Falk Huettig

Presentations

Displaying 1 - 39 of 39
  • Araújo, S., Huettig, F., & Meyer, A. S. (2016). What's the nature of the deficit underlying impaired naming? An eye-tracking study with dyslexic readers. Talk presented at IWORDD - International Workshop on Reading and Developmental Dyslexia. Bilbao, Spain. 2016-05-05 - 2016-05-07.

    Abstract

    Serial naming deficits have been identified as core symptoms of developmental dyslexia. A prominent hypothesis is that naming delays are due to inefficient phonological encoding, yet the exact nature of this underlying impairment remains largely underspecified. Here we used recordings of eye movements and word onset latencies to examine at what processing level the dyslexic naming deficit emerges: localized at an early stage of lexical encoding or rather later at the level of phonetic or motor planning. 23 dyslexic and 25 control adult readers were tested on a serial object naming task for 30 items and an analogous reading task, where phonological neighborhood density and word-frequency were manipulated. Results showed that both word properties influenced early stages of phonological activation (first fixation and first-pass duration) equally in both groups of participants. Moreover, in the control group any difficulty appeared to be resolved early in the reading process, while for dyslexic readers a processing disadvantage for low-frequency words and for words with sparse neighborhood also emerged in a measure that included late stages of output planning (eye-voice span). Thus, our findings suggest suboptimal phonetic and/or articulatory planning in dyslexia.
  • Eisner, F., Kumar, U., Mishra, R. K., Nand Tripathi, V., Guleria, A., Prakash Singh, J., & Huettig, F. (2016). Literacy acquisition drives hemispheric lateralization of reading. Talk presented at the 31st International Congress of Psychology (ICP2016). Yokohoma, Japan. 2016-07-24 - 2016-07-29.

    Abstract

    Reading functions beyond early visual precessing are known to be lateralized to the left hemisphere, but how left-lateralization arises during literacy acquisition is an open question. Bilateral processing or rightward asymmetries have previously been associated with developmental dyslexia. However, it is unclear at present to what extent this lack of left-lateralization reflects differences in reading ability. In this study, a group of illiterate adults in rural India (N=29) participated in a literacy training program over the course of six months. fMRI measures were obtained before and after training on a number of different visual stimulus categories, including written sentences, false fonts, and object categories such as houses and faces. This training group was matched on demographic and socioeconomic variables to an illiterate no-training group and to low- and highly-literate control groups, who were also scanned twice but received no training (total N=90). In a cross-sectional analysis before training, reading ability was positively correlated with increased BOLD responses in a left-lateralized network including the dorsal and ventral visual streams for text and false fonts, but not for other types of visual stimuli. A longitudinal analysis of learning effects in the training group showed that beginning readers engage bilateral networks more than proficient readers. Lateralization of BOLD responses was further examined by calculating laterality indices in specific regions. We observed training-related changes in lateralization for processing written stimuli in a number of subregions in the dorsal and ventral visual streams, as well as in the cerebellum. Together with the cross-sectional results, these data suggest a causal relationship between reading ability and the degree of hemispheric asymmetry in processing written materials.
  • Eisner, F., Kumar, U., Mishra, R. K., Nand Tripathi, V., Guleria, A., Prakash Singh, J., & Huettig, F. (2016). Literacy acquisition drives hemispheric lateralization of reading. Talk presented at Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2016). Bilbao, Spain. 2016-09-01 - 2016-09-03.

