Displaying 1 - 88 of 88
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Highly proficient bilinguals maintain language-specific pragmatic constraints on pronouns: Evidence from speech and gesture. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 81-86). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The use of subject pronouns by bilingual speakers using both a pro-drop and a non-pro-drop language (e.g. Spanish heritage speakers in the USA) is a well-studied topic in research on cross-linguistic influence in language contact situations. Previous studies looking at bilinguals with different proficiency levels have yielded conflicting results on whether there is transfer from the non-pro-drop patterns to the pro-drop language. Additionally, previous research has focused on speech patterns only. In this paper, we study the two modalities of language, speech and gesture, and ask whether and how they reveal cross-linguistic influence on the use of subject pronouns in discourse. We focus on elicited narratives from heritage speakers of Turkish in the Netherlands, in both Turkish (pro-drop) and Dutch (non-pro-drop), as well as from monolingual control groups. The use of pronouns was not very common in monolingual Turkish narratives and was constrained by the pragmatic contexts, unlike in Dutch. Furthermore, Turkish pronouns were more likely to be accompanied by localized gestures than Dutch pronouns, presumably because pronouns in Turkish are pragmatically marked forms. We did not find any cross-linguistic influence in bilingual speech or gesture patterns, in line with studies (speech only) of highly proficient bilinguals. We therefore suggest that speech and gesture parallel each other not only in monolingual but also in bilingual production. Highly proficient heritage speakers who have been exposed to diverse linguistic and gestural patterns of each language from early on maintain monolingual patterns of pragmatic constraints on the use of pronouns multimodally.
  • Franken, M. K., Eisner, F., Schoffelen, J.-M., Acheson, D. J., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Audiovisual recalibration of vowel categories. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 655-658). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-122.

    Abstract

    One of the most daunting tasks of a listener is to map a continuous auditory stream onto known speech sound categories and lexical items. A major issue with this mapping problem is the variability in the acoustic realizations of sound categories, both within and across speakers. Past research has suggested listeners may use visual information (e.g., lipreading) to calibrate these speech categories to the current speaker. Previous studies have focused on audiovisual recalibration of consonant categories. The present study explores whether vowel categorization, which is known to show less sharply defined category boundaries, also benefit from visual cues. Participants were exposed to videos of a speaker pronouncing one out of two vowels, paired with audio that was ambiguous between the two vowels. After exposure, it was found that participants had recalibrated their vowel categories. In addition, individual variability in audiovisual recalibration is discussed. It is suggested that listeners’ category sharpness may be related to the weight they assign to visual information in audiovisual speech perception. Specifically, listeners with less sharp categories assign more weight to visual information during audiovisual speech recognition.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Effects of delayed language exposure on spatial language acquisition by signing children and adults. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 2372-2376). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Deaf children born to hearing parents are exposed to language input quite late, which has long-lasting effects on language production. Previous studies with deaf individuals mostly focused on linguistic expressions of motion events, which have several event components. We do not know if similar effects emerge in simple events such as descriptions of spatial configurations of objects. Moreover, previous data mainly come from late adult signers. There is not much known about language development of late signing children soon after learning sign language. We compared simple event descriptions of late signers of Turkish Sign Language (adults, children) to age-matched native signers. Our results indicate that while late signers in both age groups are native-like in frequency of expressing a relational encoding, they lag behind native signers in using morphologically complex linguistic forms compared to other simple forms. Late signing children perform similar to adults and thus showed no development over time.
  • Maslowski, M., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2017). Whether long-term tracking of speech rate affects perception depends on who is talking. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 586-590). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1517.

    Abstract

    Speech rate is known to modulate perception of temporally ambiguous speech sounds. For instance, a vowel may be perceived as short when the immediate speech context is slow, but as long when the context is fast. Yet, effects of long-term tracking of speech rate are largely unexplored. Two experiments tested whether long-term tracking of rate influences perception of the temporal Dutch vowel contrast /ɑ/-/a:/. In Experiment 1, one low-rate group listened to 'neutral' rate speech from talker A and to slow speech from talker B. Another high-rate group was exposed to the same neutral speech from A, but to fast speech from B. Between-group comparison of the 'neutral' trials revealed that the low-rate group reported a higher proportion of /a:/ in A's 'neutral' speech, indicating that A sounded faster when B was slow. Experiment 2 tested whether one's own speech rate also contributes to effects of long-term tracking of rate. Here, talker B's speech was replaced by playback of participants' own fast or slow speech. No evidence was found that one's own voice affected perception of talker A in larger speech contexts. These results carry implications for our understanding of the mechanisms involved in rate-dependent speech perception and of dialogue.
  • Popov, V., Ostarek, M., & Tenison, C. (2017). Inferential Pitfalls in Decoding Neural Representations. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 961-966). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    A key challenge for cognitive neuroscience is to decipher the representational schemes of the brain. A recent class of decoding algorithms for fMRI data, stimulus-feature-based encoding models, is 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 decoding can occur even if the neural representational space and the stimulus-feature space use different representational schemes. This can happen when there is a systematic mapping between them. In a simulation, we successfully decoded the binary representation of numbers from their decimal features. Since binary and decimal number systems use different representations, we cannot conclude that the binary representation encodes decimal features. The same argument applies to the decoding of 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.
  • Tsoukala, C., Frank, S. L., & Broersma, M. (2017). “He's pregnant": Simulating the confusing case of gender pronoun errors in L2 English. In Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 3392-3397). Austin, TX, USA: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Even advanced Spanish speakers of second language English tend to confuse the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’, often without even noticing their mistake (Lahoz, 1991). A study by AntónMéndez (2010) has indicated that a possible reason for this error is the fact that Spanish is a pro-drop language. In order to test this hypothesis, we used an extension of Dual-path (Chang, 2002), a computational cognitive model of sentence production, to simulate two models of bilingual speech production of second language English. One model had Spanish (ES) as a native language, whereas the other learned a Spanish-like language that used the pronoun at all times (non-pro-drop Spanish, NPD_ES). When tested on L2 English sentences, the bilingual pro-drop Spanish model produced significantly more gender pronoun errors, confirming that pronoun dropping could indeed be responsible for the gender confusion in natural language use as well.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2016). Pragmatic relativity: Gender and context affect the use of personal pronouns in discourse differentially across languages. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1295-1300). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Speakers use differential referring expressions in pragmatically appropriate ways to produce coherent narratives. Languages, however, differ in a) whether REs as arguments can be dropped and b) whether personal pronouns encode gender. We examine two languages that differ from each other in these two aspects and ask whether the co-reference context and the gender encoding options affect the use of REs differentially. We elicited narratives from Dutch and Turkish speakers about two types of three-person events, one including people of the same and the other of mixed-gender. Speakers re-introduced referents into the discourse with fuller forms (NPs) and maintained them with reduced forms (overt or null pronoun). Turkish speakers used pronouns mainly to mark emphasis and only Dutch speakers used pronouns differentially across the two types of videos. We argue that linguistic possibilities available in languages tune speakers into taking different principles into account to produce pragmatically coherent narratives
  • Croijmans, I., & Majid, A. (2016). Language does not explain the wine-specific memory advantage of wine experts. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 141-146). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Although people are poor at naming odors, naming a smell helps to remember that odor. Previous studies show wine experts have better memory for smells, and they also name smells differently than novices. Is wine experts’ odor memory is verbally mediated? And is the odor memory advantage that experts have over novices restricted to odors in their domain of expertise, or does it generalize? Twenty-four wine experts and 24 novices smelled wines, wine-related odors and common odors, and remembered these. Half the participants also named the smells. Wine experts had better memory for wines, but not for the other odors, indicating their memory advantage is restricted to wine. Wine experts named odors better than novices, but there was no relationship between experts’ ability to name odors and their memory for odors. This suggests experts’ odor memory advantage is not linguistically mediated, but may be the result of differential perceptual learning
  • Drozdova, P., Van Hout, R., & Scharenborg, O. (2016). Processing and adaptation to ambiguous sounds during the course of perceptual learning. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2811-2815). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2016-814.

    Abstract

    Listeners use their lexical knowledge to interpret ambiguous sounds, and retune their phonetic categories to include this ambiguous sound. Although there is ample evidence for lexically-guided retuning, the adaptation process is not fully understood. Using a lexical decision task with an embedded auditory semantic priming task, the present study investigates whether words containing an ambiguous sound are processed in the same way as “natural” words and whether adaptation to the ambiguous sound tends to equalize the processing of “ambiguous” and natural words. Analyses of the yes/no responses and reaction times to natural and “ambiguous” words showed that words containing an ambiguous sound were accepted as words less often and were processed slower than the same words without ambiguity. The difference in acceptance disappeared after exposure to approximately 15 ambiguous items. Interestingly, lower acceptance rates and slower processing did not have an effect on the processing of semantic information of the following word. However, lower acceptance rates of ambiguous primes predict slower reaction times of these primes, suggesting an important role of stimulus-specific characteristics in triggering lexically-guided perceptual learning.
  • Hendricks, I., Lefever, E., Croijmans, I., Majid, A., & Van den Bosch, A. (2016). Very quaffable and great fun: Applying NLP to wine reviews. In Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Vol 2 (pp. 306-312). Stroudsburg, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics.

