Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 9152
  • Araújo, S., Reis, A., Faísca, L., & Petersson, K. M. (in press). Brain sensitivity to words and the “word recognition potential”. In D. Marques, & J. H. Toscano (Eds.), De las neurociencias a la neuropsicologia: el estúdio del cerebro humano. Barranquilla, Colombia: Corporación Universitaria Reformada.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (in press). Evolution of counting systems. In E. Aldridge, A. Breitbarth, K. É. Kiss, A. Ledgeway, J. Salmon, & A. Simonenko (Eds.), Wiley Blackwell companion to diachronic linguistics. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
  • Corps, R. E., Yang, F., & Pickering, M. (in press). Evidence against egocentric prediction during language comprehension. Royal Society Open Science.
  • Defina, R. (in press). Tense, aspect, and mood in Avatime. Afrika und Übersee.

    Abstract

    The Ghana-Togo Mountain languages are a typologically distinct group of languages within the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Until recently, they have received very little documentary attention, and are still greatly under-described. Where there is information regarding the tense, aspect, and mood system, Ghana-Togo Mountain languages are described as tense and aspect prominent. In contrast, Kwa languages are typically aspect and mood prominent, with little to no grammatical tense marking. Is the apparent greater emphasis on tense one of the typological features that separates the Ghana- Togo Mountain languages from the other Kwa languages? Or has tense been overrepresented due to the lack of description? In the case of Avatime, it is the latter. Previous accounts have described Avatime with a strong focus on tense. However, when the semantics are considered in more detail, we see that none of the forms contains an inherent specification for tense. While there is often a default interpretation in the past, present or future, this default can easily be overridden. Thus, Avatime has a typical Kwa system with a focus on aspect and mood and no grammatical tense.
  • Fitz, H., Hagoort, P., & Petersson, K. M. (in press). Neurobiological causal models of language processing. Neurobiology of Language.
  • Ghaleb, E., Burenko, I., Rasenberg, M., Pouw, W., Uhrig, P., Holler, J., Toni, I., Ozyurek, A., & Fernandez, R. (in press). Cospeech gesture detection through multi-phase sequence labeling. In IEEE/CVF Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV).
  • Hammarström, H., & Parkvall, M. (in press). Basic Constituent Order in Pidgin and Creole Languages: Inheritance or Universals? Journal of Language Contact.
  • De Hoyos, L., Barendse, M. T., Schlag, F., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Klassmann, A., Buitelaar, J., Verhulst, B., Fisher, S. E., Rai, D., & St Pourcain, B. (in press). Structural models of genome-wide covariance identify multiple common dimensions in autism. Nature Communications.

    Abstract

    Common genetic variation has been associated with multiple symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, our knowledge of shared genetic factor structures contributing to this highly heterogeneous neurodevelopmental condition is limited. Here, we developed a structural equation modelling framework to directly model genome-wide covariance across core and non-core ASD phenotypes, studying autistic individuals of European descent using a case-only design. We identified three independent genetic factors most strongly linked to language/cognition, behaviour and motor development, respectively, when studying a population-representative sample (N=5,331). These analyses revealed novel associations. For example, developmental delay in acquiring personal-social skills was inversely related to language, while developmental motor delay was linked to self-injurious behaviour. We largely confirmed the three-factorial structure in independent ASD-simplex families (N=1,946), but uncovered simplex-specific genetic overlap between behaviour and language phenotypes. Thus, the common genetic architecture in ASD is multi-dimensional and contributes, in combination with ascertainment-specific patterns, to phenotypic heterogeneity.

    Additional information

    supplementary material link to preprint
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Peeters, D., Manhardt, F., Özyürek, A., & Ortega, G. (in press). Iconicity and gesture jointly facilitate learning of L2 signs at first exposure in hearing non-signers. Language Learning.

    Abstract

    When learning a spoken second language (L2), words overlapping in form and meaning with one’s native language (L1) help break into the new language. When non-signing speakers learn a sign language as L2, such forms are absent because of the modality differences (L1:speech, L2:sign). In such cases, non-signing speakers might use iconic form-meaning mappings in signs or their own gestural experience as gateways into the to-be-acquired sign language. Here, we investigated how both these factors may contribute jointly to the acquisition of sign language vocabulary by hearing non-signers. Participants were presented with three types of sign in NGT (Sign Language of the Netherlands): arbitrary signs, iconic signs with high or low gesture overlap. Signs that were both iconic and highly overlapping with gestures boosted learning most at first exposure, and this effect remained the day after. Findings highlight the influence of modality-specific factors supporting the acquisition of a signed lexicon.
  • Kocsis, K., Düngen, D., Jadoul, Y., & Ravignani, A. (in press). Harbour seals use rhythmic percussive signalling in interaction and display. Animal Behaviour. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2023.09.014.

    Abstract

    Multimodal rhythmic signalling abounds across animal taxa. Studying its mechanisms and functions can highlight adaptive components in highly complex rhythmic behaviours, like dance and music. Pinnipeds, such as the harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, are excellent comparative models to assess rhythmic capacities. Harbour seals engage in rhythmic percussive behaviours which, until now, have not been described in detail. In our study, eight zoo-housed harbour seals (two pups, two juveniles and four adults) were passively monitored by audio and video during their pupping/breeding season. All juvenile and adult animals performed percussive signalling with their fore flippers in agonistic conditions, both on land and in water. Flipper slap sequences produced on the ground or on the seals' bodies were often highly regular in their interval duration, that is, were quasi-isochronous, at a 200–600 beats/min pace. Three animals also showed significant lateralization in slapping. In contrast to slapping on land, display slapping in water, performed only by adult males, showed slower tempo by one order of magnitude, and a rather motivic temporal structure. Our work highlights that percussive communication is a significant part of harbour seals' behavioural repertoire. We hypothesize that its forms of rhythm production may reflect adaptive functions such as regulating internal states and advertising individual traits.
  • Levinson, S. C. (in press). The dark matter of pragmatics: Known unknowns. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • O’Meara, C., Kung, S. S., & Majid, A. (in press). The challenge of olfactory ideophones: Reconsidering ineffability from the Totonac-Tepehua perspective. International Journal of American Linguistics.
  • Schijven, D., Soheili-Nezhad, S., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (in press). Exome-wide analysis implicates rare protein-altering variants in human handedness. Nature Communications.
  • Sekine, K., & Ozyurek, A. (in press). Children benefit from gestures to understand degraded speech but to a lesser extent than adults. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 14.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated to what extent children, compared to adults, benefit from gestures to disambiguate degraded speech by manipulating speech signals and manual modality. Dutch-speaking adults (N = 20) and 6- and 7-year-old children (N = 15) were presented with a series of video clips in which an actor produced a Dutch action verb with or without an accompanying iconic gesture. Participants were then asked to repeat what they had heard. The speech signal was either clear or altered into 4- or 8-band noise-vocoded speech. Children had more difficulty than adults in disambiguating degraded speech in the speech-only condition. However, when presented with both speech and gestures, children reached a comparable level of accuracy to that of adults in the degraded-speech-only condition. Furthermore, for adults, the enhancement of gestures was greater in the 4-band condition than in the 8-band condition, whereas children showed the opposite pattern. Gestures help children to disambiguate degraded speech, but children need more phonological information than adults to benefit from use of gestures. Children’s multimodal language integration needs to further develop to adapt flexibly to challenging situations where they hear the degraded speech, that was tested in the current study, speech with the environmental noise or the speech coming through a mask.
  • De Vos, C. (in press). Language of perception in Kata Kolok. In A. Majid, & S. C. Levinson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Language of Perception. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    This study describes the sensory lexicon on the domains of colour, taste, shape, smell and touch of a rural sign language called Kata Kolok (KK). Taste was highly codable for Kata Kolok signers, who used a dedicated set of signs and facial expressions to indicate each of the taste stimuli. The second most codable perceptual domain was shape, for which signers often used classifiers and tracing gestures that reflected the shape of the object directly. Smell had a comparatively intermediate level of codability, but this was due, for the most part, to the use of evaluative terms. Although Kata Kolok has a dedicated set of colour signs, these leave large parts of the colour spectrum unnamed, resulting in low degrees of codability in this sensory domain. Unnamed colours were frequently described by iconic-indexical forms such as object labelling and pointing strategies. Touch was the least codable domain for Kata Kolok, which resulted in a wide range of iconically motivated constructions including a restricted set of domain-specific lexical signs, classifiers, tracing gestures, object labelling, and general evaluative terms.
  • Zettersten, M., Cox, C., Bergmann, C., Tsui, A. S. M., Soderstrom, M., Mayor, J., Lundwall, R. A., Lewis, M., Kosie, J. E., Kartushina, N., Fusaroli, R., Frank, M. C., Byers-Heinlein, K., Black, A. K., & Mathur, M. B. (in press). Evidence for infant-directed speech preference is consistent across large-scale, multi-site replication and meta-analysis. Open Mind: Discoveries in Cognitive Science.
  • Ahn, D., & Ferreira, V. S. (2024). Shared vs separate structural representations: Evidence from cumulative cross-language structural priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 77(1), 174-190. doi:10.1177/17470218231160942.

