Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 5731
  • Bujok, R., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (in press). Audiovisual perception of lexical stress: Beat gestures and articulatory cues. Language and Speech.

    Abstract

    Human communication is inherently multimodal. Auditory speech, but also visual cues can be used to understand another talker. Most studies of audiovisual speech perception have focused on the perception of speech segments (i.e., speech sounds). However, less is known about the influence of visual information on the perception of suprasegmental aspects of speech like lexical stress. In two experiments, we investigated the influence of different visual cues (e.g., facial articulatory cues and beat gestures) on the audiovisual perception of lexical stress. We presented auditory lexical stress continua of disyllabic Dutch stress pairs together with videos of a speaker producing stress on the first or second syllable (e.g., articulating VOORnaam or voorNAAM). Moreover, we combined and fully crossed the face of the speaker producing lexical stress on either syllable with a gesturing body producing a beat gesture on either the first or second syllable. Results showed that people successfully used visual articulatory cues to stress in muted videos. However, in audiovisual conditions, we were not able to find an effect of visual articulatory cues. In contrast, we found that the temporal alignment of beat gestures with speech robustly influenced participants' perception of lexical stress. These results highlight the importance of considering suprasegmental aspects of language in multimodal contexts.
  • Defina, R. (in press). Tense, aspect, and mood in Avatime. Afrika und Übersee.

    Abstract

    The Ghana-Togo Mountain languages are a typologically distinct group of languages within the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Until recently, they have received very little documentary attention, and are still greatly under-described. Where there is information regarding the tense, aspect, and mood system, Ghana-Togo Mountain languages are described as tense and aspect prominent. In contrast, Kwa languages are typically aspect and mood prominent, with little to no grammatical tense marking. Is the apparent greater emphasis on tense one of the typological features that separates the Ghana- Togo Mountain languages from the other Kwa languages? Or has tense been overrepresented due to the lack of description? In the case of Avatime, it is the latter. Previous accounts have described Avatime with a strong focus on tense. However, when the semantics are considered in more detail, we see that none of the forms contains an inherent specification for tense. While there is often a default interpretation in the past, present or future, this default can easily be overridden. Thus, Avatime has a typical Kwa system with a focus on aspect and mood and no grammatical tense.
  • Göksun, T., Aktan-Erciyes, A., Karadöller, D. Z., & Demir-Lira, Ö. E. (in press). Multifaceted nature of early vocabulary development: Connecting child characteristics with parental input types. Child Development Perspectives.
  • Hammarström, H., & Parkvall, M. (in press). Basic Constituent Order in Pidgin and Creole Languages: Inheritance or Universals? Journal of Language Contact.
  • Hegemann, L., Corfield, E. C., Askelund, A. D., Allegrini, A. G., Askeland, R. B., Ronald, A., Ask, H., St Pourcain, B., Andreassen, O. A., Hannigan, L. J., & Havdahl, A. (in press). Genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity in early neurodevelopmental traits in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study. Molecular Autism.
  • Kurth, F., Schijven, D., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Hoogman, M., Van Rooij, D., Stein, D. J., Buitelaar, J. K., Bölte, S., Auzias, G., Kushki, A., Venkatasubramanian, G., Rubia, K., Bollmann, S., Isaksson, J., Jaspers-Fayer, F., Marsh, R., Batistuzzo, M. C., Arnold, P. D., Bressan, R. A., Stewart, E. S. Kurth, F., Schijven, D., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Hoogman, M., Van Rooij, D., Stein, D. J., Buitelaar, J. K., Bölte, S., Auzias, G., Kushki, A., Venkatasubramanian, G., Rubia, K., Bollmann, S., Isaksson, J., Jaspers-Fayer, F., Marsh, R., Batistuzzo, M. C., Arnold, P. D., Bressan, R. A., Stewart, E. S., Gruner, P., Sorensen, L., Pan, P. M., Silk, T. J., Gur, R. C., Cubillo, A. I., Haavik, J., O'Gorman Tuura, R. L., Hartman, C. A., Calvo, R., McGrath, J., Calderoni, S., Jackowski, A., Chantiluke, K. C., Satterthwaite, T. D., Busatto, G. F., Nigg, J. T., Gur, R. E., Retico, A., Tosetti, M., Gallagher, L., Szeszko, P. R., Neufeld, J., Ortiz, A. E., Ghisleni, C., Lazaro, L., Hoekstra, P. J., Anagnostou, E., Hoekstra, L., Simpson, B., Plessen, J. K., Deruelle, C., Soreni, N., James, A., Narayanaswamy, J., Reddy, J. Y. C., Fitzgerald, J., Bellgrove, M. A., Salum, G. A., Janssen, J., Muratori, F., Vila, M., Garcia Giral, M., Ameis, S. H., Bosco, P., Lundin Remnélius, K., Huyser, C., Pariente, J. C., Jalbrzikowski, M., Rosa, P. G. P., O'Hearn, K. M., Ehrlich, S., Mollon, J., Zugman, A., Christakou, A., Arango, C., Fisher, S. E., Kong, X.-Z., Franke, B., Medland, S. E., Thomopoulos, S. I., Jahanshad, N., Glahn, D. C., Thompson, P. M., Francks, C., & Luders, E. (in press). Large-scale analysis of structural brain asymmetries during neurodevelopment: Age effects and sex differences in 4,265 children and adolescents. Human Brain Mapping.
  • O’Meara, C., Kung, S. S., & Majid, A. (in press). The challenge of olfactory ideophones: Reconsidering ineffability from the Totonac-Tepehua perspective. International Journal of American Linguistics.
  • Ahn, D., & Ferreira, V. S. (2024). Shared vs separate structural representations: Evidence from cumulative cross-language structural priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 77(1), 174-190. doi:10.1177/17470218231160942.

    Abstract

    How do bilingual speakers represent the information that guides the assembly of words into sentences for their two languages? The shared-syntax account argues that bilinguals have a single, shared representation of the sentence structures that exist in both languages. Structural priming has been shown to be equal within and across languages, providing support for the shared-syntax account. However, equivalent levels of structural priming within and across languages could be observed even if structural representations are separate and connected, due to frequent switches between languages, which is a property of standard structural priming paradigms. Here, we investigated whether cumulative structural priming (i.e., structural priming across blocks rather than trial-by-trial), which does not involve frequent switches between languages, also shows equivalent levels of structural priming within- and cross-languages. Mixed results point towards a possibility that cumulative structural priming can be more persistent within- compared to cross-languages, suggesting a separate-and-connected account of bilingual structural representations. We discuss these results in terms of the current literature on bilingual structural representations and highlight the value of diversity in paradigms and less-studied languages.
  • Ahn, D., Ferreira, V. S., & Gollan, T. H. (2024). Structural representation in the native language after extended second-language immersion: Evidence from acceptability judgment and memory-recall. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/S1366728923000950.

    Abstract

    Knowing the sentence structures (i.e., information that guides the assembly of words into sentences) is crucial in language knowledge. This knowledge must be stable for successful communication, but when learning another language that uses different structures, speakers must adjust their structural knowledge. Here, we examine how newly acquired second language (L2) knowledge influences first language (L1) structure knowledge. We compared two groups of Korean speakers: Korean-immersed speakers living in Korea (with little English exposure) versus English-immersed speakers who acquired English late and were living in the US (with more English exposure). We used acceptability judgment and sentence production tasks on Korean sentences in English and Korean word orders. Results suggest that acceptability and structural usage in L1 change after exposure to L2, but not in a way that matches L2 structures. Instead, L2 exposure might lead to increased difficulties in the selection and retrieval of word orders while using L1.
  • Arana, S., Hagoort, P., Schoffelen, J.-M., & Rabovsky, M. (2024). Perceived similarity as a window into representations of integrated sentence meaning. Behavior Research Methods, 56(3), 2675-2691. doi:10.3758/s13428-023-02129-x.

    Abstract

    When perceiving the world around us, we are constantly integrating pieces of information. The integrated experience consists of more than just the sum of its parts. For example, visual scenes are defined by a collection of objects as well as the spatial relations amongst them and sentence meaning is computed based on individual word semantic but also syntactic configuration. Having quantitative models of such integrated representations can help evaluate cognitive models of both language and scene perception. Here, we focus on language, and use a behavioral measure of perceived similarity as an approximation of integrated meaning representations. We collected similarity judgments of 200 subjects rating nouns or transitive sentences through an online multiple arrangement task. We find that perceived similarity between sentences is most strongly modulated by the semantic action category of the main verb. In addition, we show how non-negative matrix factorization of similarity judgment data can reveal multiple underlying dimensions reflecting both semantic as well as relational role information. Finally, we provide an example of how similarity judgments on sentence stimuli can serve as a point of comparison for artificial neural networks models (ANNs) by comparing our behavioral data against sentence similarity extracted from three state-of-the-art ANNs. Overall, our method combining the multiple arrangement task on sentence stimuli with matrix factorization can capture relational information emerging from integration of multiple words in a sentence even in the presence of strong focus on the verb.
  • Baths, V., Jartarkar, M., Sood, S., Lewis, A. G., Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (2024). Testing the involvement of low-level visual representations during spoken word processing with non-Western students and meditators practicing Sudarshan Kriya Yoga. Brain Research, 1838: 148993. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2024.148993.

    Abstract

    Previous studies, using the Continuous Flash Suppression (CFS) paradigm, observed that (Western) university students are better able to detect otherwise invisible pictures of objects when they are presented with the corresponding spoken word shortly before the picture appears. Here we attempted to replicate this effect with non-Western university students in Goa (India). A second aim was to explore the performance of (non-Western) meditators practicing Sudarshan Kriya Yoga in Goa in the same task. Some previous literature suggests that meditators may excel in some tasks that tap visual attention, for example by exercising better endogenous and exogenous control of visual awareness than non-meditators. The present study replicated the finding that congruent spoken cue words lead to significantly higher detection sensitivity than incongruent cue words in non-Western university students. Our exploratory meditator group also showed this detection effect but both frequentist and Bayesian analyses suggest that the practice of meditation did not modulate it. Overall, our results provide further support for the notion that spoken words can activate low-level category-specific visual features that boost the basic capacity to detect the presence of a visual stimulus that has those features. Further research is required to conclusively test whether meditation can modulate visual detection abilities in CFS and similar tasks.
  • Bayram, F., Kubota, M., & Pereira Soares, S. M. (2024). Editorial: The next phase in heritage language studies: methodological considerations and advancements. Frontiers in Psychology, 15: 1392474. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1392474.
  • Bazzi, L., Brouwer, S., Khan, Z. N., Verdonschot, R. G., & Foucart, A. (2024). War feels less horrid in a foreign accent: Exploring the impact of the foreign accent on emotionality. Frontiers in Language Sciences, 3: 1357828. doi:10.3389/flang.2024.1357828.

    Abstract

    Introduction: The processing of a foreign accent is known to increase cognitive load for the native listener, establish psychological distance with the foreign-accented speaker, and even influence decision-making. Similarly, research in the field of emotional processing indicates that a foreign accent may impact the native listener's emotionality. Taking these aspects into consideration, the current study aimed to confirm the hypothesis that a foreign accent, compared to a native accent, significantly affects the processing of affective-laden words.

    Methods: In order to test this hypothesis, native Spanish speakers participated in an online experiment in which they rated on a Likert scale the valence and arousal of positive, neutral and negative words presented in native and foreign accents.

    Results: Results confirm a foreign accent effect on emotional processing whereby positively valenced words are perceived as less positive and negatively valenced words as less negative when processed in a foreign accent compared to a native accent. Moreover, the arousal provoked by emotion words is lesser when words are processed in a foreign than a native accent.

    Discussion: We propose possible, not mutually exclusive, explanations for the effect based on linguistic fluency, language attitudes and the linguistic context of language acquisition. Although further research is needed to confirm them, these explanations may be relevant for models of language comprehension and language learning. The observation of a reduction in emotionality resulting from a foreign accent is important for society as important decisions are made by representatives with diverse language and accent backgrounds. Our findings demonstrate that the choice of the language, which entails speaking in a native or a foreign accent, can be crucial when discussing topics such as the consequences of wars, pandemics, or natural disasters on human beings.

    Additional information

    data sheet
  • Bianco, R., Zuk, N. J., Bigand, F., Quarta, E., Grasso, S., Arnese, F., Ravignani, A., Battaglia-Mayer, A., & Novembre, G. (2024). Neural encoding of musical expectations in a non-human primate. Current Biology, 34(2), 444-450. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2023.12.019.

    Abstract

    The appreciation of music is a universal trait of humankind.1,2,3 Evidence supporting this notion includes the ubiquity of music across cultures4,5,6,7 and the natural predisposition toward music that humans display early in development.8,9,10 Are we musical animals because of species-specific predispositions? This question cannot be answered by relying on cross-cultural or developmental studies alone, as these cannot rule out enculturation.11 Instead, it calls for cross-species experiments testing whether homologous neural mechanisms underlying music perception are present in non-human primates. We present music to two rhesus monkeys, reared without musical exposure, while recording electroencephalography (EEG) and pupillometry. Monkeys exhibit higher engagement and neural encoding of expectations based on the previously seeded musical context when passively listening to real music as opposed to shuffled controls. We then compare human and monkey neural responses to the same stimuli and find a species-dependent contribution of two fundamental musical features—pitch and timing12—in generating expectations: while timing- and pitch-based expectations13 are similarly weighted in humans, monkeys rely on timing rather than pitch. Together, these results shed light on the phylogeny of music perception. They highlight monkeys’ capacity for processing temporal structures beyond plain acoustic processing, and they identify a species-dependent contribution of time- and pitch-related features to the neural encoding of musical expectations.
  • Bignardi, G., Smit, D. J. A., Vessel, E. A., Trupp, M. D., Ticini, L. F., Fisher, S. E., & Polderman, T. J. C. (2024). Genetic effects on variability in visual aesthetic evaluations are partially shared across visual domains. Communications Biology, 7: 55. doi:10.1038/s42003-023-05710-4.

    Abstract

    The aesthetic values that individuals place on visual images are formed and shaped over a lifetime. However, whether the formation of visual aesthetic value is solely influenced by environmental exposure is still a matter of debate. Here, we considered differences in aesthetic value emerging across three visual domains: abstract images, scenes, and faces. We examined variability in two major dimensions of ordinary aesthetic experiences: taste-typicality and evaluation-bias. We build on two samples from the Australian Twin Registry where 1547 and 1231 monozygotic and dizygotic twins originally rated visual images belonging to the three domains. Genetic influences explained 26% to 41% of the variance in taste-typicality and evaluation-bias. Multivariate analyses showed that genetic effects were partially shared across visual domains. Results indicate that the heritability of major dimensions of aesthetic evaluations is comparable to that of other complex social traits, albeit lower than for other complex cognitive traits. The exception was taste-typicality for abstract images, for which we found only shared and unique environmental influences. Our study reveals that diverse sources of genetic and environmental variation influence the formation of aesthetic value across distinct visual domains and provides improved metrics to assess inter-individual differences in aesthetic value.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Boen, R., Kaufmann, T., Van der Meer, D., Frei, O., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Artiges, E., Atkins, J. R., Bauer, J., Benedetti, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brosch, K., Buckner, R. L., Cairns, M. J., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cichon, S. and 96 moreBoen, R., Kaufmann, T., Van der Meer, D., Frei, O., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Artiges, E., Atkins, J. R., Bauer, J., Benedetti, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brosch, K., Buckner, R. L., Cairns, M. J., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cichon, S., Corvin, A. P., Crespo Facorro, B., Dannlowski, U., David, F. S., De Geus, E. J., De Zubicaray, G. I., Desrivières, S., Doherty, J. L., Donohoe, G., Ehrlich, S., Eising, E., Espeseth, T., Fisher, S. E., Forstner, A. J., Fortaner Uyà, L., Frouin, V., Fukunaga, M., Ge, T., Glahn, D. C., Goltermann, J., Grabe, H. J., Green, M. J., Groenewold, N. A., Grotegerd, D., Hahn, T., Hashimoto, R., Hehir-Kwa, J. Y., Henskens, F. A., Holmes, A. J., Haberg, A. K., Haavik, J., Jacquemont, S., Jansen, A., Jockwitz, C., Jonsson, E. G., Kikuchi, M., Kircher, T., Kumar, K., Le Hellard, S., Leu, C., Linden, D. E., Liu, J., Loughnan, R., Mather, K. A., McMahon, K. L., McRae, A. F., Medland, S. E., Meinert, S., Moreau, C. A., Morris, D. W., Mowry, B. J., Muhleisen, T. W., Nenadić, I., Nöthen, M. M., Nyberg, L., Owen, M. J., Paolini, M., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Persson, K., Quidé, Y., Reis Marques, T., Sachdev, P. S., Sando, S. B., Schall, U., Scott, R. J., Selbæk, G., Shumskaya, E., Silva, A. I., Sisodiya, S. M., Stein, F., Stein, D. J., Straube, B., Streit, F., Strike, L. T., Teumer, A., Teutenberg, L., Thalamuthu, A., Tooney, P. A., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Trollor, J. N., Van 't Ent, D., Van den Bree, M. B. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Vazquez-Bourgon, J., Volzke, H., Wen, W., Wittfeld, K., Ching, C. R., Westlye, L. T., Thompson, P. M., Bearden, C. E., Selmer, K. K., Alnæs, D., Andreassen, O. A., & Sonderby, I. E. (2024). Beyond the global brain differences: Intra-individual variability differences in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers. Biological Psychiatry, 95(2), 147-160. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.08.018.

