Falk Huettig

Presentations

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16
  • 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.
  • 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).

Share this page