    Abstract

    How do bilingual speakers represent the information that guides the assembly of words into sentences for their two languages? The shared-syntax account argues that bilinguals have a single, shared representation of the sentence structures that exist in both languages. Structural priming has been shown to be equal within and across languages, providing support for the shared-syntax account. However, equivalent levels of structural priming within and across languages could be observed even if structural representations are separate and connected, due to frequent switches between languages, which is a property of standard structural priming paradigms. Here, we investigated whether cumulative structural priming (i.e., structural priming across blocks rather than trial-by-trial), which does not involve frequent switches between languages, also shows equivalent levels of structural priming within- and cross-languages. Mixed results point towards a possibility that cumulative structural priming can be more persistent within- compared to cross-languages, suggesting a separate-and-connected account of bilingual structural representations. We discuss these results in terms of the current literature on bilingual structural representations and highlight the value of diversity in paradigms and less-studied languages.
  • Ahn, D., Ferreira, V. S., & Gollan, T. H. (2024). Structural representation in the native language after extended second-language immersion: Evidence from acceptability judgment and memory-recall. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/S1366728923000950.

    Abstract

    Knowing the sentence structures (i.e., information that guides the assembly of words into sentences) is crucial in language knowledge. This knowledge must be stable for successful communication, but when learning another language that uses different structures, speakers must adjust their structural knowledge. Here, we examine how newly acquired second language (L2) knowledge influences first language (L1) structure knowledge. We compared two groups of Korean speakers: Korean-immersed speakers living in Korea (with little English exposure) versus English-immersed speakers who acquired English late and were living in the US (with more English exposure). We used acceptability judgment and sentence production tasks on Korean sentences in English and Korean word orders. Results suggest that acceptability and structural usage in L1 change after exposure to L2, but not in a way that matches L2 structures. Instead, L2 exposure might lead to increased difficulties in the selection and retrieval of word orders while using L1.
  • Anijs, M. (2024). Networks within networks: Probing the neuronal and molecular underpinnings of language-related disorders using human cell models. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bianco, R., Zuk, N. J., Bigand, F., Quarta, E., Grasso, S., Arnese, F., Ravignani, A., Battaglia-Mayer, A., & Novembre, G. (2024). Neural encoding of musical expectations in a non-human primate. Current Biology, 34, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2023.12.019.

    Abstract

    The appreciation of music is a universal trait of humankind.1,2,3 Evidence supporting this notion includes the ubiquity of music across cultures4,5,6,7 and the natural predisposition toward music that humans display early in development.8,9,10 Are we musical animals because of species-specific predispositions? This question cannot be answered by relying on cross-cultural or developmental studies alone, as these cannot rule out enculturation.11 Instead, it calls for cross-species experiments testing whether homologous neural mechanisms underlying music perception are present in non-human primates. We present music to two rhesus monkeys, reared without musical exposure, while recording electroencephalography (EEG) and pupillometry. Monkeys exhibit higher engagement and neural encoding of expectations based on the previously seeded musical context when passively listening to real music as opposed to shuffled controls. We then compare human and monkey neural responses to the same stimuli and find a species-dependent contribution of two fundamental musical features—pitch and timing12—in generating expectations: while timing- and pitch-based expectations13 are similarly weighted in humans, monkeys rely on timing rather than pitch. Together, these results shed light on the phylogeny of music perception. They highlight monkeys’ capacity for processing temporal structures beyond plain acoustic processing, and they identify a species-dependent contribution of time- and pitch-related features to the neural encoding of musical expectations.
  • Bignardi, G., Smit, D. J. A., Vessel, E. A., Trupp, M. D., Ticini, L. F., Fisher, S. E., & Polderman, T. J. C. (2024). Genetic effects on variability in visual aesthetic evaluations are partially shared across visual domains. Communications Biology, 7: 55. doi:10.1038/s42003-023-05710-4.

    Abstract

    The aesthetic values that individuals place on visual images are formed and shaped over a lifetime. However, whether the formation of visual aesthetic value is solely influenced by environmental exposure is still a matter of debate. Here, we considered differences in aesthetic value emerging across three visual domains: abstract images, scenes, and faces. We examined variability in two major dimensions of ordinary aesthetic experiences: taste-typicality and evaluation-bias. We build on two samples from the Australian Twin Registry where 1547 and 1231 monozygotic and dizygotic twins originally rated visual images belonging to the three domains. Genetic influences explained 26% to 41% of the variance in taste-typicality and evaluation-bias. Multivariate analyses showed that genetic effects were partially shared across visual domains. Results indicate that the heritability of major dimensions of aesthetic evaluations is comparable to that of other complex social traits, albeit lower than for other complex cognitive traits. The exception was taste-typicality for abstract images, for which we found only shared and unique environmental influences. Our study reveals that diverse sources of genetic and environmental variation influence the formation of aesthetic value across distinct visual domains and provides improved metrics to assess inter-individual differences in aesthetic value.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Boen, R., Kaufmann, T., Van der Meer, D., Frei, O., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Artiges, E., Atkins, J. R., Bauer, J., Benedetti, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brosch, K., Buckner, R. L., Cairns, M. J., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cichon, S. and 96 moreBoen, R., Kaufmann, T., Van der Meer, D., Frei, O., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Artiges, E., Atkins, J. R., Bauer, J., Benedetti, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brosch, K., Buckner, R. L., Cairns, M. J., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cichon, S., Corvin, A. P., Crespo Facorro, B., Dannlowski, U., David, F. S., De Geus, E. J., De Zubicaray, G. I., Desrivières, S., Doherty, J. L., Donohoe, G., Ehrlich, S., Eising, E., Espeseth, T., Fisher, S. E., Forstner, A. J., Fortaner Uyà, L., Frouin, V., Fukunaga, M., Ge, T., Glahn, D. C., Goltermann, J., Grabe, H. J., Green, M. J., Groenewold, N. A., Grotegerd, D., Hahn, T., Hashimoto, R., Hehir-Kwa, J. Y., Henskens, F. A., Holmes, A. J., Haberg, A. K., Haavik, J., Jacquemont, S., Jansen, A., Jockwitz, C., Jonsson, E. G., Kikuchi, M., Kircher, T., Kumar, K., Le Hellard, S., Leu, C., Linden, D. E., Liu, J., Loughnan, R., Mather, K. A., McMahon, K. L., McRae, A. F., Medland, S. E., Meinert, S., Moreau, C. A., Morris, D. W., Mowry, B. J., Muhleisen, T. W., Nenadić, I., Nöthen, M. M., Nyberg, L., Owen, M. J., Paolini, M., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Persson, K., Quidé, Y., Reis Marques, T., Sachdev, P. S., Sando, S. B., Schall, U., Scott, R. J., Selbæk, G., Shumskaya, E., Silva, A. I., Sisodiya, S. M., Stein, F., Stein, D. J., Straube, B., Streit, F., Strike, L. T., Teumer, A., Teutenberg, L., Thalamuthu, A., Tooney, P. A., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Trollor, J. N., Van 't Ent, D., Van den Bree, M. B. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Vazquez-Bourgon, J., Volzke, H., Wen, W., Wittfeld, K., Ching, C. R., Westlye, L. T., Thompson, P. M., Bearden, C. E., Selmer, K. K., Alnæs, D., Andreassen, O. A., & Sonderby, I. E. (2024). Beyond the global brain differences: Intra-individual variability differences in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers. Biological Psychiatry, 95(2), 147-160. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.08.018.

