Hatice Zora

Publications

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12
  • Zora, H., Tremblay, A. C., Gussenhoven, C., & Liu, F. (Eds.). (2023). Crosstalk between intonation and lexical tones: Linguistic, cognitive and neuroscience perspectives. Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA. doi:10.3389/978-2-8325-3301-7.
  • Zora, H., Wester, J. M., & Csépe, V. (2023). Predictions about prosody facilitate lexical access: Evidence from P50/N100 and MMN components. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 194: 112262. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2023.112262.

    Abstract

    Research into the neural foundation of perception asserts a model where top-down predictions modulate the bottom-up processing of sensory input. Despite becoming increasingly influential in cognitive neuroscience, the precise account of this predictive coding framework remains debated. In this study, we aim to contribute to this debate by investigating how predictions about prosody facilitate speech perception, and to shed light especially on lexical access influenced by simultaneous predictions in different domains, inter alia, prosodic and semantic. Using a passive auditory oddball paradigm, we examined neural responses to prosodic changes, leading to a semantic change as in Dutch nouns canon [ˈkaːnɔn] ‘cannon’ vs kanon [kaːˈnɔn] ‘canon’, and used acoustically identical pseudowords as controls. Results from twenty-eight native speakers of Dutch (age range 18–32 years) indicated an enhanced P50/N100 complex to prosodic change in pseudowords as well as an MMN response to both words and pseudowords. The enhanced P50/N100 response to pseudowords is claimed to indicate that all relevant auditory information is still processed by the brain, whereas the reduced response to words might reflect the suppression of information that has already been encoded. The MMN response to pseudowords and words, on the other hand, is best justified by the unification of previously established prosodic representations with sensory and semantic input respectively. This pattern of results is in line with the predictive coding framework acting on multiple levels and is of crucial importance to indicate that predictions about linguistic prosodic information are utilized by the brain as early as 50 ms.
  • Gussenhoven, C., Lu, Y.-A., Lee-Kim, S.-I., Liu, C., Rahmani, H., Riad, T., & Zora, H. (2022). The sequence recall task and lexicality of tone: Exploring tone “deafness”. Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 902569. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.902569.

    Abstract

    Many perception and processing effects of the lexical status of tone have been found in behavioral, psycholinguistic, and neuroscientific research, often pitting varieties of tonal Chinese against non-tonal Germanic languages. While the linguistic and cognitive evidence for lexical tone is therefore beyond dispute, the word prosodic systems of many languages continue to escape the categorizations of typologists. One controversy concerns the existence of a typological class of “pitch accent languages,” another the underlying phonological nature of surface tone contrasts, which in some cases have been claimed to be metrical rather than tonal. We address the question whether the Sequence Recall Task (SRT), which has been shown to discriminate between languages with and without word stress, can distinguish languages with and without lexical tone. Using participants from non-tonal Indonesian, semi-tonal Swedish, and two varieties of tonal Mandarin, we ran SRTs with monosyllabic tonal contrasts to test the hypothesis that high performance in a tonal SRT indicates the lexical status of tone. An additional question concerned the extent to which accuracy scores depended on phonological and phonetic properties of a language’s tone system, like its complexity, the existence of an experimental contrast in a language’s phonology, and the phonetic salience of a contrast. The results suggest that a tonal SRT is not likely to discriminate between tonal and non-tonal languages within a typologically varied group, because of the effects of specific properties of their tone systems. Future research should therefore address the first hypothesis with participants from otherwise similar tonal and non-tonal varieties of the same language, where results from a tonal SRT may make a useful contribution to the typological debate on word prosody.

    Additional information

    also published as book chapter (2023)
  • Zora, H., Gussenhoven, C., Tremblay, A., & Liu, F. (2022). Editorial: Crosstalk between intonation and lexical tones: Linguistic, cognitive and neuroscience perspectives. Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 1101499. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1101499.

    Abstract

    The interplay between categorical and continuous aspects of the speech signal remains central and yet controversial in the fields of phonetics and phonology. The division between phonological abstractions and phonetic variations has been particularly relevant to the unraveling of diverse communicative functions of pitch in the domain of prosody. Pitch influences vocal communication in two major but fundamentally different ways, and lexical and intonational tones exquisitely capture these functions. Lexical tone contrasts convey lexical meanings as well as derivational meanings at the word level and are grammatically encoded as discrete structures. Intonational tones, on the other hand, signal post-lexical meanings at the phrasal level and typically allow gradient pragmatic variations. Since categorical and gradient uses of pitch are ubiquitous and closely intertwined in their physiological and psychological processes, further research is warranted for a more detailed understanding of their structural and functional characterisations. This Research Topic addresses this matter from a wide range of perspectives, including first and second language acquisition, speech production and perception, structural and functional diversity, and working with distinct languages and experimental measures. In the following, we provide a short overview of the contributions submitted to this topic

    Additional information

    also published as book chapter (2023)
  • Zora, H., Riad, T., Ylinen, S., & Csépe, V. (2021). Phonological variations are compensated at the lexical level: Evidence from auditory neural activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 15: 622904. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2021.622904.

