James McQueen

Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 219
  • Severijnen, G. G. A., Di Dona, G., Bosker, H. R., & McQueen, J. M. (in press). Tracking talker-specific cues to lexical stress: Evidence from perceptual learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.
  • Dai, B., McQueen, J. M., Terporten, R., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2022). Distracting Linguistic Information Impairs Neural Tracking of Attended Speech. Current Research in Neurobiology, 3: 100043. doi:10.1016/j.crneur.2022.100043.

    Abstract

    Listening to speech is difficult in noisy environments, and is even harder when the interfering noise consists of intelligible speech as compared to unintelligible sounds. This suggests that the competing linguistic information interferes with the neural processing of target speech. Interference could either arise from a degradation of the neural representation of the target speech, or from increased representation of distracting speech that enters in competition with the target speech. We tested these alternative hypotheses using magnetoencephalography (MEG) while participants listened to a target clear speech in the presence of distracting noise-vocoded speech. Crucially, the distractors were initially unintelligible but became more intelligible after a short training session. Results showed that the comprehension of the target speech was poorer after training than before training. The neural tracking of target speech in the delta range (1–4 Hz) reduced in strength in the presence of a more intelligible distractor. In contrast, the neural tracking of distracting signals was not significantly modulated by intelligibility. These results suggest that the presence of distracting speech signals degrades the linguistic representation of target speech carried by delta oscillations.
  • Hintz, F., Voeten, C. C., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2022). Quantifying the relationships between linguistic experience, general cognitive skills and linguistic processing skills. In J. Culbertson, A. Perfors, H. Rabagliati, & V. Ramenzoni (Eds.), Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2022) (pp. 2491-2496). Toronto, Canada: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Humans differ greatly in their ability to use language. Contemporary psycholinguistic theories assume that individual differences in language skills arise from variability in linguistic experience and in general cognitive skills. While much previous research has tested the involvement of select verbal and non-verbal variables in select domains of linguistic processing, comprehensive characterizations of the relationships among the skills underlying language use are rare. We contribute to such a research program by re-analyzing a publicly available set of data from 112 young adults tested on 35 behavioral tests. The tests assessed nine key constructs reflecting linguistic processing skills, linguistic experience and general cognitive skills. Correlation and hierarchical clustering analyses of the test scores showed that most of the tests assumed to measure the same construct correlated moderately to strongly and largely clustered together. Furthermore, the results suggest important roles of processing speed in comprehension, and of linguistic experience in production.
  • Menks, W. M., Ekerdt, C., Janzen, G., Kidd, E., Lemhöfer, K., Fernández, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2022). Study protocol: A comprehensive multi-method neuroimaging approach to disentangle developmental effects and individual differences in second language learning. BMC Psychology, 10: 169. doi:10.1186/s40359-022-00873-x.

    Abstract

    Background

    While it is well established that second language (L2) learning success changes with age and across individuals, the underlying neural mechanisms responsible for this developmental shift and these individual differences are largely unknown. We will study the behavioral and neural factors that subserve new grammar and word learning in a large cross-sectional developmental sample. This study falls under the NWO (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek [Dutch Research Council]) Language in Interaction consortium (website: https://www.languageininteraction.nl/).
    Methods

    We will sample 360 healthy individuals across a broad age range between 8 and 25 years. In this paper, we describe the study design and protocol, which involves multiple study visits covering a comprehensive behavioral battery and extensive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocols. On the basis of these measures, we will create behavioral and neural fingerprints that capture age-based and individual variability in new language learning. The behavioral fingerprint will be based on first and second language proficiency, memory systems, and executive functioning. We will map the neural fingerprint for each participant using the following MRI modalities: T1‐weighted, diffusion-weighted, resting-state functional MRI, and multiple functional-MRI paradigms. With respect to the functional MRI measures, half of the sample will learn grammatical features and half will learn words of a new language. Combining all individual fingerprints allows us to explore the neural maturation effects on grammar and word learning.
    Discussion

    This will be one of the largest neuroimaging studies to date that investigates the developmental shift in L2 learning covering preadolescence to adulthood. Our comprehensive approach of combining behavioral and neuroimaging data will contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms influencing this developmental shift and individual differences in new language learning. We aim to answer: (I) do these fingerprints differ according to age and can these explain the age-related differences observed in new language learning? And (II) which aspects of the behavioral and neural fingerprints explain individual differences (across and within ages) in grammar and word learning? The results of this study provide a unique opportunity to understand how the development of brain structure and function influence new language learning success.
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., Brehm, L., & Lemhöfer, K. (2022). Individual differences in foreign language attrition: a 6-month longitudinal investigation after a study abroad. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2022.2074479.

    Abstract

    While recent laboratory studies suggest that the use of competing languages is a driving force in foreign language (FL) attrition (i.e. forgetting), research on “real” attriters has failed to demonstrate
    such a relationship. We addressed this issue in a large-scale longitudinal study, following German students throughout a study abroad in Spain and their first six months back in Germany. Monthly,
    percentage-based frequency of use measures enabled a fine-grained description of language use.
    L3 Spanish forgetting rates were indeed predicted by the quantity and quality of Spanish use, and
    correlated negatively with L1 German and positively with L2 English letter fluency. Attrition rates
    were furthermore influenced by prior Spanish proficiency, but not by motivation to maintain
    Spanish or non-verbal long-term memory capacity. Overall, this study highlights the importance
    of language use for FL retention and sheds light on the complex interplay between language
    use and other determinants of attrition.
  • Severijnen, G. G., Bosker, H. R., & McQueen, J. M. (2022). Acoustic correlates of Dutch lexical stress re-examined: Spectral tilt is not always more reliable than intensity. In S. Frota, M. Cruz, & M. Vigário (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2022 (pp. 278-282). doi:10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-57.

    Abstract

    The present study examined two acoustic cues in the production
    of lexical stress in Dutch: spectral tilt and overall intensity.
    Sluijter and Van Heuven (1996) reported that spectral tilt is a
    more reliable cue to stress than intensity. However, that study
    included only a small number of talkers (10) and only syllables
    with the vowels /aː/ and /ɔ/.
    The present study re-examined this issue in a larger and
    more variable dataset. We recorded 38 native speakers of Dutch
    (20 females) producing 744 tokens of Dutch segmentally
    overlapping words (e.g., VOORnaam vs. voorNAAM, “first
    name” vs. “respectable”), targeting 10 different vowels, in
    variable sentence contexts. For each syllable, we measured
    overall intensity and spectral tilt following Sluijter and Van
    Heuven (1996).
    Results from Linear Discriminant Analyses showed that,
    for the vowel /aː/ alone, spectral tilt showed an advantage over
    intensity, as evidenced by higher stressed/unstressed syllable
    classification accuracy scores for spectral tilt. However, when
    all vowels were included in the analysis, the advantage
    disappeared.
    These findings confirm that spectral tilt plays a larger role
    in signaling stress in Dutch /aː/ but show that, for a larger
    sample of Dutch vowels, overall intensity and spectral tilt are
    equally important.
  • Strauß, A., Wu, T., McQueen, J. M., Scharenborg, O., & Hintz, F. (2022). The differential roles of lexical and sublexical processing during spoken-word recognition in clear and in noise. Cortex, 151, 70-88. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2022.02.011.

    Abstract

    Successful spoken-word recognition relies on an interplay between lexical and sublexical processing. Previous research demonstrated that listeners readily shift between more lexically-biased and more sublexically-biased modes of processing in response to the situational context in which language comprehension takes place. Recognizing words in the presence of background noise reduces the perceptual evidence for the speech signal and – compared to the clear – results in greater uncertainty. It has been proposed that, when dealing with greater uncertainty, listeners rely more strongly on sublexical processing. The present study tested this proposal using behavioral and electroencephalography (EEG) measures. We reasoned that such an adjustment would be reflected in changes in the effects of variables predicting recognition performance with loci at lexical and sublexical levels, respectively. We presented native speakers of Dutch with words featuring substantial variability in (1) word frequency (locus at lexical level), (2) phonological neighborhood density (loci at lexical and sublexical levels) and (3) phonotactic probability (locus at sublexical level). Each participant heard each word in noise (presented at one of three signal-to-noise ratios) and in the clear and performed a two-stage lexical decision and transcription task while EEG was recorded. Using linear mixed-effects analyses, we observed behavioral evidence that listeners relied more strongly on sublexical processing when speech quality decreased. Mixed-effects modelling of the EEG signal in the clear condition showed that sublexical effects were reflected in early modulations of ERP components (e.g., within the first 300 ms post word onset). In noise, EEG effects occurred later and involved multiple regions activated in parallel. Taken together, we found evidence – especially in the behavioral data – supporting previous accounts that the presence of background noise induces a stronger reliance on sublexical processing.
  • Bakker-Marshall, I., Takashima, A., Fernandez, C. B., Janzen, G., McQueen, J. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2021). Overlapping and distinct neural networks supporting novel word learning in bilinguals and monolinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 24(3), 524-536. doi:10.1017/S1366728920000589.

    Abstract

    This study investigated how bilingual experience alters neural mechanisms supporting novel word learning. We hypothesised that novel words elicit increased semantic activation in the larger bilingual lexicon, potentially stimulating stronger memory integration than in monolinguals. English monolinguals and Spanish–English bilinguals were trained on two sets of written Swahili–English word pairs, one set on each of two consecutive days, and performed a recognition task in the MRI-scanner. Lexical integration was measured through visual primed lexical decision. Surprisingly, no group difference emerged in explicit word memory, and priming occurred only in the monolingual group. This difference in lexical integration may indicate an increased need for slow neocortical interleaving of old and new information in the denser bilingual lexicon. The fMRI data were consistent with increased use of cognitive control networks in monolinguals and of articulatory motor processes in bilinguals, providing further evidence for experience-induced neural changes: monolinguals and bilinguals reached largely comparable behavioural performance levels in novel word learning, but did so by recruiting partially overlapping but non-identical neural systems to acquire novel words.
  • Goriot, C., Van Hout, R., Broersma, M., Lobo, V., McQueen, J. M., & Unsworth, S. (2021). Using the peabody picture vocabulary test in L2 children and adolescents: Effects of L1. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 24(4), 546-568. doi:10.1080/13670050.2018.1494131.

    Abstract

    This study investigated to what extent the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
    (PPVT-4) is a reliable tool for measuring vocabulary knowledge of English as
    a second language (L2), and to what extent L1 characteristics affect test
    outcomes. The PPVT-4 was administered to Dutch pupils in six different
    age groups (4-15 years old) who were or were not following an English
    educational programme at school. Our first finding was that the PPVT-4
    was not a reliable measure for pupils who were correct on maximally 24
    items, but it was reliable for pupils who performed better. Second, both
    primary-school and secondary-school pupils performed better on items
    for which the phonological similarity between the English word and its
    Dutch translation was higher. Third, young unexperienced L2 learners’
    scores were predicted by Dutch lexical frequency, while older more
    experienced pupils’ scores were predicted by English frequency. These
    findings indicate that the PPVT may be inappropriate for use with L2
    learners with limited L2 proficiency. Furthermore, comparisons of PPVT
    scores across learners with different L1s are confounded by effects of L1
    frequency and L1-L2 similarity. The PPVT-4 is however a suitable measure
    to compare more proficient L2 learners who have the same L1.
  • Goriot, C., Unsworth, S., Van Hout, R. W. N. M., Broersma, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2021). Differences in phonological awareness performance: Are there positive or negative effects of bilingual experience? Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 11(3), 425-460. doi:10.1075/lab.18082.gor.

    Abstract

    Children who have knowledge of two languages may show better phonological awareness than their monolingual peers (e.g. Bruck & Genesee, 1995). It remains unclear how much bilingual experience is needed for such advantages to appear, and whether differences in language or cognitive skills alter the relation between bilingualism and phonological awareness. These questions were investigated in this cross-sectional study. Participants (n = 294; 4–7 year-olds, in the first three grades of primary school) were Dutch-speaking pupils attending mainstream monolingual Dutch primary schools or early-English schools providing English lessons from grade 1, and simultaneous Dutch-English bilinguals. We investigated phonological awareness (rhyming, phoneme blending, onset phoneme identification, and phoneme deletion) and its relation to age, Dutch vocabulary, English vocabulary, working memory and short-term memory, and the balance between Dutch and English vocabulary. Small significant (α < .05) effects of bilingualism were found on onset phoneme identification and phoneme deletion, but post-hoc comparisons revealed no robust pairwise differences between the groups. Furthermore, effects of bilingualism sometimes disappeared when differences in language or memory skills were taken into account. Learning two languages simultaneously is not beneficial to – and importantly, also not detrimental to – phonological awareness.

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  • Healthy Brain Study Consortium, Aarts, E., Akkerman, A., Altgassen, M., Bartels, R., Beckers, D., Bevelander, K., Bijleveld, E., Blaney Davidson, E., Boleij, A., Bralten, J., Cillessen, T., Claassen, J., Cools, R., Cornelissen, I., Dresler, M., Eijsvogels, T., Faber, M., Fernández, G., Figner, B., Fritsche, M. and 67 moreHealthy Brain Study Consortium, Aarts, E., Akkerman, A., Altgassen, M., Bartels, R., Beckers, D., Bevelander, K., Bijleveld, E., Blaney Davidson, E., Boleij, A., Bralten, J., Cillessen, T., Claassen, J., Cools, R., Cornelissen, I., Dresler, M., Eijsvogels, T., Faber, M., Fernández, G., Figner, B., Fritsche, M., Füllbrunn, S., Gayet, S., Van Gelder, M. M. H. J., Van Gerven, M., Geurts, S., Greven, C. U., Groefsema, M., Haak, K., Hagoort, P., Hartman, Y., Van der Heijden, B., Hermans, E., Heuvelmans, V., Hintz, F., Den Hollander, J., Hulsman, A. M., Idesis, S., Jaeger, M., Janse, E., Janzing, J., Kessels, R. P. C., Karremans, J. C., De Kleijn, W., Klein, M., Klumpers, F., Kohn, N., Korzilius, H., Krahmer, B., De Lange, F., Van Leeuwen, J., Liu, H., Luijten, M., Manders, P., Manevska, K., Marques, J. P., Matthews, J., McQueen, J. M., Medendorp, P., Melis, R., Meyer, A. S., Oosterman, J., Overbeek, L., Peelen, M., Popma, J., Postma, G., Roelofs, K., Van Rossenberg, Y. G. T., Schaap, G., Scheepers, P., Selen, L., Starren, M., Swinkels, D. W., Tendolkar, I., Thijssen, D., Timmerman, H., Tutunji, R., Tuladhar, A., Veling, H., Verhagen, M., Verkroost, J., Vink, J., Vriezekolk, V., Vrijsen, J., Vyrastekova, J., Van der Wal, S., Willems, R. M., & Willemsen, A. (2021). Protocol of the Healthy Brain Study: An accessible resource for understanding the human brain and how it dynamically and individually operates in its bio-social context. PLoS One, 16(12): e0260952. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0260952.

