S. D., Arunasalam, A., Ashcroft-Jones, S., Askelund, A. D., Ayacaxli, N., Bagheri Sheshdeh, A., Bailey, A., Barea Arroyo, P., Basulto Mejía, G., Benvenuti, M., Berge, M. L., Bermaganbet, A., Bibilouri, K., Bjørndal, L. D., Black, S., Blomster Lyshol, J. K., Brik, T., Buabang, E. K., Burghart, M., Bursalıoğlu, A., Buzayu, N. M., Čadek, M., De Carvalho, N. M., Cazan, A.-M., Çetinçelik, M., Chai, V. E., Chen, P., Chen, S., Clay, G., D’Ambrogio, S., Damnjanović, K., Duffy, G., Dugue, T., Dwarkanath, T., Envuladu, E. A., Erceg, N., Esteban-Serna, C., Farahat, E., Farrokhnia, R. A., Fawad, M., Fedryansyah, M., Feng, D., Filippi, S., Fonollá, M. A., Freichel, R., Freira, L., Friedemann, M., Gao, Z., Ge, S., Geiger, S. J., George, L., Grabovski, I., Gracheva, A., Gracheva, A., Hajian, A., Hasan, N., Hecht, M., Hong, X., Hubená, B., Ikonomeas, A. G. F., Ilić, S., Izydorczyk, D., Jakob, L., Janssens, M., Jarke, H., Kácha, O., Kalinova, K. N., Kapingura, F. M., Karakasheva, R., Kasdan, D. O., Kemel, E., Khorrami, P., Krawiec, J. M., Lagidze, N., Lazarević, A., Lazić, A., Lee, H. S., Lep, Ž., Lins, S., Lofthus, I. S., Macchia, L., Mamede, S., Mamo, M. A., Maratkyzy, L., Mareva, S., Marwaha, S., McGill, L., McParland, S., Melnic, A., Meyer, S. A., Mizak, S., Mohammed, A., Mukhyshbayeva, A., Navajas, J., Neshevska, D., Niazi, S. J., Nieves, A. E. N., Nippold, F., Oberschulte, J., Otto, T., Pae, R., Panchelieva, T., Park, S. Y., Pascu, D. S., Pavlović, I., Petrović, M. B., Popović, D., Prinz, G. M., Rachev, N. R., Ranc, P., Razum, J., Rho, C. E., Riitsalu, L., Rocca, F., Rosenbaum, R. S., Rujimora, J., Rusyidi, B., Rutherford, C., Said, R., Sanguino, I., Sarikaya, A. K., Say, N., Schuck, J., Shiels, M., Shir, Y., Sievert, E. D. C., Soboleva, I., Solomonia, T., Soni, S., Soysal, I., Stablum, F., Sundström, F. T. A., Tang, X., Tavera, F., Taylor, J., Tebbe, A.-L., Thommesen, K. K., Tobias-Webb, J., Todsen, A. L., Toscano, F., Tran, T., Trinh, J., Turati, A., Ueda, K., Vacondio, M., Vakhitov, V., Valencia, A. J., Van Reyn, C., Venema, T. A. G., Verra, S. E., Vintr, J., Vranka, M. A., Wagner, L., Wu, X., Xing, K. Y., Xu, K., Xu, S., Yamada, Y., Yosifova, A., Zupan, Z., & García-Garzon, E. (2022). The globalizability of temporal discounting. Nature Human Behaviour, 6, 1386-1397. doi:10.1038/s41562-022-01392-w.

    Abstract

    Economic inequality is associated with preferences for smaller, immediate gains over larger, delayed ones. Such temporal discounting may feed into rising global inequality, yet it is unclear whether it is a function of choice preferences or norms, or rather the absence of sufficient resources for immediate needs. It is also not clear whether these reflect true differences in choice patterns between income groups. We tested temporal discounting and five intertemporal choice anomalies using local currencies and value standards in 61 countries (N = 13,629). Across a diverse sample, we found consistent, robust rates of choice anomalies. Lower-income groups were not significantly different, but economic inequality and broader financial circumstances were clearly correlated with population choice patterns.
  • Salazar-Casals, A., de Reus, K., Greskewitz, N., Havermans, J., Geut, M., Villanueva, S., & Rubio-Garcia, A. (2022). Increased incidence of entanglements and ingested marine debris in Dutch seals from 2010 to 2020. Oceans, 3(3), 389-400. doi:10.3390/oceans3030026.

