Displaying 1 - 100 of 270
  • Cutter, M. G., Martin, A. E., & Sturt, P. (in press). Capitalization interacts with syntactic complexity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

    Abstract

    We investigated whether readers use the low-level cue of proper noun capitalization in the parafovea to infer syntactic category, and whether this results in an early update of the representation of a sentence’s syntactic structure. Participants read sentences containing either a subject relative or object relative clause, in which the relative clause’s overt argument was a proper noun (e.g., The tall lanky guard who alerted Charlie/Charlie alerted to the danger was young) across three experiments. In Experiment 1 these sentences were presented in normal sentence casing or entirely in upper case. In Experiment 2 participants received either valid or invalid parafoveal previews of the relative clause. In Experiment 3 participants viewed relative clauses in only normal conditions. We hypothesized that we would observe relative clause effects (i.e., inflated fixation times for object relative clauses) while readers were still fixated on the word who, if readers use capitalization to infer a parafoveal word’s syntactic class. This would constitute a syntactic parafoveal-on-foveal effect. Furthermore, we hypothesised that this effect should be influenced by sentence casing in Experiment 1 (with no cue for syntactic category being available in upper case sentences) but not by parafoveal preview validity of the target words. We observed syntactic parafoveal-on-foveal effects in Experiment 1 and 3, and a Bayesian analysis of the combined data from all three experiments. These effects seemed to be influenced more by noun capitalization than lexical processing. We discuss our findings in relation to models of eye movement control and sentence processing theories.
  • Hintz, F., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (in press). Visual context constrains language-mediated anticipatory eye movements. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

    Abstract

    Contemporary accounts of anticipatory language processing assume that individuals predict upcoming information at multiple levels of representation. Research investigating language-mediated anticipatory eye gaze typically assumes that linguistic input restricts the domain of subsequent reference (visual target objects). Here, we explored the converse case: Can visual input restrict the dynamics of anticipatory language processing? To this end, we recorded participants’ eye movements as they listened to sentences in which an object was predictable based on the verb’s selectional restrictions (“The man peels a banana”). While listening, participants looked at different types of displays: The target object (banana) was either present or it was absent. On target-absent trials, the displays featured objects that had a similar visual shape as the target object (canoe) or objects that were semantically related to the concepts invoked by the target (monkey). Each trial was presented in a long preview version, where participants saw the displays for approximately 1.78 seconds before the verb was heard (pre-verb condition), and a short preview version, where participants saw the display approximately 1 second after the verb had been heard (post-verb condition), 750 ms prior to the spoken target onset. Participants anticipated the target objects in both conditions. Importantly, robust evidence for predictive looks to objects related to the (absent) target objects in visual shape and semantics was found in the post-verb but not in the pre-verb condition. These results suggest that visual information can restrict language-mediated anticipatory gaze and delineate theoretical accounts of predictive processing in the visual world.
  • Iacozza, S., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (in press). In-group bias influences the level of detail of speaker-specific information encoded in novel lexical representations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Barr, D. J., Bartolozzi, F., Busch-Moreno, S., Darley, E., Donaldson, D. I., Ferguson, H. J., Fu, X., Heyselaar, E., Huettig, F., Husband, E. M., Ito, A., Kazanina, N., Kogan, V., Kohút, Z., Kulakova, E., Mézière, D., Politzer-Ahles, S., Rousselet, G., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., Segaert, K., Tuomainen, J., & Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn, S. (in press). Dissociable effects of prediction and integration during language comprehension: Evidence from a large-scale study using brain potentials. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences.

    Abstract

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

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  • Rodd, J., Bosker, H. R., Ernestus, M., Alday, P. M., Meyer, A. S., & Ten Bosch, L. (in press). Control of speaking rate is achieved by switching between qualitatively distinct cognitive ‘gaits’: Evidence from simulation. Psychological Review.
  • Terband, H., Rodd, J., & Maas, E. (in press). Testing hypotheses about the underlying deficit of Apraxia of Speech (AOS) through computational neural modelling with the DIVA model. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
  • Alday, P. M. (2019). M/EEG analysis of naturalistic stories: a review from speech to language processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(4), 457-473. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1546882.

    Abstract

    M/EEG research using naturally spoken stories as stimuli has focused largely on speech and not language processing. The temporal resolution of M/EEG is a two-edged sword, allowing for the study of the fine acoustic structure of speech, yet easily overwhelmed by the temporal noise of variation in constituent length. Recent theories on the neural encoding of linguistic structure require the temporal resolution of M/EEG, yet suffer from confounds when studied on traditional, heavily controlled stimuli. Recent methodological advances allow for synthesising naturalistic designs and traditional, controlled designs into effective M/EEG research on naturalistic language. In this review, we highlight common threads throughout the at-times distinct research traditions of speech and language processing. We conclude by examining the tradeoffs and successes of three M/EEG studies on fully naturalistic language paradigms and the future directions they suggest.
  • Alday, P. M. (2019). How much baseline correction do we need in ERP research? Extended GLM model can replace baseline correction while lifting its limits. Psychophysiology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/psyp.13451.

    Abstract

    Baseline correction plays an important role in past and current methodological debates in ERP research (e.g., the Tanner vs. Maess debate in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods), serving as a potential alternative to strong high‐pass filtering. However, the very assumptions that underlie traditional baseline also undermine it, implying a reduction in the signal‐to‐noise ratio. In other words, traditional baseline correction is statistically unnecessary and even undesirable. Including the baseline interval as a predictor in a GLM‐based statistical approach allows the data to determine how much baseline correction is needed, including both full traditional and no baseline correction as special cases. This reduces the amount of variance in the residual error term and thus has the potential to increase statistical power.
  • Alday, P. M., & Kretzschmar, F. (2019). Speed-accuracy tradeoffs in brain and behavior: Testing the independence of P300 and N400 related processes in behavioral responses to sentence categorization. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13: 285. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00285.

    Abstract

    Although the N400 was originally discovered in a paradigm designed to elicit a P300 (Kutas and Hillyard, 1980), its relationship with the P300 and how both overlapping event-related potentials (ERPs) determine behavioral profiles is still elusive. Here we conducted an ERP (N = 20) and a multiple-response speed-accuracy tradeoff (SAT) experiment (N = 16) on distinct participant samples using an antonym paradigm (The opposite of black is white/nice/yellow with acceptability judgment). We hypothesized that SAT profiles incorporate processes of task-related decision-making (P300) and stimulus-related expectation violation (N400). We replicated previous ERP results (Roehm et al., 2007): in the correct condition (white), the expected target elicits a P300, while both expectation violations engender an N400 [reduced for related (yellow) vs. unrelated targets (nice)]. Using multivariate Bayesian mixed-effects models, we modeled the P300 and N400 responses simultaneously and found that correlation between residuals and subject-level random effects of each response window was minimal, suggesting that the components are largely independent. For the SAT data, we found that antonyms and unrelated targets had a similar slope (rate of increase in accuracy over time) and an asymptote at ceiling, while related targets showed both a lower slope and a lower asymptote, reaching only approximately 80% accuracy. Using a GLMM-based approach (Davidson and Martin, 2013), we modeled these dynamics using response time and condition as predictors. Replacing the predictor for condition with the averaged P300 and N400 amplitudes from the ERP experiment, we achieved identical model performance. We then examined the piecewise contribution of the P300 and N400 amplitudes with partial effects (see Hohenstein and Kliegl, 2015). Unsurprisingly, the P300 amplitude was the strongest contributor to the SAT-curve in the antonym condition and the N400 was the strongest contributor in the unrelated condition. In brief, this is the first demonstration of how overlapping ERP responses in one sample of participants predict behavioral SAT profiles of another sample. The P300 and N400 reflect two independent but interacting processes and the competition between these processes is reflected differently in behavioral parameters of speed and accuracy.

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  • Araújo, S., Fernandes, T., & Huettig, F. (2019). Learning to read facilitates retrieval of phonological representations in rapid automatized naming: Evidence from unschooled illiterate, ex-illiterate, and schooled literate adults. Developmental Science, 22(4): e12783. doi:10.1111/desc.12783.

    Abstract

    Rapid automatized naming (RAN) of visual items is a powerful predictor of reading skills. However, the direction and locus of the association between RAN and reading is still largely unclear. Here we investigated whether literacy acquisition directly bolsters RAN efficiency for objects, adopting a strong methodological design, by testing three groups of adults matched in age and socioeconomic variables, who differed only in literacy/schooling: unschooled illiterate and ex-illiterate, and schooled literate adults. To investigate in a fine-grained manner whether and how literacy facilitates lexical retrieval, we orthogonally manipulated the word-form frequency (high vs. low) and phonological neighborhood density (dense vs. spare) of the objects’ names. We observed that literacy experience enhances the automaticity with which visual stimuli (e.g., objects) can be retrieved and named: relative to readers (ex-illiterate and literate), illiterate adults performed worse on RAN. Crucially, the group difference was exacerbated and significant only for those items that were of low frequency and from sparse neighborhoods. These results thus suggest that, regardless of schooling and age at which literacy was acquired, learning to read facilitates the access to and retrieval of phonological representations, especially of difficult lexical items.
  • Bode, S., Feuerriegel, D., Bennett, D., & Alday, P. M. (2019). The Decision Decoding ToolBOX (DDTBOX) -- A Multivariate Pattern Analysis Toolbox for Event-Related Potentials. Neuroinformatics, 17(1), 27-42. doi:10.1007/s12021-018-9375-z.

    Abstract

    In recent years, neuroimaging research in cognitive neuroscience has increasingly used multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) to investigate higher cognitive functions. Here we present DDTBOX, an open-source MVPA toolbox for electroencephalography (EEG) data. DDTBOX runs under MATLAB and is well integrated with the EEGLAB/ERPLAB and Fieldtrip toolboxes (Delorme and Makeig 2004; Lopez-Calderon and Luck 2014; Oostenveld et al. 2011). It trains support vector machines (SVMs) on patterns of event-related potential (ERP) amplitude data, following or preceding an event of interest, for classification or regression of experimental variables. These amplitude patterns can be extracted across space/electrodes (spatial decoding), time (temporal decoding), or both (spatiotemporal decoding). DDTBOX can also extract SVM feature weights, generate empirical chance distributions based on shuffled-labels decoding for group-level statistical testing, provide estimates of the prevalence of decodable information in the population, and perform a variety of corrections for multiple comparisons. It also includes plotting functions for single subject and group results. DDTBOX complements conventional analyses of ERP components, as subtle multivariate patterns can be detected that would be overlooked in standard analyses. It further allows for a more explorative search for information when no ERP component is known to be specifically linked to a cognitive process of interest. In summary, DDTBOX is an easy-to-use and open-source toolbox that allows for characterising the time-course of information related to various perceptual and cognitive processes. It can be applied to data from a large number of experimental paradigms and could therefore be a valuable tool for the neuroimaging community.
  • Bosker, H. R., Van Os, M., Does, R., & Van Bergen, G. (2019). Counting 'uhm's: how tracking the distribution of native and non-native disfluencies influences online language comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 106, 189-202. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2019.02.006.

    Abstract

    Disfluencies, like 'uh', have been shown to help listeners anticipate reference to low-frequency words. The associative account of this 'disfluency bias' proposes that listeners learn to associate disfluency with low-frequency referents based on prior exposure to non-arbitrary disfluency distributions (i.e., greater probability of low-frequency words after disfluencies). However, there is limited evidence for listeners actually tracking disfluency distributions online. The present experiments are the first to show that adult listeners, exposed to a typical or more atypical disfluency distribution (i.e., hearing a talker unexpectedly say uh before high-frequency words), flexibly adjust their predictive strategies to the disfluency distribution at hand (e.g., learn to predict high-frequency referents after disfluency). However, when listeners were presented with the same atypical disfluency distribution but produced by a non-native speaker, no adjustment was observed. This suggests pragmatic inferences can modulate distributional learning, revealing the flexibility of, and constraints on, distributional learning in incremental language comprehension.
  • Bosker, H. R., Sjerps, M. J., & Reinisch, E. (2019). Spectral contrast effects are modulated by selective attention in ‘cocktail party’ settings. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13414-019-01824-2.

    Abstract

    Speech sounds are perceived relative to spectral properties of surrounding speech. For instance, target words ambiguous between /bɪt/ (with low F1) and /bɛt/ (with high F1) are more likely to be perceived as “bet” after a ‘low F1’ sentence, but as “bit” after a ‘high F1’ sentence. However, it is unclear how these spectral contrast effects (SCEs) operate in multi-talker listening conditions. Recently, Feng and Oxenham [(2018b). J.Exp.Psychol.-Hum.Percept.Perform. 44(9), 1447–1457] reported that selective attention affected SCEs to a small degree, using two simultaneously presented sentences produced by a single talker. The present study assessed the role of selective attention in more naturalistic ‘cocktail party’ settings, with 200 lexically unique sentences, 20 target words, and different talkers. Results indicate that selective attention to one talker in one ear (while ignoring another talker in the other ear) modulates SCEs in such a way that only the spectral properties of the attended talker influences target perception. However, SCEs were much smaller in multi-talker settings (Experiment 2) than those in single-talker settings (Experiment 1). Therefore, the influence of SCEs on speech comprehension in more naturalistic settings (i.e., with competing talkers) may be smaller than estimated based on studies without competing talkers.