    Abstract

    Background

    The 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs exhibit regional and global brain differences compared to non-carriers. However, interpreting regional differences is challenging if a global difference drives the regional brain differences. Intra-individual variability measures can be used to test for regional differences beyond global differences in brain structure.

    Methods

    Magnetic resonance imaging data were used to obtain regional brain values for 1q21.1 distal deletion (n=30) and duplication (n=27), and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion (n=170) and duplication (n=243) carriers and matched non-carriers (n=2,350). Regional intra-deviation (RID) scores i.e., the standardized difference between an individual’s regional difference and global difference, were used to test for regional differences that diverge from the global difference.

    Results

    For the 1q21.1 distal deletion carriers, cortical surface area for regions in the medial visual cortex, posterior cingulate and temporal pole differed less, and regions in the prefrontal and superior temporal cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical surface area. For the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers, cortical thickness in regions in the medial visual cortex, auditory cortex and temporal pole differed less, and the prefrontal and somatosensory cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical thickness.

    Conclusion

    We find evidence for regional effects beyond differences in global brain measures in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs. The results provide new insight into brain profiling of the 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs, with the potential to increase our understanding of mechanisms involved in altered neurodevelopment.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Casillas, M., Foushee, R., Méndez Girón, J., Polian, G., & Brown, P. (2024). Little evidence for a noun bias in Tseltal spontaneous speech. First Language. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/01427237231216571.

    Abstract

    This study examines whether children acquiring Tseltal (Mayan) demonstrate a noun bias – an overrepresentation of nouns in their early vocabularies. Nouns, specifically concrete and animate nouns, are argued to universally predominate in children’s early vocabularies because their referents are naturally available as bounded concepts to which linguistic labels can be mapped. This early advantage for noun learning has been documented using multiple methods and across a diverse collection of language populations. However, past evidence bearing on a noun bias in Tseltal learners has been mixed. Tseltal grammatical features and child–caregiver interactional patterns dampen the salience of nouns and heighten the salience of verbs, leading to the prediction of a diminished noun bias and perhaps even an early predominance of verbs. We here analyze the use of noun and verb stems in children’s spontaneous speech from egocentric daylong recordings of 29 Tseltal learners between 0;9 and 4;4. We find weak to no evidence for a noun bias using two separate analytical approaches on the same data; one analysis yields a preliminary suggestion of a flipped outcome (i.e. a verb bias). We discuss the implications of these findings for broader theories of learning bias in early lexical development.
  • Collins, J. (2024). Linguistic areas and prehistoric migrations. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Dalla Bella, S., Janaqi, S., Benoit, C.-E., Farrugia, N., Bégel, V., Verga, L., Harding, E. E., & Kotz, S. A. (2024). Unravelling individual rhythmic abilities using machine learning. Scientific Reports, 14: 1135. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-51257-7.

    Abstract

    Humans can easily extract the rhythm of a complex sound, like music, and move to its regular beat, like in dance. These abilities are modulated by musical training and vary significantly in untrained individuals. The causes of this variability are multidimensional and typically hard to grasp in single tasks. To date we lack a comprehensive model capturing the rhythmic fingerprints of both musicians and non-musicians. Here we harnessed machine learning to extract a parsimonious model of rhythmic abilities, based on behavioral testing (with perceptual and motor tasks) of individuals with and without formal musical training (n = 79). We demonstrate that variability in rhythmic abilities and their link with formal and informal music experience can be successfully captured by profiles including a minimal set of behavioral measures. These findings highlight that machine learning techniques can be employed successfully to distill profiles of rhythmic abilities, and ultimately shed light on individual variability and its relationship with both formal musical training and informal musical experiences.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Dikshit, A. P., Das, D., Samal, R. R., Parashar, K., Mishra, C., & Parashar, S. (2024). Optimization of (Ba1-xCax)(Ti0.9Sn0.1)O3 ceramics in X-band using Machine Learning. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 982: 173797. doi:10.1016/j.jallcom.2024.173797.

    Abstract

    Developing efficient electromagnetic interference shielding materials has become significantly important in present times. This paper reports a series of (Ba1-xCax)(Ti0.9Sn0.1)O3 (BCTS) ((x =0, 0.01, 0.05, & 0.1)ceramics synthesized by conventional method which were studied for electromagnetic interference shielding (EMI) applications in X-band (8-12.4 GHz). EMI shielding properties and all S parameters (S11 & S12) of BCTS ceramic pellets were measured in the frequency range (8-12.4 GHz) using a Vector Network Analyser (VNA). The BCTS ceramic pellets for x = 0.05 showed maximum total effective shielding of 46 dB indicating good shielding behaviour for high-frequency applications. However, the development of lead-free ceramics with different concentrations usually requires iterative experiments resulting in, longer development cycles and higher costs. To address this, we used a machine learning (ML) strategy to predict the EMI shielding for different concentrations and experimentally verify the concentration predicted to give the best EMI shielding. The ML model predicted BCTS ceramics with concentration (x = 0.06, 0.07, 0.08, and 0.09) to have higher shielding values. On experimental verification, a shielding value of 58 dB was obtained for x = 0.08, which was significantly higher than what was obtained experimentally before applying the ML approach. Our results show the potential of using ML in accelerating the process of optimal material development, reducing the need for repeated experimental measures significantly.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Enfield, N. J. (2024). Interactive repair and the foundations of language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 28(1), 30-42. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2023.09.003.

    Abstract

    The robustness and flexibility of human language is underpinned by a machinery of interactive repair. Repair is deeply intertwined with two core properties of human language: reflexivity (it can communicate about itself) and accountability (it is used to publicly enforce social norms). We review empirical and theoretical advances from across the cognitive sciences that mark interactive repair as a domain of pragmatic universals, a key place to study metacognition in interaction, and a system that enables collective computation. This provides novel insights on the role of repair in comparative cognition, language development and human-computer interaction. As an always-available fallback option and an infrastructure for negotiating social commitments, interactive repair is foundational to the resilience, complexity, and flexibility of human language.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2024). Interjections at the heart of language. Annual Review of Linguistics, 10, 257-277. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-031422-124743.
  • Eekhof, L. S. (2024). Reading the mind: The relationship between social cognition and narrative processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • He, J., Frances, C., Creemers, A., & Brehm, L. (2024). Effects of irrelevant unintelligible and intelligible background speech on spoken language production. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/17470218231219971.

