Publications

Displaying 301 - 400 of 9274
  • Özer, D., Karadöller, D. Z., Özyürek, A., & Göksun, T. (2023). Gestures cued by demonstratives in speech guide listeners' visual attention during spatial language comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 152(9), 2623-2635. doi:10.1037/xge0001402.

    Abstract

    Gestures help speakers and listeners during communication and thinking, particularly for visual-spatial information. Speakers tend to use gestures to complement the accompanying spoken deictic constructions, such as demonstratives, when communicating spatial information (e.g., saying “The candle is here” and gesturing to the right side to express that the candle is on the speaker's right). Visual information conveyed by gestures enhances listeners’ comprehension. Whether and how listeners allocate overt visual attention to gestures in different speech contexts is mostly unknown. We asked if (a) listeners gazed at gestures more when they complement demonstratives in speech (“here”) compared to when they express redundant information to speech (e.g., “right”) and (b) gazing at gestures related to listeners’ information uptake from those gestures. We demonstrated that listeners fixated gestures more when they expressed complementary than redundant information in the accompanying speech. Moreover, overt visual attention to gestures did not predict listeners’ comprehension. These results suggest that the heightened communicative value of gestures as signaled by external cues, such as demonstratives, guides listeners’ visual attention to gestures. However, overt visual attention does not seem to be necessary to extract the cued information from the multimodal message.
  • Papoutsi*, C., Zimianiti*, E., Bosker, H. R., & Frost, R. L. A. (2023). Statistical learning at a virtual cocktail party. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-023-02384-1.

    Abstract

    * These two authors contributed equally to this study
    Statistical learning – the ability to extract distributional regularities from input – is suggested to be key to language acquisition. Yet, evidence for the human capacity for statistical learning comes mainly from studies conducted in carefully controlled settings without auditory distraction. While such conditions permit careful examination of learning, they do not reflect the naturalistic language learning experience, which is replete with auditory distraction – including competing talkers. Here, we examine how statistical language learning proceeds in a virtual cocktail party environment, where the to-be-learned input is presented alongside a competing speech stream with its own distributional regularities. During exposure, participants in the Dual Talker group concurrently heard two novel languages, one produced by a female talker and one by a male talker, with each talker virtually positioned at opposite sides of the listener (left/right) using binaural acoustic manipulations. Selective attention was manipulated by instructing participants to attend to only one of the two talkers. At test, participants were asked to distinguish words from part-words for both the attended and the unattended languages. Results indicated that participants’ accuracy was significantly higher for trials from the attended vs. unattended
    language. Further, the performance of this Dual Talker group was no different compared to a control group who heard only one language from a single talker (Single Talker group). We thus conclude that statistical learning is modulated by selective attention, being relatively robust against the additional cognitive load provided by competing speech, emphasizing its efficiency in naturalistic language learning situations.

    Additional information

    supplementary file
  • Parlatini, V., Itahashi, T., Lee, Y., Liu, S., Nguyen, T. T., Aoki, Y. Y., Forkel, S. J., Catani, M., Rubia, K., Zhou, J. H., Murphy, D. G., & Cortese, S. (2023). White matter alterations in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): a systematic review of 129 diffusion imaging studies with meta-analysis. Molecular Psychiatry, 28, 4098-4123. doi:10.1038/s41380-023-02173-1.

    Abstract

    Aberrant anatomical brain connections in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are reported inconsistently across
    diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) studies. Based on a pre-registered protocol (Prospero: CRD42021259192), we searched PubMed,
    Ovid, and Web of Knowledge until 26/03/2022 to conduct a systematic review of DWI studies. We performed a quality assessment
    based on imaging acquisition, preprocessing, and analysis. Using signed differential mapping, we meta-analyzed a subset of the
    retrieved studies amenable to quantitative evidence synthesis, i.e., tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) studies, in individuals of any
    age and, separately, in children, adults, and high-quality datasets. Finally, we conducted meta-regressions to test the effect of age,
    sex, and medication-naïvety. We included 129 studies (6739 ADHD participants and 6476 controls), of which 25 TBSS studies
    provided peak coordinates for case-control differences in fractional anisotropy (FA)(32 datasets) and 18 in mean diffusivity (MD)(23
    datasets). The systematic review highlighted white matter alterations (especially reduced FA) in projection, commissural and
    association pathways of individuals with ADHD, which were associated with symptom severity and cognitive deficits. The meta-
    analysis showed a consistent reduced FA in the splenium and body of the corpus callosum, extending to the cingulum. Lower FA
    was related to older age, and case-control differences did not survive in the pediatric meta-analysis. About 68% of studies were of
    low quality, mainly due to acquisitions with non-isotropic voxels or lack of motion correction; and the sensitivity analysis in high-
    quality datasets yielded no significant results. Findings suggest prominent alterations in posterior interhemispheric connections
    subserving cognitive and motor functions affected in ADHD, although these might be influenced by non-optimal acquisition
    parameters/preprocessing. Absence of findings in children may be related to the late development of callosal fibers, which may
    enhance case-control differences in adulthood. Clinicodemographic and methodological differences were major barriers to
    consistency and comparability among studies, and should be addressed in future investigations.
  • Passmore, S., Barth, W., Greenhill, S. J., Quinn, K., Sheard, C., Argyriou, P., Birchall, J., Bowern, C., Calladine, J., Deb, A., Diederen, A., Metsäranta, N. P., Araujo, L. H., Schembri, R., Hickey-Hall, J., Honkola, T., Mitchell, A., Poole, L., Rácz, P. M., Roberts, S. G. and 4 morePassmore, S., Barth, W., Greenhill, S. J., Quinn, K., Sheard, C., Argyriou, P., Birchall, J., Bowern, C., Calladine, J., Deb, A., Diederen, A., Metsäranta, N. P., Araujo, L. H., Schembri, R., Hickey-Hall, J., Honkola, T., Mitchell, A., Poole, L., Rácz, P. M., Roberts, S. G., Ross, R. M., Thomas-Colquhoun, E., Evans, N., & Jordan, F. M. (2023). Kinbank: A global database of kinship terminology. PLOS ONE, 18: e0283218. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0283218.

    Abstract

    For a single species, human kinship organization is both remarkably diverse and strikingly organized. Kinship terminology is the structured vocabulary used to classify, refer to, and address relatives and family. Diversity in kinship terminology has been analyzed by anthropologists for over 150 years, although recurrent patterning across cultures remains incompletely explained. Despite the wealth of kinship data in the anthropological record, comparative studies of kinship terminology are hindered by data accessibility. Here we present Kinbank, a new database of 210,903 kinterms from a global sample of 1,229 spoken languages. Using open-access and transparent data provenance, Kinbank offers an extensible resource for kinship terminology, enabling researchers to explore the rich diversity of human family organization and to test longstanding hypotheses about the origins and drivers of recurrent patterns. We illustrate our contribution with two examples. We demonstrate strong gender bias in the phonological structure of parent terms across 1,022 languages, and we show that there is no evidence for a coevolutionary relationship between cross-cousin marriage and bifurcate-merging terminology in Bantu languages. Analysing kinship data is notoriously challenging; Kinbank aims to eliminate data accessibility issues from that challenge and provide a platform to build an interdisciplinary understanding of kinship.

    Additional information

    Supporting Information
  • Paulat, N. S., Storer, J. M., Moreno-Santillán, D. D., Osmanski, A. B., Sullivan, K. A. M., Grimshaw, J. R., Korstian, J., Halsey, M., Garcia, C. J., Crookshanks, C., Roberts, J., Smit, A. F. A., Hubley, R., Rosen, J., Teeling, E. C., Vernes, S. C., Myers, E., Pippel, M., Brown, T., Hiller, M. and 5 morePaulat, N. S., Storer, J. M., Moreno-Santillán, D. D., Osmanski, A. B., Sullivan, K. A. M., Grimshaw, J. R., Korstian, J., Halsey, M., Garcia, C. J., Crookshanks, C., Roberts, J., Smit, A. F. A., Hubley, R., Rosen, J., Teeling, E. C., Vernes, S. C., Myers, E., Pippel, M., Brown, T., Hiller, M., Zoonomia Consortium, Rojas, D., Dávalos, L. M., Lindblad-Toh, K., Karlsson, E. K., & Ray, D. A. (2023). Chiropterans are a hotspot for horizontal transfer of DNA transposons in mammalia. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 40(5): msad092. doi:10.1093/molbev/msad092.

    Abstract

    Horizontal transfer of transposable elements (TEs) is an important mechanism contributing to genetic diversity and innovation. Bats (order Chiroptera) have repeatedly been shown to experience horizontal transfer of TEs at what appears to be a high rate compared with other mammals. We investigated the occurrence of horizontally transferred (HT) DNA transposons involving bats. We found over 200 putative HT elements within bats; 16 transposons were shared across distantly related mammalian clades, and 2 other elements were shared with a fish and two lizard species. Our results indicate that bats are a hotspot for horizontal transfer of DNA transposons. These events broadly coincide with the diversification of several bat clades, supporting the hypothesis that DNA transposon invasions have contributed to genetic diversification of bats.

    Additional information

    supplemental methods supplemental tables
  • Pender, R., Fearon, P., St Pourcain, B., Heron, J., & Mandy, W. (2023). Developmental trajectories of autistic social traits in the general population. Psychological Medicine, 53(3), 814-822. doi:10.1017/S0033291721002166.

    Abstract

    Background

    Autistic people show diverse trajectories of autistic traits over time, a phenomenon labelled ‘chronogeneity’. For example, some show a decrease in symptoms, whilst others experience an intensification of difficulties. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a dimensional condition, representing one end of a trait continuum that extends throughout the population. To date, no studies have investigated chronogeneity across the full range of autistic traits. We investigated the nature and clinical significance of autism trait chronogeneity in a large, general population sample.
    Methods

    Autistic social/communication traits (ASTs) were measured in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children using the Social and Communication Disorders Checklist (SCDC) at ages 7, 10, 13 and 16 (N = 9744). We used Growth Mixture Modelling (GMM) to identify groups defined by their AST trajectories. Measures of ASD diagnosis, sex, IQ and mental health (internalising and externalising) were used to investigate external validity of the derived trajectory groups.
    Results

    The selected GMM model identified four AST trajectory groups: (i) Persistent High (2.3% of sample), (ii) Persistent Low (83.5%), (iii) Increasing (7.3%) and (iv) Decreasing (6.9%) trajectories. The Increasing group, in which females were a slight majority (53.2%), showed dramatic increases in SCDC scores during adolescence, accompanied by escalating internalising and externalising difficulties. Two-thirds (63.6%) of the Decreasing group were male.
    Conclusions

    Clinicians should note that for some young people autism-trait-like social difficulties first emerge during adolescence accompanied by problems with mood, anxiety, conduct and attention. A converse, majority-male group shows decreasing social difficulties during adolescence.
  • Pereira Soares, S. M., Chaouch-Orozco, A., & González Alonso, J. (2023). Innovations and challenges in acquisition and processing methodologies for L3/Ln. In J. Cabrelli, A. Chaouch-Orozco, J. González Alonso, S. M. Pereira Soares, E. Puig-Mayenco, & J. Rothman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of third language acquisition (pp. 661-682). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108957823.026.

    Abstract

    The advent of psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic methodologies has provided new insights into theories of language acquisition. Sequential multilingualism is no exception, and some of the most recent work on the subject has incorporated a particular focus on language processing. This chapter surveys some of the work on the processing of lexical and morphosyntactic aspects of third or further languages, with different offline and online methodologies. We also discuss how, while increasingly sophisticated techniques and experimental designs have improved our understanding of third language acquisition and processing, simpler but clever designs can answer pressing questions in our theoretical debate. We provide examples of both sophistication and clever simplicity in experimental design, and argue that the field would benefit from incorporating a combination of both concepts into future work.
  • Piai, V., & Eikelboom, D. (2023). Brain areas critical for picture naming: A systematic review and meta-analysis of lesion-symptom mapping studies. Neurobiology of Language, 4(2), 280-296. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00097.

    Abstract

    Lesion-symptom mapping (LSM) studies have revealed brain areas critical for naming, typically finding significant associations between damage to left temporal, inferior parietal, and inferior fontal regions and impoverished naming performance. However, specific subregions found in the available literature vary. Hence, the aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of published lesion-based findings, obtained from studies with unique cohorts investigating brain areas critical for accuracy in naming in stroke patients at least 1 month post-onset. An anatomic likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of these LSM studies was performed. Ten papers entered the ALE meta-analysis, with similar lesion coverage over left temporal and left inferior frontal areas. This small number is a major limitation of the present study. Clusters were found in left anterior temporal lobe, posterior temporal lobe extending into inferior parietal areas, in line with the arcuate fasciculus, and in pre- and postcentral gyri and middle frontal gyrus. No clusters were found in left inferior frontal gyrus. These results were further substantiated by examining five naming studies that investigated performance beyond global accuracy, corroborating the ALE meta-analysis results. The present review and meta-analysis highlight the involvement of left temporal and inferior parietal cortices in naming, and of mid to posterior portions of the temporal lobe in particular in conceptual-lexical retrieval for speaking.

    Additional information

    data
  • Quaresima, A., Fitz, H., Duarte, R., Van den Broek, D., Hagoort, P., & Petersson, K. M. (2023). The Tripod neuron: A minimal structural reduction of the dendritic tree. The Journal of Physiology, 601(15), 3007-3437. doi:10.1113/JP283399.

    Abstract

    Neuron models with explicit dendritic dynamics have shed light on mechanisms for coincidence detection, pathway selection and temporal filtering. However, it is still unclear which morphological and physiological features are required to capture these phenomena. In this work, we introduce the Tripod neuron model and propose a minimal structural reduction of the dendritic tree that is able to reproduce these computations. The Tripod is a three-compartment model consisting of two segregated passive dendrites and a somatic compartment modelled as an adaptive, exponential integrate-and-fire neuron. It incorporates dendritic geometry, membrane physiology and receptor dynamics as measured in human pyramidal cells. We characterize the response of the Tripod to glutamatergic and GABAergic inputs and identify parameters that support supra-linear integration, coincidence-detection and pathway-specific gating through shunting inhibition. Following NMDA spikes, the Tripod neuron generates plateau potentials whose duration depends on the dendritic length and the strength of synaptic input. When fitted with distal compartments, the Tripod encodes previous activity into a dendritic depolarized state. This dendritic memory allows the neuron to perform temporal binding, and we show that it solves transition and sequence detection tasks on which a single-compartment model fails. Thus, the Tripod can account for dendritic computations previously explained only with more detailed neuron models or neural networks. Due to its simplicity, the Tripod neuron can be used efficiently in simulations of larger cortical circuits.
  • Raghavan, R., Raviv, L., & Peeters, D. (2023). What's your point? Insights from virtual reality on the relation between intention and action in the production of pointing gestures. Cognition, 240: 105581. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2023.105581.

    Abstract

    Human communication involves the process of translating intentions into communicative actions. But how exactly do our intentions surface in the visible communicative behavior we display? Here we focus on pointing gestures, a fundamental building block of everyday communication, and investigate whether and how different types of underlying intent modulate the kinematics of the pointing hand and the brain activity preceding the gestural movement. In a dynamic virtual reality environment, participants pointed at a referent to either share attention with their addressee, inform their addressee, or get their addressee to perform an action. Behaviorally, it was observed that these different underlying intentions modulated how long participants kept their arm and finger still, both prior to starting the movement and when keeping their pointing hand in apex position. In early planning stages, a neurophysiological distinction was observed between a gesture that is used to share attitudes and knowledge with another person versus a gesture that mainly uses that person as a means to perform an action. Together, these findings suggest that our intentions influence our actions from the earliest neurophysiological planning stages to the kinematic endpoint of the movement itself.
  • Raimondi, T., Di Panfilo, G., Pasquali, M., Zarantonello, M., Favaro, L., Savini, T., Gamba, M., & Ravignani, A. (2023). Isochrony and rhythmic interaction in ape duetting. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 290: 20222244. doi:10.1098/rspb.2022.2244.