    Abstract

    The endeavor to understand the human brain has seen more progress in the last few decades than in the previous two millennia. Still, our understanding of how the human brain relates to behavior in the real world and how this link is modulated by biological, social, and environmental factors is limited. To address this, we designed the Healthy Brain Study (HBS), an interdisciplinary, longitudinal, cohort study based on multidimensional, dynamic assessments in both the laboratory and the real world. Here, we describe the rationale and design of the currently ongoing HBS. The HBS is examining a population-based sample of 1,000 healthy participants (age 30-39) who are thoroughly studied across an entire year. Data are collected through cognitive, affective, behavioral, and physiological testing, neuroimaging, bio-sampling, questionnaires, ecological momentary assessment, and real-world assessments using wearable devices. These data will become an accessible resource for the scientific community enabling the next step in understanding the human brain and how it dynamically and individually operates in its bio-social context. An access procedure to the collected data and bio-samples is in place and published on https://www.healthybrainstudy.nl/en/data-and-methods.

    https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/7955

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Hintz, F., Voeten, C. C., McQueen, J. M., & Scharenborg, O. (2021). The effects of onset and offset masking on the time course of non-native spoken-word recognition in noise. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 133-139). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Using the visual-word paradigm, the present study investigated the effects of word onset and offset masking on the time course of non-native spoken-word recognition in the presence of background noise. In two experiments, Dutch non-native listeners heard English target words, preceded by carrier sentences that were noise-free (Experiment 1) or contained intermittent noise (Experiment 2). Target words were either onset- or offset-masked or not masked at all. Results showed that onset masking delayed target word recognition more than offset masking did, suggesting that – similar to natives – non-native listeners strongly rely on word onset information during word recognition in noise.

    Additional information

    Link to Preprint on BioRxiv
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., Valentini, B., Piai, V., & Lemhöfer, K. (2021). Electrophysiological evidence for cross-language interference in foreign-language attrition. Neuropsychologia, 155: 107795. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107795.

    Abstract

    Foreign language attrition (FLA) appears to be driven by interference from other, more recently-used languages (Mickan et al., 2020). Here we tracked these interference dynamics electrophysiologically to further our understanding of the underlying processes. Twenty-seven Dutch native speakers learned 70 new Italian words over two days. On a third day, EEG was recorded as they performed naming tasks on half of these words in English and, finally, as their memory for all the Italian words was tested in a picture-naming task. Replicating Mickan et al., recall was slower and tended to be less complete for Italian words that were interfered with (i.e., named in English) than for words that were not. These behavioral interference effects were accompanied by an enhanced frontal N2 and a decreased late positivity (LPC) for interfered compared to not-interfered items. Moreover, interfered items elicited more theta power. We also found an increased N2 during the interference phase for items that participants were later slower to retrieve in Italian. We interpret the N2 and theta effects as markers of interference, in line with the idea that Italian retrieval at final test is hampered by competition from recently practiced English translations. The LPC, in turn, reflects the consequences of interference: the reduced accessibility of interfered Italian labels. Finally, that retrieval ease at final test was related to the degree of interference during previous English retrieval shows that FLA is already set in motion during the interference phase, and hence can be the direct consequence of using other languages.

    Additional information

    data via Donders Repository
  • Severijnen, G. G. A., Bosker, H. R., Piai, V., & McQueen, J. M. (2021). Listeners track talker-specific prosody to deal with talker-variability. Brain Research, 1769: 147605. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2021.147605.

    Abstract

    One of the challenges in speech perception is that listeners must deal with considerable
    segmental and suprasegmental variability in the acoustic signal due to differences between talkers. Most previous studies have focused on how listeners deal with segmental variability.
    In this EEG experiment, we investigated whether listeners track talker-specific usage of suprasegmental cues to lexical stress to recognize spoken words correctly. In a three-day training phase, Dutch participants learned to map non-word minimal stress pairs onto different object referents (e.g., USklot meant “lamp”; usKLOT meant “train”). These non-words were
    produced by two male talkers. Critically, each talker used only one suprasegmental cue to signal stress (e.g., Talker A used only F0 and Talker B only intensity). We expected participants to learn which talker used which cue to signal stress. In the test phase, participants indicated whether spoken sentences including these non-words were correct (“The word for lamp is…”).
    We found that participants were slower to indicate that a stimulus was correct if the non-word was produced with the unexpected cue (e.g., Talker A using intensity). That is, if in training Talker A used F0 to signal stress, participants experienced a mismatch between predicted and perceived phonological word-forms if, at test, Talker A unexpectedly used intensity to cue
    stress. In contrast, the N200 amplitude, an event-related potential related to phonological
    prediction, was not modulated by the cue mismatch. Theoretical implications of these
    contrasting results are discussed. The behavioral findings illustrate talker-specific prediction of prosodic cues, picked up through perceptual learning during training.
  • Tartaro, G., Takashima, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2021). Consolidation as a mechanism for word learning in sequential bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 24(5), 864-878. doi:10.1017/S1366728921000286.

    Abstract

    First-language research suggests that new words, after initial episodic-memory encoding, are consolidated and hence become lexically integrated. We asked here if lexical consolidation, about word forms and meanings, occurs in a second language. Italian–English sequential bilinguals learned novel English-like words (e.g., apricon, taught to mean “stapler”). fMRI analyses failed to reveal a predicted shift, after consolidation time, from hippocampal to temporal neocortical activity. In a pause-detection task, responses to existing phonological competitors of learned words (e.g., apricot for apricon) were slowed down if the words had been learned two days earlier (i.e., after consolidation time) but not if they had been learned the same day. In a lexical-decision task, new words primed responses to semantically-related existing words (e.g., apricon-paper) whether the words were learned that day or two days earlier. Consolidation appears to support integration of words into the bilingual lexicon, possibly more rapidly for meanings than for forms.

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    materials, procedure, results
  • Wagner, M. A., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., Dhaene, S., & Lemhöfer, K. (2021). Phonetic convergence to non-native speech: Acoustic and perceptual evidence. Journal of Phonetics, 88: 101076. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2021.101076.

    Abstract

    While the tendency of speakers to align their speech to that of others acoustic-phonetically has been widely studied among native speakers, very few studies have examined whether natives phonetically converge to non-native speakers. Here we measured native Dutch speakers’ convergence to a non-native speaker with an unfamiliar accent in a novel non-interactive task. Furthermore, we assessed the role of participants’ perceptions of the non-native accent in their tendency to converge. In addition to a perceptual measure (AXB ratings), we examined convergence on different acoustic dimensions (e.g., vowel spectra, fricative CoG, speech rate, overall f0) to determine what dimensions, if any, speakers converge to. We further combined these two types of measures to discover what dimensions weighed in raters’ judgments of convergence. The results reveal overall convergence to our non-native speaker, as indexed by both perceptual and acoustic measures. However, the ratings suggest the stronger participants rated the non-native accent to be, the less likely they were to converge. Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that natives can phonetically converge to non-native speech, even without any apparent socio-communicative motivation to do so. We argue that our results are hard to integrate with a purely social view of convergence.
  • Goriot, C., McQueen, J. M., Unsworth, S., & Van Hout, R. (2020). Perception of English phonetic contrasts by Dutch children: How bilingual are early-English learners? PLoS One, 15(3): e0229902. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0229902.

    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to investigate whether early-English education benefits the perception
    of English phonetic contrasts that are known to be perceptually confusable for Dutch
    native speakers, comparing Dutch pupils who were enrolled in an early-English programme
    at school from the age of four with pupils in a mainstream programme with English instruction
    from the age of 11, and English-Dutch early bilingual children. Children were 4-5-yearolds
    (start of primary school), 8-9-year-olds, or 11-12-year-olds (end of primary school).
    Children were tested on four contrasts that varied in difficulty: /b/-/s/ (easy), /k/-/ɡ/ (intermediate),
    /f/-/θ/ (difficult), /ε/-/æ/ (very difficult). Bilingual children outperformed the two other
    groups on all contrasts except /b/-/s/. Early-English pupils did not outperform mainstream
    pupils on any of the contrasts. This shows that early-English education as it is currently
    implemented is not beneficial for pupils’ perception of non-native contrasts.

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    Supporting information
  • Hintz*, F., Jongman*, S. R., Dijkhuis, M., Van 't Hoff, V., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2020). Shared lexical access processes in speaking and listening? An individual differences study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(6), 1048-1063. doi:10.1037/xlm0000768.

    Abstract

    - * indicates joint first authorship - Lexical access is a core component of word processing. In order to produce or comprehend a word, language users must access word forms in their mental lexicon. However, despite its involvement in both tasks, previous research has often studied lexical access in either production or comprehension alone. Therefore, it is unknown to which extent lexical access processes are shared across both tasks. Picture naming and auditory lexical decision are considered good tools for studying lexical access. Both of them are speeded tasks. Given these commonalities, another open question concerns the involvement of general cognitive abilities (e.g., processing speed) in both linguistic tasks. In the present study, we addressed these questions. We tested a large group of young adults enrolled in academic and vocational courses. Participants completed picture naming and auditory lexical decision tasks as well as a battery of tests assessing non-verbal processing speed, vocabulary, and non-verbal intelligence. Our results suggest that the lexical access processes involved in picture naming and lexical decision are related but less closely than one might have thought. Moreover, reaction times in picture naming and lexical decision depended as least as much on general processing speed as on domain-specific linguistic processes (i.e., lexical access processes).
  • Hintz, F., Dijkhuis, M., Van 't Hoff, V., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2020). A behavioural dataset for studying individual differences in language skills. Scientific Data, 7: 429. doi:10.1038/s41597-020-00758-x.

    Abstract

    This resource contains data from 112 Dutch adults (18–29 years of age) who completed the Individual Differences in Language Skills test battery that included 33 behavioural tests assessing language skills and domain-general cognitive skills likely involved in language tasks. The battery included tests measuring linguistic experience (e.g. vocabulary size, prescriptive grammar knowledge), general cognitive skills (e.g. working memory, non-verbal intelligence) and linguistic processing skills (word production/comprehension, sentence production/comprehension). Testing was done in a lab-based setting resulting in high quality data due to tight monitoring of the experimental protocol and to the use of software and hardware that were optimized for behavioural testing. Each participant completed the battery twice (i.e., two test days of four hours each). We provide the raw data from all tests on both days as well as pre-processed data that were used to calculate various reliability measures (including internal consistency and test-retest reliability). We encourage other researchers to use this resource for conducting exploratory and/or targeted analyses of individual differences in language and general cognitive skills.
  • McQueen, J. M., & Dilley, L. C. (2020). Prosody and spoken-word recognition. In C. Gussenhoven, & A. Chen (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of language prosody (pp. 509-521). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    This chapter outlines a Bayesian model of spoken-word recognition and reviews how
    prosody is part of that model. The review focuses on the information that assists the lis­
    tener in recognizing the prosodic structure of an utterance and on how spoken-word
    recognition is also constrained by prior knowledge about prosodic structure. Recognition
    is argued to be a process of perceptual inference that ensures that listening is robust to
    variability in the speech signal. In essence, the listener makes inferences about the seg­
    mental content of each utterance, about its prosodic structure (simultaneously at differ­
    ent levels in the prosodic hierarchy), and about the words it contains, and uses these in­
    ferences to form an utterance interpretation. Four characteristics of the proposed
    prosody-enriched recognition model are discussed: parallel uptake of different informa­
    tion types, high contextual dependency, adaptive processing, and phonological abstrac­
    tion. The next steps that should be taken to develop the model are also discussed.
  • McQueen, J. M., Eisner, F., Burgering, M. A., & Vroomen, J. (2020). Specialized memory systems for learning spoken words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(1), 189-199. doi:10.1037/xlm0000704.

    Abstract

    Learning new words entails, inter alia, encoding of novel sound patterns and transferring those patterns from short-term to long-term memory. We report a series of 5 experiments that investigated whether the memory systems engaged in word learning are specialized for speech and whether utilization of these systems results in a benefit for word learning. Sine-wave synthesis (SWS) was applied to spoken nonwords, and listeners were or were not informed (through instruction and familiarization) that the SWS stimuli were derived from actual utterances. This allowed us to manipulate whether listeners would process sound sequences as speech or as nonspeech. In a sound–picture association learning task, listeners who processed the SWS stimuli as speech consistently learned faster and remembered more associations than listeners who processed the same stimuli as nonspeech. The advantage of listening in “speech mode” was stable over the course of 7 days. These results provide causal evidence that access to a specialized, phonological short-term memory system is important for word learning. More generally, this study supports the notion that subsystems of auditory short-term memory are specialized for processing different types of acoustic information.

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  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2020). Between-language competition as a driving force in foreign language attrition. Cognition, 198: 104218. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104218.