    Abstract

    Earlier work has explored spoken word production during irrelevant background speech such as intelligible and unintelligible word lists. The present study compared how different types of irrelevant background speech (word lists vs. sentences) influenced spoken word production relative to a quiet control condition, and whether the influence depended on the intelligibility of the background speech. Experiment 1 presented native Dutch speakers with Chinese word lists and sentences. Experiment 2 presented a similar group with Dutch word lists and sentences. In both experiments, the lexical selection demands in speech production were manipulated by varying name agreement (high vs. low) of the to-be-named pictures. Results showed that background speech, regardless of its intelligibility, disrupted spoken word production relative to a quiet condition, but no effects of word lists versus sentences in either language were found. Moreover, the disruption by intelligible background speech compared with the quiet condition was eliminated when planning low name agreement pictures. These findings suggest that any speech, even unintelligible speech, interferes with production, which implies that the disruption of spoken word production is mainly phonological in nature. The disruption by intelligible background speech can be reduced or eliminated via top–down attentional engagement.
  • Frances, C. (2024). Good enough processing: What have we learned in the 20 years since Ferreira et al. (2002)? Frontiers in Psychology, 15: 1323700. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1323700.

    Abstract

    Traditionally, language processing has been thought of in terms of complete processing of the input. In contrast to this, Ferreira and colleagues put forth the idea of good enough processing. The proposal was that during everyday processing, ambiguities remain unresolved, we rely on heuristics instead of full analyses, and we carry out deep processing only if we need to for the task at hand. This idea has gathered substantial traction since its conception. In the current work, I review the papers that have tested the three key claims of good enough processing: ambiguities remain unresolved and underspecified, we use heuristics to parse sentences, and deep processing is only carried out if required by the task. I find mixed evidence for these claims and conclude with an appeal to further refinement of the claims and predictions of the theory.
  • Hintz, F., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2024). Using psychometric network analysis to examine the components of spoken word recognition. Journal of Cognition, 7(1): 10. doi:10.5334/joc.340.

    Abstract

    Using language requires access to domain-specific linguistic representations, but also draws on domain-general cognitive skills. A key issue in current psycholinguistics is to situate linguistic processing in the network of human cognitive abilities. Here, we focused on spoken word recognition and used an individual differences approach to examine the links of scores in word recognition tasks with scores on tasks capturing effects of linguistic experience, general processing speed, working memory, and non-verbal reasoning. 281 young native speakers of Dutch completed an extensive test battery assessing these cognitive skills. We used psychometric network analysis to map out the direct links between the scores, that is, the unique variance between pairs of scores, controlling for variance shared with the other scores. The analysis revealed direct links between word recognition skills and processing speed. We discuss the implications of these results and the potential of psychometric network analysis for studying language processing and its embedding in the broader cognitive system.

    Additional information

    network analysis of dataset A and B
  • Kakimoto, N., Wongratwanich, P., Shimamoto, H., Kitisubkanchana, J., Tsujimoto, T., Shimabukuro, K., Verdonschot, R. G., Hasegawa, Y., & Murakami, S. (2024). Comparison of T2 values of the displaced unilateral disc and retrodiscal tissue of temporomandibular joints and their implications. Scientific Reports, 14: 1705. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-52092-6.

    Abstract

    Unilateral anterior disc displacement (uADD) has been shown to affect the contralateral joints qualitatively. This study aims to assess the quantitative T2 values of the articular disc and retrodiscal tissue of patients with uADD at 1.5 Tesla (T). The study included 65 uADD patients and 17 volunteers. The regions of interest on T2 maps were evaluated. The affected joints demonstrated significantly higher articular disc T2 values (31.5 ± 3.8 ms) than those of the unaffected joints (28.9 ± 4.5 ms) (P < 0.001). For retrodiscal tissue, T2 values of the unaffected (37.8 ± 5.8 ms) and affected joints (41.6 ± 7.1 ms) were significantly longer than those of normal volunteers (34.4 ± 3.2 ms) (P < 0.001). Furthermore, uADD without reduction (WOR) joints (43.3 ± 6.8 ms) showed statistically higher T2 values than the unaffected joints of both uADD with reduction (WR) (33.9 ± 3.8 ms) and uADDWOR (38.9 ± 5.8 ms), and the affected joints of uADDWR (35.8 ± 4.4 ms). The mean T2 value of the unaffected joints of uADDWOR was significantly longer than that of healthy volunteers (P < 0.001). These results provided quantitative evidence for the influence of the affected joints on the contralateral joints.
  • Karaca, F., Brouwer, S., Unsworth, S., & Huettig, F. (2024). Morphosyntactic predictive processing in adult heritage speakers: Effects of cue availability and spoken and written language experience. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 39(1), 118-135. doi:10.1080/23273798.2023.2254424.

    Abstract

    We investigated prediction skills of adult heritage speakers and the role of written and spoken language experience on predictive processing. Using visual world eye-tracking, we focused on predictive use of case-marking cues in verb-medial and verb-final sentences in Turkish with adult Turkish heritage speakers (N = 25) and Turkish monolingual speakers (N = 24). Heritage speakers predicted in verb-medial sentences (when verb-semantic and case-marking cues were available), but not in verb-final sentences (when only case-marking cues were available) while monolinguals predicted in both. Prediction skills of heritage speakers were modulated by their spoken language experience in Turkish and written language experience in both languages. Overall, these results strongly suggest that verb-semantic information is needed to scaffold the use of morphosyntactic cues for prediction in heritage speakers. The findings also support the notion that both spoken and written language experience play an important role in predictive spoken language processing.
  • Kimmel, M., Schneider, S. M., & Fisher, V. (2024). "Introjecting" imagery: A process model of how minds and bodies are co-enacted. Language Sciences, 102: 101602. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2023.101602.

    Abstract

    Somatic practices frequently use imagery, typically via verbal instructions, to scaffold sensorimotor organization and experience, a phenomenon we term “introjection”. We argue that introjection is an imagery practice in which sensorimotor and conceptual aspects are co-orchestrated, suggesting the necessity of crosstalk between somatics, phenomenology, psychology, embodied-enactive cognition, and linguistic research on embodied simulation. We presently focus on the scarcely addressed details of the process necessary to enact instructions of a literal or metaphoric nature through the body. Based on vignettes from dance, Feldenkrais, and Taichi practice, we describe introjection as a complex form of processual sense-making, in which context-interpretive, mental, attentional and physical sub-processes recursively braid. Our analysis focuses on how mental and body-related processes progressively align, inform and augment each other. This dialectic requires emphasis on the active body, which implies that uni-directional models (concept ⇒ body) are inadequate and should be replaced by interactionist alternatives (concept ⇔ body). Furthermore, we emphasize that both the source image itself and the body are specifically conceptualized for the context through constructive operations, and both evolve through their interplay. At this level introjection employs representational operations that are embedded in enactive dynamics of a fully situated person.
  • Kram, L., Ohlerth, A.-K., Ille, S., Meyer, B., & Krieg, S. M. (2024). CompreTAP: Feasibility and reliability of a new language comprehension mapping task via preoperative navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cortex, 171, 347-369. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2023.09.023.

