Displaying 1 - 100 of 538
  • Iacozza, S., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (in press). In-group bias influences the level of detail of speaker-specific information encoded in novel lexical representations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Barr, D. J., Bartolozzi, F., Busch-Moreno, S., Darley, E., Donaldson, D. I., Ferguson, H. J., Fu, X., Heyselaar, E., Huettig, F., Husband, E. M., Ito, A., Kazanina, N., Kogan, V., Kohút, Z., Kulakova, E., Mézière, D., Politzer-Ahles, S., Rousselet, G., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., Segaert, K., Tuomainen, J., & Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn, S. (in press). Dissociable effects of prediction and integration during language comprehension: Evidence from a large-scale study using brain potentials. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences.

    Abstract

    Composing sentence meaning is easier for predictable words than for unpredictable words. Are predictable words genuinely predicted, or simply more plausible and therefore easier to integrate with sentence context? We addressed this persistent and fundamental question using data from a recent, large-scale (N = 334) replication study, by investigating the effects of word predictability and sentence plausibility on the N400, the brain’s electrophysiological index of semantic processing. A spatiotemporally fine-grained mixed-effects multiple regression analysis revealed overlapping effects of predictability and plausibility on the N400, albeit with distinct spatiotemporal profiles. Our results challenge the view that the predictability-dependent N400 reflects the effects of either prediction or integration, and suggest that semantic facilitation of predictable words arises from a cascade of processes that activate and integrate word meaning with context into a sentence-level meaning.

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  • Parhammer*, S. I., Ebersberg*, M., Tippmann*, J., Stärk*, K., Opitz, A., Hinger, B., & Rossi, S. (in press). The influence of distraction on speech processing: How selective is selective attention? In Proceedings of Interspeech 2019: The 20th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association.

    Abstract

    -* indicates shared first authorship -
  • Barthel, M., & Sauppe, S. (2019). Speech planning at turn transitions in dialogue is associated with increased processing load. Cognitive Science, 43(7): e12768. doi:10.1111/cogs.12768.

    Abstract

    Speech planning is a sophisticated process. In dialog, it regularly starts in overlap with an incoming turn by a conversation partner. We show that planning spoken responses in overlap with incoming turns is associated with higher processing load than planning in silence. In a dialogic experiment, participants took turns with a confederate describing lists of objects. The confederate’s utterances (to which participants responded) were pre‐recorded and varied in whether they ended in a verb or an object noun and whether this ending was predictable or not. We found that response planning in overlap with sentence‐final verbs evokes larger task‐evoked pupillary responses, while end predictability had no effect. This finding indicates that planning in overlap leads to higher processing load for next speakers in dialog and that next speakers do not proactively modulate the time course of their response planning based on their predictions of turn endings. The turn‐taking system exerts pressure on the language processing system by pushing speakers to plan in overlap despite the ensuing increase in processing load.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Van der Haegen, L., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Kavaklioglu, T., Badillo, S., Chavent, M., Saracco, J., Brysbaert, M., Fisher, S. E., Mazoyer, B., & Francks, C. (2019). Genome sequencing for rightward hemispheric language dominance. Genes, Brain and Behavior. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/gbb.12572.

    Abstract

    Most people have left‐hemisphere dominance for various aspects of language processing, but only roughly 1% of the adult population has atypically reversed, rightward hemispheric language dominance (RHLD). The genetic‐developmental program that underlies leftward language laterality is unknown, as are the causes of atypical variation. We performed an exploratory whole‐genome‐sequencing study, with the hypothesis that strongly penetrant, rare genetic mutations might sometimes be involved in RHLD. This was by analogy with situs inversus of the visceral organs (left‐right mirror reversal of the heart, lungs and so on), which is sometimes due to monogenic mutations. The genomes of 33 subjects with RHLD were sequenced and analyzed with reference to large population‐genetic data sets, as well as 34 subjects (14 left‐handed) with typical language laterality. The sample was powered to detect rare, highly penetrant, monogenic effects if they would be present in at least 10 of the 33 RHLD cases and no controls, but no individual genes had mutations in more than five RHLD cases while being un‐mutated in controls. A hypothesis derived from invertebrate mechanisms of left‐right axis formation led to the detection of an increased mutation load, in RHLD subjects, within genes involved with the actin cytoskeleton. The latter finding offers a first, tentative insight into molecular genetic influences on hemispheric language dominance.

    Supplementary material

    gbb12572-sup-0001-AppendixS1.docx
  • Drijvers, L., & Ozyurek, A. (2019). Non-native listeners benefit less from gestures and visible speech than native listeners during degraded speech comprehension. Language and Speech. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0023830919831311.

    Abstract

    Native listeners benefit from both visible speech and iconic gestures to enhance degraded speech comprehension (Drijvers & Ozyürek, 2017). We tested how highly proficient non-native listeners benefit from these visual articulators compared to native listeners. We presented videos of an actress uttering a verb in clear, moderately, or severely degraded speech, while her lips were blurred, visible, or visible and accompanied by a gesture. Our results revealed that unlike native listeners, non-native listeners were less likely to benefit from the combined enhancement of visible speech and gestures, especially since the benefit from visible speech was minimal when the signal quality was not sufficient.
  • Drijvers, L., Van der Plas, M., Ozyurek, A., & Jensen, O. (2019). Native and non-native listeners show similar yet distinct oscillatory dynamics when using gestures to access speech in noise. NeuroImage, 194, 55-67. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.032.

    Abstract

    Listeners are often challenged by adverse listening conditions during language comprehension induced by external factors, such as noise, but also internal factors, such as being a non-native listener. Visible cues, such as semantic information conveyed by iconic gestures, can enhance language comprehension in such situations. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG) we investigated whether spatiotemporal oscillatory dynamics can predict a listener's benefit of iconic gestures during language comprehension in both internally (non-native versus native listeners) and externally (clear/degraded speech) induced adverse listening conditions. Proficient non-native speakers of Dutch were presented with videos in which an actress uttered a degraded or clear verb, accompanied by a gesture or not, and completed a cued-recall task after every video. The behavioral and oscillatory results obtained from non-native listeners were compared to an MEG study where we presented the same stimuli to native listeners (Drijvers et al., 2018a). Non-native listeners demonstrated a similar gestural enhancement effect as native listeners, but overall scored significantly slower on the cued-recall task. In both native and non-native listeners, an alpha/beta power suppression revealed engagement of the extended language network, motor and visual regions during gestural enhancement of degraded speech comprehension, suggesting similar core processes that support unification and lexical access processes. An individual's alpha/beta power modulation predicted the gestural benefit a listener experienced during degraded speech comprehension. Importantly, however, non-native listeners showed less engagement of the mouth area of the primary somatosensory cortex, left insula (beta), LIFG and ATL (alpha) than native listeners, which suggests that non-native listeners might be hindered in processing the degraded phonological cues and coupling them to the semantic information conveyed by the gesture. Native and non-native listeners thus demonstrated similar yet distinct spatiotemporal oscillatory dynamics when recruiting visual cues to disambiguate degraded speech.

    Supplementary material

    1-s2.0-S1053811919302216-mmc1.docx
  • Drijvers, L. (2019). On the oscillatory dynamics underlying speech-gesture integration in clear and adverse listening conditions. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Fairs, A. (2019). Linguistic dual-tasking: Understanding temporal overlap between production and comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Felker, E. R., Klockmann, H. E., & De Jong, N. H. (2019). How conceptualizing influences fluency in first and second language speech production. Applied Psycholinguistics, 40(1), 111-136. doi:10.1017/S0142716418000474.

    Abstract

    When speaking in any language, speakers must conceptualize what they want to say before they can formulate and articulate their message. We present two experiments employing a novel experimental paradigm in which the formulating and articulating stages of speech production were kept identical across conditions of differing conceptualizing difficulty. We tracked the effect of difficulty in conceptualizing during the generation of speech (Experiment 1) and during the abandonment and regeneration of speech (Experiment 2) on speaking fluency by Dutch native speakers in their first (L1) and second (L2) language (English). The results showed that abandoning and especially regenerating a speech plan taxes the speaker, leading to disfluencies. For most fluency measures, the increases in disfluency were similar across L1 and L2. However, a significant interaction revealed that abandoning and regenerating a speech plan increases the time needed to solve conceptual difficulties while speaking in the L2 to a greater degree than in the L1. This finding supports theories in which cognitive resources for conceptualizing are shared with those used for later stages of speech planning. Furthermore, a practical implication for language assessment is that increasing the conceptual difficulty of speaking tasks should be considered with caution.
  • Heyselaar, E., & Segaert, K. (2019). Memory encoding of syntactic information involves domain-general attentional resources. Evidence from dual-task studies. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(6), 1285-1296. doi:10.1177/1747021818801249.

    Abstract

    We investigate the type of attention (domain-general or language-specific) used during syntactic processing. We focus on syntactic priming: In this task, participants listen to a sentence that describes a picture (prime sentence), followed by a picture the participants need to describe (target sentence). We measure the proportion of times participants use the syntactic structure they heard in the prime sentence to describe the current target sentence as a measure of syntactic processing. Participants simultaneously conducted a motion-object tracking (MOT) task, a task commonly used to tax domain-general attentional resources. We manipulated the number of objects the participant had to track; we thus measured participants’ ability to process syntax while their attention is not-, slightly-, or overly-taxed. Performance in the MOT task was significantly worse when conducted as a dual-task compared to as a single task. We observed an inverted U-shaped curve on priming magnitude when conducting the MOT task concurrently with prime sentences (i.e., memory encoding), but no effect when conducted with target sentences (i.e., memory retrieval). Our results illustrate how, during the encoding of syntactic information, domain-general attention differentially affects syntactic processing, whereas during the retrieval of syntactic information domain-general attention does not influence syntactic processing
  • Hömke, P. (2019). The face in face-to-face communication: Signals of understanding and non-understanding. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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  • Huisman, J. L. A., Majid, A., & Van Hout, R. (2019). The geographical configuration of a language area influences linguistic diversity. PLoS One, 14(6): e0217363. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0217363.

    Abstract

    Like the transfer of genetic variation through gene flow, language changes constantly as a result of its use in human interaction. Contact between speakers is most likely to happen when they are close in space, time, and social setting. Here, we investigated the role of geographical configuration in this process by studying linguistic diversity in Japan, which comprises a large connected mainland (less isolation, more potential contact) and smaller island clusters of the Ryukyuan archipelago (more isolation, less potential contact). We quantified linguistic diversity using dialectometric methods, and performed regression analyses to assess the extent to which distance in space and time predict contemporary linguistic diversity. We found that language diversity in general increases as geographic distance increases and as time passes—as with biodiversity. Moreover, we found that (I) for mainland languages, linguistic diversity is most strongly related to geographic distance—a so-called isolation-by-distance pattern, and that (II) for island languages, linguistic diversity reflects the time since varieties separated and diverged—an isolation-by-colonisation pattern. Together, these results confirm previous findings that (linguistic) diversity is shaped by distance, but also goes beyond this by demonstrating the critical role of geographic configuration.
  • Iacozza, S., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (2019). How in-group bias influences source memory for words learned from in-group and out-group speakers. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13: 308. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00308.