    Abstract

    We automatically predict properties of wines on the basis of smell and flavor de- scriptions from experts’ wine reviews. We show wine experts are capable of describ- ing their smell and flavor experiences in wine reviews in a sufficiently consistent manner, such that we can use their descrip- tions to predict properties of a wine based solely on language. The experimental re- sults show promising F-scores when using lexical and semantic information to predict the color, grape variety, country of origin, and price of a wine. This demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that wine ex- perts’ reviews really are informative.
  • Janssen, R., Winter, B., Dediu, D., Moisik, S. R., & Roberts, S. G. (2016). Nonlinear biases in articulation constrain the design space of language. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/86.html.

    Abstract

    In Iterated Learning (IL) experiments, a participant’s learned output serves as the next participant’s learning input (Kirby et al., 2014). IL can be used to model cultural transmission and has indicated that weak biases can be amplified through repeated cultural transmission (Kirby et al., 2007). So, for example, structural language properties can emerge over time because languages come to reflect the cognitive constraints in the individuals that learn and produce the language. Similarly, we propose that languages may also reflect certain anatomical biases. Do sound systems adapt to the affordances of the articulation space induced by the vocal tract? The human vocal tract has inherent nonlinearities which might derive from acoustics and aerodynamics (cf. quantal theory, see Stevens, 1989) or biomechanics (cf. Gick & Moisik, 2015). For instance, moving the tongue anteriorly along the hard palate to produce a fricative does not result in large changes in acoustics in most cases, but for a small range there is an abrupt change from a perceived palato-alveolar [ʃ] to alveolar [s] sound (Perkell, 2012). Nonlinearities such as these might bias all human speakers to converge on a very limited set of phonetic categories, and might even be a basis for combinatoriality or phonemic ‘universals’. While IL typically uses discrete symbols, Verhoef et al. (2014) have used slide whistles to produce a continuous signal. We conducted an IL experiment with human subjects who communicated using a digital slide whistle for which the degree of nonlinearity is controlled. A single parameter (α) changes the mapping from slide whistle position (the ‘articulator’) to the acoustics. With α=0, the position of the slide whistle maps Bark-linearly to the acoustics. As α approaches 1, the mapping gets more double-sigmoidal, creating three plateaus where large ranges of positions map to similar frequencies. In more abstract terms, α represents the strength of a nonlinear (anatomical) bias in the vocal tract. Six chains (138 participants) of dyads were tested, each chain with a different, fixed α. Participants had to communicate four meanings by producing a continuous signal using the slide-whistle in a ‘director-matcher’ game, alternating roles (cf. Garrod et al., 2007). Results show that for high αs, subjects quickly converged on the plateaus. This quick convergence is indicative of a strong bias, repelling subjects away from unstable regions already within-subject. Furthermore, high αs lead to the emergence of signals that oscillate between two (out of three) plateaus. Because the sigmoidal spaces are spatially constrained, participants increasingly used the sequential/temporal dimension. As a result of this, the average duration of signals with high α was ~100ms longer than with low α. These oscillations could be an expression of a basis for phonemic combinatoriality. We have shown that it is possible to manipulate the magnitude of an articulator-induced non-linear bias in a slide whistle IL framework. The results suggest that anatomical biases might indeed constrain the design space of language. In particular, the signaling systems in our study quickly converged (within-subject) on the use of stable regions. While these conclusions were drawn from experiments using slide whistles with a relatively strong bias, weaker biases could possibly be amplified over time by repeated cultural transmission, and likely lead to similar outcomes.
  • Janssen, R., Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. R. (2016). Simple agents are able to replicate speech sounds using 3d vocal tract model. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/97.html.

    Abstract

    Many factors have been proposed to explain why groups of people use different speech sounds in their language. These range from cultural, cognitive, environmental (e.g., Everett, et al., 2015) to anatomical (e.g., vocal tract (VT) morphology). How could such anatomical properties have led to the similarities and differences in speech sound distributions between human languages? It is known that hard palate profile variation can induce different articulatory strategies in speakers (e.g., Brunner et al., 2009). That is, different hard palate profiles might induce a kind of bias on speech sound production, easing some types of sounds while impeding others. With a population of speakers (with a proportion of individuals) that share certain anatomical properties, even subtle VT biases might become expressed at a population-level (through e.g., bias amplification, Kirby et al., 2007). However, before we look into population-level effects, we should first look at within-individual anatomical factors. For that, we have developed a computer-simulated analogue for a human speaker: an agent. Our agent is designed to replicate speech sounds using a production and cognition module in a computationally tractable manner. Previous agent models have often used more abstract (e.g., symbolic) signals. (e.g., Kirby et al., 2007). We have equipped our agent with a three-dimensional model of the VT (the production module, based on Birkholz, 2005) to which we made numerous adjustments. Specifically, we used a 4th-order Bezier curve that is able to capture hard palate variation on the mid-sagittal plane (XXX, 2015). Using an evolutionary algorithm, we were able to fit the model to human hard palate MRI tracings, yielding high accuracy fits and using as little as two parameters. Finally, we show that the samples map well-dispersed to the parameter-space, demonstrating that the model cannot generate unrealistic profiles. We can thus use this procedure to import palate measurements into our agent’s production module to investigate the effects on acoustics. We can also exaggerate/introduce novel biases. Our agent is able to control the VT model using the cognition module. Previous research has focused on detailed neurocomputation (e.g., Kröger et al., 2014) that highlights e.g., neurobiological principles or speech recognition performance. However, the brain is not the focus of our current study. Furthermore, present-day computing throughput likely does not allow for large-scale deployment of these architectures, as required by the population model we are developing. Thus, the question whether a very simple cognition module is able to replicate sounds in a computationally tractable manner, and even generalize over novel stimuli, is one worthy of attention in its own right. Our agent’s cognition module is based on running an evolutionary algorithm on a large population of feed-forward neural networks (NNs). As such, (anatomical) bias strength can be thought of as an attractor basin area within the parameter-space the agent has to explore. The NN we used consists of a triple-layered (fully-connected), directed graph. The input layer (three neurons) receives the formants frequencies of a target-sound. The output layer (12 neurons) projects to the articulators in the production module. A hidden layer (seven neurons) enables the network to deal with nonlinear dependencies. The Euclidean distance (first three formants) between target and replication is used as fitness measure. Results show that sound replication is indeed possible, with Euclidean distance quickly approaching a close-to-zero asymptote. Statistical analysis should reveal if the agent can also: a) Generalize: Can it replicate sounds not exposed to during learning? b) Replicate consistently: Do different, isolated agents always converge on the same sounds? c) Deal with consolidation: Can it still learn new sounds after an extended learning phase (‘infancy’) has been terminated? Finally, a comparison with more complex models will be used to demonstrate robustness.
  • Lockwood, G., Hagoort, P., & Dingemanse, M. (2016). Synthesized Size-Sound Sound Symbolism. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1823-1828). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Studies of sound symbolism have shown that people can associate sound and meaning in consistent ways when presented with maximally contrastive stimulus pairs of nonwords such as bouba/kiki (rounded/sharp) or mil/mal (small/big). Recent work has shown the effect extends to antonymic words from natural languages and has proposed a role for shared cross-modal correspondences in biasing form-to-meaning associations. An important open question is how the associations work, and particularly what the role is of sound-symbolic matches versus mismatches. We report on a learning task designed to distinguish between three existing theories by using a spectrum of sound-symbolically matching, mismatching, and neutral (neither matching nor mismatching) stimuli. Synthesized stimuli allow us to control for prosody, and the inclusion of a neutral condition allows a direct test of competing accounts. We find evidence for a sound-symbolic match boost, but not for a mismatch difficulty compared to the neutral condition.
  • Rodd, J., & Chen, A. (2016). Pitch accents show a perceptual magnet effect: Evidence of internal structure in intonation categories. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 697-701).

    Abstract

    The question of whether intonation events have a categorical mental representation has long been a puzzle in prosodic research, and one that experiments testing production and perception across category boundaries have failed to definitively resolve. This paper takes the alternative approach of looking for evidence of structure within a postulated category by testing for a Perceptual Magnet Effect (PME). PME has been found in boundary tones but has not previously been conclusively found in pitch accents. In this investigation, perceived goodness and discriminability of re-synthesised Dutch nuclear rise contours (L*H H%) were evaluated by naive native speakers of Dutch. The variation between these stimuli was quantified using a polynomial-parametric modelling approach (i.e. the SOCoPaSul model) in place of the traditional approach whereby excursion size, peak alignment and pitch register are used independently of each other to quantify variation between pitch accents. Using this approach to calculate the acoustic-perceptual distance between different stimuli, PME was detected: (1) rated goodness, decreased as acoustic-perceptual distance relative to the prototype increased, and (2) equally spaced items far from the prototype were less frequently generalised than equally spaced items in the neighbourhood of the prototype. These results support the concept of categorically distinct intonation events.

