Displaying 1 - 20 of 31
  • Brouwer, S., Mitterer, H., & Huettig, F. (2013). Discourse context and the recognition of reduced and canonical spoken words. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34, 519-539. doi:10.1017/S0142716411000853.

    Abstract

    In two eye-tracking experiments we examined whether wider discourse information helps the recognition of reduced pronunciations (e.g., 'puter') more than the recognition of canonical pronunciations of spoken words (e.g., 'computer'). Dutch participants listened to sentences from a casual speech corpus containing canonical and reduced target words. Target word recognition was assessed by measuring eye fixation proportions to four printed words on a visual display: the target, a "reduced form" competitor, a "canonical form" competitor and an unrelated distractor. Target sentences were presented in isolation or with a wider discourse context. Experiment 1 revealed that target recognition was facilitated by wider discourse information. Importantly, the recognition of reduced forms improved significantly when preceded by strongly rather than by weakly supportive discourse contexts. This was not the case for canonical forms: listeners' target word recognition was not dependent on the degree of supportive context. Experiment 2 showed that the differential context effects in Experiment 1 were not due to an additional amount of speaker information. Thus, these data suggest that in natural settings a strongly supportive discourse context is more important for the recognition of reduced forms than the recognition of canonical forms.
  • Christoffels, I. K., Ganushchak, L. Y., & Koester, D. (2013). Language conflict in translation; An ERP study of translation production. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25, 646-664. doi:10.1080/20445911.2013.821127.

    Abstract

    Although most bilinguals can translate with relative ease, the underlying neuro-cognitive processes are poorly understood. Using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) we investigated the temporal course of word translation. Participants translated words from and to their first (L1, Dutch) and second (L2, English) language while ERPs were recorded. Interlingual homographs (IHs) were included to introduce language conflict. IHs share orthographic form but have different meanings in L1 and L2 (e.g., room in Dutch refers to cream). Results showed that the brain distinguished between translation directions as early as 200 ms after word presentation: the P2 amplitudes were more positive in the L1L2 translation direction. The N400 was also modulated by translation direction, with more negative amplitudes in the L2L1 translation direction. Furthermore, the IHs were translated more slowly, induced more errors, and elicited more negative N400 amplitudes than control words. In a naming experiment, participants read aloud the same words in L1 or L2 while ERPs were recorded. Results showed no effect of either IHs or language, suggesting that task schemas may be crucially related to language control in translation. Furthermore, translation appears to involve conceptual processing in both translation directions, and the task goal appears to influence how words are processed.

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  • Clifton, C. J., Meyer, A. S., Wurm, L. H., & Treiman, R. (2013). Language comprehension and production. In A. F. Healy, & R. W. Proctor (Eds.), Handbook of Psychology, Volume 4, Experimental Psychology. 2nd Edition (pp. 523-547). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Abstract

    In this chapter, we survey the processes of recognizing and producing words and of understanding and creating sentences. Theory and research on these topics have been shaped by debates about how various sources of information are integrated in these processes, and about the role of language structure, as analyzed in the discipline of linguistics. In this chapter, we describe current views of fluent language users' comprehension of spoken and written language and their production of spoken language. We review what we consider to be the most important findings and theories in psycholinguistics, returning again and again to the questions of modularity and the importance of linguistic knowledge. Although we acknowledge the importance of social factors in language use, our focus is on core processes such as parsing and word retrieval that are not necessarily affected by such factors. We do not have space to say much about the important fields of developmental psycholinguistics, which deals with the acquisition of language by children, or applied psycholinguistics, which encompasses such topics as language disorders and language teaching. Although we recognize that there is burgeoning interest in the measurement of brain activity during language processing and how language is represented in the brain, space permits only occasional pointers to work in neuropsychology and the cognitive neuroscience of language. For treatment of these topics, and others, the interested reader could begin with two recent handbooks of psycholinguistics (Gaskell, 2007; Traxler & Gemsbacher, 2006) and a handbook of cognitive neuroscience (Gazzaniga, 2004).
  • Ganushchak, L. Y., Krott, A., Frisson, S., & Meyer, A. S. (2013). Processing words and Short Message Service shortcuts in sentential contexts: An eye movement study. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34, 163-179. doi:10.1017/S0142716411000658.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated whether Short Message Service shortcuts are more difficult to process in sentence context than the spelled-out word equivalent and, if so, how any additional processing difficulty arises. Twenty-four student participants read 37 Short Message Service shortcuts and word equivalents embedded in semantically plausible and implausible contexts (e.g., He left/drank u/you a note) while their eye movements were recorded. There were effects of plausibility and spelling on early measures of processing difficulty (first fixation durations, gaze durations, skipping, and first-pass regression rates for the targets), but there were no interactions of plausibility and spelling. Late measures of processing difficulty (second run gaze duration and total fixation duration) were only affected by plausibility but not by spelling. These results suggest that shortcuts are harder to recognize, but that, once recognized, they are integrated into the sentence context as easily as ordinary words.
  • Gauvin, H. S., Hartsuiker, R. J., & Huettig, F. (2013). Speech monitoring and phonologically-mediated eye gaze in language perception and production: A comparison using printed word eye-tracking. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7: 818. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00818.