    Abstract

    Reading functions beyond early visual precessing are known to be lateralized to the left hemisphere, but how left-lateralization arises during literacy acquisition is an open question. Bilateral processing or rightward asymmetries have previously been associated with developmental dyslexia. However, it is unclear at present to what extent this lack of left-lateralization reflects differences in reading ability. In this study, a group of illiterate adults in rural India (N=29) participated in a literacy training program over the course of six months. fMRI measures were obtained before and after training on a number of different visual stimulus categories, including written sentences, false fonts, and object categories such as houses and faces. This training group was matched on demographic and socioeconomic variables to an illiterate no-training group and to low- and highly-literate control groups, who were also scanned twice but received no training (total N=90). In a cross-sectional analysis before training, reading ability was positively correlated with increased BOLD responses in a left-lateralized network including the dorsal and ventral visual streams for text and false fonts, but not for other types of visual stimuli. A longitudinal analysis of learning effects in the training group showed that beginning readers engage bilateral networks more than proficient readers. Lateralization of BOLD responses was further examined by calculating laterality indices in specific regions. We observed training-related changes in lateralization for processing written stimuli in a number of subregions in the dorsal and ventral visual streams, as well as in the cerebellum. Together with the cross-sectional results, these data suggest a causal relationship between reading ability and the degree of hemispheric asymmetry in processing written materials.
  • Huettig, F. (2016). Is prediction necessary to understand language?. Talk presented at the RefNet Round Table conference. Aberdeen, Scotland. 2016-01-15 - 2016-01-16.

    Abstract

    Many psycholinguistic experiments suggest that prediction is an important characteristic of language processing. Some recent theoretical accounts in the cognitive sciences (e.g., Clark, 2013; Friston, 2010) and psycholinguistics (e.g., Dell & Chang, 2014) appear to suggest that prediction is even necessary to understand language. I will evaluate this proposal. I will first discuss several arguments that may appear to be in line with the notion that prediction is necessary for language processing. These arguments include that prediction provides a unified theoretical principle of the human mind and that it pervades cortical function. We discuss whether evidence of human abilities to detect statistical regularities is necessarily evidence for predictive processing and evaluate suggestions that prediction is necessary for language learning. Five arguments are then presented that question the claim that all language processing is predictive in nature. I point out that not all language users appear to predict language and that suboptimal input makes prediction often very challenging. Prediction, moreover, is strongly context-dependent and impeded by resource limitations. I will also argue that it may be problematic that most experimental evidence for predictive language processing comes from 'prediction-encouraging' experimental set-ups. Finally, I will discuss possible ways that may lead to a further resolution of this debate. We conclude that languages can be learned and understood in the absence of prediction. Claims that all language processing is predictive in nature are premature.
  • Huettig, F. (2016). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the Psychology Department, University of Brussels. Brussels, Belgium. 2016-10.
  • Huettig, F., Kumar, U., Mishra, R. K., Tripathi, V., Guleria, A., Prakash Singh, J., & Eisner, F. (2016). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the International meeting of the Psychonomic Society. Granada, Spain. 2016-05-05 - 2016-05-08.

    Abstract

    How do human cultural inventions such as reading result in neural re-organization? In this first longitudinal study with young completely illiterate adult participants, we measured brain responses to speech, text, and other categories of visual stimuli with fMRI before and after a group of illiterate participants in India completed a literacy training program in which they learned to read and write Devanagari script. A literate and an illiterate no-training control group were matched to the training group in terms of socioeconomic background and were recruited from the same societal community in two villages of a rural area near Lucknow, India. This design permitted investigating effects of literacy cross-sectionally across groups before training (N=86) as well as longitudinally (training group N=25). The two analysis approaches yielded converging results: Literacy was associated with enhanced, left-lateralized responses to written text along the ventral stream (including lingual gyrus, fusiform gyrus, and parahippocampal gyrus), dorsal stream (intraparietal sulcus), and (pre-) motor systems (pre-central sulcus, supplementary motor area) and thalamus (pulvinar). Significantly reduced responses were observed bilaterally in the superior parietal lobe (precuneus) and in the right angular gyrus. These effects corroborate and extend previous findings from cross-sectional studies. However, effects of literacy were specific to written text and (to a lesser extent) to false fonts. We did not find any evidence for effects of literacy on responses in the auditory cortex in our Hindi-speaking participants. This raises questions about the extent to which phonological representations are altered by literacy acquisition.
  • Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (2016). Sensory representations are causally involved in cognition but only when the task requires it. Talk presented at the 3rd Attentive Listener in the Visual World (AttLis) workshop. Potsdam, Germany. 2016-05-10 - 2016-05-11.
  • Smith, A. C., Monaghan, P., & Huettig, F. (2016). The multimodal nature of spoken word processing in the visual world: Testing the predictions of alternative models of multimodal integration. Talk presented at the 15th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop: Contemporary Neural Network Models (NCPW15). Philadelphia, PA, USA. 2016-08-08 - 2016-08-09.
  • Speed, L., Chen, J., Huettig, F., & Majid, A. (2016). Do classifier categories affect or reflect object concepts?. Talk presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016). Philadelphia, PA, USA. 2016-08-10 - 2016-08-13.