    Abstract

    Dealing with phonological variations is important for speech processing. This article addresses whether phonological variations introduced by assimilatory processes are compensated for at the pre-lexical or lexical level, and whether the nature of variation and the phonological context influence this process. To this end, Swedish nasal regressive place assimilation was investigated using the mismatch negativity (MMN) component. In nasal regressive assimilation, the coronal nasal assimilates to the place of articulation of a following segment, most clearly with a velar or labial place of articulation, as in utan mej “without me” > [ʉːtam mɛjː]. In a passive auditory oddball paradigm, 15 Swedish speakers were presented with Swedish phrases with attested and unattested phonological variations and contexts for nasal assimilation. Attested variations – a coronal-to-labial change as in utan “without” > [ʉːtam] – were contrasted with unattested variations – a labial-to-coronal change as in utom “except” > ∗[ʉːtɔn] – in appropriate and inappropriate contexts created by mej “me” [mɛjː] and dej “you” [dɛjː]. Given that the MMN amplitude depends on the degree of variation between two stimuli, the MMN responses were expected to indicate to what extent the distance between variants was tolerated by the perceptual system. Since the MMN response reflects not only low-level acoustic processing but also higher-level linguistic processes, the results were predicted to indicate whether listeners process assimilation at the pre-lexical and lexical levels. The results indicated no significant interactions across variations, suggesting that variations in phonological forms do not incur any cost in lexical retrieval; hence such variation is compensated for at the lexical level. However, since the MMN response reached significance only for a labial-to-coronal change in a labial context and for a coronal-to-labial change in a coronal context, the compensation might have been influenced by the nature of variation and the phonological context. It is therefore concluded that while assimilation is compensated for at the lexical level, there is also some influence from pre-lexical processing. The present results reveal not only signal-based perception of phonological units, but also higher-level lexical processing, and are thus able to reconcile the bottom-up and top-down models of speech processing.
  • Zora, H., & Csépe, V. (2021). Perception of Prosodic Modulations of Linguistic and Paralinguistic Origin: Evidence From Early Auditory Event-Related Potentials. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15: 797487. doi:10.3389/fnins.2021.797487.

    Abstract

    How listeners handle prosodic cues of linguistic and paralinguistic origin is a central question for spoken communication. In the present EEG study, we addressed this question by examining neural responses to variations in pitch accent (linguistic) and affective (paralinguistic) prosody in Swedish words, using a passive auditory oddball paradigm. The results indicated that changes in pitch accent and affective prosody elicited mismatch negativity (MMN) responses at around 200 ms, confirming the brain’s pre-attentive response to any prosodic modulation. The MMN amplitude was, however, statistically larger to the deviation in affective prosody in comparison to the deviation in pitch accent and affective prosody combined, which is in line with previous research indicating not only a larger MMN response to affective prosody in comparison to neutral prosody but also a smaller MMN response to multidimensional deviants than unidimensional ones. The results, further, showed a significant P3a response to the affective prosody change in comparison to the pitch accent change at around 300 ms, in accordance with previous findings showing an enhanced positive response to emotional stimuli. The present findings provide evidence for distinct neural processing of different prosodic cues, and statistically confirm the intrinsic perceptual and motivational salience of paralinguistic information in spoken communication.
  • Persson, J., Szalisznyó, K., Antoni, G., Wall, A., Fällmar, D., Zora, H., & Bodén, R. (2020). Phosphodiesterase 10A levels are related to striatal function in schizophrenia: a combined positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging study. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 270(4), 451-459. doi:10.1007/s00406-019-01021-0.

