Displaying 1 - 57 of 57
  • 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.
  • Favier, S., Wright, A., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2019). Proficiency modulates between- but not within-language structural priming. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 3(suppl. 1), 105-124. doi:10.1007/s41809-019-00029-1.

    Abstract

    The oldest of the Celtic language family, Irish differs considerably from English, notably with respect to word order and case marking. In spite of differences in surface constituent structure, less restricted accounts of bilingual shared syntax predict that processing datives and passives in Irish should prime the production of their English equivalents. Furthermore, this cross-linguistic influence should be sensitive to L2 proficiency, if shared structural representations are assumed to develop over time. In Experiment 1, we investigated cross-linguistic structural priming from Irish to English in 47 bilingual adolescents who are educated through Irish. Testing took place in a classroom setting, using written primes and written sentence generation. We found that priming for prepositional-object (PO) datives was predicted by self-rated Irish (L2) proficiency, in line with previous studies. In Experiment 2, we presented translations of the materials to an English-educated control group (n=54). We found a within-language priming effect for PO datives, which was not modulated by English (L1) proficiency. Our findings are compatible with current theories of bilingual language processing and L2 syntactic acquisition.
  • 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.
  • Gilbers, S., Hoeksema, N., De Bot, K., & Lowie, W. (2019). Regional variation in West and East Coast African-American English prosody and rap flows. Language and Speech. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0023830919881479.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • 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
  • Kaufeld, G., Naumann, W., Meyer, A. S., Bosker, H. R., & Martin, A. E. (2019). Contextual speech rate influences morphosyntactic prediction and integration. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1701691.

    Abstract

    Understanding spoken language requires the integration and weighting of multiple cues, and may call on cue integration mechanisms that have been studied in other areas of perception. In the current study, we used eye-tracking (visual-world paradigm) to examine how contextual speech rate (a lower-level, perceptual cue) and morphosyntactic knowledge (a higher-level, linguistic cue) are iteratively combined and integrated. Results indicate that participants used contextual rate information immediately, which we interpret as evidence of perceptual inference and the generation of predictions about upcoming morphosyntactic information. Additionally, we observed that early rate effects remained active in the presence of later conflicting lexical information. This result demonstrates that (1) contextual speech rate functions as a cue to morphosyntactic inferences, even in the presence of subsequent disambiguating information; and (2) listeners iteratively use multiple sources of information to draw inferences and generate predictions during speech comprehension. We discuss the implication of these demonstrations for theories of language processing
  • 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.
  • Mamus, E., Rissman, L., Majid, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2019). Effects of blindfolding on verbal and gestural expression of path in auditory motion events. In A. K. Goel, C. M. Seifert, & C. C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 2275-2281). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Studies have claimed that blind people’s spatial representations are different from sighted people, and blind people display superior auditory processing. Due to the nature of auditory and haptic information, it has been proposed that blind people have spatial representations that are more sequential than sighted people. Even the temporary loss of sight—such as through blindfolding—can affect spatial representations, but not much research has been done on this topic. We compared blindfolded and sighted people’s linguistic spatial expressions and non-linguistic localization accuracy to test how blindfolding affects the representation of path in auditory motion events. We found that blindfolded people were as good as sighted people when localizing simple sounds, but they outperformed sighted people when localizing auditory motion events. Blindfolded people’s path related speech also included more sequential, and less holistic elements. Our results indicate that even temporary loss of sight influences spatial representations of auditory motion events
  • 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.
  • Maslowski, M. (2019). Fast speech can sound slow: Effects of contextual speech rate on word recognition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • 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.
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). Bridging the gap between second language acquisition research and memory science: The case of foreign language attrition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13: 397. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00397.

    Abstract

    The field of second language acquisition (SLA) is by nature of its subject a highly interdisciplinary area of research. Learning a (foreign) language, for example, involves encoding new words, consolidating and committing them to long-term memory, and later retrieving them. All of these processes have direct parallels in the domain of human memory and have been thoroughly studied by researchers in that field. Yet, despite these clear links, the two fields have largely developed in parallel and in isolation from one another. The present paper aims to promote more cross-talk between SLA and memory science. We focus on foreign language (FL) attrition as an example of a research topic in SLA where the parallels with memory science are especially apparent. We discuss evidence that suggests that competition between languages is one of the mechanisms of FL attrition, paralleling the interference process thought to underlie forgetting in other domains of human memory. Backed up by concrete suggestions, we advocate the use of paradigms from the memory literature to study these interference effects in the language domain. In doing so, we hope to facilitate future cross-talk between the two fields, and to further our understanding of FL attrition as a memory phenomenon.
  • Misersky, J., Majid, A., & Snijders, T. M. (2019). Grammatical gender in German influences how role-nouns are interpreted: Evidence from ERPs. Discourse Processes, 56(8), 643-654. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2018.1541382.