    Abstract

    Research in the domain of memory suggests that forgetting is primarily driven by interference and competition from other, related memories. Here we ask whether similar dynamics are at play in foreign language (FL) attrition. We tested whether interference from translation equivalents in other, more recently used languages causes subsequent retrieval failure in L3. In Experiment 1, we investigated whether interference from the native language (L1) and/or from another foreign language (L2) affected L3 vocabulary retention. On day 1, Dutch native speakers learned 40 new Spanish (L3) words. On day 2, they performed a number of retrieval tasks in either Dutch (L1) or English (L2) on half of these words, and then memory for all items was tested again in L3 Spanish. Recall in Spanish was slower and less complete for words that received interference than for words that did not. In naming speed, this effect was larger for L2 compared to L1 interference. Experiment 2 replicated the interference effect and asked if the language difference can be explained by frequency of use differences between native- and non-native languages. Overall, these findings suggest that competition from more recently used languages, and especially other foreign languages, is a driving force behind FL attrition.

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    Supplementary data
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Eisner, F. (2019). Consistency influences altered auditory feedback processing. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(10), 2371-2379. doi:10.1177/1747021819838939.

    Abstract

    Previous research on the effect of perturbed auditory feedback in speech production has focused on two types of responses. In the short term, speakers generate compensatory motor commands in response to unexpected perturbations. In the longer term, speakers adapt feedforward motor programmes in response to feedback perturbations, to avoid future errors. The current study investigated the relation between these two types of responses to altered auditory feedback. Specifically, it was hypothesised that consistency in previous feedback perturbations would influence whether speakers adapt their feedforward motor programmes. In an altered auditory feedback paradigm, formant perturbations were applied either across all trials (the consistent condition) or only to some trials, whereas the others remained unperturbed (the inconsistent condition). The results showed that speakers’ responses were affected by feedback consistency, with stronger speech changes in the consistent condition compared with the inconsistent condition. Current models of speech-motor control can explain this consistency effect. However, the data also suggest that compensation and adaptation are distinct processes, which are not in line with all current models.
  • Grey, S., Schubel, L. C., McQueen, J. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2019). Processing foreign-accented speech in a second language: Evidence from ERPs during sentence comprehension in bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 22(5), 912-929. doi:10.1017/S1366728918000937.

    Abstract

    This study examined electrophysiological correlates of sentence comprehension of native-accented and foreign-accented
    speech in a second language (L2), for sentences produced in a foreign accent different from that associated with the listeners’
    L1. Bilingual speaker-listeners process different accents in their L2 conversations, but the effects on real-time L2 sentence
    comprehension are unknown. Dutch–English bilinguals listened to native American-English accented sentences and foreign
    (and for them unfamiliarly-accented) Chinese-English accented sentences while EEG was recorded. Behavioral sentence
    comprehension was highly accurate for both native-accented and foreign-accented sentences. ERPs showed different patterns
    for L2 grammar and semantic processing of native- and foreign-accented speech. For grammar, only native-accented speech
    elicited an Nref. For semantics, both native- and foreign-accented speech elicited an N400 effect, but with a delayed onset
    across both accent conditions. These findings suggest that the way listeners comprehend native- and foreign-accented
    sentences in their L2 depends on their familiarity with the accent.
  • Janssen, C., Segers, E., McQueen, J. M., & Verhoeven, L. (2019). Comparing effects of instruction on word meaning and word form on early literacy abilities in kindergarten. Early Education and Development, 30(3), 375-399. doi:10.1080/10409289.2018.1547563.

    Abstract

    Research Findings: The present study compared effects of explicit instruction on and practice with the phonological form of words (form-focused instruction) versus explicit instruction on and practice with the meaning of words (meaning-focused instruction). Instruction was given via interactive storybook reading in the kindergarten classroom of children learning Dutch. We asked whether the 2 types of instruction had different effects on vocabulary development and 2 precursors of reading ability—phonological awareness and letter knowledge—and we examined effects on these measures of the ability to learn new words with minimal acoustic-phonetic differences. Learners showed similar receptive target-word vocabulary gain after both types of instruction, but learners who received form-focused vocabulary instruction showed more gain in semantic knowledge of target vocabulary, phonological awareness, and letter knowledge than learners who received meaning-focused vocabulary instruction. Level of ability to learn pairs of words with minimal acoustic-phonetic differences predicted gain in semantic knowledge of target vocabulary and in letter knowledge in the form-focused instruction group only. Practice or Policy: A focus on the form of words during instruction appears to have benefits for young children learning vocabulary.
  • McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Key issues and future directions: Towards a comprehensive cognitive architecture for language use. In P. Hagoort (Ed.), Human language: From genes and brain to behavior (pp. 85-96). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). Bridging the gap between second language acquisition research and memory science: The case of foreign language attrition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13: 397. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00397.

    Abstract

    The field of second language acquisition (SLA) is by nature of its subject a highly interdisciplinary area of research. Learning a (foreign) language, for example, involves encoding new words, consolidating and committing them to long-term memory, and later retrieving them. All of these processes have direct parallels in the domain of human memory and have been thoroughly studied by researchers in that field. Yet, despite these clear links, the two fields have largely developed in parallel and in isolation from one another. The present paper aims to promote more cross-talk between SLA and memory science. We focus on foreign language (FL) attrition as an example of a research topic in SLA where the parallels with memory science are especially apparent. We discuss evidence that suggests that competition between languages is one of the mechanisms of FL attrition, paralleling the interference process thought to underlie forgetting in other domains of human memory. Backed up by concrete suggestions, we advocate the use of paradigms from the memory literature to study these interference effects in the language domain. In doing so, we hope to facilitate future cross-talk between the two fields, and to further our understanding of FL attrition as a memory phenomenon.
  • Schuerman, W. L., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Speaker statistical averageness modulates word recognition in adverse listening conditions. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1203-1207). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    We tested whether statistical averageness (SA) at the level of the individual speaker could predict a speaker’s intelligibility. 28 female and 21 male speakers of Dutch were recorded producing 336 sentences,
    each containing two target nouns. Recordings were compared to those of all other same-sex speakers using dynamic time warping (DTW). For each sentence, the DTW distance constituted a metric
    of phonetic distance from one speaker to all other speakers. SA comprised the average of these distances. Later, the same participants performed a word recognition task on the target nouns in the same sentences, under three degraded listening conditions. In all three conditions, accuracy increased with SA. This held even when participants listened to their own utterances. These findings suggest that listeners process speech with respect to the statistical
    properties of the language spoken in their community, rather than using their own speech as a reference
  • Solberg Økland, H., Todorović, A., Lüttke, C. S., McQueen, J. M., & De Lange, F. P. (2019). Combined predictive effects of sentential and visual constraints in early audiovisual speech processing. Scientific Reports, 9: 7870. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44311-2.

    Abstract

    In language comprehension, a variety of contextual cues act in unison to render upcoming words more or less predictable. As a sentence unfolds, we use prior context (sentential constraints) to predict what the next words might be. Additionally, in a conversation, we can predict upcoming sounds through observing the mouth movements of a speaker (visual constraints). In electrophysiological studies, effects of visual constraints have typically been observed early in language processing, while effects of sentential constraints have typically been observed later. We hypothesized that the visual and the sentential constraints might feed into the same predictive process such that effects of sentential constraints might also be detectable early in language processing through modulations of the early effects of visual salience. We presented participants with audiovisual speech while recording their brain activity with magnetoencephalography. Participants saw videos of a person saying sentences where the last word was either sententially constrained or not, and began with a salient or non-salient mouth movement. We found that sentential constraints indeed exerted an early (N1) influence on language processing. Sentential modulations of the N1 visual predictability effect were visible in brain areas associated with semantic processing, and were differently expressed in the two hemispheres. In the left hemisphere, visual and sentential constraints jointly suppressed the auditory evoked field, while the right hemisphere was sensitive to visual constraints only in the absence of strong sentential constraints. These results suggest that sentential and visual constraints can jointly influence even very early stages of audiovisual speech comprehension.
  • Takashima, A., Bakker-Marshall, I., Van Hell, J. G., McQueen, J. M., & Janzen, G. (2019). Neural correlates of word learning in children. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 37: 100647. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100649.

    Abstract

    Memory representations of words are thought to undergo changes with consolidation: Episodic memories of novel words are transformed into lexical representations that interact with other words in the mental dictionary. Behavioral studies have shown that this lexical integration process is enhanced when there is more time for consolidation. Neuroimaging studies have further revealed that novel word representations are initially represented in a hippocampally-centered system, whereas left posterior middle temporal cortex activation increases with lexicalization. In this study, we measured behavioral and brain responses to newly-learned words in children. Two groups of Dutch children, aged between 8-10 and 14-16 years, were trained on 30 novel Japanese words depicting novel concepts. Children were tested on word-forms, word-meanings, and the novel words’ influence on existing word processing immediately after training, and again after a week. In line with the adult findings, hippocampal involvement decreased with time. Lexical integration, however, was not observed immediately or after a week, neither behaviorally nor neurally. It appears that time alone is not always sufficient for lexical integration to occur. We suggest that other factors (e.g., the novelty of the concepts and familiarity with the language the words are derived from) might also influence the integration process.

    Additional information

    Supplementary data
  • Van Goch, M. M., Verhoeven, L., & McQueen, J. M. (2019). Success in learning similar-sounding words predicts vocabulary depth above and beyond vocabulary breadth. Journal of Child Language, 46(1), 184-197. doi:10.1017/S0305000918000338.

    Abstract

    In lexical development, the specificity of phonological representations is important. The ability to build phonologically specific lexical representations predicts the number of words a child knows (vocabulary breadth), but it is not clear if it also fosters how well words are known (vocabulary depth). Sixty-six children were studied in kindergarten (age 5;7) and first grade (age 6;8). The predictive value of the ability to learn phonologically similar new words, phoneme discrimination ability, and phonological awareness on vocabulary breadth and depth were assessed using hierarchical regression. Word learning explained unique variance in kindergarten and first-grade vocabulary depth, over the other phonological factors. It did not explain unique variance in vocabulary breadth. Furthermore, even after controlling for kindergarten vocabulary breadth, kindergarten word learning still explained unique variance in first-grade vocabulary depth. Skill in learning phonologically similar words appears to predict knowledge children have about what words mean.
  • Wagner, M. A., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). Imitating speech in an unfamiliar language and an unfamiliar non-native accent in the native language. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1362-1366). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    This study concerns individual differences in speech imitation ability and the role that lexical representations play in imitation. We examined 1) whether imitation of sounds in an unfamiliar language (L0) is related to imitation of sounds in an unfamiliar
    non-native accent in the speaker’s native language (L1) and 2) whether it is easier or harder to imitate speech when you know the words to be imitated. Fifty-nine native Dutch speakers imitated words with target vowels in Basque (/a/ and /e/) and Greekaccented
    Dutch (/i/ and /u/). Spectral and durational
    analyses of the target vowels revealed no relationship between the success of L0 and L1 imitation and no difference in performance between tasks (i.e., L1
    imitation was neither aided nor blocked by lexical knowledge about the correct pronunciation). The results suggest instead that the relationship of the vowels to native phonological categories plays a bigger role in imitation
  • Bakker-Marshall, I., Takashima, A., Schoffelen, J.-M., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Theta-band Oscillations in the Middle Temporal Gyrus Reflect Novel Word Consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30(5), 621-633. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01240.

    Abstract

    Like many other types of memory formation, novel word learning benefits from an offline consolidation period after the initial encoding phase. A previous EEG study has shown that retrieval of novel words elicited more word-like-induced electrophysiological brain activity in the theta band after consolidation [Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 1286–1297, 2015]. This suggests that theta-band oscillations play a role in lexicalization, but it has not been demonstrated that this effect is directly caused by the formation of lexical representations. This study used magnetoencephalography to localize the theta consolidation effect to the left posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), a region known to be involved in lexical storage. Both untrained novel words and words learned immediately before test elicited lower theta power during retrieval than existing words in this region. After a 24-hr consolidation period, the difference between novel and existing words decreased significantly, most strongly in the left pMTG. The magnitude of the decrease after consolidation correlated with an increase in behavioral competition effects between novel words and existing words with similar spelling, reflecting functional integration into the mental lexicon. These results thus provide new evidence that consolidation aids the development of lexical representations mediated by the left pMTG. Theta synchronization may enable lexical access by facilitating the simultaneous activation of distributed semantic, phonological, and orthographic representations that are bound together in the pMTG.
  • Eisner, F., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Speech perception. In S. Thompson-Schill (Ed.), Stevens’ handbook of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience (4th ed.). Volume 3: Language & thought (pp. 1-46). Hoboken: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9781119170174.epcn301.

    Abstract

    This chapter reviews the computational processes that are responsible for recognizing word forms in the speech stream. We outline the different stages in a processing hierarchy from the extraction of general acoustic features, through speech‐specific prelexical processes, to the retrieval and selection of lexical representations. We argue that two recurring properties of the system as a whole are abstraction and adaptability. We also present evidence for parallel processing of information on different timescales, more specifically that segmental material in the speech stream (its consonants and vowels) is processed in parallel with suprasegmental material (the prosodic structures of spoken words). We consider evidence from both psycholinguistics and neurobiology wherever possible, and discuss how the two fields are beginning to address common computational problems. The challenge for future research in speech perception will be to build an account that links these computational problems, through functional mechanisms that address them, to neurobiological implementation.
  • Francisco, A. A., Takashima, A., McQueen, J. M., Van den Bunt, M., Jesse, A., & Groen, M. A. (2018). Adult dyslexic readers benefit less from visual input during audiovisual speech processing: fMRI evidence. Neuropsychologia, 117, 454-471. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.07.009.