    Abstract

    Individuals rapidly extract information about others’ social identity, including whether or not they belong to their in-group. Group membership status has been shown to affect how attentively people encode information conveyed by those others. These findings are highly relevant for the field of psycholinguistics where there exists an open debate on how words are represented in the mental lexicon and how abstract or context-specific these representations are. Here, we used a novel word learning paradigm to test our proposal that the group membership status of speakers also affects how speaker-specific representations of novel words are. Participants learned new words from speakers who either attended their own university (in-group speakers) or did not (out-group speakers) and performed a task to measure their individual in-group bias. Then, their source memory of the new words was tested in a recognition test to probe the speaker-specific content of the novel lexical representations and assess how it related to individual in-group biases. We found that speaker group membership and participants’ in-group bias affected participants’ decision biases. The stronger the in-group bias, the more cautious participants were in their decisions. This was particularly applied to in-group related decisions. These findings indicate that social biases can influence recognition threshold. Taking a broader scope, defining how information is represented is a topic of great overlap between the fields of memory and psycholinguistics. Nevertheless, researchers from these fields tend to stay within the theoretical and methodological borders of their own field, missing the chance to deepen their understanding of phenomena that are of common interest. Here we show how methodologies developed in the memory field can be implemented in language research to shed light on an important theoretical issue that relates to the composition of lexical representations.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary material
  • Kaufeld, G., Ravenschlag, A., Meyer, A. S., Martin, A. E., & Bosker, H. R. (2019). Knowledge-based and signal-based cues are weighted flexibly during spoken language comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/xlm0000744.

    Abstract

    During spoken language comprehension, listeners make use of both knowledge-based and signal-based sources of information, but little is known about how cues from these distinct levels of representational hierarchy are weighted and integrated online. In an eye-tracking experiment using the visual world paradigm, we investigated the flexible weighting and integration of morphosyntactic gender marking (a knowledge-based cue) and contextual speech rate (a signal-based cue). We observed that participants used the morphosyntactic cue immediately to make predictions about upcoming referents, even in the presence of uncertainty about the cue’s reliability. Moreover, we found speech rate normalization effects in participants’ gaze patterns even in the presence of preceding morphosyntactic information. These results demonstrate that cues are weighted and integrated flexibly online, rather than adhering to a strict hierarchy. We further found rate normalization effects in the looking behavior of participants who showed a strong behavioral preference for the morphosyntactic gender cue. This indicates that rate normalization effects are robust and potentially automatic. We discuss these results in light of theories of cue integration and the two-stage model of acoustic context effects
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Shields, S. M., Schutte, M., Richter, J., Linnenschmidt, M., Vernes, S. C., & Wiegrebe, L. (2019). The vocal repertoire of pale spear-nosed bats in a social roosting context. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7: 116. doi:10.3389/fevo.2019.00116.

    Abstract

    Commonly known for their ability to echolocate, bats also use a wide variety of social vocalizations to communicate with one another. However, the full vocal repertoires of relatively few bat species have been studied thus far. The present study examined the vocal repertoire of the pale spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus discolor, in a social roosting context. Based on visual examination of spectrograms and subsequent quantitative analysis of syllables, eight distinct syllable classes were defined, and their prevalence in different behavioral contexts was examined. Four more syllable classes were observed in low numbers and are described here as well. These results show that P. discolor possesses a rich vocal repertoire, which includes vocalizations comparable to previously reported repertoires of other bat species as well as vocalizations previously undescribed. Our data provide detailed information about the temporal and spectral characteristics of syllables emitted by P. discolor, allowing for a better understanding of the communicative system and related behaviors of this species. Furthermore, this vocal repertoire will serve as a basis for future research using P. discolor as a model organism for vocal communication and vocal learning and it will allow for comparative studies between bat species.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary material
  • Mak, M., & Willems, R. M. (2019). Mental simulation during literary reading: Individual differences revealed with eye-tracking. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(4), 511-535. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1552007.

    Abstract

    People engage in simulation when reading literary narratives. In this study, we tried to pinpoint how different kinds of simulation (perceptual and motor simulation, mentalising) affect reading behaviour. Eye-tracking (gaze durations, regression probability) and questionnaire data were collected from 102 participants, who read three literary short stories. In a pre-test, 90 additional participants indicated which parts of the stories were high in one of the three kinds of simulation-eliciting content. The results show that motor simulation reduces gaze duration (faster reading), whereas perceptual simulation and mentalising increase gaze duration (slower reading). Individual differences in the effect of simulation on gaze duration were found, which were related to individual differences in aspects of story world absorption and story appreciation. These findings suggest fundamental differences between different kinds of simulation and confirm the role of simulation in absorption and appreciation.
  • Maslowski, M., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2019). Listeners normalize speech for contextual speech rate even without an explicit recognition task. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 146(1), 179-188. doi:10.1121/1.5116004.

    Abstract

    Speech can be produced at different rates. Listeners take this rate variation into account by normalizing vowel duration for contextual speech rate: An ambiguous Dutch word /m?t/ is perceived as short /mAt/ when embedded in a slow context, but long /ma:t/ in a fast context. Whilst some have argued that this rate normalization involves low-level automatic perceptual processing, there is also evidence that it arises at higher-level cognitive processing stages, such as decision making. Prior research on rate-dependent speech perception has only used explicit recognition tasks to investigate the phenomenon, involving both perceptual processing and decision making. This study tested whether speech rate normalization can be observed without explicit decision making, using a cross-modal repetition priming paradigm. Results show that a fast precursor sentence makes an embedded ambiguous prime (/m?t/) sound (implicitly) more /a:/-like, facilitating lexical access to the long target word "maat" in a (explicit) lexical decision task. This result suggests that rate normalization is automatic, taking place even in the absence of an explicit recognition task. Thus, rate normalization is placed within the realm of everyday spoken conversation, where explicit categorization of ambiguous sounds is rare.
  • Maslowski, M., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2019). How the tracking of habitual rate influences speech perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45(1), 128-138. doi:10.1037/xlm0000579.

    Abstract

    Listeners are known to track statistical regularities in speech. Yet, which temporal cues are encoded is unclear. This study tested effects of talker-specific habitual speech rate and talker-independent average speech rate (heard over a longer period of time) on the perception of the temporal Dutch vowel contrast /A/-/a:/. First, Experiment 1 replicated that slow local (surrounding) speech contexts induce fewer long /a:/ responses than faster contexts. Experiment 2 tested effects of long-term habitual speech rate. One high-rate group listened to ambiguous vowels embedded in `neutral' speech from talker A, intermixed with speech from fast talker B. Another low-rate group listened to the same `neutral' speech from talker A, but to talker B being slow. Between-group comparison of the `neutral' trials showed that the high-rate group demonstrated a lower proportion of /a:/ responses, indicating that talker A's habitual speech rate sounded slower when B was faster. In Experiment 3, both talkers produced speech at both rates, removing the different habitual speech rates of talker A and B, while maintaining the average rate differing between groups. This time no global rate effect was observed. Taken together, the present experiments show that a talker's habitual rate is encoded relative to the habitual rate of another talker, carrying implications for episodic and constraint-based models of speech perception.
  • Mongelli, V., Meijs, E. L., Van Gaal, S., & Hagoort, P. (2019). No language unification without neural feedback: How awareness affects sentence processing. Neuroimage, 202: 116063. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116063.

    Abstract

    How does the human brain combine a finite number of words to form an infinite variety of sentences? According to the Memory, Unification and Control (MUC) model, sentence processing requires long-range feedback from the left inferior frontal cortex (LIFC) to left posterior temporal cortex (LPTC). Single word processing however may only require feedforward propagation of semantic information from sensory regions to LPTC. Here we tested the claim that long-range feedback is required for sentence processing by reducing visual awareness of words using a masking technique. Masking disrupts feedback processing while leaving feedforward processing relatively intact. Previous studies have shown that masked single words still elicit an N400 ERP effect, a neural signature of semantic incongruency. However, whether multiple words can be combined to form a sentence under reduced levels of awareness is controversial. To investigate this issue, we performed two experiments in which we measured electroencephalography (EEG) while 40 subjects performed a masked priming task. Words were presented either successively or simultaneously, thereby forming a short sentence that could be congruent or incongruent with a target picture. This sentence condition was compared with a typical single word condition. In the masked condition we only found an N400 effect for single words, whereas in the unmasked condition we observed an N400 effect for both unmasked sentences and single words. Our findings suggest that long-range feedback processing is required for sentence processing, but not for single word processing.
  • Nijveld, A. (2019). The role of exemplars in speech comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Ostarek, M., Joosen, D., Ishag, A., De Nijs, M., & Huettig, F. (2019). Are visual processes causally involved in “perceptual simulation” effects in the sentence-picture verification task? Cognition, 182, 84-94. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2018.08.017.

    Abstract

    Many studies have shown that sentences implying an object to have a certain shape produce a robust reaction time advantage for shape-matching pictures in the sentence-picture verification task. Typically, this finding has been interpreted as evidence for perceptual simulation, i.e., that access to implicit shape information involves the activation of modality-specific visual processes. It follows from this proposal that disrupting visual processing during sentence comprehension should interfere with perceptual simulation and obliterate the match effect. Here we directly test this hypothesis. Participants listened to sentences while seeing either visual noise that was previously shown to strongly interfere with basic visual processing or a blank screen. Experiments 1 and 2 replicated the match effect but crucially visual noise did not modulate it. When an interference technique was used that targeted high-level semantic processing (Experiment 3) however the match effect vanished. Visual noise specifically targeting high-level visual processes (Experiment 4) only had a minimal effect on the match effect. We conclude that the shape match effect in the sentence-picture verification paradigm is unlikely to rely on perceptual simulation.
  • Postema, M., De Marco, M., Colato, E., & Venneri, A. (2019). A study of within-subject reliability of the brain’s default-mode network. Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine, 32(3), 391-405. doi:10.1007/s10334-018-00732-0.

    Abstract

    Objective Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is promising for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This study aimed to examine short-term reliability of the default-mode network (DMN), one of the main haemodynamic patterns of the brain. Materials and methods Using a 1.5 T Philips Achieva scanner, two consecutive resting-state fMRI runs were acquired on 69 healthy adults, 62 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD, and 28 patients with AD dementia. The anterior and posterior DMN and, as control, the visual-processing network (VPN) were computed using two different methodologies: connectivity of predetermined seeds (theory-driven) and dual regression (data-driven). Divergence and convergence in network strength and topography were calculated with paired t tests, global correlation coefficients, voxel-based correlation maps, and indices of reliability. Results No topographical differences were found in any of the networks. High correlations and reliability were found in the posterior DMN of healthy adults and MCI patients. Lower reliability was found in the anterior DMN and in the VPN, and in the posterior DMN of dementia patients. Discussion Strength and topography of the posterior DMN appear relatively stable and reliable over a short-term period of acquisition but with some degree of variability across clinical samples.
  • Raviv, L., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (2019). Compositional structure can emerge without generational transmission. Cognition, 182, 151-164. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2018.09.010.

    Abstract

    Experimental work in the field of language evolution has shown that novel signal systems become more structured over time. In a recent paper, Kirby, Tamariz, Cornish, and Smith (2015) argued that compositional languages can emerge only when languages are transmitted across multiple generations. In the current paper, we show that compositional languages can emerge in a closed community within a single generation. We conducted a communication experiment in which we tested the emergence of linguistic structure in different micro-societies of four participants, who interacted in alternating dyads using an artificial language to refer to novel meanings. Importantly, the communication included two real-world aspects of language acquisition and use, which introduce compressibility pressures: (a) multiple interaction partners and (b) an expanding meaning space. Our results show that languages become significantly more structured over time, with participants converging on shared, stable, and compositional lexicons. These findings indicate that new learners are not necessary for the formation of linguistic structure within a community, and have implications for related fields such as developing sign languages and creoles.
  • Raviv, L., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (2019). Larger communities create more systematic languages. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1907): 20191262. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.1262.

    Abstract

    Understanding worldwide patterns of language diversity has long been a goal for evolutionary scientists, linguists and philosophers. Research over the past decade has suggested that linguistic diversity may result from differences in the social environments in which languages evolve. Specifically, recent work found that languages spoken in larger communities typically have more systematic grammatical structures. However, in the real world, community size is confounded with other social factors such as network structure and the number of second languages learners in the community, and it is often assumed that linguistic simplification is driven by these factors instead. Here, we show that in contrast to previous assumptions, community size has a unique and important influence on linguistic structure. We experimentally examine the live formation of new languages created in the laboratory by small and larger groups, and find that larger groups of interacting participants develop more systematic languages over time, and do so faster and more consistently than small groups. Small groups also vary more in their linguistic behaviours, suggesting that small communities are more vulnerable to drift. These results show that community size predicts patterns of language diversity, and suggest that an increase in community size might have contributed to language evolution.
  • Rojas-Berscia, L. M. (2019). From Kawapanan to Shawi: Topics in language variation and change. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Rojas-Berscia, L. M., Napurí, A., & Wang, L. (2019). Shawi (Chayahuita). Journal of the International Phonetic Association. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/S0025100318000415.