    Abstract

    Pharmacological inhibition of phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A) is being investigated as a treatment option in schizophrenia. PDE10A acts postsynaptically on striatal dopamine signaling by regulating neuronal excitability through its inhibition of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), and we recently found it to be reduced in schizophrenia compared to controls. Here, this finding of reduced PDE10A in schizophrenia was followed up in the same sample to investigate the effect of reduced striatal PDE10A on the neural and behavioral function of striatal and downstream basal ganglia regions. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan with the PDE10A ligand [11C]Lu AE92686 was performed, followed by a 6 min resting-state magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan in ten patients with schizophrenia. To assess the relationship between striatal function and neurophysiological and behavioral functioning, salience processing was assessed using a mismatch negativity paradigm, an auditory event-related electroencephalographic measure, episodic memory was assessed using the Rey auditory verbal learning test (RAVLT) and executive functioning using trail-making test B. Reduced striatal PDE10A was associated with increased amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) within the putamen and substantia nigra, respectively. Higher ALFF in the substantia nigra, in turn, was associated with lower episodic memory performance. The findings are in line with a role for PDE10A in striatal functioning, and suggest that reduced striatal PDE10A may contribute to cognitive symptoms in schizophrenia.
  • Zora, H., Rudner, M., & Montell Magnusson, A. (2020). Concurrent affective and linguistic prosody with the same emotional valence elicits a late positive ERP response. European Journal of Neuroscience, 51(11), 2236-2249. doi:10.1111/ejn.14658.

    Abstract

    Change in linguistic prosody generates a mismatch negativity response (MMN), indicating neural representation of linguistic prosody, while change in affective prosody generates a positive response (P3a), reflecting its motivational salience. However, the neural response to concurrent affective and linguistic prosody is unknown. The present paper investigates the integration of these two prosodic features in the brain by examining the neural response to separate and concurrent processing by electroencephalography (EEG). A spoken pair of Swedish words—[ˈfɑ́ːsɛn] phase and [ˈfɑ̀ːsɛn] damn—that differed in emotional semantics due to linguistic prosody was presented to 16 subjects in an angry and neutral affective prosody using a passive auditory oddball paradigm. Acoustically matched pseudowords—[ˈvɑ́ːsɛm] and [ˈvɑ̀ːsɛm]—were used as controls. Following the constructionist concept of emotions, accentuating the conceptualization of emotions based on language, it was hypothesized that concurrent affective and linguistic prosody with the same valence—angry [ˈfɑ̀ːsɛn] damn—would elicit a unique late EEG signature, reflecting the temporal integration of affective voice with emotional semantics of prosodic origin. In accordance, linguistic prosody elicited an MMN at 300–350 ms, and affective prosody evoked a P3a at 350–400 ms, irrespective of semantics. Beyond these responses, concurrent affective and linguistic prosody evoked a late positive component (LPC) at 820–870 ms in frontal areas, indicating the conceptualization of affective prosody based on linguistic prosody. This study provides evidence that the brain does not only distinguish between these two functions of prosody but also integrates them based on language and experience.
  • Zora, H., Riad, T., & Ylinen, S. (2019). Prosodically controlled derivations in the mental lexicon. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 52: 100856. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroling.2019.100856.

    Abstract

    Swedish morphemes are classified as prosodically specified or prosodically unspecified, depending on lexical or phonological stress, respectively. Here, we investigate the allomorphy of the suffix -(i)sk, which indicates the distinction between lexical and phonological stress; if attached to a lexically stressed morpheme, it takes a non-syllabic form (-sk), whereas if attached to a phonologically stressed morpheme, an epenthetic vowel is inserted (-isk). Using mismatch negativity (MMN), we explored the neural processing of this allomorphy across lexically stressed and phonologically stressed morphemes. In an oddball paradigm, participants were occasionally presented with congruent and incongruent derivations, created by the suffix -(i)sk, within the repetitive presentation of their monomorphemic stems. The results indicated that the congruent derivation of the lexically stressed stem elicited a larger MMN than the incongruent sequences of the same stem and the derivational suffix, whereas after the phonologically stressed stem a non-significant tendency towards an opposite pattern was observed. We argue that the significant MMN response to the congruent derivation in the lexical stress condition is in line with lexical MMN, indicating a holistic processing of the sequence of lexically stressed stem and derivational suffix. The enhanced MMN response to the incongruent derivation in the phonological stress condition, on the other hand, is suggested to reflect combinatorial processing of the sequence of phonologically stressed stem and derivational suffix. These findings bring a new aspect to the dual-system approach to neural processing of morphologically complex words, namely the specification of word stress.
  • Zora, H., Heldner, M., & Schwarz, I.-C. (2016). Perceptual Correlates of Turkish Word Stress and Their Contribution to Automatic Lexical Access: Evidence from Early ERP Components. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10: 7. doi:10.3389/fnins.2016.00007.