    Supplementary material

    13414_2019_1824_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Brehm, L., Jackson, C. N., & Miller, K. L. (2019). Speaker-specific processing of anomalous utterances. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(4), 764-778. doi:10.1177/1747021818765547.

    Abstract

    Existing work shows that readers often interpret grammatical errors (e.g., The key to the cabinets *were shiny) and sentence-level blends (“without-blend”: Claudia left without her headphones *off) in a non-literal fashion, inferring that a more frequent or more canonical utterance was intended instead. This work examines how interlocutor identity affects the processing and interpretation of anomalous sentences. We presented anomalies in the context of “emails” attributed to various writers in a self-paced reading paradigm and used comprehension questions to probe how sentence interpretation changed based upon properties of the item and properties of the “speaker.” Experiment 1 compared standardised American English speakers to L2 English speakers; Experiment 2 compared the same standardised English speakers to speakers of a non-Standardised American English dialect. Agreement errors and without-blends both led to more non-literal responses than comparable canonical items. For agreement errors, more non-literal interpretations also occurred when sentences were attributed to speakers of Standardised American English than either non-Standardised group. These data suggest that understanding sentences relies on expectations and heuristics about which utterances are likely. These are based upon experience with language, with speaker-specific differences, and upon more general cognitive biases.

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  • Brehm, L., Hussey, E., & Christianson, K. (2019). The role of word frequency and morpho-orthography in agreement processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1631456.

    Abstract

    Agreement attraction in comprehension (when an ungrammatical verb is read quickly if preceded by a feature-matching local noun) is well described by a cue-based retrieval framework. This suggests a role for lexical retrieval in attraction. To examine this, we manipulated two probabilistic factors known to affect lexical retrieval: local noun word frequency and morpho-orthography (agreement morphology realised with or without –s endings) in a self-paced reading study. Noun number and word frequency affected noun and verb region reading times, with higher-frequency words not eliciting attraction. Morpho-orthography impacted verb processing but not attraction: atypical plurals led to slower verb reading times regardless of verb number. Exploratory individual difference analyses further underscore the importance of lexical retrieval dynamics in sentence processing. This provides evidence that agreement operates via a cue-based retrieval mechanism over lexical representations that vary in their strength and association to number features.

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    Supplemental material
  • Brehm, L., Taschenberger, L., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Mental representations of partner task cause interference in picture naming. Acta Psychologica, 199: 102888. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2019.102888.

    Abstract

    Interference in picture naming occurs from representing a partner's preparations to speak (Gambi, van de Cavey, & Pickering, 2015). We tested the origins of this interference using a simple non-communicative joint naming task based on Gambi et al. (2015), where response latencies indexed interference from partner task and partner speech content, and eye fixations to partner objects indexed overt attention. Experiment 1 contrasted a partner-present condition with a control partner-absent condition to establish the role of the partner in eliciting interference. For latencies, we observed interference from the partner's task and speech content, with interference increasing due to partner task in the partner-present condition. Eye-tracking measures showed that interference in naming was not due to overt attention to partner stimuli but to broad expectations about likely utterances. Experiment 2 examined whether an equivalent non-verbal task also elicited interference, as predicted from a language as joint action framework. We replicated the finding of interference due to partner task and again found no relationship between overt attention and interference. These results support Gambi et al. (2015). Individuals co-represent a partner's task while speaking, and doing so does not require overt attention to partner stimuli.
  • Favier, S., Wright, A., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2019). Proficiency modulates between- but not within-language structural priming. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s41809-019-00029-1.

    Abstract

    The oldest of the Celtic language family, Irish differs considerably from English, notably with respect to word order and case marking. In spite of differences in surface constituent structure, less restricted accounts of bilingual shared syntax predict that processing datives and passives in Irish should prime the production of their English equivalents. Furthermore, this cross-linguistic influence should be sensitive to L2 proficiency, if shared structural representations are assumed to develop over time. In Experiment 1, we investigated cross-linguistic structural priming from Irish to English in 47 bilingual adolescents who are educated through Irish. Testing took place in a classroom setting, using written primes and written sentence generation. We found that priming for prepositional-object (PO) datives was predicted by self-rated Irish (L2) proficiency, in line with previous studies. In Experiment 2, we presented translations of the materials to an English-educated control group (n=54). We found a within-language priming effect for PO datives, which was not modulated by English (L1) proficiency. Our findings are compatible with current theories of bilingual language processing and L2 syntactic acquisition.
  • Goldrick, M., McClain, R., Cibelli, E., Adi, Y., Gustafson, E., Moers, C., & Keshet, J. (2019). The influence of lexical selection disruptions on articulation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45(6), 1107-1141. doi:10.1037/xlm0000633.

    Abstract

    Interactive models of language production predict that it should be possible to observe long-distance interactions; effects that arise at one level of processing influence multiple subsequent stages of representation and processing. We examine the hypothesis that disruptions arising in nonform-based levels of planning—specifically, lexical selection—should modulate articulatory processing. A novel automatic phonetic analysis method was used to examine productions in a paradigm yielding both general disruptions to formulation processes and, more specifically, overt errors during lexical selection. This analysis method allowed us to examine articulatory disruptions at multiple levels of analysis, from whole words to individual segments. Baseline performance by young adults was contrasted with young speakers’ performance under time pressure (which previous work has argued increases interaction between planning and articulation) and performance by older adults (who may have difficulties inhibiting nontarget representations, leading to heightened interactive effects). The results revealed the presence of interactive effects. Our new analysis techniques revealed these effects were strongest in initial portions of responses, suggesting that speech is initiated as soon as the first segment has been planned. Interactive effects did not increase under response pressure, suggesting interaction between planning and articulation is relatively fixed. Unexpectedly, lexical selection disruptions appeared to yield some degree of facilitation in articulatory processing (possibly reflecting semantic facilitation of target retrieval) and older adults showed weaker, not stronger interactive effects (possibly reflecting weakened connections between lexical and form-level representations).
  • Hervais-Adelman, A., Kumar, U., Mishra, R. K., Tripathi, V. N., Guleria, A., Singh, J. P., Eisner, F., & Huettig, F. (2019). Learning to read recycles visual cortical networks without destruction. Science Advances, 5(9): eaax0262. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax0262.

    Abstract

    Learning to read is associated with the appearance of an orthographically sensitive brain region known as the visual word form area. It has been claimed that development of this area proceeds by impinging upon territory otherwise available for the processing of culturally relevant stimuli such as faces and houses. In a large-scale functional magnetic resonance imaging study of a group of individuals of varying degrees of literacy (from completely illiterate to highly literate), we examined cortical responses to orthographic and nonorthographic visual stimuli. We found that literacy enhances responses to other visual input in early visual areas and enhances representational similarity between text and faces, without reducing the extent of response to nonorthographic input. Thus, acquisition of literacy in childhood recycles existing object representation mechanisms but without destructive competition.

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    aax0262_SM.pdf
  • Hintz*, F., Jongman*, S. R., Dijkhuis, M., Van 't Hoff, V., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Shared lexical access processes in speaking and listening? An individual differences study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/xlm0000768.

    Abstract

    - * indicates joint first authorship - Lexical access is a core component of word processing. In order to produce or comprehend a word, language users must access word forms in their mental lexicon. However, despite its involvement in both tasks, previous research has often studied lexical access in either production or comprehension alone. Therefore, it is unknown to which extent lexical access processes are shared across both tasks. Picture naming and auditory lexical decision are considered good tools for studying lexical access. Both of them are speeded tasks. Given these commonalities, another open question concerns the involvement of general cognitive abilities (e.g., processing speed) in both linguistic tasks. In the present study, we addressed these questions. We tested a large group of young adults enrolled in academic and vocational courses. Participants completed picture naming and auditory lexical decision tasks as well as a battery of tests assessing non-verbal processing speed, vocabulary, and non-verbal intelligence. Our results suggest that the lexical access processes involved in picture naming and lexical decision are related but less closely than one might have thought. Moreover, reaction times in picture naming and lexical decision depended as least as much on general processing speed as on domain-specific linguistic processes (i.e., lexical access processes).
  • Hoedemaker, R. S., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Planning and coordination of utterances in a joint naming task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45(4), 732-752. doi:10.1037/xlm0000603.

    Abstract

    Dialogue requires speakers to coordinate. According to the model of dialogue as joint action, interlocutors achieve this coordination by corepresenting their own and each other’s task share in a functionally equivalent manner. In two experiments, we investigated this corepresentation account using an interactive joint naming task in which pairs of participants took turns naming sets of objects on a shared display. Speaker A named the first, or the first and third object, and Speaker B named the second object. In control conditions, Speaker A named one, two, or all three objects and Speaker B remained silent. We recorded the timing of the speakers’ utterances and Speaker A’s eye movements. Interturn pause durations indicated that the speakers effectively coordinated their utterances in time. Speaker A’s speech onset latencies depended on the number of objects they named, but were unaffected by Speaker B’s naming task. This suggests speakers were not fully incorporating their partner’s task into their own speech planning. Moreover, Speaker A’s eye movements indicated that they were much less likely to attend to objects their partner named than to objects they named themselves. When speakers did inspect their partner’s objects, viewing times were too short to suggest that speakers were retrieving these object names as if they were planning to name the objects themselves. These results indicate that speakers prioritized planning their own responses over attending to their interlocutor’s task and suggest that effective coordination can be achieved without full corepresentation of the partner’s task.
  • Huettig, F., & Guerra, E. (2019). Effects of speech rate, preview time of visual context, and participant instructions reveal strong limits on prediction in language processing. Brain Research, 1706, 196-208. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2018.11.013.

    Abstract

    There is a consensus among language researchers that people can predict upcoming language. But do people always predict when comprehending language? Notions that “brains … are essentially prediction machines” certainly suggest so. In three eye-tracking experiments we tested this view. Participants listened to simple Dutch sentences (‘Look at the displayed bicycle’) while viewing four objects (a target, e.g. a bicycle, and three unrelated distractors). We used the identical visual stimuli and the same spoken sentences but varied speech rates, preview time, and participant instructions. Target nouns were preceded by definite gender-marked determiners, which allowed participants to predict the target object because only the targets but not the distractors agreed in gender with the determiner. In Experiment 1, participants had four seconds preview and sentences were presented either in a slow or a normal speech rate. Participants predicted the targets as soon as they heard the determiner in both conditions. Experiment 2 was identical except that participants were given only a one second preview. Participants predicted the targets only in the slow speech condition. Experiment 3 was identical to Experiment 2 except that participants were explicitly told to predict. This led only to a small prediction effect in the normal speech condition. Thus, a normal speech rate only afforded prediction if participants had an extensive preview. Even the explicit instruction to predict the target resulted in only a small anticipation effect with a normal speech rate and a short preview. These findings are problematic for theoretical proposals that assume that prediction pervades cognition.
  • Huettig, F., & Pickering, M. (2019). Literacy advantages beyond reading: Prediction of spoken language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23(6), 464-475. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2019.03.008.

    Abstract

    Literacy has many obvious benefits—it exposes the reader to a wealth of new information and enhances syntactic knowledge. However, we argue that literacy has an additional, often overlooked, benefit: it enhances people’s ability to predict spoken language thereby aiding comprehension. Readers are under pressure to process information more quickly than listeners, and reading provides excellent conditions, in particular a stable environment, for training the predictive system. It also leads to increased awareness of words as linguistic units, and more fine-grained phonological and additional orthographic representations, which sharpen lexical representations and facilitate predicted representations to be retrieved. Thus, reading trains core processes and representations involved in language prediction that are common to both reading and listening.
  • Iacozza, S., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (2019). How in-group bias influences source memory for words learned from in-group and out-group speakers. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13: 308. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00308.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

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

    Abstract

    During spoken language comprehension, listeners make use of both knowledge-based and signal-based sources of information, but little is known about how cues from these distinct levels of representational hierarchy are weighted and integrated online. In an eye-tracking experiment using the visual world paradigm, we investigated the flexible weighting and integration of morphosyntactic gender marking (a knowledge-based cue) and contextual speech rate (a signal-based cue). We observed that participants used the morphosyntactic cue immediately to make predictions about upcoming referents, even in the presence of uncertainty about the cue’s reliability. Moreover, we found speech rate normalization effects in participants’ gaze patterns even in the presence of preceding morphosyntactic information. These results demonstrate that cues are weighted and integrated flexibly online, rather than adhering to a strict hierarchy. We further found rate normalization effects in the looking behavior of participants who showed a strong behavioral preference for the morphosyntactic gender cue. This indicates that rate normalization effects are robust and potentially automatic. We discuss these results in light of theories of cue integration and the two-stage model of acoustic context effects
  • Kim, N., Brehm, L., Sturt, P., & Yoshida, M. (2019). How long can you hold the filler: Maintenance and retrieval. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1626456.

