Markus Ostarek


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  • Montero-Melis, G., Isaksson, P., Van Paridon, J., & Ostarek, M. (2020). Does using a foreign language reduce mental imagery? Cognition, 196: 104134. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104134.


    In a recent article, Hayakawa and Keysar (2018) propose that mental imagery is less vivid when evoked in a foreign than in a native language. The authors argue that reduced mental imagery could even account for moral foreign language effects, whereby moral choices become more utilitarian when made in a foreign language. Here we demonstrate that Hayakawa and Keysar's (2018) key results are better explained by reduced language comprehension in a foreign language than by less vivid imagery. We argue that the paradigm used in Hayakawa and Keysar (2018) does not provide a satisfactory test of reduced imagery and we discuss an alternative paradigm based on recent experimental developments.

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  • Evans, S., McGettigan, C., Agnew, Z., Rosen, S., Cesar, L., Boebinger, D., Ostarek, M., Chen, S. H., Richards, A., Meekins, S., & Scott, S. K. (2014). The neural basis of informational and energetic masking effects in the perception and production of speech [abstract]. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 136(4), 2243. doi:10.1121/1.4900096.


    When we have spoken conversations, it is usually in the context of competing sounds within our environment. Speech can be masked by many different kinds of sounds, for example, machinery noise and the speech of others, and these different sounds place differing demands on cognitive resources. In this talk, I will present data from a series of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies in which the informational properties of background sounds have been manipulated to make them more or less similar to speech. I will demonstrate the neural effects associated with speaking over and listening to these sounds, and demonstrate how in perception these effects are modulated by the age of the listener. The results will be interpreted within a framework of auditory processing developed from primate neurophysiology and human functional imaging work (Rauschecker and Scott 2009).

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