    Abstract

    Shawi1 is the language of the indigenous Shawi/Chayahuita people in Northwestern Amazonia, Peru. It belongs to the Kawapanan language family, together with its moribund sister language, Shiwilu. It is spoken by about 21,000 speakers (see Rojas-Berscia 2013) in the provinces of Alto Amazonas and Datem del Marañón in the region of Loreto and in the northern part of the region of San Martín, being one of the most vital languages in the country (see Figure 1).2 Although Shawi groups in the Upper Amazon were contacted by Jesuit missionaries during colonial times, the maintenance of their customs and language is striking. To date, most Shawi children are monolingual and have their first contact with Spanish at school. Yet, due to globalisation and the construction of highways by the Peruvian government, many Shawi villages are progressively westernising. This may result in the imminent loss of their indigenous culture and language.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary material
  • Schubotz, L., Ozyurek, A., & Holler, J. (2019). Age-related differences in multimodal recipient design: Younger, but not older adults, adapt speech and co-speech gestures to common ground. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(2), 254-271. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1527377.

    Abstract

    Speakers can adapt their speech and co-speech gestures based on knowledge shared with an addressee (common ground-based recipient design). Here, we investigate whether these adaptations are modulated by the speaker’s age and cognitive abilities. Younger and older participants narrated six short comic stories to a same-aged addressee. Half of each story was known to both participants, the other half only to the speaker. The two age groups did not differ in terms of the number of words and narrative events mentioned per narration, or in terms of gesture frequency, gesture rate, or percentage of events expressed multimodally. However, only the younger participants reduced the amount of verbal and gestural information when narrating mutually known as opposed to novel story content. Age-related differences in cognitive abilities did not predict these differences in common ground-based recipient design. The older participants’ communicative behaviour may therefore also reflect differences in social or pragmatic goals.

    Supplementary material

    plcp_a_1527377_sm4510.pdf
  • Snijders Blok, L., Kleefstra, T., Venselaar, H., Maas, S., Kroes, H. Y., Lachmeijer, A. M. A., Van Gassen, K. L. I., Firth, H. V., Tomkins, S., Bodek, S., The DDD Study, Õunap, K., Wojcik, M. H., Cunniff, C., Bergstrom, K., Powis, Z., Tang, S., Shinde, D. N., Au, C., Iglesias, A. D., Izumi, K., Leonard, J., Tayoun, A. A., Baker, S. W., Tartaglia, M., Niceta, M., Dentici, M. L., Okamoto, N., Miyake, N., Matsumoto, N., Vitobello, A., Faivre, L., Philippe, C., Gilissen, C., Wiel, L., Pfundt, R., Derizioti, P., Brunner, H. G., & Fisher, S. E. (2019). De novo variants disturbing the transactivation capacity of POU3F3 cause a characteristic neurodevelopmental disorder. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 105(2), 403-412. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.06.007.

    Abstract

    POU3F3, also referred to as Brain-1, is a well-known transcription factor involved in the development of the central nervous system, but it has not previously been associated with a neurodevelopmental disorder. Here, we report the identification of 19 individuals with heterozygous POU3F3 disruptions, most of which are de novo variants. All individuals had developmental delays and/or intellectual disability and impairments in speech and language skills. Thirteen individuals had characteristic low-set, prominent, and/or cupped ears. Brain abnormalities were observed in seven of eleven MRI reports. POU3F3 is an intronless gene, insensitive to nonsense-mediated decay, and 13 individuals carried protein-truncating variants. All truncating variants that we tested in cellular models led to aberrant subcellular localization of the encoded protein. Luciferase assays demonstrated negative effects of these alleles on transcriptional activation of a reporter with a FOXP2-derived binding motif. In addition to the loss-of-function variants, five individuals had missense variants that clustered at specific positions within the functional domains, and one small in-frame deletion was identified. Two missense variants showed reduced transactivation capacity in our assays, whereas one variant displayed gain-of-function effects, suggesting a distinct pathophysiological mechanism. In bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) interaction assays, all the truncated POU3F3 versions that we tested had significantly impaired dimerization capacities, whereas all missense variants showed unaffected dimerization with wild-type POU3F3. Taken together, our identification and functional cell-based analyses of pathogenic variants in POU3F3, coupled with a clinical characterization, implicate disruptions of this gene in a characteristic neurodevelopmental disorder.
  • Stoehr, A., Benders, T., Van Hell, J. G., & Fikkert, P. (2019). Bilingual preschoolers’ speech is associated with non-native maternal language input. Language Learning and Development, 15(1), 75-100. doi:10.1080/15475441.2018.1533473.

    Abstract

    Bilingual children are often exposed to non-native speech through their parents. Yet, little is known about the relation between bilingual preschoolers’ speech production and their speech input. The present study investigated the production of voice onset time (VOT) by Dutch-German bilingual preschoolers and their sequential bilingual mothers. The findings reveal an association between maternal VOT and bilingual children’s VOT in the heritage language German as well as in the majority language Dutch. By contrast, no input-production association was observed in the VOT production of monolingual German-speaking children and monolingual Dutch-speaking children. The results of this study provide the first empirical evidence that non-native and attrited maternal speech contributes to the often-observed linguistic differences between bilingual children and their monolingual peers.
  • Trujillo, J. P., Vaitonyte, J., Simanova, I., & Ozyurek, A. (2019). Toward the markerless and automatic analysis of kinematic features: A toolkit for gesture and movement research. Behavior Research Methods, 51(2), 769-777. doi:10.3758/s13428-018-1086-8.

    Abstract

    Action, gesture, and sign represent unique aspects of human communication that use form and movement to convey meaning. Researchers typically use manual coding of video data to characterize naturalistic, meaningful movements at various levels of description, but the availability of markerless motion-tracking technology allows for quantification of the kinematic features of gestures or any meaningful human movement. We present a novel protocol for extracting a set of kinematic features from movements recorded with Microsoft Kinect. Our protocol captures spatial and temporal features, such as height, velocity, submovements/strokes, and holds. This approach is based on studies of communicative actions and gestures and attempts to capture features that are consistently implicated as important kinematic aspects of communication. We provide open-source code for the protocol, a description of how the features are calculated, a validation of these features as quantified by our protocol versus manual coders, and a discussion of how the protocol can be applied. The protocol effectively quantifies kinematic features that are important in the production (e.g., characterizing different contexts) as well as the comprehension (e.g., used by addressees to understand intent and semantics) of manual acts. The protocol can also be integrated with qualitative analysis, allowing fast and objective demarcation of movement units, providing accurate coding even of complex movements. This can be useful to clinicians, as well as to researchers studying multimodal communication or human–robot interactions. By making this protocol available, we hope to provide a tool that can be applied to understanding meaningful movement characteristics in human communication.
  • Trujillo, J. P., Simanova, I., Bekkering, H., & Ozyurek, A. (2019). The communicative advantage: How kinematic signaling supports semantic comprehension. Psychological Research. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s00426-019-01198-y.

    Abstract

    Humans are unique in their ability to communicate information through representational gestures which visually simulate an action (eg. moving hands as if opening a jar). Previous research indicates that the intention to communicate modulates the kinematics (e.g., velocity, size) of such gestures. If and how this modulation influences addressees’ comprehension of gestures have not been investigated. Here we ask whether communicative kinematic modulation enhances semantic comprehension (i.e., identification) of gestures. We additionally investigate whether any comprehension advantage is due to enhanced early identification or late identification. Participants (n = 20) watched videos of representational gestures produced in a more- (n = 60) or less-communicative (n = 60) context and performed a forced-choice recognition task. We tested the isolated role of kinematics by removing visibility of actor’s faces in Experiment I, and by reducing the stimuli to stick-light figures in Experiment II. Three video lengths were used to disentangle early identification from late identification. Accuracy and response time quantified main effects. Kinematic modulation was tested for correlations with task performance. We found higher gesture identification performance in more- compared to less-communicative gestures. However, early identification was only enhanced within a full visual context, while late identification occurred even when viewing isolated kinematics. Additionally, temporally segmented acts with more post-stroke holds were associated with higher accuracy. Our results demonstrate that communicative signaling, interacting with other visual cues, generally supports gesture identification, while kinematic modulation specifically enhances late identification in the absence of other cues. Results provide insights into mutual understanding processes as well as creating artificial communicative agents.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary material
  • Trujillo, J. P., Simanova, I., Ozyurek, A., & Bekkering, H. (2019). Seeing the unexpected: How brains read communicative intent through kinematics. Cerebral Cortex. Advance online publication. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhz148.

    Abstract

    Social interaction requires us to recognize subtle cues in behavior, such as kinematic differences in actions and gestures produced with different social intentions. Neuroscientific studies indicate that the putative mirror neuron system (pMNS) in the premotor cortex and mentalizing system (MS) in the medial prefrontal cortex support inferences about contextually unusual actions. However, little is known regarding the brain dynamics of these systems when viewing communicatively exaggerated kinematics. In an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment, 28 participants viewed stick-light videos of pantomime gestures, recorded in a previous study, which contained varying degrees of communicative exaggeration. Participants made either social or nonsocial classifications of the videos. Using participant responses and pantomime kinematics, we modeled the probability of each video being classified as communicative. Interregion connectivity and activity were modulated by kinematic exaggeration, depending on the task. In the Social Task, communicativeness of the gesture increased activation of several pMNS and MS regions and modulated top-down coupling from the MS to the pMNS, but engagement of the pMNS and MS was not found in the nonsocial task. Our results suggest that expectation violations can be a key cue for inferring communicative intention, extending previous findings from wholly unexpected actions to more subtle social signaling.
  • Van Rhijn, J. R. (2019). The role of FoxP2 in striatal circuitry. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud repository
  • Van Paridon, J., Roelofs, A., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). A lexical bottleneck in shadowing and translating of narratives. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(6), 803-812. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1591470.

    Abstract

    In simultaneous interpreting, speech comprehension and production processes have to be coordinated in close temporal proximity. To examine the coordination, Dutch-English bilingual participants were presented with narrative fragments recorded in English at speech rates varying from 100 to 200 words per minute and they were asked to translate the fragments into Dutch (interpreting) or repeat them in English (shadowing). Interpreting yielded more errors than shadowing at every speech rate, and increasing speech rate had a stronger negative effect on interpreting than on shadowing. To understand the differential effect of speech rate, a computational model was created of sub-lexical and lexical processes in comprehension and production. Computer simulations revealed that the empirical findings could be captured by assuming a bottleneck preventing simultaneous lexical selection in production and comprehension. To conclude, our empirical and modelling results suggest the existence of a lexical bottleneck that limits the translation of narratives at high speed.

    Supplementary material

    plcp_a_1591470_sm5183.docx
  • Van Herpt, C., Van der Meulen, M., & Redl, T. (2019). Voorbeeldzinnen kunnen het goede voorbeeld geven. Levende Talen Magazine, 106(4), 18-21.
  • Verhoef, E., Demontis, D., Burgess, S., Shapland, C. Y., Dale, P. S., Okbay, A., Neale, B. M., Faraone, S. V., iPSYCH-Broad-PGC ADHD Consortium, Stergiakouli, E., Davey Smith, G., Fisher, S. E., Borglum, A., & St Pourcain, B. (2019). Disentangling polygenic associations between Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, educational attainment, literacy and language. Translational Psychiatry, 9: 35. doi:10.1038/s41398-018-0324-2.