    Supplementary material

    Link to Speech Prosody Website
  • Sumer, B., Perniss, P. M., & Ozyurek, A. (2016). Viewpoint preferences in signing children's spatial descriptions. In J. Scott, & D. Waughtal (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 40) (pp. 360-374). Boston, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Wnuk, E. (2016). Specificity at the basic level in event taxonomies: The case of Maniq verbs of ingestion. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 2687-2692). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Previous research on basic-level object categories shows there is cross-cultural variation in basic-level concepts, arguing against the idea that the basic level reflects an objective reality. In this paper, I extend the investigation to the domain of events. More specifically, I present a case study of verbs of ingestion in Maniq illustrating a highly specific categorization of ingestion events at the basic level. A detailed analysis of these verbs reveals they tap into culturally salient notions. Yet, cultural salience alone cannot explain specificity of basic-level verbs, since ingestion is a domain of universal human experience. Further analysis reveals, however, that another key factor is the language itself. Maniq’s preference for encoding specific meaning in basic-level verbs is not a peculiarity of one domain, but a recurrent characteristic of its verb lexicon, pointing to the significant role of the language system in the structure of event concepts
  • Croijmans, I., & Majid, A. (2015). Odor naming is difficult, even for wine and coffee experts. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 483-488). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2015/papers/0092/index.html.

    Abstract

    Odor naming is difficult for people, but recent cross-cultural research suggests this difficulty is culture-specific. Jahai speakers (hunter-gatherers from the Malay Peninsula) name odors as consistently as colors, and much better than English speakers (Majid & Burenhult, 2014). In Jahai the linguistic advantage for smells correlates with a cultural interest in odors. Here we ask whether sub-cultures in the West with odor expertise also show superior odor naming. We tested wine and coffee experts (who have specialized odor training) in an odor naming task. Both wine and coffee experts were no more accurate or consistent than novices when naming odors. Although there were small differences in naming strategies, experts and non-experts alike relied overwhelmingly on source-based descriptions. So the specific language experts speak continues to constrain their ability to express odors. This suggests expertise alone is not sufficient to overcome the limits of language in the domain of smell.
  • Drijvers, L., Zaadnoordijk, L., & Dingemanse, M. (2015). Sound-symbolism is disrupted in dyslexia: Implications for the role of cross-modal abstraction processes. In D. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 602-607). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Research into sound-symbolism has shown that people can consistently associate certain pseudo-words with certain referents; for instance, pseudo-words with rounded vowels and sonorant consonants are linked to round shapes, while pseudowords with unrounded vowels and obstruents (with a noncontinuous airflow), are associated with sharp shapes. Such sound-symbolic associations have been proposed to arise from cross-modal abstraction processes. Here we assess the link between sound-symbolism and cross-modal abstraction by testing dyslexic individuals’ ability to make sound-symbolic associations. Dyslexic individuals are known to have deficiencies in cross-modal processing. We find that dyslexic individuals are impaired in their ability to make sound-symbolic associations relative to the controls. Our results shed light on the cognitive underpinnings of sound-symbolism by providing novel evidence for the role —and disruptability— of cross-modal abstraction processes in sound-symbolic eects.
  • Franken, M. K., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Acheson, D. J. (2015). Assessing the link between speech perception and production through individual differences. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow: the University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This study aims to test a prediction of recent theoretical frameworks in speech motor control: if speech production targets are specified in auditory terms, people with better auditory acuity should have more precise speech targets. To investigate this, we had participants perform speech perception and production tasks in a counterbalanced order. To assess speech perception acuity, we used an adaptive speech discrimination task. To assess variability in speech production, participants performed a pseudo-word reading task; formant values were measured for each recording. We predicted that speech production variability to correlate inversely with discrimination performance. The results suggest that people do vary in their production and perceptual abilities, and that better discriminators have more distinctive vowel production targets, confirming our prediction. This study highlights the importance of individual differences in the study of speech motor control, and sheds light on speech production-perception interaction.
  • Janssen, R., Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2015). Bézier modelling and high accuracy curve fitting to capture hard palate variation. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow, UK: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    The human hard palate shows between-subject variation that is known to influence articulatory strategies. In order to link such variation to human speech, we are conducting a cross-sectional MRI study on multiple populations. A model based on Bezier curves using only three parameters was fitted to hard palate MRI tracings using evolutionary computation. The fits produced consistently yield high accuracies. For future research, this new method may be used to classify our MRI data on ethnic origins using e.g., cluster analyses. Furthermore, we may integrate our model into three-dimensional representations of the vocal tract in order to investigate its effect on acoustics and cultural transmission.
  • Koch, X., & Janse, E. (2015). Effects of age and hearing loss on articulatory precision for sibilants. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    This study investigates the effects of adult age and speaker abilities on articulatory precision for sibilant productions. Normal-hearing young adults with better sibilant discrimination have been shown to produce greater spectral sibilant contrasts. As reduced auditory feedback may gradually impact on feedforward commands, we investigate whether articulatory precision as indexed by spectral mean for [s] and [S] decreases with age, and more particularly with agerelated hearing loss. Younger, middle-aged and older adults read aloud words starting with the sibilants [s] or [S]. Possible effects of cognitive, perceptual, linguistic and sociolinguistic background variables on the sibilants’ acoustics were also investigated. Sibilant contrasts were less pronounced for male than female speakers. Most importantly, for the fricative [s], the spectral mean was modulated by individual high-frequency hearing loss, but not age. These results underscore that even mild hearing loss already affects articulatory precision.
  • Moers, C., Janse, E., & Meyer, A. S. (2015). Probabilistic reduction in reading aloud: A comparison of younger and older adults. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetics Association.

    Abstract

    Frequent and predictable words are generally pronounced with less effort and are therefore acoustically more reduced than less frequent or unpredictable words. Local predictability can be operationalised by Transitional Probability (TP), which indicates how likely a word is to occur given its immediate context. We investigated whether and how probabilistic reduction effects on word durations change with adult age when reading aloud content words embedded in sentences. The results showed equally large frequency effects on verb and noun durations for both younger (Mage = 20 years) and older (Mage = 68 years) adults. Backward TP also affected word duration for younger and older adults alike. ForwardTP, however, had no significant effect on word duration in either age group. Our results resemble earlier findings of more robust BackwardTP effects compared to ForwardTP effects. Furthermore, unlike often reported decline in predictive processing with aging, probabilistic reduction effects remain stable across adulthood.
  • Morano, L., Ernestus, M., & Ten Bosch, L. (2015). Schwa reduction in low-proficiency L2 speakers: Learning and generalization. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This paper investigated the learnability and generalizability of French schwa alternation by Dutch low-proficiency second language learners. We trained 40 participants on 24 new schwa words by exposing them equally often to the reduced and full forms of these words. We then assessed participants' accuracy and reaction times to these newly learnt words as well as 24 previously encountered schwa words with an auditory lexical decision task. Our results show learning of the new words in both forms. This suggests that lack of exposure is probably the main cause of learners' difficulties with reduced forms. Nevertheless, the full forms were slightly better recognized than the reduced ones, possibly due to phonetic and phonological properties of the reduced forms. We also observed no generalization to previously encountered words, suggesting that our participants stored both of the learnt word forms and did not create a rule that applies to all schwa words.
  • Neger, T. M., Rietveld, T., & Janse, E. (2015). Adult age effects in auditory statistical learning. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    Statistical learning plays a key role in language processing, e.g., for speech segmentation. Older adults have been reported to show less statistical learning on the basis of visual input than younger adults. Given age-related changes in perception and cognition, we investigated whether statistical learning is also impaired in the auditory modality in older compared to younger adults and whether individual learning ability is associated with measures of perceptual (i.e., hearing sensitivity) and cognitive functioning in both age groups. Thirty younger and thirty older adults performed an auditory artificial-grammar-learning task to assess their statistical learning ability. In younger adults, perceptual effort came at the cost of processing resources required for learning. Inhibitory control (as indexed by Stroop colornaming performance) did not predict auditory learning. Overall, younger and older adults showed the same amount of auditory learning, indicating that statistical learning ability is preserved over the adult life span.
  • Nijveld, A., Ten Bosch, L., & Ernestus, M. (2015). Exemplar effects arise in a lexical decision task, but only under adverse listening conditions. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This paper studies the influence of adverse listening conditions on exemplar effects in priming experiments that do not instruct participants to use their episodic memories. We conducted two lexical decision experiments, in which a prime and a target represented the same word type and could be spoken by the same or a different speaker. In Experiment 1, participants listened to clear speech, and showed no exemplar effects: they recognised repetitions by the same speaker as quickly as different speaker repetitions. In Experiment 2, the stimuli contained noise, and exemplar effects did arise. Importantly, Experiment 1 elicited longer average RTs than Experiment 2, a result that contradicts the time-course hypothesis, according to which exemplars only play a role when processing is slow. Instead, our findings support the hypothesis that exemplar effects arise under adverse listening conditions, when participants are stimulated to use their episodic memories in addition to their mental lexicons.
  • Schubotz, L., Holler, J., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). Age-related differences in multi-modal audience design: Young, but not old speakers, adapt speech and gestures to their addressee's knowledge. In G. Ferré, & M. Tutton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th GESPIN - Gesture & Speech in Interaction Conference (pp. 211-216). Nantes: Université of Nantes.