    Abstract

    The Perceptual Loop Theory of speech monitoring assumes that speakers routinely inspect their inner speech. In contrast, Huettig and Hartsuiker (2010) observed that listening to one’s own speech during language production drives eye-movements to phonologically related printed words with a similar time-course as listening to someone else’s speech does in speech perception experiments. This suggests that speakers listen to their own overt speech, but not to their inner speech. However, a direct comparison between production and perception with the same stimuli and participants is lacking so far. The current printed word eye-tracking experiment therefore used a within-subjects design, combining production and perception. Displays showed four words, of which one, the target, either had to be named or was presented auditorily. Accompanying words were phonologically related, semantically related, or unrelated to the target. There were small increases in looks to phonological competitors with a similar time-course in both production and perception. Phonological effects in perception however lasted longer and had a much larger magnitude. We conjecture that this difference is related to a difference in predictability of one’s own and someone else’s speech, which in turn has consequences for lexical competition in other-perception and possibly suppression of activation in self-perception.

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  • Hagoort, P., & Meyer, A. S. (2013). What belongs together goes together: the speaker-hearer perspective. A commentary on MacDonald's PDC account. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 228. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00228.

    Abstract

    First paragraph: MacDonald (2013) proposes that distributional properties of language and processing biases in language comprehension can to a large extent be attributed to consequences of the language production process. In essence, the account is derived from the principle of least effort that was formulated by Zipf, among others (Zipf, 1949; Levelt, 2013). However, in Zipf's view the outcome of the least effort principle was a compromise between least effort for the speaker and least effort for the listener, whereas MacDonald puts most of the burden on the production process.
  • Huettig, F. (2013). Young children’s use of color information during language-vision mapping. In B. R. Kar (Ed.), Cognition and brain development: Converging evidence from various methodologies (pp. 368-391). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
  • Janse, E., & Newman, R. S. (2013). Identifying nonwords: Effects of lexical neighborhoods, phonotactic probability, and listener characteristics. Language and Speech, 56(4), 421-444. doi:10.1177/0023830912447914.

    Abstract

    Listeners find it relatively difficult to recognize words that are similar-sounding to other known words. In contrast, when asked to identify spoken nonwords, listeners perform better when the nonwords are similar to many words in their language. These effects of sound similarity have been assessed in multiple ways, and both sublexical (phonotactic probability) and lexical (neighborhood) effects have been reported, leading to models that incorporate multiple stages of processing. One prediction that can be derived from these models is that there may be differences among individuals in the size of these similarity effects as a function of working memory abilities. This study investigates how item-individual characteristics of nonwords (both phonotactic probability and neighborhood density) interact with listener-individual characteristics (such as cognitive abilities and hearing sensitivity) in the perceptual identification of nonwords. A set of nonwords was used in which neighborhood density and phonotactic probability were not correlated. In our data, neighborhood density affected identification more reliably than did phonotactic probability. The first study, with young adults, showed that higher neighborhood density particularly benefits nonword identification for those with poorer attention-switching control. This suggests that it may be easier to focus attention on a novel item if it activates and receives support from more similar-sounding neighbors. A similar study on nonword identification with older adults showed increased neighborhood density effects for those with poorer hearing, suggesting that activation of long-term linguistic knowledge is particularly important to back up auditory representations that are degraded as a result of hearing loss.
  • Ladd, D. R., Turnbull, R., Browne, C., Caldwell-Harris, C., Ganushchak, L. Y., Swoboda, K., Woodfield, V., & Dediu, D. (2013). Patterns of individual differences in the perception of missing-fundamental tones. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39(5), 1386-1397. doi:10.1037/a0031261.