    Abstract

    Interpreting polygenic overlap between ADHD and both literacy-related and language-related impairments is challenging as genetic associations might be influenced by indirectly shared genetic factors. Here, we investigate genetic overlap between polygenic ADHD risk and multiple literacy-related and/or language-related abilities (LRAs), as assessed in UK children (N ≤ 5919), accounting for genetically predictable educational attainment (EA). Genome-wide summary statistics on clinical ADHD and years of schooling were obtained from large consortia (N ≤ 326,041). Our findings show that ADHD-polygenic scores (ADHD-PGS) were inversely associated with LRAs in ALSPAC, most consistently with reading-related abilities, and explained ≤1.6% phenotypic variation. These polygenic links were then dissected into both ADHD effects shared with and independent of EA, using multivariable regressions (MVR). Conditional on EA, polygenic ADHD risk remained associated with multiple reading and/or spelling abilities, phonemic awareness and verbal intelligence, but not listening comprehension and non-word repetition. Using conservative ADHD-instruments (P-threshold < 5 × 10−8), this corresponded, for example, to a 0.35 SD decrease in pooled reading performance per log-odds in ADHD-liability (P = 9.2 × 10−5). Using subthreshold ADHD-instruments (P-threshold < 0.0015), these effects became smaller, with a 0.03 SD decrease per log-odds in ADHD risk (P = 1.4 × 10−6), although the predictive accuracy increased. However, polygenic ADHD-effects shared with EA were of equal strength and at least equal magnitude compared to those independent of EA, for all LRAs studied, and detectable using subthreshold instruments. Thus, ADHD-related polygenic links with LRAs are to a large extent due to shared genetic effects with EA, although there is evidence for an ADHD-specific association profile, independent of EA, that primarily involves literacy-related impairments.

    Supplementary material

    41398_2018_324_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • De Vos, J., Schriefers, H., Bosch, L. t., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). Interactive L2 vocabulary acquisition in a lab-based immersion setting. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication, 0(0), 1-20. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1599127.

    Abstract

    ABSTRACTWe investigated to what extent L2 word learning in spoken interaction takes place when learners are unaware of taking part in a language learning study. Using a novel paradigm for approximating naturalistic (but not necessarily non-intentional) L2 learning in the lab, German learners of Dutch were led to believe that the study concerned judging the price of objects. Dutch target words (object names) were selected individually such that these words were unknown to the respective participant. Then, in a dialogue-like task with the experimenter, the participants were first exposed to and then tested on the target words. In comparison to a no-input control group, we observed a clear learning effect especially from the first two exposures, and better learning for cognates than for non-cognates, but no modulating effect of the exposure-production lag. Moreover, some of the acquired knowledge persisted over a six-month period.
  • Warren, C. M., Tona, K. D., Ouwekerk, L., Van Paridon, J., Poletiek, F. H., Bosch, J. A., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (2019). The neuromodulatory and hormonal effects of transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation as evidenced by salivary alpha amylase, salivary cortisol, pupil diameter, and the P3 event-related potential. Brain Stimulation, 12(3), 635-642. doi:10.1016/j.brs.2018.12.224.

    Abstract

    Background Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) is a new, non-invasive technique being investigated as an intervention for a variety of clinical disorders, including epilepsy and depression. It is thought to exert its therapeutic effect by increasing central norepinephrine (NE) activity, but the evidence supporting this notion is limited. Objective In order to test for an impact of tVNS on psychophysiological and hormonal indices of noradrenergic function, we applied tVNS in concert with assessment of salivary alpha amylase (SAA) and cortisol, pupil size, and electroencephalograph (EEG) recordings. Methods Across three experiments, we applied real and sham tVNS to 61 healthy participants while they performed a set of simple stimulus-discrimination tasks. Before and after the task, as well as during one break, participants provided saliva samples and had their pupil size recorded. EEG was recorded throughout the task. The target for tVNS was the cymba conchae, which is heavily innervated by the auricular branch of the vagus nerve. Sham stimulation was applied to the ear lobe. Results P3 amplitude was not affected by tVNS (Experiment 1A: N=24; Experiment 1B: N=20; Bayes factor supporting null model=4.53), nor was pupil size (Experiment 2: N=16; interaction of treatment and time: p=0.79). However, tVNS increased SAA (Experiments 1A and 2: N=25) and attenuated the decline of salivary cortisol compared to sham (Experiment 2: N=17), as indicated by significant interactions involving treatment and time (p=.023 and p=.040, respectively). Conclusion These findings suggest that tVNS modulates hormonal indices but not psychophysiological indices of noradrenergic function.
  • Wolf, M. C., Muijselaar, M. M. L., Boonstra, A. M., & De Bree, E. H. (2019). The relationship between reading and listening comprehension: Shared and modality-specific components. Reading and Writing, 32(7), 1747-1767. doi:10.1007/s11145-018-9924-8.

    Abstract

    This study aimed to increase our understanding on the relationship between reading and listening comprehension. Both in comprehension theory and in educational practice, reading and listening comprehension are often seen as interchangeable, overlooking modality-specific aspects of them separately. Three questions were addressed. First, it was examined to what extent reading and listening comprehension comprise modality-specific, distinct skills or an overlapping, domain-general skill in terms of the amount of explained variance in one comprehension type by the opposite comprehension type. Second, general and modality-unique subskills of reading and listening comprehension were sought by assessing the contributions of the foundational skills word reading fluency, vocabulary, memory, attention, and inhibition to both comprehension types. Lastly, the practice of using either listening comprehension or vocabulary as a proxy of general comprehension was investigated. Reading and listening comprehension tasks with the same format were assessed in 85 second and third grade children. Analyses revealed that reading comprehension explained 34% of the variance in listening comprehension, and listening comprehension 40% of reading comprehension. Vocabulary and word reading fluency were found to be shared contributors to both reading and listening comprehension. None of the other cognitive skills contributed significantly to reading or listening comprehension. These results indicate that only part of the comprehension process is indeed domain-general and not influenced by the modality in which the information is provided. Especially vocabulary seems to play a large role in this domain-general part. The findings warrant a more prominent focus of modality-specific aspects of both reading and listening comprehension in research and education.
  • Wolf, M. C., Smith, A. C., Meyer, A. S., & Rowland, C. F. (2019). Modality effects in vocabulary acquisition. In A. K. Goel, C. M. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 1212-1218). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    It is unknown whether modality affects the efficiency with which humans learn novel word forms and their meanings, with previous studies reporting both written and auditory advantages. The current study implements controls whose absence in previous work likely offers explanation for such contradictory findings. In two novel word learning experiments, participants were trained and tested on pseudoword - novel object pairs, with controls on: modality of test, modality of meaning, duration of exposure and transparency of word form. In both experiments word forms were presented in either their written or spoken form, each paired with a pictorial meaning (novel object). Following a 20-minute filler task, participants were tested on their ability to identify the picture-word form pairs on which they were trained. A between subjects design generated four participant groups per experiment 1) written training, written test; 2) written training, spoken test; 3) spoken training, written test; 4) spoken training, spoken test. In Experiment 1 the written stimulus was presented for a time period equal to the duration of the spoken form. Results showed that when the duration of exposure was equal, participants displayed a written training benefit. Given words can be read faster than the time taken for the spoken form to unfold, in Experiment 2 the written form was presented for 300 ms, sufficient time to read the word yet 65% shorter than the duration of the spoken form. No modality effect was observed under these conditions, when exposure to the word form was equivalent. These results demonstrate, at least for proficient readers, that when exposure to the word form is controlled across modalities the efficiency with which word form-meaning associations are learnt does not differ. Our results therefore suggest that, although we typically begin as aural-only word learners, we ultimately converge on developing learning mechanisms that learn equally efficiently from both written and spoken materials.
  • Zheng, X., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). The “semantic P600” in second language processing: When syntax conflicts with semantics. Neuropsychologia, 127, 131-147. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.02.010.

    Abstract

    In sentences like “the mouse that chased the cat was hungry”, the syntactically correct interpretation (the mouse chases the cat) is contradicted by semantic and pragmatic knowledge. Previous research has shown that L1 speakers sometimes base sentence interpretation on this type of knowledge (so-called “shallow” or “good-enough” processing). We made use of both behavioural and ERP measurements to investigate whether L2 learners differ from native speakers in the extent to which they engage in “shallow” syntactic processing. German learners of Dutch as well as Dutch native speakers read sentences containing relative clauses (as in the example above) for which the plausible thematic roles were or were not reversed, and made plausibility judgments. The results show that behaviourally, L2 learners had more difficulties than native speakers to discriminate plausible from implausible sentences. In the ERPs, we replicated the previously reported finding of a “semantic P600” for semantic reversal anomalies in native speakers, probably reflecting the effort to resolve the syntax-semantics conflict. In L2 learners, though, this P600 was largely attenuated and surfaced only in those trials that were judged correctly for plausibility. These results generally point at a more prevalent, but not exclusive occurrence of shallow syntactic processing in L2 learners.
  • Zormpa, E., Brehm, L., Hoedemaker, R. S., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). The production effect and the generation effect improve memory in picture naming. Memory, 27(3), 340-352. doi:10.1080/09658211.2018.1510966.

    Abstract

    The production effect (better memory for words read aloud than words read silently) and the picture superiority effect (better memory for pictures than words) both improve item memory in a picture naming task (Fawcett, J. M., Quinlan, C. K., & Taylor, T. L. (2012). Interplay of the production and picture superiority effects: A signal detection analysis. Memory (Hove, England), 20(7), 655–666. doi:10.1080/09658211.2012.693510). Because picture naming requires coming up with an appropriate label, the generation effect (better memory for generated than read words) may contribute to the latter effect. In two forced-choice memory experiments, we tested the role of generation in a picture naming task on later recognition memory. In Experiment 1, participants named pictures silently or aloud with the correct name or an unreadable label superimposed. We observed a generation effect, a production effect, and an interaction between the two. In Experiment 2, unreliable labels were included to ensure full picture processing in all conditions. In this experiment, we observed a production and a generation effect but no interaction, implying the effects are dissociable. This research demonstrates the separable roles of generation and production in picture naming and their impact on memory. As such, it informs the link between memory and language production and has implications for memory asymmetries between language production and comprehension.

    Supplementary material

    pmem_a_1510966_sm9257.pdf
  • Zormpa, E., Meyer, A. S., & Brehm, L. (2019). Slow naming of pictures facilitates memory for their names. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-019-01620-x.

    Abstract

    Speakers remember their own utterances better than those of their interlocutors, suggesting that language production is beneficial to memory. This may be partly explained by a generation effect: The act of generating a word is known to lead to a memory advantage (Slamecka & Graf, 1978). In earlier work, we showed a generation effect for recognition of images (Zormpa, Brehm, Hoedemaker, & Meyer, 2019). Here, we tested whether the recognition of their names would also benefit from name generation. Testing whether picture naming improves memory for words was our primary aim, as it serves to clarify whether the representations affected by generation are visual or conceptual/lexical. A secondary aim was to assess the influence of processing time on memory. Fifty-one participants named pictures in three conditions: after hearing the picture name (identity condition), backward speech, or an unrelated word. A day later, recognition memory was tested in a yes/no task. Memory in the backward speech and unrelated conditions, which required generation, was superior to memory in the identity condition, which did not require generation. The time taken by participants for naming was a good predictor of memory, such that words that took longer to be retrieved were remembered better. Importantly, that was the case only when generation was required: In the no-generation (identity) condition, processing time was not related to recognition memory performance. This work has shown that generation affects conceptual/lexical representations, making an important contribution to the understanding of the relationship between memory and language.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2018). General and language specific factors influence reference tracking in speech and gesture in discourse. Discourse Processes. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2018.1519368.