    Abstract

    This study attempts to reveal the mechanisms behind the online formation of Wh-Filler-Gap Dependencies (WhFGD). Specifically, we aim to uncover the way in which maintenance and retrieval work in WhFGD processing, by paying special attention to the information that is retrieved when the gap is recognized. We use the agreement attraction phenomenon (Wagers, M. W., Lau, E. F., & Phillips, C. (2009). Agreement attraction in comprehension: Representations and processes. Journal of Memory and Language, 61(2), 206-237) as a probe. The first and second experiments examined the type of information that is maintained and how maintenance is motivated, investigating the retrieved information at the gap for reactivated fillers and definite NPs. The third experiment examined the role of the retrieval, comparing reactivated and active fillers. We contend that the information being accessed reflects the extent to which the filler is maintained, where the reader is able to access fine-grained information including category information as well as a representation of both the head and the modifier at the verb.

    Supplementary material

    Supplemental material
  • Kim, N., Brehm, L., & Yoshida, M. (2019). The online processing of noun phrase ellipsis and mechanisms of antecedent retrieval. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(2), 190-213. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1513542.

    Abstract

    We investigate whether grammatical information is accessed in processing noun phrase ellipsis (NPE) and other anaphoric constructions. The first experiment used an agreement attraction paradigm to reveal that ungrammatical plural verbs following NPE with an antecedent containing a plural modifier (e.g. Derek’s key to the boxes … and Mary’s_ probably *are safe in the drawer) show similar facilitation to non-elided NPs. The second experiment used the same paradigm to examine a coordination construction without anaphoric elements, and the third examined anaphoric one. Agreement attraction was not observed in either experiment, suggesting that processing NPE is different from processing non-anaphoric coordination constructions or anaphoric one. Taken together, the results indicate that the parser is sensitive to grammatical distinctions at the ellipsis site where it prioritises and retrieves the head at the initial stage of processing and retrieves the local noun within the modifier phrase only when it is necessary in parsing NPE.

    Supplementary material

    Kim_Brehm_Yoshida_2018sup.pdf
  • Krebs, J., Wilbur, R. B., Alday, P. M., & Roehm, D. (2019). The impact of transitional movements and non-manual markings on the disambiguation of locally ambiguous argument structures in Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS). Language and Speech, 62(4), 652-680. doi:10.1177/0023830918801399.

    Abstract

    Previous studies of Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS) word-order variations have demonstrated the human processing system’s tendency to interpret a sentence-initial (case-) ambiguous argument as the subject of the clause (“subject preference”). The electroencephalogram study motivating the current report revealed earlier reanalysis effects for object-subject compared to subject-object sentences, in particular, before the start of the movement of the agreement marking sign. The effects were bound to time points prior to when both arguments were referenced in space and/or the transitional hand movement prior to producing the disambiguating sign. Due to the temporal proximity of these time points, it was not clear which visual cues led to disambiguation; that is, whether non-manual markings (body/shoulder/head shift towards the subject position) or the transitional hand movement resolved ambiguity. The present gating study further supports that disambiguation in ÖGS is triggered by cues occurring before the movement of the disambiguating sign. Further, the present study also confirms the presence of the subject preference in ÖGS, showing again that signers and speakers draw on similar strategies during language processing independent of language modality. Although the ultimate role of the visual cues leading to disambiguation (i.e., non-manual markings and transitional movements) requires further investigation, the present study shows that they contribute crucial information about argument structure during online processing. This finding provides strong support for granting these cues some degree of linguistic status (at least in ÖGS).
  • Lev-Ari, S. (2019). People with larger social networks are better at predicting what someone will say but not how they will say it. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(1), 101-114. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1508733.

    Abstract

    Prediction of upcoming words facilitates language processing. Individual differences in social experience, however, might influence prediction ability by influencing input variability and representativeness. This paper explores how individual differences in social network size influence prediction and how this influence differs across linguistic levels. In Experiment 1, participants predicted likely sentence completions from several plausible endings differing in meaning or only form (e.g. work vs. job). In Experiment 2, participants’ pupil size was measured as they listened to sentences whose ending was the dominant one or deviated from it in either meaning or form. Both experiments show that people with larger social networks are better at predicting upcoming meanings but not the form they would take. The results thus show that people with different social experience process language differently, and shed light on how social dynamics interact with the structure of the linguistic level to influence learning of linguistic patterns.

    Supplementary material

    plcp_a_1508733_sm8698.docx
  • Mantegna, F., Hintz, F., Ostarek, M., Alday, P. M., & Huettig, F. (2019). Distinguishing integration and prediction accounts of ERP N400 modulations in language processing through experimental design. Neuropsychologia, 134: 107199. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.107199.

    Abstract

    Prediction of upcoming input is thought to be a main characteristic of language processing (e.g. Altmann & Mirkovic, 2009; Dell & Chang, 2014; Federmeier, 2007; Ferreira & Chantavarin, 2018; Pickering & Gambi, 2018; Hale, 2001; Hickok, 2012; Huettig 2015; Kuperberg & Jaeger, 2016; Levy, 2008; Norris, McQueen, & Cutler, 2016; Pickering & Garrod, 2013; Van Petten & Luka, 2012). One of the main pillars of experimental support for this notion comes from studies that have attempted to measure electrophysiological markers of prediction when participants read or listened to sentences ending in highly predictable words. The N400, a negative-going and centro-parietally distributed component of the ERP occurring approximately 400ms after (target) word onset, has been frequently interpreted as indexing prediction of the word (or the semantic representations and/or the phonological form of the predicted word, see Kutas & Federmeier, 2011; Nieuwland, 2019; Van Petten & Luka, 2012; for review). A major difficulty for interpreting N400 effects in language processing however is that it has been difficult to establish whether N400 target word modulations conclusively reflect prediction rather than (at least partly) ease of integration. In the present exploratory study, we attempted to distinguish lexical prediction (i.e. ‘top-down’ activation) from lexical integration (i.e. ‘bottom-up’ activation) accounts of ERP N400 modulations in language processing.
  • Martin, A. E., & Doumas, L. A. A. (2019). Predicate learning in neural systems: Using oscillations to discover latent structure. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 29, 77-83. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.04.008.

    Abstract

    Humans learn to represent complex structures (e.g. natural language, music, mathematics) from experience with their environments. Often such structures are latent, hidden, or not encoded in statistics about sensory representations alone. Accounts of human cognition have long emphasized the importance of structured representations, yet the majority of contemporary neural networks do not learn structure from experience. Here, we describe one way that structured, functionally symbolic representations can be instantiated in an artificial neural network. Then, we describe how such latent structures (viz. predicates) can be learned from experience with unstructured data. Our approach exploits two principles from psychology and neuroscience: comparison of representations, and the naturally occurring dynamic properties of distributed computing across neuronal assemblies (viz. neural oscillations). We discuss how the ability to learn predicates from experience, to represent information compositionally, and to extrapolate knowledge to unseen data is core to understanding and modeling the most complex human behaviors (e.g. relational reasoning, analogy, language processing, game play).
  • Maslowski, M., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2019). Listeners normalize speech for contextual speech rate even without an explicit recognition task. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 146(1), 179-188. doi:10.1121/1.5116004.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Listeners are known to track statistical regularities in speech. Yet, which temporal cues are encoded is unclear. This study tested effects of talker-specific habitual speech rate and talker-independent average speech rate (heard over a longer period of time) on the perception of the temporal Dutch vowel contrast /A/-/a:/. First, Experiment 1 replicated that slow local (surrounding) speech contexts induce fewer long /a:/ responses than faster contexts. Experiment 2 tested effects of long-term habitual speech rate. One high-rate group listened to ambiguous vowels embedded in `neutral' speech from talker A, intermixed with speech from fast talker B. Another low-rate group listened to the same `neutral' speech from talker A, but to talker B being slow. Between-group comparison of the `neutral' trials showed that the high-rate group demonstrated a lower proportion of /a:/ responses, indicating that talker A's habitual speech rate sounded slower when B was faster. In Experiment 3, both talkers produced speech at both rates, removing the different habitual speech rates of talker A and B, while maintaining the average rate differing between groups. This time no global rate effect was observed. Taken together, the present experiments show that a talker's habitual rate is encoded relative to the habitual rate of another talker, carrying implications for episodic and constraint-based models of speech perception.
  • Meyer, A. S., Roelofs, A., & Brehm, L. (2019). Thirty years of Speaking: An introduction to the special issue. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(9), 1073-1084. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1652763.

    Abstract

    Thirty years ago, Pim Levelt published Speaking. During the 10th International Workshop on Language Production held at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen in July 2018, researchers reflected on the impact of the book in the field, developments since its publication, and current research trends. The contributions in this Special Issue are closely related to the presentations given at the workshop. In this editorial, we sketch the research agenda set by Speaking, review how different aspects of this agenda are taken up in the papers in this volume and outline directions for further research.
  • Nuthmann, A., De Groot, F., Huettig, F., & Olivers, C. L. N. (2019). Extrafoveal attentional capture by object semantics. PLoS One, 14(5): e0217051. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0217051.

    Abstract

    There is ongoing debate on whether object meaning can be processed outside foveal vision, making semantics available for attentional guidance. Much of the debate has centred on whether objects that do not fit within an overall scene draw attention, in complex displays that are often difficult to control. Here, we revisited the question by reanalysing data from three experiments that used displays consisting of standalone objects from a carefully controlled stimulus set. Observers searched for a target object, as per auditory instruction. On the critical trials, the displays contained no target but objects that were semantically related to the target, visually related, or unrelated. Analyses using (generalized) linear mixed-effects models showed that, although visually related objects attracted most attention, semantically related objects were also fixated earlier in time than unrelated objects. Moreover, semantic matches affected the very first saccade in the display. The amplitudes of saccades that first entered semantically related objects were larger than 5° on average, confirming that object semantics is available outside foveal vision. Finally, there was no semantic capture of attention for the same objects when observers did not actively look for the target, confirming that it was not stimulus-driven. We discuss the implications for existing models of visual cognition.
  • Ostarek, M., Joosen, D., Ishag, A., De Nijs, M., & Huettig, F. (2019). Are visual processes causally involved in “perceptual simulation” effects in the sentence-picture verification task? Cognition, 182, 84-94. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2018.08.017.

    Abstract

    Many studies have shown that sentences implying an object to have a certain shape produce a robust reaction time advantage for shape-matching pictures in the sentence-picture verification task. Typically, this finding has been interpreted as evidence for perceptual simulation, i.e., that access to implicit shape information involves the activation of modality-specific visual processes. It follows from this proposal that disrupting visual processing during sentence comprehension should interfere with perceptual simulation and obliterate the match effect. Here we directly test this hypothesis. Participants listened to sentences while seeing either visual noise that was previously shown to strongly interfere with basic visual processing or a blank screen. Experiments 1 and 2 replicated the match effect but crucially visual noise did not modulate it. When an interference technique was used that targeted high-level semantic processing (Experiment 3) however the match effect vanished. Visual noise specifically targeting high-level visual processes (Experiment 4) only had a minimal effect on the match effect. We conclude that the shape match effect in the sentence-picture verification paradigm is unlikely to rely on perceptual simulation.
  • Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (2019). Six challenges for embodiment research. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0963721419866441.

    Abstract

    20 years after Barsalou's seminal perceptual symbols paper (Barsalou, 1999), embodied cognition, the notion that cognition involves simulations of sensory, motor, or affective states, has moved in status from an outlandish proposal advanced by a fringe movement in psychology to a mainstream position adopted by large numbers of researchers in the psychological and cognitive (neuro)sciences. While it has generated highly productive work in the cognitive sciences as a whole, it had a particularly strong impact on research into language comprehension. The view of a mental lexicon based on symbolic word representations, which are arbitrarily linked to sensory aspects of their referents, for example, was generally accepted since the cognitive revolution in the 1950s. This has radically changed. Given the current status of embodiment as a main theory of cognition, it is somewhat surprising that a close look at the state of the affairs in the literature reveals that the debate about the nature of the processes involved in language comprehension is far from settled and key questions remain unanswered. We present several suggestions for a productive way forward.
  • Raviv, L., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (2019). Compositional structure can emerge without generational transmission. Cognition, 182, 151-164. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2018.09.010.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Understanding worldwide patterns of language diversity has long been a goal for evolutionary scientists, linguists and philosophers. Research over the past decade has suggested that linguistic diversity may result from differences in the social environments in which languages evolve. Specifically, recent work found that languages spoken in larger communities typically have more systematic grammatical structures. However, in the real world, community size is confounded with other social factors such as network structure and the number of second languages learners in the community, and it is often assumed that linguistic simplification is driven by these factors instead. Here, we show that in contrast to previous assumptions, community size has a unique and important influence on linguistic structure. We experimentally examine the live formation of new languages created in the laboratory by small and larger groups, and find that larger groups of interacting participants develop more systematic languages over time, and do so faster and more consistently than small groups. Small groups also vary more in their linguistic behaviours, suggesting that small communities are more vulnerable to drift. These results show that community size predicts patterns of language diversity, and suggest that an increase in community size might have contributed to language evolution.
  • Rodd, J., Bosker, H. R., Ten Bosch, L., & Ernestus, M. (2019). Deriving the onset and offset times of planning units from acoustic and articulatory measurements. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 145(2), EL161-EL167. doi:10.1121/1.5089456.