    Abstract

    Speakers can adapt their speech and co-speech gestures for addressees. Here, we investigate whether this ability is modulated by age. Younger and older adults participated in a comic narration task in which one participant (the speaker) narrated six short comic stories to another participant (the addressee). One half of each story was known to both participants, the other half only to the speaker. Younger but not older speakers used more words and gestures when narrating novel story content as opposed to known content. We discuss cognitive and pragmatic explanations of these findings and relate them to theories of gesture production.
  • Schuerman, W. L., Nagarajan, S., & Houde, J. (2015). Changes in consonant perception driven by adaptation of vowel production to altered auditory feedback. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congresses of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    Adaptation to altered auditory feedback has been shown to induce subsequent shifts in perception. However, it is uncertain whether these perceptual changes may generalize to other speech sounds. In this experiment, we tested whether exposing the production of a vowel to altered auditory feedback affects perceptual categorization of a consonant distinction. In two sessions, participants produced CVC words containing the vowel /i/, while intermittently categorizing stimuli drawn from a continuum between "see" and "she." In the first session feedback was unaltered, while in the second session the formants of the vowel were shifted 20% towards /u/. Adaptation to the altered vowel was found to reduce the proportion of perceived /S/ stimuli. We suggest that this reflects an alteration to the sensorimotor mapping that is shared between vowels and consonants.
  • Bergmann, C., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2014). A computational model of the headturn preference procedure: Design, challenges, and insights. In J. Mayor, & P. Gomez (Eds.), Computational Models of Cognitive Processes (pp. 125-136). World Scientific. doi:10.1142/9789814458849_0010.

    Abstract

    The Headturn Preference Procedure (HPP) is a frequently used method (e.g., Jusczyk & Aslin; and subsequent studies) to investigate linguistic abilities in infants. In this paradigm infants are usually first familiarised with words and then tested for a listening preference for passages containing those words in comparison to unrelated passages. Listening preference is defined as the time an infant spends attending to those passages with his or her head turned towards a flashing light and the speech stimuli. The knowledge and abilities inferred from the results of HPP studies have been used to reason about and formally model early linguistic skills and language acquisition. However, the actual cause of infants' behaviour in HPP experiments has been subject to numerous assumptions as there are no means to directly tap into cognitive processes. To make these assumptions explicit, and more crucially, to understand how infants' behaviour emerges if only general learning mechanisms are assumed, we introduce a computational model of the HPP. Simulations with the computational HPP model show that the difference in infant behaviour between familiarised and unfamiliar words in passages can be explained by a general learning mechanism and that many assumptions underlying the HPP are not necessarily warranted. We discuss the implications for conventional interpretations of the outcomes of HPP experiments.
  • Dolscheid, S., Willems, R. M., Hagoort, P., & Casasanto, D. (2014). The relation of space and musical pitch in the brain. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014) (pp. 421-426). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Numerous experiments show that space and musical pitch are closely linked in people's minds. However, the exact nature of space-pitch associations and their neuronal underpinnings are not well understood. In an fMRI experiment we investigated different types of spatial representations that may underlie musical pitch. Participants judged stimuli that varied in spatial height in both the visual and tactile modalities, as well as auditory stimuli that varied in pitch height. In order to distinguish between unimodal and multimodal spatial bases of musical pitch, we examined whether pitch activations were present in modality-specific (visual or tactile) versus multimodal (visual and tactile) regions active during spatial height processing. Judgments of musical pitch were found to activate unimodal visual areas, suggesting that space-pitch associations may involve modality-specific spatial representations, supporting a key assumption of embodied theories of metaphorical mental representation.
  • Drozdova, P., Van Hout, R., & Scharenborg, O. (2014). Phoneme category retuning in a non-native language. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2014: 15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 553-557).

    Abstract

    Previous studies have demonstrated that native listeners modify their interpretation of a speech sound when a talker produces an ambiguous sound in order to quickly tune into a speaker, but there is hardly any evidence that non-native listeners employ a similar mechanism when encountering ambiguous pronunciations. So far, one study demonstrated this lexically-guided perceptual learning effect for nonnatives, using phoneme categories similar in the native language of the listeners and the non-native language of the stimulus materials. The present study investigates the question whether phoneme category retuning is possible in a nonnative language for a contrast, /l/-/r/, which is phonetically differently embedded in the native (Dutch) and nonnative (English) languages involved. Listening experiments indeed showed a lexically-guided perceptual learning effect. Assuming that Dutch listeners have different phoneme categories for the native Dutch and non-native English /r/, as marked differences between the languages exist for /r/, these results, for the first time, seem to suggest that listeners are not only able to retune their native phoneme categories but also their non-native phoneme categories to include ambiguous pronunciations.
  • Heyselaar, E., Hagoort, P., & Segaert, K. (2014). In dialogue with an avatar, syntax production is identical compared to dialogue with a human partner. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014) (pp. 2351-2356). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The use of virtual reality (VR) as a methodological tool is becoming increasingly popular in behavioural research due to its seemingly limitless possibilities. This new method has not been used frequently in the field of psycholinguistics, however, possibly due to the assumption that humancomputer interaction does not accurately reflect human-human interaction. In the current study we compare participants’ language behaviour in a syntactic priming task with human versus avatar partners. Our study shows comparable priming effects between human and avatar partners (Human: 12.3%; Avatar: 12.6% for passive sentences) suggesting that VR is a valid platform for conducting language research and studying dialogue interactions.
  • Ortega, G., Sumer, B., & Ozyurek, A. (2014). Type of iconicity matters: Bias for action-based signs in sign language acquisition. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014) (pp. 1114-1119). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Early studies investigating sign language acquisition claimed that signs whose structures are motivated by the form of their referent (iconic) are not favoured in language development. However, recent work has shown that the first signs in deaf children’s lexicon are iconic. In this paper we go a step further and ask whether different types of iconicity modulate learning sign-referent links. Results from a picture description task indicate that children and adults used signs with two possible variants differentially. While children signing to adults favoured variants that map onto actions associated with a referent (action signs), adults signing to another adult produced variants that map onto objects’ perceptual features (perceptual signs). Parents interacting with children used more action variants than signers in adult-adult interactions. These results are in line with claims that language development is tightly linked to motor experience and that iconicity can be a communicative strategy in parental input.
  • Peeters, D., Azar, Z., & Ozyurek, A. (2014). The interplay between joint attention, physical proximity, and pointing gesture in demonstrative choice. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014) (pp. 1144-1149). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Schmidt, J., Janse, E., & Scharenborg, O. (2014). Age, hearing loss and the perception of affective utterances in conversational speech. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2014: 15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 1929-1933).

    Abstract

    This study investigates whether age and/or hearing loss influence the perception of the emotion dimensions arousal (calm vs. aroused) and valence (positive vs. negative attitude) in conversational speech fragments. Specifically, this study focuses on the relationship between participants' ratings of affective speech and acoustic parameters known to be associated with arousal and valence (mean F0, intensity, and articulation rate). Ten normal-hearing younger and ten older adults with varying hearing loss were tested on two rating tasks. Stimuli consisted of short sentences taken from a corpus of conversational affective speech. In both rating tasks, participants estimated the value of the emotion dimension at hand using a 5-point scale. For arousal, higher intensity was generally associated with higher arousal in both age groups. Compared to younger participants, older participants rated the utterances as less aroused, and showed a smaller effect of intensity on their arousal ratings. For valence, higher mean F0 was associated with more negative ratings in both age groups. Generally, age group differences in rating affective utterances may not relate to age group differences in hearing loss, but rather to other differences between the age groups, as older participants' rating patterns were not associated with their individual hearing loss.
  • Smith, A. C., Monaghan, P., & Huettig, F. (2014). A comprehensive model of spoken word recognition must be multimodal: Evidence from studies of language-mediated visual attention. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    When processing language, the cognitive system has access to information from a range of modalities (e.g. auditory, visual) to support language processing. Language mediated visual attention studies have shown sensitivity of the listener to phonological, visual, and semantic similarity when processing a word. In a computational model of language mediated visual attention, that models spoken word processing as the parallel integration of information from phonological, semantic and visual processing streams, we simulate such effects of competition within modalities. Our simulations raised untested predictions about stronger and earlier effects of visual and semantic similarity compared to phonological similarity around the rhyme of the word. Two visual world studies confirmed these predictions. The model and behavioral studies suggest that, during spoken word comprehension, multimodal information can be recruited rapidly to constrain lexical selection to the extent that phonological rhyme information may exert little influence on this process.
  • Smith, A. C., Monaghan, P., & Huettig, F. (2014). Examining strains and symptoms of the ‘Literacy Virus’: The effects of orthographic transparency on phonological processing in a connectionist model of reading. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The effect of literacy on phonological processing has been described in terms of a virus that “infects all speech processing” (Frith, 1998). Empirical data has established that literacy leads to changes to the way in which phonological information is processed. Harm & Seidenberg (1999) demonstrated that a connectionist network trained to map between English orthographic and phonological representations display’s more componential phonological processing than a network trained only to stably represent the phonological forms of words. Within this study we use a similar model yet manipulate the transparency of orthographic-to-phonological mappings. We observe that networks trained on a transparent orthography are better at restoring phonetic features and phonemes. However, networks trained on non-transparent orthographies are more likely to restore corrupted phonological segments with legal, coarser linguistic units (e.g. onset, coda). Our study therefore provides an explicit description of how differences in orthographic transparency can lead to varying strains and symptoms of the ‘literacy virus’.
  • Sumer, B., Perniss, P., Zwitserlood, I., & Ozyurek, A. (2014). Learning to express "left-right" & "front-behind" in a sign versus spoken language. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014) (pp. 1550-1555). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Developmental studies show that it takes longer for children learning spoken languages to acquire viewpointdependent spatial relations (e.g., left-right, front-behind), compared to ones that are not viewpoint-dependent (e.g., in, on, under). The current study investigates how children learn to express viewpoint-dependent relations in a sign language where depicted spatial relations can be communicated in an analogue manner in the space in front of the body or by using body-anchored signs (e.g., tapping the right and left hand/arm to mean left and right). Our results indicate that the visual-spatial modality might have a facilitating effect on learning to express these spatial relations (especially in encoding of left-right) in a sign language (i.e., Turkish Sign Language) compared to a spoken language (i.e., Turkish).
  • Zhou, W., & Broersma, M. (2014). Perception of birth language tone contrasts by adopted Chinese children. In C. Gussenhoven, Y. Chen, & D. Dediu (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Language (pp. 63-66).