    Abstract

    We conceptualize objects based on sensory and motor information gleaned from real-world experience. But to what extent is such conceptual information structured according to higher level linguistic features too? Here we investigate whether classifiers, a grammatical category, shape the conceptual representations of objects. In three experiments native Mandarin speakers (speakers of a classifier language) and native Dutch speakers (speakers of a language without classifiers) judged the similarity of a target object (presented as a word or picture) with four objects (presented as words or pictures). One object shared a classifier with the target, the other objects did not, serving as distractors. Across all experiments, participants judged the target object as more similar to the object with the shared classifier than distractor objects. This effect was seen in both Dutch and Mandarin speakers, and there was no difference between the two languages. Thus, even speakers of a non-classifier language are sensitive to object similarities underlying classifier systems, and using a classifier system does not exaggerate these similarities. This suggests that classifier systems simply reflect, rather than affect, conceptual structure.
  • Eisner, F., Kumar, U., Mishra, R. K., Nand Tripathi, V., Guleria, A., Singh, P., & Huettig, F. (2015). The effect of literacy acquisition on cortical and subcortical networks: A longitudinal approach. Talk presented at the 7th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language. Chicago, US. 2015-10-15 - 2015-10-17.

    Abstract

    How do human cultural inventions such as reading result in neural re-organization? Previous cross-sectional studies have reported extensive effects of literacy on the neural systems for vision and language (Dehaene et al [2010, Science], Castro-Caldas et al [1998, Brain], Petersson et al [1998, NeuroImage], Carreiras et al [2009, Nature]). In this first longitudinal study with completely illiterate participants, we measured brain responses to speech, text, and other categories of visual stimuli with fMRI before and after a group of illiterate participants in India completed a literacy training program in which they learned to read and write Devanagari script. A literate and an illiterate no-training control group were matched to the training group in terms of socioeconomic background and were recruited from the same societal community in two villages of a rural area near Lucknow, India. This design permitted investigating effects of literacy cross-sectionally across groups before training (N=86) as well as longitudinally (training group N=25). The two analysis approaches yielded converging results: Literacy was associated with enhanced, mainly left-lateralized responses to written text along the ventral stream (including lingual gyrus, fusiform gyrus, and parahippocampal gyrus), dorsal stream (intraparietal sulcus), and (pre-) motor systems (pre-central sulcus, supplementary motor area), thalamus (pulvinar), and cerebellum. Significantly reduced responses were observed bilaterally in the superior parietal lobe (precuneus) and in the right angular gyrus. These positive effects corroborate and extend previous findings from cross-sectional studies. However, effects of literacy were specific to written text and (to a lesser extent) to false fonts. Contrary to previous research, we found no direct evidence of literacy affecting the processing of other types of visual stimuli such as faces, tools, houses, and checkerboards. Furthermore, unlike in some previous studies, we did not find any evidence for effects of literacy on responses in the auditory cortex in our Hindi-speaking participants. We conclude that learning to read has a specific and extensive effect on the processing of written text along the visual pathways, including low-level thalamic nuclei, high-level systems in the intraparietal sulcus and the fusiform gyrus, and motor areas. The absence of an effect of literacy on responses in the auditory cortex in particular raises questions about the extent to which phonological representations in the auditory cortex are altered by literacy acquisition or recruited online during reading.
  • de Groot, F., Huettig, F., & Olivers, C. N. (2015). Semantic influences on visual attention. Talk presented at the 15th NVP Winter Conference. Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands. 2015-12-17 - 2015-12-19.