    Abstract

    Many psycholinguistic models of speech sequence planning make claims about the onset and offset times of planning units, such as words, syllables, and phonemes. These predictions typically go untested, however, since psycholinguists have assumed that the temporal dynamics of the speech signal is a poor index of the temporal dynamics of the underlying speech planning process. This article argues that this problem is tractable, and presents and validates two simple metrics that derive planning unit onset and offset times from the acoustic signal and articulatographic data.
  • Shao, Z., Van Paridon, J., Poletiek, F. H., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Effects of phrase and word frequencies in noun phrase production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45(1), 147-165. doi:10.1037/xlm0000570.

    Abstract

    There is mounting evidence that the ease of producing and understanding language depends not only on the frequencies of individual words but also on the frequencies of word combinations. However, in two picture description experiments, Janssen and Barber (2012) found that French and Spanish speakers' speech onset latencies for short phrases depended exclusively on the frequencies of the phrases but not on the frequencies of the individual words. They suggested that speakers retrieved phrase-sized units from the mental lexicon. In the present study, we examined whether the time required to plan complex noun phrases in Dutch would likewise depend only on phrase frequencies. Participants described line drawings in phrases such as rode schoen [red shoe] (Experiments 1 and 2) or de rode schoen [the red shoe] (Experiment 3). Replicating Janssen and Barber's findings, utterance onset latencies depended on the frequencies of the phrases but, deviating from their findings, also depended on the frequencies of the adjectives in adjective-noun phrases and the frequencies of the nouns in determiner-adjective-noun phrases. We conclude that individual word frequencies and phrase frequencies both affect the time needed to produce noun phrases and discuss how these findings may be captured in models of the mental lexicon and of phrase production
  • Smalle, E., Szmalec, A., Bogaerts, L., Page, M. P. A., Narang, V., Misra, D., Araujo, S., Lohagun, N., Khan, O., Singh, A., Mishra, R. K., & Huettig, F. (2019). Literacy improves short-term serial recall of spoken verbal but not visuospatial items - Evidence from illiterate and literate adults. Cognition, 185, 144-150. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2019.01.012.

    Abstract

    It is widely accepted that specific memory processes, such as serial-order memory, are involved in written language development and predictive of reading and spelling abilities. The reverse question, namely whether orthographic abilities also affect serial-order memory, has hardly been investigated. In the current study, we compared 20 illiterate people with a group of 20 literate matched controls on a verbal and a visuospatial version of the Hebb paradigm, measuring both short- and long-term serial-order memory abilities. We observed better short-term serial-recall performance for the literate compared with the illiterate people. This effect was stronger in the verbal than in the visuospatial modality, suggesting that the improved capacity of the literate group is a consequence of learning orthographic skills. The long-term consolidation of ordered information was comparable across groups, for both stimulus modalities. The implications of these findings for current views regarding the bi-directional interactions between memory and written language development are discussed.

    Supplementary material

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

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    plcp_a_1591470_sm5183.docx
  • Warren, C. M., Tona, K. D., Ouwekerk, L., Van Paridon, J., Poletiek, F. H., Bosch, J. A., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (2019). The neuromodulatory and hormonal effects of transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation as evidenced by salivary alpha amylase, salivary cortisol, pupil diameter, and the P3 event-related potential. Brain Stimulation, 12(3), 635-642. doi:10.1016/j.brs.2018.12.224.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    This study aimed to increase our understanding on the relationship between reading and listening comprehension. Both in comprehension theory and in educational practice, reading and listening comprehension are often seen as interchangeable, overlooking modality-specific aspects of them separately. Three questions were addressed. First, it was examined to what extent reading and listening comprehension comprise modality-specific, distinct skills or an overlapping, domain-general skill in terms of the amount of explained variance in one comprehension type by the opposite comprehension type. Second, general and modality-unique subskills of reading and listening comprehension were sought by assessing the contributions of the foundational skills word reading fluency, vocabulary, memory, attention, and inhibition to both comprehension types. Lastly, the practice of using either listening comprehension or vocabulary as a proxy of general comprehension was investigated. Reading and listening comprehension tasks with the same format were assessed in 85 second and third grade children. Analyses revealed that reading comprehension explained 34% of the variance in listening comprehension, and listening comprehension 40% of reading comprehension. Vocabulary and word reading fluency were found to be shared contributors to both reading and listening comprehension. None of the other cognitive skills contributed significantly to reading or listening comprehension. These results indicate that only part of the comprehension process is indeed domain-general and not influenced by the modality in which the information is provided. Especially vocabulary seems to play a large role in this domain-general part. The findings warrant a more prominent focus of modality-specific aspects of both reading and listening comprehension in research and education.
  • Zormpa, E., Meyer, A. S., & Brehm, L. (2019). Slow naming of pictures facilitates memory for their names. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-019-01620-x.

    Abstract

    Speakers remember their own utterances better than those of their interlocutors, suggesting that language production is beneficial to memory. This may be partly explained by a generation effect: The act of generating a word is known to lead to a memory advantage (Slamecka & Graf, 1978). In earlier work, we showed a generation effect for recognition of images (Zormpa, Brehm, Hoedemaker, & Meyer, 2019). Here, we tested whether the recognition of their names would also benefit from name generation. Testing whether picture naming improves memory for words was our primary aim, as it serves to clarify whether the representations affected by generation are visual or conceptual/lexical. A secondary aim was to assess the influence of processing time on memory. Fifty-one participants named pictures in three conditions: after hearing the picture name (identity condition), backward speech, or an unrelated word. A day later, recognition memory was tested in a yes/no task. Memory in the backward speech and unrelated conditions, which required generation, was superior to memory in the identity condition, which did not require generation. The time taken by participants for naming was a good predictor of memory, such that words that took longer to be retrieved were remembered better. Importantly, that was the case only when generation was required: In the no-generation (identity) condition, processing time was not related to recognition memory performance. This work has shown that generation affects conceptual/lexical representations, making an important contribution to the understanding of the relationship between memory and language.
  • Zormpa, E., Brehm, L., Hoedemaker, R. S., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). The production effect and the generation effect improve memory in picture naming. Memory, 27(3), 340-352. doi:10.1080/09658211.2018.1510966.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    pmem_a_1510966_sm9257.pdf
  • Bosker, H. R., & Ghitza, O. (2018). Entrained theta oscillations guide perception of subsequent speech: Behavioral evidence from rate normalization. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 33(8), 955-967. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1439179.

    Abstract

    This psychoacoustic study provides behavioral evidence that neural entrainment in the theta range (3-9 Hz) causally shapes speech perception. Adopting the ‘rate normalization’ paradigm (presenting compressed carrier sentences followed by uncompressed target words), we show that uniform compression of a speech carrier to syllable rates inside the theta range influences perception of subsequent uncompressed targets, but compression outside theta range does not. However, the influence of carriers – compressed outside theta range – on target perception is salvaged when carriers are ‘repackaged’ to have a packet rate inside theta. This suggests that the brain can only successfully entrain to syllable/packet rates within theta range, with a causal influence on the perception of subsequent speech, in line with recent neuroimaging data. Thus, this study points to a central role for sustained theta entrainment in rate normalization and contributes to our understanding of the functional role of brain oscillations in speech perception.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Cooke, M. (2018). Talkers produce more pronounced amplitude modulations when speaking in noise. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 143(2), EL121-EL126. doi:10.1121/1.5024404.

    Abstract

    Speakers adjust their voice when talking in noise (known as Lombard speech), facilitating speech comprehension. Recent neurobiological models of speech perception emphasize the role of amplitude modulations in speech-in-noise comprehension, helping neural oscillators to ‘track’ the attended speech. This study tested whether talkers produce more pronounced amplitude modulations in noise. Across four different corpora, modulation spectra showed greater power in amplitude modulations below 4 Hz in Lombard speech compared to matching plain speech. This suggests that noise-induced speech contains more pronounced amplitude modulations, potentially helping the listening brain to entrain to the attended talker, aiding comprehension.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2018). Putting Laurel and Yanny in context. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(6), EL503-EL508. doi:10.1121/1.5070144.

    Abstract

    Recently, the world’s attention was caught by an audio clip that was perceived as “Laurel” or “Yanny”. Opinions were sharply split: many could not believe others heard something different from their perception. However, a crowd-source experiment with >500 participants shows that it is possible to make people hear Laurel, where they previously heard Yanny, by manipulating preceding acoustic context. This study is not only the first to reveal within-listener variation in Laurel/Yanny percepts, but also to demonstrate contrast effects for global spectral information in larger frequency regions. Thus, it highlights the intricacies of human perception underlying these social media phenomena.
  • Corcoran, A. W., Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2018). Toward a reliable, automated method of individual alpha frequency (IAF) quantification. Psychophysiology, 55(7): e13064. doi:10.1111/psyp.13064.

    Abstract

    Individual alpha frequency (IAF) is a promising electrophysiological marker of interindividual differences in cognitive function. IAF has been linked with trait-like differences in information processing and general intelligence, and provides an empirical basis for the definition of individualized frequency bands. Despite its widespread application, however, there is little consensus on the optimal method for estimating IAF, and many common approaches are prone to bias and inconsistency. Here, we describe an automated strategy for deriving two of the most prevalent IAF estimators in the literature: peak alpha frequency (PAF) and center of gravity (CoG). These indices are calculated from resting-state power spectra that have been smoothed using a Savitzky-Golay filter (SGF). We evaluate the performance characteristics of this analysis procedure in both empirical and simulated EEG data sets. Applying the SGF technique to resting-state data from n = 63 healthy adults furnished 61 PAF and 62 CoG estimates. The statistical properties of these estimates were consistent with previous reports. Simulation analyses revealed that the SGF routine was able to reliably extract target alpha components, even under relatively noisy spectral conditions. The routine consistently outperformed a simpler method of automated peak detection that did not involve spectral smoothing. The SGF technique is fast, open source, and available in two popular programming languages (MATLAB, Python), and thus can easily be integrated within the most popular M/EEG toolsets (EEGLAB, FieldTrip, MNE-Python). As such, it affords a convenient tool for improving the reliability and replicability of future IAF-related research.

    Supplementary material

    psyp13064-sup-0001-s01.docx
  • Doumas, L. A. A., & Martin, A. E. (2018). Learning structured representations from experience. Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 69, 165-203. doi:10.1016/bs.plm.2018.10.002.

    Abstract

    How a system represents information tightly constrains the kinds of problems it can solve. Humans routinely solve problems that appear to require structured representations of stimulus properties and the relations between them. An account of how we might acquire such representations has central importance for theories of human cognition. We describe how a system can learn structured relational representations from initially unstructured inputs using comparison, sensitivity to time, and a modified Hebbian learning algorithm. We summarize how the model DORA (Discovery of Relations by Analogy) instantiates this approach, which we call predicate learning, as well as how the model captures several phenomena from cognitive development, relational reasoning, and language processing in the human brain. Predicate learning offers a link between models based on formal languages and models which learn from experience and provides an existence proof for how structured representations might be learned in the first place.
  • Duñabeitia, J. A., Crepaldi, D., Meyer, A. S., New, B., Pliatsikas, C., Smolka, E., & Brysbaert, M. (2018). MultiPic: A standardized set of 750 drawings with norms for six European languages. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(4), 808-816. doi:10.1080/17470218.2017.1310261.

    Abstract

    Numerous studies in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and psycholinguistics have used pictures of objects as stimulus materials. Currently, authors engaged in cross-linguistic work or wishing to run parallel studies at multiple sites where different languages are spoken must rely on rather small sets of black-and-white or colored line drawings. These sets are increasingly experienced as being too limited. Therefore, we constructed a new set of 750 colored pictures of concrete concepts. This set, MultiPic, constitutes a new valuable tool for cognitive scientists investigating language, visual perception, memory and/or attention in monolingual or multilingual populations. Importantly, the MultiPic databank has been normed in six different European languages (British English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian and German). All stimuli and norms are freely available at http://www.bcbl.eu/databases/multipic

    Supplementary material

    http://www.bcbl.eu/databases/multipic
  • Fairs, A., Bögels, S., & Meyer, A. S. (2018). Dual-tasking with simple linguistic tasks: Evidence for serial processing. Acta Psychologica, 191, 131-148. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2018.09.006.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    1-s2.0-S0001691817305589-mmc1.pdf
  • Gao, X., & Jiang, T. (2018). Sensory constraints on perceptual simulation during sentence reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44(6), 848-855. doi:10.1037/xhp0000475.