    Abstract

    Referent accessibility influences expressions in speech and gestures in similar ways. Speakers mostly use richer forms as noun phrases (NPs) in speech and gesture more when referents have low accessibility, whereas they use reduced forms such as pronouns more often and gesture less when referents have high accessibility. We investigated the relationships between speech and gesture during reference tracking in a pro-drop language—Turkish. Overt pronouns were not strongly associated with accessibility but with pragmatic context (i.e., marking similarity, contrast). Nevertheless, speakers gestured more when referents were re-introduced versus maintained and when referents were expressed with NPs versus pronouns. Pragmatic context did not influence gestures. Further, pronouns in low-accessibility contexts were accompanied with gestures—possibly for reference disambiguation—more often than previously found for non-pro-drop languages in such contexts. These findings enhance our understanding of the relationships between speech and gesture at the discourse level.
  • Byun, K.-S., De Vos, C., Bradford, A., Zeshan, U., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). First encounters: Repair sequences in cross-signing. Topics in Cognitive Science, 10(2), 314-334. doi:10.1111/tops.12303.

    Abstract

    Most human communication is between people who speak or sign the same languages. Nevertheless, communication is to some extent possible where there is no language in common, as every tourist knows. How this works is of some theoretical interest (Levinson 2006). A nice arena to explore this capacity is when deaf signers of different languages meet for the first time, and are able to use the iconic affordances of sign to begin communication. Here we focus on Other-Initiated Repair (OIR), that is, where one signer makes clear he or she does not understand, thus initiating repair of the prior conversational turn. OIR sequences are typically of a three-turn structure (Schegloff 2007) including the problem source turn (T-1), the initiation of repair (T0), and the turn offering a problem solution (T+1). These sequences seem to have a universal structure (Dingemanse et al. 2013). We find that in most cases where such OIR occur, the signer of the troublesome turn (T-1) foresees potential difficulty, and marks the utterance with 'try markers' (Sacks & Schegloff 1979, Moerman 1988) which pause to invite recognition. The signers use repetition, gestural holds, prosodic lengthening and eyegaze at the addressee as such try-markers. Moreover, when T-1 is try-marked this allows for faster response times of T+1 with respect to T0. This finding suggests that signers in these 'first encounter' situations actively anticipate potential trouble and, through try-marking, mobilize and facilitate OIRs. The suggestion is that heightened meta-linguistic awareness can be utilized to deal with these problems at the limits of our communicational ability.
  • Byun, K.-S., De Vos, C., Roberts, S. G., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Interactive sequences modulate the selection of expressive forms in cross-signing. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG XII) (pp. 67-69). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.012.
  • Croijmans, I. (2018). Wine expertise shapes olfactory language and cognition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Dai, B., Chen, C., Long, Y., Zheng, L., Zhao, H., Bai, X., Liu, W., Zhang, Y., Liu, L., Guo, T., Ding, G., & Lu, C. (2018). Neural mechanisms for selectively tuning into the target speaker in a naturalistic noisy situation. Nature Communications, 9: 2405. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04819-z.

    Abstract

    The neural mechanism for selectively tuning in to a target speaker while tuning out the others in a multi-speaker situation (i.e., the cocktail-party effect) remains elusive. Here we addressed this issue by measuring brain activity simultaneously from a listener and from multiple speakers while they were involved in naturalistic conversations. Results consistently show selectively enhanced interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) between the listener and the attended speaker at left temporal–parietal junction, compared with that between the listener and the unattended speaker across different multi-speaker situations. Moreover, INS increases significantly prior to the occurrence of verbal responses, and even when the listener’s brain activity precedes that of the speaker. The INS increase is independent of brain-to-speech synchronization in both the anatomical location and frequency range. These findings suggest that INS underlies the selective process in a multi-speaker situation through neural predictions at the content level but not the sensory level of speech.

    Supplementary material

    Dai_etal_2018_sup.pdf
  • Den Hoed, J., Sollis, E., Venselaar, H., Estruch, S. B., Derizioti, P., & Fisher, S. E. (2018). Functional characterization of TBR1 variants in neurodevelopmental disorder. Scientific Reports, 8: 14279. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-32053-6.

    Abstract

    Recurrent de novo variants in the TBR1 transcription factor are implicated in the etiology of sporadic autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Disruptions include missense variants located in the T-box DNA-binding domain and previous work has demonstrated that they disrupt TBR1 protein function. Recent screens of thousands of simplex families with sporadic ASD cases uncovered additional T-box variants in TBR1 but their etiological relevance is unclear. We performed detailed functional analyses of de novo missense TBR1 variants found in the T-box of ASD cases, assessing many aspects of protein function, including subcellular localization, transcriptional activity and protein-interactions. Only two of the three tested variants severely disrupted TBR1 protein function, despite in silico predictions that all would be deleterious. Furthermore, we characterized a putative interaction with BCL11A, a transcription factor that was recently implicated in a neurodevelopmental syndrome involving developmental delay and language deficits. Our findings enhance understanding of molecular functions of TBR1, as well as highlighting the importance of functional testing of variants that emerge from next-generation sequencing, to decipher their contributions to neurodevelopmental disorders like ASD.

    Supplementary material

    Electronic supplementary material
  • Devanna, P., Chen, X. S., Ho, J., Gajewski, D., Smith, S. D., Gialluisi, A., Francks, C., Fisher, S. E., Newbury, D. F., & Vernes, S. C. (2018). Next-gen sequencing identifies non-coding variation disrupting miRNA binding sites in neurological disorders. Molecular Psychiatry, 23(5), 1375-1384. doi:10.1038/mp.2017.30.

    Abstract

    Understanding the genetic factors underlying neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders is a major challenge given their prevalence and potential severity for quality of life. While large-scale genomic screens have made major advances in this area, for many disorders the genetic underpinnings are complex and poorly understood. To date the field has focused predominantly on protein coding variation, but given the importance of tightly controlled gene expression for normal brain development and disorder, variation that affects non-coding regulatory regions of the genome is likely to play an important role in these phenotypes. Herein we show the importance of 3 prime untranslated region (3'UTR) non-coding regulatory variants across neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. We devised a pipeline for identifying and functionally validating putatively pathogenic variants from next generation sequencing (NGS) data. We applied this pipeline to a cohort of children with severe specific language impairment (SLI) and identified a functional, SLI-associated variant affecting gene regulation in cells and post-mortem human brain. This variant and the affected gene (ARHGEF39) represent new putative risk factors for SLI. Furthermore, we identified 3′UTR regulatory variants across autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder NGS cohorts demonstrating their impact on neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Our findings show the importance of investigating non-coding regulatory variants when determining risk factors contributing to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. In the future, integration of such regulatory variation with protein coding changes will be essential for uncovering the genetic causes of complex neurological disorders and the fundamental mechanisms underlying health and disease

    Supplementary material

    mp201730x1.docx
  • Dingemanse, M., Blythe, J., & Dirksmeyer, T. (2018). Formats for other-initiation of repair across languages: An exercise in pragmatic typology. In I. Nikolaeva (Ed.), Linguistic Typology: Critical Concepts in Linguistics. Vol. 4 (pp. 322-357). London: Routledge.

    Abstract

    In conversation, people regularly deal with problems of speaking, hearing, and understanding. We report on a cross-linguistic investigation of the conversational structure of other-initiated repair (also known as collaborative repair, feedback, requests for clarification, or grounding sequences). We take stock of formats for initiating repair across languages (comparable to English huh?, who?, y’mean X?, etc.) and find that different languages make available a wide but remarkably similar range of linguistic resources for this function. We exploit the patterned variation as evidence for several underlying concerns addressed by repair initiation: characterising trouble, managing responsibility, and handling knowledge. The concerns do not always point in the same direction and thus provide participants in interaction with alternative principles for selecting one format over possible others. By comparing conversational structures across languages, this paper contributes to pragmatic typology: the typology of systems of language use and the principles that shape them.
  • Drijvers, L., Ozyurek, A., & Jensen, O. (2018). Alpha and beta oscillations index semantic congruency between speech and gestures in clear and degraded speech. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30(8), 1086-1097. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01301.

    Abstract

    Previous work revealed that visual semantic information conveyed by gestures can enhance degraded speech comprehension, but the mechanisms underlying these integration processes under adverse listening conditions remain poorly understood. We used MEG to investigate how oscillatory dynamics support speech–gesture integration when integration load is manipulated by auditory (e.g., speech degradation) and visual semantic (e.g., gesture congruency) factors. Participants were presented with videos of an actress uttering an action verb in clear or degraded speech, accompanied by a matching (mixing gesture + “mixing”) or mismatching (drinking gesture + “walking”) gesture. In clear speech, alpha/beta power was more suppressed in the left inferior frontal gyrus and motor and visual cortices when integration load increased in response to mismatching versus matching gestures. In degraded speech, beta power was less suppressed over posterior STS and medial temporal lobe for mismatching compared with matching gestures, showing that integration load was lowest when speech was degraded and mismatching gestures could not be integrated and disambiguate the degraded signal. Our results thus provide novel insights on how low-frequency oscillatory modulations in different parts of the cortex support the semantic audiovisual integration of gestures in clear and degraded speech: When speech is clear, the left inferior frontal gyrus and motor and visual cortices engage because higher-level semantic information increases semantic integration load. When speech is degraded, posterior STS/middle temporal gyrus and medial temporal lobe are less engaged because integration load is lowest when visual semantic information does not aid lexical retrieval and speech and gestures cannot be integrated.
  • Drijvers, L., Ozyurek, A., & Jensen, O. (2018). Hearing and seeing meaning in noise: Alpha, beta and gamma oscillations predict gestural enhancement of degraded speech comprehension. Human Brain Mapping, 39(5), 2075-2087. doi:10.1002/hbm.23987.

    Abstract

    During face-to-face communication, listeners integrate speech with gestures. The semantic information conveyed by iconic gestures (e.g., a drinking gesture) can aid speech comprehension in adverse listening conditions. In this magnetoencephalography (MEG) study, we investigated the spatiotemporal neural oscillatory activity associated with gestural enhancement of degraded speech comprehension. Participants watched videos of an actress uttering clear or degraded speech, accompanied by a gesture or not and completed a cued-recall task after watching every video. When gestures semantically disambiguated degraded speech comprehension, an alpha and beta power suppression and a gamma power increase revealed engagement and active processing in the hand-area of the motor cortex, the extended language network (LIFG/pSTS/STG/MTG), medial temporal lobe, and occipital regions. These observed low- and high-frequency oscillatory modulations in these areas support general unification, integration and lexical access processes during online language comprehension, and simulation of and increased visual attention to manual gestures over time. All individual oscillatory power modulations associated with gestural enhancement of degraded speech comprehension predicted a listener's correct disambiguation of the degraded verb after watching the videos. Our results thus go beyond the previously proposed role of oscillatory dynamics in unimodal degraded speech comprehension and provide first evidence for the role of low- and high-frequency oscillations in predicting the integration of auditory and visual information at a semantic level.

    Supplementary material

    hbm23987-sup-0001-suppinfo01.docx
  • Drijvers, L., & Ozyurek, A. (2018). Native language status of the listener modulates the neural integration of speech and iconic gestures in clear and adverse listening conditions. Brain and Language, 177-178, 7-17. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2018.01.003.

    Abstract

    Native listeners neurally integrate iconic gestures with speech, which can enhance degraded speech comprehension. However, it is unknown how non-native listeners neurally integrate speech and gestures, as they might process visual semantic context differently than natives. We recorded EEG while native and highly-proficient non-native listeners watched videos of an actress uttering an action verb in clear or degraded speech, accompanied by a matching ('to drive'+driving gesture) or mismatching gesture ('to drink'+mixing gesture). Degraded speech elicited an enhanced N400 amplitude compared to clear speech in both groups, revealing an increase in neural resources needed to resolve the spoken input. A larger N400 effect was found in clear speech for non-natives compared to natives, but in degraded speech only for natives. Non-native listeners might thus process gesture more strongly than natives when speech is clear, but need more auditory cues to facilitate access to gestural semantic information when speech is degraded.
  • Drijvers, L., & Trujillo, J. P. (2018). Commentary: Transcranial magnetic stimulation over left inferior frontal and posterior temporal cortex disrupts gesture-speech integration. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12: 256. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00256.