    Abstract

    To what extent is visual attention driven by the semantics of individual objects, rather than by their visual appearance? To investigate this we continuously measured eye movements, while observers searched through displays of common objects for an aurally instructed target. On crucial trials, the target was absent, but the display contained object s that were either semantically or visually related to the target. We hypothesized that timing is crucial in the occurrence and strength of semantic influences on visual orienting, and therefore presented the target instruction either before, during, or af ter (memory - based search) picture onset. When the target instruction was presented before picture onset we found a substantial, but delayed bias in orienting towards semantically related objects as compared to visually related objects. However, this delay disappeared when the visual information was presented before the target instruction. Furthermore, the temporal dynamics of the semantic bias did not change in the absence of visual competition. These results po int to cascadic but independent influences of semantic and visual representations on attention. In addition. the results of the memory - based search studies suggest that visual and semantic biases only arise when the visual stimuli are present. Although we consistent ly found that people fixate at locat ions previously occupied by the target object (a replication of earlier findings), we did not find such biases for visually or semantically related objects. Overall, our studies show that the question whether visual orienting is driven by semantic c ontent is better rephrased as when visual orienting is driven by semantic content.
  • de Groot, F., Huettig, F., & Olivers, C. (2015). When meaning matters: The temporal dynamics of semantic influences on visual attention. Talk presented at the 23rd Annual Workshop on Object Perception, Attention, and Memory. Chigaco, USA. 2015-10-19.
  • Hintz, F., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2015). Context-dependent employment of mechanisms in anticipatory language processing. Talk presented at the 15th NVP Winter Conference. Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands. 2015-12-17 - 2015-12-19.
  • Huettig, F. (2015). Cause or effect? What commonalities between illiterates and individuals with dyslexia can tell us about dyslexia. Talk presented at the Reading in the Forest workshop. Annweiler, Germany. 2015-10-26 - 2015-10-28.

    Abstract

    I will discuss recent research with illiterates and individuals with dyslexia which suggests that many cognitive ‚defi ciencies‘ proposed as possible causes of dyslexia are simply a consequence of decreased reading experience. I will argue that in order to make further progress towards an understanding of the causes of dyslexia it is necessary to appropriately distinguish between cause and effect.
  • Huettig, F. (2015). Effekte der Literalität auf die Kognition. Talk presented at Die Abschlußtagung des Verbundprojekts Alpha plus Job. Bamberg, Germany. 2015-01.
  • Huettig, F. (2015). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the Psychology Department, University of York. York, UK. 2015-11.
  • Huettig, F. (2015). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the Individual differences in language processing across the adult life span workshop. Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2015-12-10 - 2015-12-11.
  • Huettig, F. (2015). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the Psychology Department, University of Glasgow. Glasgow, Scotland. 2015-11.
  • Huettig, F. (2015). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the Psychology Department, University of Leeds. Leeds, UK. 2015-11.
  • Huettig, F. (2015). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the Psychology Department, University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, Scotland. 2015-09.
  • Huettig, F., Kumar, U., Mishra, R. K., Tripathi, V., Guleria, A., Prakash Singh, J., & Eisner, F. (2015). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the 19th Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP 2015). Paphos, Cyprus. 2015-09-17 - 2015-09-20.