    Abstract

    Resource-constrained models of language processing predict that perceptual simulation during language understanding would be compromised by sensory limitations (such as reading text in unfamiliar/difficult font), whereas strong versions of embodied theories of language would predict that simulating perceptual symbols in language would not be impaired even under sensory-constrained situations. In 2 experiments, sensory decoding difficulty was manipulated by using easy and hard fonts to study perceptual simulation during sentence reading (Zwaan, Stanfield, & Yaxley, 2002). Results indicated that simulating perceptual symbols in language was not compromised by surface-form decoding challenges such as difficult font, suggesting relative resilience of embodied language processing in the face of certain sensory constraints. Further implications for learning from text and individual differences in language processing will be discussed
  • Havron, N., Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2018). Literate and preliterate children show different learning patterns in an artificial language learning task. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 2, 21-33. doi:10.1007/s41809-018-0015-9.

    Abstract

    Literacy affects many aspects of cognitive and linguistic processing. Among them, it increases the salience of words as units of linguistic processing. Here, we explored the impact of literacy acquisition on children’s learning of an artifical language. Recent accounts of L1–L2 differences relate adults’ greater difficulty with language learning to their smaller reliance on multiword units. In particular, multiword units are claimed to be beneficial for learning opaque grammatical relations like grammatical gender. Since literacy impacts the reliance on words as units of processing, we ask if and how acquiring literacy may change children’s language-learning results. We looked at children’s success in learning novel noun labels relative to their success in learning article-noun gender agreement, before and after learning to read. We found that preliterate first graders were better at learning agreement (larger units) than at learning nouns (smaller units), and that the difference between the two trial types significantly decreased after these children acquired literacy. In contrast, literate third graders were as good in both trial types. These findings suggest that literacy affects not only language processing, but also leads to important differences in language learning. They support the idea that some of children’s advantage in language learning comes from their previous knowledge and experience with language—and specifically, their lack of experience with written texts.
  • Huettig, F., Lachmann, T., Reis, A., & Petersson, K. M. (2018). Distinguishing cause from effect - Many deficits associated with developmental dyslexia may be a consequence of reduced and suboptimal reading experience. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 33(3), 333-350. doi:10.1080/23273798.2017.1348528.

    Abstract

    The cause of developmental dyslexia is still unknown despite decades of intense research. Many causal explanations have been proposed, based on the range of impairments displayed by affected individuals. Here we draw attention to the fact that many of these impairments are also shown by illiterate individuals who have not received any or very little reading instruction. We suggest that this fact may not be coincidental and that the performance differences of both illiterates and individuals with dyslexia compared to literate controls are, to a substantial extent, secondary consequences of either reduced or suboptimal reading experience or a combination of both. The search for the primary causes of reading impairments will make progress if the consequences of quantitative and qualitative differences in reading experience are better taken into account and not mistaken for the causes of reading disorders. We close by providing four recommendations for future research.
  • Huettig, F., Kolinsky, R., & Lachmann, T. (2018). The culturally co-opted brain: How literacy affects the human mind. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 33(3), 275-277. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1425803.

    Abstract

    Introduction to the special issue 'The Effects of Literacy on Cognition and Brain Functioning'
  • Jackson, C. N., Mormer, E., & Brehm, L. (2018). The production of subject-verb agreement among Swedish and Chinese second language speakers of English. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40(4), 907-921. doi: 10.1017/S0272263118000025.

    Abstract

    This study uses a sentence completion task with Swedish and Chinese L2 English speakers to investigate how L1 morphosyntax and L2 proficiency influence L2 English subject-verb agreement production. Chinese has limited nominal and verbal number morphology, while Swedish has robust noun phrase (NP) morphology but does not number-mark verbs. Results showed that like L1 English speakers, both L2 groups used grammatical and conceptual number to produce subject-verb agreement. However, only L1 Chinese speakers—and less-proficient speakers in both L2 groups—were similarly influenced by grammatical and conceptual number when producing the subject NP. These findings demonstrate how L2 proficiency, perhaps combined with cross-linguistic differences, influence L2 production and underscore that encoding of noun and verb number are not independent.
  • Kochari, A. R., & Ostarek, M. (2018). Introducing a replication-first rule for PhD projects (commmentary on Zwaan et al., ‘Making replication mainstream’). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41: e138. doi:10.1017/S0140525X18000730.

    Abstract

    Zwaan et al. mention that young researchers should conduct replications as a small part of their portfolio. We extend this proposal and suggest that conducting and reporting replications should become an integral part of PhD projects and be taken into account in their assessment. We discuss how this would help not only scientific advancement, but also PhD candidates’ careers.
  • Konopka, A., Meyer, A. S., & Forest, T. A. (2018). Planning to speak in L1 and L2. Cognitive Psychology, 102, 72-104. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.12.003.

    Abstract

    The leading theories of sentence planning – Hierarchical Incrementality and Linear Incrementality – differ in their assumptions about the coordination of processes that map preverbal information onto language. Previous studies showed that, in native (L1) speakers, this coordination can vary with the ease of executing the message-level and sentence-level processes necessary to plan and produce an utterance. We report the first series of experiments to systematically examine how linguistic experience influences sentence planning in native (L1) speakers (i.e., speakers with life-long experience using the target language) and non-native (L2) speakers (i.e., speakers with less experience using the target language). In all experiments, speakers spontaneously generated one-sentence descriptions of simple events in Dutch (L1) and English (L2). Analyses of eye-movements across early and late time windows (pre- and post-400 ms) compared the extent of early message-level encoding and the onset of linguistic encoding. In Experiment 1, speakers were more likely to engage in extensive message-level encoding and to delay sentence-level encoding when using their L2. Experiments 2–4 selectively facilitated encoding of the preverbal message, encoding of the agent character (i.e., the first content word in active sentences), and encoding of the sentence verb (i.e., the second content word in active sentences) respectively. Experiment 2 showed that there is no delay in the onset of L2 linguistic encoding when speakers are familiar with the events. Experiments 3 and 4 showed that the delay in the onset of L2 linguistic encoding is not due to speakers delaying encoding of the agent, but due to a preference to encode information needed to select a suitable verb early in the formulation process. Overall, speakers prefer to temporally separate message-level from sentence-level encoding and to prioritize encoding of relational information when planning L2 sentences, consistent with Hierarchical Incrementality
  • Kösem, A., Bosker, H. R., Takashima, A., Meyer, A. S., Jensen, O., & Hagoort, P. (2018). Neural entrainment determines the words we hear. Current Biology, 28, 2867-2875. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.07.023.

    Abstract

    Low-frequency neural entrainment to rhythmic input has been hypothesized as a canonical mechanism that shapes sensory perception in time. Neural entrainment is deemed particularly relevant for speech analysis, as it would contribute to the extraction of discrete linguistic elements from continuous acoustic signals. However, its causal influence in speech perception has been difficult to establish. Here, we provide evidence that oscillations build temporal predictions about the duration of speech tokens that affect perception. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we studied neural dynamics during listening to sentences that changed in speech rate. Weobserved neural entrainment to preceding speech rhythms persisting for several cycles after the change in rate. The sustained entrainment was associated with changes in the perceived duration of the last word’s vowel, resulting in the perception of words with different meanings. These findings support oscillatory models of speech processing, suggesting that neural oscillations actively shape speech perception.
  • Lakens, D., Adolfi, F. G., Albers, C. J., Anvari, F., Apps, M. A. J., Argamon, S. E., Baguley, T., Becker, R. B., Benning, S. D., Bradford, D. E., Buchanan, E. M., Caldwell, A. R., Van Calster, B., Carlsson, R., Chen, S.-C., Chung, B., Colling, L. J., Collins, G. S., Crook, Z., Cross, E. S., Daniels, S., Danielsson, H., DeBruine, L., Dunleavy, D. J., Earp, B. D., Feist, M. I., Ferrelle, J. D., Field, J. G., Fox, N. W., Friesen, A., Gomes, C., Gonzalez-Marquez, M., Grange, J. A., Grieve, A. P., Guggenberger, R., Grist, J., Van Harmelen, A.-L., Hasselman, F., Hochard, K. D., Hoffarth, M. R., Holmes, N. P., Ingre, M., Isager, P. M., Isotalus, H. K., Johansson, C., Juszczyk, K., Kenny, D. A., Khalil, A. A., Konat, B., Lao, J., Larsen, E. G., Lodder, G. M. A., Lukavský, J., Madan, C. R., Manheim, D., Martin, S. R., Martin, A. E., Mayo, D. G., McCarthy, R. J., McConway, K., McFarland, C., Nio, A. Q. X., Nilsonne, G., De Oliveira, C. L., De Xivry, J.-J.-O., Parsons, S., Pfuhl, G., Quinn, K. A., Sakon, J. J., Saribay, S. A., Schneider, I. K., Selvaraju, M., Sjoerds, Z., Smith, S. G., Smits, T., Spies, J. R., Sreekumar, V., Steltenpohl, C. N., Stenhouse, N., Świątkowski, W., Vadillo, M. A., Van Assen, M. A. L. M., Williams, M. N., Williams, S. E., Williams, D. R., Yarkoni, T., Ziano, I., & Zwaan, R. A. (2018). Justify your alpha. Nature Human Behaviour, 2, 168-171. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0311-x.

    Abstract

    In response to recommendations to redefine statistical significance to P ≤ 0.005, we propose that researchers should transparently report and justify all choices they make when designing a study, including the alpha level.
  • Lev-Ari, S. (2018). The influence of social network size on speech perception. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(10), 2249-2260. doi:10.1177/1747021817739865.

    Abstract

    Infants and adults learn new phonological varieties better when exposed to multiple rather than a single speaker. This article tests whether having a larger social network similarly facilitates phonological performance. Experiment 1 shows that people with larger social networks are better at vowel perception in noise, indicating that the benefit of laboratory exposure to multiple speakers extends to real life experience and to adults tested in their native language. Furthermore, the experiment shows that this association is not due to differences in amount of input or to cognitive differences between people with different social network sizes. Follow-up computational simulations reveal that the benefit of larger social networks is mostly due to increased input variability. Additionally, the simulations show that the boost that larger social networks provide is independent of the amount of input received but is larger if the population is more heterogeneous. Finally, a comparison of “adult” and “child” simulations reconciles previous conflicting findings by suggesting that input variability along the relevant dimension might be less useful at the earliest stages of learning. Together, this article shows when and how the size of our social network influences our speech perception. It thus shows how aspects of our lifestyle can influence our linguistic performance.

    Supplementary material

    QJE-STD_17-073.R4-Table_A1.docx
  • Lev-Ari, S. (2018). Social network size can influence linguistic malleability and the propagation of linguistic change. Cognition, 176, 31-39. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2018.03.003.

    Abstract

    We learn language from our social environment, but the more sources we have, the less informative each source is, and therefore, the less weight we ascribe its input. According to this principle, people with larger social networks should give less weight to new incoming information, and should therefore be less susceptible to the influence of new speakers. This paper tests this prediction, and shows that speakers with smaller social networks indeed have more malleable linguistic representations. In particular, they are more likely to adjust their lexical boundary following exposure to a new speaker. Experiment 2 uses computational simulations to test whether this greater malleability could lead people with smaller social networks to be important for the propagation of linguistic change despite the fact that they interact with fewer people. The results indicate that when innovators were connected with people with smaller rather than larger social networks, the population exhibited greater and faster diffusion. Together these experiments show that the properties of people’s social networks can influence individuals’ learning and use as well as linguistic phenomena at the community level.
  • Martin, A. E. (2018). Cue integration during sentence comprehension: Electrophysiological evidence from ellipsis. PLoS One, 13(11): e0206616. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0206616.

    Abstract

    Language processing requires us to integrate incoming linguistic representations with representations of past input, often across intervening words and phrases. This computational situation has been argued to require retrieval of the appropriate representations from memory via a set of features or representations serving as retrieval cues. However, even within in a cue-based retrieval account of language comprehension, both the structure of retrieval cues and the particular computation that underlies direct-access retrieval are still underspecified. Evidence from two event-related brain potential (ERP) experiments that show cue-based interference from different types of linguistic representations during ellipsis comprehension are consistent with an architecture wherein different cue types are integrated, and where the interaction of cue with the recent contents of memory determines processing outcome, including expression of the interference effect in ERP componentry. I conclude that retrieval likely includes a computation where cues are integrated with the contents of memory via a linear weighting scheme, and I propose vector addition as a candidate formalization of this computation. I attempt to account for these effects and other related phenomena within a broader cue-based framework of language processing.
  • Martin, A. E., & McElree, B. (2018). Retrieval cues and syntactic ambiguity resolution: Speed-accuracy tradeoff evidence. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 33(6), 769-783. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1427877.

    Abstract

    Language comprehension involves coping with ambiguity and recovering from misanalysis. Syntactic ambiguity resolution is associated with increased reading times, a classic finding that has shaped theories of sentence processing. However, reaction times conflate the time it takes a process to complete with the quality of the behavior-related information available to the system. We therefore used the speed-accuracy tradeoff procedure (SAT) to derive orthogonal estimates of processing time and interpretation accuracy, and tested whether stronger retrieval cues (via semantic relatedness: neighed->horse vs. fell->horse) aid interpretation during recovery. On average, ambiguous sentences took 250ms longer (SAT rate) to interpret than unambiguous controls, demonstrating veridical differences in processing time. Retrieval cues more strongly related to the true subject always increased accuracy, regardless of ambiguity. These findings are consistent with a language processing architecture where cue-driven operations give rise to interpretation, and wherein diagnostic cues aid retrieval, regardless of parsing difficulty or structural uncertainty.
  • Maslowski, M., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2018). Listening to yourself is special: Evidence from global speech rate tracking. PLoS One, 13(9): e0203571. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203571.