    Abstract

    The aim of the present fMRI study was to investigate whether typical and dyslexic adult readers differed in the neural correlates of audiovisual speech processing. We tested for Blood Oxygen-Level Dependent (BOLD) activity differences between these two groups in a 1-back task, as they processed written (word, illegal consonant strings) and spoken (auditory, visual and audiovisual) stimuli. When processing written stimuli, dyslexic readers showed reduced activity in the supramarginal gyrus, a region suggested to play an important role in phonological processing, but only when they processed strings of consonants, not when they read words. During the speech perception tasks, dyslexic readers were only slower than typical readers in their behavioral responses in the visual speech condition. Additionally, dyslexic readers presented reduced neural activation in the auditory, the visual, and the audiovisual speech conditions. The groups also differed in terms of superadditivity, with dyslexic readers showing decreased neural activation in the regions of interest. An additional analysis focusing on vision-related processing during the audiovisual condition showed diminished activation for the dyslexic readers in a fusiform gyrus cluster. Our results thus suggest that there are differences in audiovisual speech processing between dyslexic and normal readers. These differences might be explained by difficulties in processing the unisensory components of audiovisual speech, more specifically, dyslexic readers may benefit less from visual information during audiovisual speech processing than typical readers. Given that visual speech processing supports the development of phonological skills fundamental in reading, differences in processing of visual speech could contribute to differences in reading ability between typical and dyslexic readers.
  • Franken, M. K., Eisner, F., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2018). Self-monitoring in the cerebral cortex: Neural responses to pitch-perturbed auditory feedback during speech production. NeuroImage, 179, 326-336. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.06.061.

    Abstract

    Speaking is a complex motor skill which requires near instantaneous integration of sensory and motor-related information. Current theory hypothesizes a complex interplay between motor and auditory processes during speech production, involving the online comparison of the speech output with an internally generated forward model. To examine the neural correlates of this intricate interplay between sensory and motor processes, the current study uses altered auditory feedback (AAF) in combination with magnetoencephalography (MEG). Participants vocalized the vowel/e/and heard auditory feedback that was temporarily pitch-shifted by only 25 cents, while neural activity was recorded with MEG. As a control condition, participants also heard the recordings of the same auditory feedback that they heard in the first half of the experiment, now without vocalizing. The participants were not aware of any perturbation of the auditory feedback. We found auditory cortical areas responded more strongly to the pitch shifts during vocalization. In addition, auditory feedback perturbation resulted in spectral power increases in the θ and lower β bands, predominantly in sensorimotor areas. These results are in line with current models of speech production, suggesting auditory cortical areas are involved in an active comparison between a forward model's prediction and the actual sensory input. Subsequently, these areas interact with motor areas to generate a motor response. Furthermore, the results suggest that θ and β power increases support auditory-motor interaction, motor error detection and/or sensory prediction processing.
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Eisner, F. (2018). Opposing and following responses in sensorimotor speech control: Why responses go both ways. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25(4), 1458-1467. doi:10.3758/s13423-018-1494-x.

    Abstract

    When talking, speakers continuously monitor and use the auditory feedback of their own voice to control and inform speech production processes. When speakers are provided with auditory feedback that is perturbed in real time, most of them compensate for this by opposing the feedback perturbation. But some speakers follow the perturbation. In the current study, we investigated whether the state of the speech production system at perturbation onset may determine what type of response (opposing or following) is given. The results suggest that whether a perturbation-related response is opposing or following depends on ongoing fluctuations of the production system: It initially responds by doing the opposite of what it was doing. This effect and the non-trivial proportion of following responses suggest that current production models are inadequate: They need to account for why responses to unexpected sensory feedback depend on the production-system’s state at the time of perturbation.
  • Goriot, C., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., Unsworth, S., & Van Hout, R. (2018). Language balance and switching ability in children acquiring English as a second language. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173, 168-186. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2018.03.019.

    Abstract

    This study investigated whether relative lexical proficiency in Dutch and English in child second language (L2) learners is related to executive functioning. Participants were Dutch primary school pupils of three different age groups (4–5, 8–9, and 11–12 years) who either were enrolled in an early-English schooling program or were age-matched controls not on that early-English program. Participants performed tasks that measured switching, inhibition, and working memory. Early-English program pupils had greater knowledge of English vocabulary and more balanced Dutch–English lexicons. In both groups, lexical balance, a ratio measure obtained by dividing vocabulary scores in English by those in Dutch, was related to switching but not to inhibition or working memory performance. These results show that for children who are learning an L2 in an instructional setting, and for whom managing two languages is not yet an automatized process, language balance may be more important than L2 proficiency in influencing the relation between childhood bilingualism and switching abilities.
  • Mitterer, H., Reinisch, E., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Allophones, not phonemes in spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 98, 77-92. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2017.09.005.

    Abstract

    What are the phonological representations that listeners use to map information about the segmental content of speech onto the mental lexicon during spoken-word recognition? Recent evidence from perceptual-learning paradigms seems to support (context-dependent) allophones as the basic representational units in spoken-word recognition. But recent evidence from a selective-adaptation paradigm seems to suggest that context-independent phonemes also play a role. We present three experiments using selective adaptation that constitute strong tests of these representational hypotheses. In Experiment 1, we tested generalization of selective adaptation using different allophones of Dutch /r/ and /l/ – a case where generalization has not been found with perceptual learning. In Experiments 2 and 3, we tested generalization of selective adaptation using German back fricatives in which allophonic and phonemic identity were varied orthogonally. In all three experiments, selective adaptation was observed only if adaptors and test stimuli shared allophones. Phonemic identity, in contrast, was neither necessary nor sufficient for generalization of selective adaptation to occur. These findings and other recent data using the perceptual-learning paradigm suggest that pre-lexical processing during spoken-word recognition is based on allophones, and not on context-independent phonemes
  • Norris, D., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2018). Commentary on “Interaction in spoken word recognition models". Frontiers in Psychology, 9: 1568. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01568.
  • Thorin, J., Sadakata, M., Desain, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Perception and production in interaction during non-native speech category learning. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(1), 92-103. doi:10.1121/1.5044415.

    Abstract

    Establishing non-native phoneme categories can be a notoriously difficult endeavour—in both speech perception and speech production. This study asks how these two domains interact in the course of this learning process. It investigates the effect of perceptual learning and related production practice of a challenging non-native category on the perception and/or production of that category. A four-day perceptual training protocol on the British English /æ/-/ɛ/ vowel contrast was combined with either related or unrelated production practice. After feedback on perceptual categorisation of the contrast, native Dutch participants in the related production group (N = 19) pronounced the trial's correct answer, while participants in the unrelated production group (N = 19) pronounced similar but phonologically unrelated words. Comparison of pre- and post-tests showed significant improvement over the course of training in both perception and production, but no differences between the groups were found. The lack of an effect of production practice is discussed in the light of previous, competing results and models of second-language speech perception and production. This study confirms that, even in the context of related production practice, perceptual training boosts production learning.
  • Viebahn, M., McQueen, J. M., Ernestus, M., Frauenfelder, U. H., & Bürki, A. (2018). How much does orthography influence the processing of reduced word forms? Evidence from novel-word learning about French schwa deletion. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(11), 2378-2394. doi:10.1177/1747021817741859.

    Abstract

    This study examines the influence of orthography on the processing of reduced word forms. For this purpose, we compared the impact of phonological variation with the impact of spelling-sound consistency on the processing of words that may be produced with or without the vowel schwa. Participants learnt novel French words in which the vowel schwa was present or absent in the first syllable. In Experiment 1, the words were consistently produced without schwa or produced in a variable manner (i.e., sometimes produced with and sometimes produced without schwa). In Experiment 2, words were always produced in a consistent manner, but an orthographic exposure phase was included in which words that were produced without schwa were either spelled with or without the letter . Results from naming and eye-tracking tasks suggest that both phonological variation and spelling-sound consistency influence the processing of spoken novel words. However, the influence of phonological variation outweighs the effect of spelling-sound consistency. Our findings therefore suggest that the influence of orthography on the processing of reduced word forms is relatively small.
  • Dai, B., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2017). Pure linguistic interference during comprehension of competing speech signals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141, EL249-EL254. doi:10.1121/1.4977590.

    Abstract

    Speech-in-speech perception can be challenging because the processing of competing acoustic and linguistic information leads to informational masking. Here, a method is proposed to isolate the linguistic component of informational masking while keeping the distractor's acoustic information unchanged. Participants performed a dichotic listening cocktail-party task before and after training on 4-band noise-vocoded sentences that became intelligible through the training. Distracting noise-vocoded speech interfered more with target speech comprehension after training (i.e., when intelligible) than before training (i.e., when unintelligible) at −3 dB SNR. These findings confirm that linguistic and acoustic information have distinct masking effects during speech-in‐speech comprehension
  • Francisco, A. A., Jesse, A., Groen, M. A., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). A general audiovisual temporal processing deficit in adult readers with dyslexia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 144-158. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0375.

    Abstract

    Purpose: Because reading is an audiovisual process, reading impairment may reflect an audiovisual processing deficit. The aim of the present study was to test the existence and scope of such a deficit in adult readers with dyslexia. Method: We tested 39 typical readers and 51 adult readers with dyslexia on their sensitivity to the simultaneity of audiovisual speech and nonspeech stimuli, their time window of audiovisual integration for speech (using incongruent /aCa/ syllables), and their audiovisual perception of phonetic categories. Results: Adult readers with dyslexia showed less sensitivity to audiovisual simultaneity than typical readers for both speech and nonspeech events. We found no differences between readers with dyslexia and typical readers in the temporal window of integration for audiovisual speech or in the audiovisual perception of phonetic categories. Conclusions: The results suggest an audiovisual temporal deficit in dyslexia that is not specific to speech-related events. But the differences found for audiovisual temporal sensitivity did not translate into a deficit in audiovisual speech perception. Hence, there seems to be a hiatus between simultaneity judgment and perception, suggesting a multisensory system that uses different mechanisms across tasks. Alternatively, it is possible that the audiovisual deficit in dyslexia is only observable when explicit judgments about audiovisual simultaneity are required
  • Francisco, A. A., Groen, M. A., Jesse, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Beyond the usual cognitive suspects: The importance of speechreading and audiovisual temporal sensitivity in reading ability. Learning and Individual Differences, 54, 60-72. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2017.01.003.

    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to clarify whether audiovisual processing accounted for variance in reading and reading-related abilities, beyond the effect of a set of measures typically associated with individual differences in both reading and audiovisual processing. Testing adults with and without a diagnosis of dyslexia, we showed that—across all participants, and after accounting for variance in cognitive abilities—audiovisual temporal sensitivity contributed uniquely to variance in reading errors. This is consistent with previous studies demonstrating an audiovisual deficit in dyslexia. Additionally, we showed that speechreading (identification of speech based on visual cues from the talking face alone) was a unique contributor to variance in phonological awareness in dyslexic readers only: those who scored higher on speechreading, scored lower on phonological awareness. This suggests a greater reliance on visual speech as a compensatory mechanism when processing auditory speech is problematic. A secondary aim of this study was to better understand the nature of dyslexia. The finding that a sub-group of dyslexic readers scored low on phonological awareness and high on speechreading is consistent with a hybrid perspective of dyslexia: There are multiple possible pathways to reading impairment, which may translate into multiple profiles of dyslexia.
  • Franken, M. K., Eisner, F., Schoffelen, J.-M., Acheson, D. J., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Audiovisual recalibration of vowel categories. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 655-658). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-122.

    Abstract

    One of the most daunting tasks of a listener is to map a
    continuous auditory stream onto known speech sound
    categories and lexical items. A major issue with this mapping
    problem is the variability in the acoustic realizations of sound
    categories, both within and across speakers. Past research has
    suggested listeners may use visual information (e.g., lipreading)
    to calibrate these speech categories to the current
    speaker. Previous studies have focused on audiovisual
    recalibration of consonant categories. The present study
    explores whether vowel categorization, which is known to show
    less sharply defined category boundaries, also benefit from
    visual cues.
    Participants were exposed to videos of a speaker
    pronouncing one out of two vowels, paired with audio that was
    ambiguous between the two vowels. After exposure, it was
    found that participants had recalibrated their vowel categories.
    In addition, individual variability in audiovisual recalibration is
    discussed. It is suggested that listeners’ category sharpness may
    be related to the weight they assign to visual information in
    audiovisual speech perception. Specifically, listeners with less
    sharp categories assign more weight to visual information
    during audiovisual speech recognition.
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Eisner, F., & Hagoort, P. (2017). Individual variability as a window on production-perception interactions in speech motor control. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 142(4), 2007-2018. doi:10.1121/1.5006899.

    Abstract

    An important part of understanding speech motor control consists of capturing the
    interaction between speech production and speech perception. This study tests a
    prediction of theoretical frameworks that have tried to account for these interactions: if
    speech production targets are specified in auditory terms, individuals with better
    auditory acuity should have more precise speech targets, evidenced by decreased
    within-phoneme variability and increased between-phoneme distance. A study was
    carried out consisting of perception and production tasks in counterbalanced order.
    Auditory acuity was assessed using an adaptive speech discrimination task, while
    production variability was determined using a pseudo-word reading task. Analyses of
    the production data were carried out to quantify average within-phoneme variability as
    well as average between-phoneme contrasts. Results show that individuals not only
    vary in their production and perceptual abilities, but that better discriminators have
    more distinctive vowel production targets (that is, targets with less within-phoneme
    variability and greater between-phoneme distances), confirming the initial hypothesis.
    This association between speech production and perception did not depend on local
    phoneme density in vowel space. This study suggests that better auditory acuity leads
    to more precise speech production targets, which may be a consequence of auditory
    feedback affecting speech production over time.
  • Janssen, C., Segers, E., McQueen, J. M., & Verhoeven, L. (2017). Transfer from implicit to explicit phonological abilities in first and second language learners. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20(4), 795-812. doi:10.1017/S1366728916000523.