    Abstract

    How did rhythm originate in humans, and other species? One cross-cultural universal, frequently found in human music, is isochrony: when note onsets repeat regularly like the ticking of a clock. Another universal consists in synchrony (e.g. when individuals coordinate their notes so that they are sung at the same time). An approach to biomusicology focuses on similarities and differences across species, trying to build phylogenies of musical traits. Here we test for the presence of, and a link between, isochrony and synchrony in a non-human animal. We focus on the songs of one of the few singing primates, the lar gibbon (Hylobates lar), extracting temporal features from their solo songs and duets. We show that another ape exhibits one rhythmic feature at the core of human musicality: isochrony. We show that an enhanced call rate overall boosts isochrony, suggesting that respiratory physiological constraints play a role in determining the song's rhythmic structure. However, call rate alone cannot explain the flexible isochrony we witness. Isochrony is plastic and modulated depending on the context of emission: gibbons are more isochronous when duetting than singing solo. We present evidence for rhythmic interaction: we find statistical causality between one individual's note onsets and the co-singer's onsets, and a higher than chance degree of synchrony in the duets. Finally, we find a sex-specific trade-off between individual isochrony and synchrony. Gibbon's plasticity for isochrony and rhythmic overlap may suggest a potential shared selective pressure for interactive vocal displays in singing primates. This pressure may have convergently shaped human and gibbon musicality while acting on a common neural primate substrate. Beyond humans, singing primates are promising models to understand how music and, specifically, a sense of rhythm originated in the primate phylogeny.
  • Rasenberg, M. (2023). Mutual understanding from a multimodal and interactional perspective. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Rasenberg, M., Amha, A., Coler, M., van Koppen, M., van Miltenburg, E., de Rijk, L., Stommel, W., & Dingemanse, M. (2023). Reimagining language: Towards a better understanding of language by including our interactions with non-humans. Linguistics in the Netherlands, 40, 309-317. doi:10.1075/avt.00095.ras.

    Abstract

    What is language and who or what can be said to have it? In this essay we consider this question in the context of interactions with non-humans, specifically: animals and computers. While perhaps an odd pairing at first glance, here we argue that these domains can offer contrasting perspectives through which we can explore and reimagine language. The interactions between humans and animals, as well as between humans and computers, reveal both the essence and the boundaries of language: from examining the role of sequence and contingency in human-animal interaction, to unravelling the challenges of natural interactions with “smart” speakers and language models. By bringing together disparate fields around foundational questions, we push the boundaries of linguistic inquiry and uncover new insights into what language is and how it functions in diverse non-humanexclusive contexts.
  • Rasing, N. B., Van de Geest-Buit, W., Chan, O. Y. A., Mul, K., Lanser, A., Erasmus, C. E., Groothuis, J. T., Holler, J., Ingels, K. J. A. O., Post, B., Siemann, I., & Voermans, N. C. (2023). Psychosocial functioning in patients with altered facial expression: A scoping review in five neurological diseases. Disability and Rehabilitation. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/09638288.2023.2259310.

    Abstract

    Purpose

    To perform a scoping review to investigate the psychosocial impact of having an altered facial expression in five neurological diseases.
    Methods

    A systematic literature search was performed. Studies were on Bell’s palsy, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), Moebius syndrome, myotonic dystrophy type 1, or Parkinson’s disease patients; had a focus on altered facial expression; and had any form of psychosocial outcome measure. Data extraction focused on psychosocial outcomes.
    Results

    Bell’s palsy, myotonic dystrophy type 1, and Parkinson’s disease patients more often experienced some degree of psychosocial distress than healthy controls. In FSHD, facial weakness negatively influenced communication and was experienced as a burden. The psychosocial distress applied especially to women (Bell’s palsy and Parkinson’s disease), and patients with more severely altered facial expression (Bell’s palsy), but not for Moebius syndrome patients. Furthermore, Parkinson’s disease patients with more pronounced hypomimia were perceived more negatively by observers. Various strategies were reported to compensate for altered facial expression.
    Conclusions

    This review showed that patients with altered facial expression in four of five included neurological diseases had reduced psychosocial functioning. Future research recommendations include studies on observers’ judgements of patients during social interactions and on the effectiveness of compensation strategies in enhancing psychosocial functioning.
    Implications for rehabilitation

    Negative effects of altered facial expression on psychosocial functioning are common and more abundant in women and in more severely affected patients with various neurological disorders.

    Health care professionals should be alert to psychosocial distress in patients with altered facial expression.

    Learning of compensatory strategies could be a beneficial therapy for patients with psychosocial distress due to an altered facial expression.
  • Ravignani, A., & Herbst, C. T. (2023). Voices in the ocean: Toothed whales evolved a third way of making sounds similar to that of land mammals and birds. Science, 379(6635), 881-882. doi:10.1126/science.adg5256.
  • Raviv, L., & Kirby, S. (2023). Self domestication and the cultural evolution of language. In J. J. Tehrani, J. Kendal, & R. Kendal (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198869252.013.60.

    Abstract

    The structural design features of human language emerge in the process of cultural evolution, shaping languages over the course of communication, learning, and transmission. What role does this leave biological evolution? This chapter highlights the biological bases and preconditions that underlie the particular type of prosocial behaviours and cognitive inference abilities that are required for languages to emerge via cultural evolution to begin with.
  • Raviv, L., Jacobson, S. L., Plotnik, J. M., Bowman, J., Lynch, V., & Benítez-Burraco, A. (2023). Elephants as an animal model for self-domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(15): e2208607120. doi:10.1073/pnas.2208607120.

    Abstract

    Humans are unique in their sophisticated culture and societal structures, their complex languages, and their extensive tool use. According to the human self-domestication hypothesis, this unique set of traits may be the result of an evolutionary process of self-induced domestication, in which humans evolved to be less aggressive and more cooperative. However, the only other species that has been argued to be self-domesticated besides humans so far is bonobos, resulting in a narrow scope for investigating this theory limited to the primate order. Here, we propose an animal model for studying self-domestication: the elephant. First, we support our hypothesis with an extensive cross-species comparison, which suggests that elephants indeed exhibit many of the features associated with self-domestication (e.g., reduced aggression, increased prosociality, extended juvenile period, increased playfulness, socially regulated cortisol levels, and complex vocal behavior). Next, we present genetic evidence to reinforce our proposal, showing that genes positively selected in elephants are enriched in pathways associated with domestication traits and include several candidate genes previously associated with domestication. We also discuss several explanations for what may have triggered a self-domestication process in the elephant lineage. Our findings support the idea that elephants, like humans and bonobos, may be self-domesticated. Since the most recent common ancestor of humans and elephants is likely the most recent common ancestor of all placental mammals, our findings have important implications for convergent evolution beyond the primate taxa, and constitute an important advance toward understanding how and why self-domestication shaped humans’ unique cultural niche.

    Additional information

    supporting information
  • Roe, J. M., Vidal-Piñeiro, D., Amlien, I. K., Pan, M., Sneve, M. H., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., Friedrich, P., Sha, Z., Francks, C., Eilertsen, E. M., Wang, Y., Walhovd, K. B., Fjell, A. M., & Westerhausen, R. (2023). Tracing the development and lifespan change of population-level structural asymmetry in the cerebral cortex. eLife, 12: e84685. doi:10.7554/eLife.84685.

    Abstract

    Cortical asymmetry is a ubiquitous feature of brain organization that is altered in neurodevelopmental disorders and aging. Achieving consensus on cortical asymmetries in humans is necessary to uncover the genetic-developmental mechanisms that shape them and factors moderating cortical lateralization. Here, we delineate population-level asymmetry in cortical thickness and surface area vertex-wise in 7 datasets and chart asymmetry trajectories across life (4-89 years; observations = 3937; 70% longitudinal). We reveal asymmetry interrelationships, heritability, and test associations in UK Biobank (N=∼37,500). Cortical asymmetry was robust across datasets. Whereas areal asymmetry is predominantly stable across life, thickness asymmetry grows in development and declines in aging. Areal asymmetry correlates in specific regions, whereas thickness asymmetry is globally interrelated across cortex and suggests high directional variability in global thickness lateralization. Areal asymmetry is moderately heritable (max h2SNP ∼19%), and phenotypic correlations are reflected by high genetic correlations, whereas heritability of thickness asymmetry is low. Finally, we detected an asymmetry association with cognition and confirm recently-reported handedness links. Results suggest areal asymmetry is developmentally stable and arises in early life, whereas developmental changes in thickness asymmetry may lead to directional variability of global thickness lateralization. Our results bear enough reproducibility to serve as a standard for future brain asymmetry studies.

    Additional information

    link to preprint supplementary files
  • Rossi, E., Pereira Soares, S. M., Prystauka, Y., Nakamura, M., & Rothman, J. (2023). Riding the (brain) waves! Using neural oscillations to inform bilingualism research. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 26(1), 202-215. doi:10.1017/S1366728922000451.

    Abstract

    The study of the brains’ oscillatory activity has been a standard technique to gain insights into human neurocognition for a relatively long time. However, as a complementary analysis to ERPs, only very recently has it been utilized to study bilingualism and its neural underpinnings. Here, we provide a theoretical and methodological starter for scientists in the (psycho)linguistics and neurocognition of bilingualism field(s) to understand the bases and applications of this analytical tool. Towards this goal, we provide a description of the characteristics of the human neural (and its oscillatory) signal, followed by an in-depth description of various types of EEG oscillatory analyses, supplemented by figures and relevant examples. We then utilize the scant, yet emergent, literature on neural oscillations and bilingualism to highlight the potential of how analyzing neural oscillations can advance our understanding of the (psycho)linguistic and neurocognitive understanding of bilingualism.
  • Rossi, G., Dingemanse, M., Floyd, S., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Kendrick, K. H., Zinken, J., & Enfield, N. J. (2023). Shared cross-cultural principles underlie human prosocial behavior at the smallest scale. Scientific Reports, 13: 6057. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-30580-5.

    Abstract

    Prosociality and cooperation are key to what makes us human. But different cultural norms can shape our evolved capacities for interaction, leading to differences in social relations. How people share resources has been found to vary across cultures, particularly when stakes are high and when interactions are anonymous. Here we examine prosocial behavior among familiars (both kin and non-kin) in eight cultures on five continents, using video recordings of spontaneous requests for immediate, low-cost assistance (e.g., to pass a utensil). We find that, at the smallest scale of human interaction, prosocial behavior follows cross-culturally shared principles: requests for assistance are very frequent and mostly successful; and when people decline to give help, they normally give a reason. Although there are differences in the rates at which such requests are ignored, or require verbal acceptance, cultural variation is limited, pointing to a common foundation for everyday cooperation around the world.
  • Rutz, C., Bronstein, M., Raskin, A., Vernes, S. C., Zacarian, K., & Blasi, D. E. (2023). Using machine learning to decode animal communication. Science, 381(6654), 152-155. doi:10.1126/science.adg7314.

    Abstract

    The past few years have seen a surge of interest in using machine learning (ML) methods for studying the behavior of nonhuman animals (hereafter “animals”) (1). A topic that has attracted particular attention is the decoding of animal communication systems using deep learning and other approaches (2). Now is the time to tackle challenges concerning data availability, model validation, and research ethics, and to embrace opportunities for building collaborations across disciplines and initiatives.
  • Ryskin, R., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2023). Prediction during language comprehension: What is next? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 27(11), 1032-1052. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2023.08.003.

    Abstract

    Prediction is often regarded as an integral aspect of incremental language comprehension, but little is known about the cognitive architectures and mechanisms that support it. We review studies showing that listeners and readers use all manner of contextual information to generate multifaceted predictions about upcoming input. The nature of these predictions may vary between individuals owing to differences in language experience, among other factors. We then turn to unresolved questions which may guide the search for the underlying mechanisms. (i) Is prediction essential to language processing or an optional strategy? (ii) Are predictions generated from within the language system or by domain-general processes? (iii) What is the relationship between prediction and memory? (iv) Does prediction in comprehension require simulation via the production system? We discuss promising directions for making progress in answering these questions and for developing a mechanistic understanding of prediction in language.
  • Sajovic, J., Meglič, A., Corradi, Z., Khan, M., Maver, A., Vidmar, M. J., Hawlina, M., Cremers, F. P. M., & Fakin, A. (2023). ABCA4Variant c.5714+5G> A in trans with null alleles results in primary RPE damage. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, 64(12): 33. doi:10.1167/iovs.64.12.33.

    Abstract

    Purpose: To determine the disease pathogenesis associated with the frequent ABCA4 variant c.5714+5G>A (p.[=,Glu1863Leufs*33]).

    Methods: Patient-derived photoreceptor precursor cells were generated to analyze the effect of c.5714+5G>A on splicing and perform a quantitative analysis of c.5714+5G>A products. Patients with c.5714+5G>A in trans with a null allele (i.e., c.5714+5G>A patients; n = 7) were compared with patients with two null alleles (i.e., double null patients; n = 11); with a special attention to the degree of RPE atrophy (area of definitely decreased autofluorescence and the degree of photoreceptor impairment (outer nuclear layer thickness and pattern electroretinography amplitude).

    Results: RT-PCR of mRNA from patient-derived photoreceptor precursor cells showed exon 40 and exon 39/40 deletion products, as well as the normal transcript. Quantification of products showed 52.4% normal and 47.6% mutant ABCA4 mRNA. Clinically, c.5714+5G>A patients displayed significantly better structural and functional preservation of photoreceptors (thicker outer nuclear layer, presence of tubulations, higher pattern electroretinography amplitude) than double null patients with similar degrees of RPE loss, whereas double null patients exhibited signs of extensive photoreceptor ,damage even in the areas with preserved RPE.

    Conclusions: The prototypical STGD1 sequence of events of primary RPE and secondary photoreceptor damage is congruous with c.5714+5G>A, but not the double null genotype, which implies different and genotype-dependent disease mechanisms. We hypothesize that the relative photoreceptor sparing in c.5714+5G>A patients results from the remaining function of the ABCA4 transporter originating from the normally spliced product, possibly by decreasing the direct bisretinoid toxicity on photoreceptor membranes.
  • Sander, J., Lieberman, A., & Rowland, C. F. (2023). Exploring joint attention in American Sign Language: The influence of sign familiarity. In M. Goldwater, F. K. Anggoro, B. K. Hayes, & D. C. Ong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2023) (pp. 632-638).

    Abstract

    Children’s ability to share attention with another social partner (i.e., joint attention) has been found to support language development. Despite the large amount of research examining the effects of joint attention on language in hearing population, little is known about how deaf children learning sign languages achieve joint attention with their caregivers during natural social interaction and how caregivers provide and scaffold learning opportunities for their children. The present study investigates the properties and timing of joint attention surrounding familiar and novel naming events and their relationship to children’s vocabulary. Naturalistic play sessions of caretaker-child-dyads using American Sign Language were analyzed in regards to naming events of either familiar or novel object labeling events and the surrounding joint attention events. We observed that most naming events took place in the context of a successful joint attention event and that sign familiarity was related to the timing of naming events within the joint attention events. Our results suggest that caregivers are highly sensitive to their child’s visual attention in interactions and modulate joint attention differently in the context of naming events of familiar vs. novel object labels.
  • Scheibel, M., & Indefrey, P. (2023). Top-down enhanced object recognition in blocking and priming paradigms. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 49(3), 327-354. doi:10.1037/xhp0001094.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have demonstrated that context manipulations by semantic blocking and category priming can, under particular design conditions, give rise to semantic facilitation effects. The interpretation of semantic facilitation effects is controversial in the word production literature; perceptual accounts propose that contextually facilitated object recognition may underlie facilitation effects. The present study tested this notion. We investigated the difficulty of object recognition in a semantic blocking and a category priming task. We presented all pictures in gradually de-blurring image sequences and measured the de-blurring level that first allowed for correct object naming as an indicator of the perceptual demands of object recognition. Based on object recognition models assuming a temporal progression from coarse- to fine-grained visual processing, we reasoned that the lower the required level of detail, the more efficient the recognition processes. The results demonstrate that categorically related contexts reduce the level of visual detail required for object naming compared to unrelated contexts, with this effect being most pronounced for shape-distinctive objects and in contexts providing explicit category cues. We propose a top-down explanation based on target predictability of the observed effects. Implications of the recognition effects based on target predictability for the interpretation of context effects observed in latencies are discussed.

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    Stimuli, Ratings, Analysis codes
  • Scherz, M. D., Schmidt, R., Brown, J. L., Glos, J., Lattenkamp, E. Z., Rakotomalala, Z., Rakotoarison, A., Rakotonindrina, R. T., Randriamalala, O., Raselimanana, A. P., Rasolonjatovo, S. M., Ratsoavina, F. M., Razafindraibe, J. H., Glaw, F., & Vences, M. (2023). Repeated divergence of amphibians and reptiles across an elevational gradient in northern Madagascar. Ecology and Evolution, 13(3): e9914. doi:10.1002/ece3.9914.

    Abstract

    How environmental factors shape patterns of biotic diversity in tropical ecosystems is an active field of research, but studies examining the possibility of ecological speciation in terrestrial tropical ecosystems are scarce. We use the isolated rainforest herpetofauna on the Montagne d'Ambre (Amber Mountain) massif in northern Madagascar as a model to explore elevational divergence at the level of populations and communities. Based on intensive sampling and DNA barcoding of amphibians and reptiles along a transect ranging from ca. 470–1470 m above sea level (a.s.l.), we assessed a main peak in species richness at an elevation of ca. 1000 m a.s.l. with 41 species. The proportion of local endemics was highest (about 1/3) at elevations >1100 m a.s.l. Two species of chameleons (Brookesia tuberculata, Calumma linotum) and two species of frogs (Mantidactylus bellyi, M. ambony) studied in depth by newly developed microsatellite markers showed genetic divergence up the slope of the mountain, some quite strong, others very weak, but in each case with genetic breaks between 1100 and 1270 m a.s.l. Genetic clusters were found in transect sections significantly differing in bioclimate and herpetological community composition. A decrease in body size was detected in several species with increasing elevation. The studied rainforest amphibians and reptiles show concordant population genetic differentiation across elevation along with morphological and niche differentiation. Whether this parapatric or microallopatric differentiation will suffice for the completion of speciation is, however, unclear, and available phylogeographic evidence rather suggests that a complex interplay between ecological and allopatric divergence processes is involved in generating the extraordinary species diversity of Madagascar's biota. Our study reveals concordant patterns of diversification among main elevational bands, but suggests that these adaptational processes are only part of the complex of processes leading to species formation, among which geographical isolation is probably also important.