    Abstract

    Objective: Stimulation-based language mapping approaches that are used pre- and intra-operatively employ predominantly overt language tasks requiring sufficient language pro-duction abilities. Yet, these production-based setups are often not feasible in brain tumor patients with severe expressive aphasia. This pilot study evaluated the feasibility and reliability of a newly developed language comprehension task with preoperative navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS).
    Methods: Fifteen healthy subjects and six brain tumor patients with severe expressiven aphasia unable to perform classic overt naming tasks underwent preoperative nTMS language mapping based on an auditory single-word Comprehension TAsk for Perioperative mapping (CompreTAP). Comprehension was probed by button-press responses to auditory stimuli, hence not requiring overt language responses. Positive comprehension areas were identified when stimulation elicited an incorrect or delayed button press. Error categories,case-wise cortical error rate distribution and inter-rater reliability between two experienced specialists were examined.
    Results: Overall, the new setup showed to be feasible. Comprehension-disruptions induced by nTMS manifested in no responses, delayed or hesitant responses, searching behavior or selection of wrong target items across all patients and controls and could be performed even in patients with severe expressive aphasia. The analysis agreement between both specialists was substantial for classifying comprehension-positive and -negative sites. Extensive left-hemispheric individual cortical comprehension sites were identified for all patients. Apart from one case presenting with transient worsening of aphasic symptoms.
  • Leonetti, S., Cimarelli, G., Hersh, T. A., & Ravignani, A. (2024). Why do dogs wag their tails? Biology Letters, 20(1): 20230407. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2023.0407.

    Abstract

    Tail wagging is a conspicuous behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Despite how much meaning humans attribute to this display, its quantitative description and evolutionary history are rarely studied. We summarize what is known about the mechanism, ontogeny, function and evolution of this behaviour. We suggest two hypotheses to explain its increased occurrence and frequency in dogs compared to other canids. During the domestication process, enhanced rhythmic tail wagging behaviour could have (i) arisen as a by-product of selection for other traits, such as docility and tameness, or (ii) been directly selected by humans, due to our proclivity for rhythmic stimuli. We invite testing of these hypotheses through neurobiological and ethological experiments, which will shed light on one of the most readily observed yet understudied animal behaviours. Targeted tail wagging research can be a window into both canine ethology and the evolutionary history of characteristic human traits, such as our ability to perceive and produce rhythmic behaviours.
  • Mai, A., Riès, S., Ben-Haim, S., Shih, J. J., & Gentner, T. Q. (2024). Acoustic and language-specific sources for phonemic abstraction from speech. Nature Communications, 15: 677. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-44844-9.

    Abstract

    Spoken language comprehension requires abstraction of linguistic information from speech, but the interaction between auditory and linguistic processing of speech remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the nature of this abstraction using neural responses recorded intracranially while participants listened to conversational English speech. Capitalizing on multiple, language-specific patterns where phonological and acoustic information diverge, we demonstrate the causal efficacy of the phoneme as a unit of analysis and dissociate the unique contributions of phonemic and spectrographic information to neural responses. Quantitive higher-order response models also reveal that unique contributions of phonological information are carried in the covariance structure of the stimulus-response relationship. This suggests that linguistic abstraction is shaped by neurobiological mechanisms that involve integration across multiple spectro-temporal features and prior phonological information. These results link speech acoustics to phonology and morphosyntax, substantiating predictions about abstractness in linguistic theory and providing evidence for the acoustic features that support that abstraction.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Meinhardt, E., Mai, A., Baković, E., & McCollum, A. (2024). Weak determinism and the computational consequences of interaction. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s11049-023-09578-1.

    Abstract

    Recent work has claimed that (non-tonal) phonological patterns are subregular (Heinz 2011a,b, 2018; Heinz and Idsardi 2013), occupying a delimited proper subregion of the regular functions—the weakly deterministic (WD) functions (Heinz and Lai 2013; Jardine 2016). Whether or not it is correct (McCollum et al. 2020a), this claim can only be properly assessed given a complete and accurate definition of WD functions. We propose such a definition in this article, patching unintended holes in Heinz and Lai’s (2013) original definition that we argue have led to the incorrect classification of some phonological patterns as WD. We start from the observation that WD patterns share a property that we call unbounded semiambience, modeled after the analogous observation by Jardine (2016) about non-deterministic (ND) patterns and their unbounded circumambience. Both ND and WD functions can be broken down into compositions of deterministic (subsequential) functions (Elgot and Mezei 1965; Heinz and Lai 2013) that read an input string from opposite directions; we show that WD functions are those for which these deterministic composands do not interact in a way that is familiar from the theoretical phonology literature. To underscore how this concept of interaction neatly separates the WD class of functions from the strictly more expressive ND class, we provide analyses of the vowel harmony patterns of two Eastern Nilotic languages, Maasai and Turkana, using bimachines, an automaton type that represents unbounded bidirectional dependencies explicitly. These analyses make clear that there is interaction between deterministic composands when (and only when) the output of a given input element of a string is simultaneously dependent on information from both the left and the right: ND functions are those that involve interaction, while WD functions are those that do not.
  • Menks, W. M., Ekerdt, C., Lemhöfer, K., Kidd, E., Fernández, G., McQueen, J. M., & Janzen, G. (2024). Developmental changes in brain activation during novel grammar learning in 8-25-year-olds. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 66: 101347. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2024.101347.

    Abstract

    While it is well established that grammar learning success varies with age, the cause of this developmental change is largely unknown. This study examined functional MRI activation across a broad developmental sample of 165 Dutch-speaking individuals (8-25 years) as they were implicitly learning a new grammatical system. This approach allowed us to assess the direct effects of age on grammar learning ability while exploring its neural correlates. In contrast to the alleged advantage of children language learners over adults, we found that adults outperformed children. Moreover, our behavioral data showed a sharp discontinuity in the relationship between age and grammar learning performance: there was a strong positive linear correlation between 8 and 15.4 years of age, after which age had no further effect. Neurally, our data indicate two important findings: (i) during grammar learning, adults and children activate similar brain regions, suggesting continuity in the neural networks that support initial grammar learning; and (ii) activation level is age-dependent, with children showing less activation than older participants. We suggest that these age-dependent processes may constrain developmental effects in grammar learning. The present study provides new insights into the neural basis of age-related differences in grammar learning in second language acquisition.

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    supplement
  • Oblong, L. M., Soheili-Nezhad, S., Trevisan, N., Shi, Y., Beckmann, C. F., & Sprooten, E. (2024). Principal and independent genomic components of brain structure and function. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 23(1): e12876. doi:10.1111/gbb.12876.