    Abstract

    In recent decades, the amount of marine debris has increased in our oceans. As wildlife interactions with debris increase, so does the number of entangled animals, impairing normal behavior and potentially affecting the survival of these individuals. The current study summarizes data on two phocid species, harbor (Phoca vitulina) and gray seals (Halichoerus grypus), affected by marine debris in Dutch waters from 2010 to 2020. The findings indicate that the annual entanglement rate (13.2 entanglements/year) has quadrupled compared with previous studies. Young seals, particularly gray seals, are the most affected individuals, with most animals found or sighted with fishing nets wrapped around their necks. Interestingly, harbor seals showed a higher incidence of ingested debris. Species differences with regard to behavior, foraging strategies, and habitat preferences may explain these findings. The lack of consistency across reports suggests that it is important to standardize data collection from now on. Despite increased public awareness about the adverse environmental effects of marine debris, more initiatives and policies are needed to ensure the protection of the marine environment in the Netherlands.
  • Schlag, F., Allegrini, A. G., Buitelaar, J., Verhoef, E., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Plomin, R., Rimfeld, K., Fisher, S. E., & St Pourcain, B. (2022). Polygenic risk for mental disorder reveals distinct association profiles across social behaviour in the general population. Molecular Psychiatry, 27, 1588-1598. doi:10.1038/s41380-021-01419-0.

    Abstract

    Many mental health conditions present a spectrum of social difficulties that overlaps with social behaviour in the general population including shared but little characterised genetic links. Here, we systematically investigate heterogeneity in shared genetic liabilities with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), bipolar disorder (BP), major depression (MD) and schizophrenia across a spectrum of different social symptoms. Longitudinally assessed low-prosociality and peer-problem scores in two UK population-based cohorts (4–17 years; parent- and teacher-reports; Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children(ALSPAC): N ≤ 6,174; Twins Early Development Study(TEDS): N ≤ 7,112) were regressed on polygenic risk scores for disorder, as informed by genome-wide summary statistics from large consortia, using negative binomial regression models. Across ALSPAC and TEDS, we replicated univariate polygenic associations between social behaviour and risk for ADHD, MD and schizophrenia. Modelling variation in univariate genetic effects jointly using random-effect meta-regression revealed evidence for polygenic links between social behaviour and ADHD, ASD, MD, and schizophrenia risk, but not BP. Differences in age, reporter and social trait captured 45–88% in univariate effect variation. Cross-disorder adjusted analyses demonstrated that age-related heterogeneity in univariate effects is shared across mental health conditions, while reporter- and social trait-specific heterogeneity captures disorder-specific profiles. In particular, ADHD, MD, and ASD polygenic risk were more strongly linked to peer problems than low prosociality, while schizophrenia was associated with low prosociality only. The identified association profiles suggest differences in the social genetic architecture across mental disorders when investigating polygenic overlap with population-based social symptoms spanning 13 years of child and adolescent development.
  • Schoenmakers, G.-J. (2022). Definite objects in the wild: A converging evidence approach to scrambling in the Dutch middle-field. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Schoenmakers, G.-J., Poortvliet, M., & Schaeffer, J. (2022). Topicality and anaphoricity in Dutch scrambling. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 40, 541-571. doi:10.1007/s11049-021-09516-z.

    Abstract

    Direct objects in Dutch can precede or follow adverbs, a phenomenon commonly referred to as scrambling. The linguistic literature agrees in its assumption that scrambling is regulated by the topicality and anaphoricity status of definite objects, but theories vary as to what kinds of objects exactly are predicted to scramble. This study reports experimental data from a sentence completion experiment with adult native speakers of Dutch, showing that topics are scrambled more often than foci, and that anaphoric objects are scrambled more often than non-anaphoric objects. However, while the data provide support for the assumption that topicality and anaphoricity play an important role in scrambling, they also indicate that the discourse status of the object in and of itself cannot explain the full scrambling variation.
  • Shen, C. (2022). Individual differences in speech production and maximum speech performance. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Slivac, K. (2022). The enlanguaged brain: Cognitive and neural mechanisms of linguistic influence on perception. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Stärk, K., Kidd, E., & Frost, R. L. A. (2022). Word segmentation cues in German child-directed speech: A corpus analysis. Language and Speech, 65(1), 3-27. 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.

    Additional information

    Supplemental material via OSF
  • Stärk, K., Kidd, E., & Frost, R. L. A. (2022). Close encounters of the word kind: Attested distributional information boosts statistical learning. Language Learning. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/lang.12523.