    Abstract

    Children's abilities to process the phonological structure of words are important predictors of their literacy development. In the current study, we examined the interrelatedness between implicit (i.e., speech decoding) and explicit (i.e., phonological awareness) phonological abilities, and especially the role therein of lexical specificity (i.e., the ability to learn to recognize spoken words based on only minimal acoustic-phonetic differences). We tested 75 Dutch monolingual and 64 Turkish–Dutch bilingual kindergartners. SEM analyses showed that speech decoding predicted lexical specificity, which in turn predicted rhyme awareness in the first language learners but phoneme awareness in the second language learners. Moreover, in the latter group there was an impact of the second language: Dutch speech decoding and lexical specificity predicted Turkish phonological awareness, which in turn predicted Dutch phonological awareness. We conclude that language-specific phonological characteristics underlie different patterns of transfer from implicit to explicit phonological abilities in first and second language learners.
  • Schuerman, W. L., Meyer, A. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Mapping the speech code: Cortical responses linking the perception and production of vowels. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11: 161. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00161.

    Abstract

    The acoustic realization of speech is constrained by the physical mechanisms by which it is produced. Yet for speech perception, the degree to which listeners utilize experience derived from speech production has long been debated. In the present study, we examined how sensorimotor adaptation during production may affect perception, and how this relationship may be reflected in early vs. late electrophysiological responses. Participants first performed a baseline speech production task, followed by a vowel categorization task during which EEG responses were recorded. In a subsequent speech production task, half the participants received shifted auditory feedback, leading most to alter their articulations. This was followed by a second, post-training vowel categorization task. We compared changes in vowel production to both behavioral and electrophysiological changes in vowel perception. No differences in phonetic categorization were observed between groups receiving altered or unaltered feedback. However, exploratory analyses revealed correlations between vocal motor behavior and phonetic categorization. EEG analyses revealed correlations between vocal motor behavior and cortical responses in both early and late time windows. These results suggest that participants' recent production behavior influenced subsequent vowel perception. We suggest that the change in perception can be best characterized as a mapping of acoustics onto articulation
  • Schuerman, W. L., Nagarajan, S., McQueen, J. M., & Houde, J. (2017). Sensorimotor adaptation affects perceptual compensation for coarticulation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141(4), 2693-2704. doi:10.1121/1.4979791.

    Abstract

    A given speech sound will be realized differently depending on the context in which it is produced. Listeners have been found to compensate perceptually for these coarticulatory effects, yet it is unclear to what extent this effect depends on actual production experience. In this study, whether changes in motor-to-sound mappings induced by adaptation to altered auditory feedback can affect perceptual compensation for coarticulation is investigated. Specifically, whether altering how the vowel [i] is produced can affect the categorization of a stimulus continuum between an alveolar and a palatal fricative whose interpretation is dependent on vocalic context is tested. It was found that participants could be sorted into three groups based on whether they tended to oppose the direction of the shifted auditory feedback, to follow it, or a mixture of the two, and that these articulatory responses, not the shifted feedback the participants heard, correlated with changes in perception. These results indicate that sensorimotor adaptation to altered feedback can affect the perception of unaltered yet coarticulatorily-dependent speech sounds, suggesting a modulatory role of sensorimotor experience on speech perception
  • Takashima, A., Bakker, I., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Interaction between episodic and semantic memory networks in the acquisition and consolidation of novel spoken words. Brain and Language, 167, 44-60. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2016.05.009.

    Abstract

    When a novel word is learned, its memory representation is thought to undergo a process of consolidation and integration. In this study, we tested whether the neural representations of novel words change as a function of consolidation by observing brain activation patterns just after learning and again after a delay of one week. Words learned with meanings were remembered better than those learned without meanings. Both episodic (hippocampus-dependent) and semantic (dependent on distributed neocortical areas) memory systems were utilised during recognition of the novel words. The extent to which the two systems were involved changed as a function of time and the amount of associated information, with more involvement of both systems for the meaningful words than for the form-only words after the one-week delay. These results suggest that the reason the meaningful words were remembered better is that their retrieval can benefit more from these two complementary memory systems
  • Van Goch, M. M., Verhoeven, L., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Trainability in lexical specificity mediates between short-term memory and both vocabulary and rhyme awareness. Learning and Individual Differences, 57, 163-169. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2017.05.008.

    Abstract

    A major goal in the early years of elementary school is learning to read, a process in which children show substantial individual differences. To shed light on the underlying processes of early literacy, this study investigates the interrelations among four known precursors to literacy: phonological short-term memory, vocabulary size, rhyme awareness, and trainability in the phonological specificity of lexical representations, by means of structural equation modelling, in a group of 101 4-year-old children. Trainability in lexical specificity was assessed by teaching children pairs of new phonologically-similar words. Standardized tests of receptive vocabulary, short-term memory, and rhyme awareness were used. The best-fitting model showed that trainability in lexical specificity partially mediated between short-term memory and both vocabulary size and rhyme awareness. These results demonstrate that individual differences in the ability to learn phonologically-similar new words are related to individual differences in vocabulary size and rhyme awareness.
  • Viebahn, M., Ernestus, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Speaking style influences the brain’s electrophysiological response to grammatical errors in speech comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(7), 1132-1146. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01095.

    Abstract

    This electrophysiological study asked whether the brain processes grammatical gender
    violations in casual speech differently than in careful speech. Native speakers of Dutch were
    presented with utterances that contained adjective-noun pairs in which the adjective was either
    correctly inflected with a word-final schwa (e.g. een spannende roman “a suspenseful novel”) or
    incorrectly uninflected without that schwa (een spannend roman). Consistent with previous
    findings, the uninflected adjectives elicited an electrical brain response sensitive to syntactic
    violations when the talker was speaking in a careful manner. When the talker was speaking in a
    casual manner, this response was absent. A control condition showed electrophysiological responses
    for carefully as well as casually produced utterances with semantic anomalies, showing that
    listeners were able to understand the content of both types of utterance. The results suggest that
    listeners take information about the speaking style of a talker into account when processing the
    acoustic-phonetic information provided by the speech signal. Absent schwas in casual speech are
    effectively not grammatical gender violations. These changes in syntactic processing are evidence
    of contextually-driven neural flexibility.

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  • Asaridou, S. S., Takashima, A., Dediu, D., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2016). Repetition suppression in the left inferior frontal gyrus predicts tone learning performance. Cerebral Cortex, 26(6), 2728-2742. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhv126.

    Abstract

    Do individuals differ in how efficiently they process non-native sounds? To what extent do these differences relate to individual variability in sound-learning aptitude? We addressed these questions by assessing the sound-learning abilities of Dutch native speakers as they were trained on non-native tone contrasts. We used fMRI repetition suppression to the non-native tones to measure participants' neuronal processing efficiency before and after training. Although all participants improved in tone identification with training, there was large individual variability in learning performance. A repetition suppression effect to tone was found in the bilateral inferior frontal gyri (IFGs) before training. No whole-brain effect was found after training; a region-of-interest analysis, however, showed that, after training, repetition suppression to tone in the left IFG correlated positively with learning. That is, individuals who were better in learning the non-native tones showed larger repetition suppression in this area. Crucially, this was true even before training. These findings add to existing evidence that the left IFG plays an important role in sound learning and indicate that individual differences in learning aptitude stem from differences in the neuronal efficiency with which non-native sounds are processed.
  • McQueen, J. M., Eisner, F., & Norris, D. (2016). When brain regions talk to each other during speech processing, what are they talking about? Commentary on Gow and Olson (2015). Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(7), 860-863. doi:10.1080/23273798.2016.1154975.

    Abstract

    This commentary on Gow and Olson [2015. Sentential influences on acoustic-phonetic processing: A Granger causality analysis of multimodal imaging data. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. doi:10.1080/23273798.2015.1029498] questions in three ways their conclusion that speech perception is based on interactive processing. First, it is not clear that the data presented by Gow and Olson reflect normal speech recognition. Second, Gow and Olson's conclusion depends on still-debated assumptions about the functions performed by specific brain regions. Third, the results are compatible with feedforward models of speech perception and appear inconsistent with models in which there are online interactions about phonological content. We suggest that progress in the neuroscience of speech perception requires the generation of testable hypotheses about the function(s) performed by inter-regional connections
  • Norris, D., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2016). Prediction, Bayesian inference and feedback in speech recognition. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(1), 4-18. doi:10.1080/23273798.2015.1081703.

    Abstract

    Speech perception involves prediction, but how is that prediction implemented? In cognitive models prediction has often been taken to imply that there is feedback of activation from lexical to pre-lexical processes as implemented in interactive-activation models (IAMs). We show that simple activation feedback does not actually improve speech recognition. However, other forms of feedback can be beneficial. In particular, feedback can enable the listener to adapt to changing input, and can potentially help the listener to recognise unusual input, or recognise speech in the presence of competing sounds. The common feature of these helpful forms of feedback is that they are all ways of optimising the performance of speech recognition using Bayesian inference. That is, listeners make predictions about speech because speech recognition is optimal in the sense captured in Bayesian models.
  • Asaridou, S. S., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Effects of early bilingual experience with a tone and a non-tone language on speech-music. PLoS One, 10(12): e0144225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144225.

    Abstract

    We investigated music and language processing in a group of early bilinguals who spoke a tone language and a non-tone language (Cantonese and Dutch). We assessed online speech-music processing interactions, that is, interactions that occur when speech and music are processed simultaneously in songs, with a speeded classification task. In this task, participants judged sung pseudowords either musically (based on the direction of the musical interval) or phonologically (based on the identity of the sung vowel). We also assessed longer-term effects of linguistic experience on musical ability, that is, the influence of extensive prior experience with language when processing music. These effects were assessed with a task in which participants had to learn to identify musical intervals and with four pitch-perception tasks. Our hypothesis was that due to their experience in two different languages using lexical versus intonational tone, the early Cantonese-Dutch bilinguals would outperform the Dutch control participants. In online processing, the Cantonese-Dutch bilinguals processed speech and music more holistically than controls. This effect seems to be driven by experience with a tone language, in which integration of segmental and pitch information is fundamental. Regarding longer-term effects of linguistic experience, we found no evidence for a bilingual advantage in either the music-interval learning task or the pitch-perception tasks. Together, these results suggest that being a Cantonese-Dutch bilingual does not have any measurable longer-term effects on pitch and music processing, but does have consequences for how speech and music are processed jointly.

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  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., Van Hall, J. G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 27(7), 1286-1297. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00801.

    Abstract

    The complementary learning systems account of word learning states that novel words, like other types of memories, undergo an offline consolidation process during which they are gradually integrated into the neocortical memory network. A fundamental change in the neural representation of a novel word should therefore occur in the hours after learning. The present EEG study tested this hypothesis by investigating whether novel words learned before a 24-hr consolidation period elicited more word-like oscillatory responses than novel words learned immediately before testing. In line with previous studies indicating that theta synchronization reflects lexical access, unfamiliar novel words elicited lower power in the theta band (4–8 Hz) than existing words. Recently learned words still showed a marginally lower theta increase than existing words, but theta responses to novel words that had been acquired 24 hr earlier were indistinguishable from responses to existing words. Consistent with evidence that beta desynchronization (16–21 Hz) is related to lexical-semantic processing, we found that both unfamiliar and recently learned novel words elicited less beta desynchronization than existing words. In contrast, no difference was found between novel words learned 24 hr earlier and existing words. These data therefore suggest that an offline consolidation period enables novel words to acquire lexically integrated, word-like neural representations.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Tracking lexical consolidation with ERPs: Lexical and semantic-priming effects on N400 and LPC responses to newly-learned words. Neuropsychologia, 79, 33-41. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.10.020.
  • Franken, M. K., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Acheson, D. J. (2015). Assessing the link between speech perception and production through individual differences. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow: the University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This study aims to test a prediction of recent
    theoretical frameworks in speech motor control: if speech production targets are specified in auditory
    terms, people with better auditory acuity should have more precise speech targets.
    To investigate this, we had participants perform speech perception and production tasks in a counterbalanced order. To assess speech perception acuity, we used an adaptive speech discrimination
    task. To assess variability in speech production, participants performed a pseudo-word reading task; formant values were measured for each recording.
    We predicted that speech production variability to correlate inversely with discrimination performance.
    The results suggest that people do vary in their production and perceptual abilities, and that better discriminators have more distinctive vowel production targets, confirming our prediction. This
    study highlights the importance of individual
    differences in the study of speech motor control, and sheds light on speech production-perception interaction.
  • Janssen, C., Segers, E., McQueen, J. M., & Verhoeven, L. (2015). Lexical specificity training effects in second language learners. Language Learning, 65(2), 358-389. doi:10.1111/lang.12102.

    Abstract

    Children who start formal education in a second language may experience slower vocabulary growth in that language and subsequently experience disadvantages in literacy acquisition. The current study asked whether lexical specificity training can stimulate bilingual children's phonological awareness, which is considered to be a precursor to literacy. Therefore, Dutch monolingual and Turkish-Dutch bilingual children were taught new Dutch words with only minimal acoustic-phonetic differences. As a result of this training, the monolingual and the bilingual children improved on phoneme blending, which can be seen as an early aspect of phonological awareness. During training, the bilingual children caught up with the monolingual children on words with phonological overlap between their first language Turkish and their second language Dutch. It is concluded that learning minimal pair words fosters phoneme awareness, in both first and second language preliterate children, and that for second language learners phonological overlap between the two languages positively affects training outcomes, likely due to linguistic transfer
  • Orfanidou, E., McQueen, J. M., Adam, R., & Morgan, G. (2015). Segmentation of British Sign Language (BSL): Mind the gap! Quarterly journal of experimental psychology, 68, 641-663. doi:10.1080/17470218.2014.945467.