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    supplementary materials
  • Schijven, D., Postema, M., Fukunaga, M., Matsumoto, J., Miura, K., De Zwarte, S. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Cahn, W., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Kahn, R. S., Ayesa-Arriola, R., Ortiz-García de la Foz, V., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Vázquez-Bourgon, J., Crespo-Facorro, B., Alnæs, D., Dahl, A., Westlye, L. T., Agartz, I., Andreassen, O. A. and 129 moreSchijven, D., Postema, M., Fukunaga, M., Matsumoto, J., Miura, K., De Zwarte, S. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Cahn, W., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Kahn, R. S., Ayesa-Arriola, R., Ortiz-García de la Foz, V., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Vázquez-Bourgon, J., Crespo-Facorro, B., Alnæs, D., Dahl, A., Westlye, L. T., Agartz, I., Andreassen, O. A., Jönsson, E. G., Kochunov, P., Bruggemann, J. M., Catts, S. V., Michie, P. T., Mowry, B. J., Quidé, Y., Rasser, P. E., Schall, U., Scott, R. J., Carr, V. J., Green, M. J., Henskens, F. A., Loughland, C. M., Pantelis, C., Weickert, C. S., Weickert, T. W., De Haan, L., Brosch, K., Pfarr, J.-K., Ringwald, K. G., Stein, F., Jansen, A., Kircher, T. T., Nenadić, I., Krämer, B., Gruber, O., Satterthwaite, T. D., Bustillo, J., Mathalon, D. H., Preda, A., Calhoun, V. D., Ford, J. M., Potkin, S. G., Chen, J., Tan, Y., Wang, Z., Xiang, H., Fan, F., Bernardoni, F., Ehrlich, S., Fuentes-Claramonte, P., Garcia-Leon, M. A., Guerrero-Pedraza, A., Salvador, R., Sarró, S., Pomarol-Clotet, E., Ciullo, V., Piras, F., Vecchio, D., Banaj, N., Spalletta, G., Michielse, S., Van Amelsvoort, T., Dickie, E. W., Voineskos, A. N., Sim, K., Ciufolini, S., Dazzan, P., Murray, R. M., Kim, W.-S., Chung, Y.-C., Andreou, C., Schmidt, A., Borgwardt, S., McIntosh, A. M., Whalley, H. C., Lawrie, S. M., Du Plessis, S., Luckhoff, H. K., Scheffler, F., Emsley, R., Grotegerd, D., Lencer, R., Dannlowski, U., Edmond, J. T., Rootes-Murdy, K., Stephen, J. M., Mayer, A. R., Antonucci, L. A., Fazio, L., Pergola, G., Bertolino, A., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Janssen, J., Lois, N. G., Arango, C., Tomyshev, A. S., Lebedeva, I., Cervenka, S., Sellgren, C. M., Georgiadis, F., Kirschner, M., Kaiser, S., Hajek, T., Skoch, A., Spaniel, F., Kim, M., Kwak, Y. B., Oh, S., Kwon, J. S., James, A., Bakker, G., Knöchel, C., Stäblein, M., Oertel, V., Uhlmann, A., Howells, F. M., Stein, D. J., Temmingh, H. S., Diaz-Zuluaga, A. M., Pineda-Zapata, J. A., López-Jaramillo, C., Homan, S., Ji, E., Surbeck, W., Homan, P., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Glahn, D. C., Gur, R. C., Hashimoto, R., Jahanshad, N., Luders, E., Medland, S. E., Thompson, P. M., Turner, J. A., Van Erp, T. G., & Francks, C. (2023). Large-scale analysis of structural brain asymmetries in schizophrenia via the ENIGMA consortium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(14): e2213880120. doi:10.1073/pnas.2213880120.

    Abstract

    Left–right asymmetry is an important organizing feature of the healthy brain that may be altered in schizophrenia, but most studies have used relatively small samples and heterogeneous approaches, resulting in equivocal findings. We carried out the largest case–control study of structural brain asymmetries in schizophrenia, with MRI data from 5,080 affected individuals and 6,015 controls across 46 datasets, using a single image analysis protocol. Asymmetry indexes were calculated for global and regional cortical thickness, surface area, and subcortical volume measures. Differences of asymmetry were calculated between affected individuals and controls per dataset, and effect sizes were meta-analyzed across datasets. Small average case–control differences were observed for thickness asymmetries of the rostral anterior cingulate and the middle temporal gyrus, both driven by thinner left-hemispheric cortices in schizophrenia. Analyses of these asymmetries with respect to the use of antipsychotic medication and other clinical variables did not show any significant associations. Assessment of age- and sex-specific effects revealed a stronger average leftward asymmetry of pallidum volume between older cases and controls. Case–control differences in a multivariate context were assessed in a subset of the data (N = 2,029), which revealed that 7% of the variance across all structural asymmetries was explained by case–control status. Subtle case–control differences of brain macrostructural asymmetry may reflect differences at the molecular, cytoarchitectonic, or circuit levels that have functional relevance for the disorder. Reduced left middle temporal cortical thickness is consistent with altered left-hemisphere language network organization in schizophrenia.

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  • Seijdel, N., Marshall, T. R., & Drijvers, L. (2023). Rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT): A promising technique to study neural and cognitive processing using naturalistic paradigms. Cerebral Cortex, 33(5), 1626-1629. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhac160.

    Abstract

    Frequency tagging has been successfully used to investigate selective stimulus processing in electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies. Recently, new projectors have been developed that allow for frequency tagging at higher frequencies (>60 Hz). This technique, rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT), provides two crucial advantages over low-frequency tagging as (i) it leaves low-frequency oscillations unperturbed, and thus open for investigation, and ii) it can render the tagging invisible, resulting in more naturalistic paradigms and a lack of participant awareness. The development of this technique has far-reaching implications as oscillations involved in cognitive processes can be investigated, and potentially manipulated, in a more naturalistic manner.
  • Sekine, K., & Kajikawa, T. (2023). Does the spatial distribution of a speaker's gaze and gesture impact on a listener's comprehension of discourse? In W. Pouw, J. Trujillo, H. R. Bosker, L. Drijvers, M. Hoetjes, J. Holler, S. Kadava, L. Van Maastricht, E. Mamus, & A. Ozyurek (Eds.), Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GeSpIn) Conference. doi:10.17617/2.3527208.

    Abstract

    This study investigated the impact of a speaker's gaze direction
    on a listener's comprehension of discourse. Previous research
    suggests that hand gestures play a role in referent allocation,
    enabling listeners to better understand the discourse. The
    current study aims to determine whether the speaker's gaze
    direction has a similar effect on reference resolution as co-
    speech gestures. Thirty native Japanese speakers participated in
    the study and were assigned to one of three conditions:
    congruent, incongruent, or speech-only. Participants watched
    36 videos of an actor narrating a story consisting of three
    sentences with two protagonists. The speaker consistently
    used hand gestures to allocate one protagonist to the lower right
    and the other to the lower left space, while directing her gaze to
    either space of the target person (congruent), the other person
    (incongruent), or no particular space (speech-only). Participants
    were required to verbally answer a question about the target
    protagonist involved in an accidental event as quickly as
    possible. Results indicate that participants in the congruent
    condition exhibited faster reaction times than those in the
    incongruent condition, although the difference was not
    significant. These findings suggest that the speaker's gaze
    direction is not enough to facilitate a listener's comprehension
    of discourse.
  • Senft, G. (2023). The system of classifiers in Kilivila - The role of these formatives and their functions. In M. Allassonnière-Tang, & M. Kilarski (Eds.), Nominal Classification in Asia and Oceania. Functional and diachronic perspectives (pp. 10-29). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:10.1075/cilt.362.02sen.

    Abstract

    This paper presents the complex system of classifiers in Kilivila, the language of the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea. After a brief introduction to the language and its speakers, the classifier system is briefly described with respect to the role of these formatives for the word formation of Kilivila numerals, adjectives, demonstratives and one form of an interrogative pronoun/adverb. Then the functions the classifier system fulfils with respect to concord, temporary classification, the unitizing of nominal expressions, nominalization, indication of plural, anaphoric reference as well as text and discourse coherence are discussed and illustrated. The paper ends with some language specific and cross-linguistic questions for further research.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (2023). A refutation of positivism in philosophy of mind: Thinking, reality, and language. London: Routledge.

    Abstract

    This book argues that positivism, though now the dominant paradigm for both the natural and the human sciences, is intrinsically unfit for the latter. In particular, it is unfit for linguistics and cognitive science, where it is ultimately self-destructive, since it fails to account for causality, while the mind, the primary object of research of the human sciences, cannot be understood unless considered to be an autonomous causal force. 

    Author Pieter Albertus Maria Seuren, who died shortly after this manuscript was finished and after a remarkable career, reviews the history of this issue since the seventeenth century. He focuses on Descartes, Leibniz, British Empiricism and Kant, arguing that neither cognition nor language can be adequately accounted for unless the mind is given its full due. This implies that a distinction must be made—following Alexius Meinong, but against Russell and Quine—between actual and virtual reality. The latter is a product of the causally active mind and a necessary ingredient for the setting up of mental models, without which neither cognition nor language can function. Mental models are coherent sets of propositions, and can be wholly or partially true or false. Positivism rules out mental models, blocking any serious semantics and thereby reducing both language and cognition to caricatures of themselves. Seuren presents a causal theory of meaning, linking up language with cognition and solving the old question of what meaning actually amounts to.
  • Severijnen, G. G. A., Di Dona, G., Bosker, H. R., & McQueen, J. M. (2023). Tracking talker-specific cues to lexical stress: Evidence from perceptual learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 49(4), 549-565. doi:10.1037/xhp0001105.

    Abstract

    When recognizing spoken words, listeners are confronted by variability in the speech signal caused by talker differences. Previous research has focused on segmental talker variability; less is known about how suprasegmental variability is handled. Here we investigated the use of perceptual learning to deal with between-talker differences in lexical stress. Two groups of participants heard Dutch minimal stress pairs (e.g., VOORnaam vs. voorNAAM, “first name” vs. “respectable”) spoken by two male talkers. Group 1 heard Talker 1 use only F0 to signal stress (intensity and duration values were ambiguous), while Talker 2 used only intensity (F0 and duration were ambiguous). Group 2 heard the reverse talker-cue mappings. After training, participants were tested on words from both talkers containing conflicting stress cues (“mixed items”; e.g., one spoken by Talker 1 with F0 signaling initial stress and intensity signaling final stress). We found that listeners used previously learned information about which talker used which cue to interpret the mixed items. For example, the mixed item described above tended to be interpreted as having initial stress by Group 1 but as having final stress by Group 2. This demonstrates that listeners learn how individual talkers signal stress and use that knowledge in spoken-word recognition.
  • Severijnen, G. G. A., Bosker, H. R., & McQueen, J. M. (2023). Syllable rate drives rate normalization, but is not the only factor. In R. Skarnitzl, & J. Volín (Eds.), Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2023) (pp. 56-60). Prague: Guarant International.

    Abstract

    Speech is perceived relative to the speech rate in the context. It is unclear, however, what information listeners use to compute speech rate. The present study examines whether listeners use the number of
    syllables per unit time (i.e., syllable rate) as a measure of speech rate, as indexed by subsequent vowel perception. We ran two rate-normalization experiments in which participants heard duration-matched word lists that contained either monosyllabic
    vs. bisyllabic words (Experiment 1), or monosyllabic vs. trisyllabic pseudowords (Experiment 2). The participants’ task was to categorize an /ɑ-aː/ continuum that followed the word lists. The monosyllabic condition was perceived as slower (i.e., fewer /aː/ responses) than the bisyllabic and
    trisyllabic condition. However, no difference was observed between bisyllabic and trisyllabic contexts. Therefore, while syllable rate is used in perceiving speech rate, other factors, such as fast speech processes, mean F0, and intensity, must also influence rate normalization.
  • Seyfried, F., & Udden, J. (2023). Phonotactics and syntax: Investigating functional specialisation during structured sequence processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 38(3), 346-358. doi:10.1080/23273798.2022.2116462.

    Abstract

    Frontal lobe organisation displays a functional gradient, with overarching processing goals located in parts anterior to more subordinate goals, processed more posteriorly. Functional specialisation for syntax and phonology within language relevant areas has been supported by meta-analyses and reviews, but never directly tested experimentally. We tested for organised functional specialisation by manipulating syntactic case and phonotactics, creating violations at the end of otherwise matched and predictable sentences. Both violations led to increased activation in expected language regions. We observe the clearest signs of a functional gradient for language processing in the medial frontal cortex, where syntactic violations activated a more anterior portion compared to the phonotactic violations. A large overlap of syntactic and phonotactic processing in the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) supports the view that general structured sequence processes are located in this area. These findings are relevant for understanding how sentence processing is implemented in hierarchically organised processing steps in the frontal lobe.

    Additional information

    supplementary methods
  • Sha, Z., Schijven, D., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2023). Genetic architecture of the white matter connectome of the human brain. Science Advances, 9(7): eadd2870. doi:10.1126/sciadv.add2870.

    Abstract

    White matter tracts form the structural basis of large-scale brain networks. We applied brain-wide tractography to diffusion images from 30,810 adults (U.K. Biobank) and found significant heritability for 90 node-level and 851 edge-level network connectivity measures. Multivariate genome-wide association analyses identified 325 genetic loci, of which 80% had not been previously associated with brain metrics. Enrichment analyses implicated neurodevelopmental processes including neurogenesis, neural differentiation, neural migration, neural projection guidance, and axon development, as well as prenatal brain expression especially in stem cells, astrocytes, microglia, and neurons. The multivariate association profiles implicated 31 loci in connectivity between core regions of the left-hemisphere language network. Polygenic scores for psychiatric, neurological, and behavioral traits also showed significant multivariate associations with structural connectivity, each implicating distinct sets of brain regions with trait-relevant functional profiles. This large-scale mapping study revealed common genetic contributions to variation in the structural connectome of the human brain.
  • Siahaan, P., & Wijaya Rajeg, G. P. (2023). Multimodal language use in Indonesian: Recurrent gestures associated with negation. In W. Pouw, J. Trujillo, H. R. Bosker, L. Drijvers, M. Hoetjes, J. Holler, S. Kadava, L. Van Maastricht, E. Mamus, & A. Ozyurek (Eds.), Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GeSpIn) Conference. doi:10.17617/2.3527196.

    Abstract

    This paper presents research findings on manual gestures
    associated with negation in Indonesian, utilizing data sourced
    from talk shows available on YouTube. The study reveals that
    Indonesian speakers employ six recurrent negation gestures,
    which have been observed in various languages worldwide.
    This suggests that gestures exhibiting a stable form-meaning
    relationship and recurring frequently in relation to negation are
    prevalent around the globe, although their distribution may
    differ across cultures and languages. Furthermore, the paper
    demonstrates that negation gestures are not strictly tied to
    verbal negation. Overall, the aim of this paper is to contribute
    to a deeper understanding of the conventional usage and cross-
    linguistic distribution of recurrent gestures.
  • Silva, S., Inácio, F., Rocha e Sousa, D., Gaspar, N., Folia, V., & Petersson, K. M. (2023). Formal language hierarchy reflects different levels of cognitive complexity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 49(4), 642-660. doi:10.1037/xlm0001182.

