Laurel Ellen Brehm

Publications

Displaying 1 - 20 of 20
  • Brehm, L., Jackson, C. N., & Miller, K. L. (2019). Speaker-specific processing of anomalous utterances. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(4), 764-778. doi:10.1177/1747021818765547.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary material
  • Brehm, L., Jackson, C. N., & Miller, K. L. (2019). Incremental interpretation in the first and second language. In M. Brown, & B. Dailey (Eds.), BUCLD 43: Proceedings of the 43rd annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 109-122). Sommerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Brehm, L., Hussey, E., & Christianson, K. (2019). The role of word frequency and morpho-orthography in agreement processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1631456.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

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

    Abstract

    Interference in picture naming occurs from representing a partner's preparations to speak (Gambi, van de Cavey, & Pickering, 2015). We tested the origins of this interference using a simple non-communicative joint naming task based on Gambi et al. (2015), where response latencies indexed interference from partner task and partner speech content, and eye fixations to partner objects indexed overt attention. Experiment 1 contrasted a partner-present condition with a control partner-absent condition to establish the role of the partner in eliciting interference. For latencies, we observed interference from the partner's task and speech content, with interference increasing due to partner task in the partner-present condition. Eye-tracking measures showed that interference in naming was not due to overt attention to partner stimuli but to broad expectations about likely utterances. Experiment 2 examined whether an equivalent non-verbal task also elicited interference, as predicted from a language as joint action framework. We replicated the finding of interference due to partner task and again found no relationship between overt attention and interference. These results support Gambi et al. (2015). Individuals co-represent a partner's task while speaking, and doing so does not require overt attention to partner stimuli.
  • Goldrick, M., Brehm, L., Pyeong Whan, C., & Smolensky, P. (2019). Transient blend states and discrete agreement-driven errors in sentence production. In G. J. Snover, M. Nelson, B. O'Connor, & J. Pater (Eds.), Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics (SCiL 2019) (pp. 375-376). doi:10.7275/n0b2-5305.
  • Kim, N., Brehm, L., & Yoshida, M. (2019). The online processing of noun phrase ellipsis and mechanisms of antecedent retrieval. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(2), 190-213. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1513542.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    Kim_Brehm_Yoshida_2018sup.pdf
  • Kim, N., Brehm, L., Sturt, P., & Yoshida, M. (2019). How long can you hold the filler: Maintenance and retrieval. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1626456.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    Supplemental material
  • Meyer, A. S., Roelofs, A., & Brehm, L. (2019). Thirty years of Speaking: An introduction to the special issue. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(9), 1073-1084. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1652763.

    Abstract

    Thirty years ago, Pim Levelt published Speaking. During the 10th International Workshop on Language Production held at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen in July 2018, researchers reflected on the impact of the book in the field, developments since its publication, and current research trends. The contributions in this Special Issue are closely related to the presentations given at the workshop. In this editorial, we sketch the research agenda set by Speaking, review how different aspects of this agenda are taken up in the papers in this volume and outline directions for further research.
  • Zormpa, E., Brehm, L., Hoedemaker, R. S., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). The production effect and the generation effect improve memory in picture naming. Memory, 27(3), 340-352. doi:10.1080/09658211.2018.1510966.

    Abstract

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

    Supplementary material

    pmem_a_1510966_sm9257.pdf
  • Zormpa, E., Meyer, A. S., & Brehm, L. (2019). Slow naming of pictures facilitates memory for their names. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26(5), 1675-1682. doi:10.3758/s13423-019-01620-x.