    Abstract

    The highly polygenic and pleiotropic nature of behavioural traits, psychiatric disorders and structural and functional brain phenotypes complicate mechanistic interpretation of related genome-wide association study (GWAS) signals, thereby obscuring underlying causal biological processes. We propose genomic principal and independent component analysis (PCA, ICA) to decompose a large set of univariate GWAS statistics of multimodal brain traits into more interpretable latent genomic components. Here we introduce and evaluate this novel methods various analytic parameters and reproducibility across independent samples. Two UK Biobank GWAS summary statistic releases of 2240 imaging-derived phenotypes (IDPs) were retrieved. Genome-wide beta-values and their corresponding standard-error scaled z-values were decomposed using genomic PCA/ICA. We evaluated variance explained at multiple dimensions up to 200. We tested the inter-sample reproducibility of output of dimensions 5, 10, 25 and 50. Reproducibility statistics of the respective univariate GWAS served as benchmarks. Reproducibility of 10-dimensional PCs and ICs showed the best trade-off between model complexity and robustness and variance explained (PCs: |rz − max| = 0.33, |rraw − max| = 0.30; ICs: |rz − max| = 0.23, |rraw − max| = 0.19). Genomic PC and IC reproducibility improved substantially relative to mean univariate GWAS reproducibility up to dimension 10. Genomic components clustered along neuroimaging modalities. Our results indicate that genomic PCA and ICA decompose genetic effects on IDPs from GWAS statistics with high reproducibility by taking advantage of the inherent pleiotropic patterns. These findings encourage further applications of genomic PCA and ICA as fully data-driven methods to effectively reduce the dimensionality, enhance the signal to noise ratio and improve interpretability of high-dimensional multitrait genome-wide analyses.
  • Plate, L., Fisher, V., Nabibaks, F., & Feenstra, M. (2024). Feeling the traces of the Dutch colonial past: Dance as an affective methodology in Farida Nabibaks’s radiant shadow. In E. Van Bijnen, P. Brandon, K. Fatah-Black, I. Limon, W. Modest, & M. Schavemaker (Eds.), The future of the Dutch colonial past: From dialogues to new narratives (pp. 126-139). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Seijdel, N., Schoffelen, J.-M., Hagoort, P., & Drijvers, L. (2024). Attention drives visual processing and audiovisual integration during multimodal communication. The Journal of Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0870-23.2023.

    Abstract

    During communication in real-life settings, our brain often needs to integrate auditory and visual information, and at the same time actively focus on the relevant sources of information, while ignoring interference from irrelevant events. The interaction between integration and attention processes remains poorly understood. Here, we use rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate how attention affects auditory and visual information processing and integration, during multimodal communication. We presented human participants (male and female) with videos of an actress uttering action verbs (auditory; tagged at 58 Hz) accompanied by two movie clips of hand gestures on both sides of fixation (attended stimulus tagged at 65 Hz; unattended stimulus tagged at 63 Hz). Integration difficulty was manipulated by a lower-order auditory factor (clear/degraded speech) and a higher-order visual semantic factor (matching/mismatching gesture). We observed an enhanced neural response to the attended visual information during degraded speech compared to clear speech. For the unattended information, the neural response to mismatching gestures was enhanced compared to matching gestures. Furthermore, signal power at the intermodulation frequencies of the frequency tags, indexing non-linear signal interactions, was enhanced in left frontotemporal and frontal regions. Focusing on LIFG (Left Inferior Frontal Gyrus), this enhancement was specific for the attended information, for those trials that benefitted from integration with a matching gesture. Together, our results suggest that attention modulates audiovisual processing and interaction, depending on the congruence and quality of the sensory input.

    Additional information

    link to preprint
  • Sekine, K., & Özyürek, A. (2024). Children benefit from gestures to understand degraded speech but to a lesser extent than adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 14: 1305562. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1305562.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated to what extent children, compared to adults, benefit from gestures to disambiguate degraded speech by manipulating speech signals and manual modality. Dutch-speaking adults (N = 20) and 6- and 7-year-old children (N = 15) were presented with a series of video clips in which an actor produced a Dutch action verb with or without an accompanying iconic gesture. Participants were then asked to repeat what they had heard. The speech signal was either clear or altered into 4- or 8-band noise-vocoded speech. Children had more difficulty than adults in disambiguating degraded speech in the speech-only condition. However, when presented with both speech and gestures, children reached a comparable level of accuracy to that of adults in the degraded-speech-only condition. Furthermore, for adults, the enhancement of gestures was greater in the 4-band condition than in the 8-band condition, whereas children showed the opposite pattern. Gestures help children to disambiguate degraded speech, but children need more phonological information than adults to benefit from use of gestures. Children’s multimodal language integration needs to further develop to adapt flexibly to challenging situations such as degraded speech, as tested in our study, or instances where speech is heard with environmental noise or through a face mask.

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    supplemental material
  • Severijnen, G. G. A., Bosker, H. R., & McQueen, J. M. (2024). Your “VOORnaam” is not my “VOORnaam”: An acoustic analysis of individual talker differences in word stress in Dutch. Journal of Phonetics, 103: 101296. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2024.101296.

    Abstract

    Different talkers speak differently, even within the same homogeneous group. These differences lead to acoustic variability in speech, causing challenges for correct perception of the intended message. Because previous descriptions of this acoustic variability have focused mostly on segments, talker variability in prosodic structures is not yet well documented. The present study therefore examined acoustic between-talker variability in word stress in Dutch. We recorded 40 native Dutch talkers from a participant sample with minimal dialectal variation and balanced gender, producing segmentally overlapping words (e.g., VOORnaam vs. voorNAAM; ‘first name’ vs. ‘respectable’, capitalization indicates lexical stress), and measured different acoustic cues to stress. Each individual participant’s acoustic measurements were analyzed using Linear Discriminant Analyses, which provide coefficients for each cue, reflecting the strength of each cue in a talker’s productions. On average, talkers primarily used mean F0, intensity, and duration. Moreover, each participant also employed a unique combination of cues, illustrating large prosodic variability between talkers. In fact, classes of cue-weighting tendencies emerged, differing in which cue was used as the main cue. These results offer the most comprehensive acoustic description, to date, of word stress in Dutch, and illustrate that large prosodic variability is present between individual talkers.
  • Silverstein, P., Bergmann, C., & Syed, M. (Eds.). (2024). Open science and metascience in developmental psychology [Special Issue]. Infant and Child Development, 33(1).
  • Silverstein, P., Bergmann, C., & Syed, M. (2024). Open science and metascience in developmental psychology: Introduction to the special issue. Infant and Child Development, 33(1): e2495. doi:10.1002/icd.2495.
  • Takashima, A., Carota, F., Schoots, V., Redmann, A., Jehee, J., & Indefrey, P. (2024). Tomatoes are red: The perception of achromatic objects elicits retrieval of associated color knowledge. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(1), 24-45. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02068.

    Abstract

    When preparing to name an object, semantic knowledge about the object and its attributes is activated, including perceptual properties. It is unclear, however, whether semantic attribute activation contributes to lexical access or is a consequence of activating a concept irrespective of whether that concept is to be named or not. In this study, we measured neural responses using fMRI while participants named objects that are typically green or red, presented in black line drawings. Furthermore, participants underwent two other tasks with the same objects, color naming and semantic judgment, to see if the activation pattern we observe during picture naming is (a) similar to that of a task that requires accessing the color attribute and (b) distinct from that of a task that requires accessing the concept but not its name or color. We used representational similarity analysis to detect brain areas that show similar patterns within the same color category, but show different patterns across the two color categories. In all three tasks, activation in the bilateral fusiform gyri (“Human V4”) correlated with a representational model encoding the red–green distinction weighted by the importance of color feature for the different objects. This result suggests that when seeing objects whose color attribute is highly diagnostic, color knowledge about the objects is retrieved irrespective of whether the color or the object itself have to be named.
  • Ten Oever, S., & Martin, A. E. (2024). Interdependence of “what” and “when” in the brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(1), 167-186. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02067.

    Abstract

    From a brain's-eye-view, when a stimulus occurs and what it is are interrelated aspects of interpreting the perceptual world. Yet in practice, the putative perceptual inferences about sensory content and timing are often dichotomized and not investigated as an integrated process. We here argue that neural temporal dynamics can influence what is perceived, and in turn, stimulus content can influence the time at which perception is achieved. This computational principle results from the highly interdependent relationship of what and when in the environment. Both brain processes and perceptual events display strong temporal variability that is not always modeled; we argue that understanding—and, minimally, modeling—this temporal variability is key for theories of how the brain generates unified and consistent neural representations and that we ignore temporal variability in our analysis practice at the peril of both data interpretation and theory-building. Here, we review what and when interactions in the brain, demonstrate via simulations how temporal variability can result in misguided interpretations and conclusions, and outline how to integrate and synthesize what and when in theories and models of brain computation.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2024). Hand gestures have predictive potential during conversation: An investigation of the timing of gestures in relation to speech. Cognitive Science, 48(1): e13407. doi:10.1111/cogs.13407.