    Abstract

    The present study investigates how long after adoption adoptees forget the phonology of their birth language. Chinese children who were adopted by Dutch families were tested on the perception of birth language tone contrasts before, during, and after perceptual training. Experiment 1 investigated Cantonese tone 2 (High-Rising) and tone 5 (Low-Rising), and Experiment 2 investigated Mandarin tone 2 (High-Rising) and tone 3 (Low-Dipping). In both experiments, participants were adoptees and non-adopted Dutch controls. Results of both experiments show that the tone contrasts were very difficult to perceive for the adoptees, and that adoptees were not better at perceiving the tone contrasts than their non-adopted Dutch peers, before or after training. This demonstrates that forgetting took place relatively soon after adoption, and that the re-exposure that the adoptees were presented with did not lead to an improvement greater than that of the Dutch control participants. Thus, the findings confirm what has been anecdotally reported by adoptees and their parents, but what had not been empirically tested before, namely that birth language forgetting occurs very soon after adoption
  • Dolscheid, S., Graver, C., & Casasanto, D. (2013). Spatial congruity effects reveal metaphors, not markedness. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 2213-2218). Austin,TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2013/papers/0405/index.html.

    Abstract

    Spatial congruity effects have often been interpreted as evidence for metaphorical thinking, but an alternative markedness-based account challenges this view. In two experiments, we directly compared metaphor and markedness explanations for spatial congruity effects, using musical pitch as a testbed. English speakers who talk about pitch in terms of spatial height were tested in speeded space-pitch compatibility tasks. To determine whether space-pitch congruency effects could be elicited by any marked spatial continuum, participants were asked to classify high- and low-frequency pitches as 'high' and 'low' or as 'front' and 'back' (both pairs of terms constitute cases of marked continuums). We found congruency effects in high/low conditions but not in front/back conditions, indicating that markedness is not sufficient to account for congruity effects (Experiment 1). A second experiment showed that congruency effects were specific to spatial words that cued a vertical schema (tall/short), and that congruity effects were not an artifact of polysemy (e.g., 'high' referring both to space and pitch). Together, these results suggest that congruency effects reveal metaphorical uses of spatial schemas, not markedness effects.
  • Gussenhoven, C., & Zhou, W. (2013). Revisiting pitch slope and height effects on perceived duration. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2013: 14th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 1365-1369).

    Abstract

    The shape of pitch contours has been shown to have an effect on the perceived duration of vowels. For instance, vowels with high level pitch and vowels with falling contours sound longer than vowels with low level pitch. Depending on whether the comparison is between level pitches or between level and dynamic contours, these findings have been interpreted in two ways. For inter-level comparisons, where the duration results are the reverse of production results, a hypercorrection strategy in production has been proposed [1]. By contrast, for comparisons between level pitches and dynamic contours, the longer production data for dynamic contours have been held responsible. We report an experiment with Dutch and Chinese listeners which aimed to show that production data and perception data are each other’s opposites for high, low, falling and rising contours. We explain the results, which are consistent with earlier findings, in terms of the compensatory listening strategy of [2], arguing that the perception effects are due to a perceptual compensation of articulatory strategies and constraints, rather than that differences in production compensate for psycho-acoustic perception effects.
  • Holler, J., Schubotz, L., Kelly, S., Schuetze, M., Hagoort, P., & Ozyurek, A. (2013). Here's not looking at you, kid! Unaddressed recipients benefit from co-speech gestures when speech processing suffers. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, I. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 2560-2565). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2013/papers/0463/index.html.

    Abstract

    In human face-to-face communication, language comprehension is a multi-modal, situated activity. However, little is known about how we combine information from these different modalities, and how perceived communicative intentions, often signaled through visual signals, such as eye gaze, may influence this processing. We address this question by simulating a triadic communication context in which a speaker alternated her gaze between two different recipients. Participants thus viewed speech-only or speech+gesture object-related utterances when being addressed (direct gaze) or unaddressed (averted gaze). Two object images followed each message and participants’ task was to choose the object that matched the message. Unaddressed recipients responded significantly slower than addressees for speech-only utterances. However, perceiving the same speech accompanied by gestures sped them up to a level identical to that of addressees. That is, when speech processing suffers due to not being addressed, gesture processing remains intact and enhances the comprehension of a speaker’s message
  • Peeters, D., Chu, M., Holler, J., Ozyurek, A., & Hagoort, P. (2013). Getting to the point: The influence of communicative intent on the kinematics of pointing gestures. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 1127-1132). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    In everyday communication, people not only use speech but also hand gestures to convey information. One intriguing question in gesture research has been why gestures take the specific form they do. Previous research has identified the speaker-gesturer’s communicative intent as one factor shaping the form of iconic gestures. Here we investigate whether communicative intent also shapes the form of pointing gestures. In an experimental setting, twenty-four participants produced pointing gestures identifying a referent for an addressee. The communicative intent of the speakergesturer was manipulated by varying the informativeness of the pointing gesture. A second independent variable was the presence or absence of concurrent speech. As a function of their communicative intent and irrespective of the presence of speech, participants varied the durations of the stroke and the post-stroke hold-phase of their gesture. These findings add to our understanding of how the communicative context influences the form that a gesture takes.
  • Piai, V., Roelofs, A., Jensen, O., Schoffelen, J.-M., & Bonnefond, M. (2013). Distinct patterns of brain activity characterize lexical activation and competition in speech production [Abstract]. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25 Suppl., 106.

    Abstract

    A fundamental ability of speakers is to quickly retrieve words from long-term memory. According to a prominent theory, concepts activate multiple associated words, which enter into competition for selection. Previous electrophysiological studies have provided evidence for the activation of multiple alternative words, but did not identify brain responses refl ecting competition. We report a magnetoencephalography study examining the timing and neural substrates of lexical activation and competition. The degree of activation of competing words was manipulated by presenting pictures (e.g., dog) simultaneously with distractor words. The distractors were semantically related to the picture name (cat), unrelated (pin), or identical (dog). Semantic distractors are stronger competitors to the picture name, because they receive additional activation from the picture, whereas unrelated distractors do not. Picture naming times were longer with semantic than with unrelated and identical distractors. The patterns of phase-locked and non-phase-locked activity were distinct but temporally overlapping. Phase-locked activity in left middle temporal gyrus, peaking at 400 ms, was larger on unrelated than semantic and identical trials, suggesting differential effort in processing the alternative words activated by the picture-word stimuli. Non-phase-locked activity in the 4-10 Hz range between 400-650 ms in left superior frontal gyrus was larger on semantic than unrelated and identical trials, suggesting different degrees of effort in resolving the competition among the alternatives words, as refl ected in the naming times. These findings characterize distinct patterns of brain activity associated with lexical activation and competition respectively, and their temporal relation, supporting the theory that words are selected by competition.
  • Sauppe, S., Norcliffe, E., Konopka, A. E., Van Valin Jr., R. D., & Levinson, S. C. (2013). Dependencies first: Eye tracking evidence from sentence production in Tagalog. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 1265-1270). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    We investigated the time course of sentence formulation in Tagalog, a verb-initial language in which the verb obligatorily agrees with one of its arguments. Eye-tracked participants described pictures of transitive events. Fixations to the two characters in the events were compared across sentences differing in agreement marking and post-verbal word order. Fixation patterns show evidence for two temporally dissociated phases in Tagalog sentence production. The first, driven by verb agreement, involves early linking of concepts to syntactic functions; the second, driven by word order, involves incremental lexical encoding of these concepts. These results suggest that even the earliest stages of sentence formulation may be guided by a language's grammatical structure.
  • Smith, A. C., Monaghan, P., & Huettig, F. (2013). Modelling the effects of formal literacy training on language mediated visual attention. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 3420-3425). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Recent empirical evidence suggests that language-mediated eye gaze is partly determined by level of formal literacy training. Huettig, Singh and Mishra (2011) showed that high-literate individuals' eye gaze was closely time locked to phonological overlap between a spoken target word and items presented in a visual display. In contrast, low-literate individuals' eye gaze was not related to phonological overlap, but was instead strongly influenced by semantic relationships between items. Our present study tests the hypothesis that this behavior is an emergent property of an increased ability to extract phonological structure from the speech signal, as in the case of high-literates, with low-literates more reliant on more coarse grained structure. This hypothesis was tested using a neural network model, that integrates linguistic information extracted from the speech signal with visual and semantic information within a central resource. We demonstrate that contrasts in fixation behavior similar to those observed between high and low literates emerge when models are trained on speech signals of contrasting granularity.
  • Van Putten, S. (2013). The meaning of the Avatime additive particle tsye. In M. Balbach, L. Benz, S. Genzel, M. Grubic, A. Renans, S. Schalowski, M. Stegenwallner, & A. Zeldes (Eds.), Information structure: Empirical perspectives on theory (pp. 55-74). Potsdam: Universitätsverlag Potsdam. Retrieved from http://nbn-resolving.de/urn/resolver.pl?urn=urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus-64804.
  • Bergmann, C., Boves, L., & Ten Bosch, L. (2012). A model of the Headturn Preference Procedure: Linking cognitive processes to overt behaviour. In Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE Conference on Development and Learning and Epigenetic Robotics (IEEE ICDL-EpiRob 2012), San Diego, CA.