    Abstract

    A commentary on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation over Left Inferior Frontal and Posterior Temporal Cortex Disrupts Gesture-Speech Integration by Zhao, W., Riggs, K., Schindler, I., and Holle, H. (2018). J. Neurosci. 10, 1748–1717. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1748-17.2017
  • Drozdova, P. (2018). The effects of nativeness and background noise on the perceptual learning of voices and ambiguous sounds. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Duarte, R., Uhlmann, M., Van den Broek, D., Fitz, H., Petersson, K. M., & Morrison, A. (2018). Encoding symbolic sequences with spiking neural reservoirs. In Proceedings of the 2018 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN). doi:10.1109/IJCNN.2018.8489114.

    Abstract

    Biologically inspired spiking networks are an important tool to study the nature of computation and cognition in neural systems. In this work, we investigate the representational capacity of spiking networks engaged in an identity mapping task. We compare two schemes for encoding symbolic input, one in which input is injected as a direct current and one where input is delivered as a spatio-temporal spike pattern. We test the ability of networks to discriminate their input as a function of the number of distinct input symbols. We also compare performance using either membrane potentials or filtered spike trains as state variable. Furthermore, we investigate how the circuit behavior depends on the balance between excitation and inhibition, and the degree of synchrony and regularity in its internal dynamics. Finally, we compare different linear methods of decoding population activity onto desired target labels. Overall, our results suggest that even this simple mapping task is strongly influenced by design choices on input encoding, state-variables, circuit characteristics and decoding methods, and these factors can interact in complex ways. This work highlights the importance of constraining computational network models of behavior by available neurobiological evidence.
  • Estruch, S. B. (2018). Characterization of transcription factors in monogenic disorders of speech and language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Estruch, S. B., Graham, S. A., Quevedo, M., Vino, A., Dekkers, D. H. W., Deriziotis, P., Sollis, E., Demmers, J., Poot, R. A., & Fisher, S. E. (2018). Proteomic analysis of FOXP proteins reveals interactions between cortical transcription factors associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Human Molecular Genetics, 27(7), 1212-1227. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddy035.

    Abstract

    FOXP transcription factors play important roles in neurodevelopment, but little is known about how their transcriptional activity is regulated. FOXP proteins cooperatively regulate gene expression by forming homo- and hetero-dimers with each other. Physical associations with other transcription factors might also modulate the functions of FOXP proteins. However, few FOXP-interacting transcription factors have been identified so far. Therefore, we sought to discover additional transcription factors that interact with the brain-expressed FOXP proteins, FOXP1, FOXP2 and FOXP4, through affinity-purifications of protein complexes followed by mass spectrometry. We identified seven novel FOXP-interacting transcription factors (NR2F1, NR2F2, SATB1, SATB2, SOX5, YY1 and ZMYM2), five of which have well-estabslished roles in cortical development. Accordingly, we found that these transcription factors are co-expressed with FoxP2 in the deep layers of the cerebral cortex and also in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, suggesting that they may cooperate with the FoxPs to regulate neural gene expression in vivo. Moreover, we demonstrated that etiological mutations of FOXP1 and FOXP2, known to cause neurodevelopmental disorders, severely disrupted the interactions with FOXP-interacting transcription factors. Additionally, we pinpointed specific regions within FOXP2 sequence involved in mediating these interactions. Thus, by expanding the FOXP interactome we have uncovered part of a broader neural transcription factor network involved in cortical development, providing novel molecular insights into the transcriptional architecture underlying brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Fairs, A., Bögels, S., & Meyer, A. S. (2018). Dual-tasking with simple linguistic tasks: Evidence for serial processing. Acta Psychologica, 191, 131-148. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2018.09.006.

    Abstract

    In contrast to the large amount of dual-task research investigating the coordination of a linguistic and a nonlinguistic task, little research has investigated how two linguistic tasks are coordinated. However, such research would greatly contribute to our understanding of how interlocutors combine speech planning and listening in conversation. In three dual-task experiments we studied how participants coordinated the processing of an auditory stimulus (S1), which was either a syllable or a tone, with selecting a name for a picture (S2). Two SOAs, of 0 ms and 1000 ms, were used. To vary the time required for lexical selection and to determine when lexical selection took place, the pictures were presented with categorically related or unrelated distractor words. In Experiment 1 participants responded overtly to both stimuli. In Experiments 2 and 3, S1 was not responded to overtly, but determined how to respond to S2, by naming the picture or reading the distractor aloud. Experiment 1 yielded additive effects of SOA and distractor type on the picture naming latencies. The presence of semantic interference at both SOAs indicated that lexical selection occurred after response selection for S1. With respect to the coordination of S1 and S2 processing, Experiments 2 and 3 yielded inconclusive results. In all experiments, syllables interfered more with picture naming than tones. This is likely because the syllables activated phonological representations also implicated in picture naming. The theoretical and methodological implications of the findings are discussed.

    Supplementary material

    1-s2.0-S0001691817305589-mmc1.pdf
  • Felker, E. R., Troncoso Ruiz, A., Ernestus, M., & Broersma, M. (2018). The ventriloquist paradigm: Studying speech processing in conversation with experimental control over phonetic input. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(4), EL304-EL309. doi:10.1121/1.5063809.

    Abstract

    This article presents the ventriloquist paradigm, an innovative method for studying speech processing in dialogue whereby participants interact face-to-face with a confederate who, unbeknownst to them, communicates by playing pre-recorded speech. Results show that the paradigm convinces more participants that the speech is live than a setup without the face-to-face element, and it elicits more interactive conversation than a setup in which participants believe their partner is a computer. By reconciling the ecological validity of a conversational context with full experimental control over phonetic exposure, the paradigm offers a wealth of new possibilities for studying speech processing in interaction.
  • Frank, S. L., & Yang, J. (2018). Lexical representation explains cortical entrainment during speech comprehension. PLoS One, 13(5): e0197304. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0197304.

    Abstract

    Results from a recent neuroimaging study on spoken sentence comprehension have been interpreted as evidence for cortical entrainment to hierarchical syntactic structure. We present a simple computational model that predicts the power spectra from this study, even though the model's linguistic knowledge is restricted to the lexical level, and word-level representations are not combined into higher-level units (phrases or sentences). Hence, the cortical entrainment results can also be explained from the lexical properties of the stimuli, without recourse to hierarchical syntax.
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Eisner, F. (2018). Opposing and following responses in sensorimotor speech control: Why responses go both ways. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25(4), 1458-1467. doi:10.3758/s13423-018-1494-x.

    Abstract

    When talking, speakers continuously monitor and use the auditory feedback of their own voice to control and inform speech production processes. When speakers are provided with auditory feedback that is perturbed in real time, most of them compensate for this by opposing the feedback perturbation. But some speakers follow the perturbation. In the current study, we investigated whether the state of the speech production system at perturbation onset may determine what type of response (opposing or following) is given. The results suggest that whether a perturbation-related response is opposing or following depends on ongoing fluctuations of the production system: It initially responds by doing the opposite of what it was doing. This effect and the non-trivial proportion of following responses suggest that current production models are inadequate: They need to account for why responses to unexpected sensory feedback depend on the production-system’s state at the time of perturbation.
  • Franken, M. K., Eisner, F., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2018). Self-monitoring in the cerebral cortex: Neural responses to pitch-perturbed auditory feedback during speech production. NeuroImage, 179, 326-336. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.06.061.

    Abstract

    Speaking is a complex motor skill which requires near instantaneous integration of sensory and motor-related information. Current theory hypothesizes a complex interplay between motor and auditory processes during speech production, involving the online comparison of the speech output with an internally generated forward model. To examine the neural correlates of this intricate interplay between sensory and motor processes, the current study uses altered auditory feedback (AAF) in combination with magnetoencephalography (MEG). Participants vocalized the vowel/e/and heard auditory feedback that was temporarily pitch-shifted by only 25 cents, while neural activity was recorded with MEG. As a control condition, participants also heard the recordings of the same auditory feedback that they heard in the first half of the experiment, now without vocalizing. The participants were not aware of any perturbation of the auditory feedback. We found auditory cortical areas responded more strongly to the pitch shifts during vocalization. In addition, auditory feedback perturbation resulted in spectral power increases in the θ and lower β bands, predominantly in sensorimotor areas. These results are in line with current models of speech production, suggesting auditory cortical areas are involved in an active comparison between a forward model's prediction and the actual sensory input. Subsequently, these areas interact with motor areas to generate a motor response. Furthermore, the results suggest that θ and β power increases support auditory-motor interaction, motor error detection and/or sensory prediction processing.
  • Franken, M. K. (2018). Listening for speaking: Investigations of the relationship between speech perception and production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    Speaking and listening are complex tasks that we perform on a daily basis, almost without conscious effort. Interestingly, speaking almost never occurs without listening: whenever we speak, we at least hear our own speech. The research in this thesis is concerned with how the perception of our own speech influences our speaking behavior. We show that unconsciously, we actively monitor this auditory feedback of our own speech. This way, we can efficiently take action and adapt articulation when an error occurs and auditory feedback does not correspond to our expectation. Processing the auditory feedback of our speech does not, however, automatically affect speech production. It is subject to a number of constraints. For example, we do not just track auditory feedback, but also its consistency. If auditory feedback is more consistent over time, it has a stronger influence on speech production. In addition, we investigated how auditory feedback during speech is processed in the brain, using magnetoencephalography (MEG). The results suggest the involvement of a broad cortical network including both auditory and motor-related regions. This is consistent with the view that the auditory center of the brain is involved in comparing auditory feedback to our expectation of auditory feedback. If this comparison yields a mismatch, motor-related regions of the brain can be recruited to alter the ongoing articulations.

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Goriot, C., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., Unsworth, S., & Van Hout, R. (2018). Language balance and switching ability in children acquiring English as a second language. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173, 168-186. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2018.03.019.

    Abstract

    This study investigated whether relative lexical proficiency in Dutch and English in child second language (L2) learners is related to executive functioning. Participants were Dutch primary school pupils of three different age groups (4–5, 8–9, and 11–12 years) who either were enrolled in an early-English schooling program or were age-matched controls not on that early-English program. Participants performed tasks that measured switching, inhibition, and working memory. Early-English program pupils had greater knowledge of English vocabulary and more balanced Dutch–English lexicons. In both groups, lexical balance, a ratio measure obtained by dividing vocabulary scores in English by those in Dutch, was related to switching but not to inhibition or working memory performance. These results show that for children who are learning an L2 in an instructional setting, and for whom managing two languages is not yet an automatized process, language balance may be more important than L2 proficiency in influencing the relation between childhood bilingualism and switching abilities.
  • Goriot, C., Van Hout, R., Broersma, M., Lobo, V., McQueen, J. M., & Unsworth, S. (2018). Using the peabody picture vocabulary test in L2 children and adolescents: Effects of L1. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Advance online publication. 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.
  • Hahn, L. E., Benders, T., Snijders, T. M., & Fikkert, P. (2018). Infants' sensitivity to rhyme in songs. Infant Behavior and Development, 52, 130-139. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2018.07.002.

    Abstract

    Children’s songs often contain rhyming words at phrase endings. In this study, we investigated whether infants can already recognize this phonological pattern in songs. Earlier studies using lists of spoken words were equivocal on infants’ spontaneous processing of rhymes (Hayes, Slater, & Brown, 2000; Jusczyk, Goodman, & Baumann, 1999). Songs, however, constitute an ecologically valid rhyming stimulus, which could allow for spontaneous processing of this phonological pattern in infants. Novel children’s songs with rhyming and non-rhyming lyrics using pseudo-words were presented to 35 9-month-old Dutch infants using the Headturn Preference Procedure. Infants on average listened longer to the non-rhyming songs, with around half of the infants however exhibiting a preference for the rhyming songs. These results highlight that infants have the processing abilities to benefit from their natural rhyming input for the development of their phonological abilities.
  • Havron, N., Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2018). Literate and preliterate children show different learning patterns in an artificial language learning task. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 2, 21-33. doi:10.1007/s41809-018-0015-9.