    Abstract

    Background

    The 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs exhibit regional and global brain differences compared to non-carriers. However, interpreting regional differences is challenging if a global difference drives the regional brain differences. Intra-individual variability measures can be used to test for regional differences beyond global differences in brain structure.

    Methods

    Magnetic resonance imaging data were used to obtain regional brain values for 1q21.1 distal deletion (n=30) and duplication (n=27), and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion (n=170) and duplication (n=243) carriers and matched non-carriers (n=2,350). Regional intra-deviation (RID) scores i.e., the standardized difference between an individual’s regional difference and global difference, were used to test for regional differences that diverge from the global difference.

    Results

    For the 1q21.1 distal deletion carriers, cortical surface area for regions in the medial visual cortex, posterior cingulate and temporal pole differed less, and regions in the prefrontal and superior temporal cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical surface area. For the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers, cortical thickness in regions in the medial visual cortex, auditory cortex and temporal pole differed less, and the prefrontal and somatosensory cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical thickness.

    Conclusion

    We find evidence for regional effects beyond differences in global brain measures in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs. The results provide new insight into brain profiling of the 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs, with the potential to increase our understanding of mechanisms involved in altered neurodevelopment.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Bulut, T., & Hagoort, P. (2024). Contributions of the left and right thalami to language: A meta-analytic approach. Brain Structure & Function. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s00429-024-02795-3.

    Abstract

    Background: Despite a pervasive cortico-centric view in cognitive neuroscience, subcortical structures including the thalamus have been shown to be increasingly involved in higher cognitive functions. Previous structural and functional imaging studies demonstrated cortico-thalamo-cortical loops which may support various cognitive functions including language. However, large-scale functional connectivity of the thalamus during language tasks has not been examined before. Methods: The present study employed meta-analytic connectivity modeling to identify language-related coactivation patterns of the left and right thalami. The left and right thalami were used as regions of interest to search the BrainMap functional database for neuroimaging experiments with healthy participants reporting language-related activations in each region of interest. Activation likelihood estimation analyses were then carried out on the foci extracted from the identified studies to estimate functional convergence for each thalamus. A functional decoding analysis based on the same database was conducted to characterize thalamic contributions to different language functions. Results: The results revealed bilateral frontotemporal and bilateral subcortical (basal ganglia) coactivation patterns for both the left and right thalami, and also right cerebellar coactivations for the left thalamus, during language processing. In light of previous empirical studies and theoretical frameworks, the present connectivity and functional decoding findings suggest that cortico-subcortical-cerebellar-cortical loops modulate and fine-tune information transfer within the bilateral frontotemporal cortices during language processing, especially during production and semantic operations, but also other language (e.g., syntax, phonology) and cognitive operations (e.g., attention, cognitive control). Conclusion: The current findings show that the language-relevant network extends beyond the classical left perisylvian cortices and spans bilateral cortical, bilateral subcortical (bilateral thalamus, bilateral basal ganglia) and right cerebellar regions.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Casillas, M., Foushee, R., Méndez Girón, J., Polian, G., & Brown, P. (2024). Little evidence for a noun bias in Tseltal spontaneous speech. First Language. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/01427237231216571.

    Abstract

    This study examines whether children acquiring Tseltal (Mayan) demonstrate a noun bias – an overrepresentation of nouns in their early vocabularies. Nouns, specifically concrete and animate nouns, are argued to universally predominate in children’s early vocabularies because their referents are naturally available as bounded concepts to which linguistic labels can be mapped. This early advantage for noun learning has been documented using multiple methods and across a diverse collection of language populations. However, past evidence bearing on a noun bias in Tseltal learners has been mixed. Tseltal grammatical features and child–caregiver interactional patterns dampen the salience of nouns and heighten the salience of verbs, leading to the prediction of a diminished noun bias and perhaps even an early predominance of verbs. We here analyze the use of noun and verb stems in children’s spontaneous speech from egocentric daylong recordings of 29 Tseltal learners between 0;9 and 4;4. We find weak to no evidence for a noun bias using two separate analytical approaches on the same data; one analysis yields a preliminary suggestion of a flipped outcome (i.e. a verb bias). We discuss the implications of these findings for broader theories of learning bias in early lexical development.
  • Çetinçelik, M., Rowland, C. F., & Snijders, T. M. (2024). Does the speaker’s eye gaze facilitate infants’ word segmentation from continuous speech? An ERP study. Developmental Science, 27(2): e13436. doi:10.1111/desc.13436.

    Abstract

    The environment in which infants learn language is multimodal and rich with social cues. Yet, the effects of such cues, such as eye contact, on early speech perception have not been closely examined. This study assessed the role of ostensive speech, signalled through the speaker's eye gaze direction, on infants’ word segmentation abilities. A familiarisation-then-test paradigm was used while electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded. Ten-month-old Dutch-learning infants were familiarised with audio-visual stories in which a speaker recited four sentences with one repeated target word. The speaker addressed them either with direct or with averted gaze while speaking. In the test phase following each story, infants heard familiar and novel words presented via audio-only. Infants’ familiarity with the words was assessed using event-related potentials (ERPs). As predicted, infants showed a negative-going ERP familiarity effect to the isolated familiarised words relative to the novel words over the left-frontal region of interest during the test phase. While the word familiarity effect did not differ as a function of the speaker's gaze over the left-frontal region of interest, there was also a (not predicted) positive-going early ERP familiarity effect over right fronto-central and central electrodes in the direct gaze condition only. This study provides electrophysiological evidence that infants can segment words from audio-visual speech, regardless of the ostensiveness of the speaker's communication. However, the speaker's gaze direction seems to influence the processing of familiar words.
  • Chalfoun, A., Rossi, G., & Stivers, T. (2024). The magic word? Face-work and the functions of 'please' in everyday requests. Social Psychology Quarterly. doi:10.1177/01902725241245141.

    Abstract

    Expressions of politeness such as 'please' are prominent elements of interactional conduct that are explicitly targeted in early socialization and are subject to cultural expectations around socially desirable behavior. Yet their specific interactional functions remain poorly understood. Using conversation analysis supplemented with systematic coding, this study investigates when and where interactants use 'please' in everyday requests. We find that 'please' is rare, occurring in only 7 percent of request attempts. Interactants use 'please' to manage face-threats when a request is ill fitted to its immediate interactional context. Within this, we identify two environments in which 'please' prototypically occurs. First, 'please' is used when the requestee has demonstrated unwillingness to comply. Second, 'please' is used when the request is intrusive due to its incompatibility with the requestee’s engagement in a competing action trajectory. Our findings advance research on politeness and extend Goffman’s theory of face-work, with particular salience for scholarship on request behavior.
  • Cornelis, S. S., IntHout, J., Runhart, E. H., Grunewald, O., Lin, S., Corradi, Z., Khan, M., Hitti-Malin, R. J., Whelan, L., Farrar, G. J., Sharon, D., Van den Born, L. I., Arno, G., Simcoe, M., Michaelides, M., Webster, A. R., Roosing, S., Mahroo, O. A., Dhaenens, C.-M., Cremers, F. P. M. Cornelis, S. S., IntHout, J., Runhart, E. H., Grunewald, O., Lin, S., Corradi, Z., Khan, M., Hitti-Malin, R. J., Whelan, L., Farrar, G. J., Sharon, D., Van den Born, L. I., Arno, G., Simcoe, M., Michaelides, M., Webster, A. R., Roosing, S., Mahroo, O. A., Dhaenens, C.-M., Cremers, F. P. M., & ABCA4 Study Group (2024). Representation of women among individuals with mild variants in ABCA4-associated retinopathy: A meta-analysis. JAMA Ophthalmology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2024.0660.

    Abstract

    Importance
    Previous studies indicated that female sex might be a modifier in Stargardt disease, which is an ABCA4-associated retinopathy.

    Objective
    To investigate whether women are overrepresented among individuals with ABCA4-associated retinopathy who are carrying at least 1 mild allele or carrying nonmild alleles.

    Data Sources
    Literature data, data from 2 European centers, and a new study. Data from a Radboudumc database and from the Rotterdam Eye Hospital were used for exploratory hypothesis testing.

    Study Selection
    Studies investigating the sex ratio in individuals with ABCA4-AR and data from centers that collected ABCA4 variant and sex data. The literature search was performed on February 1, 2023; data from the centers were from before 2023.

    Data Extraction and Synthesis
    Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to test whether the proportions of women among individuals with ABCA4-associated retinopathy with mild and nonmild variants differed from 0.5, including subgroup analyses for mild alleles. Sensitivity analyses were performed excluding data with possibly incomplete variant identification. χ2 Tests were conducted to compare the proportions of women in adult-onset autosomal non–ABCA4-associated retinopathy and adult-onset ABCA4-associated retinopathy and to investigate if women with suspected ABCA4-associated retinopathy are more likely to obtain a genetic diagnosis. Data analyses were performed from March to October 2023.

    Main Outcomes and Measures
    Proportion of women per ABCA4-associated retinopathy group. The exploratory testing included sex ratio comparisons for individuals with ABCA4-associated retinopathy vs those with other autosomal retinopathies and for individuals with ABCA4-associated retinopathy who underwent genetic testing vs those who did not.

    Results
    Women were significantly overrepresented in the mild variant group (proportion, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.56-0.62; P < .001) but not in the nonmild variant group (proportion, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.46-0.54; P = .89). Sensitivity analyses confirmed these results. Subgroup analyses on mild variants showed differences in the proportions of women. Furthermore, in the Radboudumc database, the proportion of adult women among individuals with ABCA4-associated retinopathy (652/1154 = 0.56) was 0.10 (95% CI, 0.05-0.15) higher than among individuals with other retinopathies (280/602 = 0.47).

    Conclusions and Relevance
    This meta-analysis supports the likelihood that sex is a modifier in developing ABCA4-associated retinopathy for individuals with a mild ABCA4 allele. This finding may be relevant for prognosis predictions and recurrence risks for individuals with ABCA4-associated retinopathy. Future studies should further investigate whether the overrepresentation of women is caused by differences in the disease mechanism, by differences in health care–seeking behavior, or by health care discrimination between women and men with ABCA4-AR.
  • Dalla Bella, S., Janaqi, S., Benoit, C.-E., Farrugia, N., Bégel, V., Verga, L., Harding, E. E., & Kotz, S. A. (2024). Unravelling individual rhythmic abilities using machine learning. Scientific Reports, 14(1): 1135. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-51257-7.

    Abstract

    Humans can easily extract the rhythm of a complex sound, like music, and move to its regular beat, like in dance. These abilities are modulated by musical training and vary significantly in untrained individuals. The causes of this variability are multidimensional and typically hard to grasp in single tasks. To date we lack a comprehensive model capturing the rhythmic fingerprints of both musicians and non-musicians. Here we harnessed machine learning to extract a parsimonious model of rhythmic abilities, based on behavioral testing (with perceptual and motor tasks) of individuals with and without formal musical training (n = 79). We demonstrate that variability in rhythmic abilities and their link with formal and informal music experience can be successfully captured by profiles including a minimal set of behavioral measures. These findings highlight that machine learning techniques can be employed successfully to distill profiles of rhythmic abilities, and ultimately shed light on individual variability and its relationship with both formal musical training and informal musical experiences.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Dikshit, A. P., Das, D., Samal, R. R., Parashar, K., Mishra, C., & Parashar, S. (2024). Optimization of (Ba1-xCax)(Ti0.9Sn0.1)O3 ceramics in X-band using Machine Learning. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 982: 173797. doi:10.1016/j.jallcom.2024.173797.

    Abstract

    Developing efficient electromagnetic interference shielding materials has become significantly important in present times. This paper reports a series of (Ba1-xCax)(Ti0.9Sn0.1)O3 (BCTS) ((x =0, 0.01, 0.05, & 0.1)ceramics synthesized by conventional method which were studied for electromagnetic interference shielding (EMI) applications in X-band (8-12.4 GHz). EMI shielding properties and all S parameters (S11 & S12) of BCTS ceramic pellets were measured in the frequency range (8-12.4 GHz) using a Vector Network Analyser (VNA). The BCTS ceramic pellets for x = 0.05 showed maximum total effective shielding of 46 dB indicating good shielding behaviour for high-frequency applications. However, the development of lead-free ceramics with different concentrations usually requires iterative experiments resulting in, longer development cycles and higher costs. To address this, we used a machine learning (ML) strategy to predict the EMI shielding for different concentrations and experimentally verify the concentration predicted to give the best EMI shielding. The ML model predicted BCTS ceramics with concentration (x = 0.06, 0.07, 0.08, and 0.09) to have higher shielding values. On experimental verification, a shielding value of 58 dB was obtained for x = 0.08, which was significantly higher than what was obtained experimentally before applying the ML approach. Our results show the potential of using ML in accelerating the process of optimal material development, reducing the need for repeated experimental measures significantly.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Enfield, N. J. (2024). Interactive repair and the foundations of language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 28(1), 30-42. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2023.09.003.

    Abstract

    The robustness and flexibility of human language is underpinned by a machinery of interactive repair. Repair is deeply intertwined with two core properties of human language: reflexivity (it can communicate about itself) and accountability (it is used to publicly enforce social norms). We review empirical and theoretical advances from across the cognitive sciences that mark interactive repair as a domain of pragmatic universals, a key place to study metacognition in interaction, and a system that enables collective computation. This provides novel insights on the role of repair in comparative cognition, language development and human-computer interaction. As an always-available fallback option and an infrastructure for negotiating social commitments, interactive repair is foundational to the resilience, complexity, and flexibility of human language.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2024). Interjections at the heart of language. Annual Review of Linguistics, 10, 257-277. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-031422-124743.
  • Donnelly, S., Rowland, C. F., Chang, F., & Kidd, E. (2024). A comprehensive examination of prediction‐based error as a mechanism for syntactic development: Evidence from syntactic priming. Cognitive Science, 48(4): e13431. doi:10.1111/cogs.13431.

    Abstract

    Prediction-based accounts of language acquisition have the potential to explain several different effects in child language acquisition and adult language processing. However, evidence regarding the developmental predictions of such accounts is mixed. Here, we consider several predictions of these accounts in two large-scale developmental studies of syntactic priming of the English dative alternation. Study 1 was a cross-sectional study (N = 140) of children aged 3−9 years, in which we found strong evidence of abstract priming and the lexical boost, but little evidence that either effect was moderated by age. We found weak evidence for a prime surprisal effect; however, exploratory analyses revealed a protracted developmental trajectory for verb-structure biases, providing an explanation as for why prime surprisal effects are more elusive in developmental populations. In a longitudinal study (N = 102) of children in tightly controlled age bands at 42, 48, and 54 months, we found priming effects emerged on trials with verb overlap early but did not observe clear evidence of priming on trials without verb overlap until 54 months. There was no evidence of a prime surprisal effect at any time point and none of the effects were moderated by age. The results relating to the emergence of the abstract priming and lexical boost effects are consistent with prediction-based models, while the absence of age-related effects appears to reflect the structure-specific challenges the dative presents to English-acquiring children. Overall, our complex pattern of findings demonstrates the value of developmental data sets in testing psycholinguistic theory.