    Abstract

    The study of first language acquisition still strongly relies on behavioural methods to measure underlying linguistic abilities. In the present paper, we closely examine and model one such method, the headturn preference procedure (HPP), which is widely used to measure infant speech segmentation and word recognition abilities Our model takes real speech as input, and only uses basic sensory processing and cognitive capabilities to simulate observable behaviour.We show that the familiarity effect found in many HPP experiments can be simulated without using the phonetic and phonological skills necessary for segmenting test sentences into words. The explicit modelling of the process that converts the result of the cognitive processing of the test sentences into observable behaviour uncovered two issues that can lead to null-results in HPP studies. Our simulations show that caution is needed in making inferences about underlying language skills from behaviour in HPP experiments. The simulations also generated questions that must be addressed in future HPP studies.
  • Defina, R., & Majid, A. (2012). Conceptual event units of putting and taking in two unrelated languages. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 1470-1475). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    People automatically chunk ongoing dynamic events into discrete units. This paper investigates whether linguistic structure is a factor in this process. We test the claim that describing an event with a serial verb construction will influence a speaker’s conceptual event structure. The grammar of Avatime (a Kwa language spoken in Ghana)requires its speakers to describe some, but not all, placement events using a serial verb construction which also encodes the preceding taking event. We tested Avatime and English speakers’ recognition memory for putting and taking events. Avatime speakers were more likely to falsely recognize putting and taking events from episodes associated with takeput serial verb constructions than from episodes associated with other constructions. English speakers showed no difference in false recognitions between episode types. This demonstrates that memory for episodes is related to the type of language used; and, moreover, across languages different conceptual representations are formed for the same physical episode, paralleling habitual linguistic practices
  • Dingemanse, M., Hammond, J., Stehouwer, H., Somasundaram, A., & Drude, S. (2012). A high speed transcription interface for annotating primary linguistic data. In Proceedings of 6th Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities (pp. 7-12). Stroudsburg, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics.

    Abstract

    We present a new transcription mode for the annotation tool ELAN. This mode is designed to speed up the process of creating transcriptions of primary linguistic data (video and/or audio recordings of linguistic behaviour). We survey the basic transcription workflow of some commonly used tools (Transcriber, BlitzScribe, and ELAN) and describe how the new transcription interface improves on these existing implementations. We describe the design of the transcription interface and explore some further possibilities for improvement in the areas of segmentation and computational enrichment of annotations.
  • Dolscheid, S., Hunnius, S., Casasanto, D., & Majid, A. (2012). The sound of thickness: Prelinguistic infants' associations of space and pitch. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 306-311). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    People often talk about musical pitch in terms of spatial metaphors. In English, for instance, pitches can be high or low, whereas in other languages pitches are described as thick or thin. According to psychophysical studies, metaphors in language can also shape people’s nonlinguistic space-pitch representations. But does language establish mappings between space and pitch in the first place or does it modify preexisting associations? Here we tested 4-month-old Dutch infants’ sensitivity to height-pitch and thickness-pitch mappings in two preferential looking tasks. Dutch infants looked significantly longer at cross-modally congruent stimuli in both experiments, indicating that infants are sensitive to space-pitch associations prior to language. This early presence of space-pitch mappings suggests that these associations do not originate from language. Rather, language may build upon pre-existing mappings and change them gradually via some form of competitive associative learning.
  • Gisladottir, R. S., Chwilla, D., Schriefers, H., & Levinson, S. C. (2012). Speech act recognition in conversation: Experimental evidence. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 1596-1601). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2012/papers/0282/index.html.

    Abstract

    Recognizing the speech acts in our interlocutors’ utterances is a crucial prerequisite for conversation. However, it is not a trivial task given that the form and content of utterances is frequently underspecified for this level of meaning. In the present study we investigate participants’ competence in categorizing speech acts in such action-underspecific sentences and explore the time-course of speech act inferencing using a self-paced reading paradigm. The results demonstrate that participants are able to categorize the speech acts with very high accuracy, based on limited context and without any prosodic information. Furthermore, the results show that the exact same sentence is processed differently depending on the speech act it performs, with reading times starting to differ already at the first word. These results indicate that participants are very good at “getting” the speech acts, opening up a new arena for experimental research on action recognition in conversation.
  • Haderlein, T., Moers, C., Möbius, B., & Nöth, E. (2012). Automatic rating of hoarseness by text-based cepstral and prosodic evaluation. In P. Sojka, A. Horák, I. Kopecek, & K. Pala (Eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Text, Speech and Dialogue (TSD 2012) (pp. 573-580). Heidelberg: Springer.

    Abstract

    The standard for the analysis of distorted voices is perceptual rating of read-out texts or spontaneous speech. Automatic voice evaluation, however, is usually done on stable sections of sustained vowels. In this paper, text-based and established vowel-based analysis are compared with respect to their ability to measure hoarseness and its subclasses. 73 hoarse patients (48.3±16.8 years) uttered the vowel /e/ and read the German version of the text “The North Wind and the Sun”. Five speech therapists and physicians rated roughness, breathiness, and hoarseness according to the German RBH evaluation scheme. The best human-machine correlations were obtained for measures based on the Cepstral Peak Prominence (CPP; up to |r | = 0.73). Support Vector Regression (SVR) on CPP-based measures and prosodic features improved the results further to r ≈0.8 and confirmed that automatic voice evaluation should be performed on a text recording.
  • Poellmann, K., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2012). How talker-adaptation helps listeners recognize reduced word-forms [Abstract]. Program abstracts from the 164th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(3), 2053.

    Abstract

    Two eye-tracking experiments tested whether native listeners can adapt to reductions in casual Dutch speech. Listeners were exposed to segmental ([b] > [m]), syllabic (full-vowel-deletion), or no reductions. In a subsequent test phase, all three listener groups were tested on how efficiently they could recognize both types of reduced words. In the first Experiment’s exposure phase, the (un)reduced target words were predictable. The segmental reductions were completely consistent (i.e., involved the same input sequences). Learning about them was found to be pattern-specific and generalized in the test phase to new reduced /b/-words. The syllabic reductions were not consistent (i.e., involved variable input sequences). Learning about them was weak and not pattern-specific. Experiment 2 examined effects of word repetition and predictability. The (un-)reduced test words appeared in the exposure phase and were not predictable. There was no evidence of learning for the segmental reductions, probably because they were not predictable during exposure. But there was word-specific learning for the vowel-deleted words. The results suggest that learning about reductions is pattern-specific and generalizes to new words if the input is consistent and predictable. With variable input, there is more likely to be adaptation to a general speaking style and word-specific learning.
  • Scharenborg, O., Witteman, M. J., & Weber, A. (2012). Computational modelling of the recognition of foreign-accented speech. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2012: 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 882 -885).

    Abstract

    In foreign-accented speech, pronunciation typically deviates from the canonical form to some degree. For native listeners, it has been shown that word recognition is more difficult for strongly-accented words than for less strongly-accented words. Furthermore recognition of strongly-accented words becomes easier with additional exposure to the foreign accent. In this paper, listeners’ behaviour was simulated with Fine-tracker, a computational model of word recognition that uses real speech as input. The simulations showed that, in line with human listeners, 1) Fine-Tracker’s recognition outcome is modulated by the degree of accentedness and 2) it improves slightly after brief exposure with the accent. On the level of individual words, however, Fine-tracker failed to correctly simulate listeners’ behaviour, possibly due to differences in overall familiarity with the chosen accent (German-accented Dutch) between human listeners and Fine-Tracker.
  • Sumer, B., Zwitserlood, I., Perniss, P. M., & Ozyurek, A. (2012). Development of locative expressions by Turkish deaf and hearing children: Are there modality effects? In A. K. Biller, E. Y. Chung, & A. E. Kimball (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 36) (pp. 568-580). Boston: Cascadilla Press.
  • Viebahn, M. C., Ernestus, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Co-occurrence of reduced word forms in natural speech. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2012: 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2019-2022).

    Abstract

    This paper presents a corpus study that investigates the co-occurrence of reduced word forms in natural speech. We extracted Dutch past participles from three different speech registers and investigated the influence of several predictor variables on the presence and duration of schwas in prefixes and /t/s in suffixes. Our results suggest that reduced word forms tend to co-occur even if we partial out the effect of speech rate. The implications of our findings for episodic and abstractionist models of lexical representation are discussed.
  • Wnuk, E., & Majid, A. (2012). Olfaction in a hunter-gatherer society: Insights from language and culture. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 1155-1160). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    According to a widely-held view among various scholars, olfaction is inferior to other human senses. It is also believed by many that languages do not have words for describing smells. Data collected among the Maniq, a small population of nomadic foragers in southern Thailand, challenge the above claims and point to a great linguistic and cultural elaboration of odor. This article presents evidence of the importance of olfaction in indigenous rituals and beliefs, as well as in the lexicon. The results demonstrate the richness and complexity of the domain of smell in Maniq society and thereby challenge the universal paucity of olfactory terms and insignificance of olfaction for humans.
  • Bergmann, C., Boves, L., & Ten Bosch, L. (2011). Measuring word learning performance in computational models and infants. In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Development and Learning, and Epigenetic Robotics. Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 24-27 Aug. 2011.