    Abstract

    This study asks how users of British Sign Language (BSL) recognize individual signs in connected sign sequences. We examined whether this is achieved through modality-specific or modality-general segmentation procedures. A modality-specific feature of signed languages is that, during continuous signing, there are salient transitions between sign locations. We used the sign-spotting task to ask if and how BSL signers use these transitions in segmentation. A total of 96 real BSL signs were preceded by nonsense signs which were produced in either the target location or another location (with a small or large transition). Half of the transitions were within the same major body area (e.g., head) and half were across body areas (e.g., chest to hand). Deaf adult BSL users (a group of natives and early learners, and a group of late learners) spotted target signs best when there was a minimal transition and worst when there was a large transition. When location changes were present, both groups performed better when transitions were to a different body area than when they were within the same area. These findings suggest that transitions do not provide explicit sign-boundary cues in a modality-specific fashion. Instead, we argue that smaller transitions help recognition in a modality-general way by limiting lexical search to signs within location neighbourhoods, and that transitions across body areas also aid segmentation in a modality-general way, by providing a phonotactic cue to a sign boundary. We propose that sign segmentation is based on modality-general procedures which are core language-processing mechanisms
  • Schuerman, W. L., Meyer, A. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Do we perceive others better than ourselves? A perceptual benefit for noise-vocoded speech produced by an average speaker. PLoS One, 10(7): e0129731. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129731.

    Abstract

    In different tasks involving action perception, performance has been found to be facilitated
    when the presented stimuli were produced by the participants themselves rather than by
    another participant. These results suggest that the same mental representations are
    accessed during both production and perception. However, with regard to spoken word perception,
    evidence also suggests that listeners’ representations for speech reflect the input
    from their surrounding linguistic community rather than their own idiosyncratic productions.
    Furthermore, speech perception is heavily influenced by indexical cues that may lead listeners
    to frame their interpretations of incoming speech signals with regard to speaker identity.
    In order to determine whether word recognition evinces similar self-advantages as found in
    action perception, it was necessary to eliminate indexical cues from the speech signal. We therefore asked participants to identify noise-vocoded versions of Dutch words that were based on either their own recordings or those of a statistically average speaker. The majority of participants were more accurate for the average speaker than for themselves, even after taking into account differences in intelligibility. These results suggest that the speech
    representations accessed during perception of noise-vocoded speech are more reflective
    of the input of the speech community, and hence that speech perception is not necessarily based on representations of one’s own speech.
  • Viebahn, M., Ernestus, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Syntactic predictability in the recognition of carefully and casually produced speech. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(6), 1684-1702. doi:10.1037/a0039326.
  • Witteman, M. J., Bardhan, N. P., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Automaticity and stability of adaptation to foreign-accented speech. Language and Speech, 52(2), 168-189. doi:10.1177/0023830914528102.

    Abstract

    In three cross-modal priming experiments we asked whether adaptation to a foreign-accented speaker is automatic, and whether adaptation can be seen after a long delay between initial exposure and test. Dutch listeners were exposed to a Hebrew-accented Dutch speaker with two types of Dutch words: those that contained [ɪ] (globally accented words), and those in which the Dutch [i] was shortened to [ɪ] (specific accent marker words). Experiment 1, which served as a baseline, showed that native Dutch participants showed facilitatory priming for globally accented, but not specific accent, words. In experiment 2, participants performed a 3.5-minute phoneme monitoring task, and were tested on their comprehension of the accented speaker 24 hours later using the same cross-modal priming task as in experiment 1. During the phoneme monitoring task, listeners were asked to detect a consonant that was not strongly accented. In experiment 3, the delay between exposure and test was extended to 1 week. Listeners in experiments 2 and 3 showed facilitatory priming for both globally accented and specific accent marker words. Together, these results show that adaptation to a foreign-accented speaker can be rapid and automatic, and can be observed after a prolonged delay in testing.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Competition from unseen or unheard novel words: Lexical consolidation across modalities. Journal of Memory and Language, 73, 116-139. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2014.03.002.

    Abstract

    In four experiments we investigated the formation of novel word memories across modalities, using competition between novel words and their existing phonological/orthographic neighbours as a test of lexical integration. Auditorily acquired novel words entered into competition both in the spoken modality (Experiment 1) and in the written modality (Experiment 4) after a consolidation period of 24 h. Words acquired from print, on the other hand, showed competition effects after 24 h in a visual word recognition task (Experiment 3) but required additional training and a consolidation period of a week before entering into spoken-word competition (Experiment 2). These cross-modal effects support the hypothesis that lexicalised rather than episodic representations underlie post-consolidation competition effects. We suggest that sublexical phoneme–grapheme conversion during novel word encoding and/or offline consolidation enables the formation of modality-specific lexemes in the untrained modality, which subsequently undergo the same cortical integration process as explicitly perceived word forms in the trained modality. Although conversion takes place in both directions, speech input showed an advantage over print both in terms of lexicalisation and explicit memory performance. In conclusion, the brain is able to integrate and consolidate internally generated lexical information as well as external perceptual input.
  • Cutler, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). How prosody is both mandatory and optional. In J. Caspers, Y. Chen, W. Heeren, J. Pacilly, N. O. Schiller, & E. Van Zanten (Eds.), Above and Beyond the Segments: Experimental linguistics and phonetics (pp. 71-82). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Speech signals originate as a sequence of linguistic units selected by speakers, but these units are necessarily realised in the suprasegmental dimensions of time, frequency and amplitude. For this reason prosodic structure has been viewed as a mandatory target of language processing by both speakers and listeners. In apparent contradiction, however, prosody has also been argued to be ancillary rather than core linguistic structure, making processing of prosodic structure essentially optional. In the present tribute to one of the luminaries of prosodic research for the past quarter century, we review evidence from studies of the processing of lexical stress and focal accent which reconciles these views and shows that both claims are, each in their own way, fully true.
  • Francisco, A. A., Jesse, A., Groen, M. a., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Audiovisual temporal sensitivity in typical and dyslexic adult readers. In Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH 2014) (pp. 2575-2579).

    Abstract

    Reading is an audiovisual process that requires the learning of systematic links between graphemes and phonemes. It is thus possible that reading impairments reflect an audiovisual processing deficit. In this study, we compared audiovisual processing in adults with developmental dyslexia and adults without reading difficulties. We focused on differences in cross-modal temporal sensitivity both for speech and for non-speech events. When compared to adults without reading difficulties, adults with developmental dyslexia presented a wider temporal window in which unsynchronized speech events were perceived as synchronized. No differences were found between groups for the non-speech events. These results suggests a deficit in dyslexia in the perception of cross-modal temporal synchrony for speech events.
  • Hoffmann, C. W. G., Sadakata, M., Chen, A., Desain, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Within-category variance and lexical tone discrimination in native and non-native speakers. In C. Gussenhoven, Y. Chen, & D. Dediu (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Language (pp. 45-49). Nijmegen: Radboud University Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    In this paper, we show how acoustic variance within lexical tones in disyllabic Mandarin Chinese pseudowords affects discrimination abilities in both native and non-native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. Within-category acoustic variance did not hinder native speakers in discriminating between lexical tones, whereas it precludes Dutch native speakers from reaching native level performance. Furthermore, the influence of acoustic variance was not uniform but asymmetric, dependent on the presentation order of the lexical tones to be discriminated. An exploratory analysis using an active adaptive oddball paradigm was used to quantify the extent of the perceptual asymmetry. We discuss two possible mechanisms underlying this asymmetry and propose possible paradigms to investigate these mechanisms
  • Jesse, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Suprasegmental lexical stress cues in visual speech can guide spoken-word recognition. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67, 793-808. doi:10.1080/17470218.2013.834371.

    Abstract

    Visual cues to the individual segments of speech and to sentence prosody guide speech recognition. The present study tested whether visual suprasegmental cues to the stress patterns of words can also constrain recognition. Dutch listeners use acoustic suprasegmental cues to lexical stress (changes in duration, amplitude, and pitch) in spoken-word recognition. We asked here whether they can also use visual suprasegmental cues. In two categorization experiments, Dutch participants saw a speaker say fragments of word pairs that were segmentally identical but differed in their stress realization (e.g., 'ca-vi from cavia "guinea pig" vs. 'ka-vi from kaviaar "caviar"). Participants were able to distinguish between these pairs from seeing a speaker alone. Only the presence of primary stress in the fragment, not its absence, was informative. Participants were able to distinguish visually primary from secondary stress on first syllables, but only when the fragment-bearing target word carried phrase-level emphasis. Furthermore, participants distinguished fragments with primary stress on their second syllable from those with secondary stress on their first syllable (e.g., pro-'jec from projector "projector" vs. 'pro-jec from projectiel "projectile"), independently of phrase-level emphasis. Seeing a speaker thus contributes to spoken-word recognition by providing suprasegmental information about the presence of primary lexical stress.
  • McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2014). Interference of spoken word recognition through phonological priming from visual objects and printed words. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 76, 190-200. doi:10.3758/s13414-013-0560-8.

    Abstract

    Three cross-modal priming experiments examined the influence of pre-exposure to
    pictures and printed words on the speed of spoken word recognition. Targets for
    auditory lexical decision were spoken Dutch words and nonwords, presented in
    isolation (Experiments 1 and 2) or after a short phrase (Experiment 3). Auditory
    stimuli were preceded by primes which were pictures (Experiments 1 and 3) or those pictures’ printed names (Experiment 2). Prime-target pairs were phonologically onsetrelated (e.g., pijl-pijn, arrow-pain), were from the same semantic category (e.g., pijlzwaard, arrow-sword), or were unrelated on both dimensions. Phonological
    interference and semantic facilitation were observed in all experiments. Priming
    magnitude was similar for pictures and printed words, and did not vary with picture
    viewing time or number of pictures in the display (either one or four). These effects
    arose even though participants were not explicitly instructed to name the pictures and where strategic naming would interfere with lexical decision-making. This suggests
    that, by default, processing of related pictures and printed words influences how
    quickly we recognize related spoken words.
  • Poellmann, K., Bosker, H. R., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2014). Perceptual adaptation to segmental and syllabic reductions in continuous spoken Dutch. Journal of Phonetics, 46, 101-127. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.06.004.

    Abstract

    This study investigates if and how listeners adapt to reductions in casual continuous speech. In a perceptual-learning variant of the visual-world paradigm, two groups of Dutch participants were exposed to either segmental (/b/ → [ʋ]) or syllabic (ver- → [fː]) reductions in spoken Dutch sentences. In the test phase, both groups heard both kinds of reductions, but now applied to different words. In one of two experiments, the segmental reduction exposure group was better than the syllabic reduction exposure group in recognizing new reduced /b/-words. In both experiments, the syllabic reduction group showed a greater target preference for new reduced ver-words. Learning about reductions was thus applied to previously unheard words. This lexical generalization suggests that mechanisms compensating for segmental and syllabic reductions take place at a prelexical level, and hence that lexical access involves an abstractionist mode of processing. Existing abstractionist models need to be revised, however, as they do not include representations of sequences of segments (corresponding e.g. to ver-) at the prelexical level.
  • Poellmann, K., Mitterer, H., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Use what you can: Storage, abstraction processes and perceptual adjustments help listeners recognize reduced forms. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 437. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00437.

    Abstract

    Three eye-tracking experiments tested whether native listeners recognized reduced Dutch words better after having heard the same reduced words, or different reduced words of the same reduction type and whether familiarization with one reduction type helps listeners to deal with another reduction type. In the exposure phase, a segmental reduction group was exposed to /b/-reductions (e.g., "minderij" instead of "binderij", 'book binder') and a syllabic reduction group was exposed to full-vowel deletions (e.g., "p'raat" instead of "paraat", 'ready'), while a control group did not hear any reductions. In the test phase, all three groups heard the same speaker producing reduced-/b/ and deleted-vowel words that were either repeated (Experiments 1 & 2) or new (Experiment 3), but that now appeared as targets in semantically neutral sentences. Word-specific learning effects were found for vowel-deletions but not for /b/-reductions. Generalization of learning to new words of the same reduction type occurred only if the exposure words showed a phonologically consistent reduction pattern (/b/-reductions). In contrast, generalization of learning to words of another reduction type occurred only if the exposure words showed a phonologically inconsistent reduction pattern (the vowel deletions; learning about them generalized to recognition of the /b/-reductions). In order to deal with reductions, listeners thus use various means. They store reduced variants (e.g., for the inconsistent vowel-deleted words) and they abstract over incoming information to build up and apply mapping rules (e.g., for the consistent /b/-reductions). Experience with inconsistent pronunciations leads to greater perceptual flexibility in dealing with other forms of reduction uttered by the same speaker than experience with consistent pronunciations.
  • Sadakata, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Individual aptitude in Mandarin lexical tone perception predicts effectiveness of high-variability training. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 1318. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01318.

    Abstract

    Although the high-variability training method can enhance learning of non-native speech categories, this can depend on individuals’ aptitude. The current study asked how general the effects of perceptual aptitude are by testing whether they occur with training materials spoken by native speakers and whether they depend on the nature of the to-be-learned material. Forty-five native Dutch listeners took part in a five-day training procedure in which they identified bisyllabic Mandarin pseudowords (e.g., asa) pronounced with different lexical tone combinations. The training materials were presented to different groups of listeners at three levels of variability: low (many repetitions of a limited set of words recorded by a single speaker), medium (fewer repetitions of a more variable set of words recorded by 3 speakers) and high (similar to medium but with 5 speakers). Overall, variability did not influence learning performance, but this was due to an interaction with individuals’ perceptual aptitude: increasing variability hindered improvements in performance for low-aptitude perceivers while it helped improvements in performance for high-aptitude perceivers. These results show that the previously observed interaction between individuals’ aptitude and effects of degree of variability extends to natural tokens of Mandarin speech. This interaction was not found, however, in a closely-matched study in which native Dutch listeners were trained on the Japanese geminate/singleton consonant contrast. This may indicate that the effectiveness of high-variability training depends not only on individuals’ aptitude in speech perception but also on the nature of the categories being acquired.
  • Takashima, A., Bakker, I., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Richness of information about novel words influences how episodic and semantic memory networks interact during lexicalization. NeuroImage, 84, 265-278. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.08.023.