    Abstract

    Statistical learning, the ability to extract regularities from input (e.g., in language), is likely supported by learners’ prior expectations about how component units co-occur. In this study, we investigated how adults’ prior experience with sublexical regularities in their native language influences performance on an empirical language learning task. Forty German-speaking adults completed a speech repetition task in which they repeated eight-syllable sequences from two experimental languages: one containing disyllabic words comprised of frequently occurring German syllable transitions (naturalistic words) and the other containing words made from unattested syllable transitions (non-naturalistic words). The participants demonstrated learning from both naturalistic and non-naturalistic stimuli. However, learning was superior for the naturalistic sequences, indicating that the participants had used their existing distributional knowledge of German to extract the naturalistic words faster and more accurately than the non-naturalistic words. This finding supports theories of statistical learning as a form of chunking, whereby frequently co-occurring units become entrenched in long-term memory.

    Additional information

    accessible summary appendix S1
  • Stoehr, A., Benders, T., Van Hell, J. G., & Fikkert, P. (2022). Feature generalization in Dutch–German bilingual and monolingual children’s speech production. First Language, 42(1), 101-123. 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.

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Troncoso Ruiz, A. (2022). Non-native phonetic accommodation in interactions with humans and with computers. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Van Dijk, C. N., Van Wonderen, E., Koutamanis, E., Kootstra, G. J., Dijkstra, T., & Unsworth, S. (2022). Cross-linguistic influence in simultaneous and early sequential bilingual children: A meta-analysis. Journal of Child Language, 49(5), 897-929. 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.
  • Van der Spek, J., Den Hoed, J., Snijders Blok, L., Dingemans, A. J. M., Schijven, D., Nellaker, C., Venselaar, H., Astuti, G. D. N., Barakat, T. S., Bebin, E. M., Beck-Wödl, S., Beunders, G., Brown, N. J., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Campeau, P. M., Čuturilo, G., Gilissen, C., Haack, T. B., Hüning, I. and 26 moreVan der Spek, J., Den Hoed, J., Snijders Blok, L., Dingemans, A. J. M., Schijven, D., Nellaker, C., Venselaar, H., Astuti, G. D. N., Barakat, T. S., Bebin, E. M., Beck-Wödl, S., Beunders, G., Brown, N. J., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Campeau, P. M., Čuturilo, G., Gilissen, C., Haack, T. B., Hüning, I., Husain, R. A., Kamien, B., Lim, S. C., Lovrecic, L., Magg, J., Maver, A., Miranda, V., Monteil, D. C., Ockeloen, C. W., Pais, L. S., Plaiasu, V., Raiti, L., Richmond, C., Rieß, A., Schwaibold, E. M. C., Simon, M. E. H., Spranger, S., Tan, T. Y., Thompson, M. L., De Vries, B. B., Wilkins, E. J., Willemsen, M. H., Francks, C., Vissers, L. E. L. M., Fisher, S. E., & Kleefstra, T. (2022). Inherited variants in CHD3 show variable expressivity in Snijders Blok-Campeau syndrome. Genetics in Medicine, 24(6), 1283-1296. doi:10.1016/j.gim.2022.02.014.

    Abstract

    Purpose

    Common diagnostic next-generation sequencing strategies are not optimized to identify inherited variants in genes associated with dominant neurodevelopmental disorders as causal when the transmitting parent is clinically unaffected, leaving a significant number of cases with neurodevelopmental disorders undiagnosed.
    Methods

    We characterized 21 families with inherited heterozygous missense or protein-truncating variants in CHD3, a gene in which de novo variants cause Snijders Blok-Campeau syndrome.
    Results

    Computational facial and Human Phenotype Ontology–based comparisons showed that the phenotype of probands with inherited CHD3 variants overlaps with the phenotype previously associated with de novo CHD3 variants, whereas heterozygote parents are mildly or not affected, suggesting variable expressivity. In addition, similarly reduced expression levels of CHD3 protein in cells of an affected proband and of healthy family members with a CHD3 protein-truncating variant suggested that compensation of expression from the wild-type allele is unlikely to be an underlying mechanism. Notably, most inherited CHD3 variants were maternally transmitted.
    Conclusion

    Our results point to a significant role of inherited variation in Snijders Blok-Campeau syndrome, a finding that is critical for correct variant interpretation and genetic counseling and warrants further investigation toward understanding the broader contributions of such variation to the landscape of human disease.
  • Vernes, S. C., Devanna, P., Hörpel, S. G., Alvarez van Tussenbroek, I., Firzlaff, U., Hagoort, P., Hiller, M., Hoeksema, N., Hughes, G. M., Lavrichenko, K., Mengede, J., Morales, A. E., & Wiesmann, M. (2022). The pale spear‐nosed bat: A neuromolecular and transgenic model for vocal learning. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1517, 125-142. doi:10.1111/nyas.14884.