    Abstract

    How do human cultural inventions such as reading result in neural re-organization? In this first longitudinal study with young completely illiterate adult participants, we measured brain responses to speech, text, and other categories of visual stimuli with fMRI before and after a group of illiterate participants in India completed a literacy training program in which they learned to read and write Devanagari script. A literate and an illiterate no-training control group were matched to the training group in terms of socioeconomic background and were recruited from the same societal community in two villages of a rural area near Lucknow, India. This design permitted investigating effects of literacy cross-sectionally across groups before training (N=86) as well as longitudinally (training group N=25). The two analysis approaches yielded converging results: Literacy was associated with enhanced, left-lateralized responses to written text along the ventral stream (including lingual gyrus, fusiform gyrus, and parahippocampal gyrus), dorsal stream (intraparietal sulcus), and (pre-) motor systems (pre-central sulcus, supplementary motor area) and thalamus (pulvinar). Significantly reduced responses were observed bilaterally in the superior parietal lobe (precuneus) and in the right angular gyrus. These effects corroborate and extend previous findings from cross-sectional studies. However, effects of literacy were specific to written text and (to a lesser extent) to false fonts. We did not find any evidence for effects of literacy on responses in the auditory cortex in our Hindi-speaking participants. This raises questions about the extent to which phonological representations are altered by literacy acquisition.
  • Huettig, F., Kumar, U., Mishra, R. K., Tripathi, V., Guleria, A., Prakash Singh, J., & Eisner, F. (2015). The effect of learning to read on the neural systems for vision and language: A longitudinal approach with illiterate participants. Talk presented at the 21st Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2015). Valetta, Malta. 2015-09-03 - 2015-09-05.

    Abstract

    How do human cultural inventions such as reading result in neural re-organization? In this first longitudinal study with young completely illiterate adult participants, we measured brain responses to speech, text, and other categories of visual stimuli with fMRI before and after a group of illiterate participants in India completed a literacy training program in which they learned to read and write Devanagari script. A literate and an illiterate no-training control group were matched to the training group in terms of socioeconomic background and were recruited from the same societal community in two villages of a rural area near Lucknow, India. This design permitted investigating effects of literacy cross-sectionally across groups before training (N=86) as well as longitudinally (training group N=25). The two analysis approaches yielded converging results: Literacy was associated with enhanced, left-lateralized responses to written text along the ventral stream (including lingual gyrus, fusiform gyrus, and parahippocampal gyrus), dorsal stream (intraparietal sulcus), and (pre-) motor systems (pre-central sulcus, supplementary motor area) and thalamus (pulvinar). Significantly reduced responses were observed bilaterally in the superior parietal lobe (precuneus) and in the right angular gyrus. These effects corroborate and extend previous findings from cross-sectional studies. However, effects of literacy were specific to written text and (to a lesser extent) to false fonts. We did not find any evidence for effects of literacy on responses in the auditory cortex in our Hindi-speaking participants. This raises questions about the extent to which phonological representations are altered by literacy acquisition.
  • Mani, N., Daum, M., & Huettig, F. (2015). “Pro-active” in Many Ways: Evidence for Multiple Mechanisms in Prediction. Talk presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD 2015). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. 2015-03-19 - 2015-03-21.
  • Smith, A. C., Monaghan, P., & Huettig, F. (2016). The effects of orthographic transparency on the reading system: Insights from a computational model of reading development. Talk presented at the Experimental Psychology Society, London Meeting. London, U.K. 2016-01-06 - 2016-01-08.
  • Hintz, F., & Huettig, F. (2012). Phonological word-object mapping is contingent upon the nature of the visual environment. Talk presented at Psycholinguistics in Flanders goes Dutch [PiF 2012]. Berg en Dal (NL). 2012-06-06 - 2012-06-07.
  • Huettig, F. (2012). Literacy modulates language-mediated visual attention and prediction. Talk presented at the Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC). Bielefeld, Germany. 2012-01-12.
  • Huettig, F., Singh, N., Singh, S., & Mishra, R. K. (2012). Language-mediated prediction is related to reading ability and formal literacy. Talk presented at the Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen [TeaP 2012]. Mannheim, Germany. 2012-04-04 - 2012-04-06.
  • Huettig, F. (2012). The nature and mechanisms of language-mediated anticipatory eye movements. Talk presented at the International symposium: The Attentive Listener in the Visual world: The Interaction of Language, Attention,Memory, and Vision. Allahabad, India. 2012-10-05 - 2012-10-06.
  • Mani, N., & Huettig, F. (2012). Toddlers anticipate that we EAT cake. Talk presented at the Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen [TeaP 2012]. Mannheim, Germany. 2012-04-04 - 2012-04-06.
  • Rommers, J., Meyer, A. S., Praamstra, P., & Huettig, F. (2012). Object shape representations in the contents of predictions for upcoming words. Talk presented at Psycholinguistics in Flanders [PiF 2012]. Berg en Dal, The Netherlands. 2012-06-06 - 2012-06-07.
  • Rommers, J., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2012). Predicting upcoming meaning involves specific contents and domain-general mechanisms. Talk presented at the 18th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing [AMLaP 2012]. Riva del Garda, Italy. 2012-09-06 - 2012-09-08.