    Abstract

    Listeners are known to use adjacent contextual speech rate in processing temporally ambiguous speech sounds. For instance, an ambiguous vowel between short /A/ and long /a:/ in Dutch sounds relatively long (i.e., as /a:/) embedded in a fast precursor sentence, but short in a slow sentence. Besides the local speech rate, listeners also track talker-specific global speech rates. However, it is yet unclear whether other talkers' global rates are encoded with reference to a listener's self-produced rate. Three experiments addressed this question. In Experiment 1, one group of participants was instructed to speak fast, whereas another group had to speak slowly. The groups were compared on their perception of ambiguous /A/-/a:/ vowels embedded in neutral rate speech from another talker. In Experiment 2, the same participants listened to playback of their own speech and again evaluated target vowels in neutral rate speech. Neither of these experiments provided support for the involvement of self-produced speech in perception of another talker's speech rate. Experiment 3 repeated Experiment 2 but with a new participant sample that was unfamiliar with the participants from Experiment 2. This experiment revealed fewer /a:/ responses in neutral speech in the group also listening to a fast rate, suggesting that neutral speech sounds slow in the presence of a fast talker and vice versa. Taken together, the findings show that self-produced speech is processed differently from speech produced by others. They carry implications for our understanding of the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms involved in rate-dependent speech perception in dialogue settings.
  • Meyer, A. S., Alday, P. M., Decuyper, C., & Knudsen, B. (2018). Working together: Contributions of corpus analyses and experimental psycholinguistics to understanding conversation. Frontiers in Psychology, 9: 525. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00525.

    Abstract

    As conversation is the most important way of using language, linguists and psychologists should combine forces to investigate how interlocutors deal with the cognitive demands arising during conversation. Linguistic analyses of corpora of conversation are needed to understand the structure of conversations, and experimental work is indispensable for understanding the underlying cognitive processes. We argue that joint consideration of corpus and experimental data is most informative when the utterances elicited in a lab experiment match those extracted from a corpus in relevant ways. This requirement to compare like with like seems obvious but is not trivial to achieve. To illustrate this approach, we report two experiments where responses to polar (yes/no) questions were elicited in the lab and the response latencies were compared to gaps between polar questions and answers in a corpus of conversational speech. We found, as expected, that responses were given faster when they were easy to plan and planning could be initiated earlier than when they were harder to plan and planning was initiated later. Overall, in all but one condition, the latencies were longer than one would expect based on the analyses of corpus data. We discuss the implication of this partial match between the data sets and more generally how corpus and experimental data can best be combined in studies of conversation.

    Supplementary material

    Data_Sheet_1.pdf
  • Monster, I., & Lev-Ari, S. (2018). The effect of social network size on hashtag adoption on Twitter. Cognitive Science, 42(8), 3149-3158. doi:10.1111/cogs.12675.

    Abstract

    Propagation of novel linguistic terms is an important aspect of language use and language change. Here, we test how social network size influences people’s likelihood of adopting novel labels by examining hashtag use on Twitter. Specifically, we test whether following fewer Twitter users leads to more varied and malleable hashtag use on Twitter , because each followed user is ascribed greater weight and thus exerts greater influence on the following user. Focusing on Dutch users tweeting about the terrorist attack in Brussels in 2016, we show that people who follow fewer other users use a larger number of unique hashtags to refer to the event, reflecting greater malleability and variability in use. These results have implications for theories of language learning, language use, and language change.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Politzer-Ahles, S., Heyselaar, E., Segaert, K., Darley, E., Kazanina, N., Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn, S., Bartolozzi, F., Kogan, V., Ito, A., Mézière, D., Barr, D. J., Rousselet, G., Ferguson, H. J., Busch-Moreno, S., Fu, X., Tuomainen, J., Kulakova, E., Husband, E. M., Donaldson, D. I., Kohút, Z., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., & Huettig, F. (2018). Large-scale replication study reveals a limit on probabilistic prediction in language comprehension. eLife, 7: e33468. doi:10.7554/eLife.33468.

    Abstract

    Do people routinely pre-activate the meaning and even the phonological form of upcoming words? The most acclaimed evidence for phonological prediction comes from a 2005 Nature Neuroscience publication by DeLong, Urbach and Kutas, who observed a graded modulation of electrical brain potentials (N400) to nouns and preceding articles by the probability that people use a word to continue the sentence fragment (‘cloze’). In our direct replication study spanning 9 laboratories (N=334), pre-registered replication-analyses and exploratory Bayes factor analyses successfully replicated the noun-results but, crucially, not the article-results. Pre-registered single-trial analyses also yielded a statistically significant effect for the nouns but not the articles. Exploratory Bayesian single-trial analyses showed that the article-effect may be non-zero but is likely far smaller than originally reported and too small to observe without very large sample sizes. Our results do not support the view that readers routinely pre-activate the phonological form of predictable words.

    Supplementary material

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

    Abstract

    Implicit up/down words, such as bird and foot, systematically influence performance on visual tasks involving immediately following targets in compatible vs. incompatible locations. Recent studies have observed that the semantic relation between prime words and target pictures can strongly influence the size and even the direction of the effect: Semantically related targets are processed faster in congruent vs. incongruent locations (location-specific priming), whereas unrelated targets are processed slower in congruent locations. Here, we used eye-tracking to investigate the moment-to-moment processes underlying this pattern. Our reaction time results for related targets replicated the location-specific priming effect and showed a trend towards interference for unrelated targets. We then used growth curve analysis to test how up/down words and their match vs. mismatch with immediately following targets in terms of semantics and vertical location influences concurrent saccadic eye movements. There was a strong main effect of spatial association on linear growth with up words biasing changes in y-coordinates over time upwards relative to down words (and vice versa). Similar to the RT data, this effect was strongest for semantically related targets and reversed for unrelated targets. Intriguingly, all conditions showed a bias in the congruent direction in the initial stage of the saccade. Then, at around halfway into the saccade the effect kept increasing in the semantically related condition, and reversed in the unrelated condition. These results suggest that online processing of up/down words triggers direction-specific oculomotor processes that are dynamically modulated by the semantic relation between prime words and targets.
  • Popov, V., Ostarek, M., & Tenison, C. (2018). Practices and pitfalls in inferring neural representations. NeuroImage, 174, 340-351. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.041.

    Abstract

    A key challenge for cognitive neuroscience is deciphering the representational schemes of the brain. Stimulus-feature-based encoding models are becoming increasingly popular for inferring the dimensions of neural representational spaces from stimulus-feature spaces. We argue that such inferences are not always valid because successful prediction can occur even if the two representational spaces use different, but correlated, representational schemes. We support this claim with three simulations in which we achieved high prediction accuracy despite systematic differences in the geometries and dimensions of the underlying representations. Detailed analysis of the encoding models' predictions showed systematic deviations from ground-truth, indicating that high prediction accuracy is insufficient for making representational inferences. This fallacy applies to the prediction of actual neural patterns from stimulus-feature spaces and we urge caution in inferring the nature of the neural code from such methods. We discuss ways to overcome these inferential limitations, including model comparison, absolute model performance, visualization techniques and attentional modulation.
  • Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2018). The developmental trajectory of children’s auditory and visual statistical learning abilities: Modality-based differences in the effect of age. Developmental Science, 21(4): e12593. doi:10.1111/desc.12593.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    Video abstract of the article
  • Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2018). Systematicity, but not compositionality: Examining the emergence of linguistic structure in children and adults using iterated learning. Cognition, 181, 160-173. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2018.08.011.

    Abstract

    Recent work suggests that cultural transmission can lead to the emergence of linguistic structure as speakers’ weak individual biases become amplified through iterated learning. However, to date no published study has demonstrated a similar emergence of linguistic structure in children. The lack of evidence from child learners constitutes a problematic 2 gap in the literature: if such learning biases impact the emergence of linguistic structure, they should also be found in children, who are the primary learners in real-life language transmission. However, children may differ from adults in their biases given age-related differences in general cognitive skills. Moreover, adults’ performance on iterated learning tasks may reflect existing (and explicit) linguistic biases, partially undermining the generality of the results. Examining children’s performance can also help evaluate contrasting predictions about their role in emerging languages: do children play a larger or smaller role than adults in the creation of structure? Here, we report a series of four iterated artificial language learning studies (based on Kirby, Cornish & Smith, 2008) with both children and adults, using a novel child-friendly paradigm. Our results show that linguistic structure does not emerge more readily in children compared to adults, and that adults are overall better in both language learning and in creating linguistic structure. When languages could become underspecified (by allowing homonyms), children and adults were similar in developing consistent mappings between meanings and signals in the form of structured ambiguities. However, when homonimity was not allowed, only adults created compositional structure. This study is a first step in using iterated language learning paradigms to explore child-adult differences. It provides the first demonstration that cultural transmission has a different effect on the languages produced by children and adults: While children were able to develop systematicity, their languages did not show compositionality. We focus on the relation between learning and structure creation as a possible explanation for our findings and discuss implications for children’s role in the emergence of linguistic structure.

    Supplementary material

    results A results B results D stimuli
  • Schillingmann, L., Ernst, J., Keite, V., Wrede, B., Meyer, A. S., & Belke, E. (2018). AlignTool: The automatic temporal alignment of spoken utterances in German, Dutch, and British English for psycholinguistic purposes. Behavior Research Methods, 50(2), 466-489. doi:10.3758/s13428-017-1002-7.

    Abstract

    In language production research, the latency with which speakers produce a spoken response to a stimulus and the onset and offset times of words in longer utterances are key dependent variables. Measuring these variables automatically often yields partially incorrect results. However, exact measurements through the visual inspection of the recordings are extremely time-consuming. We present AlignTool, an open-source alignment tool that establishes preliminarily the onset and offset times of words and phonemes in spoken utterances using Praat, and subsequently performs a forced alignment of the spoken utterances and their orthographic transcriptions in the automatic speech recognition system MAUS. AlignTool creates a Praat TextGrid file for inspection and manual correction by the user, if necessary. We evaluated AlignTool’s performance with recordings of single-word and four-word utterances as well as semi-spontaneous speech. AlignTool performs well with audio signals with an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, requiring virtually no corrections. For audio signals of lesser quality, AlignTool still is highly functional but its results may require more frequent manual corrections. We also found that audio recordings including long silent intervals tended to pose greater difficulties for AlignTool than recordings filled with speech, which AlignTool analyzed well overall. We expect that by semi-automatizing the temporal analysis of complex utterances, AlignTool will open new avenues in language production research.
  • Tromp, J., Peeters, D., Meyer, A. S., & Hagoort, P. (2018). The combined use of Virtual Reality and EEG to study language processing in naturalistic environments. Behavior Research Methods, 50(2), 862-869. doi:10.3758/s13428-017-0911-9.

    Abstract

    When we comprehend language, we often do this in rich settings in which we can use many cues to understand what someone is saying. However, it has traditionally been difficult to design experiments with rich three-dimensional contexts that resemble our everyday environments, while maintaining control over the linguistic and non-linguistic information that is available. Here we test the validity of combining electroencephalography (EEG) and Virtual Reality (VR) to overcome this problem. We recorded electrophysiological brain activity during language processing in a well-controlled three-dimensional virtual audiovisual environment. Participants were immersed in a virtual restaurant, while wearing EEG equipment. In the restaurant participants encountered virtual restaurant guests. Each guest was seated at a separate table with an object on it (e.g. a plate with salmon). The restaurant guest would then produce a sentence (e.g. “I just ordered this salmon.”). The noun in the spoken sentence could either match (“salmon”) or mismatch (“pasta”) with the object on the table, creating a situation in which the auditory information was either appropriate or inappropriate in the visual context. We observed a reliable N400 effect as a consequence of the mismatch. This finding validates the combined use of VR and EEG as a tool to study the neurophysiological mechanisms of everyday language comprehension in rich, ecologically valid settings.
  • Van Bergen, G., & Bosker, H. R. (2018). Linguistic expectation management in online discourse processing: An investigation of Dutch inderdaad 'indeed' and eigenlijk 'actually'. Journal of Memory and Language, 103, 191-209. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2018.08.004.