    Abstract

    Vocal learning, the ability to produce modified vocalizations via learning from acoustic signals, is a key trait in the evolution of speech. While extensively studied in songbirds, mammalian models for vocal learning are rare. Bats present a promising study system given their gregarious natures, small size, and the ability of some species to be maintained in captive colonies. We utilize the pale spear-nosed bat (Phyllostomus discolor) and report advances in establishing this species as a tractable model for understanding vocal learning. We have taken an interdisciplinary approach, aiming to provide an integrated understanding across genomics (Part I), neurobiology (Part II), and transgenics (Part III). In Part I, we generated new, high-quality genome annotations of coding genes and noncoding microRNAs to facilitate functional and evolutionary studies. In Part II, we traced connections between auditory-related brain regions and reported neuroimaging to explore the structure of the brain and gene expression patterns to highlight brain regions. In Part III, we created the first successful transgenic bats by manipulating the expression of FoxP2, a speech-related gene. These interdisciplinary approaches are facilitating a mechanistic and evolutionary understanding of mammalian vocal learning and can also contribute to other areas of investigation that utilize P. discolor or bats as study species.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • 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.
  • Yang, J. (2022). Discovering the units in language cognition: From empirical evidence to a computational model. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Yang, J., Van den Bosch, A., & Frank, S. L. (2022). Unsupervised text segmentation predicts eye fixations during reading. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, 5: 731615. doi:10.3389/frai.2022.731615.

    Abstract

    Words typically form the basis of psycholinguistic and computational linguistic studies about sentence processing. However, recent evidence shows the basic units during reading, i.e., the items in the mental lexicon, are not always words, but could also be sub-word and supra-word units. To recognize these units, human readers require a cognitive mechanism to learn and detect them. In this paper, we assume eye fixations during reading reveal the locations of the cognitive units, and that the cognitive units are analogous with the text units discovered by unsupervised segmentation models. We predict eye fixations by model-segmented units on both English and Dutch text. The results show the model-segmented units predict eye fixations better than word units. This finding suggests that the predictive performance of model-segmented units indicates their plausibility as cognitive units. The Less-is-Better (LiB) model, which finds the units that minimize both long-term and working memory load, offers advantages both in terms of prediction score and efficiency among alternative models. Our results also suggest that modeling the least-effort principle for the management of long-term and working memory can lead to inferring cognitive units. Overall, the study supports the theory that the mental lexicon stores not only words but also smaller and larger units, suggests that fixation locations during reading depend on these units, and shows that unsupervised segmentation models can discover these units.
  • 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.

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • 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.

    Additional information

    data sheet
  • 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.
  • 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., 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.
  • Felker, E. R. (2021). Learning second language speech perception in natural settings. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • 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.
  • Hartung, F., Wang, Y., Mak, M., Willems, R. M., & Chatterjee, A. (2021). Aesthetic appraisals of literary style and emotional intensity in narrative engagement are neurally dissociable. Communications Biology, 4: 1401. doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02926-0.

    Abstract

    Humans are deeply affected by stories, yet it is unclear how. In this study, we explored two aspects of aesthetic experiences during narrative engagement - literariness and narrative fluctuations in appraised emotional intensity. Independent ratings of literariness and emotional intensity of two literary stories were used to predict blood-oxygen-level-dependent signal changes in 52 listeners from an existing fMRI dataset. Literariness was associated with increased activation in brain areas linked to semantic integration (left angular gyrus, supramarginal gyrus, and precuneus), and decreased activation in bilateral middle temporal cortices, associated with semantic representations and word memory. Emotional intensity correlated with decreased activation in a bilateral frontoparietal network that is often associated with controlled attention. Our results confirm a neural dissociation in processing literary form and emotional content in stories and generate new questions about the function of and interaction between attention, social cognition, and semantic systems during literary engagement and aesthetic experiences.
  • 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., 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.
  • 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. (2021). Variation in form and meaning across the Japonic language family: With a focus on the Ryukyuan languages. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • 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.

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  • 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.
  • Mak, M., & Willems, R. M. (2021). Eyelit: Eye movement and reader response data during literary reading. Journal of open humanities data, 7: 25. doi:10.5334/johd.49.

    Abstract

    An eye-tracking data set is described of 102 participants reading three Dutch literary short stories each (7790 words in total per participant). The pre-processed data set includes (1) Fixation report, (2) Saccade report, (3) Interest Area report, (4) Trial report (aggregated data for each page), (5) Sample report (sampling rate = 500 Hz), (6) Questionnaire data on reading experiences and participant characteristics, and (7) word characteristics for all words (with the potential of calculating additional word characteristics). It is stored on DANS, and can be used to study word characteristics or literary reading and all facets of eye movements.

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