    Abstract

    Perceptual correlates of Turkish word stress and their contribution to lexical access were studied using the mismatch negativity (MMN) component in event-related potentials (ERPs). The MMN was expected to indicate if segmentally identical Turkish words were distinguished on the sole basis of prosodic features such as fundamental frequency (f0), spectral emphasis (SE), and duration. The salience of these features in lexical access was expected to be reflected in the amplitude of MMN responses. In a multi-deviant oddball paradigm, neural responses to changes in f0, SE, and duration individually, as well as to all three features combined, were recorded for words and pseudowords presented to 14 native speakers of Turkish. The word and pseudoword contrast was used to differentiate language-related effects from acoustic-change effects on the neural responses. First and in line with previous findings, the overall MMN was maximal over frontal and central scalp locations. Second, changes in prosodic features elicited neural responses both in words and pseudowords, confirming the brain's automatic response to any change in auditory input. However, there were processing differences between the prosodic features, most significantly in f0: While f0 manipulation elicited a slightly right-lateralized frontally-maximal MMN in words, it elicited a frontal P3a in pseudowords. Considering that P3a is associated with involuntary allocation of attention to salient changes, the manipulations of f0 in the absence of lexical processing lead to an intentional evaluation of pitch change. f0 is therefore claimed to be lexically specified in Turkish. Rather than combined features, individual prosodic features differentiate language-related effects from acoustic-change effects. The present study confirms that segmentally identical words can be distinguished on the basis of prosodic information alone, and establishes the salience of f0 in lexical access.
  • Zora, H., Riad, T., Schwarz, I.-C., & Heldner, M. (2016). Lexical specification of prosodic information in Swedish: Evidence from mismatch negativity. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10(NOV): 533. doi:10.3389/fnins.2016.00533.

    Abstract

    Like that of many other Germanic languages, the stress system of Swedish has mainly undergone phonological analysis. Recently, however, researchers have begun to recognize the central role of morphology in these systems. Similar to the lexical specification of tonal accent, the Swedish stress system is claimed to be morphologically determined and morphemes are thus categorized as prosodically specified and prosodically unspecified. Prosodically specified morphemes bear stress information as part of their lexical representations and are classified as tonic (i.e., lexically stressed), pretonic and posttonic, whereas prosodically unspecified morphemes receive stress through a phonological rule that is right-edge oriented, but is sensitive to prosodic specification at that edge. The presence of prosodic specification is inferred from vowel quality and vowel quantity; if stress moves elsewhere, vowel quality and quantity change radically in phonologically stressed morphemes, whereas traces of stress remain in lexically stressed morphemes. The present study is the first to investigate whether stress is a lexical property of Swedish morphemes by comparing mismatch negativity (MMN) responses to vowel quality and quantity changes in phonologically stressed and lexically stressed words. In a passive oddball paradigm, 15 native speakers of Swedish were presented with standards and deviants, which differed from the standards in formant frequency and duration. Given that vowel quality and quantity changes are associated with morphological derivations only in phonologically stressed words, MMN responses are expected to be greater in phonologically stressed words than in lexically stressed words that lack such an association. The results indicated that the processing differences between phonologically and lexically stressed words were reflected in the amplitude and topography of MMN responses. Confirming the expectation, MMN amplitude was greater for the phonologically stressed word than for the lexically stressed word and showed a more widespread topographic distribution. The brain did not only detect vowel quality and quantity changes but also used them to activate memory traces associated with derivations. The present study therefore implies that morphology is directly involved in the Swedish stress system and that changes in phonological shape due to stress shift cue upcoming stress and potential addition of a morpheme.
  • Zora, H., Schwarz, I.-C., & Heldner, M. (2015). Neural correlates of lexical stress: Mismatch negativity reflects fundamental frequency and intensity. NeuroReport, 26(13), 791-796. doi:10.1097/WNR.0000000000000426.

    Abstract

    Neural correlates of lexical stress were studied using the mismatch negativity (MMN) component in event-related potentials. The MMN responses were expected to reveal the encoding of stress information into long-term memory and the contributions of prosodic features such as fundamental frequency (F0) and intensity toward lexical access. In a passive oddball paradigm, neural responses to changes in F0, intensity, and in both features together were recorded for words and pseudowords. The findings showed significant differences not only between words and pseudowords but also between prosodic features. Early processing of prosodic information in words was indexed by an intensity-related MMN and an F0-related P200. These effects were stable at right-anterior and mid-anterior regions. At a later latency, MMN responses were recorded for both words and pseudowords at the mid-anterior and posterior regions. The P200 effect observed for F0 at the early latency for words developed into an MMN response. Intensity elicited smaller MMN for pseudowords than for words. Moreover, a larger brain area was recruited for the processing of words than for the processing of pseudowords. These findings suggest earlier and higher sensitivity to prosodic changes in words than in pseudowords, reflecting a language-related process. The present study, therefore, not only establishes neural correlates of lexical stress but also confirms the presence of long-term memory traces for prosodic information in the brain.

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