    Additional information

    table S1 and S2 appendix A, B, C and D
  • Eekhof, L. S., & Mar, R. A. (2024). Does reading about fictional minds make us more curious about real ones? Language and Cognition, 16(1), 176-196. doi:10.1017/langcog.2023.30.

    Abstract

    Although there is a large body of research assessing whether exposure to narratives boosts social cognition immediately afterward, not much research has investigated the underlying mechanism of this putative effect. This experiment investigates the possibility that reading a narrative increases social curiosity directly afterward, which might explain the short-term boosts in social cognition reported by some others. We developed a novel measure of state social curiosity and collected data from participants (N = 222) who were randomly assigned to read an excerpt of narrative fiction or expository nonfiction. Contrary to our expectations, we found that those who read a narrative exhibited less social curiosity afterward than those who read an expository text. This result was not moderated by trait social curiosity. An exploratory analysis uncovered that the degree to which texts present readers with social targets predicted less social curiosity. Our experiment demonstrates that reading narratives, or possibly texts with social content in general, may engage and fatigue social-cognitive abilities, causing a temporary decrease in social curiosity. Such texts might also temporarily satisfy the need for social connection, temporarily reducing social curiosity. Both accounts are in line with theories describing how narratives result in better social cognition over the long term.
  • Eising, E., Vino, A., Mabie, H. L., Campbell, T. F., Shriberg, L. D., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Genome sequencing of idiopathic speech delay. Human Mutation, 2024: 9692863. doi:10.1155/2024/9692863.

    Abstract

    Genetic investigations of people with speech and language disorders can provide windows into key aspects of human biology. Most genomic research into impaired speech development has so far focused on childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with coordinating rapid fine motor sequences that underlie proficient speech. In 2001, pathogenic variants of FOXP2 provided the first molecular genetic accounts of CAS aetiology. Since then, disruptions in several other genes have been implicated in CAS, with a substantial proportion of cases being explained by high-penetrance variants. However, the genetic architecture underlying other speech-related disorders remains less well understood. Thus, in the present study, we used systematic DNA sequencing methods to investigate idiopathic speech delay, as characterized by delayed speech development in the absence of a motor speech diagnosis (such as CAS), a language/reading disorder, or intellectual disability. We performed genome sequencing in a cohort of 23 children with a rigorous diagnosis of idiopathic speech delay. For roughly half of the sample (ten probands), sufficient DNA was also available for genome sequencing in both parents, allowing discovery of de novo variants. In the thirteen singleton probands, we focused on identifying loss-of-function and likely damaging missense variants in genes intolerant to such mutations. We found that one speech delay proband carried a pathogenic frameshift deletion in SETD1A, a gene previously implicated in a broader variable monogenic syndrome characterized by global developmental problems including delayed speech and/or language development, mild intellectual disability, facial dysmorphisms, and behavioural and psychiatric symptoms. Of note, pathogenic SETD1A variants have been independently reported in children with CAS in two separate studies. In other probands in our speech delay cohort, likely pathogenic missense variants were identified affecting highly conserved amino acids in key functional domains of SPTBN1 and ARF3. Overall, this study expands the phenotype spectrum associated with pathogenic SETD1A variants, to also include idiopathic speech delay without CAS or intellectual disability, and suggests additional novel potential candidate genes that may harbour high-penetrance variants that can disrupt speech development.

    Additional information

    supplemental table
  • Engelen, M. M., Franken, M.-C.-J.-P., Stipdonk, L. W., Horton, S. E., Jackson, V. E., Reilly, S., Morgan, A. T., Fisher, S. E., Van Dulmen, S., & Eising, E. (2024). The association between stuttering burden and psychosocial aspects of life in adults. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 67(5), 1385-1399. doi:10.1044/2024_JSLHR-23-00562.

    Abstract

    Purpose:
    Stuttering is a speech condition that can have a major impact on a person's quality of life. This descriptive study aimed to identify subgroups of people who stutter (PWS) based on stuttering burden and to investigate differences between these subgroups on psychosocial aspects of life.

    Method:
    The study included 618 adult participants who stutter. They completed a detailed survey examining stuttering symptomatology, impact of stuttering on anxiety, education and employment, experience of stuttering, and levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. A two-step cluster analytic procedure was performed to identify subgroups of PWS, based on self-report of stuttering frequency, severity, affect, and anxiety, four measures that together inform about stuttering burden.

    Results:
    We identified a high- (n = 230) and a low-burden subgroup (n = 372). The high-burden subgroup reported a significantly higher impact of stuttering on education and employment, and higher levels of general depression, anxiety, stress, and overall impact of stuttering. These participants also reported that they trialed more different stuttering therapies than those with lower burden.

    Conclusions:
    Our results emphasize the need to be attentive to the diverse experiences and needs of PWS, rather than treating them as a homogeneous group. Our findings also stress the importance of personalized therapeutic strategies for individuals with stuttering, considering all aspects that could influence their stuttering burden. People with high-burden stuttering might, for example, have a higher need for psychological therapy to reduce stuttering-related anxiety. People with less emotional reactions but severe speech distortions may also have a moderate to high burden, but they may have a higher need for speech techniques to communicate with more ease. Future research should give more insights into the therapeutic needs of people highly burdened by their stuttering.
  • Ge, R., Yu, Y., Qi, Y. X., Fan, Y.-n., Chen, S., Gao, C., Haas, S. S., New, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buckner, R., Caseras, X., Crivello, F., Crone, E. A., Erk, S., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Glahn, D. C., Dannlowski, U. Ge, R., Yu, Y., Qi, Y. X., Fan, Y.-n., Chen, S., Gao, C., Haas, S. S., New, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buckner, R., Caseras, X., Crivello, F., Crone, E. A., Erk, S., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Glahn, D. C., Dannlowski, U., Grotegerd, D., Gruber, O., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Schumann, G., Tamnes, C. K., Walter, H., Wierenga, L. M., Jahanshad, N., Thompson, P. M., Frangou, S., & ENIGMA Lifespan Working Group (2024). Normative modelling of brain morphometry across the lifespan with CentileBrain: Algorithm benchmarking and model optimisation. The Lancet Digital Health, 6(3), e211-e221. doi:10.1016/S2589-7500(23)00250-9.

    Abstract

    The value of normative models in research and clinical practice relies on their robustness and a systematic comparison of different modelling algorithms and parameters; however, this has not been done to date. We aimed to identify the optimal approach for normative modelling of brain morphometric data through systematic empirical benchmarking, by quantifying the accuracy of different algorithms and identifying parameters that optimised model performance. We developed this framework with regional morphometric data from 37 407 healthy individuals (53% female and 47% male; aged 3–90 years) from 87 datasets from Europe, Australia, the USA, South Africa, and east Asia following a comparative evaluation of eight algorithms and multiple covariate combinations pertaining to image acquisition and quality, parcellation software versions, global neuroimaging measures, and longitudinal stability. The multivariate fractional polynomial regression (MFPR) emerged as the preferred algorithm, optimised with non-linear polynomials for age and linear effects of global measures as covariates. The MFPR models showed excellent accuracy across the lifespan and within distinct age-bins and longitudinal stability over a 2-year period. The performance of all MFPR models plateaued at sample sizes exceeding 3000 study participants. This model can inform about the biological and behavioural implications of deviations from typical age-related neuroanatomical changes and support future study designs. The model and scripts described here are freely available through CentileBrain.
  • Fitz, H., Hagoort, P., & Petersson, K. M. (2024). Neurobiological causal models of language processing. Neurobiology of Language, 5(1), 225-247. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00133.

    Abstract

    The language faculty is physically realized in the neurobiological infrastructure of the human brain. Despite significant efforts, an integrated understanding of this system remains a formidable challenge. What is missing from most theoretical accounts is a specification of the neural mechanisms that implement language function. Computational models that have been put forward generally lack an explicit neurobiological foundation. We propose a neurobiologically informed causal modeling approach which offers a framework for how to bridge this gap. A neurobiological causal model is a mechanistic description of language processing that is grounded in, and constrained by, the characteristics of the neurobiological substrate. It intends to model the generators of language behavior at the level of implementational causality. We describe key features and neurobiological component parts from which causal models can be built and provide guidelines on how to implement them in model simulations. Then we outline how this approach can shed new light on the core computational machinery for language, the long-term storage of words in the mental lexicon and combinatorial processing in sentence comprehension. In contrast to cognitive theories of behavior, causal models are formulated in the “machine language” of neurobiology which is universal to human cognition. We argue that neurobiological causal modeling should be pursued in addition to existing approaches. Eventually, this approach will allow us to develop an explicit computational neurobiology of language.
  • He, J., Frances, C., Creemers, A., & Brehm, L. (2024). Effects of irrelevant unintelligible and intelligible background speech on spoken language production. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/17470218231219971.

    Abstract

    Earlier work has explored spoken word production during irrelevant background speech such as intelligible and unintelligible word lists. The present study compared how different types of irrelevant background speech (word lists vs. sentences) influenced spoken word production relative to a quiet control condition, and whether the influence depended on the intelligibility of the background speech. Experiment 1 presented native Dutch speakers with Chinese word lists and sentences. Experiment 2 presented a similar group with Dutch word lists and sentences. In both experiments, the lexical selection demands in speech production were manipulated by varying name agreement (high vs. low) of the to-be-named pictures. Results showed that background speech, regardless of its intelligibility, disrupted spoken word production relative to a quiet condition, but no effects of word lists versus sentences in either language were found. Moreover, the disruption by intelligible background speech compared with the quiet condition was eliminated when planning low name agreement pictures. These findings suggest that any speech, even unintelligible speech, interferes with production, which implies that the disruption of spoken word production is mainly phonological in nature. The disruption by intelligible background speech can be reduced or eliminated via top–down attentional engagement.
  • Frances, C. (2024). Good enough processing: What have we learned in the 20 years since Ferreira et al. (2002)? Frontiers in Psychology, 15: 1323700. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1323700.

    Abstract

    Traditionally, language processing has been thought of in terms of complete processing of the input. In contrast to this, Ferreira and colleagues put forth the idea of good enough processing. The proposal was that during everyday processing, ambiguities remain unresolved, we rely on heuristics instead of full analyses, and we carry out deep processing only if we need to for the task at hand. This idea has gathered substantial traction since its conception. In the current work, I review the papers that have tested the three key claims of good enough processing: ambiguities remain unresolved and underspecified, we use heuristics to parse sentences, and deep processing is only carried out if required by the task. I find mixed evidence for these claims and conclude with an appeal to further refinement of the claims and predictions of the theory.
  • Giglio, L., Ostarek, M., Sharoh, D., & Hagoort, P. (2024). Diverging neural dynamics for syntactic structure building in naturalistic speaking and listening. PNAS, 121(11): e2310766121. doi:10.1073/pnas.2310766121.

    Abstract

    The neural correlates of sentence production have been mostly studied with constraining task paradigms that introduce artificial task effects. In this study, we aimed to gain a better understanding of syntactic processing in spontaneous production vs. naturalistic comprehension. We extracted word-by-word metrics of phrase-structure building with top-down and bottom-up parsers that make different hypotheses about the timing of structure building. In comprehension, structure building proceeded in an integratory fashion and led to an increase in activity in posterior temporal and inferior frontal areas. In production, structure building was anticipatory and predicted an increase in activity in the inferior frontal gyrus. Newly developed production-specific parsers highlighted the anticipatory and incremental nature of structure building in production, which was confirmed by a converging analysis of the pausing patterns in speech. Overall, the results showed that the unfolding of syntactic processing diverges between speaking and listening.
  • Goltermann*, O., Alagöz*, G., Molz, B., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Neuroimaging genomics as a window into the evolution of human sulcal organization. Cerebral Cortex, 34(3): bhae078. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhae078.

    Abstract

    * Ole Goltermann and Gökberk Alagöz contributed equally.
    Primate brain evolution has involved prominent expansions of the cerebral cortex, with largest effects observed in the human lineage. Such expansions were accompanied by fine-grained anatomical alterations, including increased cortical folding. However, the molecular bases of evolutionary alterations in human sulcal organization are not yet well understood. Here, we integrated data from recently completed large-scale neuroimaging genetic analyses with annotations of the human genome relevant to various periods and events in our evolutionary history. These analyses identified single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) heritability enrichments in fetal brain human-gained enhancer (HGE) elements for a number of sulcal structures, including the central sulcus, which is implicated in human hand dexterity. We zeroed in on a genomic region that harbors DNA variants associated with left central sulcus shape, an HGE element, and genetic loci involved in neurogenesis including ZIC4, to illustrate the value of this approach for probing the complex factors contributing to human sulcal evolution.

    Additional information

    supplementary data link to preprint
  • González-Peñas, J., Alloza, C., Brouwer, R., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Costas, J., González-Lois, N., Gallego, A. G., De Hoyos, L., Gurriarán, X., Andreu-Bernabeu, Á., Romero-García, R., Fañanas, L., Bobes, J., Pinto, A. G., Crespo-Facorro, B., Martorell, L., Arrojo, M., Vilella, E., Guitiérrez-Zotes, A., Perez-Rando, M. González-Peñas, J., Alloza, C., Brouwer, R., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Costas, J., González-Lois, N., Gallego, A. G., De Hoyos, L., Gurriarán, X., Andreu-Bernabeu, Á., Romero-García, R., Fañanas, L., Bobes, J., Pinto, A. G., Crespo-Facorro, B., Martorell, L., Arrojo, M., Vilella, E., Guitiérrez-Zotes, A., Perez-Rando, M., Moltó, M. D., CIBERSAM group, Buimer, E., Van Haren, N., Cahn, W., O’Donovan, M., Kahn, R. S., Arango, C., Hulshoff Pol, H., Janssen, J., & Schnack, H. (2024). Accelerated cortical thinning in schizophrenia is associated with rare and common predisposing variation to schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders. Biological Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2024.03.011.

    Abstract

    Background

    Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder characterized by increased cortical thinning throughout the lifespan. Studies have reported a shared genetic basis between schizophrenia and cortical thickness. However, no genes whose expression is related to abnormal cortical thinning in schizophrenia have been identified.

    Methods

    We conducted linear mixed models to estimate the rates of accelerated cortical thinning across 68 regions from the Desikan-Killiany atlas in individuals with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls from a large longitudinal sample (NCases = 169 and NControls = 298, aged 16-70 years). We studied the correlation between gene expression data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas and accelerated thinning estimates across cortical regions. We finally explored the functional and genetic underpinnings of the genes most contributing to accelerated thinning.

    Results

    We described a global pattern of accelerated cortical thinning in individuals with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls. Genes underexpressed in cortical regions exhibiting this accelerated thinning were downregulated in several psychiatric disorders and were enriched for both common and rare disrupting variation for schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders. In contrast, none of these enrichments were observed for baseline cross-sectional cortical thickness differences.

    Conclusions

    Our findings suggest that accelerated cortical thinning, rather than cortical thickness alone, serves as an informative phenotype for neurodevelopmental disruptions in schizophrenia. We highlight the genetic and transcriptomic correlates of this accelerated cortical thinning, emphasizing the need for future longitudinal studies to elucidate the role of genetic variation and the temporal-spatial dynamics of gene expression in brain development and aging in schizophrenia.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Goral, M., Antolovic, K., Hejazi, Z., & Schulz, F. M. (2024). Using a translanguaging framework to examine language production in a trilingual person with aphasia. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/02699206.2024.2328240.

    Abstract

    When language abilities in aphasia are assessed in clinical and research settings, the standard practice is to examine each language of a multilingual person separately. But many multilingual individuals, with and without aphasia, mix their languages regularly when they communicate with other speakers who share their languages. We applied a novel approach to scoring language production of a multilingual person with aphasia. Our aim was to discover whether the assessment outcome would differ meaningfully when we count accurate responses in only the target language of the assessment session versus when we apply a translanguaging framework, that is, count all accurate responses, regardless of the language in which they were produced. The participant is a Farsi-German-English speaking woman with chronic moderate aphasia. We examined the participant’s performance on two picture-naming tasks, an answering wh-question task, and an elicited narrative task. The results demonstrated that scores in English, the participant’s third-learned and least-impaired language did not differ between the two scoring methods. Performance in German, the participant’s moderately impaired second language benefited from translanguaging-based scoring across the board. In Farsi, her weakest language post-CVA, the participant’s scores were higher under the translanguaging-based scoring approach in some but not all of the tasks. Our findings suggest that whether a translanguaging-based scoring makes a difference in the results obtained depends on relative language abilities and on pragmatic constraints, with additional influence of the linguistic distances between the languages in question.
  • Guzmán Chacón, E., Ovando-Tellez, M., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., & Forkel, S. J. (2024). Embracing digital innovation in neuroscience: 2023 in review at NEUROCCINO. Brain Structure & Function, 229, 251-255. doi:10.1007/s00429-024-02768-6.
  • Hagoort, P., & Özyürek, A. (2024). Extending the architecture of language from a multimodal perspective. Topics in Cognitive Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/tops.12728.