    Abstract

    Interpersonal discourse particles (DPs), such as Dutch inderdaad (≈‘indeed’) and eigenlijk (≈‘actually’) are highly frequent in everyday conversational interaction. Despite extensive theoretical descriptions of their polyfunctionality, little is known about how they are used by language comprehenders. In two visual world eye-tracking experiments involving an online dialogue completion task, we asked to what extent inderdaad, confirming an inferred expectation, and eigenlijk, contrasting with an inferred expectation, influence real-time understanding of dialogues. Answers in the dialogues contained a DP or a control adverb, and a critical discourse referent was replaced by a beep; participants chose the most likely dialogue completion by clicking on one of four referents in a display. Results show that listeners make rapid and fine-grained situation-specific inferences about the use of DPs, modulating their expectations about how the dialogue will unfold. Findings further specify and constrain theories about the conversation-managing function and polyfunctionality of DPs.
  • Vromans, R. D., & Jongman, S. R. (2018). The interplay between selective and nonselective inhibition during single word production. PLoS One, 13(5): e0197313. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0197313.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated the interplay between selective inhibition (the ability to suppress specific competing responses) and nonselective inhibition (the ability to suppress any inappropriate response) during single word production. To this end, we combined two well-established research paradigms: the picture-word interference task and the stop-signal task. Selective inhibition was assessed by instructing participants to name target pictures (e.g., dog) in the presence of semantically related (e.g., cat) or unrelated (e.g., window) distractor words. Nonselective inhibition was tested by occasionally presenting a visual stop-signal, indicating that participants should withhold their verbal response. The stop-signal was presented early (250 ms) aimed at interrupting the lexical selection stage, and late (325 ms) to influence the word-encoding stage of the speech production process. We found longer naming latencies for pictures with semantically related distractors than with unrelated distractors (semantic interference effect). The results further showed that, at both delays, stopping latencies (i.e., stop-signal RTs) were prolonged for naming pictures with semantically related distractors compared to pictures with unrelated distractors. Taken together, our findings suggest that selective and nonselective inhibition, at least partly, share a common inhibitory mechanism during different stages of the speech production process.

    Supplementary material

    Data available (link to Figshare)
  • Wang, M., Shao, Z., Chen, Y., & Schiller, N. O. (2018). Neural correlates of spoken word production in semantic and phonological blocked cyclic naming. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 33(5), 575-586. doi:10.1080/23273798.2017.1395467.

    Abstract

    The blocked cyclic naming paradigm has been increasingly employed to investigate the mechanisms underlying spoken word production. Semantic homogeneity typically elicits longer naming latencies than heterogeneity; however, it is debated whether competitive lexical selection or incremental learning underlies this effect. The current study manipulated both semantic and phonological homogeneity and used behavioural and electrophysiological measurements to provide evidence that can distinguish between the two accounts. Results show that naming latencies are longer in semantically homogeneous blocks, but shorter in phonologically homogeneous blocks, relative to heterogeneity. The semantic factor significantly modulates electrophysiological waveforms from 200 ms and the phonological factor from 350 ms after picture presentation. A positive component was demonstrated in both manipulations, possibly reflecting a task-related top-down bias in performing blocked cyclic naming. These results provide novel insights into the neural correlates of blocked cyclic naming and further contribute to the understanding of spoken word production.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2017). Electrophysiology Reveals the Neural Dynamics of Naturalistic Auditory Language Processing: Event-Related Potentials Reflect Continuous Model Update. eNeuro, 4(6): e0311. doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0311-16.2017.

    Abstract

    The recent trend away from ANOVA-based analyses places experimental investigations into the neurobiology of cognition in more naturalistic and ecologically valid designs within reach. Using mixed-effects models for epoch-based regression, we demonstrate the feasibility of examining event-related potentials (ERPs), and in particular the N400, to study the neural dynamics of human auditory language processing in a naturalistic setting. Despite the large variability between trials during naturalistic stimulation, we replicated previous findings from the literature: the effects of frequency, animacy, word order and find previously unexplored interaction effects. This suggests a new perspective on ERPs, namely as a continuous modulation reflecting continuous stimulation instead of a series of discrete and essentially sequential processes locked to discrete events. Significance Statement Laboratory experiments on language often lack ecologicalal validity. In addition to the intrusive laboratory equipment, the language used is often highly constrained in an attempt to control possible confounds. More recent research with naturalistic stimuli has been largely confined to fMRI, where the low temporal resolution helps to smooth over the uneven finer structure of natural language use. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of using naturalistic stimuli with temporally sensitive methods such as EEG and MEG using modern computational approaches and show how this provides new insights into the nature of ERP components and the temporal dynamics of language as a sensory and cognitive process. The full complexity of naturalistic language use cannot be captured by carefully controlled designs alone.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2017). Commentary on Sanborn and Chater: Posterior Modes Are Attractor Basins. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21(7), 491-492. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2017.04.003.
  • Barthel, M., Meyer, A. S., & Levinson, S. C. (2017). Next speakers plan their turn early and speak after turn-final ‘go-signals’. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 393. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00393.

    Abstract

    In conversation, turn-taking is usually fluid, with next speakers taking their turn right after the end of the previous turn. Most, but not all, previous studies show that next speakers start to plan their turn early, if possible already during the incoming turn. The present study makes use of the list-completion paradigm (Barthel et al., 2016), analyzing speech onset latencies and eye-movements of participants in a task-oriented dialogue with a confederate. The measures are used to disentangle the contributions to the timing of turn-taking of early planning of content on the one hand and initiation of articulation as a reaction to the upcoming turn-end on the other hand. Participants named objects visible on their computer screen in response to utterances that did, or did not, contain lexical and prosodic cues to the end of the incoming turn. In the presence of an early lexical cue, participants showed earlier gaze shifts toward the target objects and responded faster than in its absence, whereas the presence of a late intonational cue only led to faster response times and did not affect the timing of participants' eye movements. The results show that with a combination of eye-movement and turn-transition time measures it is possible to tease apart the effects of early planning and response initiation on turn timing. They are consistent with models of turn-taking that assume that next speakers (a) start planning their response as soon as the incoming turn's message can be understood and (b) monitor the incoming turn for cues to turn-completion so as to initiate their response when turn-transition becomes relevant
  • Belke, E., Shao, Z., & Meyer, A. S. (2017). Strategic origins of early semantic facilitation in the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(10), 1659-1668. doi:10.1037/xlm0000399.

    Abstract

    In the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm, participants repeatedly name small sets of objects that do or do not belong to the same semantic category. A standard finding is that, after a first presentation cycle where one might find semantic facilitation, naming is slower in related (homogeneous) than in unrelated (heterogeneous) sets. According to competitive theories of lexical selection, this is because the lexical representations of the object names compete more vigorously in homogeneous than in heterogeneous sets. However, Navarrete, del Prato, Peressotti, and Mahon (2014) argued that this pattern of results was not due to increased lexical competition but to weaker repetition priming in homogeneous compared to heterogeneous sets. They demonstrated that when homogeneous sets were not repeated immediately but interleaved with unrelated sets, semantic relatedness induced facilitation rather than interference. We replicate this finding but also show that the facilitation effect has a strategic origin: It is substantial when sets are separated by pauses, making it easy for participants to notice the relatedness within some sets and use it to predict upcoming items. However, the effect is much reduced when these pauses are eliminated. In our view, the semantic facilitation effect does not constitute evidence against competitive theories of lexical selection. It can be accounted for within any framework that acknowledges strategic influences on the speed of object naming in the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). Accounting for rate-dependent category boundary shifts in speech perception. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 79, 333-343. doi:10.3758/s13414-016-1206-4.

    Abstract

    The perception of temporal contrasts in speech is known to be influenced by the speech rate in the surrounding context. This rate-dependent perception is suggested to involve general auditory processes since it is also elicited by non-speech contexts, such as pure tone sequences. Two general auditory mechanisms have been proposed to underlie rate-dependent perception: durational contrast and neural entrainment. The present study compares the predictions of these two accounts of rate-dependent speech perception by means of four experiments in which participants heard tone sequences followed by Dutch target words ambiguous between /ɑs/ “ash” and /a:s/ “bait”. Tone sequences varied in the duration of tones (short vs. long) and in the presentation rate of the tones (fast vs. slow). Results show that the duration of preceding tones did not influence target perception in any of the experiments, thus challenging durational contrast as explanatory mechanism behind rate-dependent perception. Instead, the presentation rate consistently elicited a category boundary shift, with faster presentation rates inducing more /a:s/ responses, but only if the tone sequence was isochronous. Therefore, this study proposes an alternative, neurobiologically plausible, account of rate-dependent perception involving neural entrainment of endogenous oscillations to the rate of a rhythmic stimulus.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Reinisch, E. (2017). Foreign languages sound fast: evidence from implicit rate normalization. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 1063. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01063.

    Abstract

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that unfamiliar languages sound faster than one’s native language. Empirical evidence for this impression has, so far, come from explicit rate judgments. The aim of the present study was to test whether such perceived rate differences between native and foreign languages have effects on implicit speech processing. Our measure of implicit rate perception was “normalization for speaking rate”: an ambiguous vowel between short /a/ and long /a:/ is interpreted as /a:/ following a fast but as /a/ following a slow carrier sentence. That is, listeners did not judge speech rate itself; instead, they categorized ambiguous vowels whose perception was implicitly affected by the rate of the context. We asked whether a bias towards long /a:/ might be observed when the context is not actually faster but simply spoken in a foreign language. A fully symmetrical experimental design was used: Dutch and German participants listened to rate matched (fast and slow) sentences in both languages spoken by the same bilingual speaker. Sentences were followed by nonwords that contained vowels from an /a-a:/ duration continuum. Results from Experiments 1 and 2 showed a consistent effect of rate normalization for both listener groups. Moreover, for German listeners, across the two experiments, foreign sentences triggered more /a:/ responses than (rate matched) native sentences, suggesting that foreign sentences were indeed perceived as faster. Moreover, this Foreign Language effect was modulated by participants’ ability to understand the foreign language: those participants that scored higher on a foreign language translation task showed less of a Foreign Language effect. However, opposite effects were found for the Dutch listeners. For them, their native rather than the foreign language induced more /a:/ responses. Nevertheless, this reversed effect could be reduced when additional spectral properties of the context were controlled for. Experiment 3, using explicit rate judgments, replicated the effect for German but not Dutch listeners. We therefore conclude that the subjective impression that foreign languages sound fast may have an effect on implicit speech processing, with implications for how language learners perceive spoken segments in a foreign language.

    Supplementary material

    data sheet 1.docx
  • Bosker, H. R., Reinisch, E., & Sjerps, M. J. (2017). Cognitive load makes speech sound fast, but does not modulate acoustic context effects. Journal of Memory and Language, 94, 166-176. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.12.002.

    Abstract

    In natural situations, speech perception often takes place during the concurrent execution of other cognitive tasks, such as listening while viewing a visual scene. The execution of a dual task typically has detrimental effects on concurrent speech perception, but how exactly cognitive load disrupts speech encoding is still unclear. The detrimental effect on speech representations may consist of either a general reduction in the robustness of processing of the speech signal (‘noisy encoding’), or, alternatively it may specifically influence the temporal sampling of the sensory input, with listeners missing temporal pulses, thus underestimating segmental durations (‘shrinking of time’). The present study investigated whether and how spectral and temporal cues in a precursor sentence that has been processed under high vs. low cognitive load influence the perception of a subsequent target word. If cognitive load effects are implemented through ‘noisy encoding’, increasing cognitive load during the precursor should attenuate the encoding of both its temporal and spectral cues, and hence reduce the contextual effect that these cues can have on subsequent target sound perception. However, if cognitive load effects are expressed as ‘shrinking of time’, context effects should not be modulated by load, but a main effect would be expected on the perceived duration of the speech signal. Results from two experiments indicate that increasing cognitive load (manipulated through a secondary visual search task) did not modulate temporal (Experiment 1) or spectral context effects (Experiment 2). However, a consistent main effect of cognitive load was found: increasing cognitive load during the precursor induced a perceptual increase in its perceived speech rate, biasing the perception of a following target word towards longer durations. This finding suggests that cognitive load effects in speech perception are implemented via ‘shrinking of time’, in line with a temporal sampling framework. In addition, we argue that our results align with a model in which early (spectral and temporal) normalization is unaffected by attention but later adjustments may be attention-dependent.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). How our own speech rate influences our perception of others. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(8), 1225-1238. doi:10.1037/xlm0000381.

    Abstract

    In conversation, our own speech and that of others follow each other in rapid succession. Effects of the surrounding context on speech perception are well documented but, despite the ubiquity of the sound of our own voice, it is unknown whether our own speech also influences our perception of other talkers. This study investigated context effects induced by our own speech through six experiments, specifically targeting rate normalization (i.e., perceiving phonetic segments relative to surrounding speech rate). Experiment 1 revealed that hearing pre-recorded fast or slow context sentences altered the perception of ambiguous vowels, replicating earlier work. Experiment 2 demonstrated that talking at a fast or slow rate prior to target presentation also altered target perception, though the effect of preceding speech rate was reduced. Experiment 3 showed that silent talking (i.e., inner speech) at fast or slow rates did not modulate the perception of others, suggesting that the effect of self-produced speech rate in Experiment 2 arose through monitoring of the external speech signal. Experiment 4 demonstrated that, when participants were played back their own (fast/slow) speech, no reduction of the effect of preceding speech rate was observed, suggesting that the additional task of speech production may be responsible for the reduced effect in Experiment 2. Finally, Experiments 5 and 6 replicate Experiments 2 and 3 with new participant samples. Taken together, these results suggest that variation in speech production may induce variation in speech perception, thus carrying implications for our understanding of spoken communication in dialogue settings.
  • De Groot, F., Huettig, F., & Olivers, C. N. L. (2017). Language-induced visual and semantic biases in visual search are subject to task requirements. Visual Cognition, 25, 225-240. doi:10.1080/13506285.2017.1324934.