    Abstract

    During face-to-face conversation, transitions between speaker turns are incredibly fast. These fast turn exchanges seem to involve next speakers predicting upcoming semantic information, such that next turn planning can begin before a current turn is complete. Given that face-to-face conversation also involves the use of communicative bodily signals, an important question is how bodily signals such as co-speech hand gestures play into these processes of prediction and fast responding. In this corpus study, we found that hand gestures that depict or refer to semantic information started before the corresponding information in speech, which held both for the onset of the gesture as a whole, as well as the onset of the stroke (the most meaningful part of the gesture). This early timing potentially allows listeners to use the gestural information to predict the corresponding semantic information to be conveyed in speech. Moreover, we provided further evidence that questions with gestures got faster responses than questions without gestures. However, we found no evidence for the idea that how much a gesture precedes its lexical affiliate (i.e., its predictive potential) relates to how fast responses were given. The findings presented here highlight the importance of the temporal relation between speech and gesture and help to illuminate the potential mechanisms underpinning multimodal language processing during face-to-face conversation.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2024). Gestures speed up responses to questions. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2024.2314021.

    Abstract

    Most language use occurs in face-to-face conversation, which involves rapid turn-taking. Seeing communicative bodily signals in addition to hearing speech may facilitate such fast responding. We tested whether this holds for co-speech hand gestures by investigating whether these gestures speed up button press responses to questions. Sixty native speakers of Dutch viewed videos in which an actress asked yes/no-questions, either with or without a corresponding iconic hand gesture. Participants answered the questions as quickly and accurately as possible via button press. Gestures did not impact response accuracy, but crucially, gestures sped up responses, suggesting that response planning may be finished earlier when gestures are seen. How much gestures sped up responses was not related to their timing in the question or their timing with respect to the corresponding information in speech. Overall, these results are in line with the idea that multimodality may facilitate fast responding during face-to-face conversation.
  • Terporten, R., Huizeling, E., Heidlmayr, K., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2024). The interaction of context constraints and predictive validity during sentence reading. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(2), 225-238. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02082.

    Abstract

    Words are not processed in isolation; instead, they are commonly embedded in phrases and sentences. The sentential context influences the perception and processing of a word. However, how this is achieved by brain processes and whether predictive mechanisms underlie this process remain a debated topic. Here, we employed an experimental paradigm in which we orthogonalized sentence context constraints and predictive validity, which was defined as the ratio of congruent to incongruent sentence endings within the experiment. While recording electroencephalography, participants read sentences with three levels of sentential context constraints (high, medium, and low). Participants were also separated into two groups that differed in their ratio of valid congruent to incongruent target words that could be predicted from the sentential context. For both groups, we investigated modulations of alpha power before, and N400 amplitude modulations after target word onset. The results reveal that the N400 amplitude gradually decreased with higher context constraints and cloze probability. In contrast, alpha power was not significantly affected by context constraint. Neither the N400 nor alpha power were significantly affected by changes in predictive validity.
  • Titus, A., Dijkstra, T., Willems, R. M., & Peeters, D. (2024). Beyond the tried and true: How virtual reality, dialog setups, and a focus on multimodality can take bilingual language production research forward. Neuropsychologia, 193: 108764. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2023.108764.

    Abstract

    Bilinguals possess the ability of expressing themselves in more than one language, and typically do so in contextually rich and dynamic settings. Theories and models have indeed long considered context factors to affect bilingual language production in many ways. However, most experimental studies in this domain have failed to fully incorporate linguistic, social, or physical context aspects, let alone combine them in the same study. Indeed, most experimental psycholinguistic research has taken place in isolated and constrained lab settings with carefully selected words or sentences, rather than under rich and naturalistic conditions. We argue that the most influential experimental paradigms in the psycholinguistic study of bilingual language production fall short of capturing the effects of context on language processing and control presupposed by prominent models. This paper therefore aims to enrich the methodological basis for investigating context aspects in current experimental paradigms and thereby move the field of bilingual language production research forward theoretically. After considering extensions of existing paradigms proposed to address context effects, we present three far-ranging innovative proposals, focusing on virtual reality, dialog situations, and multimodality in the context of bilingual language production.
  • Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2024). Information distribution patterns in naturalistic dialogue differ across languages. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-024-02452-0.

    Abstract

    The natural ecology of language is conversation, with individuals taking turns speaking to communicate in a back-and-forth fashion. Language in this context involves strings of words that a listener must process while simultaneously planning their own next utterance. It would thus be highly advantageous if language users distributed information within an utterance in a way that may facilitate this processing–planning dynamic. While some studies have investigated how information is distributed at the level of single words or clauses, or in written language, little is known about how information is distributed within spoken utterances produced during naturalistic conversation. It also is not known how information distribution patterns of spoken utterances may differ across languages. We used a set of matched corpora (CallHome) containing 898 telephone conversations conducted in six different languages (Arabic, English, German, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish), analyzing more than 58,000 utterances, to assess whether there is evidence of distinct patterns of information distributions at the utterance level, and whether these patterns are similar or differed across the languages. We found that English, Spanish, and Mandarin typically show a back-loaded distribution, with higher information (i.e., surprisal) in the last half of utterances compared with the first half, while Arabic, German, and Japanese showed front-loaded distributions, with higher information in the first half compared with the last half. Additional analyses suggest that these patterns may be related to word order and rate of noun and verb usage. We additionally found that back-loaded languages have longer turn transition times (i.e.,time between speaker turns)

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    Data availability
  • Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2024). Conversational facial signals combine into compositional meanings that change the interpretation of speaker intentions. Scientific Reports, 14: 2286. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-52589-0.

    Abstract

    Human language is extremely versatile, combining a limited set of signals in an unlimited number of ways. However, it is unknown whether conversational visual signals feed into the composite utterances with which speakers communicate their intentions. We assessed whether different combinations of visual signals lead to different intent interpretations of the same spoken utterance. Participants viewed a virtual avatar uttering spoken questions while producing single visual signals (i.e., head turn, head tilt, eyebrow raise) or combinations of these signals. After each video, participants classified the communicative intention behind the question. We found that composite utterances combining several visual signals conveyed different meaning compared to utterances accompanied by the single visual signals. However, responses to combinations of signals were more similar to the responses to related, rather than unrelated, individual signals, indicating a consistent influence of the individual visual signals on the whole. This study therefore provides first evidence for compositional, non-additive (i.e., Gestalt-like) perception of multimodal language.

    Additional information

    41598_2024_52589_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Wolna, A., Szewczyk, J., Diaz, M., Domagalik, A., Szwed, M., & Wodniecka, Z. (2024). Domain-general and language-specific contributions to speech production in a second language: An fMRI study using functional localizers. Scientific Reports, 14: 57. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-49375-9.