    Abstract

    Recent experimental findings suggest stable individual differences in the perception of auditory stimuli lacking energy at the fundamental frequency (F0), here called missing fundamental (MF) tones. Specifically, some individuals readily identify the pitch of such tones with the missing F0 ("F0 listeners"), and some base their judgment on the frequency of the partials that make up the tones ("spectral listeners"). However, the diversity of goals and methods in recent research makes it difficult to draw clear conclusions about individual differences. The first purpose of this article is to discuss the influence of methodological choices on listeners' responses. The second goal is to report findings on individual differences in our own studies of the MF phenomenon. In several experiments, participants judged the direction of pitch change in stimuli composed of two MF tones, constructed so as to reveal whether the pitch percept was based on the MF or the partials. The reported difference between F0 listeners and spectral listeners was replicated, but other stable patterns of responses were also observed. Test-retest reliability is high. We conclude that there are genuine, stable individual differences underlying the diverse findings, but also that there are more than two general types of listeners, and that stimulus variables strongly affect some listeners' responses. This suggests that it is generally misleading to classify individuals as "F0 listeners" or "spectral listeners." It may be more accurate to speak of two modes of perception ("F0 listening" and "spectral listening"), both of which are available to many listeners. The individual differences lie in what conditions the choice between the two modes.
  • Mani, N., Johnson, E., McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2013). How yellow is your banana? Toddlers' language-mediated visual search in referent-present tasks. Developmental Psychology, 49, 1036-1044. doi:10.1037/a0029382.

    Abstract

    What is the relative salience of different aspects of word meaning in the developing lexicon? The current study examines the time-course of retrieval of semantic and color knowledge associated with words during toddler word recognition: at what point do toddlers orient towards an image of a yellow cup upon hearing color-matching words such as “banana” (typically yellow) relative to unrelated words (e.g., “house”)? Do children orient faster to semantic matching images relative to color matching images, e.g., orient faster to an image of a cookie relative to a yellow cup upon hearing the word “banana”? The results strongly suggest a prioritization of semantic information over color information in children’s word-referent mappings. This indicates that, even for natural objects (e.g., food, animals that are more likely to have a prototypical color), semantic knowledge is a more salient aspect of toddler's word meaning than color knowledge. For 24-month-old Dutch toddlers, bananas are thus more edible than they are yellow.
  • Mani, N., & Huettig, F. (2013). Towards a complete multiple-mechanism account of predictive language processing [Commentary on Pickering & Garrod]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 365-366. doi:10.1017/S0140525X12002646.

    Abstract

    Although we agree with Pickering & Garrod (P&G) that prediction-by-simulation and prediction-by-association are important mechanisms of anticipatory language processing, this commentary suggests that they: (1) overlook other potential mechanisms that might underlie prediction in language processing, (2) overestimate the importance of prediction-by-association in early childhood, and (3) underestimate the complexity and significance of several factors that might mediate prediction during language processing.
  • Meyer, A. S., & Hagoort, P. (2013). What does it mean to predict one's own utterances? [Commentary on Pickering & Garrod]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 367-368. doi:10.1017/S0140525X12002786.