    Abstract

    Grammatically masculine role-nouns (e.g., Studenten-masc.‘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 masculine forms are inadequate for representing genders equally.
  • 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.
  • 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. (2019). 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. Advance online publication. doi:10.1098/rstb.2018.0522.

    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.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Coopmans, C. W., & Sommers, R. P. (2019). Distinguishing old from new referents during discourse comprehension: Evidence from ERPs and oscillations. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13: 398. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00398.

    Abstract

    In this EEG study, we used pre-registered and exploratory ERP and time-frequency analyses to investigate the resolution of anaphoric and non-anaphoric noun phrases during discourse comprehension. Participants listened to story contexts that described two antecedents, and subsequently read a target sentence with a critical noun phrase that lexically matched one antecedent (‘old’), matched two antecedents (‘ambiguous’), partially matched one antecedent in terms of semantic features (‘partial-match’), or introduced another referent (non-anaphoric, ‘new’). After each target sentence, participants judged whether the noun referred back to an antecedent (i.e., an ‘old/new’ judgment), which was easiest for ambiguous nouns and hardest for partially matching nouns. The noun-elicited N400 ERP component demonstrated initial sensitivity to repetition and semantic overlap, corresponding to repetition and semantic priming effects, respectively. New and partially matching nouns both elicited a subsequent frontal positivity, which suggested that partially matching anaphors may have been processed as new nouns temporarily. ERPs in an even later time window and ERPs time-locked to sentence-final words suggested that new and partially matching nouns had different effects on comprehension, with partially matching nouns incurring additional processing costs up to the end of the sentence. In contrast to the ERP results, the time-frequency results primarily demonstrated sensitivity to noun repetition, and did not differentiate partially matching anaphors from new nouns. In sum, our results show the ERP and time-frequency effects of referent repetition during discourse comprehension, and demonstrate the potentially demanding nature of establishing the anaphoric meaning of a novel noun.
  • 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.
  • Parhammer*, S. I., Ebersberg*, M., Tippmann*, J., Stärk*, K., Opitz, A., Hinger, B., & Rossi, S. (2019). The influence of distraction on speech processing: How selective is selective attention? In Proceedings of Interspeech 2019 (pp. 3093-3097). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2699.

    Abstract

    -* indicates shared first authorship - The present study investigated the effects of selective attention on the processing of morphosyntactic errors in unattended parts of speech. Two groups of German native (L1) speakers participated in the present study. Participants listened to sentences in which irregular verbs were manipulated in three different conditions (correct, incorrect but attested ablaut pattern, incorrect and crosslinguistically unattested ablaut pattern). In order to track fast dynamic neural reactions to the stimuli, electroencephalography was used. After each sentence, participants in Experiment 1 performed a semantic judgement task, which deliberately distracted the participants from the syntactic manipulations and directed their attention to the semantic content of the sentence. In Experiment 2, participants carried out a syntactic judgement task, which put their attention on the critical stimuli. The use of two different attentional tasks allowed for investigating the impact of selective attention on speech processing and whether morphosyntactic processing steps are performed automatically. In Experiment 2, the incorrect attested condition elicited a larger N400 component compared to the correct condition, whereas in Experiment 1 no differences between conditions were found. These results suggest that the processing of morphosyntactic violations in irregular verbs is not entirely automatic but seems to be strongly affected by selective attention.
  • 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.
  • Postema, M., Van Rooij, D., Anagnostou, E., Arango, C., Auzias, G., Behrmann, M., Busatto Filho, G., Calderoni, S., Calvo, R., Daly, E., Deruelle, C., Di Martino, A., Dinstein, I., Duran, F. L. S., Durston, S., Ecker, C., Ehrlich, S., Fair, D., Fedor, J., Feng, X. and 38 morePostema, M., Van Rooij, D., Anagnostou, E., Arango, C., Auzias, G., Behrmann, M., Busatto Filho, G., Calderoni, S., Calvo, R., Daly, E., Deruelle, C., Di Martino, A., Dinstein, I., Duran, F. L. S., Durston, S., Ecker, C., Ehrlich, S., Fair, D., Fedor, J., Feng, X., Fitzgerald, J., Floris, D. L., Freitag, C. M., Gallagher, L., Glahn, D. C., Gori, I., Haar, S., Hoekstra, L., Jahanshad, N., Jalbrzikowski, M., Janssen, J., King, J. A., Kong, X., Lazaro, L., Lerch, J. P., Luna, B., Martinho, M. M., McGrath, J., Medland, S. E., Muratori, F., Murphy, C. M., Murphy, D. G. M., O'Hearn, K., Oranje, B., Parellada, M., Puig, O., Retico, A., Rosa, P., Rubia, K., Shook, D., Taylor, M., Tosetti, M., Wallace, G. L., Zhou, F., Thompson, P., Fisher, S. E., Buitelaar, J. K., & Francks, C. (2019). Altered structural brain asymmetry in autism spectrum disorder in a study of 54 datasets. Nature Communications, 10: 4958. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13005-8.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary Information
  • 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.
  • Rodd, J., Bosker, H. R., Ernestus, M., Alday, P. M., Meyer, A. S., & Ten Bosch, L. (2019). Control of speaking rate is achieved by switching between qualitatively distinct cognitive ‘gaits’: Evidence from simulation. Psychological Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/rev0000172.