    Abstract

    Visual attention is biased by both visual and semantic representations activated by words. We investigated to what extent language-induced visual and semantic biases are subject to task demands. Participants memorized a spoken word for a verbal recognition task, and performed a visual search task during the retention period. Crucially, while the word had to be remembered in all conditions, it was either relevant for the search (as it also indicated the target) or irrelevant (as it only served the memory test afterwards). On critical trials, displays contained objects that were visually or semantically related to the memorized word. When the word was relevant for the search, eye movement biases towards visually related objects arose earlier and more strongly than biases towards semantically related objects. When the word was irrelevant, there was still evidence for visual and semantic biases, but these biases were substantially weaker, and similar in strength and temporal dynamics, without a visual advantage. We conclude that language-induced attentional biases are subject to task requirements.
  • Hintz, F., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2017). Predictors of verb-mediated anticipatory eye movements in the visual world. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(9), 1352-1374. doi:10.1037/xlm0000388.

    Abstract

    Many studies have demonstrated that listeners use information extracted from verbs to guide anticipatory eye movements to objects in the visual context that satisfy the selection restrictions of the verb. An important question is what underlies such verb-mediated anticipatory eye gaze. Based on empirical and theoretical suggestions, we investigated the influence of five potential predictors of this behavior: functional associations and general associations between verb and target object, as well as the listeners’ production fluency, receptive vocabulary knowledge, and non-verbal intelligence. In three eye-tracking experiments, participants looked at sets of four objects and listened to sentences where the final word was predictable or not predictable (e.g., “The man peels/draws an apple”). On predictable trials only the target object, but not the distractors, were functionally and associatively related to the verb. In Experiments 1 and 2, objects were presented before the verb was heard. In Experiment 3, participants were given a short preview of the display after the verb was heard. Functional associations and receptive vocabulary were found to be important predictors of verb-mediated anticipatory eye gaze independent of the amount of contextual visual input. General word associations did not and non-verbal intelligence was only a very weak predictor of anticipatory eye movements. Participants’ production fluency correlated positively with the likelihood of anticipatory eye movements when participants were given the long but not the short visual display preview. These findings fit best with a pluralistic approach to predictive language processing in which multiple mechanisms, mediating factors, and situational context dynamically interact. 
  • Hoedemaker, R. S., Ernst, J., Meyer, A. S., & Belke, E. (2017). Language production in a shared task: Cumulative semantic interference from self- and other-produced context words. Acta Psychologica, 172, 55-63. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.11.007.

    Abstract

    This study assessed the effects of semantic context in the form of self-produced and other-produced words on subsequent language production. Pairs of participants performed a joint picture naming task, taking turns while naming a continuous series of pictures. In the single-speaker version of this paradigm, naming latencies have been found to increase for successive presentations of exemplars from the same category, a phenomenon known as Cumulative Semantic Interference (CSI). As expected, the joint-naming task showed a within-speaker CSI effect, such that naming latencies increased as a function of the number of category exemplars named previously by the participant (self-produced items). Crucially, we also observed an across-speaker CSI effect, such that naming latencies slowed as a function of the number of category members named by the participant's task partner (other-produced items). The magnitude of the across-speaker CSI effect did not vary as a function of whether or not the listening participant could see the pictures their partner was naming. The observation of across-speaker CSI suggests that the effect originates at the conceptual level of the language system, as proposed by Belke's (2013) Conceptual Accumulation account. Whereas self-produced and other-produced words both resulted in a CSI effect on naming latencies, post-experiment free recall rates were higher for self-produced than other-produced items. Together, these results suggest that both speaking and listening result in implicit learning at the conceptual level of the language system but that these effects are independent of explicit learning as indicated by item recall.
  • Hoedemaker, R. S., & Gordon, P. C. (2017). The onset and time course of semantic priming during rapid recognition of visual words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43(5), 881-902. doi:10.1037/xhp0000377.

    Abstract

    In 2 experiments, we assessed the effects of response latency and task-induced goals on the onset and time course of semantic priming during rapid processing of visual words as revealed by ocular response tasks. In Experiment 1 (ocular lexical decision task), participants performed a lexical decision task using eye movement responses on a sequence of 4 words. In Experiment 2, the same words were encoded for an episodic recognition memory task that did not require a metalinguistic judgment. For both tasks, survival analyses showed that the earliest observable effect (divergence point [DP]) of semantic priming on target-word reading times occurred at approximately 260 ms, and ex-Gaussian distribution fits revealed that the magnitude of the priming effect increased as a function of response time. Together, these distributional effects of semantic priming suggest that the influence of the prime increases when target processing is more effortful. This effect does not require that the task include a metalinguistic judgment; manipulation of the task goals across experiments affected the overall response speed but not the location of the DP or the overall distributional pattern of the priming effect. These results are more readily explained as the result of a retrospective, rather than a prospective, priming mechanism and are consistent with compound-cue models of semantic priming.
  • Huettig, F., Mishra, R. K., & Padakannaya, P. (2017). Editorial. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 1( 1), 1. doi:10.1007/s41809-017-0006-2.
  • Iacozza, S., Costa, A., & Duñabeitia, J. A. (2017). What do your eyes reveal about your foreign language? Reading emotional sentences in a native and foreign language. PLoS One, 12(10): e0186027. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186027.

    Abstract

    Foreign languages are often learned in emotionally neutral academic environments which differ greatly from the familiar context where native languages are acquired. This difference in learning contexts has been argued to lead to reduced emotional resonance when confronted with a foreign language. In the current study, we investigated whether the reactivity of the sympathetic nervous system in response to emotionally-charged stimuli is reduced in a foreign language. To this end, pupil sizes were recorded while reading aloud emotional sentences in the native or foreign language. Additionally, subjective ratings of emotional impact were provided after reading each sentence, allowing us to further investigate foreign language effects on explicit emotional understanding. Pupillary responses showed a larger effect of emotion in the native than in the foreign language. However, such a difference was not present for explicit ratings of emotionality. These results reveal that the sympathetic nervous system reacts differently depending on the language context, which in turns suggests a deeper emotional processing when reading in a native compared to a foreign language.

    Supplementary material

    pone.0186027.s001.docx
  • Ito, A., Martin, A. E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2017). Why the A/AN prediction effect may be hard to replicate: A rebuttal to DeLong, Urbach & Kutas (2017). Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(8), 974-983. doi:10.1080/23273798.2017.1323112.
  • Jongman, S. R. (2017). Sustained Attention Ability Affects Simple Picture Naming. Collabra: Psychology, 3(1): 17. doi:10.1525/collabra.84.

    Abstract

    Sustained attention has previously been shown as a requirement for language production. However, this is mostly evident for difficult conditions, such as a dual-task situation. The current study provides corroborating evidence that this relationship holds even for simple picture naming. Sustained attention ability, indexed both by participants’ reaction times and individuals’ hit rate (the proportion of correctly detected targets) on a digit discrimination task, correlated with picture naming latencies. Individuals with poor sustained attention were consistently slower and their RT distributions were more positively skewed when naming pictures compared to individuals with better sustained attention. Additionally, the need to sustain attention was manipulated by changing the speed of stimulus presentation. Research has suggested that fast event rates tax sustained attention resources to a larger degree than slow event rates. However, in this study the fast event rate did not result in increased difficulty, neither for the picture naming task nor for the sustained attention task. Instead, the results point to a speed-accuracy trade-off in the sustained attention task (lower accuracy but faster responses in the fast than in the slow event rate), and to a benefit for faster rates in the picture naming task (shorter naming latencies with no difference in accuracy). Performance on both tasks was largely comparable, supporting previous findings that sustained attention is called upon during language production
  • Jongman, S. R., Roelofs, A., Scheper, A., & Meyer, A. S. (2017). Picture naming in typically developing and language impaired children: The role of sustained attention. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 52(3), 323-333. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12275.

    Abstract

    Children with specific language impairment (SLI) have problems not only with language performance but also with sustained attention, which is the ability to maintain alertness over an extended period of time. Although there is consensus that this ability is impaired with respect to processing stimuli in the auditory perceptual modality, conflicting evidence exists concerning the visual modality. Aims To address the outstanding issue whether the impairment in sustained attention is limited to the auditory domain, or if it is domain-general. Furthermore, to test whether children's sustained attention ability relates to their word-production skills. Methods & Procedures Groups of 7–9 year olds with SLI (N = 28) and typically developing (TD) children (N = 22) performed a picture-naming task and two sustained attention tasks, namely auditory and visual continuous performance tasks (CPTs). Outcomes & Results Children with SLI performed worse than TD children on picture naming and on both the auditory and visual CPTs. Moreover, performance on both the CPTs correlated with picture-naming latencies across developmental groups. Conclusions & Implications These results provide evidence for a deficit in both auditory and visual sustained attention in children with SLI. Moreover, the study indicates there is a relationship between domain-general sustained attention and picture-naming performance in both TD and language-impaired children. Future studies should establish whether this relationship is causal. If attention influences language, training of sustained attention may improve language production in children from both developmental groups.
  • Jongman, S. R., & Meyer, A. S. (2017). To plan or not to plan: Does planning for production remove facilitation from associative priming? Acta Psychologica, 181, 40-50. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.10.003.

    Abstract

    Theories of conversation propose that in order to have smooth transitions from one turn to the next, speakers already plan their response while listening to their interlocutor. Moreover, it has been argued that speakers align their linguistic representations (i.e. prime each other), thereby reducing the processing costs associated with concurrent listening and speaking. In two experiments, we assessed how identity and associative priming from spoken words onto picture naming were affected by a concurrent speech planning task. In a baseline (no name) condition, participants heard prime words that were identical, associatively related, or unrelated to target pictures presented two seconds after prime onset. Each prime was accompanied by a non-target picture and followed by its recorded name. The participant did not name the non-target picture. In the plan condition, the participants first named the non-target picture, instead of listening to the recording, and then the target. In Experiment 1, where the plan- and no-plan conditions were tested between participants, priming effects of equal strength were found in the plan and no-plan condition. In Experiment 2, where the two conditions were tested within participants, the identity priming effect was maintained, but the associative priming effect was only seen in the no-plan but not in the plan condition. In this experiment, participant had to decide at the onset of each trial whether or not to name the non-target picture, rendering the task more complex than in Experiment 1. These decision processes may have interfered with the processing of the primes. Thus, associative priming can take place during speech planning, but only if the cognitive load is not too high.
  • Kunert, R., & Jongman, S. R. (2017). Entrainment to an auditory signal: Is attention involved? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(1), 77-88. doi:10.1037/xge0000246.

    Abstract

    Many natural auditory signals, including music and language, change periodically. The effect of such auditory rhythms on the brain is unclear however. One widely held view, dynamic attending theory, proposes that the attentional system entrains to the rhythm and increases attention at moments of rhythmic salience. In support, 2 experiments reported here show reduced response times to visual letter strings shown at auditory rhythm peaks, compared with rhythm troughs. However, we argue that an account invoking the entrainment of general attention should further predict rhythm entrainment to also influence memory for visual stimuli. In 2 pseudoword memory experiments we find evidence against this prediction. Whether a pseudoword is shown during an auditory rhythm peak or not is irrelevant for its later recognition memory in silence. Other attention manipulations, dividing attention and focusing attention, did result in a memory effect. This raises doubts about the suggested attentional nature of rhythm entrainment. We interpret our findings as support for auditory rhythm perception being based on auditory-motor entrainment, not general attention entrainment.
  • Lev-Ari, S., & Peperkamp, S. (2017). Language for $200: Success in the environment influences grammatical alignment. Journal of Language Evolution, 2(2), 177-187. doi:10.1093/jole/lzw012.

    Abstract

    Speakers constantly learn language from the environment by sampling their linguistic input and adjusting their representations accordingly. Logically, people should attend more to the environment and adjust their behavior in accordance with it more the lower their success in the environment is. We test whether the learning of linguistic input follows this general principle in two studies: a corpus analysis of a TV game show, Jeopardy, and a laboratory task modeled after Go Fish. We show that lower (non-linguistic) success in the task modulates learning of and reliance on linguistic patterns in the environment. In Study 1, we find that poorer performance increases conformity with linguistic norms, as reflected by increased preference for frequent grammatical structures. In Study 2, which consists of a more interactive setting, poorer performance increases learning from the immediate social environment, as reflected by greater repetition of others’ grammatical structures. We propose that these results have implications for models of language production and language learning and for the propagation of language change. In particular, they suggest that linguistic changes might spread more quickly in times of crisis, or when the gap between more and less successful people is larger. The results might also suggest that innovations stem from successful individuals while their propagation would depend on relatively less successful individuals. We provide a few historical examples that are in line with the first suggested implication, namely, that the spread of linguistic changes is accelerated during difficult times, such as war time and an economic downturn

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