    Abstract

    Language is inherently multimodal. In spoken languages, combined spoken and visual signals (e.g., co-speech gestures) are an integral part of linguistic structure and language representation. This requires an extension of the parallel architecture, which needs to include the visual signals concomitant to speech. We present the evidence for the multimodality of language. In addition, we propose that distributional semantics might provide a format for integrating speech and co-speech gestures in a common semantic representation.
  • Heim, F., Scharff, C., Fisher, S. E., Riebel, K., & Ten Cate, C. (2024). Auditory discrimination learning and acoustic cue weighing in female zebra finches with localized FoxP1 knockdowns. Journal of Neurophysiology, 131, 950-963. doi:10.1152/jn.00228.2023.

    Abstract

    Rare disruptions of the transcription factor FOXP1 are implicated in a human neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by autism and/or intellectual disability with prominent problems in speech and language abilities. Avian orthologues of this transcription factor are evolutionarily conserved and highly expressed in specific regions of songbird brains, including areas associated with vocal production learning and auditory perception. Here, we investigated possible contributions of FoxP1 to song discrimination and auditory perception in juvenile and adult female zebra finches. They received lentiviral knockdowns of FoxP1 in one of two brain areas involved in auditory stimulus processing, HVC (proper name) or CMM (caudomedial mesopallium). Ninety-six females, distributed over different experimental and control groups were trained to discriminate between two stimulus songs in an operant Go/Nogo paradigm and subsequently tested with an array of stimuli. This made it possible to assess how well they recognized and categorized altered versions of training stimuli and whether localized FoxP1 knockdowns affected the role of different features during discrimination and categorization of song. Although FoxP1 expression was significantly reduced by the knockdowns, neither discrimination of the stimulus songs nor categorization of songs modified in pitch, sequential order of syllables or by reversed playback were affected. Subsequently, we analyzed the full dataset to assess the impact of the different stimulus manipulations for cue weighing in song discrimination. Our findings show that zebra finches rely on multiple parameters for song discrimination, but with relatively more prominent roles for spectral parameters and syllable sequencing as cues for song discrimination.

    NEW & NOTEWORTHY In humans, mutations of the transcription factor FoxP1 are implicated in speech and language problems. In songbirds, FoxP1 has been linked to male song learning and female preference strength. We found that FoxP1 knockdowns in female HVC and caudomedial mesopallium (CMM) did not alter song discrimination or categorization based on spectral and temporal information. However, this large dataset allowed to validate different cue weights for spectral over temporal information for song recognition.
  • Hintz, F., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2024). Using psychometric network analysis to examine the components of spoken word recognition. Journal of Cognition, 7(1): 10. doi:10.5334/joc.340.

    Abstract

    Using language requires access to domain-specific linguistic representations, but also draws on domain-general cognitive skills. A key issue in current psycholinguistics is to situate linguistic processing in the network of human cognitive abilities. Here, we focused on spoken word recognition and used an individual differences approach to examine the links of scores in word recognition tasks with scores on tasks capturing effects of linguistic experience, general processing speed, working memory, and non-verbal reasoning. 281 young native speakers of Dutch completed an extensive test battery assessing these cognitive skills. We used psychometric network analysis to map out the direct links between the scores, that is, the unique variance between pairs of scores, controlling for variance shared with the other scores. The analysis revealed direct links between word recognition skills and processing speed. We discuss the implications of these results and the potential of psychometric network analysis for studying language processing and its embedding in the broader cognitive system.

    Additional information

    network analysis of dataset A and B
  • Hintz, F., Shkaravska, O., Dijkhuis, M., Van 't Hoff, V., Huijsmans, M., Van Dongen, R. C., Voeteé, L. A., Trilsbeek, P., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2024). IDLaS-NL – A platform for running customized studies on individual differences in Dutch language skills via the internet. Behavior Research Methods, 56(3), 2422-2436. doi:10.3758/s13428-023-02156-8.

    Abstract

    We introduce the Individual Differences in Language Skills (IDLaS-NL) web platform, which enables users to run studies on individual differences in Dutch language skills via the internet. IDLaS-NL consists of 35 behavioral tests, previously validated in participants aged between 18 and 30 years. The platform provides an intuitive graphical interface for users to select the tests they wish to include in their research, to divide these tests into different sessions and to determine their order. Moreover, for standardized administration the platform
    provides an application (an emulated browser) wherein the tests are run. Results can be retrieved by mouse click in the graphical interface and are provided as CSV-file output via email. Similarly, the graphical interface enables researchers to modify and delete their study configurations. IDLaS-NL is intended for researchers, clinicians, educators and in general anyone conducting fundaental research into language and general cognitive skills; it is not intended for diagnostic purposes. All platform services are free of charge. Here, we provide a
    description of its workings as well as instructions for using the platform. The IDLaS-NL platform can be accessed at www.mpi.nl/idlas-nl.
  • Hintz, F., & Meyer, A. S. (Eds.). (2024). Individual differences in language skills [Special Issue]. Journal of Cognition, 7(1).
  • Hope, T. M. H., Neville, D., Talozzi, L., Foulon, C., Forkel, S. J., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., & Price, C. J. (2024). Testing the disconnectome symptom discoverer model on out-of-sample post-stroke language outcomes. Brain, 147(2), e11-e13. doi:10.1093/brain/awad352.

    Abstract

    Stroke is common, and its consequent brain damage can cause various cognitive impairments. Associations between where and how much brain lesion damage a patient has suffered, and the particular impairments that injury has caused (lesion-symptom associations) offer potentially compelling insights into how the brain implements cognition.1 A better understanding of those associations can also fill a gap in current stroke medicine by helping us to predict how individual patients might recover from post-stroke impairments.2 Most recent work in this area employs machine learning models trained with data from stroke patients whose mid-to-long-term outcomes are known.2-4 These machine learning models are tested by predicting new outcomes—typically scores on standardized tests of post-stroke impairment—for patients whose data were not used to train the model. Traditionally, these validation results have been shared in peer-reviewed publications describing the model and its training. But recently, and for the first time in this field (as far as we know), one of these pre-trained models has been made public—The Disconnectome Symptom Discoverer model (DSD) which draws its predictors from structural disconnection information inferred from stroke patients’ brain MRI.5

    Here, we test the DSD model on wholly independent data, never seen by the model authors, before they published it. Specifically, we test whether its predictive performance is just as accurate as (i.e. not significantly worse than) that reported in the original (Washington University) dataset, when predicting new patients’ outcomes at a similar time post-stroke (∼1 year post-stroke) and also in another independent sample tested later (5+ years) post-stroke. A failure to generalize the DSD model occurs if it performs significantly better in the Washington data than in our data from patients tested at a similar time point (∼1 year post-stroke). In addition, a significant decrease in predictive performance for the more chronic sample would be evidence that lesion-symptom associations differ at ∼1 year post-stroke and >5 years post-stroke.
  • De Hoyos, L., Barendse, M. T., Schlag, F., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Klassmann, A., Buitelaar, J., Verhulst, B., Fisher, S. E., Rai, D., & St Pourcain, B. (2024). Structural models of genome-wide covariance identify multiple common dimensions in autism. Nature Communications, 15: 1770. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-46128-8.

    Abstract

    Common genetic variation has been associated with multiple symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, our knowledge of shared genetic factor structures contributing to this highly heterogeneous neurodevelopmental condition is limited. Here, we developed a structural equation modelling framework to directly model genome-wide covariance across core and non-core ASD phenotypes, studying autistic individuals of European descent using a case-only design. We identified three independent genetic factors most strongly linked to language/cognition, behaviour and motor development, respectively, when studying a population-representative sample (N=5,331). These analyses revealed novel associations. For example, developmental delay in acquiring personal-social skills was inversely related to language, while developmental motor delay was linked to self-injurious behaviour. We largely confirmed the three-factorial structure in independent ASD-simplex families (N=1,946), but uncovered simplex-specific genetic overlap between behaviour and language phenotypes. Thus, the common genetic architecture in ASD is multi-dimensional and contributes, in combination with ascertainment-specific patterns, to phenotypic heterogeneity.
  • Huettig, F., & Hulstijn, J. (2024). The Enhanced Literate Mind Hypothesis. Topics in Cognitive Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/tops.12731.

    Abstract

    In the present paper we describe the Enhanced Literate Mind (ELM) hypothesis. As individuals learn to read and write, they are, from then on, exposed to extensive written-language input and become literate. We propose that acquisition and proficient processing of written language (‘literacy’) leads to, both, increased language knowledge as well as enhanced language and non-language (perceptual and cognitive) skills. We also suggest that all neurotypical native language users, including illiterate, low literate, and high literate individuals, share a Basic Language Cognition (BLC) in the domain of oral informal language. Finally, we discuss the possibility that the acquisition of ELM leads to some degree of ‘knowledge parallelism’ between BLC and ELM in literate language users, which has implications for empirical research on individual and situational differences in spoken language processing.
  • Jadoul, Y., De Boer, B., & Ravignani, A. (2024). Parselmouth for bioacoustics: Automated acoustic analysis in Python. Bioacoustics, 33(1), 1-19. doi:10.1080/09524622.2023.2259327.

    Abstract

    Bioacoustics increasingly relies on large datasets and computational methods. The need to batch-process large amounts of data and the increased focus on algorithmic processing require software tools. To optimally assist in a bioacoustician’s workflow, software tools need to be as simple and effective as possible. Five years ago, the Python package Parselmouth was released to provide easy and intuitive access to all functionality in the Praat software. Whereas Praat is principally designed for phonetics and speech processing, plenty of bioacoustics studies have used its advanced acoustic algorithms. Here, we evaluate existing usage of Parselmouth and discuss in detail several studies which used the software library. We argue that Parselmouth has the potential to be used even more in bioacoustics research, and suggest future directions to be pursued with the help of Parselmouth.
  • Kakimoto, N., Wongratwanich, P., Shimamoto, H., Kitisubkanchana, J., Tsujimoto, T., Shimabukuro, K., Verdonschot, R. G., Hasegawa, Y., & Murakami, S. (2024). Comparison of T2 values of the displaced unilateral disc and retrodiscal tissue of temporomandibular joints and their implications. Scientific Reports, 14: 1705. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-52092-6.

    Abstract

    Unilateral anterior disc displacement (uADD) has been shown to affect the contralateral joints qualitatively. This study aims to assess the quantitative T2 values of the articular disc and retrodiscal tissue of patients with uADD at 1.5 Tesla (T). The study included 65 uADD patients and 17 volunteers. The regions of interest on T2 maps were evaluated. The affected joints demonstrated significantly higher articular disc T2 values (31.5 ± 3.8 ms) than those of the unaffected joints (28.9 ± 4.5 ms) (P < 0.001). For retrodiscal tissue, T2 values of the unaffected (37.8 ± 5.8 ms) and affected joints (41.6 ± 7.1 ms) were significantly longer than those of normal volunteers (34.4 ± 3.2 ms) (P < 0.001). Furthermore, uADD without reduction (WOR) joints (43.3 ± 6.8 ms) showed statistically higher T2 values than the unaffected joints of both uADD with reduction (WR) (33.9 ± 3.8 ms) and uADDWOR (38.9 ± 5.8 ms), and the affected joints of uADDWR (35.8 ± 4.4 ms). The mean T2 value of the unaffected joints of uADDWOR was significantly longer than that of healthy volunteers (P < 0.001). These results provided quantitative evidence for the influence of the affected joints on the contralateral joints.
  • Karaca, F., Brouwer, S., Unsworth, S., & Huettig, F. (2024). Morphosyntactic predictive processing in adult heritage speakers: Effects of cue availability and spoken and written language experience. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 39(1), 118-135. doi:10.1080/23273798.2023.2254424.

    Abstract

    We investigated prediction skills of adult heritage speakers and the role of written and spoken language experience on predictive processing. Using visual world eye-tracking, we focused on predictive use of case-marking cues in verb-medial and verb-final sentences in Turkish with adult Turkish heritage speakers (N = 25) and Turkish monolingual speakers (N = 24). Heritage speakers predicted in verb-medial sentences (when verb-semantic and case-marking cues were available), but not in verb-final sentences (when only case-marking cues were available) while monolinguals predicted in both. Prediction skills of heritage speakers were modulated by their spoken language experience in Turkish and written language experience in both languages. Overall, these results strongly suggest that verb-semantic information is needed to scaffold the use of morphosyntactic cues for prediction in heritage speakers. The findings also support the notion that both spoken and written language experience play an important role in predictive spoken language processing.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Peeters, D., Manhardt, F., Özyürek, A., & Ortega, G. (2024). Iconicity and gesture jointly facilitate learning of second language signs at first exposure in hearing non-signers. Language Learning. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/lang.12636.

    Abstract

    When learning a spoken second language (L2), words overlapping in form and meaning with one’s native language (L1) help break into the new language. When non-signing speakers learn a sign language as L2, such forms are absent because of the modality differences (L1:speech, L2:sign). In such cases, non-signing speakers might use iconic form-meaning mappings in signs or their own gestural experience as gateways into the to-be-acquired sign language. Here, we investigated how both these factors may contribute jointly to the acquisition of sign language vocabulary by hearing non-signers. Participants were presented with three types of sign in NGT (Sign Language of the Netherlands): arbitrary signs, iconic signs with high or low gesture overlap. Signs that were both iconic and highly overlapping with gestures boosted learning most at first exposure, and this effect remained the day after. Findings highlight the influence of modality-specific factors supporting the acquisition of a signed lexicon.
  • Karsan, Ç., Ocak, F., & Bulut, T. (2024). Characterization of speech and language phenotype in the 8p23.1 syndrome. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s00787-024-02448-0.

    Abstract

    The 8p23.1 duplication syndrome is a rare genetic condition with an estimated prevalence rate of 1 out of 58,000. Although the syndrome was associated with speech and language delays, a comprehensive assessment of speech and language functions has not been undertaken in this population. To address this issue, the present study reports rigorous speech and language, in addition to oral-facial and developmental, assessment of a 50-month-old Turkish-speaking boy who was diagnosed with the 8p23.1 duplication syndrome. Standardized tests of development, articulation and phonology, receptive and expressive language and a language sample analysis were administered to characterize speech and language skills in the patient. The language sample was obtained in an ecologically valid, free play and conversation context. The language sample was then analyzed and compared to a database of age-matched typically-developing children (n = 33) in terms of intelligibility, morphosyntax, semantics/vocabulary, discourse, verbal facility and percentage of errors at word and utterance levels. The results revealed mild to severe problems in articulation and phonology, receptive and expressive language skills, and morphosyntax (mean length of utterance in morphemes). Future research with larger sample sizes and employing detailed speech and language assessment is needed to delineate the speech and language profile in individuals with the 8p23.1 duplication syndrome, which will guide targeted speech and language interventions.
  • Kimmel, M., Schneider, S. M., & Fisher, V. J. (2024). "Introjecting" imagery: A process model of how minds and bodies are co-enacted. Language Sciences, 102: 101602. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2023.101602.