    Abstract

    Formal language hierarchy describes levels of increasing syntactic complexity (adjacent dependencies, nonadjacent nested, nonadjacent crossed) of which the transcription into a hierarchy of cognitive complexity remains under debate. The cognitive foundations of formal language hierarchy have been contradicted by two types of evidence: First, adjacent dependencies are not easier to learn compared to nonadjacent; second, crossed nonadjacent dependencies may be easier than nested. However, studies providing these findings may have engaged confounds: Repetition monitoring strategies may have accounted for participants’ high performance in nonadjacent dependencies, and linguistic experience may have accounted for the advantage of crossed dependencies. We conducted two artificial grammar learning experiments where we addressed these confounds by manipulating reliance on repetition monitoring and by testing participants inexperienced with crossed dependencies. Results showed relevant differences in learning adjacent versus nonadjacent dependencies and advantages of nested over crossed, suggesting that formal language hierarchy may indeed translate into a hierarchy of cognitive complexity
  • Skirgård, H., Haynie, H. J., Blasi, D. E., Hammarström, H., Collins, J., Latarche, J. J., Lesage, J., Weber, T., Witzlack-Makarevich, A., Passmore, S., Chira, A., Maurits, L., Dinnage, R., Dunn, M., Reesink, G., Singer, R., Bowern, C., Epps, P. L., Hill, J., Vesakoski, O. and 85 moreSkirgård, H., Haynie, H. J., Blasi, D. E., Hammarström, H., Collins, J., Latarche, J. J., Lesage, J., Weber, T., Witzlack-Makarevich, A., Passmore, S., Chira, A., Maurits, L., Dinnage, R., Dunn, M., Reesink, G., Singer, R., Bowern, C., Epps, P. L., Hill, J., Vesakoski, O., Robbeets, M., Abbas, N. K., Auer, D., Bakker, N. A., Barbos, G., Borges, R. D., Danielsen, S., Dorenbusch, L., Dorn, E., Elliott, J., Falcone, G., Fischer, J., Ghanggo Ate, Y., Gibson, H., Göbel, H.-P., Goodall, J. A., Gruner, V., Harvey, A., Hayes, R., Heer, L., Herrera Miranda, R. E., Hübler, N., Huntington-Rainey, B. H., Ivani, J. K., Johns, M., Just, E., Kashima, E., Kipf, C., Klingenberg, J. V., König, N., Koti, A., Kowalik, R. G. A., Krasnoukhova, O., Lindvall, N. L. M., Lorenzen, M., Lutzenberger, H., Martins, T. R., Mata German, C., Van der Meer, S., Montoya Samamé, J., Müller, M., Muradoglu, S., Neely, K., Nickel, J., Norvik, M., Oluoch, C. A., Peacock, J., Pearey, I. O., Peck, N., Petit, S., Pieper, S., Poblete, M., Prestipino, D., Raabe, L., Raja, A., Reimringer, J., Rey, S. C., Rizaew, J., Ruppert, E., Salmon, K. K., Sammet, J., Schembri, R., Schlabbach, L., Schmidt, F. W., Skilton, A., Smith, W. D., De Sousa, H., Sverredal, K., Valle, D., Vera, J., Voß, J., Witte, T., Wu, H., Yam, S., Ye, J., Yong, M., Yuditha, T., Zariquiey, R., Forkel, R., Evans, N., Levinson, S. C., Haspelmath, M., Greenhill, S. J., Atkinson, Q., & Gray, R. D. (2023). Grambank reveals the importance of genealogical constraints on linguistic diversity and highlights the impact of language loss. Science Advances, 9(16): eadg6175. doi:10.1126/sciadv.adg6175.

    Abstract

    While global patterns of human genetic diversity are increasingly well characterized, the diversity of human languages remains less systematically described. Here, we outline the Grambank database. With over 400,000 data points and 2400 languages, Grambank is the largest comparative grammatical database available. The comprehensiveness of Grambank allows us to quantify the relative effects of genealogical inheritance and geographic proximity on the structural diversity of the world’s languages, evaluate constraints on linguistic diversity, and identify the world’s most unusual languages. An analysis of the consequences of language loss reveals that the reduction in diversity will be strikingly uneven across the major linguistic regions of the world. Without sustained efforts to document and revitalize endangered languages, our linguistic window into human history, cognition, and culture will be seriously fragmented.
  • Slaats, S., Weissbart, H., Schoffelen, J.-M., Meyer, A. S., & Martin, A. E. (2023). Delta-band neural responses to individual words are modulated by sentence processing. The Journal of Neuroscience, 43(26), 4867-4883. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0964-22.2023.

    Abstract

    To understand language, we need to recognize words and combine them into phrases and sentences. During this process, responses to the words themselves are changed. In a step towards understanding how the brain builds sentence structure, the present study concerns the neural readout of this adaptation. We ask whether low-frequency neural readouts associated with words change as a function of being in a sentence. To this end, we analyzed an MEG dataset by Schoffelen et al. (2019) of 102 human participants (51 women) listening to sentences and word lists, the latter lacking any syntactic structure and combinatorial meaning. Using temporal response functions and a cumulative model-fitting approach, we disentangled delta- and theta-band responses to lexical information (word frequency), from responses to sensory- and distributional variables. The results suggest that delta-band responses to words are affected by sentence context in time and space, over and above entropy and surprisal. In both conditions, the word frequency response spanned left temporal and posterior frontal areas; however, the response appeared later in word lists than in sentences. In addition, sentence context determined whether inferior frontal areas were responsive to lexical information. In the theta band, the amplitude was larger in the word list condition around 100 milliseconds in right frontal areas. We conclude that low-frequency responses to words are changed by sentential context. The results of this study speak to how the neural representation of words is affected by structural context, and as such provide insight into how the brain instantiates compositionality in language.
  • Slim, M. S., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2023). Moving visual world experiments online? A web-based replication of Dijkgraaf, Hartsuiker, and Duyck (2017) using PCIbex and WebGazer.js. Behavior Research Methods, 55, 3786-3804. doi:10.3758/s13428-022-01989-z.

    Abstract

    The visual world paradigm is one of the most influential paradigms to study real-time language processing. The present study tested whether visual world studies can be moved online, using PCIbex software (Zehr & Schwarz, 2018) and the WebGazer.js algorithm (Papoutsaki et al., 2016) to collect eye-movement data. Experiment 1 was a fixation task in which the participants looked at a fixation cross in multiple positions on the computer screen. Experiment 2 was a web-based replication of a visual world experiment by Dijkgraaf et al. (2017). Firstly, both experiments revealed that the spatial accuracy of the data allowed us to distinguish looks across the four quadrants of the computer screen. This suggest that the spatial resolution of WebGazer.js is fine-grained enough for most visual world experiments (which typically involve a two-by-two quadrant-based set-up of the visual display). Secondly, both experiments revealed a delay of roughly 300 ms in the time course of the eye movements, possibly caused by the internal processing speed of the browser or WebGazer.js. This delay can be problematic in studying questions that require a fine-grained temporal resolution and requires further investigation.
  • Slim, M. S., Lauwers, P., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2023). How abstract are logical representations? The role of verb semantics in representing quantifier scope. Glossa Psycholinguistics, 2(1): 9. doi:10.5070/G6011175.

    Abstract

    Language comprehension involves the derivation of the meaning of sentences by combining the meanings of their parts. In some cases, this can lead to ambiguity. A sentence like Every hiker climbed a hill allows two logical representations: One that specifies that every hiker climbed a different hill and one that specifies that every hiker climbed the same hill. The interpretations of such sentences can be primed: Exposure to a particular reading increases the likelihood that the same reading will be assigned to a subsequent similar sentence. Feiman and Snedeker (2016) observed that such priming is not modulated by overlap of the verb between prime and target. This indicates that mental logical representations specify the compositional structure of the sentence meaning without conceptual meaning content. We conducted a close replication of Feiman and Snedeker’s experiment in Dutch and found no verb-independent priming. Moreover, a comparison with a previous, within-verb priming experiment showed an interaction, suggesting stronger verb-specific than abstract priming. A power analysis revealed that both Feiman and Snedeker’s experiment and our Experiment 1 were underpowered. Therefore, we replicated our Experiment 1, using the sample size guidelines provided by our power analysis. This experiment again showed that priming was stronger if a prime-target pair contained the same verb. Together, our experiments show that logical representation priming is enhanced if the prime and target sentence contain the same verb. This suggests that logical representations specify compositional structure and meaning features in an integrated manner.
  • Snijders Blok, L., Verseput, J., Rots, D., Venselaar, H., Innes, A. M., Stumpel, C., Õunap, K., Reinson, K., Seaby, E. G., McKee, S., Burton, B., Kim, K., Van Hagen, J. M., Waisfisz, Q., Joset, P., Steindl, K., Rauch, A., Li, D., Zackai, E. H., Sheppard, S. E. and 29 moreSnijders Blok, L., Verseput, J., Rots, D., Venselaar, H., Innes, A. M., Stumpel, C., Õunap, K., Reinson, K., Seaby, E. G., McKee, S., Burton, B., Kim, K., Van Hagen, J. M., Waisfisz, Q., Joset, P., Steindl, K., Rauch, A., Li, D., Zackai, E. H., Sheppard, S. E., Keena, B., Hakonarson, H., Roos, A., Kohlschmidt, N., Cereda, A., Iascone, M., Rebessi, E., Kernohan, K. D., Campeau, P. M., Millan, F., Taylor, J. A., Lochmüller, H., Higgs, M. R., Goula, A., Bernhard, B., Velasco, D. J., Schmanski, A. A., Stark, Z., Gallacher, L., Pais, L., Marcogliese, P. C., Yamamoto, S., Raun, N., Jakub, T. E., Kramer, J. M., Den Hoed, J., Fisher, S. E., Brunner, H. G., & Kleefstra, T. (2023). A clustering of heterozygous missense variants in the crucial chromatin modifier WDR5 defines a new neurodevelopmental disorder. Human Genetics and Genomics Advances, 4(1): 100157. doi:10.1016/j.xhgg.2022.100157.

    Abstract

    WDR5 is a broadly studied, highly conserved key protein involved in a wide array of biological functions. Among these functions, WDR5 is a part of several protein complexes that affect gene regulation via post-translational modification of histones. We collected data from 11 unrelated individuals with six different rare de novo germline missense variants in WDR5; one identical variant was found in five individuals, and another variant in two individuals. All individuals had neurodevelopmental disorders including speech/language delays (N=11), intellectual disability (N=9), epilepsy (N=7) and autism spectrum disorder (N=4). Additional phenotypic features included abnormal growth parameters (N=7), heart anomalies (N=2) and hearing loss (N=2). Three-dimensional protein structures indicate that all the residues affected by these variants are located at the surface of one side of the WDR5 protein. It is predicted that five out of the six amino acid substitutions disrupt interactions of WDR5 with RbBP5 and/or KMT2A/C, as part of the COMPASS (complex proteins associated with Set1) family complexes. Our experimental approaches in Drosophila melanogaster and human cell lines show normal protein expression, localization and protein-protein interactions for all tested variants. These results, together with the clustering of variants in a specific region of WDR5 and the absence of truncating variants so far, suggest that dominant-negative or gain-of-function mechanisms might be at play. All in all, we define a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with missense variants in WDR5 and a broad range of features. This finding highlights the important role of genes encoding COMPASS family proteins in neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Söderström, P., & Cutler, A. (2023). Early neuro-electric indication of lexical match in English spoken-word recognition. PLOS ONE, 18(5): e0285286. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0285286.

    Abstract

    We investigated early electrophysiological responses to spoken English words embedded in neutral sentence frames, using a lexical decision paradigm. As words unfold in time, similar-sounding lexical items compete for recognition within 200 milliseconds after word onset. A small number of studies have previously investigated event-related potentials in this time window in English and French, with results differing in direction of effects as well as component scalp distribution. Investigations of spoken-word recognition in Swedish have reported an early left-frontally distributed event-related potential that increases in amplitude as a function of the probability of a successful lexical match as the word unfolds. Results from the present study indicate that the same process may occur in English: we propose that increased certainty of a ‘word’ response in a lexical decision task is reflected in the amplitude of an early left-anterior brain potential beginning around 150 milliseconds after word onset. This in turn is proposed to be connected to the probabilistically driven activation of possible upcoming word forms.

    Additional information

    The datasets are available here
  • Soheili-Nezhad, S., Sprooten, E., Tendolkar, I., & Medici, M. (2023). Exploring the genetic link between thyroid dysfunction and common psychiatric disorders: A specific hormonal or a general autoimmune comorbidity. Thyroid, 33(2), 159-168. doi:10.1089/thy.2022.0304.

    Abstract

    Background: The hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis coordinates brain development and postdevelopmental function. Thyroid hormone (TH) variations, even within the normal range, have been associated with the risk of developing common psychiatric disorders, although the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood.

    Methods: To get new insight into the potentially shared mechanisms underlying thyroid dysfunction and psychiatric disorders, we performed a comprehensive analysis of multiple phenotypic and genotypic databases. We investigated the relationship of thyroid disorders with depression, bipolar disorder (BIP), and anxiety disorders (ANXs) in 497,726 subjects from U.K. Biobank. We subsequently investigated genetic correlations between thyroid disorders, thyrotropin (TSH), and free thyroxine (fT4) levels, with the genome-wide factors that predispose to psychiatric disorders. Finally, the observed global genetic correlations were furthermore pinpointed to specific local genomic regions.

    Results: Hypothyroidism was positively associated with an increased risk of major depressive disorder (MDD; OR = 1.31, p = 5.29 × 10−89), BIP (OR = 1.55, p = 0.0038), and ANX (OR = 1.16, p = 6.22 × 10−8). Hyperthyroidism was associated with MDD (OR = 1.11, p = 0.0034) and ANX (OR = 1.34, p = 5.99 × 10−⁶). Genetically, strong coheritability was observed between thyroid disease and both major depressive (rg = 0.17, p = 2.7 × 10−⁴) and ANXs (rg = 0.17, p = 6.7 × 10−⁶). This genetic correlation was particularly strong at the major histocompatibility complex locus on chromosome 6 (p < 10−⁵), but further analysis showed that other parts of the genome also contributed to this global effect. Importantly, neither TSH nor fT4 levels were genetically correlated with mood disorders.

    Conclusions: Our findings highlight an underlying association between autoimmune hypothyroidism and mood disorders, which is not mediated through THs and in which autoimmunity plays a prominent role. While these findings could shed new light on the potential ineffectiveness of treating (minor) variations in thyroid function in psychiatric disorders, further research is needed to identify the exact underlying molecular mechanisms.

    Additional information

    supplementary table S1
  • Sollis, E., Den Hoed, J., Quevedo, M., Estruch, S. B., Vino, A., Dekkers, D. H. W., Demmers, J. A. A., Poot, R., Derizioti, P., & Fisher, S. E. (2023). Characterization of the TBR1 interactome: Variants associated with neurodevelopmental disorders disrupt novel protein interactions. Human Molecular Genetics, 32(9): ddac311, pp. 1497-1510. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddac311.

    Abstract

    TBR1 is a neuron-specific transcription factor involved in brain development and implicated in a neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) combining features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID) and speech delay. TBR1 has been previously shown to interact with a small number of transcription factors and co-factors also involved in NDDs (including CASK, FOXP1/2/4 and BCL11A), suggesting that the wider TBR1 interactome may have a significant bearing on normal and abnormal brain development. Here we have identified approximately 250 putative TBR1-interaction partners by affinity purification coupled to mass spectrometry. As well as known TBR1-interactors such as CASK, the identified partners include transcription factors and chromatin modifiers, along with ASD- and ID-related proteins. Five interaction candidates were independently validated using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays. We went on to test the interaction of these candidates with TBR1 protein variants implicated in cases of NDD. The assays uncovered disturbed interactions for NDD-associated variants and identified two distinct protein-binding domains of TBR1 that have essential roles in protein–protein interaction.
  • Stärk, K., Kidd, E., & Frost, R. L. A. (2023). Close encounters of the word kind: Attested distributional information boosts statistical learning. Language Learning, 73(2), 341-373. doi:10.1111/lang.12523.

    Abstract

    Statistical learning, the ability to extract regularities from input (e.g., in language), is likely supported by learners’ prior expectations about how component units co-occur. In this study, we investigated how adults’ prior experience with sublexical regularities in their native language influences performance on an empirical language learning task. Forty German-speaking adults completed a speech repetition task in which they repeated eight-syllable sequences from two experimental languages: one containing disyllabic words comprised of frequently occurring German syllable transitions (naturalistic words) and the other containing words made from unattested syllable transitions (non-naturalistic words). The participants demonstrated learning from both naturalistic and non-naturalistic stimuli. However, learning was superior for the naturalistic sequences, indicating that the participants had used their existing distributional knowledge of German to extract the naturalistic words faster and more accurately than the non-naturalistic words. This finding supports theories of statistical learning as a form of chunking, whereby frequently co-occurring units become entrenched in long-term memory.

    Additional information

    accessible summary appendix S1
  • Stern, G. (2023). On embodied use of recognitional demonstratives. In W. Pouw, J. Trujillo, H. R. Bosker, L. Drijvers, M. Hoetjes, J. Holler, S. Kadava, L. Van Maastricht, E. Mamus, & A. Ozyurek (Eds.), Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GeSpIn) Conference. doi:10.17617/2.3527204.

    Abstract

    This study focuses on embodied uses of recognitional
    demonstratives. While multimodal conversation analytic
    studies have shown how gesture and speech interact in the
    elaboration of exophoric references, little attention has been
    given to the multimodal configuration of other types of
    referential actions. Based on a video-recorded corpus of
    professional meetings held in French, this qualitative study
    shows that a subtype of deictic references, namely recognitional
    references, are frequently associated with iconic gestures, thus
    challenging the traditional distinction between exophoric and
    endophoric uses of deixis.
  • Stivers, T., Rossi, G., & Chalfoun, A. (2023). Ambiguities in action ascription. Social Forces, 101(3), 1552-1579. doi:10.1093/sf/soac021.