    Abstract

    Literacy affects many aspects of cognitive and linguistic processing. Among them, it increases the salience of words as units of linguistic processing. Here, we explored the impact of literacy acquisition on children’s learning of an artifical language. Recent accounts of L1–L2 differences relate adults’ greater difficulty with language learning to their smaller reliance on multiword units. In particular, multiword units are claimed to be beneficial for learning opaque grammatical relations like grammatical gender. Since literacy impacts the reliance on words as units of processing, we ask if and how acquiring literacy may change children’s language-learning results. We looked at children’s success in learning novel noun labels relative to their success in learning article-noun gender agreement, before and after learning to read. We found that preliterate first graders were better at learning agreement (larger units) than at learning nouns (smaller units), and that the difference between the two trial types significantly decreased after these children acquired literacy. In contrast, literate third graders were as good in both trial types. These findings suggest that literacy affects not only language processing, but also leads to important differences in language learning. They support the idea that some of children’s advantage in language learning comes from their previous knowledge and experience with language—and specifically, their lack of experience with written texts.
  • Hoey, E., & Kendrick, K. H. (2018). Conversation analysis. In A. M. B. De Groot, & P. Hagoort (Eds.), Research methods in psycholinguistics and the neurobiology of language: A practical guide (pp. 151-173). Hoboken: Wiley.

    Abstract

    Conversation Analysis (CA) is an inductive, micro-analytic, and predominantly qualitative method for studying human social interactions. This chapter describes and illustrates the basic methods of CA. We first situate the method by describing its sociological foundations, key areas of analysis, and particular approach in using naturally occurring data. The bulk of the chapter is devoted to practical explanations of the typical conversation analytic process for collecting data and producing an analysis. We analyze a candidate interactional practice – the assessmentimplicative interrogative – using real data extracts as a demonstration of the method, explicitly laying out the relevant questions and considerations for every stage of an analysis. The chapter concludes with some discussion of quantitative approaches to conversational interaction, and links between CA and psycholinguistic concerns
  • Hoey, E. (2018). How speakers continue with talk after a lapse in conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 51(3), 329-346. doi:10.1080/08351813.2018.1485234.

    Abstract

    How do conversational participants continue with turn-by-turn talk after a momentary lapse? If all participants forgo the option to speak at possible sequence completion, an extended silence may emerge that can indicate a lack of anything to talk about next. For the interaction to proceed recognizably as a conversation, the postlapse turn needs to implicate more talk. Using conversation analysis, I examine three practical alternatives regarding sequentially implicative postlapse turns: Participants may move to end the interaction, continue with some prior matter, or start something new. Participants are shown using resources grounded in the interaction’s overall structural organization, the materials from the interaction-so-far, the mentionables they bring to interaction, and the situated environment itself. Comparing these alternatives, there’s suggestive quantitative evidence for a preference for continuation. The analysis of lapse resolution shows lapses as places for the management of multiple possible courses of action. Data are in U.S. and UK English.
  • Hömke, P., Holler, J., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Eye blinks are perceived as communicative signals in human face-to-face interaction. PLoS One, 13(12): e0208030. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0208030.

    Abstract

    In face-to-face communication, recurring intervals of mutual gaze allow listeners to provide speakers with visual feedback (e.g. nodding). Here, we investigate the potential feedback function of one of the subtlest of human movements—eye blinking. While blinking tends to be subliminal, the significance of mutual gaze in human interaction raises the question whether the interruption of mutual gaze through blinking may also be communicative. To answer this question, we developed a novel, virtual reality-based experimental paradigm, which enabled us to selectively manipulate blinking in a virtual listener, creating small differences in blink duration resulting in ‘short’ (208 ms) and ‘long’ (607 ms) blinks. We found that speakers unconsciously took into account the subtle differences in listeners’ blink duration, producing substantially shorter answers in response to long listener blinks. Our findings suggest that, in addition to physiological, perceptual and cognitive functions, listener blinks are also perceived as communicative signals, directly influencing speakers’ communicative behavior in face-to-face communication. More generally, these findings may be interpreted as shedding new light on the evolutionary origins of mental-state signaling, which is a crucial ingredient for achieving mutual understanding in everyday social interaction.

    Supplementary material

    Supporting information
  • Huisman, J. L. A., & Majid, A. (2018). Psycholinguistic variables matter in odor naming. Memory & Cognition, 46, 577-588. doi:10.3758/s13421-017-0785-1.

    Abstract

    People from Western societies generally find it difficult to name odors. In trying to explain this, the olfactory literature has proposed several theories that focus heavily on properties of the odor itself but rarely discuss properties of the label used to describe it. However, recent studies show speakers of languages with dedicated smell lexicons can name odors with relative ease. Has the role of the lexicon been overlooked in the olfactory literature? Word production studies show properties of the label, such as word frequency and semantic context, influence naming; but this field of research focuses heavily on the visual domain. The current study combines methods from both fields to investigate word production for olfaction in two experiments. In the first experiment, participants named odors whose veridical labels were either high-frequency or low-frequency words in Dutch, and we found that odors with high-frequency labels were named correctly more often. In the second experiment, edibility was used for manipulating semantic context in search of a semantic interference effect, presenting the odors in blocks of edible and inedible odor source objects to half of the participants. While no evidence was found for a semantic interference effect, an effect of word frequency was again present. Our results demonstrate psycholinguistic variables—such as word frequency—are relevant for olfactory naming, and may, in part, explain why it is difficult to name odors in certain languages. Olfactory researchers cannot afford to ignore properties of an odor’s label.
  • Janssen, R. (2018). Let the agents do the talking: On the influence of vocal tract anatomy no speech during ontogeny. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Janssen, R., & Dediu, D. (2018). Genetic biases affecting language: What do computer models and experimental approaches suggest? In T. Poibeau, & A. Villavicencio (Eds.), Language, Cognition and Computational Models (pp. 256-288). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    Computer models of cultural evolution have shown language properties emerging on interacting agents with a brain that lacks dedicated, nativist language modules. Notably, models using Bayesian agents provide a precise specification of (extra-)liguististic factors (e.g., genetic) that shape language through iterated learning (biases on language), and demonstrate that weak biases get expressed more strongly over time (bias amplification). Other models attempt to lessen assumption on agents’ innate predispositions even more, and emphasize self-organization within agents, highlighting glossogenesis (the development of language from a nonlinguistic state). Ultimately however, one also has to recognize that biology and culture are strongly interacting, forming a coevolving system. As such, computer models show that agents might (biologically) evolve to a state predisposed to language adaptability, where (culturally) stable language features might get assimilated into the genome via Baldwinian niche construction. In summary, while many questions about language evolution remain unanswered, it is clear that it is not to be completely understood from a purely biological, cognitivist perspective. Language should be regarded as (partially) emerging on the social interactions between large populations of speakers. In this context, agent models provide a sound approach to investigate the complex dynamics of genetic biasing on language and speech
  • Janssen, R., Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2018). Modelling human hard palate shape with Bézier curves. PLoS One, 13(2): e0191557. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191557.

    Abstract

    People vary at most levels, from the molecular to the cognitive, and the shape of the hard palate (the bony roof of the mouth) is no exception. The patterns of variation in the hard palate are important for the forensic sciences and (palaeo)anthropology, and might also play a role in speech production, both in pathological cases and normal variation. Here we describe a method based on Bézier curves, whose main aim is to generate possible shapes of the hard palate in humans for use in computer simulations of speech production and language evolution. Moreover, our method can also capture existing patterns of variation using few and easy-to-interpret parameters, and fits actual data obtained from MRI traces very well with as little as two or three free parameters. When compared to the widely-used Principal Component Analysis (PCA), our method fits actual data slightly worse for the same number of degrees of freedom. However, it is much better at generating new shapes without requiring a calibration sample, its parameters have clearer interpretations, and their ranges are grounded in geometrical considerations. © 2018 Janssen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
  • Janssen, R., Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2018). Agent model reveals the influence of vocal tract anatomy on speech during ontogeny and glossogeny. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG XII) (pp. 171-174). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.042.
  • Kirsch, J. (2018). Listening for the WHAT and the HOW: Older adults' processing of semantic and affective information in speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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  • Koch, X. (2018). Age and hearing loss effects on speech processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Kochari, A. R., & Ostarek, M. (2018). Introducing a replication-first rule for PhD projects (commmentary on Zwaan et al., ‘Making replication mainstream’). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41: e138. doi:10.1017/S0140525X18000730.

    Abstract

    Zwaan et al. mention that young researchers should conduct replications as a small part of their portfolio. We extend this proposal and suggest that conducting and reporting replications should become an integral part of PhD projects and be taken into account in their assessment. We discuss how this would help not only scientific advancement, but also PhD candidates’ careers.
  • Kolipakam, V. (2018). A holistic approach to understanding pre-history. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Kolipakam, V., Jordan, F., Dunn, M., Greenhill, S. J., Bouckaert, R., Gray, R. D., & Verkerk, A. (2018). A Bayesian phylogenetic study of the Dravidian language family. Royal Society Open Science, 5: 171504. doi:10.1098/rsos.171504.

    Abstract

    The Dravidian language family consists of about 80 varieties (Hammarström H. 2016 Glottolog 2.7) spoken by 220 million people across southern and central India and surrounding countries (Steever SB. 1998 In The Dravidian languages (ed. SB Steever), pp. 1–39: 1). Neither the geographical origin of the Dravidian language homeland nor its exact dispersal through time are known. The history of these languages is crucial for understanding prehistory in Eurasia, because despite their current restricted range, these languages played a significant role in influencing other language groups including Indo-Aryan (Indo-European) and Munda (Austroasiatic) speakers. Here, we report the results of a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of cognate-coded lexical data, elicited first hand from native speakers, to investigate the subgrouping of the Dravidian language family, and provide dates for the major points of diversification. Our results indicate that the Dravidian language family is approximately 4500 years old, a finding that corresponds well with earlier linguistic and archaeological studies. The main branches of the Dravidian language family (North, Central, South I, South II) are recovered, although the placement of languages within these main branches diverges from previous classifications. We find considerable uncertainty with regard to the relationships between the main branches.
  • Kouwenhoven, H., Ernestus, M., & Van Mulken, M. (2018). Register variation by Spanish users of English. The Nijmegen Corpus of Spanish English. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 14(1), 35-63. doi:10.1515/cllt-2013-0054.

    Abstract

    English serves as a lingua franca in situations with varying degrees of formality. How formality affects non-native speech has rarely been studied. We investigated register variation by Spanish users of English by comparing formal and informal speech from the Nijmegen Corpus of Spanish English that we created. This corpus comprises speech from thirty-four Spanish speakers of English in interaction with Dutch confederates in two speech situations. Formality affected the amount of laughter and overlapping speech and the number of Spanish words. Moreover, formal speech had a more informational character than informal speech. We discuss how our findings relate to register variation in Spanish

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  • Kung, C. (2018). Speech comprehension in a tone language: The role of lexical tone, context, and intonation in Cantonese-Chinese. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., & Vernes, S. C. (2018). Vocal learning: A language-relevant trait in need of a broad cross-species approach. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 21, 209-215. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.04.007.