    Abstract

    Somatic practices frequently use imagery, typically via verbal instructions, to scaffold sensorimotor organization and experience, a phenomenon we term “introjection”. We argue that introjection is an imagery practice in which sensorimotor and conceptual aspects are co-orchestrated, suggesting the necessity of crosstalk between somatics, phenomenology, psychology, embodied-enactive cognition, and linguistic research on embodied simulation. We presently focus on the scarcely addressed details of the process necessary to enact instructions of a literal or metaphoric nature through the body. Based on vignettes from dance, Feldenkrais, and Taichi practice, we describe introjection as a complex form of processual sense-making, in which context-interpretive, mental, attentional and physical sub-processes recursively braid. Our analysis focuses on how mental and body-related processes progressively align, inform and augment each other. This dialectic requires emphasis on the active body, which implies that uni-directional models (concept ⇒ body) are inadequate and should be replaced by interactionist alternatives (concept ⇔ body). Furthermore, we emphasize that both the source image itself and the body are specifically conceptualized for the context through constructive operations, and both evolve through their interplay. At this level introjection employs representational operations that are embedded in enactive dynamics of a fully situated person.
  • Knol, M. J., Poot, R. A., Evans, T. E., Satizabal, C. L., Mishra, A., Sargurupremraj, M., Van der Auwera, S., Duperron, M.-G., Jian, X., Hostettler, I. C., Van Dam-Nolen, D. H. K., Lamballais, S., Pawlak, M. A., Lewis, C. E., Carrion Castillo, A., Van Erp, T. G. M., Reinbold, C. S., Shin, J., Sholz, M., Håberg, A. K. Knol, M. J., Poot, R. A., Evans, T. E., Satizabal, C. L., Mishra, A., Sargurupremraj, M., Van der Auwera, S., Duperron, M.-G., Jian, X., Hostettler, I. C., Van Dam-Nolen, D. H. K., Lamballais, S., Pawlak, M. A., Lewis, C. E., Carrion Castillo, A., Van Erp, T. G. M., Reinbold, C. S., Shin, J., Sholz, M., Håberg, A. K., Kämpe, A., Li, G. H. Y., Avinun, R., Atkins, J. R., Hsu, F.-C., Amod, A. R., Lam, M., Tsuchida, A., Teunissen, M. W. A., Aygün, N., Patel, Y., Liang, D., Beiser, A. S., Beyer, F., Bis, J. C., Bos, D., Bryan, R. N., Bülow, R., Caspers, S., Catheline, G., Cecil, C. A. M., Dalvie, S., Dartigues, J.-F., DeCarli, C., Enlund-Cerullo, M., Ford, J. M., Franke, B., Freedman, B. I., Friedrich, N., Green, M. J., Haworth, S., Helmer, C., Hoffmann, P., Homuth, G., Ikram, M. K., Jack, C. R., Jahanshad, N., Jockwitz, C., Kamatani, Y., Knodt, A. R., Li, S., Lim, K., Longstreth, W. T., Macciardi, F., The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium, The Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium, Mäkitie, O., Mazoyer, B., Medland, S. E., Miyamoto, S., Moebus, S., Mosley, T. H., Muetzel, R., Mühleisen, T. W., Nagata, M., Nakahara, S., Palmer, N. D., Pausova, Z., Preda, A., Quidé, Y., Reay, W. R., Roshchupkin, G. V., Schmidt, R., Schreiner, P. J., Setoh, K., Shapland, C. Y., Sidney, S., St Pourcain, B., Stein, J. L., Tabara, Y., Teumer, A., Uhlmann, A., Van de Lught, A., Vernooij, M. W., Werring, D. J., Windham, B. G., Witte, A. V., Wittfeld, K., Yang, Q., Yoshida, K., Brunner, H. G., Le Grand, Q., Sim, K., Stein, D. J., Bowden, D. W., Cairns, M. J., Hariri, A. R., Cheung, C.-L., Andersson, S., Villringer, A., Paus, T., Chichon, S., Calhoun, V. D., Crivello, F., Launer, L. J., White, T., Koudstaal, P. J., Houlden, H., Fornage, M., Matsuda, F., Grabe, H. J., Ikram, M. A., Debette, S., Thompson, P. M., Seshadri, S., & Adams, H. H. H. (2024). Genetic variants for head size share genes and pathways with cancer. Cell Reports Medicine. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.xcrm.2024.101529.

    Abstract

    The size of the human head is highly heritable, but genetic drivers of its variation within the general population remain unmapped. We perform a genome-wide association study on head size (N = 80,890) and identify 67 genetic loci, of which 50 are novel. Neuroimaging studies show that 17 variants affect specific brain areas, but most have widespread effects. Gene set enrichment is observed for various cancers and the p53, Wnt, and ErbB signaling pathways. Genes harboring lead variants are enriched for macrocephaly syndrome genes (37-fold) and high-fidelity cancer genes (9-fold), which is not seen for human height variants. Head size variants are also near genes preferentially expressed in intermediate progenitor cells, neural cells linked to evolutionary brain expansion. Our results indicate that genes regulating early brain and cranial growth incline to neoplasia later in life, irrespective of height. This warrants investigation of clinical implications of the link between head size and cancer.

    Additional information

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  • Kocsis, K., Düngen, D., Jadoul, Y., & Ravignani, A. (2024). Harbour seals use rhythmic percussive signalling in interaction and display. Animal Behaviour, 207, 223-234. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2023.09.014.

    Abstract

    Multimodal rhythmic signalling abounds across animal taxa. Studying its mechanisms and functions can highlight adaptive components in highly complex rhythmic behaviours, like dance and music. Pinnipeds, such as the harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, are excellent comparative models to assess rhythmic capacities. Harbour seals engage in rhythmic percussive behaviours which, until now, have not been described in detail. In our study, eight zoo-housed harbour seals (two pups, two juveniles and four adults) were passively monitored by audio and video during their pupping/breeding season. All juvenile and adult animals performed percussive signalling with their fore flippers in agonistic conditions, both on land and in water. Flipper slap sequences produced on the ground or on the seals' bodies were often highly regular in their interval duration, that is, were quasi-isochronous, at a 200–600 beats/min pace. Three animals also showed significant lateralization in slapping. In contrast to slapping on land, display slapping in water, performed only by adult males, showed slower tempo by one order of magnitude, and a rather motivic temporal structure. Our work highlights that percussive communication is a significant part of harbour seals' behavioural repertoire. We hypothesize that its forms of rhythm production may reflect adaptive functions such as regulating internal states and advertising individual traits.
  • Kram, L., Ohlerth, A.-K., Ille, S., Meyer, B., & Krieg, S. M. (2024). CompreTAP: Feasibility and reliability of a new language comprehension mapping task via preoperative navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cortex, 171, 347-369. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2023.09.023.

    Abstract

    Objective: Stimulation-based language mapping approaches that are used pre- and intra-operatively employ predominantly overt language tasks requiring sufficient language pro-duction abilities. Yet, these production-based setups are often not feasible in brain tumor patients with severe expressive aphasia. This pilot study evaluated the feasibility and reliability of a newly developed language comprehension task with preoperative navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS).
    Methods: Fifteen healthy subjects and six brain tumor patients with severe expressiven aphasia unable to perform classic overt naming tasks underwent preoperative nTMS language mapping based on an auditory single-word Comprehension TAsk for Perioperative mapping (CompreTAP). Comprehension was probed by button-press responses to auditory stimuli, hence not requiring overt language responses. Positive comprehension areas were identified when stimulation elicited an incorrect or delayed button press. Error categories,case-wise cortical error rate distribution and inter-rater reliability between two experienced specialists were examined.
    Results: Overall, the new setup showed to be feasible. Comprehension-disruptions induced by nTMS manifested in no responses, delayed or hesitant responses, searching behavior or selection of wrong target items across all patients and controls and could be performed even in patients with severe expressive aphasia. The analysis agreement between both specialists was substantial for classifying comprehension-positive and -negative sites. Extensive left-hemispheric individual cortical comprehension sites were identified for all patients. Apart from one case presenting with transient worsening of aphasic symptoms.
  • Kumarage, S., Donnelly, S., & Kidd, E. (2024). A meta-analysis of syntactic priming experiments in children. Journal of Memory and Language, 138: 104532. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2024.104532.

    Abstract

    A substantial literature exists using the syntactic priming methodology with children to test hypotheses regarding the acquisition of syntax, under the assumption that priming effects reveal both the presence of syntactic knowledge and the underlying nature of learning mechanisms supporting the acquisition of grammar. Here we present the first meta-analysis of syntactic priming studies in children. We identified 37 eligible studies and extracted 108 effect sizes corresponding to 76 samples of 2,378 unique participants. Our analysis confirmed a medium-to-large syntactic priming effect. The overall estimate of the priming effect was a log odds ratio of 1.44 (Cohen’s d = 0.80). This is equivalent to a structure that occurs 50 % of the time when unprimed occurring 81 % of the time when primed. Several variables moderated the magnitude of priming in children, including (i) within- or between-subjects design, (ii) lexical overlap, (iii) structural alternation investigated and, (iv) the animacy configuration of syntactic arguments. There was little evidence of publication bias in the size of the main priming effect, however, power analyses showed that, while studies typically have enough power to identify the basic priming effect, they are typically underpowered when their focus is on moderators of priming. The results provide a foundation for future research, suggesting several avenues of enquiry.
  • Lameira, A. R., Hardus, M. E., Ravignani, A., Raimondi, T., & Gamba, M. (2024). Recursive self-embedded vocal motifs in wild orangutans. eLife, 12: RP88348. doi:10.7554/eLife.88348.3.

    Abstract

    Recursive procedures that allow placing a vocal signal inside another of a similar kind provide a neuro-computational blueprint for syntax and phonology in spoken language and human song. There are, however, no known vocal sequences among nonhuman primates arranged in self-embedded patterns that evince vocal recursion or potential incipient or evolutionary transitional forms thereof, suggesting a neuro-cognitive transformation exclusive to humans. Here, we uncover that wild flanged male orangutan long calls feature rhythmically isochronous call sequences nested within isochronous call sequences, consistent with two hierarchical strata. Remarkably, three temporally and acoustically distinct call rhythms in the lower stratum were not related to the overarching rhythm at the higher stratum by any low multiples, which suggests that these recursive structures were neither the result of parallel non-hierarchical procedures nor anatomical artifacts of bodily constraints or resonances. Findings represent a case of temporally recursive hominid vocal combinatorics in the absence of syntax, semantics, phonology, or music. Second-order combinatorics, ‘sequences within sequences’, involving hierarchically organized and cyclically structured vocal sounds in ancient hominids may have preluded the evolution of recursion in modern language-able humans.
  • Leitner, C., D’Este, G., Verga, L., Rahayel, S., Mombelli, S., Sforza, M., Casoni, F., Zucconi, M., Ferini-Strambi, L., & Galbiati, A. (2024). Neuropsychological changes in isolated REM sleep behavior disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Neuropsychology Review, 34(1), 41-66. doi:10.1007/s11065-022-09572-1.

    Abstract

    The aim of this meta-analysis is twofold: (a) to assess cognitive impairments in isolated rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (iRBD) patients compared to healthy controls (HC); (b) to quantitatively estimate the risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease in iRBD patients according to baseline cognitive assessment. To address the first aim, cross-sectional studies including polysomnography-confirmed iRBD patients, HC, and reporting neuropsychological testing were included. To address the second aim, longitudinal studies including polysomnography-confirmed iRBD patients, reporting baseline neuropsychological testing for converted and still isolated patients separately were included. The literature search was conducted based on PRISMA guidelines and the protocol was registered at PROSPERO (CRD42021253427). Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were searched from PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Embase databases. Publication bias and statistical heterogeneity were assessed respectively by funnel plot asymmetry and using I2. Finally, a random-effect model was performed to pool the included studies. 75 cross-sectional (2,398 HC and 2,460 iRBD patients) and 11 longitudinal (495 iRBD patients) studies were selected. Cross-sectional studies showed that iRBD patients performed significantly worse in cognitive screening scores (random-effects (RE) model = –0.69), memory (RE model = –0.64), and executive function (RE model = –0.50) domains compared to HC. The survival analyses conducted for longitudinal studies revealed that lower executive function and language performance, as well as the presence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), at baseline were associated with an increased risk of conversion at follow-up. Our study underlines the importance of a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment in the context of iRBD.

    Additional information

    figure 1 tables
  • Leonetti, S., Cimarelli, G., Hersh, T. A., & Ravignani, A. (2024). Why do dogs wag their tails? Biology Letters, 20(1): 20230407. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2023.0407.

    Abstract

    Tail wagging is a conspicuous behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Despite how much meaning humans attribute to this display, its quantitative description and evolutionary history are rarely studied. We summarize what is known about the mechanism, ontogeny, function and evolution of this behaviour. We suggest two hypotheses to explain its increased occurrence and frequency in dogs compared to other canids. During the domestication process, enhanced rhythmic tail wagging behaviour could have (i) arisen as a by-product of selection for other traits, such as docility and tameness, or (ii) been directly selected by humans, due to our proclivity for rhythmic stimuli. We invite testing of these hypotheses through neurobiological and ethological experiments, which will shed light on one of the most readily observed yet understudied animal behaviours. Targeted tail wagging research can be a window into both canine ethology and the evolutionary history of characteristic human traits, such as our ability to perceive and produce rhythmic behaviours.
  • Levshina, N., Koptjevskaja-Tamm, M., & Östling, R. (2024). Revered and reviled: A sentiment analysis of female and male referents in three languages. Frontiers in Communication, 9: 1266407. doi:10.3389/fcomm.2024.1266407.

    Abstract

    Our study contributes to the less explored domain of lexical typology, focusing on semantic prosody and connotation. Semantic derogation, or pejoration of nouns referring to women, whereby such words acquire connotations and further denotations of social pejoration, immorality and/or loose sexuality, has been a very prominent question in studies on gender and language (change). It has been argued that pejoration emerges due to the general derogatory attitudes toward female referents. However, the evidence for systematic differences in connotations of female- vs. male-related words is fragmentary and often fairly impressionistic; moreover, many researchers argue that expressed sentiments toward women (as well as men) often are ambivalent. One should also expect gender differences in connotations to have decreased in the recent years, thanks to the advances of feminism and social progress. We test these ideas in a study of positive and negative connotations of feminine and masculine term pairs such as woman - man, girl - boy, wife - husband, etc. Sentences containing these words were sampled from diachronic corpora of English, Chinese and Russian, and sentiment scores for every word were obtained using two systems for Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis: PyABSA, and OpenAI’s large language model GPT-3.5. The Generalized Linear Mixed Models of our data provide no indications of significantly more negative sentiment toward female referents in comparison with their male counterparts. However, some of the models suggest that female referents are more infrequently associated with neutral sentiment than male ones. Neither do our data support the hypothesis of the diachronic convergence between the genders. In sum, results suggest that pejoration is unlikely to be explained simply by negative attitudes to female referents in general.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Loke*, J., Seijdel*, N., Snoek, L., Sorensen, L., Van de Klundert, R., Van der Meer, M., Quispel, E., Cappaert, N., & Scholte, H. S. (2024). Human visual cortex and deep convolutional neural network care deeply about object background. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(3), 551-566. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02098.

    Abstract

    * These authors contributed equally/shared first author
    Deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) are able to partially predict brain activity during object categorization tasks, but factors contributing to this predictive power are not fully understood. Our study aimed to investigate the factors contributing to the predictive power of DCNNs in object categorization tasks. We compared the activity of four DCNN architectures with EEG recordings obtained from 62 human participants during an object categorization task. Previous physiological studies on object categorization have highlighted the importance of figure-ground segregation—the ability to distinguish objects from their backgrounds. Therefore, we investigated whether figure-ground segregation could explain the predictive power of DCNNs. Using a stimulus set consisting of identical target objects embedded in different backgrounds, we examined the influence of object background versus object category within both EEG and DCNN activity. Crucially, the recombination of naturalistic objects and experimentally controlled backgrounds creates a challenging and naturalistic task, while retaining experimental control. Our results showed that early EEG activity (< 100 msec) and early DCNN layers represent object background rather than object category. We also found that the ability of DCNNs to predict EEG activity is primarily influenced by how both systems process object backgrounds, rather than object categories. We demonstrated the role of figure-ground segregation as a potential prerequisite for recognition of object features, by contrasting the activations of trained and untrained (i.e., random weights) DCNNs. These findings suggest that both human visual cortex and DCNNs prioritize the segregation of object backgrounds and target objects to perform object categorization. Altogether, our study provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying object categorization as we demonstrated that both human visual cortex and DCNNs care deeply about object background.

    Additional information

    link to preprint
  • Long, M., Rohde, H., Oraa Ali, M., & Rubio-Fernandez, P. (2024). The role of cognitive control and referential complexity on adults’ choice of referring expressions: Testing and expanding the referential complexity scale. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 50(1), 109-136. doi:10.1037/xlm0001273.