    Abstract

    In the present paper we investigate the effect of categorising raw behavioural data or computational model responses. In addition, the effect of averaging over stimuli from potentially different populations is assessed. To this end, we replicate studies on word learning and generalisation abilities using the ACORNS models. Our results show that discrete categories may obscure interesting phenomena in the continuous responses. For example, the finding that learning in the model saturates very early at a uniform high recognition accuracy only holds for categorical representations. Additionally, a large difference in the accuracy for individual words is obscured by averaging over all stimuli. Because different words behaved differently for different speakers, we could not identify a phonetic basis for the differences. Implications and new predictions for infant behaviour are discussed.
  • Bergmann, C., Boves, L., & Ten Bosch, L. (2011). Thresholding word activations for response scoring - Modelling psycholinguistic data. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association [Interspeech 2011] (pp. 769-772). ISCA.

    Abstract

    In the present paper we investigate the effect of categorising raw behavioural data or computational model responses. In addition, the effect of averaging over stimuli from potentially different populations is assessed. To this end, we replicate studies on word learning and generalisation abilities using the ACORNS models. Our results show that discrete categories may obscure interesting phenomena in the continuous responses. For example, the finding that learning in the model saturates very early at a uniform high recognition accuracy only holds for categorical representations. Additionally, a large difference in the accuracy for individual words is obscured by averaging over all stimuli. Because different words behaved differently for different speakers, we could not identify a phonetic basis for the differences. Implications and new predictions for infant behaviour are discussed.
  • Dijkstra, N., & Fikkert, P. (2011). Universal constraints on the discrimination of Place of Articulation? Asymmetries in the discrimination of 'paan' and 'taan' by 6-month-old Dutch infants. In N. Danis, K. Mesh, & H. Sung (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Volume 1 (pp. 170-182). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Dolscheid, S., Shayan, S., Majid, A., & Casasanto, D. (2011). The thickness of musical pitch: Psychophysical evidence for the Whorfian hypothesis. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 537-542). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Poellmann, K., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2011). The time course of perceptual learning. In W.-S. Lee, & E. Zee (Eds.), Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 2011 [ICPhS XVII] (pp. 1618-1621). Hong Kong: Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong.

    Abstract

    Two groups of participants were trained to perceive an ambiguous sound [s/f] as either /s/ or /f/ based on lexical bias: One group heard the ambiguous fricative in /s/-final words, the other in /f/-final words. This kind of exposure leads to a recalibration of the /s/-/f/ contrast [e.g., 4]. In order to investigate when and how this recalibration emerges, test trials were interspersed among training and filler trials. The learning effect needed at least 10 clear training items to arise. Its emergence seemed to occur in a rather step-wise fashion. Learning did not improve much after it first appeared. It is likely, however, that the early test trials attracted participants' attention and therefore may have interfered with the learning process.
  • Smith, A. C., & Monaghan, P. (2011). What are the functional units in reading? Evidence for statistical variation influencing word processing. In Connectionist Models of Neurocognition and Emergent Behavior: From Theory to Applications (pp. 159-172). Singapore: World Scientific.

    Abstract

    Computational models of reading have differed in terms of whether they propose a single route forming the mapping between orthography and phonology or whether there is a lexical/sublexical route distinction. A critical test of the architecture of the reading system is how it deals with multi-letter graphemes. Rastle and Coltheart (1998) found that the presence of digraphs in nonwords but not in words led to an increase in naming times, suggesting that nonwords were processed via a distinct sequential route to words. In contrast Pagliuca, Monaghan, and McIntosh (2008) implemented a single route model of reading and showed that under conditions of visual noise the presence of digraphs in words did have an effect on naming accuracy. In this study, we investigated whether such digraph effects could be found in both words and nonwords under conditions of visual noise. If so it would suggest that effects on words and nonwords are comparable. A single route connectionist model of reading showed greater accuracy for both words and nonwords containing digraphs. Experimental results showed participants were more accurate in recognising words if they contained digraphs. However contrary to model predictions they were less accurate in recognising nonwords containing digraphs compared to controls. We discuss the challenges faced by both theoretical perspectives in interpreting these findings and in light of a psycholinguistic grain size theory of reading.
  • Van Hout, A., Veenstra, A., & Berends, S. (2011). All pronouns are not acquired equally in Dutch: Elicitation of object and quantitative pronouns. In M. Pirvulescu, M. C. Cuervo, A. T. Pérez-Leroux, J. Steele, & N. Strik (Eds.), Selected proceedings of the 4th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2010) (pp. 106-121). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

    Abstract

    This research reports the results of eliciting pronouns in two syntactic environments: Object pronouns and quantitative er (Q-er). Thus another type of language is added to the literature on subject and object clitic acquisition in the Romance languages (Jakubowicz et al., 1998; Hamann et al., 1996). Quantitative er is a unique pronoun in the Germanic languages; it has the same distribution as partitive clitics in Romance. Q-er is an N'-anaphor and occurs obligatorily with headless noun phrases with a numeral or weak quantifier. Q-er is licensed only when the context offers an antecedent; it binds an empty position in the NP. Data from typically-developing children aged 5;0-6;0 show that object and Q-er pronouns are not acquired equally; it is proposed that this is due to their different syntax. The use of Q-er involves more sophisticated syntactic knowledge: Q-er occurs at the left edge of the VP and binds an empty position in the NP, whereas object pronouns are simply stand-ins for full NPs and occur in the same position. These Dutch data reveal that pronouns are not used as exclusively as object clitics are in the Romance languages (Varlakosta, in prep.).
  • Versteegh, M., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2011). Modelling novelty preference in word learning. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2011), Florence, Italy (pp. 761-764).

    Abstract

    This paper investigates the effects of novel words on a cognitively plausible computational model of word learning. The model is first familiarized with a set of words, achieving high recognition scores and subsequently offered novel words for training. We show that the model is able to recognize the novel words as different from the previously seen words, based on a measure of novelty that we introduce. We then propose a procedure analogous to novelty preference in infants. Results from simulations of word learning show that adding this procedure to our model speeds up training and helps the model attain higher recognition rates.
  • Witteman, M. J., Bardhan, N. P., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Adapting to foreign-accented speech: The role of delay in testing. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Program abstracts of the 162nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, 130(4), 2443.

    Abstract

    Understanding speech usually seems easy, but it can become noticeably harder when the speaker has a foreign accent. This is because foreign accents add considerable variation to speech. Research on foreign-accented speech shows that participants are able to adapt quickly to this type of variation. Less is known, however, about longer-term maintenance of adaptation. The current study focused on long-term adaptation by exposing native listeners to foreign-accented speech on Day 1, and testing them on comprehension of the accent one day later. Comprehension was thus not tested immediately, but only after a 24 hour period. On Day 1, native Dutch listeners listened to the speech of a Hebrew learner of Dutch while performing a phoneme monitoring task that did not depend on the talker’s accent. In particular, shortening of the long vowel /i/ into /ɪ/ (e.g., lief [li:f], ‘sweet’, pronounced as [lɪf]) was examined. These mispronunciations did not create lexical ambiguities in Dutch. On Day 2, listeners participated in a cross-modal priming task to test their comprehension of the accent. The results will be contrasted with results from an experiment without delayed testing and related to accounts of how listeners maintain adaptation to foreign-accented speech.
  • Witteman, M. J., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). On the relationship between perceived accentedness, acoustic similarity, and processing difficulty in foreign-accented speech. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2011), Florence, Italy (pp. 2229-2232).

    Abstract

    Foreign-accented speech is often perceived as more difficult to understand than native speech. What causes this potential difficulty, however, remains unknown. In the present study, we compared acoustic similarity and accent ratings of American-accented Dutch with a cross-modal priming task designed to measure online speech processing. We focused on two Dutch diphthongs: ui and ij. Though both diphthongs deviated from standard Dutch to varying degrees and perceptually varied in accent strength, native Dutch listeners recognized words containing the diphthongs easily. Thus, not all foreign-accented speech hinders comprehension, and acoustic similarity and perceived accentedness are not always predictive of processing difficulties.
  • Bergmann, C., Paulus, M., & Fikkert, J. (2010). A closer look at pronoun comprehension: Comparing different methods. In J. Costa, A. Castro, M. Lobo, & F. Pratas (Eds.), Language Acquisition and Development: Proceedings of GALA 2009 (pp. 53-61). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

    Abstract

    1. Introduction External input is necessary to acquire language. Consequently, the comprehension of various constituents of language, such as lexical items or syntactic and semantic structures should emerge at the same time as or even precede their production. However, in the case of pronouns this general assumption does not seem to hold. On the contrary, while children at the age of four use pronouns and reflexives appropriately during production (de Villiers, et al. 2006), a number of comprehension studies across different languages found chance performance in pronoun trials up to the age of seven, which co-occurs with a high level of accuracy in reflexive trials (for an overview see e.g. Conroy, et al. 2009; Elbourne 2005).
  • Bergmann, C., Gubian, M., & Boves, L. (2010). Modelling the effect of speaker familiarity and noise on infant word recognition. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association [Interspeech 2010] (pp. 2910-2913). ISCA.