    Abstract

    That speakers can vary their speaking rate is evident, but how they accomplish this has hardly been studied. Consider this analogy: When walking, speed can be continuously increased, within limits, but to speed up further, humans must run. Are there multiple qualitatively distinct speech “gaits” that resemble walking and running? Or is control achieved by continuous modulation of a single gait? This study investigates these possibilities through simulations of a new connectionist computational model of the cognitive process of speech production, EPONA, that borrows from Dell, Burger, and Svec’s (1997) model. The model has parameters that can be adjusted to fit the temporal characteristics of speech at different speaking rates. We trained the model on a corpus of disyllabic Dutch words produced at different speaking rates. During training, different clusters of parameter values (regimes) were identified for different speaking rates. In a 1-gait system, the regimes used to achieve fast and slow speech are qualitatively similar, but quantitatively different. In a multiple gait system, there is no linear relationship between the parameter settings associated with each gait, resulting in an abrupt shift in parameter values to move from speaking slowly to speaking fast. After training, the model achieved good fits in all three speaking rates. The parameter settings associated with each speaking rate were not linearly related, suggesting the presence of cognitive gaits. Thus, we provide the first computationally explicit account of the ability to modulate the speech production system to achieve different speaking styles.

    Supplementary material

    Supplemental material
  • 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
  • Satizabal, C. L., Adams, H. H. H., Hibar, D. P., White, C. C., Knol, M. J., Stein, J. L., Scholz, M., Sargurupremraj, M., Jahanshad, N., Roshchupkin, G. V., Smith, A. V., Bis, J. C., Jian, X., Luciano, M., Hofer, E., Teumer, A., Van der Lee, S. J., Yang, J., Yanek, L. R., Lee, T. V. and 271 moreSatizabal, C. L., Adams, H. H. H., Hibar, D. P., White, C. C., Knol, M. J., Stein, J. L., Scholz, M., Sargurupremraj, M., Jahanshad, N., Roshchupkin, G. V., Smith, A. V., Bis, J. C., Jian, X., Luciano, M., Hofer, E., Teumer, A., Van der Lee, S. J., Yang, J., Yanek, L. R., Lee, T. V., Li, S., Hu, Y., Koh, J. Y., Eicher, J. D., Desrivières, S., Arias-Vasquez, A., Chauhan, G., Athanasiu, L., Renteria, M. E., Kim, S., Höhn, D., Armstrong, N. J., Chen, Q., Holmes, A. J., Den Braber, A., Kloszewska, I., Andersson, M., Espeseth, T., Grimm, O., Abramovic, L., Alhusaini, S., Milaneschi, Y., Papmeyer, M., Axelsson, T., Ehrlich, S., Roiz-Santiañez, R., Kraemer, B., Håberg, A. K., Jones, H. J., Pike, G. B., Stein, D. J., Stevens, A., Bralten, J., Vernooij, M. W., Harris, T. B., Filippi, I., Witte, A. V., Guadalupe, T., Wittfeld, K., Mosley, T. H., Becker, J. T., Doan, N. T., Hagenaars, S. P., Saba, Y., Cuellar-Partida, G., Amin, N., Hilal, S., Nho, K., Karbalai, N., Arfanakis, K., Becker, D. M., Ames, D., Goldman, A. L., Lee, P. H., Boomsma, D. I., Lovestone, S., Giddaluru, S., Le Hellard, S., Mattheisen, M., Bohlken, M. M., Kasperaviciute, D., Schmaal, L., Lawrie, S. M., Agartz, I., Walton, E., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Davies, G. E., Shin, J., Ipser, J. C., Vinke, L. N., Hoogman, M., Jia, T., Burkhardt, R., Klein, M., Crivello, F., Janowitz, D., Carmichael, O., Haukvik, U. K., Aribisala, B. S., Schmidt, H., Strike, L. T., Cheng, C.