    Abstract

    In sentence comprehension, readers and listeners often anticipate upcoming information (e.g., Altmann & Kamide, 1999). We investigated two aspects of this process, namely 1) what is pre-activated when anticipating an upcoming word (the contents of predictions), and 2) which cognitive mechanisms are involved. The contents of predictions at the level of meaning could be restricted to functional semantic attributes (e.g., edibility; Altmann & Kamide, 1999). However, when words are processed other types of information can also be activated, such as object shape representations. It is unknown whether this type of information is already activated when upcoming words are predicted. Forty-five adult participants listened to predictable words in sentence contexts (e.g., "In 1969 Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon.") while looking at visual displays of four objects. Their eye movements were recorded. There were three conditions: target present (e.g., a moon and three distractor objects that were unrelated to the predictable word in terms of semantics, shape, and phonology), shape competitor (e.g., a tomato and three unrelated distractors), and distractors only (e.g., rice and three other unrelated objects). Across lists, the same pictures and sentences were used in the different conditions. We found that participants already showed a significant bias for the target object (moon) over unrelated distractors several seconds before the target was mentioned, demonstrating that they were predicting. Importantly, there was also a smaller but significant shape competitor (tomato) preference starting at about a second before critical word onset, consistent with predictions involving the referent’s shape. The mechanisms of predictions could be specific to language tasks, or language could use processing principles that are also used in other domains of cognition. We investigated whether performance in non-linguistic prediction is related to prediction in language processing, taking an individual differences approach. In addition to the language processing task, the participants performed a simple cueing task (after Posner, Nissen, & Ogden, 1978). They pressed one of two buttons (left/right) to indicate the location of an X symbol on the screen. On half of the trials, the X was preceded by a neutral cue (+). On the other half, an arrow cue pointing left (<) or right (>) indicated the upcoming X's location with 80% validity (i.e., the arrow cue was correct 80% of the time). The SOA between cue and target was 500 ms. Prediction was quantified as the mean response latency difference between the neutral and valid condition. This measure correlated positively with individual participants' anticipatory target and shape competitor preference (r = .27; r = .45), and was a significant predictor of anticipatory looks in linear mixed-effects regression models of the data. Participants who showed more facilitation from the arrow cues predicted to a higher degree in the linguistic task. This suggests that prediction in language processing may use mechanisms that are also used in other domains of cognition. References Altmann, G. T. M., & Kamide, Y. (1999). Incremental interpretation at verbs: Restricting the domain of subsequent reference. Cognition, 73(3), 247-264. Posner, M. I., Nissen, M. J., & Ogden, W. C. (1978). Attended and unattended processing modes: The role of set for spatial location. In: H.L. Pick, & I.J. Saltzman (Eds.), Modes of perceiving and processing information. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Rommers, J., Meyer, A. S., Praamstra, P., & Huettig, F. (2012). The content of predictions: Involvement of object shape representations in the anticipation of upcoming words. Talk presented at the Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen [TeaP 2012]. Mannheim, Germany. 2012-04-04 - 2012-04-06.
  • Smith, A. C., Huettig, F., & Monaghan, P. (2012). Modelling multimodal interaction in language mediated eye gaze. Talk presented at the 13th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop [NCPW13]. San Sebastian, Spain. 2012-07-12 - 2012-07-14.