    Abstract

    This study aims to advance our understanding of the nature and source(s) of individual differences in pragmatic language behavior over the adult lifespan. Across four story continuation experiments, we probed adults’ (N = 496 participants, ages 18–82) choice of referential forms (i.e., names vs. pronouns to refer to the main character). Our manipulations were based on Fossard et al.’s (2018) scale of referential complexity which varies according to the visual properties of the scene: low complexity (one character), intermediate complexity (two characters of different genders), and high complexity (two characters of the same gender). Since pronouns signal topic continuity (i.e., that the discourse will continue to be about the same referent), the use of pronouns is expected to decrease as referential complexity increases. The choice of names versus pronouns, therefore, provides insight into participants’ perception of the topicality of a referent, and whether that varies by age and cognitive capacity. In Experiment 1, we used the scale to test the association between referential choice, aging, and cognition, identifying a link between older adults’ switching skills and optimal referential choice. In Experiments 2–4, we tested novel manipulations that could impact the scale and found both the timing of a competitor referent’s presence and emphasis placed on competitors modulated referential choice, leading us to refine the scale for future use. Collectively, Experiments 1–4 highlight what type of contextual information is prioritized at different ages, revealing older adults’ preserved sensitivity to (visual) scene complexity but reduced sensitivity to linguistic prominence cues, compared to younger adults.
  • Lutzenberger, H., Casillas, M., Fikkert, P., Crasborn, O., & De Vos, C. (2024). More than looks: Exploring methods to test phonological discrimination in the sign language Kata Kolok. Language Learning and Development. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/15475441.2023.2277472.

    Abstract

    The lack of diversity in the language sciences has increasingly been criticized as it holds the potential for producing flawed theories. Research on (i) geographically diverse language communities and (ii) on sign languages is necessary to corroborate, sharpen, and extend existing theories. This study contributes a case study of adapting a well-established paradigm to study the acquisition of sign phonology in Kata Kolok, a sign language of rural Bali, Indonesia. We conducted an experiment modeled after the familiarization paradigm with child signers of Kata Kolok. Traditional analyses of looking time did not yield significant differences between signing and non-signing children. Yet, additional behavioral analyses (attention, eye contact, hand behavior) suggest that children who are signers and those who are non-signers, as well as those who are hearing and those who are deaf, interact differently with the task. This study suggests limitations of the paradigm due to the ecology of sign languages and the sociocultural characteristics of the sample, calling for a mixed-methods approach. Ultimately, this paper aims to elucidate the diversity of adaptations necessary for experimental design, procedure, and analysis, and to offer a critical reflection on the contribution of similar efforts and the diversification of the field.
  • Mai, A., Riès, S., Ben-Haim, S., Shih, J. J., & Gentner, T. Q. (2024). Acoustic and language-specific sources for phonemic abstraction from speech. Nature Communications, 15: 677. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-44844-9.

    Abstract

    Spoken language comprehension requires abstraction of linguistic information from speech, but the interaction between auditory and linguistic processing of speech remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the nature of this abstraction using neural responses recorded intracranially while participants listened to conversational English speech. Capitalizing on multiple, language-specific patterns where phonological and acoustic information diverge, we demonstrate the causal efficacy of the phoneme as a unit of analysis and dissociate the unique contributions of phonemic and spectrographic information to neural responses. Quantitive higher-order response models also reveal that unique contributions of phonological information are carried in the covariance structure of the stimulus-response relationship. This suggests that linguistic abstraction is shaped by neurobiological mechanisms that involve integration across multiple spectro-temporal features and prior phonological information. These results link speech acoustics to phonology and morphosyntax, substantiating predictions about abstractness in linguistic theory and providing evidence for the acoustic features that support that abstraction.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Mazzini, S., Yadnik, S., Timmers, I., Rubio-Gozalbo, E., & Jansma, B. M. (2024). Altered neural oscillations in classical galactosaemia during sentence production. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/jimd.12740.

    Abstract

    Classical galactosaemia (CG) is a hereditary disease in galactose metabolism that despite dietary treatment is characterized by a wide range of cognitive deficits, among which is language production. CG brain functioning has been studied with several neuroimaging techniques, which revealed both structural and functional atypicalities. In the present study, for the first time, we compared the oscillatory dynamics, especially the power spectrum and time–frequency representations (TFR), in the electroencephalography (EEG) of CG patients and healthy controls while they were performing a language production task. Twenty-one CG patients and 19 healthy controls described animated scenes, either in full sentences or in words, indicating two levels of complexity in syntactic planning. Based on previous work on the P300 event related potential (ERP) and its relation with theta frequency, we hypothesized that the oscillatory activity of patients and controls would differ in theta power and TFR. With regard to behavior, reaction times showed that patients are slower, reflecting the language deficit. In the power spectrum, we observed significant higher power in patients in delta (1–3 Hz), theta (4–7 Hz), beta (15–30 Hz) and gamma (30–70 Hz) frequencies, but not in alpha (8–12 Hz), suggesting an atypical oscillatory profile. The time-frequency analysis revealed significantly weaker event-related theta synchronization (ERS) and alpha desynchronization (ERD) in patients in the sentence condition. The data support the hypothesis that CG language difficulties relate to theta–alpha brain oscillations.

    Additional information

    table S1 and S2
  • Meinhardt, E., Mai, A., Baković, E., & McCollum, A. (2024). Weak determinism and the computational consequences of interaction. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s11049-023-09578-1.

    Abstract

    Recent work has claimed that (non-tonal) phonological patterns are subregular (Heinz 2011a,b, 2018; Heinz and Idsardi 2013), occupying a delimited proper subregion of the regular functions—the weakly deterministic (WD) functions (Heinz and Lai 2013; Jardine 2016). Whether or not it is correct (McCollum et al. 2020a), this claim can only be properly assessed given a complete and accurate definition of WD functions. We propose such a definition in this article, patching unintended holes in Heinz and Lai’s (2013) original definition that we argue have led to the incorrect classification of some phonological patterns as WD. We start from the observation that WD patterns share a property that we call unbounded semiambience, modeled after the analogous observation by Jardine (2016) about non-deterministic (ND) patterns and their unbounded circumambience. Both ND and WD functions can be broken down into compositions of deterministic (subsequential) functions (Elgot and Mezei 1965; Heinz and Lai 2013) that read an input string from opposite directions; we show that WD functions are those for which these deterministic composands do not interact in a way that is familiar from the theoretical phonology literature. To underscore how this concept of interaction neatly separates the WD class of functions from the strictly more expressive ND class, we provide analyses of the vowel harmony patterns of two Eastern Nilotic languages, Maasai and Turkana, using bimachines, an automaton type that represents unbounded bidirectional dependencies explicitly. These analyses make clear that there is interaction between deterministic composands when (and only when) the output of a given input element of a string is simultaneously dependent on information from both the left and the right: ND functions are those that involve interaction, while WD functions are those that do not.
  • Menks, W. M., Ekerdt, C., Lemhöfer, K., Kidd, E., Fernández, G., McQueen, J. M., & Janzen, G. (2024). Developmental changes in brain activation during novel grammar learning in 8-25-year-olds. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 66: 101347. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2024.101347.

    Abstract

    While it is well established that grammar learning success varies with age, the cause of this developmental change is largely unknown. This study examined functional MRI activation across a broad developmental sample of 165 Dutch-speaking individuals (8-25 years) as they were implicitly learning a new grammatical system. This approach allowed us to assess the direct effects of age on grammar learning ability while exploring its neural correlates. In contrast to the alleged advantage of children language learners over adults, we found that adults outperformed children. Moreover, our behavioral data showed a sharp discontinuity in the relationship between age and grammar learning performance: there was a strong positive linear correlation between 8 and 15.4 years of age, after which age had no further effect. Neurally, our data indicate two important findings: (i) during grammar learning, adults and children activate similar brain regions, suggesting continuity in the neural networks that support initial grammar learning; and (ii) activation level is age-dependent, with children showing less activation than older participants. We suggest that these age-dependent processes may constrain developmental effects in grammar learning. The present study provides new insights into the neural basis of age-related differences in grammar learning in second language acquisition.

    Additional information

    supplement
  • Mickan, A., Slesareva, E., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2024). New in, old out: Does learning a new language make you forget previously learned foreign languages? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 77(3), 530-550. doi:10.1177/17470218231181380.

    Abstract

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that learning a new foreign language (FL) makes you forget previously learned FLs. To seek empirical evidence for this claim, we tested whether learning words in a previously unknown L3 hampers subsequent retrieval of their L2 translation equivalents. In two experiments, Dutch native speakers with knowledge of English (L2), but not Spanish (L3), first completed an English vocabulary test, based on which 46 participant-specific, known English words were chosen. Half of those were then learned in Spanish. Finally, participants’ memory for all 46 English words was probed again in a picture naming task. In Experiment 1, all tests took place within one session. In Experiment 2, we separated the English pre-test from Spanish learning by a day and manipulated the timing of the English post-test (immediately after learning vs. 1 day later). By separating the post-test from Spanish learning, we asked whether consolidation of the new Spanish words would increase their interference strength. We found significant main effects of interference in naming latencies and accuracy: Participants speeded up less and were less accurate to recall words in English for which they had learned Spanish translations, compared with words for which they had not. Consolidation time did not significantly affect these interference effects. Thus, learning a new language indeed comes at the cost of subsequent retrieval ability in other FLs. Such interference effects set in immediately after learning and do not need time to emerge, even when the other FL has been known for a long time.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Oblong, L. M., Soheili-Nezhad, S., Trevisan, N., Shi, Y., Beckmann, C. F., & Sprooten, E. (2024). Principal and independent genomic components of brain structure and function. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 23(1): e12876. doi:10.1111/gbb.12876.

    Abstract

    The highly polygenic and pleiotropic nature of behavioural traits, psychiatric disorders and structural and functional brain phenotypes complicate mechanistic interpretation of related genome-wide association study (GWAS) signals, thereby obscuring underlying causal biological processes. We propose genomic principal and independent component analysis (PCA, ICA) to decompose a large set of univariate GWAS statistics of multimodal brain traits into more interpretable latent genomic components. Here we introduce and evaluate this novel methods various analytic parameters and reproducibility across independent samples. Two UK Biobank GWAS summary statistic releases of 2240 imaging-derived phenotypes (IDPs) were retrieved. Genome-wide beta-values and their corresponding standard-error scaled z-values were decomposed using genomic PCA/ICA. We evaluated variance explained at multiple dimensions up to 200. We tested the inter-sample reproducibility of output of dimensions 5, 10, 25 and 50. Reproducibility statistics of the respective univariate GWAS served as benchmarks. Reproducibility of 10-dimensional PCs and ICs showed the best trade-off between model complexity and robustness and variance explained (PCs: |rz − max| = 0.33, |rraw − max| = 0.30; ICs: |rz − max| = 0.23, |rraw − max| = 0.19). Genomic PC and IC reproducibility improved substantially relative to mean univariate GWAS reproducibility up to dimension 10. Genomic components clustered along neuroimaging modalities. Our results indicate that genomic PCA and ICA decompose genetic effects on IDPs from GWAS statistics with high reproducibility by taking advantage of the inherent pleiotropic patterns. These findings encourage further applications of genomic PCA and ICA as fully data-driven methods to effectively reduce the dimensionality, enhance the signal to noise ratio and improve interpretability of high-dimensional multitrait genome-wide analyses.
  • Osiecka, A. N., Fearey, J., Ravignani, A., & Burchardt, L. (2024). Isochrony in barks of Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) pups and adults. Ecology and Evolution, 14(3): e11085. doi:10.1002/ece3.11085.

    Abstract

    Animal vocal communication often relies on call sequences. The temporal patterns of such sequences can be adjusted to other callers, follow complex rhythmic structures or exhibit a metronome-like pattern (i.e., isochronous). How regular are the temporal patterns in animal signals, and what influences their precision? If present, are rhythms already there early in ontogeny? Here, we describe an exploratory study of Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) barks—a vocalisation type produced across many pinniped species in rhythmic, percussive bouts. This study is the first quantitative description of barking in Cape fur seal pups. We analysed the rhythmic structures of spontaneous barking bouts of pups and adult females from the breeding colony in Cape Cross, Namibia. Barks of adult females exhibited isochrony, that is they were produced at fairly regular points in time. Instead, intervals between pup barks were more variable, that is skipping a bark in the isochronous series occasionally. In both age classes, beat precision, that is how well the barks followed a perfect template, was worse when barking at higher rates. Differences could be explained by physiological factors, such as respiration or arousal. Whether, and how, isochrony develops in this species remains an open question. This study provides evidence towards a rhythmic production of barks in Cape fur seal pups and lays the groundwork for future studies to investigate the development of rhythm using multidimensional metrics.
  • Ozaki, Y., Tierney, A., Pfordresher, P. Q., McBride, J., Benetos, E., Proutskova, P., Chiba, G., Liu, F., Jacoby, N., Purdy, S. C., Opondo, P., Fitch, W. T., Hegde, S., Rocamora, M., Thorne, R., Nweke, F., Sadaphal, D. P., Sadaphal, P. M., Hadavi, S., Fujii, S. Ozaki, Y., Tierney, A., Pfordresher, P. Q., McBride, J., Benetos, E., Proutskova, P., Chiba, G., Liu, F., Jacoby, N., Purdy, S. C., Opondo, P., Fitch, W. T., Hegde, S., Rocamora, M., Thorne, R., Nweke, F., Sadaphal, D. P., Sadaphal, P. M., Hadavi, S., Fujii, S., Choo, S., Naruse, M., Ehara, U., Sy, L., Parselelo, M. L., Anglada-Tort, M., Hansen, N. C., Haiduk, F., Færøvik, U., Magalhães, V., Krzyżanowski, W., Shcherbakova, O., Hereld, D., Barbosa, B. S., Correa Varella, M. A., Van Tongeren, M., Dessiatnitchenko, P., Zar Zar, S., El Kahla, I., Muslu, O., Troy, J., Lomsadze, T., Kurdova, D., Tsope, C., Fredriksson, D., Arabadjiev, A., Sarbah, J. P., Arhine, A., Meachair, T. Ó., Silva-Zurita, J., Soto-Silva, I., Millalonco, N. E. M., Ambrazevičius, R., Loui, P., Ravignani, A., Jadoul, Y., Larrouy-Maestri, P., Bruder, C., Teyxokawa, T. P., Kuikuro, U., Natsitsabui, R., Sagarzazu, N. B., Raviv, L., Zeng, M., Varnosfaderani, S. D., Gómez-Cañón, J. S., Kolff, K., Vanden Bos der Nederlanden, C., Chhatwal, M., David, R. M., I Putu Gede Setiawan, Lekakul, G., Borsan, V. N., Nguqu, N., & Savage, P. E. (2024). Globally, songs and instrumental melodies are slower, higher, and use more stable pitches than speech: A Registered Report. Science Advances, 10(20): eadm9797. doi:10.1126/sciadv.adm9797.

    Abstract

    Both music and language are found in all known human societies, yet no studies have compared similarities and differences between song, speech, and instrumental music on a global scale. In this Registered Report, we analyzed two global datasets: (i) 300 annotated audio recordings representing matched sets of traditional songs, recited lyrics, conversational speech, and instrumental melodies from our 75 coauthors speaking 55 languages; and (ii) 418 previously published adult-directed song and speech recordings from 209 individuals speaking 16 languages. Of our six preregistered predictions, five were strongly supported: Relative to speech, songs use (i) higher pitch, (ii) slower temporal rate, and (iii) more stable pitches, while both songs and speech used similar (iv) pitch interval size and (v) timbral brightness. Exploratory analyses suggest that features vary along a “musi-linguistic” continuum when including instrumental melodies and recited lyrics. Our study provides strong empirical evidence of cross-cultural regularities in music and speech.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Ozker, M., Yu, L., Dugan, P., Doyle, W., Friedman, D., Devinsky, O., & Flinker, A. (2024). Speech-induced suppression and vocal feedback sensitivity in human cortex. eLife, 13: RP94198. doi:10.7554/eLife.94198.1.