    Abstract

    In everyday interactions with one another, speakers not only say things but also do things like offer, complain, reject, and compliment. Through observation, it is possible to see that much of the time people unproblematically understand what others are doing. Research on conversation has further documented how speakers’ word choice, prosody, grammar, and gesture all help others to recognize what actions they are performing. In this study, we rely on spontaneous naturally occurring conversational data where people have trouble making their actions understood to examine what leads to ambiguous actions, bringing together prior research and identifying recurrent types of ambiguity that hinge on different dimensions of social action. We then discuss the range of costs and benefits for social actors when actions are clear versus ambiguous. Finally, we offer a conceptual model of how, at a microlevel, action ascription is done. Actions in interaction are building blocks for social relations; at each turn, an action can strengthen or strain the bond between two individuals. Thus, a unified theory of action ascription at a microlevel is an essential component for broader theories of social action and of how social actions produce, maintain, and revise the social world.
  • Tamaoka, K., Sakai, H., Miyaoka, Y., Ono, H., Fukuda, M., Wu, Y., & Verdonschot, R. G. (2023). Sentential inference bridging between lexical/grammatical knowledge and text comprehension among native Chinese speakers learning Japanese. PLoS One, 18(4): e0284331. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0284331.

    Abstract

    The current study explored the role of sentential inference in connecting lexical/grammatical knowledge and overall text comprehension in foreign language learning. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), causal relationships were examined between four latent variables: lexical knowledge, grammatical knowledge, sentential inference, and text comprehension. The study analyzed 281 Chinese university students learning Japanese as a second language and compared two causal models: (1) the partially-mediated model, which suggests that lexical knowledge, grammatical knowledge, and sentential inference concurrently influence text comprehension, and (2) the wholly-mediated model, which posits that both lexical and grammatical knowledge impact sentential inference, which then further affects text comprehension. The SEM comparison analysis supported the wholly-mediated model, showing sequential causal relationships from lexical knowledge to sentential inference and then to text comprehension, without significant contribution from grammatical knowledge. The results indicate that sentential inference serves as a crucial bridge between lexical knowledge and text comprehension.
  • Tamaoka, K., Zhang, J., Koizumi, M., & Verdonschot, R. G. (2023). Phonological encoding in Tongan: An experimental investigation. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 76(10), 2197-2430. doi:10.1177/17470218221138770.

    Abstract

    This study is the first to report chronometric evidence on Tongan language production. It has been speculated that the mora plays an important role during Tongan phonological encoding. A mora follows the (C)V form, so /a/ and /ka/ (but not /k/) denote a mora in Tongan. Using a picture-word naming paradigm, Tongan native speakers named pictures containing superimposed non-word distractors. This task has been used before in Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese to investigate the initially selected unit during phonological encoding (IPU). Compared to control distractors, both onset and mora overlapping distractors resulted in faster naming latencies. Several alternative explanations for the pattern of results - proficiency in English, knowledge of Latin script, and downstream effects - are discussed. However, we conclude that Tongan phonological encoding likely natively uses the phoneme, and not the mora, as the IPU..

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Tatsumi, T., & Sala, G. (2023). Learning conversational dependency: Children’s response usingunin Japanese. Journal of Child Language, 50(5), 1226-1244. doi:10.1017/S0305000922000344.

    Abstract

    This study investigates how Japanese-speaking children learn interactional dependencies in conversations that determine the use of un, a token typically used as a positive response for yes-no questions, backchannel, and acknowledgement. We hypothesise that children learn to produce un appropriately by recognising different types of cues occurring in the immediately preceding turns. We built a set of generalised linear models on the longitudinal conversation data from seven children aged 1 to 5 years and their caregivers. Our models revealed that children not only increased their un production, but also learned to attend relevant cues in the preceding turns to understand when to respond by producing un. Children increasingly produced un when their interlocutors asked a yes-no question or signalled the continuation of their own speech. These results illustrate how children learn the probabilistic dependency between adjacent turns, and become able to participate in conversational interactions.
  • Tezcan, F., Weissbart, H., & Martin, A. E. (2023). A tradeoff between acoustic and linguistic feature encoding in spoken language comprehension. eLife, 12: e82386. doi:10.7554/eLife.82386.

    Abstract

    When we comprehend language from speech, the phase of the neural response aligns with particular features of the speech input, resulting in a phenomenon referred to as neural tracking. In recent years, a large body of work has demonstrated the tracking of the acoustic envelope and abstract linguistic units at the phoneme and word levels, and beyond. However, the degree to which speech tracking is driven by acoustic edges of the signal, or by internally-generated linguistic units, or by the interplay of both, remains contentious. In this study, we used naturalistic story-listening to investigate (1) whether phoneme-level features are tracked over and above acoustic edges, (2) whether word entropy, which can reflect sentence- and discourse-level constraints, impacted the encoding of acoustic and phoneme-level features, and (3) whether the tracking of acoustic edges was enhanced or suppressed during comprehension of a first language (Dutch) compared to a statistically familiar but uncomprehended language (French). We first show that encoding models with phoneme-level linguistic features, in addition to acoustic features, uncovered an increased neural tracking response; this signal was further amplified in a comprehended language, putatively reflecting the transformation of acoustic features into internally generated phoneme-level representations. Phonemes were tracked more strongly in a comprehended language, suggesting that language comprehension functions as a neural filter over acoustic edges of the speech signal as it transforms sensory signals into abstract linguistic units. We then show that word entropy enhances neural tracking of both acoustic and phonemic features when sentence- and discourse-context are less constraining. When language was not comprehended, acoustic features, but not phonemic ones, were more strongly modulated, but in contrast, when a native language is comprehended, phoneme features are more strongly modulated. Taken together, our findings highlight the flexible modulation of acoustic, and phonemic features by sentence and discourse-level constraint in language comprehension, and document the neural transformation from speech perception to language comprehension, consistent with an account of language processing as a neural filter from sensory to abstract representations.
  • Tkalcec, A., Bierlein, M., Seeger‐Schneider, G., Walitza, S., Jenny, B., Menks, W. M., Felhbaum, L. V., Borbas, R., Cole, D. M., Raschle, N., Herbrecht, E., Stadler, C., & Cubillo, A. (2023). Empathy deficits, callous‐unemotional traits and structural underpinnings in autism spectrum disorder and conduct disorder youth. Autism Research, 16(10), 1946-1962. doi:10.1002/aur.2993.

    Abstract

    Distinct empathy deficits are often described in patients with conduct disorder (CD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) yet their neural underpinnings and the influence of comorbid Callous-Unemotional (CU) traits are unclear. This study compares the cognitive (CE) and affective empathy (AE) abilities of youth with CD and ASD, their potential neuroanatomical correlates, and the influence of CU traits on empathy. Adolescents and parents/caregivers completed empathy questionnaires (N = 148 adolescents, mean age = 15.16 years) and T1 weighted images were obtained from a subsample (N = 130). Group differences in empathy and the influence of CU traits were investigated using Bayesian analyses and Voxel-Based Morphometry with Threshold-Free Cluster Enhancement focusing on regions involved in AE (insula, amygdala, inferior frontal gyrus and cingulate cortex) and CE processes (ventromedial prefrontal cortex, temporoparietal junction, superior temporal gyrus, and precuneus). The ASD group showed lower parent-reported AE and CE scores and lower self-reported CE scores while the CD group showed lower parent-reported CE scores than controls. When accounting for the influence of CU traits no AE deficits in ASD and CE deficits in CD were found, but CE deficits in ASD remained. Across all participants, CU traits were negatively associated with gray matter volumes in anterior cingulate which extends into the mid cingulate, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and precuneus. Thus, although co-occurring CU traits have been linked to global empathy deficits in reports and underlying brain structures, its influence on empathy aspects might be disorder-specific. Investigating the subdimensions of empathy may therefore help to identify disorder-specific empathy deficits.
  • Tomasek, M., Ravignani, A., Boucherie, P. H., Van Meyel, S., & Dufour, V. (2023). Spontaneous vocal coordination of vocalizations to water noise in rooks (Corvus frugilegus): An exploratory study. Ecology and Evolution, 13(2): e9791. doi:10.1002/ece3.9791.

    Abstract

    The ability to control one's vocal production is a major advantage in acoustic communication. Yet, not all species have the same level of control over their vocal output. Several bird species can interrupt their song upon hearing an external stimulus, but there is no evidence how flexible this behavior is. Most research on corvids focuses on their cognitive abilities, but few studies explore their vocal aptitudes. Recent research shows that crows can be experimentally trained to vocalize in response to a brief visual stimulus. Our study investigated vocal control abilities with a more ecologically embedded approach in rooks. We show that two rooks could spontaneously coordinate their vocalizations to a long-lasting stimulus (the sound of their small bathing pool being filled with a water hose), one of them adjusting roughly (in the second range) its vocalizations as the stimuli began and stopped. This exploratory study adds to the literature showing that corvids, a group of species capable of cognitive prowess, are indeed able to display good vocal control abilities.
  • Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2023). Interactionally embedded gestalt principles of multimodal human communication. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 18(5), 1136-1159. doi:10.1177/17456916221141422.

    Abstract

    Natural human interaction requires us to produce and process many different signals, including speech, hand and head gestures, and facial expressions. These communicative signals, which occur in a variety of temporal relations with each other (e.g., parallel or temporally misaligned), must be rapidly processed as a coherent message by the receiver. In this contribution, we introduce the notion of interactionally embedded, affordance-driven gestalt perception as a framework that can explain how this rapid processing of multimodal signals is achieved as efficiently as it is. We discuss empirical evidence showing how basic principles of gestalt perception can explain some aspects of unimodal phenomena such as verbal language processing and visual scene perception but require additional features to explain multimodal human communication. We propose a framework in which high-level gestalt predictions are continuously updated by incoming sensory input, such as unfolding speech and visual signals. We outline the constituent processes that shape high-level gestalt perception and their role in perceiving relevance and prägnanz. Finally, we provide testable predictions that arise from this multimodal interactionally embedded gestalt-perception framework. This review and framework therefore provide a theoretically motivated account of how we may understand the highly complex, multimodal behaviors inherent in natural social interaction.
  • Trujillo, J. P., Dideriksen, C., Tylén, K., Christiansen, M. H., & Fusaroli, R. (2023). The dynamic interplay of kinetic and linguistic coordination in Danish and Norwegian conversation. Cognitive Science, 47(6): e13298. doi:10.1111/cogs.13298.

    Abstract

    In conversation, individuals work together to achieve communicative goals, complementing and aligning language and body with each other. An important emerging question is whether interlocutors entrain with one another equally across linguistic levels (e.g., lexical, syntactic, and semantic) and modalities (i.e., speech and gesture), or whether there are complementary patterns of behaviors, with some levels or modalities diverging and others converging in coordinated fashions. This study assesses how kinematic and linguistic entrainment interact with one another across levels of measurement, and according to communicative context. We analyzed data from two matched corpora of dyadic interaction between—respectively—Danish and Norwegian native speakers engaged in affiliative conversations and task-oriented conversations. We assessed linguistic entrainment at the lexical, syntactic, and semantic level, and kinetic alignment of the head and hands using video-based motion tracking and dynamic time warping. We tested whether—across the two languages—linguistic alignment correlates with kinetic alignment, and whether these kinetic-linguistic associations are modulated either by the type of conversation or by the language spoken. We found that kinetic entrainment was positively associated with low-level linguistic (i.e., lexical) entrainment, while negatively associated with high-level linguistic (i.e., semantic) entrainment, in a cross-linguistically robust way. Our findings suggest that conversation makes use of a dynamic coordination of similarity and complementarity both between individuals as well as between different communicative modalities, and provides evidence for a multimodal, interpersonal synergy account of interaction.
  • Trupp, M. D., Bignardi, G., Specker, E., Vessel, E. A., & Pelowski, M. (2023). Who benefits from online art viewing, and how: The role of pleasure, meaningfulness, and trait aesthetic responsiveness in computer-based art interventions for well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 145: 107764. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2023.107764.

    Abstract

    When experienced in-person, engagement with art has been associated with positive outcomes in well-being and mental health. However, especially in the last decade, art viewing, cultural engagement, and even ‘trips’ to museums have begun to take place online, via computers, smartphones, tablets, or in virtual reality. Similarly, to what has been reported for in-person visits, online art engagements—easily accessible from personal devices—have also been associated to well-being impacts. However, a broader understanding of for whom and how online-delivered art might have well-being impacts is still lacking. In the present study, we used a Monet interactive art exhibition from Google Arts and Culture to deepen our understanding of the role of pleasure, meaning, and individual differences in the responsiveness to art. Beyond replicating the previous group-level effects, we confirmed our pre-registered hypothesis that trait-level inter-individual differences in aesthetic responsiveness predict some of the benefits that online art viewing has on well-being and further that such inter-individual differences at the trait level were mediated by subjective experiences of pleasure and especially meaningfulness felt during the online-art intervention. The role that participants' experiences play as a possible mechanism during art interventions is discussed in light of recent theoretical models.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Uhrig, P., Payne, E., Pavlova, I., Burenko, I., Dykes, N., Baltazani, M., Burrows, E., Hale, S., Torr, P., & Wilson, A. (2023). Studying time conceptualisation via speech, prosody, and hand gesture: Interweaving manual and computational methods of analysis. In W. Pouw, J. Trujillo, H. R. Bosker, L. Drijvers, M. Hoetjes, J. Holler, S. Kadava, L. Van Maastricht, E. Mamus, & A. Ozyurek (Eds.), Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GeSpIn) Conference. doi:10.17617/2.3527220.

    Abstract

    This paper presents a new interdisciplinary methodology for the
    analysis of future conceptualisations in big messy media data.
    More specifically, it focuses on the depictions of post-Covid
    futures by RT during the pandemic, i.e. on data which are of
    interest not just from the perspective of academic research but
    also of policy engagement. The methodology has been
    developed to support the scaling up of fine-grained data-driven
    analysis of discourse utterances larger than individual lexical
    units which are centred around ‘will’ + the infinitive. It relies
    on the true integration of manual analytical and computational
    methods and tools in researching three modalities – textual,
    prosodic1, and gestural. The paper describes the process of
    building a computational infrastructure for the collection and
    processing of video data, which aims to empower the manual
    analysis. It also shows how manual analysis can motivate the
    development of computational tools. The paper presents
    individual computational tools to demonstrate how the
    combination of human and machine approaches to analysis can
    reveal new manifestations of cohesion between gesture and
    prosody. To illustrate the latter, the paper shows how the
    boundaries of prosodic units can work to help determine the
    boundaries of gestural units for future conceptualisations.
  • Uluşahin, O., Bosker, H. R., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2023). No evidence for convergence to sub-phonemic F2 shifts in shadowing. In R. Skarnitzl, & J. Volín (Eds.), Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2023) (pp. 96-100). Prague: Guarant International.

    Abstract

    Over the course of a conversation, interlocutors sound more and more like each other in a process called convergence. However, the automaticity and grain size of convergence are not well established. This study therefore examined whether female native Dutch speakers converge to large yet sub-phonemic shifts in the F2 of the vowel /e/. Participants first performed a short reading task to establish baseline F2s for the vowel /e/, then shadowed 120 target words (alongside 360 fillers) which contained one instance of a manipulated vowel /e/ where the F2 had been shifted down to that of the vowel /ø/. Consistent exposure to large (sub-phonemic) downward shifts in F2 did not result in convergence. The results raise issues for theories which view convergence as a product of automatic integration between perception and production.
  • Ünal, E., Mamus, E., & Özyürek, A. (2023). Multimodal encoding of motion events in speech, gesture, and cognition. Language and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/langcog.2023.61.

    Abstract

    How people communicate about motion events and how this is shaped by language typology are mostly studied with a focus on linguistic encoding in speech. Yet, human communication typically involves an interactional exchange of multimodal signals, such as hand gestures that have different affordances for representing event components. Here, we review recent empirical evidence on multimodal encoding of motion in speech and gesture to gain a deeper understanding of whether and how language typology shapes linguistic expressions in different modalities, and how this changes across different sensory modalities of input and interacts with other aspects of cognition. Empirical evidence strongly suggests that Talmy’s typology of event integration predicts multimodal event descriptions in speech and gesture and visual attention to event components prior to producing these descriptions. Furthermore, variability within the event itself, such as type and modality of stimuli, may override the influence of language typology, especially for expression of manner.
  • van der Burght, C. L., Numssen, O., Schlaak, B., Goucha, T., & Hartwigsen, G. (2023). Differential contributions of inferior frontal gyrus subregions to sentence processing guided by intonation. Human Brain Mapping, 44(2), 585-598. doi:10.1002/hbm.26086.