    Abstract

    Hub-and-spoke models of semantic processing which integrate modality specific information within a central resource have proven successful in capturing a range of neuropsychological phenomena (Rogers et al, 2004; Dilkina et al, 2008). Within our study we investigate whether the scope of the Hub-and-spoke architectural framework can be extended to capture behavioural phenomena in other areas of cognition. The visual world paradigm (VWP) has contributed significantly to our understanding of the information and processes involved in spoken word recognition. In particular it has highlighted the importance of non-linguistic influences during language processing, indicating that combined information from vision, phonology, and semantics is evident in performance on such tasks (see Huettig, Rommers & Meyer, 2011). Huettig & McQueen (2007) demonstrated that participants’ fixations to objects presented within a single visual display varied systematically according to their phonological, semantic and visual relationship to a spoken target word. The authors argue that only an explanation allowing for influence from all three knowledge types is capable of accounting for the observed behaviour. To date computational models of the VWP (Allopenna et al, 1998; Mayberry et al, 2009; Kukona et al, 2011) have focused largely on linguistic aspects of the task and have therefore been unable to offer explanations for the growing body of experimental evidence emphasising the influence of non-linguistic information on spoken word recognition. Our study demonstrates that an emergent connectionist model, based on the Hub-and-spoke models of semantic processing, which integrates visual, phonological and functional information within a central resource, is able to capture the intricate time course dynamics of eye fixation behaviour reported in Huettig & McQueen (2007). Our findings indicate that such language mediated visual attention phenomena can emerge largely due to the statistics of the problem domain and may not require additional domain specific processing constraints.
  • Smith, A. C., Huettig, F., & Monaghan, P. (2012). The Tug of War during spoken word recognition in our visual worlds. Talk presented at Psycholinguistics in Flanders 2012 [[PiF 2012]. Berg en Dal, NL. 2012-06-06 - 2012-06-07.
  • Huettig, F., & McQueen, J. M. (2009). AM radio noise changes the dynamics of spoken word recognition. Talk presented at 15th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2009). Barcelona, Spain. 2009-09-09.