    Abstract

    Many authors have recently highlighted the importance of prediction for language comprehension. Pickering & Garrod (P&G) are the first to propose a central role for prediction in language production. This is an intriguing idea, but it is not clear what it means for speakers to predict their own utterances, and how prediction during production can be empirically distinguished from production proper.
  • Mishra, R. K., Olivers, C. N. L., & Huettig, F. (2013). Spoken language and the decision to move the eyes: To what extent are language-mediated eye movements automatic? In V. S. C. Pammi, & N. Srinivasan (Eds.), Progress in Brain Research: Decision making: Neural and behavioural approaches (pp. 135-149). New York: Elsevier.

    Abstract

    Recent eye-tracking research has revealed that spoken language can guide eye gaze very rapidly (and closely time-locked to the unfolding speech) toward referents in the visual world. We discuss whether, and to what extent, such language-mediated eye movements are automatic rather than subject to conscious and controlled decision-making. We consider whether language-mediated eye movements adhere to four main criteria of automatic behavior, namely, whether they are fast and efficient, unintentional, unconscious, and overlearned (i.e., arrived at through extensive practice). Current evidence indicates that language-driven oculomotor behavior is fast but not necessarily always efficient. It seems largely unintentional though there is also some evidence that participants can actively use the information in working memory to avoid distraction in search. Language-mediated eye movements appear to be for the most part unconscious and have all the hallmarks of an overlearned behavior. These data are suggestive of automatic mechanisms linking language to potentially referred-to visual objects, but more comprehensive and rigorous testing of this hypothesis is needed.
  • Mitterer, H., Scharenborg, O., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Phonological abstraction without phonemes in speech perception. Cognition, 129, 356-361. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2013.07.011.

    Abstract

    Recent evidence shows that listeners use abstract prelexical units in speech perception. Using the phenomenon of lexical retuning in speech processing, we ask whether those units are necessarily phonemic. Dutch listeners were exposed to a Dutch speaker producing ambiguous phones between the Dutch syllable-final allophones approximant [r] and dark [l]. These ambiguous phones replaced either final /r/ or final /l/ in words in a lexical-decision task. This differential exposure affected perception of ambiguous stimuli on the same allophone continuum in a subsequent phonetic-categorization test: Listeners exposed to ambiguous phones in /r/-final words were more likely to perceive test stimuli as /r/ than listeners with exposure in /l/-final words. This effect was not found for test stimuli on continua using other allophones of /r/ and /l/. These results confirm that listeners use phonological abstraction in speech perception. They also show that context-sensitive allophones can play a role in this process, and hence that context-insensitive phonemes are not necessary. We suggest there may be no one unit of perception
  • Reinisch, E., & Sjerps, M. J. (2013). The uptake of spectral and temporal cues in vowel perception is rapidly influenced by context. Journal of Phonetics, 41, 101-116. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2013.01.002.

    Abstract

    Speech perception is dependent on auditory information within phonemes such as spectral or temporal cues. The perception of those cues, however, is affected by auditory information in surrounding context (e.g., a fast context sentence can make a target vowel sound subjectively longer). In a two-by-two design the current experiments investigated when these different factors influence vowel perception. Dutch listeners categorized minimal word pairs such as /tɑk/–/taːk/ (“branch”–“task”) embedded in a context sentence. Critically, the Dutch /ɑ/–/aː/ contrast is cued by spectral and temporal information. We varied the second formant (F2) frequencies and durations of the target vowels. Independently, we also varied the F2 and duration of all segments in the context sentence. The timecourse of cue uptake on the targets was measured in a printed-word eye-tracking paradigm. Results show that the uptake of spectral cues slightly precedes the uptake of temporal cues. Furthermore, acoustic manipulations of the context sentences influenced the uptake of cues in the target vowel immediately. That is, listeners did not need additional time to integrate spectral or temporal cues of a target sound with auditory information in the context. These findings argue for an early locus of contextual influences in speech perception.
  • Roelofs, A., Dijkstra, T., & Gerakaki, S. (2013). Modeling of word translation: Activation flow from concepts to lexical items. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16, 343-353. doi:10.1017/S1366728912000612.