    Abstract

    Auditory sentence comprehension involves processing content (semantics), grammar (syntax), and intonation (prosody). The left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) is involved in sentence comprehension guided by these different cues, with neuroimaging studies preferentially locating syntactic and semantic processing in separate IFG subregions. However, this regional specialisation and its functional relevance has yet to be confirmed. This study probed the role of the posterior IFG (pIFG) for syntactic processing and the anterior IFG (aIFG) for semantic processing with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in a task that required the interpretation of the sentence’s prosodic realisation. Healthy participants performed a sentence completion task with syntactic and semantic decisions, while receiving 10 Hz rTMS over either left aIFG, pIFG, or vertex (control). Initial behavioural analyses showed an inhibitory effect on accuracy without task-specificity. However, electrical field simulations revealed differential effects for both subregions. In the aIFG, stronger stimulation led to slower semantic processing, with no effect of pIFG stimulation. In contrast, we found a facilitatory effect on syntactic processing in both aIFG and pIFG, where higher stimulation strength was related to faster responses. Our results provide first evidence for the functional relevance of left aIFG in semantic processing guided by intonation. The stimulation effect on syntactic responses emphasises the importance of the IFG for syntax processing, without supporting the hypothesis of a pIFG-specific involvement. Together, the results support the notion of functionally specialised IFG subregions for diverse but fundamental cues for language processing.

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  • Van Hoey, T., Thompson, A. L., Do, Y., & Dingemanse, M. (2023). Iconicity in ideophones: Guessing, memorizing, and reassessing. Cognitive Science, 47(4): e13268. doi:10.1111/cogs.13268.

    Abstract

    Iconicity, or the resemblance between form and meaning, is often ascribed to a special status and contrasted with default assumptions of arbitrariness in spoken language. But does iconicity in spoken language have a special status when it comes to learnability? A simple way to gauge learnability is to see how well something is retrieved from memory. We can further contrast this with guessability, to see (1) whether the ease of guessing the meanings of ideophones outperforms the rate at which they are remembered; and (2) how willing participants’ are to reassess what they were taught in a prior task—a novel contribution of this study. We replicate prior guessing and memory tasks using ideophones and adjectives from Japanese, Korean, and Igbo. Our results show that although native Cantonese speakers guessed ideophone meanings above chance level, they memorized both ideophones and adjectives with comparable accuracy. However, response time data show that participants took significantly longer to respond correctly to adjective–meaning pairs—indicating a discrepancy in a cognitive effort that favored the recognition of ideophones. In a follow-up reassessment task, participants who were taught foil translations were more likely to choose the true translations for ideophones rather than adjectives. By comparing the findings from our guessing and memory tasks, we conclude that iconicity is more accessible if a task requires participants to actively seek out sound-meaning associations.
  • Van Wonderen, E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2023). Lexical prediction does not rationally adapt to prediction error: ERP evidence from pre-nominal articles. Journal of Memory and Language, 132: 104435. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2023.104435.

    Abstract

    People sometimes predict upcoming words during language comprehension, but debate remains on when and to what extent such predictions indeed occur. The rational adaptation hypothesis holds that predictions develop with expected utility: people predict more strongly when predictions are frequently confirmed (low prediction error) rather than disconfirmed. However, supporting evidence is mixed thus far and has only involved measuring responses to supposedly predicted nouns, not to preceding articles that may also be predicted. The current, large-sample (N = 200) ERP study on written discourse comprehension in Dutch therefore employs the well-known ‘pre-nominal prediction effect’: enhanced N400-like ERPs for articles that are unexpected given a likely upcoming noun’s gender (i.e., the neuter gender article ‘het’ when people expect the common gender noun phrase ‘de krant’, the newspaper) compared to expected articles. We investigated whether the pre-nominal prediction effect is larger when most of the presented stories contain predictable article-noun combinations (75% predictable, 25% unpredictable) compared to when most stories contain unpredictable combinations (25% predictable, 75% unpredictable). Our results show the pre-nominal prediction effect in both contexts, with little evidence to suggest that this effect depended on the percentage of predictable combinations. Moreover, the little evidence suggesting such a dependence was primarily observed for unexpected, neuter-gender articles (‘het’), which is inconsistent with the rational adaptation hypothesis. In line with recent demonstrations (Nieuwland, 2021a,b), our results suggest that linguistic prediction is less ‘rational’ or Bayes optimal than is often suggested.
  • Van der Werf, O. J., Schuhmann, T., De Graaf, T., Ten Oever, S., & Sack, A. T. (2023). Investigating the role of task relevance during rhythmic sampling of spatial locations. Scientific Reports, 13: 12707. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-38968-z.

    Abstract

    Recently it has been discovered that visuospatial attention operates rhythmically, rather than being stably employed over time. A low-frequency 7–8 Hz rhythmic mechanism coordinates periodic windows to sample relevant locations and to shift towards other, less relevant locations in a visual scene. Rhythmic sampling theories would predict that when two locations are relevant 8 Hz sampling mechanisms split into two, effectively resulting in a 4 Hz sampling frequency at each location. Therefore, it is expected that rhythmic sampling is influenced by the relative importance of locations for the task at hand. To test this, we employed an orienting task with an arrow cue, where participants were asked to respond to a target presented in one visual field. The cue-to-target interval was systematically varied, allowing us to assess whether performance follows a rhythmic pattern across cue-to-target delays. We manipulated a location’s task relevance by altering the validity of the cue, thereby predicting the correct location in 60%, 80% or 100% of trials. Results revealed significant 4 Hz performance fluctuations at cued right visual field targets with low cue validity (60%), suggesting regular sampling of both locations. With high cue validity (80%), we observed a peak at 8 Hz towards non-cued targets, although not significant. These results were in line with our hypothesis suggesting a goal-directed balancing of attentional sampling (cued location) and shifting (non-cued location) depending on the relevance of locations in a visual scene. However, considering the hemifield specificity of the effect together with the absence of expected effects for cued trials in the high valid conditions we further discuss the interpretation of the data.

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  • van der Burght, C. L., Friederici, A. D., Maran, M., Papitto, G., Pyatigorskaya, E., Schroen, J., Trettenbrein, P., & Zaccarella, E. (2023). Cleaning up the brickyard: How theory and methodology shape experiments in cognitive neuroscience of language. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 35(12), 2067-2088. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02058.

    Abstract

    The capacity for language is a defining property of our species, yet despite decades of research evidence on its neural basis is still mixed and a generalized consensus is difficult to achieve. We suggest that this is partly caused by researchers defining “language” in different ways, with focus on a wide range of phenomena, properties, and levels of investigation. Accordingly, there is very little agreement amongst cognitive neuroscientists of language on the operationalization of fundamental concepts to be investigated in neuroscientific experiments. Here, we review chains of derivation in the cognitive neuroscience of language, focusing on how the hypothesis under consideration is defined by a combination of theoretical and methodological assumptions. We first attempt to disentangle the complex relationship between linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience in the field. Next, we focus on how conclusions that can be drawn from any experiment are inherently constrained by auxiliary assumptions, both theoretical and methodological, on which the validity of conclusions drawn rests. These issues are discussed in the context of classical experimental manipulations as well as study designs that employ novel approaches such as naturalistic stimuli and computational modelling. We conclude by proposing that a highly interdisciplinary field such as the cognitive neuroscience of language requires researchers to form explicit statements concerning the theoretical definitions, methodological choices, and other constraining factors involved in their work.
  • Verga, L., D’Este, G., Cassani, S., Leitner, C., Kotz, S. A., Ferini-Strambi, L., & Galbiati, A. (2023). Sleeping with time in mind? A literature review and a proposal for a screening questionnaire on self-awakening. PLoS One, 18(3): e0283221. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0283221.

    Abstract

    Some people report being able to spontaneously “time” the end of their sleep. This ability to self-awaken challenges the idea of sleep as a passive cognitive state. Yet, current evidence on this phenomenon is limited, partly because of the varied definitions of self-awakening and experimental approaches used to study it. Here, we provide a review of the literature on self-awakening. Our aim is to i) contextualise the phenomenon, ii) propose an operating definition, and iii) summarise the scientific approaches used so far. The literature review identified 17 studies on self-awakening. Most of them adopted an objective sleep evaluation (76%), targeted nocturnal sleep (76%), and used a single criterion to define the success of awakening (82%); for most studies, this corresponded to awakening occurring in a time window of 30 minutes around the expected awakening time. Out of 715 total participants, 125 (17%) reported to be self-awakeners, with an average age of 23.24 years and a slight predominance of males compared to females. These results reveal self-awakening as a relatively rare phenomenon. To facilitate the study of self-awakening, and based on the results of the literature review, we propose a quick paper-and-pencil screening questionnaire for self-awakeners and provide an initial validation for it. Taken together, the combined results of the literature review and the proposed questionnaire help in characterising a theoretical framework for self-awakenings, while providing a useful tool and empirical suggestions for future experimental studies, which should ideally employ objective measurements.
  • Verga, L., Kotz, S. A., & Ravignani, A. (2023). The evolution of social timing. Physics of Life Reviews, 46, 131-151. doi:10.1016/j.plrev.2023.06.006.

    Abstract

    Sociality and timing are tightly interrelated in human interaction as seen in turn-taking or synchronised dance movements. Sociality and timing also show in communicative acts of other species that might be pleasurable, but also necessary for survival. Sociality and timing often co-occur, but their shared phylogenetic trajectory is unknown: How, when, and why did they become so tightly linked? Answering these questions is complicated by several constraints; these include the use of divergent operational definitions across fields and species, the focus on diverse mechanistic explanations (e.g., physiological, neural, or cognitive), and the frequent adoption of anthropocentric theories and methodologies in comparative research. These limitations hinder the development of an integrative framework on the evolutionary trajectory of social timing and make comparative studies not as fruitful as they could be. Here, we outline a theoretical and empirical framework to test contrasting hypotheses on the evolution of social timing with species-appropriate paradigms and consistent definitions. To facilitate future research, we introduce an initial set of representative species and empirical hypotheses. The proposed framework aims at building and contrasting evolutionary trees of social timing toward and beyond the crucial branch represented by our own lineage. Given the integration of cross-species and quantitative approaches, this research line might lead to an integrated empirical-theoretical paradigm and, as a long-term goal, explain why humans are such socially coordinated animals.
  • Verga, L., Schwartze, M., & Kotz, S. A. (2023). Neurophysiology of language pathologies. In M. Grimaldi, E. Brattico, & Y. Shtyrov (Eds.), Language Electrified: Neuromethods (pp. 753-776). New York, NY: Springer US. doi:10.1007/978-1-0716-3263-5_24.

    Abstract

    Language- and speech-related disorders are among the most frequent consequences of developmental and acquired pathologies. While classical approaches to the study of these disorders typically employed the lesion method to unveil one-to-one correspondence between locations, the extent of the brain damage, and corresponding symptoms, recent advances advocate the use of online methods of investigation. For example, the use of electrophysiology or magnetoencephalography—especially when combined with anatomical measures—allows for in vivo tracking of real-time language and speech events, and thus represents a particularly promising venue for future research targeting rehabilitative interventions. In this chapter, we provide a comprehensive overview of language and speech pathologies arising from cortical and/or subcortical damage, and their corresponding neurophysiological and pathological symptoms. Building upon the reviewed evidence and literature, we aim at providing a description of how the neurophysiology of the language network changes as a result of brain damage. We will conclude by summarizing the evidence presented in this chapter, while suggesting directions for future research.
  • Vessel, E. A., Pasqualette, L., Uran, C., Koldehoff, S., Bignardi, G., & Vinck, M. (2023). Self-relevance predicts the aesthetic appeal of real and synthetic artworks generated via neural style transfer. Psychological Science, 34(9), 1007-1023. doi:10.1177/09567976231188107.

    Abstract

    What determines the aesthetic appeal of artworks? Recent work suggests that aesthetic appeal can, to some extent, be predicted from a visual artwork’s image features. Yet a large fraction of variance in aesthetic ratings remains unexplained and may relate to individual preferences. We hypothesized that an artwork’s aesthetic appeal depends strongly on self-relevance. In a first study (N = 33 adults, online replication N = 208), rated aesthetic appeal for real artworks was positively predicted by rated self-relevance. In a second experiment (N = 45 online), we created synthetic, self-relevant artworks using deep neural networks that transferred the style of existing artworks to photographs. Style transfer was applied to self-relevant photographs selected to reflect participant-specific attributes such as autobiographical memories. Self-relevant, synthetic artworks were rated as more aesthetically appealing than matched control images, at a level similar to human-made artworks. Thus, self-relevance is a key determinant of aesthetic appeal, independent of artistic skill and image features.

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  • Vingerhoets, G., Verhelst, H., Gerrits, R., Badcock, N., Bishop, D. V. M., Carey, D., Flindall, J., Grimshaw, G., Harris, L. J., Hausmann, M., Hirnstein, M., Jäncke, L., Joliot, M., Specht, K., Westerhausen, R., & LICI consortium (2023). Laterality indices consensus initiative (LICI): A Delphi expert survey report on recommendations to record, assess, and report asymmetry in human behavioural and brain research. Laterality, 28(2-3), 122-191. doi:10.1080/1357650X.2023.2199963.

    Abstract

    Laterality indices (LIs) quantify the left-right asymmetry of brain and behavioural variables and provide a measure that is statistically convenient and seemingly easy to interpret. Substantial variability in how structural and functional asymmetries are recorded, calculated, and reported, however, suggest little agreement on the conditions required for its valid assessment. The present study aimed for consensus on general aspects in this context of laterality research, and more specifically within a particular method or technique (i.e., dichotic listening, visual half-field technique, performance asymmetries, preference bias reports, electrophysiological recording, functional MRI, structural MRI, and functional transcranial Doppler sonography). Experts in laterality research were invited to participate in an online Delphi survey to evaluate consensus and stimulate discussion. In Round 0, 106 experts generated 453 statements on what they considered good practice in their field of expertise. Statements were organised into a 295-statement survey that the experts then were asked, in Round 1, to independently assess for importance and support, which further reduced the survey to 241 statements that were presented again to the experts in Round 2. Based on the Round 2 input, we present a set of critically reviewed key recommendations to record, assess, and report laterality research for various methods.

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  • Vogel, C., Koutsombogera, M., Murat, A. C., Khosrobeigi, Z., & Ma, X. (2023). Gestural linguistic context vectors encode gesture meaning. In W. Pouw, J. Trujillo, H. R. Bosker, L. Drijvers, M. Hoetjes, J. Holler, S. Kadava, L. Van Maastricht, E. Mamus, & A. Ozyurek (Eds.), Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GeSpIn) Conference. doi:10.17617/2.3527176.

    Abstract

    Linguistic context vectors are adapted for measuring the linguistic contexts that accompany gestures and comparable co-linguistic behaviours. Focusing on gestural semiotic types, it is demonstrated that gestural linguistic context vectors carry information associated with gesture. It is suggested that these may be used to approximate gesture meaning in a similar manner to the approximation of word meaning by context vectors.
  • Wang, M., Shao, Z., Verdonschot, R. G., Chen, Y., & Schiller, N. O. (2023). Orthography influences spoken word production in blocked cyclic naming. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 30, 383-392. doi:10.3758/s13423-022-02123-y.

    Abstract

    Does the way a word is written influence its spoken production? Previous studies suggest that orthography is involved only when the orthographic representation is highly relevant during speaking (e.g., in reading-aloud tasks). To address this issue, we carried out two experiments using the blocked cyclic picture-naming paradigm. In both experiments, participants were asked to name pictures repeatedly in orthographically homogeneous or heterogeneous blocks. In the naming task, the written form was not shown; however, the radical of the first character overlapped between the four pictures in this block type. A facilitative orthographic effect was found when picture names shared part of their written forms, compared with the heterogeneous condition. This facilitative effect was independent of the position of orthographic overlap (i.e., the left, the lower, or the outer part of the character). These findings strongly suggest that orthography can influence speaking even when it is not highly relevant (i.e., during picture naming) and the orthographic effect is less likely to be attributed to strategic preparation.
  • Whelan, L., Dockery, A., Stephenson, K. A. J., Zhu, J., Kopčić, E., Post, I. J. M., Khan, M., Corradi, Z., Wynne, N., O’ Byrne, J. J., Duignan, E., Silvestri, G., Roosing, S., Cremers, F. P. M., Keegan, D. J., Kenna, P. F., & Farrar, G. J. (2023). Detailed analysis of an enriched deep intronic ABCA4 variant in Irish Stargardt disease patients. Scientific Reports, 13: 9380. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-35889-9.