    Abstract

    Although humans are unmatched in their capacity to produce speech and learn language, comparative approaches in diverse animalmodelsareabletoshedlightonthebiologicalunderpinnings of language-relevant traits. In the study of vocal learning, a trait crucial for spoken language, passerine birds have been the dominant models, driving invaluable progress in understanding the neurobiology and genetics of vocal learning despite being only distantly related to humans. To date, there is sparse evidence that our closest relatives, nonhuman primates have the capability to learn new vocalisations. However, a number of other mammals have shown the capacity for vocal learning, such as some cetaceans, pinnipeds, elephants, and bats, and we anticipate that with further study more species will gain membership to this (currently) select club. A broad, cross-species comparison of vocal learning, coupled with careful consideration of the components underlying this trait, is crucial to determine how human speech and spoken language is biologically encoded and how it evolved. We emphasise the need to draw on the pool of promising species that havethusfarbeenunderstudiedorneglected.Thisisbynomeansa call for fewer studies in songbirds, or an unfocused treasure-hunt, but rather an appeal for structured comparisons across a range of species, considering phylogenetic relationships, ecological and morphological constrains, developmental and social factors, and neurogenetic underpinnings. Herein, we promote a comparative approachhighlightingtheimportanceofstudyingvocallearningina broad range of model species, and describe a common framework for targeted cross-taxon studies to shed light on the biology and evolution of vocal learning.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Vernes, S. C., & Wiegrebe, L. (2018). Volitional control of social vocalisations and vocal usage learning in bats. Journal of Experimental Biology, 221(14): jeb.180729. doi:10.1242/jeb.180729.

    Abstract

    Bats are gregarious, highly vocal animals that possess a broad repertoire of social vocalisations. For in-depth studies of their vocal behaviours, including vocal flexibility and vocal learning, it is necessary to gather repeatable evidence from controlled laboratory experiments on isolated individuals. However, such studies are rare for one simple reason: eliciting social calls in isolation and under operant control is challenging and has rarely been achieved. To overcome this limitation, we designed an automated setup that allows conditioning of social vocalisations in a new context, and tracks spectro-temporal changes in the recorded calls over time. Using this setup, we were able to reliably evoke social calls from temporarily isolated lesser spear-nosed bats (Phyllostomus discolor). When we adjusted the call criteria that could result in food reward, bats responded by adjusting temporal and spectral call parameters. This was achieved without the help of an auditory template or social context to direct the bats. Our results demonstrate vocal flexibility and vocal usage learning in bats. Our setup provides a new paradigm that allows the controlled study of the production and learning of social vocalisations in isolated bats, overcoming limitations that have, until now, prevented in-depth studies of these behaviours.

    Supplementary material

    JEB180729supp.pdf
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Vernes, S. C., & Wiegrebe, L. (2018). Mammalian models for the study of vocal learning: A new paradigm in bats. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG XII) (pp. 235-237). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.056.
  • Lefever, E., Hendrickx, I., Croijmans, I., Van den Bosch, A., & Majid, A. (2018). Discovering the language of wine reviews: A text mining account. In N. Calzolari, K. Choukri, C. Cieri, T. Declerck, S. Goggi, K. Hasida, H. Isahara, B. Maegaard, J. Mariani, H. Mazo, A. Moreno, J. Odijk, S. Piperidis, & T. Tokunaga (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018) (pp. 3297-3302). Paris: LREC.

    Abstract

    It is widely held that smells and flavors are impossible to put into words. In this paper we test this claim by seeking predictive patterns in wine reviews, which ostensibly aim to provide guides to perceptual content. Wine reviews have previously been critiqued as random and meaningless. We collected an English corpus of wine reviews with their structured metadata, and applied machine learning techniques to automatically predict the wine's color, grape variety, and country of origin. To train the three supervised classifiers, three different information sources were incorporated: lexical bag-of-words features, domain-specific terminology features, and semantic word embedding features. In addition, using regression analysis we investigated basic review properties, i.e., review length, average word length, and their relationship to the scalar values of price and review score. Our results show that wine experts do share a common vocabulary to describe wines and they use this in a consistent way, which makes it possible to automatically predict wine characteristics based on the review text alone. This means that odors and flavors may be more expressible in language than typically acknowledged.
  • Lopopolo, A., Frank, S. L., Van den Bosch, A., Nijhof, A., & Willems, R. M. (2018). The Narrative Brain Dataset (NBD), an fMRI dataset for the study of natural language processing in the brain. In B. Devereux, E. Shutova, & C.-R. Huang (Eds.), Proceedings of LREC 2018 Workshop "Linguistic and Neuro-Cognitive Resources (LiNCR) (pp. 8-11). Paris: LREC.

    Abstract

    We present the Narrative Brain Dataset, an fMRI dataset that was collected during spoken presentation of short excerpts of three stories in Dutch. Together with the brain imaging data, the dataset contains the written versions of the stimulation texts. The texts are accompanied with stochastic (perplexity and entropy) and semantic computational linguistic measures. The richness and unconstrained nature of the data allows the study of language processing in the brain in a more naturalistic setting than is common for fMRI studies. We hope that by making NBD available we serve the double purpose of providing useful neural data to researchers interested in natural language processing in the brain and to further stimulate data sharing in the field of neuroscience of language.
  • Lupyan, G., Wendorf, A., Berscia, L. M., & Paul, J. (2018). Core knowledge or language-augmented cognition? The case of geometric reasoning. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG XII) (pp. 252-254). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.062.
  • Mainz, N. (2018). Vocabulary knowledge and learning: Individual differences in adult native speakers. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Mamus, E., & Karadöller, D. Z. (2018). Anıları Zihinde Canlandırma [Imagery in autobiographical memories]. In S. Gülgöz, B. Ece, & S. Öner (Eds.), Hayatı Hatırlamak: Otobiyografik Belleğe Bilimsel Yaklaşımlar [Remembering Life: Scientific Approaches to Autobiographical Memory] (pp. 185-200). Istanbul, Turkey: Koç University Press.
  • Misersky, J., Majid, A., & Snijders, T. M. (2018). Grammatical gender in German influences how role-nouns are interpreted: Evidence from ERPs. Discourse Processes. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2018.1541382.

    Abstract

    Grammatically masculine role-nouns (e.g., Studentenmasc.‘students’) can refer to men and women but may favor an interpretation where only men are considered the referent. If true, this has implications for a society aiming to achieve equal representation in the workplace since, for example, job adverts use such role descriptions. To investigate the interpretation of role-nouns, the present ERP study assessed grammatical gender processing in German. Twenty participants read sentences where a role-noun (masculine or feminine) introduced a group of people, followed by a congruent (masculine–men, feminine–women) or incongruent (masculine–women, feminine–men) continuation. Both for feminine-men and masculine-women continuations a P600 (500 to 800 ms) was observed; another positivity was already present from 300 to 500 ms for feminine-men continuations but critically not for masculine-women continuations. The results imply a male-biased rather than gender-neutral interpretation of the masculine—despite widespread usage of the masculine as a gender-neutral form—suggesting that masculine forms are inadequate for representing genders equally.
  • Ostarek, M. (2018). Envisioning language: An exploration of perceptual processes in language comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Ostarek, M., Ishag, I., Joosen, D., & Huettig, F. (2018). Saccade trajectories reveal dynamic interactions of semantic and spatial information during the processing of implicitly spatial words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44(10), 1658-1670. doi:10.1037/xlm0000536.

    Abstract

    Implicit up/down words, such as bird and foot, systematically influence performance on visual tasks involving immediately following targets in compatible vs. incompatible locations. Recent studies have observed that the semantic relation between prime words and target pictures can strongly influence the size and even the direction of the effect: Semantically related targets are processed faster in congruent vs. incongruent locations (location-specific priming), whereas unrelated targets are processed slower in congruent locations. Here, we used eye-tracking to investigate the moment-to-moment processes underlying this pattern. Our reaction time results for related targets replicated the location-specific priming effect and showed a trend towards interference for unrelated targets. We then used growth curve analysis to test how up/down words and their match vs. mismatch with immediately following targets in terms of semantics and vertical location influences concurrent saccadic eye movements. There was a strong main effect of spatial association on linear growth with up words biasing changes in y-coordinates over time upwards relative to down words (and vice versa). Similar to the RT data, this effect was strongest for semantically related targets and reversed for unrelated targets. Intriguingly, all conditions showed a bias in the congruent direction in the initial stage of the saccade. Then, at around halfway into the saccade the effect kept increasing in the semantically related condition, and reversed in the unrelated condition. These results suggest that online processing of up/down words triggers direction-specific oculomotor processes that are dynamically modulated by the semantic relation between prime words and targets.
  • Piepers, J., & Redl, T. (2018). Gender-mismatching pronouns in context: The interpretation of possessive pronouns in Dutch and Limburgian. In B. Le Bruyn, & J. Berns (Eds.), Linguistics in the Netherlands 2018 (pp. 97-110). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Gender-(mis)matching pronouns have been studied extensively in experiments. However, a phenomenon common to various languages has thus far been overlooked: the systemic use of non-feminine pronouns when referring to female individuals. The present study is the first to provide experimental insights into the interpretation of such a pronoun: Limburgian zien ‘his/its’ and Dutch zijn ‘his/its’ are grammatically ambiguous between masculine and neuter, but while Limburgian zien can refer to women, the Dutch equivalent zijn cannot. Employing an acceptability judgment task, we presented speakers of Limburgian (N = 51) with recordings of sentences in Limburgian featuring zien, and speakers of Dutch (N = 52) with Dutch translations of these sentences featuring zijn. All sentences featured a potential male or female antecedent embedded in a stereotypically male or female context. We found that ratings were higher for sentences in which the pronoun could refer back to the antecedent. For Limburgians, this extended to sentences mentioning female individuals. Context further modulated sentence appreciation. Possible mechanisms regarding the interpretation of zien as coreferential with a female individual will be discussed.
  • Popov, V., Ostarek, M., & Tenison, C. (2018). Practices and pitfalls in inferring neural representations. NeuroImage, 174, 340-351. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.041.

    Abstract

    A key challenge for cognitive neuroscience is deciphering the representational schemes of the brain. Stimulus-feature-based encoding models are becoming increasingly popular for inferring the dimensions of neural representational spaces from stimulus-feature spaces. We argue that such inferences are not always valid because successful prediction can occur even if the two representational spaces use different, but correlated, representational schemes. We support this claim with three simulations in which we achieved high prediction accuracy despite systematic differences in the geometries and dimensions of the underlying representations. Detailed analysis of the encoding models' predictions showed systematic deviations from ground-truth, indicating that high prediction accuracy is insufficient for making representational inferences. This fallacy applies to the prediction of actual neural patterns from stimulus-feature spaces and we urge caution in inferring the nature of the neural code from such methods. We discuss ways to overcome these inferential limitations, including model comparison, absolute model performance, visualization techniques and attentional modulation.
  • Raviv, L., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (2018). The role of community size in the emergence of linguistic structure. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG XII) (pp. 402-404). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.096.
  • Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2018). The developmental trajectory of children’s auditory and visual statistical learning abilities: Modality-based differences in the effect of age. Developmental Science, 21(4): e12593. doi:10.1111/desc.12593.

    Abstract

    Infants, children and adults are capable of extracting recurring patterns from their environment through statistical learning (SL), an implicit learning mechanism that is considered to have an important role in language acquisition. Research over the past 20 years has shown that SL is present from very early infancy and found in a variety of tasks and across modalities (e.g., auditory, visual), raising questions on the domain generality of SL. However, while SL is well established for infants and adults, only little is known about its developmental trajectory during childhood, leaving two important questions unanswered: (1) Is SL an early-maturing capacity that is fully developed in infancy, or does it improve with age like other cognitive capacities (e.g., memory)? and (2) Will SL have similar developmental trajectories across modalities? Only few studies have looked at SL across development, with conflicting results: some find age-related improvements while others do not. Importantly, no study to date has examined auditory SL across childhood, nor compared it to visual SL to see if there are modality-based differences in the developmental trajectory of SL abilities. We addressed these issues by conducting a large-scale study of children's performance on matching auditory and visual SL tasks across a wide age range (5–12y). Results show modality-based differences in the development of SL abilities: while children's learning in the visual domain improved with age, learning in the auditory domain did not change in the tested age range. We examine these findings in light of previous studies and discuss their implications for modality-based differences in SL and for the role of auditory SL in language acquisition. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kg35hoF0pw.

    Supplementary material

    Video abstract of the article

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