    Abstract

    Speakers remember their own utterances better than those of their interlocutors, suggesting that language production is beneficial to memory. This may be partly explained by a generation effect: The act of generating a word is known to lead to a memory advantage (Slamecka & Graf, 1978). In earlier work, we showed a generation effect for recognition of images (Zormpa, Brehm, Hoedemaker, & Meyer, 2019). Here, we tested whether the recognition of their names would also benefit from name generation. Testing whether picture naming improves memory for words was our primary aim, as it serves to clarify whether the representations affected by generation are visual or conceptual/lexical. A secondary aim was to assess the influence of processing time on memory. Fifty-one participants named pictures in three conditions: after hearing the picture name (identity condition), backward speech, or an unrelated word. A day later, recognition memory was tested in a yes/no task. Memory in the backward speech and unrelated conditions, which required generation, was superior to memory in the identity condition, which did not require generation. The time taken by participants for naming was a good predictor of memory, such that words that took longer to be retrieved were remembered better. Importantly, that was the case only when generation was required: In the no-generation (identity) condition, processing time was not related to recognition memory performance. This work has shown that generation affects conceptual/lexical representations, making an important contribution to the understanding of the relationship between memory and language.
  • Brehm, L., & Goldrick, M. (2018). Connectionist principles in theories of speech production. In S.-A. Rueschemeyer, & M. G. Gaskell (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics (2nd ed., pp. 372-397). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    This chapter focuses on connectionist modeling in language production, highlighting how core principles of connectionism provide coverage for empirical observations about representation and selection at the phonological, lexical, and sentence levels. The first section focuses on the connectionist principles of localist representations and spreading activation. It discusses how these two principles have motivated classic models of speech production and shows how they cover results of the picture-word interference paradigm, the mixed error effect, and aphasic naming errors. The second section focuses on how newer connectionist models incorporate the principles of learning and distributed representations through discussion of syntactic priming, cumulative semantic interference, sequencing errors, phonological blends, and code-switching
  • Jackson, C. N., Mormer, E., & Brehm, L. (2018). The production of subject-verb agreement among Swedish and Chinese second language speakers of English. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40(4), 907-921. doi: 10.1017/S0272263118000025.

    Abstract

    This study uses a sentence completion task with Swedish and Chinese L2 English speakers to investigate how L1 morphosyntax and L2 proficiency influence L2 English subject-verb agreement production. Chinese has limited nominal and verbal number morphology, while Swedish has robust noun phrase (NP) morphology but does not number-mark verbs. Results showed that like L1 English speakers, both L2 groups used grammatical and conceptual number to produce subject-verb agreement. However, only L1 Chinese speakers—and less-proficient speakers in both L2 groups—were similarly influenced by grammatical and conceptual number when producing the subject NP. These findings demonstrate how L2 proficiency, perhaps combined with cross-linguistic differences, influence L2 production and underscore that encoding of noun and verb number are not independent.
  • Brehm, L., & Goldrick, M. (2017). Distinguishing discrete and gradient category structure in language: Insights from verb-particle constructions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition., 43(10), 1537-1556. doi:10.1037/xlm0000390.

    Abstract

    The current work uses memory errors to examine the mental representation of verb-particle constructions (VPCs; e.g., make up the story, cut up the meat). Some evidence suggests that VPCs are represented by a cline in which the relationship between the VPC and its component elements ranges from highly transparent (cut up) to highly idiosyncratic (make up). Other evidence supports a multiple class representation, characterizing VPCs as belonging to discretely separated classes differing in semantic and syntactic structure. We outline a novel paradigm to investigate the representation of VPCs in which we elicit illusory conjunctions, or memory errors sensitive to syntactic structure. We then use a novel application of piecewise regression to demonstrate that the resulting error pattern follows a cline rather than discrete classes. A preregistered replication verifies these findings, and a final preregistered study verifies that these errors reflect syntactic structure. This provides evidence for gradient rather than discrete representations across levels of representation in language processing.
  • Brehm, L., & Bock, K. (2017). Referential and lexical forces in number agreement. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(2), 129-146. doi:10.1080/23273798.2016.1234060.

    Abstract

    In work on grammatical agreement in sentence production, there are accounts of verb number formulation that emphasise the role of whole-structure properties and accounts that emphasise the role of word-driven properties. To evaluate these alternatives, we carried out two experiments that examined a referential (wholistic) contributor to agreement along with two lexical-semantic (local) factors. Both experiments gauged the accuracy and latency of inflected-verb production in order to assess how variations in grammatical number interacted with the other factors. The accuracy of verb production was modulated both by the referential effect of notional number and by the lexical-semantic effects of relatedness and category membership. As an index of agreement difficulty, latencies were little affected by either factor. The findings suggest that agreement is sensitive to referential as well as lexical forces and highlight the importance of lexical-structural integration in the process of sentence production.
  • Grieco-Calub, T. M., Ward, K. M., & Brehm, L. (2017). Multitasking During Degraded Speech Recognition in School-Age Children. Trends in hearing, 21, 1-14. doi:10.1177/2331216516686786.