-Y., Risacher, S. L., Pütz, B., Fleischman, D. A., Assareh, A. A., Mattay, V. S., Buckner, R. L., Mecocci, P., Dale, A. M., Cichon, S., Boks, M. P., Matarin, M., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Calhoun, V. D., Chakravarty, M. M., Marquand, A., Macare, C., Masouleh, S. K., Oosterlaan, J., Amouyel, P., Hegenscheid, K., Rotter, J. I., Schork, A. J., Liewald, D. C. M., De Zubicaray, G. I., Wong, T. Y., Shen, L., Sämann, P. G., Brodaty, H., Roffman, J. L., De Geus, E. J. C., Tsolaki, M., Erk, S., Van Eijk, K. R., Cavalleri, G. L., Van der Wee, N. J. A., McIntosh, A. M., Gollub, R. L., Bulayeva, K. B., Bernard, M., Richards, J. S., Himali, J. J., Loeffler, M., Rommelse, N., Hoffmann, W., Westlye, L. T., Valdés Hernández, M. C., Hansell, N. K., Van Erp, T. G. M., Wolf, C., Kwok, J. B. J., Vellas, B., Heinz, A., Olde Loohuis, L. M., Delanty, N., Ho, B.-C., Ching, C. R. K., Shumskaya, E., Singh, B., Hofman, A., Van der Meer, D., Homuth, G., Psaty, B. M., Bastin, M., Montgomery, G. W., Foroud, T. M., Reppermund, S., Hottenga, J.-J., Simmons, A., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Cahn, W., Whelan, C. D., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Yang, Q., Hosten, N., Green, R. C., Thalamuthu, A., Mohnke, S., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Lin, H., Jack Jr., C. R., Schofield, P. R., Mühleisen, T. W., Maillard, P., Potkin, S. G., Wen, W., Fletcher, E., Toga, A. W., Gruber, O., Huentelman, M., Smith, G. D., Launer, L. J., Nyberg, L., Jönsson, E. G., Crespo-Facorro, B., Koen, N., Greve, D., Uitterlinden, A. G., Weinberger, D. R., Steen, V. M., Fedko, I. O., Groenewold, N. A., Niessen, W. J., Toro, R., Tzourio, C., Longstreth Jr., W. T., Ikram, M. K., Smoller, J. W., Van Tol, M.-J., Sussmann, J. E., Paus, T., Lemaître, H., Schroeter, M. L., Mazoyer, B., Andreassen, O. A., Holsboer, F., Depondt, C., Veltman, D. J., Turner, J. A., Pausova, Z., Schumann, G., Van Rooij, D., Djurovic, S., Deary, I. J., McMahon, K. L., Müller-Myhsok, B., Brouwer, R. M., Soininen, H., Pandolfo, M., Wassink, T. H., Cheung, J. W., Wolfers, T., Martinot, J.-L., Zwiers, M. P., Nauck, M., Melle, I., Martin, N. G., Kanai, R., Westman, E., Kahn, R. S., Sisodiya, S. M., White, T., Saremi, A., Van Bokhoven, H., Brunner, H. G., Völzke, H., Wright, M. J., Van 't Ent, D., Nöthen, M. M., Ophoff, R. A., Buitelaar, J. K., Fernández, G., Sachdev, P. S., Rietschel, M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Fisher, S. E., Beiser, A. S., Francks, C., Saykin, A. J., Mather, K. A., Romanczuk-Seiferth, N., Hartman, C. A., DeStefano, A. L., Heslenfeld, D. J., Weiner, M. W., Walter, H., Hoekstra, P. J., Nyquist, P. A., Franke, B., Bennett, D. A., Grabe, H. J., Johnson, A. D., Chen, C., Van Duijn, C. M., Lopez, O. L., Fornage, M., Wardlaw, J. A., Schmidt, R., DeCarli, C., De Jager, P. L., Villringer, A., Debette, S., Gudnason, V., Medland, S. E., Shulman, J. M., Thompson, P. M., Seshadri, S., & Ikram, M. A. (2019). Genetic architecture of subcortical brain structures in 38,854 individuals worldwide. Nature Genetics, 51, 1624-1636. doi:10.1038/s41588-019-0511-y.