    Abstract

    Across the animal kingdom, neural responses in the auditory cortex are suppressed during vocalization, and humans are no exception. A common hypothesis is that suppression increases sensitivity to auditory feedback, enabling the detection of vocalization errors. This hypothesis has been previously confirmed in non-human primates, however a direct link between auditory suppression and sensitivity in human speech monitoring remains elusive. To address this issue, we obtained intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) recordings from 35 neurosurgical participants during speech production. We first characterized the detailed topography of auditory suppression, which varied across superior temporal gyrus (STG). Next, we performed a delayed auditory feedback (DAF) task to determine whether the suppressed sites were also sensitive to auditory feedback alterations. Indeed, overlapping sites showed enhanced responses to feedback, indicating sensitivity. Importantly, there was a strong correlation between the degree of auditory suppression and feedback sensitivity, suggesting suppression might be a key mechanism that underlies speech monitoring. Further, we found that when participants produced speech with simultaneous auditory feedback, posterior STG was selectively activated if participants were engaged in a DAF paradigm, suggesting that increased attentional load can modulate auditory feedback sensitivity.
  • Picciulin, M., Bolgan, M., & Burchardt, L. (2024). Rhythmic properties of Sciaena umbra calls across space and time in the Mediterranean Sea. PLOS ONE, 19(2): e0295589. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0295589.

    Abstract

    In animals, the rhythmical properties of calls are known to be shaped by physical constraints and the necessity of conveying information. As a consequence, investigating rhythmical properties in relation to different environmental conditions can help to shed light on the relationship between environment and species behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Sciaena umbra (fam. Sciaenidae) male fish emit reproductive calls characterized by a simple isochronous, i.e., metronome-like rhythm (the so-called R-pattern). Here, S. umbra R-pattern rhythm properties were assessed and compared between four different sites located along the Mediterranean basin (Mallorca, Venice, Trieste, Crete); furthermore, for one location, two datasets collected 10 years apart were available. Recording sites differed in habitat types, vessel density and acoustic richness; despite this, S. umbra R-calls were isochronous across all locations. A degree of variability was found only when considering the beat frequency, which was temporally stable, but spatially variable, with the beat frequency being faster in one of the sites (Venice). Statistically, the beat frequency was found to be dependent on the season (i.e. month of recording) and potentially influenced by the presence of soniferous competitors and human-generated underwater noise. Overall, the general consistency in the measured rhythmical properties (isochrony and beat frequency) suggests their nature as a fitness-related trait in the context of the S. umbra reproductive behavior and calls for further evaluation as a communicative cue.
  • Di Pisa, G., Pereira Soares, S. M., Rothman, J., & Marinis, T. (2024). Being a heritage speaker matters: the role of markedness in subject-verb person agreement in Italian. Frontiers in Psychology, 15: 1321614. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1321614.

    Abstract

    This study examines online processing and offline judgments of subject-verb person agreement with a focus on how this is impacted by markedness in heritage speakers (HSs) of Italian. To this end, 54 adult HSs living in Germany and 40 homeland Italian speakers completed a self-paced reading task (SPRT) and a grammaticality judgment task (GJT). Markedness was manipulated by probing agreement with both first-person (marked) and third-person (unmarked) subjects. Agreement was manipulated by crossing first-person marked subjects with third-person unmarked verbs and vice versa. Crucially, person violations with 1st person subjects (e.g., io *suona la chitarra “I plays-3rd-person the guitar”) yielded significantly shorter RTs in the SPRT and higher accuracy in the GJT than the opposite error type (e.g., il giornalista *esco spesso “the journalist go-1st-person out often”). This effect is consistent with the claim that when the first element in the dependency is marked (first person), the parser generates stronger predictions regarding upcoming agreeing elements. These results nicely align with work from the same populations investigating the impact of morphological markedness on grammatical gender agreement, suggesting that markedness impacts agreement similarly in two distinct grammatical domains and that sensitivity to markedness is more prevalent for HSs.

    Additional information

    di_pisa_etal_2024_sup.DOCX
  • Pizarro-Guevara, J. S., & Garcia, R. (2024). Philippine Psycholinguistics. Annual Review of Linguistics, 10, 145-167. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-031522-102844.

    Abstract

    Over the last decade, there has been a slow but steady accumulation of psycholinguistic research focusing on typologically diverse languages. In this review, we provide an overview of the psycholinguistic research on Philippine languages at the sentence level. We first discuss the grammatical features of these languages that figure prominently in existing research. We identify four linguistic domains that have received attention from language researchers and summarize the empirical terrain. We advance two claims that emerge across these different domains: (a) The agent-first pressure plays a central role in many of the findings, and (b) the generalization that the patient argument is the syntactically privileged argument cannot be reduced to frequency, but instead is an emergent phenomenon caused by the alignment of competing pressures toward an optimal candidate. We connect these language-specific claims to language-general theories of sentence processing.
  • Roos, N. M., Chauvet, J., & Piai, V. (2024). The Concise Language Paradigm (CLaP), a framework for studying the intersection of comprehension and production: Electrophysiological properties. Brain Structure and Function. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s00429-024-02801-8.

    Abstract

    Studies investigating language commonly isolate one modality or process, focusing on comprehension or production. Here, we present a framework for a paradigm that combines both: the Concise Language Paradigm (CLaP), tapping into comprehension and production within one trial. The trial structure is identical across conditions, presenting a sentence followed by a picture to be named. We tested 21 healthy speakers with EEG to examine three time periods during a trial (sentence, pre-picture interval, picture onset), yielding contrasts of sentence comprehension, contextually and visually guided word retrieval, object recognition, and naming. In the CLaP, sentences are presented auditorily (constrained, unconstrained, reversed), and pictures appear as normal (constrained, unconstrained, bare) or scrambled objects. Imaging results revealed different evoked responses after sentence onset for normal and time-reversed speech. Further, we replicated the context effect of alpha-beta power decreases before picture onset for constrained relative to unconstrained sentences, and could clarify that this effect arises from power decreases following constrained sentences. Brain responses locked to picture-onset differed as a function of sentence context and picture type (normal vs. scrambled), and naming times were fastest for pictures in constrained sentences, followed by scrambled picture naming, and equally fast for bare and unconstrained picture naming. Finally, we also discuss the potential of the CLaP to be adapted to different focuses, using different versions of the linguistic content and tasks, in combination with electrophysiology or other imaging methods. These first results of the CLaP indicate that this paradigm offers a promising framework to investigate the language system.
  • Rubianes, M., Drijvers, L., Muñoz, F., Jiménez-Ortega, L., Almeida-Rivera, T., Sánchez-García, J., Fondevila, S., Casado, P., & Martín-Loeches, M. (2024). The self-reference effect can modulate language syntactic processing even without explicit awareness: An electroencephalography study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(3), 460-474. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02104.

    Abstract

    Although it is well established that self-related information can rapidly capture our attention and bias cognitive functioning, whether this self-bias can affect language processing remains largely unknown. In addition, there is an ongoing debate as to the functional independence of language processes, notably regarding the syntactic domain. Hence, this study investigated the influence of self-related content on syntactic speech processing. Participants listened to sentences that could contain morphosyntactic anomalies while the masked face identity (self, friend, or unknown faces) was presented for 16 msec preceding the critical word. The language-related ERP components (left anterior negativity [LAN] and P600) appeared for all identity conditions. However, the largest LAN effect followed by a reduced P600 effect was observed for self-faces, whereas a larger LAN with no reduction of the P600 was found for friend faces compared with unknown faces. These data suggest that both early and late syntactic processes can be modulated by self-related content. In addition, alpha power was more suppressed over the left inferior frontal gyrus only when self-faces appeared before the critical word. This may reflect higher semantic demands concomitant to early syntactic operations (around 150–550 msec). Our data also provide further evidence of self-specific response, as reflected by the N250 component. Collectively, our results suggest that identity-related information is rapidly decoded from facial stimuli and may impact core linguistic processes, supporting an interactive view of syntactic processing. This study provides evidence that the self-reference effect can be extended to syntactic processing.
  • Rubio-Fernández, P. (2024). Cultural evolutionary pragmatics: Investigating the codevelopment and coevolution of language and social cognition. Psychological Review, 131(1), 18-35. doi:10.1037/rev0000423.

    Abstract

    Language and social cognition come together in communication, but their relation has been intensely contested. Here, I argue that these two distinctively human abilities are connected in a positive feedback loop, whereby the development of one cognitive skill boosts the development of the other. More specifically, I hypothesize that language and social cognition codevelop in ontogeny and coevolve in diachrony through the acquisition, mature use, and cultural evolution of reference systems (e.g., demonstratives: “this” vs. “that”; articles: “a” vs. “the”; pronouns: “I” vs. “you”). I propose to study the connection between reference systems and communicative social cognition across three parallel timescales—language acquisition, language use, and language change, as a new research program for cultural evolutionary pragmatics. Within that framework, I discuss the coevolution of language and communicative social cognition as cognitive gadgets, and introduce a new methodological approach to study how universals and cross-linguistic differences in reference systems may result in different developmental pathways to human social cognition.
  • Schijven, D., Soheili-Nezhad, S., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2024). Exome-wide analysis implicates rare protein-altering variants in human handedness. Nature Communications, 15: 2632. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-46277-w.

    Abstract

    Handedness is a manifestation of brain hemispheric specialization. Left-handedness occurs at increased rates in neurodevelopmental disorders. Genome-wide association studies have identified common genetic effects on handedness or brain asymmetry, which mostly involve variants outside protein-coding regions and may affect gene expression. Implicated genes include several that encode tubulins (microtubule components) or microtubule-associated proteins. Here we examine whether left-handedness is also influenced by rare coding variants (frequencies ≤ 1%), using exome data from 38,043 left-handed and 313,271 right-handed individuals from the UK Biobank. The beta-tubulin gene TUBB4B shows exome-wide significant association, with a rate of rare coding variants 2.7 times higher in left-handers than right-handers. The TUBB4B variants are mostly heterozygous missense changes, but include two frameshifts found only in left-handers. Other TUBB4B variants have been linked to sensorineural and/or ciliopathic disorders, but not the variants found here. Among genes previously implicated in autism or schizophrenia by exome screening, DSCAM and FOXP1 show evidence for rare coding variant association with left-handedness. The exome-wide heritability of left-handedness due to rare coding variants was 0.91%. This study reveals a role for rare, protein-altering variants in left-handedness, providing further evidence for the involvement of microtubules and disorder-relevant genes.
  • Seijdel, N., Schoffelen, J.-M., Hagoort, P., & Drijvers, L. (2024). Attention drives visual processing and audiovisual integration during multimodal communication. The Journal of Neuroscience, 44(10): e0870232023. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0870-23.2023.

    Abstract

    During communication in real-life settings, our brain often needs to integrate auditory and visual information, and at the same time actively focus on the relevant sources of information, while ignoring interference from irrelevant events. The interaction between integration and attention processes remains poorly understood. Here, we use rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate how attention affects auditory and visual information processing and integration, during multimodal communication. We presented human participants (male and female) with videos of an actress uttering action verbs (auditory; tagged at 58 Hz) accompanied by two movie clips of hand gestures on both sides of fixation (attended stimulus tagged at 65 Hz; unattended stimulus tagged at 63 Hz). Integration difficulty was manipulated by a lower-order auditory factor (clear/degraded speech) and a higher-order visual semantic factor (matching/mismatching gesture). We observed an enhanced neural response to the attended visual information during degraded speech compared to clear speech. For the unattended information, the neural response to mismatching gestures was enhanced compared to matching gestures. Furthermore, signal power at the intermodulation frequencies of the frequency tags, indexing non-linear signal interactions, was enhanced in left frontotemporal and frontal regions. Focusing on LIFG (Left Inferior Frontal Gyrus), this enhancement was specific for the attended information, for those trials that benefitted from integration with a matching gesture. Together, our results suggest that attention modulates audiovisual processing and interaction, depending on the congruence and quality of the sensory input.

    Additional information

    link to preprint
  • Sekine, K., & Özyürek, A. (2024). Children benefit from gestures to understand degraded speech but to a lesser extent than adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 14: 1305562. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1305562.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated to what extent children, compared to adults, benefit from gestures to disambiguate degraded speech by manipulating speech signals and manual modality. Dutch-speaking adults (N = 20) and 6- and 7-year-old children (N = 15) were presented with a series of video clips in which an actor produced a Dutch action verb with or without an accompanying iconic gesture. Participants were then asked to repeat what they had heard. The speech signal was either clear or altered into 4- or 8-band noise-vocoded speech. Children had more difficulty than adults in disambiguating degraded speech in the speech-only condition. However, when presented with both speech and gestures, children reached a comparable level of accuracy to that of adults in the degraded-speech-only condition. Furthermore, for adults, the enhancement of gestures was greater in the 4-band condition than in the 8-band condition, whereas children showed the opposite pattern. Gestures help children to disambiguate degraded speech, but children need more phonological information than adults to benefit from use of gestures. Children’s multimodal language integration needs to further develop to adapt flexibly to challenging situations such as degraded speech, as tested in our study, or instances where speech is heard with environmental noise or through a face mask.

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Severijnen, G. G. A., Bosker, H. R., & McQueen, J. M. (2024). Your “VOORnaam” is not my “VOORnaam”: An acoustic analysis of individual talker differences in word stress in Dutch. Journal of Phonetics, 103: 101296. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2024.101296.

    Abstract

    Different talkers speak differently, even within the same homogeneous group. These differences lead to acoustic variability in speech, causing challenges for correct perception of the intended message. Because previous descriptions of this acoustic variability have focused mostly on segments, talker variability in prosodic structures is not yet well documented. The present study therefore examined acoustic between-talker variability in word stress in Dutch. We recorded 40 native Dutch talkers from a participant sample with minimal dialectal variation and balanced gender, producing segmentally overlapping words (e.g., VOORnaam vs. voorNAAM; ‘first name’ vs. ‘respectable’, capitalization indicates lexical stress), and measured different acoustic cues to stress. Each individual participant’s acoustic measurements were analyzed using Linear Discriminant Analyses, which provide coefficients for each cue, reflecting the strength of each cue in a talker’s productions. On average, talkers primarily used mean F0, intensity, and duration. Moreover, each participant also employed a unique combination of cues, illustrating large prosodic variability between talkers. In fact, classes of cue-weighting tendencies emerged, differing in which cue was used as the main cue. These results offer the most comprehensive acoustic description, to date, of word stress in Dutch, and illustrate that large prosodic variability is present between individual talkers.
  • Shan, W., Zhang, Y., Zhao, J., Wu, S., Zhao, L., Ip, P., Tucker, J. D., & Jiang, F. (2024). Positive parent–child interactions moderate certain maltreatment effects on psychosocial well-being in 6-year-old children. Pediatric Research, 95, 802-808. doi:10.1038/s41390-023-02842-5.

    Abstract

    Background: Positive parental interactions may buffer maltreated children from poor psychosocial outcomes. The study aims to evaluate the associations between various types of maltreatment and psychosocial outcomes in early childhood, and examine the moderating effect of positive parent-child interactions on them.

    Methods: Data were from a representative Chinese 6-year-old children sample (n = 17,088). Caregivers reported the history of child maltreatment perpetrated by any individuals, completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire as a proxy for psychosocial well-being, and reported the frequency of their interactions with children by the Chinese Parent-Child Interaction Scale.

    Results: Physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse were all associated with higher odds of psychosocial problems (aOR = 1.90 [95% CI: 1.57-2.29], aOR = 1.92 [95% CI: 1.75-2.10], aOR = 1.64 [95% CI: 1.17-2.30], aOR = 2.03 [95% CI: 1.30-3.17]). Positive parent-child interactions were associated with lower odds of psychosocial problems after accounting for different types of maltreatment. The moderating effect of frequent parent-child interactions was found only in the association between occasional only physical abuse and psychosocial outcomes (interaction term: aOR = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.15-0.77).

    Conclusions: Maltreatment and positive parent-child interactions have impacts on psychosocial well-being in early childhood. Positive parent-child interactions could only buffer the adverse effect of occasional physical abuse on psychosocial outcomes. More frequent parent-child interactions may be an important intervention opportunity among some children.