    Abstract

    In the present paper we show that a general-purpose word learning model can simulate several important findings from recent experiments in language acquisition. Both the addition of background noise and varying the speaker have been found to influence infants’ performance during word recognition experiments. We were able to replicate this behaviour in our artificial word learning agent. We use the results to discuss both advantages and limitations of computational models of language acquisition.
  • Dolscheid, S., Shayan, S., Ozturk, O., Majid, A., & Casasanto, D. (2010). Language shapes mental representations of musical pitch: Implications for metaphorical language processing [Abstract]. In Proceedings of the 16th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing [AMLaP 2010] (pp. 137). York: University of York.

    Abstract

    Speakers often use spatial metaphors to talk about musical pitch (e.g., a low note, a high soprano). Previous experiments suggest that English speakers also think about pitches as high or low in space, even when theyʼre not using language or musical notation (Casasanto, 2010). Do metaphors in language merely reflect pre-existing associations between space and pitch, or might language also shape these non-linguistic metaphorical mappings? To investigate the role of language in pitch tepresentation, we conducted a pair of non-linguistic spacepitch interference experiments in speakers of two languages that use different spatial metaphors. Dutch speakers usually describe pitches as ʻhighʼ (hoog) and ʻlowʼ (laag). Farsi speakers, however, often describe high-frequency pitches as ʻthinʼ (naazok) and low-frequency pitches as ʻthickʼ (koloft). Do Dutch and Farsi speakers mentally represent pitch differently? To find out, we asked participants to reproduce musical pitches that they heard in the presence of irrelevant spatial information (i.e., lines that varied either in height or in thickness). For the Height Interference experiment, horizontal lines bisected a vertical reference line at one of nine different locations. For the Thickness Interference experiment, a vertical line appeared in the middle of the screen in one of nine thicknesses. In each experiment, the nine different lines were crossed with nine different pitches ranging from C4 to G#4 in semitone increments, to produce 81 distinct trials. If Dutch and Farsi speakers mentally represent pitch the way they talk about it, using different kinds of spatial representations, they should show contrasting patterns of cross-dimensional interference: Dutch speakersʼ pitch estimates should be more strongly affected by irrelevant height information, and Farsi speakersʼ by irrelevant thickness information. As predicted, Dutch speakersʼ pitch estimates were significantly modulated by spatial height but not by thickness. Conversely, Farsi speakersʼ pitch estimates were modulated by spatial thickness but not by height (2x2 ANOVA on normalized slopes of the effect of space on pitch: F(1,71)=17,15 p<.001). To determine whether language plays a causal role in shaping pitch representations, we conducted a training experiment. Native Dutch speakers learned to use Farsi-like metaphors, describing pitch relationships in terms of thickness (e.g., a cello sounds ʻthickerʼ than a flute). After training, Dutch speakers showed a significant effect of Thickness interference in the non-linguistic pitch reproduction task, similar to native Farsi speakers: on average, pitches accompanied by thicker lines were reproduced as lower in pitch (effect of thickness on pitch: r=-.22, p=.002). By conducting psychophysical tasks, we tested the ʻWhorfianʼ question without using words. Yet, results also inform theories of metaphorical language processing. According to psycholinguistic theories (e.g., Bowdle & Gentner, 2005), highly conventional metaphors are processed without any active mapping from the source to the target domain (e.g., from space to pitch). Our data, however, suggest that when people use verbal metaphors they activate a corresponding non-linguistic mapping from either height or thickness to pitch, strengthening this association at the expense of competing associations. As a result, people who use different metaphors in their native languages form correspondingly different representations of musical pitch. Casasanto, D. (2010). Space for Thinking. In Language, Cognition and Space: State of the art and new directions. V. Evans & P. Chilton (Eds.), 453-478, London: Equinox Publishing. Bowdle, B. & Gentner, D. (2005). The career of metaphor. Psychological Review, 112, 193-216.
  • Gubian, M., Bergmann, C., & Boves, L. (2010). Investigating word learning processes in an artificial agent. In Proceedings of the IXth IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL). Ann Arbor, MI, 18-21 Aug. 2010 (pp. 178 -184). IEEE.

    Abstract

    Researchers in human language processing and acquisition are making an increasing use of computational models. Computer simulations provide a valuable platform to reproduce hypothesised learning mechanisms that are otherwise very difficult, if not impossible, to verify on human subjects. However, computational models come with problems and risks. It is difficult to (automatically) extract essential information about the developing internal representations from a set of simulation runs, and often researchers limit themselves to analysing learning curves based on empirical recognition accuracy through time. The associated risk is to erroneously deem a specific learning behaviour as generalisable to human learners, while it could also be a mere consequence (artifact) of the implementation of the artificial learner or of the input coding scheme. In this paper a set of simulation runs taken from the ACORNS project is investigated. First a look `inside the box' of the learner is provided by employing novel quantitative methods for analysing changing structures in large data sets. Then, the obtained findings are discussed in the perspective of their ecological validity in the field of child language acquisition.
  • Kung, C., Chwilla, D. J., Gussenhoven, C., Bögels, S., & Schriefers, H. (2010). What did you say just now, bitterness or wife? An ERP study on the interaction between tone, intonation and context in Cantonese Chinese. In Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2010 (pp. 1-4).

    Abstract

    Previous studies on Cantonese Chinese showed that rising question intonation contours on low-toned words lead to frequent misperceptions of the tones. Here we explored the processing consequences of this interaction between tone and intonation by comparing the processing and identification of monosyllabic critical words at the end of questions and statements, using a tone identification task, and ERPs as an online measure of speech comprehension. Experiment 1 yielded higher error rates for the identification of low tones at the end of questions and a larger N400-P600 pattern, reflecting processing difficulty and reanalysis, compared to other conditions. In Experiment 2, we investigated the effect of immediate lexical context on the tone by intonation interaction. Increasing contextual constraints led to a reduction in errors and the disappearance of the P600 effect. These results indicate that there is an immediate interaction between tone, intonation, and context in online speech comprehension. The difference in performance and activation patterns between the two experiments highlights the significance of context in understanding a tone language, like Cantonese-Chinese.
  • Versteegh, M., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2010). Active word learning under uncertain input conditions. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2010), Makuhari, Japan (pp. 2930-2933). ISCA.

    Abstract

    This paper presents an analysis of phoneme durations of emotional speech in two languages: Dutch and Korean. The analyzed corpus of emotional speech has been specifically developed for the purpose of cross-linguistic comparison, and is more balanced than any similar corpus available so far: a) it contains expressions by both Dutch and Korean actors and is based on judgments by both Dutch and Korean listeners; b) the same elicitation technique and recording procedure were used for recordings of both languages; and c) the phonetics of the carrier phrase were constructed to be permissible in both languages. The carefully controlled phonetic content of the carrier phrase allows for analysis of the role of specific phonetic features, such as phoneme duration, in emotional expression in Dutch and Korean. In this study the mutual effect of language and emotion on phoneme duration is presented.
  • Versteegh, M., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2010). Dealing with uncertain input in word learning. In Proceedings of the IXth IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL). Ann Arbor, MI, 18-21 Aug. 2010 (pp. 46-51). IEEE.

    Abstract

    In this paper we investigate a computational model of word learning, that is embedded in a cognitively and ecologically plausible framework. Multi-modal stimuli from four different speakers form a varied source of experience. The model incorporates active learning, attention to a communicative setting and clarity of the visual scene. The model's ability to learn associations between speech utterances and visual concepts is evaluated during training to investigate the influence of active learning under conditions of uncertain input. The results show the importance of shared attention in word learning and the model's robustness against noise.
  • Versteegh, M., Sangati, F., & Zuidema, W. (2010). Simulations of socio-linguistic change: Implications for unidirectionality. In A. Smith, M. Schoustra, B. Boer, & K. Smith (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG 8) (pp. 511-512). World Scientific Publishing.
  • Weber, A., & Poellmann, K. (2010). Identifying foreign speakers with an unfamiliar accent or in an unfamiliar language. In New Sounds 2010: Sixth International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech (pp. 536-541). Poznan, Poland: Adam Mickiewicz University.
  • Witteman, M. J., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2010). Rapid and long-lasting adaptation to foreign-accented speech [Abstract]. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128, 2486.

    Abstract

    In foreign-accented speech, listeners have to handle noticeable deviations from the standard pronunciation of a target language. Three cross-modal priming experiments investigated how short- and long-term experiences with a foreign accent influence word recognition by native listeners. In experiment 1, German-accented words were presented to Dutch listeners who had either extensive or limited prior experience with German-accented Dutch. Accented words either contained a diphthong substitution that deviated acoustically quite largely from the canonical form (huis [hys], "house", pronounced as [hoys]), or that deviated acoustically to a lesser extent (lijst [lst], "list", pronounced as [lst]). The mispronunciations never created lexical ambiguity in Dutch. While long-term experience facilitated word recognition for both types of substitutions, limited experience facilitated recognition only of words with acoustically smaller deviations. In experiment 2, Dutch listeners with limited experience listened to the German speaker for 4 min before participating in the cross-modal priming experiment. The results showed that speaker-specific learning effects for acoustically large deviations can be obtained already after a brief exposure, as long as the exposure contains evidence of the deviations. Experiment 3 investigates whether these short-term adaptation effects for foreign-accented speech are speaker-independent.

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