    Abstract

    Over 15% of probands in a large cohort of more than 1500 inherited retinal degeneration patients present with a clinical diagnosis of Stargardt disease (STGD1), a recessive form of macular dystrophy caused by biallelic variants in the ABCA4 gene. Participants were clinically examined and underwent either target capture sequencing of the exons and some pathogenic intronic regions of ABCA4, sequencing of the entire ABCA4 gene or whole genome sequencing. ABCA4 c.4539 + 2028C > T, p.[= ,Arg1514Leufs*36] is a pathogenic deep intronic variant that results in a retina-specific 345-nucleotide pseudoexon inclusion. Through analysis of the Irish STGD1 cohort, 25 individuals across 18 pedigrees harbour ABCA4 c.4539 + 2028C > T and another pathogenic variant. This includes, to the best of our knowledge, the only two homozygous patients identified to date. This provides important evidence of variant pathogenicity for this deep intronic variant, highlighting the value of homozygotes for variant interpretation. 15 other heterozygous incidents of this variant in patients have been reported globally, indicating significant enrichment in the Irish population. We provide detailed genetic and clinical characterization of these patients, illustrating that ABCA4 c.4539 + 2028C > T is a variant of mild to intermediate severity. These results have important implications for unresolved STGD1 patients globally with approximately 10% of the population in some western countries claiming Irish heritage. This study exemplifies that detection and characterization of founder variants is a diagnostic imperative.

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  • Witteman, J., Karaseva, E., Schiller, N. O., & McQueen, J. M. (2023). What does successful L2 vowel acquisition depend on? A conceptual replication. In R. Skarnitzl, & J. Volín (Eds.), Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2023) (pp. 928-931). Prague: Guarant International.

    Abstract

    It has been suggested that individual variation in vowel compactness of the native language (L1) and the distance between L1 vowels and vowels in the second language (L2) predict successful L2 vowel acquisition. Moreover, general articulatory skills have been proposed to account for variation in vowel compactness. In the present work, we conceptually replicate a previous study to test these hypotheses with a large sample size, a new language pair and a
    new vowel pair. We find evidence that individual variation in L1 vowel compactness has opposing effects for two different vowels. We do not find evidence that individual variation in L1 compactness
    is explained by general articulatory skills. We conclude that the results found previously might be specific to sub-groups of L2 learners and/or specific sub-sets of vowel pairs.
  • Zhang, Y., Ding, R., Frassinelli, D., Tuomainen, J., Klavinskis-Whiting, S., & Vigliocco, G. (2023). The role of multimodal cues in second language comprehension. Scientific Reports, 13: 20824. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-47643-2.

    Abstract

    In face-to-face communication, multimodal cues such as prosody, gestures, and mouth movements can play a crucial role in language processing. While several studies have addressed how these cues contribute to native (L1) language processing, their impact on non-native (L2) comprehension is largely unknown. Comprehension of naturalistic language by L2 comprehenders may be supported by the presence of (at least some) multimodal cues, as these provide correlated and convergent information that may aid linguistic processing. However, it is also the case that multimodal cues may be less used by L2 comprehenders because linguistic processing is more demanding than for L1 comprehenders, leaving more limited resources for the processing of multimodal cues. In this study, we investigated how L2 comprehenders use multimodal cues in naturalistic stimuli (while participants watched videos of a speaker), as measured by electrophysiological responses (N400) to words, and whether there are differences between L1 and L2 comprehenders. We found that prosody, gestures, and informative mouth movements each reduced the N400 in L2, indexing easier comprehension. Nevertheless, L2 participants showed weaker effects for each cue compared to L1 comprehenders, with the exception of meaningful gestures and informative mouth movements. These results show that L2 comprehenders focus on specific multimodal cues – meaningful gestures that support meaningful interpretation and mouth movements that enhance the acoustic signal – while using multimodal cues to a lesser extent than L1 comprehenders overall.

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  • Wu, S., Zhao, J., de Villiers, J., Liu, X. L., Rolfhus, E., Sun, X. N., Li, X. Y., Pan, H., Wang, H. W., Zhu, Q., Dong, Y. Y., Zhang, Y. T., & Jiang, F. (2023). Prevalence, co-occurring difficulties, and risk factors of developmental language disorder: First evidence for Mandarin-speaking children in a population-based study. The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific, 34: 100713. doi:10.1016/j.lanwpc.2023.100713.

    Abstract

    Background: Developmental language disorder (DLD) is a condition that significantly affects children's achievement but has been understudied. We aim to estimate the prevalence of DLD in Shanghai, compare the co-occurrence of difficulties between children with DLD and those with typical development (TD), and investigate the early risk factors for DLD.

    Methods: We estimated DLD prevalence using data from a population-based survey with a cluster random sampling design in Shanghai, China. A subsample of children (aged 5-6 years) received an onsite evaluation, and each child was categorized as TD or DLD. The proportions of children with socio-emotional behavior (SEB) difficulties, low non-verbal IQ (NVIQ), and poor school readiness were calculated among children with TD and DLD. We used multiple imputation to address the missing values of risk factors. Univariate and multivariate regression models adjusted with sampling weights were used to estimate the correlation of each risk factor with DLD.

    Findings: Of 1082 children who were approached for the onsite evaluation, 974 (90.0%) completed the language ability assessments, of whom 74 met the criteria for DLD, resulting in a prevalence of 8.5% (95% CI 6.3-11.5) when adjusted with sampling weights. Compared with TD children, children with DLD had higher rates of concurrent difficulties, including SEB (total difficulties score at-risk: 156 [17.3%] of 900 TD vs. 28 [37.8%] of 74 DLD, p < 0.0001), low NVIQ (3 [0.3%] of 900 TD vs. 8 [10.8%] of 74 DLD, p < 0.0001), and poor school readiness (71 [7.9%] of 900 TD vs. 13 [17.6%] of 74 DLD, p = 0.0040). After accounting for all other risk factors, a higher risk of DLD was associated with a lack of parent-child interaction diversity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 3.08, 95% CI = 1.29-7.37; p = 0.012) and lower kindergarten levels (compared to demonstration and first level: third level (aOR = 6.15, 95% CI = 1.92-19.63; p = 0.0020)).

    Interpretation: The prevalence of DLD and its co-occurrence with other difficulties suggest the need for further attention. Family and kindergarten factors were found to contribute to DLD, suggesting that multi-sector coordinated efforts are needed to better identify and serve DLD populations at home, in schools, and in clinical settings.

    Funding: The study was supported by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission (No. 2022you1-2, D1502), the Innovative Research Team of High-level Local Universities in Shanghai (No. SHSMU-ZDCX20211900), Shanghai Municipal Health Commission (No.GWV-10.1-XK07), and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2022YFC2705201).
  • Zioga, I., Weissbart, H., Lewis, A. G., Haegens, S., & Martin, A. E. (2023). Naturalistic spoken language comprehension is supported by alpha and beta oscillations. The Journal of Neuroscience, 43(20), 3718-3732. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1500-22.2023.

    Abstract

    Brain oscillations are prevalent in all species and are involved in numerous perceptual operations. α oscillations are thought to facilitate processing through the inhibition of task-irrelevant networks, while β oscillations are linked to the putative reactivation of content representations. Can the proposed functional role of α and β oscillations be generalized from low-level operations to higher-level cognitive processes? Here we address this question focusing on naturalistic spoken language comprehension. Twenty-two (18 female) Dutch native speakers listened to stories in Dutch and French while MEG was recorded. We used dependency parsing to identify three dependency states at each word: the number of (1) newly opened dependencies, (2) dependencies that remained open, and (3) resolved dependencies. We then constructed forward models to predict α and β power from the dependency features. Results showed that dependency features predict α and β power in language-related regions beyond low-level linguistic features. Left temporal, fundamental language regions are involved in language comprehension in α, while frontal and parietal, higher-order language regions, and motor regions are involved in β. Critically, α- and β-band dynamics seem to subserve language comprehension tapping into syntactic structure building and semantic composition by providing low-level mechanistic operations for inhibition and reactivation processes. Because of the temporal similarity of the α-β responses, their potential functional dissociation remains to be elucidated. Overall, this study sheds light on the role of α and β oscillations during naturalistic spoken language comprehension, providing evidence for the generalizability of these dynamics from perceptual to complex linguistic processes.
  • Zora, H., Tremblay, A. C., Gussenhoven, C., & Liu, F. (Eds.). (2023). Crosstalk between intonation and lexical tones: Linguistic, cognitive and neuroscience perspectives. Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA. doi:10.3389/978-2-8325-3301-7.
  • Zora, H., Wester, J. M., & Csépe, V. (2023). Predictions about prosody facilitate lexical access: Evidence from P50/N100 and MMN components. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 194: 112262. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2023.112262.

    Abstract

    Research into the neural foundation of perception asserts a model where top-down predictions modulate the bottom-up processing of sensory input. Despite becoming increasingly influential in cognitive neuroscience, the precise account of this predictive coding framework remains debated. In this study, we aim to contribute to this debate by investigating how predictions about prosody facilitate speech perception, and to shed light especially on lexical access influenced by simultaneous predictions in different domains, inter alia, prosodic and semantic. Using a passive auditory oddball paradigm, we examined neural responses to prosodic changes, leading to a semantic change as in Dutch nouns canon [ˈkaːnɔn] ‘cannon’ vs kanon [kaːˈnɔn] ‘canon’, and used acoustically identical pseudowords as controls. Results from twenty-eight native speakers of Dutch (age range 18–32 years) indicated an enhanced P50/N100 complex to prosodic change in pseudowords as well as an MMN response to both words and pseudowords. The enhanced P50/N100 response to pseudowords is claimed to indicate that all relevant auditory information is still processed by the brain, whereas the reduced response to words might reflect the suppression of information that has already been encoded. The MMN response to pseudowords and words, on the other hand, is best justified by the unification of previously established prosodic representations with sensory and semantic input respectively. This pattern of results is in line with the predictive coding framework acting on multiple levels and is of crucial importance to indicate that predictions about linguistic prosodic information are utilized by the brain as early as 50 ms.
  • Zormpa, E., Meyer, A. S., & Brehm, L. (2023). In conversation, answers are remembered better than the questions themselves. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 49(12), 1971-1988. doi:10.1037/xlm0001292.

    Abstract

    Language is used in communicative contexts to identify and successfully transmit new information that should be later remembered. In three studies, we used question–answer pairs, a naturalistic device for focusing information, to examine how properties of conversations inform later item memory. In Experiment 1, participants viewed three pictures while listening to a recorded question–answer exchange between two people about the locations of two of the displayed pictures. In a memory recognition test conducted online a day later, participants recognized the names of pictures that served as answers more accurately than the names of pictures that appeared as questions. This suggests that this type of focus indeed boosts memory. In Experiment 2, participants listened to the same items embedded in declarative sentences. There was a reduced memory benefit for the second item, confirming the role of linguistic focus on later memory beyond a simple serial-position effect. In Experiment 3, two participants asked and answered the same questions about objects in a dialogue. Here, answers continued to receive a memory benefit, and this focus effect was accentuated by language production such that information-seekers remembered the answers to their questions better than information-givers remembered the questions they had been asked. Combined, these studies show how people’s memory for conversation is modulated by the referential status of the items mentioned and by the speaker’s roles of the conversation participants.
  • Akamine, S., Kohatsu, T., Niikuni, K., Schafer, A. J., & Sato, M. (2022). Emotions in language processing: Affective priming in embodied cognition. In Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of Japanese Cognitive Science Society (pp. 326-332). Tokyo: Japanese Cognitive Science Society.
  • Akeret, K., Forkel, S. J., Buzzi, R. M., Vasella, F., Amrein, I., Colacicco, G., Regli, L., Serra, C., & Krayenbühl, N. (2022). Multimodal anatomy of the human forniceal commissure. Communications Biology, 5: 742. doi:10.1038/s42003-022-03692-3.

    Abstract

    Ambiguity surrounds the existence and morphology of the human forniceal commissure. We combine advanced in-vivo tractography, multidirectional ex-vivo fiber dissection, and multiplanar histological analysis to characterize this structure’s anatomy. Across all 178 subjects, in-vivo fiber dissection based on the Human Connectome Project 7 T MRI data identifies no interhemispheric connections between the crura fornicis. Multidirectional ex-vivo fiber dissection under the operating microscope demonstrates the psalterium as a thin soft-tissue membrane spanning between the right and left crus fornicis, but exposes no commissural fibers. Multiplanar histological analysis with myelin and Bielchowsky silver staining, however, visualizes delicate cruciform fibers extending between the crura fornicis, enclosed by connective tissue, the psalterium. The human forniceal commissure is therefore much more delicate than previously described and presented in anatomical textbooks. This finding is consistent with the observed phylogenetic trend of a reduction of the forniceal commissure in non-human primates compared to non-primate eutherian mammals.

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  • Alagöz, G., Molz, B., Eising, E., Schijven, D., Francks, C., Jason L., S., & Fisher, S. E. (2022). Using neuroimaging genomics to investigate the evolution of human brain structure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(40): e2200638119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2200638119.

    Abstract

    Alterations in brain size and organization represent some of the most distinctive changes in the emergence of our species. Yet, there is limited understanding of how genetic factors contributed to altered neuroanatomy during human evolution. Here, we analyze neuroimaging and genetic data from up to 30,000 people in the UK Biobank and integrate with genomic annotations for different aspects of human evolution, including those based on ancient DNA and comparative genomics. We show that previously reported signals of recent polygenic selection for cortical anatomy are not replicable in a more ancestrally homogeneous sample. We then investigate relationships between evolutionary annotations and common genetic variants shaping cortical surface area and white-matter connectivity for each hemisphere. Our analyses identify single-nucleotide polymorphism heritability enrichment in human-gained regulatory elements that are active in early brain development, affecting surface areas of several parts of the cortex, including left-hemispheric speech-associated regions. We also detect heritability depletion in genomic regions with Neanderthal ancestry for connectivity of the uncinate fasciculus; this is a white-matter tract involved in memory, language, and socioemotional processing with relevance to neuropsychiatric disorders. Finally, we show that common genetic loci associated with left-hemispheric pars triangularis surface area overlap with a human-gained enhancer and affect regulation of ZIC4, a gene implicated in neurogenesis. This work demonstrates how genomic investigations of present-day neuroanatomical variation can help shed light on the complexities of our evolutionary past.

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  • Aldosimani, M., Verdonschot, R. G., Iwamoto, Y., Nakazawa, M., Mallya, S. M., Kakimoto, N., Toyosawa, S., Kreiborg, S., & Murakami, S. (2022). Prognostic factors for lymph node metastasis from upper gingival carcinomas. Oral Radiology, 38(3), 389-396. doi:10.1007/s11282-021-00568-w.

    Abstract

    This study sought to identify tumor characteristics that associate with regional lymph node metastases in squamous cell carcinomas originating in the upper gingiva.
  • Alispahic, S., Pellicano, E., Cutler, A., & Antoniou, M. (2022). Auditory perceptual learning in autistic adults. Autism Research, 15(8), 1495-1507. doi:10.1002/aur.2778.

    Abstract

    The automatic retuning of phoneme categories to better adapt to the speech of a novel talker has been extensively documented across various (neurotypical) populations, including both adults and children. However, no studies have examined auditory perceptual learning effects in populations atypical in perceptual, social, and language processing for communication, such as populations with autism. Employing a classic lexically-guided perceptual learning paradigm, the present study investigated perceptual learning effects in Australian English autistic and non-autistic adults. The findings revealed that automatic attunement to existing phoneme categories was not activated in the autistic group in the same manner as for non-autistic control subjects. Specifically, autistic adults were able to both successfully discern lexical items and to categorize speech sounds; however, they did not show effects of perceptual retuning to talkers. These findings may have implications for the application of current sensory theories (e.g., Bayesian decision theory) to speech and language processing by autistic individuals.
    Lay Summary

    Lexically guided perceptual learning assists in the disambiguation of speech from a novel talker. The present study established that while Australian English autistic adult listeners were able to successfully discern lexical items and categorize speech sounds in their native language, perceptual flexibility in updating speaker-specific phonemic knowledge when exposed to a novel talker was not available. Implications for speech and language processing by autistic individuals as well as current sensory theories are discussed.

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    data
  • Alves, P. N., Forkel, S. J., Corbetta, M., & Thiebaut de Schotten, M. (2022). The subcortical and neurochemical organization of the ventral and dorsal attention networks. Communications Biology, 5: 1343. doi:10.1038/s42003-022-04281-0.

    Abstract

    Attention is a core cognitive function that filters and selects behaviourally relevant information in the environment. The cortical mapping of attentional systems identified two segregated networks that mediate stimulus-driven and goal-driven processes, the Ventral and the Dorsal Attention Networks (VAN, DAN). Deep brain electrophysiological recordings, behavioral data from phylogenetic distant species, and observations from human brain pathologies challenge purely corticocentric models. Here, we used advanced methods of functional alignment applied to resting-state functional connectivity analyses to map the subcortical architecture of the Ventral and Dorsal Attention Networks. Our investigations revealed the involvement of the pulvinar, the superior colliculi, the head of caudate nuclei, and a cluster of brainstem nuclei relevant to both networks. These nuclei are densely connected structural network hubs, as revealed by diffusion-weighted imaging tractography. Their projections establish interrelations with the acetylcholine nicotinic receptor as well as dopamine and serotonin transporters, as demonstrated in a spatial correlation analysis with a normative atlas of neurotransmitter systems. This convergence of functional, structural, and neurochemical evidence provides a comprehensive framework to understand the neural basis of attention across different species and brain diseases.
  • Andreu-Bernabeu, A., Diaz-Caneja, C. M., Costas, J., De Hoyos, L., Stella, C., Gurriaran, X., Alloza, C., Fañanás, L., Bobes, J., Gonzalez-Pinto, A., Crespo-Facorro, B., Martorell, L., Vilella, E., Muntane, G., Nacher, J., Molto, M. D., Aguilar, E. J., Parellada, M., Arango, C., & González-Peñas, J. (2022). Polygenic contribution to the relationship of loneliness and social isolation with schizophrenia. Nature Communications, 13: 51. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-27598-6.