    Impact: It provides the first data on the prevalence of different single types and combinations of maltreatment in early childhood in Shanghai, China by drawing on a city-level population-representative sample. It adds to evidence that different forms and degrees of maltreatment were all associated with a higher risk of psychosocial problems in early childhood. Among them, sexual abuse posed the highest risk, followed by emotional abuse. It innovatively found that higher frequencies of parent-child interactions may provide buffering effects only to children who are exposed to occasional physical abuse. It provides a potential intervention opportunity, especially for physically abused children.
  • Silverstein, P., Bergmann, C., & Syed, M. (Eds.). (2024). Open science and metascience in developmental psychology [Special Issue]. Infant and Child Development, 33(1).
  • Silverstein, P., Bergmann, C., & Syed, M. (2024). Open science and metascience in developmental psychology: Introduction to the special issue. Infant and Child Development, 33(1): e2495. doi:10.1002/icd.2495.
  • Slonimska, A. (2024). The role of iconicity and simultaneity in efficient communication in the visual modality: Evidence from LIS (Italian Sign Language) [Dissertation Abstract]. Sign Language & Linguistics. Advance online publication. doi:10.1075/sll.00084.slo.
  • Soheili-Nezhad, S., Ibáñez-Solé, O., Izeta, A., Hoeijmakers, J. H. J., & Stoeger, T. (2024). Time is ticking faster for long genes in aging. Trends in Genetics, 40(4), 299-312. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2024.01.009.

    Abstract

    Recent studies of aging organisms have identified a systematic phenomenon, characterized by a negative correlation between gene length and their expression in various cell types, species, and diseases. We term this phenomenon gene-length-dependent transcription decline (GLTD) and suggest that it may represent a bottleneck in the transcription machinery and thereby significantly contribute to aging as an etiological factor. We review potential links between GLTD and key aging processes such as DNA damage and explore their potential in identifying disease modification targets. Notably, in Alzheimer’s disease, GLTD spotlights extremely long synaptic genes at chromosomal fragile sites (CFSs) and their vulnerability to postmitotic DNA damage. We suggest that GLTD is an integral element of biological aging.
  • Stivers, T., Chalfoun, A., & Rossi, G. (2024). To err is human but to persist is diabolical: Toward a theory of interactional policing. Frontiers in Sociology: Sociological Theory, 9: 1369776. doi:10.3389/fsoc.2024.1369776.

    Abstract

    Social interaction is organized around norms and preferences that guide our construction of actions and our interpretation of those of others, creating a reflexive moral order. Sociological theory suggests two possibilities for the type of moral order that underlies the policing of interactional norm and preference violations: a morality that focuses on the nature of violations themselves and a morality that focuses on the positioning of actors as they maintain their conduct comprehensible, even when they depart from norms and preferences. We find that actors are more likely to reproach interactional violations for which an account is not provided by the transgressor, and that actors weakly reproach or let pass first offenses while more strongly policing violators who persist in bad behavior. Based on these findings, we outline a theory of interactional policing that rests not on the nature of the violation but rather on actors' moral positioning.
  • Takashima, A., Carota, F., Schoots, V., Redmann, A., Jehee, J., & Indefrey, P. (2024). Tomatoes are red: The perception of achromatic objects elicits retrieval of associated color knowledge. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(1), 24-45. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02068.

    Abstract

    When preparing to name an object, semantic knowledge about the object and its attributes is activated, including perceptual properties. It is unclear, however, whether semantic attribute activation contributes to lexical access or is a consequence of activating a concept irrespective of whether that concept is to be named or not. In this study, we measured neural responses using fMRI while participants named objects that are typically green or red, presented in black line drawings. Furthermore, participants underwent two other tasks with the same objects, color naming and semantic judgment, to see if the activation pattern we observe during picture naming is (a) similar to that of a task that requires accessing the color attribute and (b) distinct from that of a task that requires accessing the concept but not its name or color. We used representational similarity analysis to detect brain areas that show similar patterns within the same color category, but show different patterns across the two color categories. In all three tasks, activation in the bilateral fusiform gyri (“Human V4”) correlated with a representational model encoding the red–green distinction weighted by the importance of color feature for the different objects. This result suggests that when seeing objects whose color attribute is highly diagnostic, color knowledge about the objects is retrieved irrespective of whether the color or the object itself have to be named.
  • Tamaoka, K., Yu, S., Zhang, J., Otsuka, Y., Lim, H., Koizumi, M., & Verdonschot, R. G. (2024). Syntactic structures in motion: Investigating word order variations in verb-final (Korean) and verb-initial (Tongan) languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 15: 1360191. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1360191.

    Abstract

    This study explored sentence processing in two typologically distinct languages: Korean, a verb-final language, and Tongan, a verb-initial language. The first experiment revealed that in Korean, sentences arranged in the scrambled OSV (Object, Subject, Verb) order were processed more slowly than those in the canonical SOV order, highlighting a scrambling effect. It also found that sentences with subject topicalization in the SOV order were processed as swiftly as those in the canonical form, whereas sentences with object topicalization in the OSV order were processed with speeds and accuracy comparable to scrambled sentences. However, since topicalization and scrambling in Korean use the same OSV order, independently distinguishing the effects of topicalization is challenging. In contrast, Tongan allows for a clear separation of word orders for topicalization and scrambling, facilitating an independent evaluation of topicalization effects. The second experiment, employing a maze task, confirmed that Tongan’s canonical VSO order was processed more efficiently than the VOS scrambled order, thereby verifying a scrambling effect. The third experiment investigated the effects of both scrambling and topicalization in Tongan, finding that the canonical VSO order was processed most efficiently in terms of speed and accuracy, unlike the VOS scrambled and SVO topicalized orders. Notably, the OVS object-topicalized order was processed as efficiently as the VSO canonical order, while the SVO subject-topicalized order was slower than VSO but faster than VOS. By independently assessing the effects of topicalization apart from scrambling, this study demonstrates that both subject and object topicalization in Tongan facilitate sentence processing, contradicting the predictions based on movement-based anticipation.

    Additional information

    appendix 1-3
  • Ten Oever, S., & Martin, A. E. (2024). Interdependence of “what” and “when” in the brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(1), 167-186. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02067.

    Abstract

    From a brain's-eye-view, when a stimulus occurs and what it is are interrelated aspects of interpreting the perceptual world. Yet in practice, the putative perceptual inferences about sensory content and timing are often dichotomized and not investigated as an integrated process. We here argue that neural temporal dynamics can influence what is perceived, and in turn, stimulus content can influence the time at which perception is achieved. This computational principle results from the highly interdependent relationship of what and when in the environment. Both brain processes and perceptual events display strong temporal variability that is not always modeled; we argue that understanding—and, minimally, modeling—this temporal variability is key for theories of how the brain generates unified and consistent neural representations and that we ignore temporal variability in our analysis practice at the peril of both data interpretation and theory-building. Here, we review what and when interactions in the brain, demonstrate via simulations how temporal variability can result in misguided interpretations and conclusions, and outline how to integrate and synthesize what and when in theories and models of brain computation.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2024). Hand gestures have predictive potential during conversation: An investigation of the timing of gestures in relation to speech. Cognitive Science, 48(1): e13407. doi:10.1111/cogs.13407.

    Abstract

    During face-to-face conversation, transitions between speaker turns are incredibly fast. These fast turn exchanges seem to involve next speakers predicting upcoming semantic information, such that next turn planning can begin before a current turn is complete. Given that face-to-face conversation also involves the use of communicative bodily signals, an important question is how bodily signals such as co-speech hand gestures play into these processes of prediction and fast responding. In this corpus study, we found that hand gestures that depict or refer to semantic information started before the corresponding information in speech, which held both for the onset of the gesture as a whole, as well as the onset of the stroke (the most meaningful part of the gesture). This early timing potentially allows listeners to use the gestural information to predict the corresponding semantic information to be conveyed in speech. Moreover, we provided further evidence that questions with gestures got faster responses than questions without gestures. However, we found no evidence for the idea that how much a gesture precedes its lexical affiliate (i.e., its predictive potential) relates to how fast responses were given. The findings presented here highlight the importance of the temporal relation between speech and gesture and help to illuminate the potential mechanisms underpinning multimodal language processing during face-to-face conversation.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Levinson, S. C., Van Otterdijk, L., Kühn, M., & Holler, J. (2024). Visual bodily signals and conversational context benefit the anticipation of turn ends. Cognition, 248: 105806. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2024.105806.

    Abstract

    The typical pattern of alternating turns in conversation seems trivial at first sight. But a closer look quickly reveals the cognitive challenges involved, with much of it resulting from the fast-paced nature of conversation. One core ingredient to turn coordination is the anticipation of upcoming turn ends so as to be able to ready oneself for providing the next contribution. Across two experiments, we investigated two variables inherent to face-to-face conversation, the presence of visual bodily signals and preceding discourse context, in terms of their contribution to turn end anticipation. In a reaction time paradigm, participants anticipated conversational turn ends better when seeing the speaker and their visual bodily signals than when they did not, especially so for longer turns. Likewise, participants were better able to anticipate turn ends when they had access to the preceding discourse context than when they did not, and especially so for longer turns. Critically, the two variables did not interact, showing that visual bodily signals retain their influence even in the context of preceding discourse. In a pre-registered follow-up experiment, we manipulated the visibility of the speaker's head, eyes and upper body (i.e. torso + arms). Participants were better able to anticipate turn ends when the speaker's upper body was visible, suggesting a role for manual gestures in turn end anticipation. Together, these findings show that seeing the speaker during conversation may critically facilitate turn coordination in interaction.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2024). Gestures speed up responses to questions. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 39(4), 423-430. doi:10.1080/23273798.2024.2314021.

    Abstract

    Most language use occurs in face-to-face conversation, which involves rapid turn-taking. Seeing communicative bodily signals in addition to hearing speech may facilitate such fast responding. We tested whether this holds for co-speech hand gestures by investigating whether these gestures speed up button press responses to questions. Sixty native speakers of Dutch viewed videos in which an actress asked yes/no-questions, either with or without a corresponding iconic hand gesture. Participants answered the questions as quickly and accurately as possible via button press. Gestures did not impact response accuracy, but crucially, gestures sped up responses, suggesting that response planning may be finished earlier when gestures are seen. How much gestures sped up responses was not related to their timing in the question or their timing with respect to the corresponding information in speech. Overall, these results are in line with the idea that multimodality may facilitate fast responding during face-to-face conversation.
  • Terporten, R., Huizeling, E., Heidlmayr, K., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2024). The interaction of context constraints and predictive validity during sentence reading. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(2), 225-238. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02082.

    Abstract

    Words are not processed in isolation; instead, they are commonly embedded in phrases and sentences. The sentential context influences the perception and processing of a word. However, how this is achieved by brain processes and whether predictive mechanisms underlie this process remain a debated topic. Here, we employed an experimental paradigm in which we orthogonalized sentence context constraints and predictive validity, which was defined as the ratio of congruent to incongruent sentence endings within the experiment. While recording electroencephalography, participants read sentences with three levels of sentential context constraints (high, medium, and low). Participants were also separated into two groups that differed in their ratio of valid congruent to incongruent target words that could be predicted from the sentential context. For both groups, we investigated modulations of alpha power before, and N400 amplitude modulations after target word onset. The results reveal that the N400 amplitude gradually decreased with higher context constraints and cloze probability. In contrast, alpha power was not significantly affected by context constraint. Neither the N400 nor alpha power were significantly affected by changes in predictive validity.
  • Thothathiri, M., Basnakova, J., Lewis, A. G., & Briand, J. M. (2024). Fractionating difficulty during sentence comprehension using functional neuroimaging. Cerebral Cortex, 34(2): bhae032. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhae032.

    Abstract

    Sentence comprehension is highly practiced and largely automatic, but this belies the complexity of the underlying processes. We used functional neuroimaging to investigate garden-path sentences that cause difficulty during comprehension, in order to unpack the different processes used to support sentence interpretation. By investigating garden-path and other types of sentences within the same individuals, we functionally profiled different regions within the temporal and frontal cortices in the left hemisphere. The results revealed that different aspects of comprehension difficulty are handled by left posterior temporal, left anterior temporal, ventral left frontal, and dorsal left frontal cortices. The functional profiles of these regions likely lie along a spectrum of specificity to generality, including language-specific processing of linguistic representations, more general conflict resolution processes operating over linguistic representations, and processes for handling difficulty in general. These findings suggest that difficulty is not unitary and that there is a role for a variety of linguistic and non-linguistic processes in supporting comprehension.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Titus, A., Dijkstra, T., Willems, R. M., & Peeters, D. (2024). Beyond the tried and true: How virtual reality, dialog setups, and a focus on multimodality can take bilingual language production research forward. Neuropsychologia, 193: 108764. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2023.108764.

    Abstract

    Bilinguals possess the ability of expressing themselves in more than one language, and typically do so in contextually rich and dynamic settings. Theories and models have indeed long considered context factors to affect bilingual language production in many ways. However, most experimental studies in this domain have failed to fully incorporate linguistic, social, or physical context aspects, let alone combine them in the same study. Indeed, most experimental psycholinguistic research has taken place in isolated and constrained lab settings with carefully selected words or sentences, rather than under rich and naturalistic conditions. We argue that the most influential experimental paradigms in the psycholinguistic study of bilingual language production fall short of capturing the effects of context on language processing and control presupposed by prominent models. This paper therefore aims to enrich the methodological basis for investigating context aspects in current experimental paradigms and thereby move the field of bilingual language production research forward theoretically. After considering extensions of existing paradigms proposed to address context effects, we present three far-ranging innovative proposals, focusing on virtual reality, dialog situations, and multimodality in the context of bilingual language production.
  • Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2024). Information distribution patterns in naturalistic dialogue differ across languages. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-024-02452-0.

    Abstract

    The natural ecology of language is conversation, with individuals taking turns speaking to communicate in a back-and-forth fashion. Language in this context involves strings of words that a listener must process while simultaneously planning their own next utterance. It would thus be highly advantageous if language users distributed information within an utterance in a way that may facilitate this processing–planning dynamic. While some studies have investigated how information is distributed at the level of single words or clauses, or in written language, little is known about how information is distributed within spoken utterances produced during naturalistic conversation. It also is not known how information distribution patterns of spoken utterances may differ across languages. We used a set of matched corpora (CallHome) containing 898 telephone conversations conducted in six different languages (Arabic, English, German, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish), analyzing more than 58,000 utterances, to assess whether there is evidence of distinct patterns of information distributions at the utterance level, and whether these patterns are similar or differed across the languages. We found that English, Spanish, and Mandarin typically show a back-loaded distribution, with higher information (i.e., surprisal) in the last half of utterances compared with the first half, while Arabic, German, and Japanese showed front-loaded distributions, with higher information in the first half compared with the last half. Additional analyses suggest that these patterns may be related to word order and rate of noun and verb usage. We additionally found that back-loaded languages have longer turn transition times (i.e.,time between speaker turns)

    Additional information

    Data availability
  • Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2024). Conversational facial signals combine into compositional meanings that change the interpretation of speaker intentions. Scientific Reports, 14: 2286. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-52589-0.

    Abstract

    Human language is extremely versatile, combining a limited set of signals in an unlimited number of ways. However, it is unknown whether conversational visual signals feed into the composite utterances with which speakers communicate their intentions. We assessed whether different combinations of visual signals lead to different intent interpretations of the same spoken utterance. Participants viewed a virtual avatar uttering spoken questions while producing single visual signals (i.e., head turn, head tilt, eyebrow raise) or combinations of these signals. After each video, participants classified the communicative intention behind the question. We found that composite utterances combining several visual signals conveyed different meaning compared to utterances accompanied by the single visual signals. However, responses to combinations of signals were more similar to the responses to related, rather than unrelated, individual signals, indicating a consistent influence of the individual visual signals on the whole. This study therefore provides first evidence for compositional, non-additive (i.e., Gestalt-like) perception of multimodal language.

    Additional information

    41598_2024_52589_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Van der Werff, J., Ravignani, A., & Jadoul, Y. (2024). thebeat: A Python package for working with rhythms and other temporal sequences. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-023-02334-8.

    Abstract

    thebeat is a Python package for working with temporal sequences and rhythms in the behavioral and cognitive sciences, as well as in bioacoustics. It provides functionality for creating experimental stimuli, and for visualizing and analyzing temporal data. Sequences, sounds, and experimental trials can be generated using single lines of code. thebeat contains functions for calculating common rhythmic measures, such as interval ratios, and for producing plots, such as circular histograms. thebeat saves researchers time when creating experiments, and provides the first steps in collecting widely accepted methods for use in timing research. thebeat is an open-source, on-going, and collaborative project, and can be extended for use in specialized subfields. thebeat integrates easily with the existing Python ecosystem, allowing one to combine our tested code with custom-made scripts. The package was specifically designed to be useful for both skilled and novice programmers. thebeat provides a foundation for working with temporal sequences onto which additional functionality can be built. This combination of specificity and plasticity should facilitate research in multiple research contexts and fields of study.

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