    Abstract

    Subcortical brain structures are integral to motion, consciousness, emotions and learning. We identified common genetic variation related to the volumes of the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, brainstem, caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, putamen and thalamus, using genome-wide association analyses in almost 40,000 individuals from CHARGE, ENIGMA and UK Biobank. We show that variability in subcortical volumes is heritable, and identify 48 significantly associated loci (40 novel at the time of analysis). Annotation of these loci by utilizing gene expression, methylation and neuropathological data identified 199 genes putatively implicated in neurodevelopment, synaptic signaling, axonal transport, apoptosis, inflammation/infection and susceptibility to neurological disorders. This set of genes is significantly enriched for Drosophila orthologs associated with neurodevelopmental phenotypes, suggesting evolutionarily conserved mechanisms. Our findings uncover novel biology and potential drug targets underlying brain development and disease.
  • 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. and 18 moreSnijders 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.
  • Sollis, E. (2019). A network of interacting proteins disrupted in language-related disorders. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • 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.
  • Terband, H., Rodd, J., & Maas, E. (2019). Testing hypotheses about the underlying deficit of Apraxia of Speech (AOS) through computational neural modelling with the DIVA model. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/17549507.2019.1669711.

    Abstract

    Purpose: A recent behavioural experiment featuring a noise masking paradigm suggests that Apraxia of Speech (AOS) reflects a disruption of feedforward control, whereas feedback control is spared and plays a more prominent role in achieving and maintaining segmental contrasts. The present study set out to validate the interpretation of AOS as a possible feedforward impairment using computational neural modelling with the DIVA (Directions Into Velocities of Articulators) model. Method: In a series of computational simulations with the DIVA model featuring a noise-masking paradigm mimicking the behavioural experiment, we investigated the effect of a feedforward, feedback, feedforward + feedback, and an upper motor neuron dysarthria impairment on average vowel spacing and dispersion in the production of six/bVt/speech targets. Result: The simulation results indicate that the output of the model with the simulated feedforward deficit resembled the group findings for the human speakers with AOS best. Conclusion: These results provide support to the interpretation of the human observations, corroborating the notion that AOS can be conceptualised as a deficit in feedforward control.
  • Tilot, A. K., Vino, A., Kucera, K. S., Carmichael, D. A., Van den Heuvel, L., Den Hoed, J., Sidoroff-Dorso, A. V., Campbell, A., Porteous, D. J., St Pourcain, B., Van Leeuwen, T. M., Ward, J., Rouw, R., Simner, J., & Fisher, S. E. (2019). Investigating genetic links between grapheme-colour synaesthesia and neuropsychiatric traits. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences. Advance online publication. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0026.

    Abstract

    Synaesthesia is a neurological phenomenon affecting perception, where triggering stimuli (e.g. letters and numbers) elicit unusual secondary sensory experiences (e.g. colours). Family-based studies point to a role for genetic factors in the development of this trait. However, the contributions of common genomic variation to synaesthesia have not yet been investigated. Here, we present the SynGenes cohort, the largest genotyped collection of unrelated people with grapheme–colour synaesthesia (n = 723). Synaesthesia has been associated with a range of other neuropsychological traits, including enhanced memory and mental imagery, as well as greater sensory sensitivity. Motivated by the prior literature on putative trait overlaps, we investigated polygenic scores derived from published genome-wide scans of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), comparing our SynGenes cohort to 2181 non-synaesthetic controls. We found a very slight association between schizophrenia polygenic scores and synaesthesia (Nagelkerke's R2 = 0.0047, empirical p = 0.0027) and no significant association for scores related to ASD (Nagelkerke's R2 = 0.00092, empirical p = 0.54) or body mass index (R2 = 0.00058, empirical p = 0.60), included as a negative control. As sample sizes for studying common genomic variation continue to increase, genetic investigations of the kind reported here may yield novel insights into the shared biology between synaesthesia and other traits, to complement findings from neuropsychology and brain imaging.

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  • 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, 34(7), 916-935. 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, 26(5), 1675-1682. 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.

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