    Abstract

    Previous research suggests an association of loneliness and social isolation (LNL-ISO) with schizophrenia. Here, we demonstrate a LNL-ISO polygenic score contribution to schizophrenia risk in an independent case-control sample (N = 3,488). We then subset schizophrenia predisposing variation based on its effect on LNL-ISO. We find that genetic variation with concordant effects in both phenotypes shows significant SNP-based heritability enrichment, higher polygenic contribution in females, and positive covariance with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, alcohol dependence, and autism. Conversely, genetic variation with discordant effects only contributes to schizophrenia risk in males and is negatively correlated with those disorders. Mendelian randomization analyses demonstrate a plausible bi-directional causal relationship between LNL-ISO and schizophrenia, with a greater effect of LNL-ISO liability on schizophrenia than vice versa. These results illustrate the genetic footprint of LNL-ISO on schizophrenia.

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  • Anijs, M., Devanna, P., & Vernes, S. C. (2022). ARHGEF39, a gene implicated in developmental language disorder, activates RHOA and is involved in cell de-adhesion and neural progenitor cell proliferation. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 15: 941494. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2022.941494.

    Abstract

    ARHGEF39 was previously implicated in developmental language disorder (DLD) via a functional polymorphism that can disrupt post-transcriptional regulation by microRNAs. ARHGEF39 is part of the family of Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs) that activate small Rho GTPases to regulate a wide variety of cellular processes. However, little is known about the function of ARHGEF39, or how its function might contribute to neurodevelopment or related disorders. Here, we explore the molecular function of ARHGEF39 and show that it activates the Rho GTPase RHOA and that high ARHGEF39 expression in cell cultures leads to an increase of detached cells. To explore its role in neurodevelopment, we analyse published single cell RNA-sequencing data and demonstrate that ARHGEF39 is a marker gene for proliferating neural progenitor cells and that it is co-expressed with genes involved in cell division. This suggests a role for ARHGEF39 in neurogenesis in the developing brain. The co-expression of ARHGEF39 with other RHOA-regulating genes supports RHOA as substrate of ARHGEF39 in neural cells, and the involvement of RHOA in neuropsychiatric disorders highlights a potential link between ARHGEF39 and neurodevelopment and disorder. Understanding the GTPase substrate, co-expression network, and processes downstream of ARHGEF39 provide new avenues for exploring the mechanisms by which altered expression levels of ARHGEF39 may contribute to neurodevelopment and associated disorders.

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  • Arana, S. (2022). Abstract neural representations of language during sentence comprehension: Evidence from MEG and Behaviour. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bai, F., Meyer, A. S., & Martin, A. E. (2022). Neural dynamics differentially encode phrases and sentences during spoken language comprehension. PLoS Biology, 20(7): e3001713. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001713.

    Abstract

    Human language stands out in the natural world as a biological signal that uses a structured system to combine the meanings of small linguistic units (e.g., words) into larger constituents (e.g., phrases and sentences). However, the physical dynamics of speech (or sign) do not stand in a one-to-one relationship with the meanings listeners perceive. Instead, listeners infer meaning based on their knowledge of the language. The neural readouts of the perceptual and cognitive processes underlying these inferences are still poorly understood. In the present study, we used scalp electroencephalography (EEG) to compare the neural response to phrases (e.g., the red vase) and sentences (e.g., the vase is red), which were close in semantic meaning and had been synthesized to be physically indistinguishable. Differences in structure were well captured in the reorganization of neural phase responses in delta (approximately <2 Hz) and theta bands (approximately 2 to 7 Hz),and in power and power connectivity changes in the alpha band (approximately 7.5 to 13.5 Hz). Consistent with predictions from a computational model, sentences showed more power, more power connectivity, and more phase synchronization than phrases did. Theta–gamma phase–amplitude coupling occurred, but did not differ between the syntactic structures. Spectral–temporal response function (STRF) modeling revealed different encoding states for phrases and sentences, over and above the acoustically driven neural response. Our findings provide a comprehensive description of how the brain encodes and separates linguistic structures in the dynamics of neural responses. They imply that phase synchronization and strength of connectivity are readouts for the constituent structure of language. The results provide a novel basis for future neurophysiological research on linguistic structure representation in the brain, and, together with our simulations, support time-based binding as a mechanism of structure encoding in neural dynamics.
  • Bai, F. (2022). Neural representation of speech segmentation and syntactic structure discrimination. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bast, B. J., Oonk, L. C., De Nil, L., Eising, E., Koenraads, S. P., Bouwen, J., & Franken, M.-C. (2022). Ontwikkeling van stotteren: Inleiding tot een praktijkmodel. Stem- Spraak- en Taalpathologie, 27, 1-7. doi:10.21827/32.8310/2022-1.

    Abstract

    Dit artikel is de inleiding op het direct hierna volgende (Oonk e.a. 2022) waar een nieuw praktijkmodel over het ontstaan en ontwikkeling van stotteren wordt voorgesteld.

    In de dagelijkse praktijk van vooral Nederlandstalige logopedisten (-stottertherapeuten) is tot nu toe veel gebruik gemaakt van het klinische werkmodel van Bertens (1994; 2017). Dit model gaat uit van een primaire neuromusculaire timingsstoornis, welke zich niet alleen uit in het spreken, maar ook in algemene zin aanwezig is. Dit model echter, is aan revisie toe. Volgens de recente literatuur is de algemene aard van die timingstoornis niet bewezen, en zijn er veel vroegere (meer primaire) factoren aantoonbaar van belang bij het ontstaan van stotteren, met name in de genetica en in de neurologie. In dit artikel wordt deze literatuur kort samengevat, alsmede worden enkele recente modellen omschreven. Met name regulatie en terugkoppeling krijgen in recente modellen meer aandacht. Er is geen volledigheid nagestreefd, maar dit artikel is meer een tutoriale opmaat voor het hierna te presenteren model.
    (This article serves as an introduction to the accompanying paper, in which a new clinical
    model of the origin and development of stuttering is presented (Oonk e.a., 2022).
    In their clinical practice, Dutch speech language pathologists still tend to use the
    clinical model proposed by Bertens (1994; 2017). This model explains stuttering as de-
    veloping from a primary neuromuscular timing deficit, which manifests itself not only
    in speech, but in more general behaviour as well. In our opinion, this model needs to be
    updated and revised based on current scientific and clinical knowledge. There is littleevidence for the general timing deficit in Bertens’ model and, moreover, several more
    fundamental factors, especially those related to genetics and neural processes, that have
    an important role in the onset of stuttering have been reported. This paper provides a
    review and summary of these recent data, and several newer models are described. An
    important aspect of these models is the importance given to processes of regulation
    and feedback. An exhaustive overview of the existing literature has not been strived for
    but it is hoped that this paper will serve as a useful introduction to the clinical model
    presented in the accompanying paper.)
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2022). Counting systems. In A. Ledgeway, & M. Maiden (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Romance Linguistics (pp. 459-488). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    The Romance counting system is numerical – with residues of earlier systems whereby each commodity had its own unit of quantification – and decimal. Numeral formations beyond ‘10’ are compounds, combining two or more numerals that are in an arithmetical relation, typically that of addition and multiplication. Formal variation across the (standard) Romance languages and dialects and across historical stages involves the relative sequence of the composing elements, absence or presence of connectors, their synthetic vs. analytic nature, and the degree of grammatical marking. A number of ‘deviant’ numeral formations raise the question of borrowing vs independent development, such as vigesimals (featuring a base ‘20’ instead ‘10’) in certain Romance varieties and the teen and decad formations in Romanian. The other types of numeral in Romance, which derive from the unmarked and consistent cardinals, feature a significantly higher degree of formal complexity and variation involving Latin formants and tend toward analyticity. While Latin features prominently in the Romance counting system as a source of numeral formations and suffixes, it is only in Romance that the inherited decimal system reached its full potential, illustrating its increasing prominence, reflected not only in numerals, but also in language acquisition, sign language, and post-Revolution measuring systems.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2022). Finite verb + infinite + object in later Latin: Early brace constructions? In G. V. M. Haverling (Ed.), Studies on Late and Vulgar Latin in the Early 21st Century: Acts of the 12th International Colloquium "Latin vulgaire – Latin tardif (pp. 166-181). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.
  • Bentum, M., Ten Bosch, L., Van den Bosch, A., & Ernestus, M. (2022). Speech register influences listeners’ word expectations. Brain and Language, 235: 105197. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2022.105197.

    Abstract

    We utilized the N400 effect to investigate the influence of speech register on predictive language processing. Participants listened to long stretches (4 – 15 min) of naturalistic speech from different registers (dialogues, news broadcasts, and read-aloud books), totalling approximately 50,000 words, while the EEG signal was recorded. We estimated the surprisal of words in the speech materials with the aid of a statistical language model in such a manner that it reflected different predictive processing strategies; generic, register-specific, or recency-based. The N400 amplitude was best predicted with register-specific word surprisal, indicating that the statistics of the wider context (i.e., register) influences predictive language processing. Furthermore, adaptation to speech register cannot merely be explained by recency effects; instead, listeners adapt their word anticipations to the presented speech register.
  • Bergmann, C., Dimitrova, N., Alaslani, K., Almohammadi, A., Alroqi, H., Aussems, S., Barokova, M., Davies, C., Gonzalez-Gomez, N., Gibson, S. P., Havron, N., Horowitz-Kraus, T., Kanero, J., Kartushina, N., Keller, C., Mayor, J., Mundry, R., Shinskey, J., & Mani, N. (2022). Young children’s screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 12 countries. Scientific Reports, 12: 2015. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-05840-5.

    Abstract

    Older children with online schooling requirements, unsurprisingly, were reported to have increased screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in many countries. Here, we ask whether younger children with no similar online schooling requirements also had increased screen time during lockdown. We examined children’s screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in a large cohort (n = 2209) of 8-to-36-month-olds sampled from 15 labs across 12 countries. Caregivers reported that toddlers with no online schooling requirements were exposed to more screen time during lockdown than before lockdown. While this was exacerbated for countries with longer lockdowns, there was no evidence that the increase in screen time during lockdown was associated with socio-demographic variables, such as child age and socio-economic status (SES). However, screen time during lockdown was negatively associated with SES and positively associated with child age, caregiver screen time, and attitudes towards children’s screen time. The results highlight the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on young children’s screen time.

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    supplemental information
  • Bignardi, G., Chamberlain, R., Kevenaar, S. T., Tamimy, Z., & Boomsma, D. I. (2022). On the etiology of aesthetic chills: A behavioral genetic study. Scientific Reports, 12: 3247. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-07161-z.

    Abstract

    Aesthetic chills, broadly defined as a somatic marker of peak emotional-hedonic responses, are experienced by individuals across a variety of human cultures. Yet individuals vary widely in the propensity of feeling them. These individual differences have been studied in relation to demographics, personality, and neurobiological and physiological factors, but no study to date has explored the genetic etiological sources of variation. To partition genetic and environmental sources of variation in the propensity of feeling aesthetic chills, we fitted a biometrical genetic model to data from 14127 twins (from 8995 pairs), collected by the Netherlands Twin Register. Both genetic and unique environmental factors accounted for variance in aesthetic chills, with heritability estimated at .36 ([.33, .39] 95% CI). We found females more prone than males to report feeling aesthetic chills. However, a test for genotype x sex interaction did not show evidence that heritability differs between sexes. We thus show that the propensity of feeling aesthetic chills is not shaped by nurture alone, but it also reflects underlying genetic propensities.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

    Additional information

    Link to Preprint on BioRxiv
  • Bocanegra, B. R., Poletiek, F. H., & Zwaan, R. A. (2022). Language concatenates perceptual features into representations during comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 127: 104355. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2022.104355.

    Abstract

    Although many studies have investigated the activation of perceptual representations during language comprehension, to our knowledge only one previous study has directly tested how perceptual features are combined into representations during comprehension. In their classic study, Potter and Faulconer [(1979). Understanding noun phrases. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 509–521.] investigated the perceptual representation of adjective-noun combinations. However, their non-orthogonal design did not allow the differentiation between conjunctive vs. disjunctive representations. Using randomized orthogonal designs, we observe evidence for disjunctive perceptual representations when participants represent feature combinations simultaneously (in several experiments; N = 469), and we observe evidence for conjunctive perceptual representations when participants represent feature combinations sequentially (In several experiments; N = 628). Our findings show that the generation of conjunctive representations during comprehension depends on the concatenation of linguistic cues, and thus suggest the construction of elaborate perceptual representations may critically depend on language.
  • De Boer, E., Ockeloen, C. W., Kampen, R. A., Hampstead, J. E., Dingemans, A. J. M., Rots, D., Lütje, L., Ashraf, T., Baker, R., Barat-Houari, M., Angle, B., Chatron, N., Denommé-Pichon, A.-S., Devinsky, O., Dubourg, C., Elmslie, F., Elloumi, H. Z., Faivre, L., Fitzgerald-Butt, S., Geneviève, D. and 30 moreDe Boer, E., Ockeloen, C. W., Kampen, R. A., Hampstead, J. E., Dingemans, A. J. M., Rots, D., Lütje, L., Ashraf, T., Baker, R., Barat-Houari, M., Angle, B., Chatron, N., Denommé-Pichon, A.-S., Devinsky, O., Dubourg, C., Elmslie, F., Elloumi, H. Z., Faivre, L., Fitzgerald-Butt, S., Geneviève, D., Goos, J. A. C., Helm, B. M., Kini, U., Lasa-Aranzasti, A., Lesca, G., Lynch, S. A., Mathijssen, I. M. J., McGowan, R., Monaghan, K. G., Odent, S., Pfundt, R., Putoux, A., Van Reeuwijk, J., Santen, G. W. E., Sasaki, E., Sorlin, A., Van der Spek, P. J., Stegmann, A. P. A., Swagemakers, S. M. A., Valenzuela, I., Viora-Dupont, E., Vitobello, A., Ware, S. M., Wéber, M., Gilissen, C., Low, K. J., Fisher, S. E., Vissers, L. E. L. M., Wong, M. M. K., & Kleefstra, T. (2022). Missense variants in ANKRD11 cause KBG syndrome by impairment of stability or transcriptional activity of the encoded protein. Genetics in Medicine, 24(10), 2051-2064. doi:10.1016/j.gim.2022.06.007.

    Abstract

    Purpose

    Although haploinsufficiency of ANKRD11 is among the most common genetic causes of neurodevelopmental disorders, the role of rare ANKRD11 missense variation remains unclear. We characterized clinical, molecular, and functional spectra of ANKRD11 missense variants.
    Methods

    We collected clinical information of individuals with ANKRD11 missense variants and evaluated phenotypic fit to KBG syndrome. We assessed pathogenicity of variants through in silico analyses and cell-based experiments.
    Results

    We identified 20 unique, mostly de novo, ANKRD11 missense variants in 29 individuals, presenting with syndromic neurodevelopmental disorders similar to KBG syndrome caused by ANKRD11 protein truncating variants or 16q24.3 microdeletions. Missense variants significantly clustered in repression domain 2 at the ANKRD11 C-terminus. Of the 10 functionally studied missense variants, 6 reduced ANKRD11 stability. One variant caused decreased proteasome degradation and loss of ANKRD11 transcriptional activity.
    Conclusion

    Our study indicates that pathogenic heterozygous ANKRD11 missense variants cause the clinically recognizable KBG syndrome. Disrupted transrepression capacity and reduced protein stability each independently lead to ANKRD11 loss-of-function, consistent with haploinsufficiency. This highlights the diagnostic relevance of ANKRD11 missense variants, but also poses diagnostic challenges because the KBG-associated phenotype may be mild and inherited pathogenic ANKRD11 (missense) variants are increasingly observed, warranting stringent variant classification and careful phenotyping.
  • Boraud, T., & Forkel, S. J. (2022). Paul Broca: from fame to shame? Brain, 145(3), 801-804. doi:10.1093/brain/awab444.

    Abstract

    In 2016, the University of Bordeaux ran a competition within the local neuroscience community to find a
    name for its new neuroscience building. The name of Paul Broca, who was born nearby in 1824, was chosen
    in honour of his origins and his contributions to neuroscience. Recently, however, a debate has been ignited
    about the appropriateness of this choice, given Broca’s endorsement of physiological anthropology. At a time
    when academic institutions worldwide are revising their curricula to better reflect the contributions of pre-
    viously overlooked groups, how should we respond when the views of the ‘founding fathers’ of neurology
    clash with those of society today?

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