    Abstract

    The complementary learning systems account of declarative memory suggests two distinct memory networks, a fast-mapping, episodic system involving the hippocampus, and a slower semantic memory system distributed across the neocortex in which new information is gradually integrated with existing representations. In this study, we investigated the extent to which these two networks are involved in the integration of novel words into the lexicon after extensive learning, and how the involvement of these networks changes after 24 hours. In particular, we explored whether having richer information at encoding influences the lexicalization trajectory. We trained participants with two sets of novel words, one where exposure was only to the words’ phonological forms (the form-only condition), and one where pictures of unfamiliar objects were associated with the words’ phonological forms (the picture-associated condition). A behavioral measure of lexical competition (indexing lexicalization) indicated stronger competition effects for the form-only words. Imaging (fMRI) results revealed greater involvement of phonological lexical processing areas immediately after training in the form-only condition, suggesting tight connections were formed between novel words and existing lexical entries already at encoding. Retrieval of picture-associated novel words involved the episodic/hippocampal memory system more extensively. Although lexicalization was weaker in the picture-associated condition, overall memory strength was greater when tested after a 24 hours’ delay, probably due to the availability of both episodic and lexical memory networks to aid retrieval. It appears that, during lexicalization of a novel word, the relative involvement of different memory networks differs according to the richness of the information about that word available at encoding.
  • Van Goch, M., McQueen, J. M., & Verhoeven, L. (2014). Learning phonologically specific new words fosters rhyme awareness in Dutch preliterate children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18(3), 155-172. doi:10.1080/10888438.2013.827199.

    Abstract

    How do children use phonological knowledge about spoken language in acquiring literacy? Phonological precursors of literacy include phonological awareness, speech decoding skill, and lexical specificity (i.e., the richness of phonological representations in the mental lexicon). An intervention study investigated whether early literacy skills can be enhanced by training lexical specificity. Forty-two prereading 4-year-olds were randomly assigned to either an experimental group that was taught pairs of new words that differed minimally or a control group that received numeracy training. The experimental group gained on a rhyme awareness task, suggesting that learning phonologically specific new words fosters phonological awareness.
  • Warner, N., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2014). Tracking perception of the sounds of English. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 135, 2295-3006. doi:10.1121/1.4870486.

    Abstract

    Twenty American English listeners identified gated fragments of all 2288 possible English within-word and cross-word diphones, providing a total of 538 560 phoneme categorizations. The results show orderly uptake of acoustic information in the signal and provide a view of where information about segments occurs in time. Information locus depends on each speech sound’s identity and phonological features. Affricates and diphthongs have highly localized information so that listeners’ perceptual accuracy rises during a confined time range. Stops and sonorants have more distributed and gradually appearing information. The identity and phonological features (e.g., vowel vs consonant) of the neighboring segment also influences when acoustic information about a segment is available. Stressed vowels are perceived significantly more accurately than unstressed vowels, but this effect is greater for lax vowels than for tense vowels or diphthongs. The dataset charts the availability of perceptual cues to segment identity across time for the full phoneme repertoire of English in all attested phonetic contexts.
  • Weber, A., Di Betta, A. M., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Treack or trit: Adaptation to genuine and arbitrary foreign accents by monolingual and bilingual listeners. Journal of phonetics, 46, 34-51. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.05.002.

    Abstract

    Two cross-modal priming experiments examined two questions about word recognition in foreign-accented speech: Does accent adaptation occur only for genuine accents markers, and does adaptation depend on language experience? We compared recognition of words spoken with canonical, genuinely-accented and arbitrarily-accented vowels. In Experiment 1, an Italian speaker pronounced vowels in English prime words canonically, or by lengthening /ɪ/ as in a genuine Italian accent (*/tri:k/ for trick), or by arbitrarily shortening /i:/ (*/trɪt/ for treat). Lexical-decision times to subsequent visual target words showed different priming effects in three listener groups. Monolingual native English listeners recognized variants with lengthened but not shortened vowels. Bilingual nonnative Italian-English listeners, who could not reliably distinguish vowel length, recognized both variants. Bilingual nonnative Dutch-English listeners also recognized both variants. In Experiment 2, bilingual Dutch-English listeners recognized Dutch words with genuinely- and arbitrarily-accented vowels (spoken by a native Italian with lengthened and shortened vowels respectively), but recognized words with canonical vowels more easily than words with accented vowels. These results suggest that adaptation to genuine accent markers arises for monolingual and bilingual listeners alike and can occur in native and nonnative languages, but that bilinguals can adapt to arbitrary accent markers better than monolinguals.
  • Witteman, M. J., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Tolerance for inconsistency in foreign-accented speech. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 512-519. doi:10.3758/s13423-013-0519-8.

    Abstract

    Are listeners able to adapt to a foreign-accented speaker who has, as is often the case, an inconsistent accent? Two groups of native Dutch listeners participated in a cross-modal priming experiment, either in a consistent-accent condition (German-accented items only) or in an inconsistent-accent condition (German-accented and nativelike pronunciations intermixed). The experimental words were identical for both groups (words with vowel substitutions characteristic of German-accented speech); additional contextual words differed in accentedness (German-accented or nativelike words). All items were spoken by the same speaker: a German native who could produce the accented forms but could also pass for a Dutch native speaker. Listeners in the consistent-accent group were able to adapt quickly to the speaker (i.e., showed facilitatory priming for words with vocalic substitutions). Listeners in the inconsistent-accent condition showed adaptation to words with vocalic substitutions only in the second half of the experiment. These results indicate that adaptation to foreign-accented speech is rapid. Accent inconsistency slows listeners down initially, but a short period of additional exposure is enough for them to adapt to the speaker. Listeners can therefore tolerate inconsistency in foreign-accented speech.
  • Andics, A., McQueen, J. M., & Petersson, K. M. (2013). Mean-based neural coding of voices. NeuroImage, 79, 351-360. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.002.

    Abstract

    The social significance of recognizing the person who talks to us is obvious, but the neural mechanisms that mediate talker identification are unclear. Regions along the bilateral superior temporal sulcus (STS) and the inferior frontal cortex (IFC) of the human brain are selective for voices, and they are sensitive to rapid voice changes. Although it has been proposed that voice recognition is supported by prototype-centered voice representations, the involvement of these category-selective cortical regions in the neural coding of such "mean voices" has not previously been demonstrated. Using fMRI in combination with a voice identity learning paradigm, we show that voice-selective regions are involved in the mean-based coding of voice identities. Voice typicality is encoded on a supra-individual level in the right STS along a stimulus-dependent, identity-independent (i.e., voice-acoustic) dimension, and on an intra-individual level in the right IFC along a stimulus-independent, identity-dependent (i.e., voice identity) dimension. Voice recognition therefore entails at least two anatomically separable stages, each characterized by neural mechanisms that reference the central tendencies of voice categories.
  • Asaridou, S. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Speech and music shape the listening brain: Evidence for shared domain-general mechanisms. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 321. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00321.

    Abstract

    Are there bi-directional influences between speech perception and music perception? An answer to this question is essential for understanding the extent to which the speech and music that we hear are processed by domain-general auditory processes and/or by distinct neural auditory mechanisms. This review summarizes a large body of behavioral and neuroscientific findings which suggest that the musical experience of trained musicians does modulate speech processing, and a sparser set of data, largely on pitch processing, which suggest in addition that linguistic experience, in particular learning a tone language, modulates music processing. Although research has focused mostly on music on speech effects, we argue that both directions of influence need to be studied, and conclude that the picture which thus emerges is one of mutual interaction across domains. In particular, it is not simply that experience with spoken language has some effects on music perception, and vice versa, but that because of shared domain-general subcortical and cortical networks, experiences in both domains influence behavior in both domains.
  • Brandmeyer, A., Sadakata, M., Spyrou, L., McQueen, J. M., & Desain, P. (2013). Decoding of single-trial auditory mismatch responses for online perceptual monitoring and neurofeedback. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7: 265. doi:10.3389/fnins.2013.00265.

    Abstract

    Multivariate pattern classification methods are increasingly applied to neuroimaging data in the context of both fundamental research and in brain-computer interfacing approaches. Such methods provide a framework for interpreting measurements made at the single-trial level with respect to a set of two or more distinct mental states. Here, we define an approach in which the output of a binary classifier trained on data from an auditory mismatch paradigm can be used for online tracking of perception and as a neurofeedback signal. The auditory mismatch paradigm is known to induce distinct perceptual states related to the presentation of high- and low-probability stimuli, which are reflected in event-related potential (ERP) components such as the mismatch negativity (MMN). The first part of this paper illustrates how pattern classification methods can be applied to data collected in an MMN paradigm, including discussion of the optimization of preprocessing steps, the interpretation of features and how the performance of these methods generalizes across individual participants and measurement sessions. We then go on to show that the output of these decoding methods can be used in online settings as a continuous index of single-trial brain activation underlying perceptual discrimination. We conclude by discussing several potential domains of application, including neurofeedback, cognitive monitoring and passive brain-computer interfaces

    Additional information

    Brandmeyer_etal_2013a.pdf
  • Brandmeyer, A., Farquhar, J., McQueen, J. M., & Desain, P. (2013). Decoding speech perception by native and non-native speakers using single-trial electrophysiological data. PLoS One, 8: e68261. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068261.

    Abstract

    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are systems that use real-time analysis of neuroimaging data to determine the mental state of their user for purposes such as providing neurofeedback. Here, we investigate the feasibility of a BCI based on speech perception. Multivariate pattern classification methods were applied to single-trial EEG data collected during speech perception by native and non-native speakers. Two principal questions were asked: 1) Can differences in the perceived categories of pairs of phonemes be decoded at the single-trial level? 2) Can these same categorical differences be decoded across participants, within or between native-language groups? Results indicated that classification performance progressively increased with respect to the categorical status (within, boundary or across) of the stimulus contrast, and was also influenced by the native language of individual participants. Classifier performance showed strong relationships with traditional event-related potential measures and behavioral responses. The results of the cross-participant analysis indicated an overall increase in average classifier performance when trained on data from all participants (native and non-native). A second cross-participant classifier trained only on data from native speakers led to an overall improvement in performance for native speakers, but a reduction in performance for non-native speakers. We also found that the native language of a given participant could be decoded on the basis of EEG data with accuracy above 80%. These results indicate that electrophysiological responses underlying speech perception can be decoded at the single-trial level, and that decoding performance systematically reflects graded changes in the responses related to the phonological status of the stimuli. This approach could be used in extensions of the BCI paradigm to support perceptual learning during second language acquisition
  • Mani, N., Johnson, E., McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2013). How yellow is your banana? Toddlers' language-mediated visual search in referent-present tasks. Developmental Psychology, 49, 1036-1044. doi:10.1037/a0029382.

    Abstract

    What is the relative salience of different aspects of word meaning in the developing lexicon? The current study examines the time-course of retrieval of semantic and color knowledge associated with words during toddler word recognition: at what point do toddlers orient towards an image of a yellow cup upon hearing color-matching words such as “banana” (typically yellow) relative to unrelated words (e.g., “house”)? Do children orient faster to semantic matching images relative to color matching images, e.g., orient faster to an image of a cookie relative to a yellow cup upon hearing the word “banana”? The results strongly suggest a prioritization of semantic information over color information in children’s word-referent mappings. This indicates that, even for natural objects (e.g., food, animals that are more likely to have a prototypical color), semantic knowledge is a more salient aspect of toddler's word meaning than color knowledge. For 24-month-old Dutch toddlers, bananas are thus more edible than they are yellow.
  • Mitterer, H., Scharenborg, O., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Phonological abstraction without phonemes in speech perception. Cognition, 129, 356-361. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2013.07.011.

    Abstract

    Recent evidence shows that listeners use abstract prelexical units in speech perception. Using the phenomenon of lexical retuning in speech processing, we ask whether those units are necessarily phonemic. Dutch listeners were exposed to a Dutch speaker producing ambiguous phones between the Dutch syllable-final allophones approximant [r] and dark [l]. These ambiguous phones replaced either final /r/ or final /l/ in words in a lexical-decision task. This differential exposure affected perception of ambiguous stimuli on the same allophone continuum in a subsequent phonetic-categorization test: Listeners exposed to ambiguous phones in /r/-final words were more likely to perceive test stimuli as /r/ than listeners with exposure in /l/-final words. This effect was not found for test stimuli on continua using other allophones of /r/ and /l/. These results confirm that listeners use phonological abstraction in speech perception. They also show that context-sensitive allophones can play a role in this process, and hence that context-insensitive phonemes are not necessary. We suggest there may be no one unit of perception
  • Sadakata, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). High stimulus variability in nonnative speech learning supports formation of abstract categories: Evidence from Japanese geminates. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(2), 1324-1335. doi:10.1121/1.4812767.

    Abstract

    This study reports effects of a high-variability training procedure on nonnative learning of a Japanese geminate-singleton fricative contrast. Thirty native speakers of Dutch took part in a 5-day training procedure in which they identified geminate and singleton variants of the Japanese fricative /s/. Participants were trained with either many repetitions of a limited set of words recorded by a single speaker (low-variability training) or with fewer repetitions of a more variable set of words recorded by multiple speakers (high-variability training). Both types of training enhanced identification of speech but not of nonspeech materials, indicating that learning was domain specific. High-variability training led to superior performance in identification but not in discrimination tests, and supported better generalization of learning as shown by transfer from the trained fricatives to the identification of untrained stops and affricates. Variability thus helps nonnative listeners to form abstract categories rather than to enhance early acoustic analysis.
  • Sjerps, M. J., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2013). Evidence for precategorical extrinsic vowel normalization. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 75, 576-587. doi:10.3758/s13414-012-0408-7.