    Abstract

    Multitasking requires individuals to allocate their cognitive resources across different tasks. The purpose of the current study was to assess school-age children’s multitasking abilities during degraded speech recognition. Children (8 to 12 years old) completed a dual-task paradigm including a sentence recognition (primary) task containing speech that was either unpro- cessed or noise-band vocoded with 8, 6, or 4 spectral channels and a visual monitoring (secondary) task. Children’s accuracy and reaction time on the visual monitoring task was quantified during the dual-task paradigm in each condition of the primary task and compared with single-task performance. Children experienced dual-task costs in the 6- and 4-channel conditions of the primary speech recognition task with decreased accuracy on the visual monitoring task relative to baseline performance. In all conditions, children’s dual-task performance on the visual monitoring task was strongly predicted by their single-task (baseline) performance on the task. Results suggest that children’s proficiency with the secondary task contributes to the magnitude of dual-task costs while multitasking during degraded speech recognition.
  • Brehm, L., & Goldrick, M. (2016). Empirical and conceptual challenges for neurocognitive theories of language production. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(4), 504-507. doi:10.1080/23273798.2015.1110604.
  • Brehm, L. (2014). Speed limits and red flags: Why number agreement accidents happen. PhD Thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, Il.
  • Tanner, D., Nicol, J., & Brehm, L. (2014). The time-course of feature interference in agreement comprehension: Multiple mechanisms and asymmetrical attraction. Journal of Memory and Language, 76, 195-215. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2014.07.003.

    Abstract

    Attraction interference in language comprehension and production may be as a result of common or different processes. In the present paper, we investigate attraction interference during language comprehension, focusing on the contexts in which interference arises and the time-course of these effects. Using evidence from event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and sentence judgment times, we show that agreement attraction in comprehension is best explained as morphosyntactic interference during memory retrieval. This stands in contrast to attraction as a message-level process involving the representation of the subject NP's number features, which is a strong contributor to attraction in production. We thus argue that the cognitive antecedents of agreement attraction in comprehension are non-identical with those of attraction in production, and moreover, that attraction in comprehension is primarily a consequence of similarity-based interference in cue-based memory retrieval processes. We suggest that mechanisms responsible for attraction during language comprehension are a subset of those involved in language production.
  • Brehm, L., & Bock, K. (2013). What counts in grammatical number agreement? Cognition, 128(2), 149-169. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2013.03.009.

    Abstract

    Both notional and grammatical number affect agreement during language production. To explore their workings, we investigated how semantic integration, a type of conceptual relatedness, produces variations in agreement (Solomon & Pearlmutter, 2004). These agreement variations are open to competing notional and lexical–grammatical number accounts. The notional hypothesis is that changes in number agreement reflect differences in referential coherence: More coherence yields more singularity. The lexical–grammatical hypothesis is that changes in agreement arise from competition between nouns differing in grammatical number: More competition yields more plurality. These hypotheses make opposing predictions about semantic integration. On the notional hypothesis, semantic integration promotes singular agreement. On the lexical–grammatical hypothesis, semantic integration promotes plural agreement. We tested these hypotheses with agreement elicitation tasks in two experiments. Both experiments supported the notional hypothesis, with semantic integration creating faster and more frequent singular agreement. This implies that referential coherence mediates the effect of semantic integration on number agreement.
  • Canseco-Gonzalez, E., Brehm, L., Brick, C. A., Brown-Schmidt, S., Fischer, K., & Wagner, K. (2010). Carpet or Cárcel: The effect of age of acquisition and language mode on bilingual lexical access. Language and Cognitive Processes, 25(5), 669-705. doi:10.1080/01690960903474912.

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