Falk Huettig


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  • Favier, S., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2019). Does literacy predict individual differences in syntactic processing?. Talk presented at the International Workshop on Literacy and Writing systems: Cultural, Neuropsychological and Psycholinguistic Perspectives. Haifa, Israel. 2019-02-18 - 2019-02-20.
  • Favier, S., Wright, A., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2019). Proficiency modulates between- but not within-language structural priming. Poster presented at the 21st Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP 2019), Tenerife, Spain.
  • Hintz, F., Ostarek, M., De Nijs, M., Joosen, D., & Huettig, F. (2019). N’Sync or A’Sync? The role of timing when acquiring spoken and written word forms in a tonal language. Poster presented at the 21st Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP 2019), Tenerife, Spain.


    Theories of reading propose that the quality of word form representations affects reading comprehension. One claim is that synchronous retrieval of orthographic and phonological representations leads to better performance than asynchronous retrieval. Based on this account, one may hypothesize that synchronous rather than asynchronous presentation of orthographic and phonological forms should be beneficial when establishing the mapping between both, as it should lead to tighter couplings. We tested this hypothesis in two multi-session experiments, where participants studied isolated words of a tonal language unknown to them, Chinese. During study, written (using Pinyin transcription) and spoken word forms were presented simultaneously or in asynchronous fashion (audio-first, written-first). In both experiments, we observed an advantage for asynchronous over synchronous presentation at test, with audio-first presentation being most beneficial. These results suggest that the timing of written and spoken word forms has profound effects on the ease of learning a new tonal language.
  • Huettig, F. (2019). Six challenges for embodiment research [keynote]. Talk presented at the 12th annual Conference on Embodied and Situated Language Processing and the sixth AttLis (ESLP/AttLis 2019). Berlin, Germany. 2019-08-28 - 2019-08-30.
  • Ostarek, M., Alday, P. M., Gawel, O., Wolfgruber, J., Knudsen, B., Mantegna, F., & Huettig, F. (2019). Is neural entrainment a basic mechanism for structure building?. Poster presented at the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL 2019), Helsinki, Finland.
  • Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (2019). Towards a unified theory of semantic cognition. Talk presented at the 21st Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP 2019). Tenerife, Spain. 2019-09-25 - 2019-09-28.
  • Garrido Rodriguez, G., Huettig, F., Norcliffe, E., Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (2017). Participant assignment to thematic roles in Tzeltal: Eye tracking evidence from sentence comprehension in a verb-initial language. Poster presented at the workshop 'Event Representations in Brain, Language & Development' (EvRep), Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
  • Ostarek, M., Van Paridon, J., & Huettig, F. (2017). Conceptual processing of up/down words (cloud/grass) recruits cortical oculomotor areas central for planning and executing saccadic eye movements. Talk presented at the 10th Embodied and Situated Language Processing Conference. Moscow, Russia. 2017-09-10 - 2017-09-12.
  • Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (2017). Grounding language in vision [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the University of California Davis. Davis, CA, USA.
  • Ostarek, M., Van Paridon, J., Evans, S., & Huettig, F. (2017). Processing of up/down words recruits the cortical oculomotor network. Poster presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • Brouwer, S., Mitterer, H., & Huettig, F. (2009). Listeners reconstruct reduced forms during spontaneous speech: Evidence from eye movements. Poster presented at 15th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2009), Barcelona, Spain.
  • Brouwer, S., Mitterer, H., & Huettig, F. (2009). Phonological competition during the recognition of spontaneous speech: Effects of linguistic context and spectral cues. Poster presented at 157th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Portland, OR.


    How do listeners recognize reduced forms that occur in spontaneous speech, such as “puter” for “computer”? To this end, eye-tracking experiments were performed in which participants heard a sentence and saw four printed words on a computer screen. The auditory stimuli contained canonical and reduced forms from a spontaneous speech corpus in different amounts of linguistic context. The four printed words were a “canonical form” competitor e.g., “companion”, phonologically similar to “computer”, a “reduced form” competitor e.g., “pupil”, phonologically similar to “puter” and two unrelated distractors. The results showed, first, that reduction inhibits word recognition overall. Second, listeners look more often to the “reduced form” competitor than to the “canonical form” competitor when reduced forms are presented in isolation or in a phonetic context. In full context, however, both competitors attracted looks: early rise of the “reduced form” competitor and late rise of the “canonical form” competitor. This “late rise” of the “canonical form” competitor was not observed when we replaced the original /p/ from “puter” with a real onset /p/. This indicates that phonetic detail and semantic/syntactic context are necessary for the recognition of reduced forms.
  • 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.


    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.

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