    Abstract

    Three experiments investigated whether extrinsic vowel normalization takes place largely at a categorical or a precategorical level of processing. Traditional vowel normalization effects in categorization were replicated in Experiment 1: Vowels taken from an [ɪ]-[ε] continuum were more often interpreted as /ɪ/ (which has a low first formant, F (1)) when the vowels were heard in contexts that had a raised F (1) than when the contexts had a lowered F (1). This was established with contexts that consisted of only two syllables. These short contexts were necessary for Experiment 2, a discrimination task that encouraged listeners to focus on the perceptual properties of vowels at a precategorical level. Vowel normalization was again found: Ambiguous vowels were more easily discriminated from an endpoint [ε] than from an endpoint [ɪ] in a high-F (1) context, whereas the opposite was true in a low-F (1) context. Experiment 3 measured discriminability between pairs of steps along the [ɪ]-[ε] continuum. Contextual influences were again found, but without discrimination peaks, contrary to what was predicted from the same participants' categorization behavior. Extrinsic vowel normalization therefore appears to be a process that takes place at least in part at a precategorical processing level.
  • Witteman, M. J., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Foreign accent strength and listener familiarity with an accent co-determine speed of perceptual adaptation. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 75, 537-556. doi:10.3758/s13414-012-0404-y.

    Abstract

    We investigated how the strength of a foreign accent and varying types of experience with foreign-accented speech influence the recognition of accented words. In Experiment 1, native Dutch listeners with limited or extensive prior experience with German-accented Dutch completed a cross-modal priming experiment with strongly, medium, and weakly accented words. Participants with limited experience were primed by the medium and weakly accented words, but not by the strongly accented words. Participants with extensive experience were primed by all accent types. In Experiments 2 and 3, Dutch listeners with limited experience listened to a short story before doing the cross-modal priming task. In Experiment 2, the story was spoken by the priming task speaker and either contained strongly accented words or did not. Strongly accented exposure led to immediate priming by novel strongly accented words, while exposure to the speaker without strongly accented tokens led to priming only in the experiment’s second half. In Experiment 3, listeners listened to the story with strongly accented words spoken by a different German-accented speaker. Listeners were primed by the strongly accented words, but again only in the experiment’s second half. Together, these results show that adaptation to foreign-accented speech is rapid but depends on accent strength and on listener familiarity with those strongly accented words.
  • El Aissati, A., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2012). Finding words in a language that allows words without vowels. Cognition, 124, 79-84. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.03.006.

    Abstract

    Across many languages from unrelated families, spoken-word recognition is subject to a constraint whereby potential word candidates must contain a vowel. This constraint minimizes competition from embedded words (e.g., in English, disfavoring win in twin because t cannot be a word). However, the constraint would be counter-productive in certain languages that allow stand-alone vowelless open-class words. One such language is Berber (where t is indeed a word). Berber listeners here detected words affixed to nonsense contexts with or without vowels. Length effects seen in other languages replicated in Berber, but in contrast to prior findings, word detection was not hindered by vowelless contexts. When words can be vowelless, otherwise universal constraints disfavoring vowelless words do not feature in spoken-word recognition.

    Additional information

    mmc1.pdf
  • Brandmeyer, A., Desain, P. W., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Effects of native language on perceptual sensitivity to phonetic cues. Neuroreport, 23, 653-657. doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e32835542cd.

    Abstract

    The present study used electrophysiological and behavioral measures to investigate the perception of an English stop consonant contrast by native English listeners and by native Dutch listeners who were highly proficient in English. A /ba/-/pa/ continuum was created from a naturally produced /pa/ token by removing successive periods of aspiration, thus reducing the voice onset time. Although aspiration is a relevant cue for distinguishing voiced and unvoiced labial stop consonants (/b/ and /p/) in English, prevoicing is the primary cue used to distinguish between these categories in Dutch. In the electrophysiological experiment, participants listened to oddball sequences containing the standard /pa/ stimulus and one of three deviant stimuli while the mismatch-negativity response was measured. Participants then completed an identification task on the same stimuli. The results showed that native English participants were more sensitive to reductions in aspiration than native Dutch participants, as indicated by shifts in the category boundary, by differing within-group patterns of mismatch-negativity responses, and by larger mean evoked potential amplitudes in the native English group for two of the three deviant stimuli. This between-group difference in the sensorineural processing of aspiration cues indicates that native language experience alters the way in which the acoustic features of speech are processed in the auditory brain, even following extensive second-language training.

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  • Kim, S., Cho, T., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Phonetic richness can outweigh prosodically-driven phonological knowledge when learning words in an artificial language. Journal of Phonetics, 40, 443-452. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2012.02.005.

    Abstract

    How do Dutch and Korean listeners use acoustic–phonetic information when learning words in an artificial language? Dutch has a voiceless ‘unaspirated’ stop, produced with shortened Voice Onset Time (VOT) in prosodic strengthening environments (e.g., in domain-initial position and under prominence), enhancing the feature {−spread glottis}; Korean has a voiceless ‘aspirated’ stop produced with lengthened VOT in similar environments, enhancing the feature {+spread glottis}. Given this cross-linguistic difference, two competing hypotheses were tested. The phonological-superiority hypothesis predicts that Dutch and Korean listeners should utilize shortened and lengthened VOTs, respectively, as cues in artificial-language segmentation. The phonetic-superiority hypothesis predicts that both groups should take advantage of the phonetic richness of longer VOTs (i.e., their enhanced auditory–perceptual robustness). Dutch and Korean listeners learned the words of an artificial language better when word-initial stops had longer VOTs than when they had shorter VOTs. It appears that language-specific phonological knowledge can be overridden by phonetic richness in processing an unfamiliar language. Listeners nonetheless performed better when the stimuli were based on the speech of their native languages, suggesting that the use of richer phonetic information was modulated by listeners' familiarity with the stimuli.
  • McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2012). Changing only the probability that spoken words will be distorted changes how they are recognized. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131(1), 509-517. doi:10.1121/1.3664087.

    Abstract

    An eye-tracking experiment examined contextual flexibility in speech processing in response to distortions in spoken input. Dutch participants heard Dutch sentences containing critical words and saw four-picture displays. The name of one picture either had the same onset phonemes as the critical word or had a different first phoneme and rhymed. Participants fixated onset-overlap more than rhyme-overlap pictures, but this tendency varied with speech quality. Relative to a baseline with noise-free sentences, participants looked less at onset-overlap and more at rhyme-overlap pictures when phonemes in the sentences (but not in the critical words) were replaced by noises like those heard on a badly-tuned AM radio. The position of the noises (word-initial or word-medial) had no effect. Noises elsewhere in the sentences apparently made evidence about the critical word less reliable: Listeners became less confident of having heard the onset-overlap name but also less sure of having not heard the rhyme-overlap name. The same acoustic information has different effects on spoken-word recognition as the probability of distortion changes.
  • McQueen, J. M., Tyler, M., & Cutler, A. (2012). Lexical retuning of children’s speech perception: Evidence for knowledge about words’ component sounds. Language Learning and Development, 8, 317-339. doi:10.1080/15475441.2011.641887.

    Abstract

    Children hear new words from many different talkers; to learn words most efficiently, they should be able to represent them independently of talker-specific pronunciation detail. However, do children know what the component sounds of words should be, and can they use that knowledge to deal with different talkers' phonetic realizations? Experiment 1 replicated prior studies on lexically guided retuning of speech perception in adults, with a picture-verification methodology suitable for children. One participant group heard an ambiguous fricative ([s/f]) replacing /f/ (e.g., in words like giraffe); another group heard [s/f] replacing /s/ (e.g., in platypus). The first group subsequently identified more tokens on a Simpie-[s/f]impie-Fimpie toy-name continuum as Fimpie. Experiments 2 and 3 found equivalent lexically guided retuning effects in 12- and 6-year-olds. Children aged 6 have all that is needed for adjusting to talker variation in speech: detailed and abstract phonological representations and the ability to apply them during spoken-word recognition.

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  • Poellmann, K., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2012). How talker-adaptation helps listeners recognize reduced word-forms [Abstract]. Program abstracts from the 164th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(3), 2053.

    Abstract

    Two eye-tracking experiments tested whether native listeners can adapt
    to reductions in casual Dutch speech. Listeners were exposed to segmental
    ([b] > [m]), syllabic (full-vowel-deletion), or no reductions. In a subsequent
    test phase, all three listener groups were tested on how efficiently they could
    recognize both types of reduced words. In the first Experiment’s exposure
    phase, the (un)reduced target words were predictable. The segmental reductions
    were completely consistent (i.e., involved the same input sequences).
    Learning about them was found to be pattern-specific and generalized in the
    test phase to new reduced /b/-words. The syllabic reductions were not consistent
    (i.e., involved variable input sequences). Learning about them was
    weak and not pattern-specific. Experiment 2 examined effects of word repetition
    and predictability. The (un-)reduced test words appeared in the exposure
    phase and were not predictable. There was no evidence of learning for
    the segmental reductions, probably because they were not predictable during
    exposure. But there was word-specific learning for the vowel-deleted words.
    The results suggest that learning about reductions is pattern-specific and
    generalizes to new words if the input is consistent and predictable. With
    variable input, there is more likely to be adaptation to a general speaking
    style and word-specific learning.
  • Sjerps, M. J., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2012). Extrinsic normalization for vocal tracts depends on the signal, not on attention. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2012: 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 394-397).

    Abstract

    When perceiving vowels, listeners adjust to speaker-specific vocal-tract characteristics (such as F1) through "extrinsic vowel normalization". This effect is observed as a shift in the location of categorization boundaries of vowel continua. Similar effects have been found with non-speech. Non-speech materials, however, have consistently led to smaller effect-sizes, perhaps because of a lack of attention to non-speech. The present study investigated this possibility. Non-speech materials that had previously been shown to elicit reduced normalization effects were tested again, with the addition of an attention manipulation. The results show that increased attention does not lead to increased normalization effects, suggesting that vowel normalization is mainly determined by bottom-up signal characteristics.
  • Sjerps, M. J., Mitterer, H., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Hemispheric differences in the effects of context on vowel perception. Brain and Language, 120, 401-405. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2011.12.012.

    Abstract

    Listeners perceive speech sounds relative to context. Contextual influences might differ over hemispheres if different types of auditory processing are lateralized. Hemispheric differences in contextual influences on vowel perception were investigated by presenting speech targets and both speech and non-speech contexts to listeners’ right or left ears (contexts and targets either to the same or to opposite ears). Listeners performed a discrimination task. Vowel perception was influenced by acoustic properties of the context signals. The strength of this influence depended on laterality of target presentation, and on the speech/non-speech status of the context signal. We conclude that contrastive contextual influences on vowel perception are stronger when targets are processed predominately by the right hemisphere. In the left hemisphere, contrastive effects are smaller and largely restricted to speech contexts.
  • Sulpizio, S., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Italians use abstract knowledge about lexical stress during spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 66, 177-193. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2011.08.001.

    Abstract

    In two eye-tracking experiments in Italian, we investigated how acoustic information and stored knowledge about lexical stress are used during the recognition of tri-syllabic spoken words. Experiment 1 showed that Italians use acoustic cues to a word’s stress pattern rapidly in word recognition, but only for words with antepenultimate stress. Words with penultimate stress – the most common pattern – appeared to be recognized by default. In Experiment 2, listeners had to learn new words from which some stress cues had been removed, and then recognize reduced- and full-cue versions of those words. The acoustic manipulation affected recognition only of newly-learnt words with antepenultimate stress: Full-cue versions, even though they were never heard during training, were recognized earlier than reduced-cue versions. Newly-learnt words with penultimate stress were recognized earlier overall, but recognition of the two versions of these words did not differ. Abstract knowledge (i.e., knowledge generalized over the lexicon) about lexical stress – which pattern is the default and which cues signal the non-default pattern – appears to be used during the recognition of known and newly-learnt Italian words.
  • Viebahn, M. C., Ernestus, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Co-occurrence of reduced word forms in natural speech. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2012: 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2019-2022).

    Abstract

    This paper presents a corpus study that investigates the co-occurrence of reduced word forms in natural speech. We extracted Dutch past participles from three different speech registers and investigated the influence of several predictor variables on the presence and duration of schwas in prefixes and /t/s in suffixes. Our results suggest that reduced word forms tend to co-occur even if we partial out the effect of speech rate. The implications of our findings for episodic and abstractionist models of lexical representation are discussed.
  • Warner, N. L., McQueen, J. M., Liu, P. Z., Hoffmann, M., & Cutler, A. (2012). Timing of perception for all English diphones [Abstract]. Program abstracts from the 164th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(3), 1967.

    Abstract

    Information in speech does not unfold discretely over time; perceptual cues are gradient and overlapped. However, this varies greatly across segments and environments: listeners cannot identify the affricate in /ptS/ until the frication, but information about the vowel in /li/ begins early. Unlike most prior studies, which have concentrated on subsets of language sounds, this study tests perception of every English segment in every phonetic environment, sampling perceptual identification at six points in time (13,470 stimuli/listener; 20 listeners). Results show that information about consonants after another segment is most localized for affricates (almost entirely in the release), and most gradual for voiced stops. In comparison to stressed vowels, unstressed vowels have less information spreading to
    neighboring segments and are less well identified. Indeed, many vowels,
    especially lax ones, are poorly identified even by the end of the following segment. This may partly reflect listeners’ familiarity with English vowels’ dialectal variability. Diphthongs and diphthongal tense vowels show the most sudden improvement in identification, similar to affricates among the consonants, suggesting that information about segments defined by acoustic change is highly localized. This large dataset provides insights into speech perception and data for probabilistic modeling of spoken word recognition.
  • Adam, R., Orfanidou, E., McQueen, J. M., & Morgan, G. (2011). Sign language comprehension: Insights from misperceptions of different phonological parameters. In R. Channon, & H. Van der Hulst (Eds.), Formational units in sign languages (pp. 87-106). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter and Ishara Press.

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