    Abstract

    Whereas most theoretical and computational models assume a continuous flow of activation from concepts to lexical items in spoken word production, one prominent model assumes that the mapping of concepts onto words happens in a discrete fashion (Bloem & La Heij, 2003). Semantic facilitation of context pictures on word translation has been taken to support the discrete-flow model. Here, we report results of computer simulations with the continuous-flow WEAVER++ model (Roelofs, 1992, 2006) demonstrating that the empirical observation taken to be in favor of discrete models is, in fact, only consistent with those models and equally compatible with more continuous models of word production by monolingual and bilingual speakers. Continuous models are specifically and independently supported by other empirical evidence on the effect of context pictures on native word production.
  • Rommers, J., Dijkstra, T., & Bastiaansen, M. C. M. (2013). Context-dependent semantic processing in the human brain: Evidence from idiom comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(5), 762-776. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00337.

    Abstract

    Language comprehension involves activating word meanings and integrating them with the sentence context. This study examined whether these routines are carried out even when they are theoretically unnecessary, namely in the case of opaque idiomatic expressions, for which the literal word meanings are unrelated to the overall meaning of the expression. Predictable words in sentences were replaced by a semantically related or unrelated word. In literal sentences, this yielded previously established behavioral and electrophysiological signatures of semantic processing: semantic facilitation in lexical decision, a reduced N400 for semantically related relative to unrelated words, and a power increase in the gamma frequency band that was disrupted by semantic violations. However, the same manipulations in idioms yielded none of these effects. Instead, semantic violations elicited a late positivity in idioms. Moreover, gamma band power was lower in correct idioms than in correct literal sentences. It is argued that the brain's semantic expectancy and literal word meaning integration operations can, to some extent, be “switched off” when the context renders them unnecessary. Furthermore, the results lend support to models of idiom comprehension that involve unitary idiom representations.
  • Rommers, J., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2013). Object shape and orientation do not routinely influence performance during language processing. Psychological Science, 24, 2218-2225. doi:10.1177/0956797613490746.

    Abstract

    The role of visual representations during language processing remains unclear: They could be activated as a necessary part of the comprehension process, or they could be less crucial and influence performance in a task-dependent manner. In the present experiments, participants read sentences about an object. The sentences implied that the object had a specific shape or orientation. They then either named a picture of that object (Experiments 1 and 3) or decided whether the object had been mentioned in the sentence (Experiment 2). Orientation information did not reliably influence performance in any of the experiments. Shape representations influenced performance most strongly when participants were asked to compare a sentence with a picture or when they were explicitly asked to use mental imagery while reading the sentences. Thus, in contrast to previous claims, implied visual information often does not contribute substantially to the comprehension process during normal reading.

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  • Rommers, J. (2013). Seeing what's next: Processing and anticipating language referring to objects. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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  • Rommers, J., Meyer, A. S., Praamstra, P., & Huettig, F. (2013). The contents of predictions in sentence comprehension: Activation of the shape of objects before they are referred to. Neuropsychologia, 51(3), 437-447. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.12.002.

    Abstract

    When comprehending concrete words, listeners and readers can activate specific visual information such as the shape of the words’ referents. In two experiments we examined whether such information can be activated in an anticipatory fashion. In Experiment 1, listeners’ eye movements were tracked while they were listening to sentences that were predictive of a specific critical word (e.g., “moon” in “In 1969 Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon”). 500 ms before the acoustic onset of the critical word, participants were shown four-object displays featuring three unrelated distractor objects and a critical object, which was either the target object (e.g., moon), an object with a similar shape (e.g., tomato), or an unrelated control object (e.g., rice). In a time window before shape information from the spoken target word could be retrieved, participants already tended to fixate both the target and the shape competitors more often than they fixated the control objects, indicating that they had anticipatorily activated the shape of the upcoming word's referent. This was confirmed in Experiment 2, which was an ERP experiment without picture displays. Participants listened to the same lead-in sentences as in Experiment 1. The sentence-final words corresponded to the predictable target, the shape competitor, or the unrelated control object (yielding, for instance, “In 1969 Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon/tomato/rice”). N400 amplitude in response to the final words was significantly attenuated in the shape-related compared to the unrelated condition. Taken together, these results suggest that listeners can activate perceptual attributes of objects before they are referred to in an utterance.

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