    Abstract

    Language processing does not take place in isolation from the sensory environment. Listeners are able to recognise spoken words in many different situations, ranging from carefully articulated and noise-free laboratory speech, through casual conversational speech in a quiet room, to degraded conversational speech in a busy train-station. For listeners to be able to recognize speech optimally in each of these listening situations, they must be able to adapt to the constraints of each situation. We investigated this flexibility by comparing the dynamics of the spoken-word recognition process in clear speech and speech disrupted by radio noise. In Experiment 1, Dutch participants listened to clearly articulated spoken Dutch sentences which each included a critical word while their eye movements to four visual objects presented on a computer screen were measured. There were two critical conditions. In the first, the objects included a cohort competitor (e.g., parachute, “parachute”) with the same onset as the critical spoken word (e.g., paraplu, “umbrella”) and three unrelated distractors. In the second condition, a rhyme competitor (e.g., hamer, “hammer”) of the critical word (e.g., kamer, “room”) was present in the display, again with three distractors. To maximize competitor effects pictures of the critical words themselves were not present in the displays on the experimental trials (e.g.,there was no umbrella in the display with the 'paraplu' sentence) and a passive listening task was used (Huettig McQueen, 2007). Experiment 2 was identical to Experiment 1 except that phonemes in the spoken sentences were replaced with radio-signal noises (as in AM radio listening conditions). In each sentence, two,three or four phonemes were replaced with noises. The sentential position of these replacements was unpredictable, but the adjustments were always made to onset phonemes. The critical words (and the immediately surrounding words) were not changed. The question was whether listeners could learn that, under these circumstances, onset information is less reliable. We predicted that participants would look less at the cohort competitors (the initial match to the competitor is less good) and more at the rhyme competitors (the initial mismatch is less bad). We observed a significant experiment by competitor type interaction. In Experiment 1 participants fixated both kinds competitors more than unrelated distractors, but there were more and earlier looks to cohort competitors than to rhyme competitors (Allopenna et al., 1998). In Experiment 2 participants still fixated cohort competitors more than rhyme competitors but the early cohort effect was reduced and the rhyme effect was stronger and occurred earlier. These results suggest that AM radio noise changes the dynamics of spoken word recognition. The well-attested finding of stronger reliance on word onset overlap in speech recognition appears to be due in part to the use of clear speech in most experiments. When onset information becomes less reliable, listeners appear to depend on it less. A core feature of the speech-recognition system thus appears to be its flexibility. Listeners are able to adjust the perceptual weight they assign to different parts of incoming spoken language.
  • Huettig, F. (2009). Language-mediated visual search. Talk presented at Invited talk at VU Amsterdam. Amsterdam.
  • Huettig, F. (2009). On the use of distributional models of semantic space to investigate human cognition. Talk presented at Distributional Semantics beyond Concrete Concepts (Workshop at Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2009). Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 2009-07-29 - 2009-01-08.
  • Huettig, F. (2009). The role of colour during language-vision interactions. Talk presented at International Conference on Language-Cognition Interface 2009. Allahabad, India. 2009-12-06 - 2009-12-09.
  • Huettig, F., Chen, J., Bowerman, M., & Majid, A. (2008). Linguistic relativity: Evidence from Mandarin speakers’ eye-movements. Talk presented at 14th Annual Conference on the Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing [AMLaP 2008]. Cambridge, UK. 2008-09-04 - 2008-09-06.

    Abstract

    If a Mandarin speaker had walked past two rivers and wished to describe how many he had seen, he would have to say “two tiao river”, where tiao designates long, rope-like objects such as rivers, snakes and legs. Tiao is one of several hundred classifiers – a grammatical category in Mandarin. In two eye-tracking studies we presented Mandarin speakers with simple Mandarin sentences through headphones while monitoring their eye-movements to objects presented on a computer monitor. The crucial question is what participants look at while listening to a pre-specified target noun. If classifier categories influence general conceptual processing then on hearing the target noun participants should look at objects that are also members of the same classifier category – even when the classifier is not explicitly present. For example, on hearing scissors, Mandarin speakers should look more at a picture of a chair than at an unrelated object because scissors and chair share the classifier ba. This would be consistent with a Strong Whorfian position, according to which language is a major determinant in shaping conceptual thought (Sapir, 1921; Whorf, 1956). A weaker influence of language-on-thought could be predicted, where language shapes cognitive processing, but only when the language-specific category is actively being processed (Slobin, 1996). According to this account, eye-movements are not necessarily drawn to chair when a participant hears scissors, but they would be on hearing ba scissors. This is because hearing ba activates the linguistic category that both scissors and chair belong to. A third logical possibility is that classifiers are purely formal markers (cf. Greenberg, 1972; Lehman, 1979) that do not influence attentional processing even when they are explicitly present. The data showed that when participants heard a spoken word from the same classifier category as a visually depicted object (e.g. scissors-chair), but the classifier was not explicitly presented in the speech, overt attention to classifier-match objects (e.g. chair) and distractor objects did not differ (Experiment 1). But when the classifier was explicitly presented (e.g. ba, Experiment 2), participants shifted overt attention significantly more to classifier-match objects (e.g. chair) than to distractors. These data are incompatible with the Strong Whorfian hypothesis. Instead the findings support the Weak Whorfian hypothesis that linguistic distinctions force attention to properties of the world but only during active linguistic processing of that distinction (cf. Slobin, 1996).

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