    Abstract

    For bilinguals, speaking in a second language (L2) compared to the native language (L1) is usually more difficult. In this study we asked whether the difficulty in L2 production reflects increased demands imposed on domain-general or core language mechanisms. We compared the brain response to speech production in L1 and L2 within two functionally-defined networks in the brain: the Multiple Demand (MD) network and the language network. We found that speech production in L2 was linked to a widespread increase of brain activity in the domain-general MD network. The language network did not show a similarly robust differences in processing speech in the two languages, however, we found increased response to L2 production in the language-specific portion of the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). To further explore our results, we have looked at domain-general and language-specific response within the brain structures postulated to form a Bilingual Language Control (BLC) network. Within this network, we found a robust increase in response to L2 in the domain-general, but also in some language-specific voxels including in the left IFG. Our findings show that L2 production strongly engages domain-general mechanisms, but only affects language sensitive portions of the left IFG. These results put constraints on the current model of bilingual language control by precisely disentangling the domain-general and language-specific contributions to the difficulty in speech production in L2.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • He, J. (2023). Coordination of spoken language production and comprehension: How speech production is affected by irrelevant background speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Abbondanza, F., Dale, P. S., Wang, C. A., Hayiou‐Thomas, M. E., Toseeb, U., Koomar, T. S., Wigg, K. G., Feng, Y., Price, K. M., Kerr, E. N., Guger, S. L., Lovett, M. W., Strug, L. J., Van Bergen, E., Dolan, C. V., Tomblin, J. B., Moll, K., Schulte‐Körne, G., Neuhoff, N., Warnke, A. and 13 moreAbbondanza, F., Dale, P. S., Wang, C. A., Hayiou‐Thomas, M. E., Toseeb, U., Koomar, T. S., Wigg, K. G., Feng, Y., Price, K. M., Kerr, E. N., Guger, S. L., Lovett, M. W., Strug, L. J., Van Bergen, E., Dolan, C. V., Tomblin, J. B., Moll, K., Schulte‐Körne, G., Neuhoff, N., Warnke, A., Fisher, S. E., Barr, C. L., Michaelson, J. J., Boomsma, D. I., Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., Whitehouse, A. J. O., Pennell, C. E., Newbury, D. F., Stein, J., Talcott, J. B., Bishop, D. V. M., & Paracchini, S. (2023). Language and reading impairments are associated with increased prevalence of non‐right‐handedness. Child Development, 94(4), 970-984. doi:10.1111/cdev.13914.

    Abstract

    Handedness has been studied for association with language-related disorders because of its link with language hemispheric dominance. No clear pattern has emerged, possibly because of small samples, publication bias, and heterogeneous criteria across studies. Non-right-handedness (NRH) frequency was assessed in N = 2503 cases with reading and/or language impairment and N = 4316 sex-matched controls identified from 10 distinct cohorts (age range 6–19 years old; European ethnicity) using a priori set criteria. A meta-analysis (Ncases = 1994) showed elevated NRH % in individuals with language/reading impairment compared with controls (OR = 1.21, CI = 1.06–1.39, p = .01). The association between reading/language impairments and NRH could result from shared pathways underlying brain lateralization, handedness, and cognitive functions.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Agirrezabal, M., Paggio, P., Navarretta, C., & Jongejan, B. (2023). Multimodal detection and classification of head movements in face-to-face conversations: Exploring models, features and their interaction. In W. Pouw, J. Trujillo, H. R. Bosker, L. Drijvers, M. Hoetjes, J. Holler, S. Kadava, L. Van Maastricht, E. Mamus, & A. Ozyurek (Eds.), Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GeSpIn) Conference. doi:10.17617/2.3527200.

    Abstract

    In this work we perform multimodal detection and classification
    of head movements from face to face video conversation data.
    We have experimented with different models and feature sets
    and provided some insight on the effect of independent features,
    but also how their interaction can enhance a head movement
    classifier. Used features include nose, neck and mid hip position
    coordinates and their derivatives together with acoustic features,
    namely, intensity and pitch of the speaker on focus. Results
    show that when input features are sufficiently processed by in-
    teracting with each other, a linear classifier can reach a similar
    performance to a more complex non-linear neural model with
    several hidden layers. Our best models achieve state-of-the-art
    performance in the detection task, measured by macro-averaged
    F1 score.
  • Alhama, R. G., Rowland, C. F., & Kidd, E. (2023). How does linguistic context influence word learning? Journal of Child Language, 50(6), 1374-1393. doi:10.1017/S0305000923000302.

    Abstract

    While there are well-known demonstrations that children can use distributional information to acquire multiple components of language, the underpinnings of these achievements are unclear. In the current paper, we investigate the potential pre-requisites for a distributional learning model that can explain how children learn their first words. We review existing literature and then present the results of a series of computational simulations with Vector Space Models, a type of distributional semantic model used in Computational Linguistics, which we evaluate against vocabulary acquisition data from children. We focus on nouns and verbs, and we find that: (i) a model with flexibility to adjust for the frequency of events provides a better fit to the human data, (ii) the influence of context words is very local, especially for nouns, and (iii) words that share more contexts with other words are harder to learn.
  • Anichini, M., de Reus, K., Hersh, T. A., Valente, D., Salazar-Casals, A., Berry, C., Keller, P. E., & Ravignani, A. (2023). Measuring rhythms of vocal interactions: A proof of principle in harbour seal pups. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 378(1875): 20210477. doi:10.1098/rstb.2021.0477.

    Abstract

    Rhythmic patterns in interactive contexts characterize human behaviours such as conversational turn-taking. These timed patterns are also present in other animals, and often described as rhythm. Understanding fine-grained temporal adjustments in interaction requires complementary quantitative methodologies. Here, we showcase how vocal interactive rhythmicity in a non-human animal can be quantified using a multi-method approach. We record vocal interactions in harbour seal pups (Phoca vitulina) under controlled conditions. We analyse these data by combining analytical approaches, namely categorical rhythm analysis, circular statistics and time series analyses. We test whether pups' vocal rhythmicity varies across behavioural contexts depending on the absence or presence of a calling partner. Four research questions illustrate which analytical approaches are complementary versus orthogonal. For our data, circular statistics and categorical rhythms suggest that a calling partner affects a pup's call timing. Granger causality suggests that pups predictively adjust their call timing when interacting with a real partner. Lastly, the ADaptation and Anticipation Model estimates statistical parameters for a potential mechanism of temporal adaptation and anticipation. Our analytical complementary approach constitutes a proof of concept; it shows feasibility in applying typically unrelated techniques to seals to quantify vocal rhythmic interactivity across behavioural contexts.

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  • Arana, S., Hagoort, P., Schoffelen, J.-M., & Rabovsky, M. (2023). Perceived similarity as a window into representations of integrated sentence meaning. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-023-02129-x.

    Abstract

    When perceiving the world around us, we are constantly integrating pieces of information. The integrated experience consists of more than just the sum of its parts. For example, visual scenes are defined by a collection of objects as well as the spatial relations amongst them and sentence meaning is computed based on individual word semantic but also syntactic configuration. Having quantitative models of such integrated representations can help evaluate cognitive models of both language and scene perception. Here, we focus on language, and use a behavioral measure of perceived similarity as an approximation of integrated meaning representations. We collected similarity judgments of 200 subjects rating nouns or transitive sentences through an online multiple arrangement task. We find that perceived similarity between sentences is most strongly modulated by the semantic action category of the main verb. In addition, we show how non-negative matrix factorization of similarity judgment data can reveal multiple underlying dimensions reflecting both semantic as well as relational role information. Finally, we provide an example of how similarity judgments on sentence stimuli can serve as a point of comparison for artificial neural networks models (ANNs) by comparing our behavioral data against sentence similarity extracted from three state-of-the-art ANNs. Overall, our method combining the multiple arrangement task on sentence stimuli with matrix factorization can capture relational information emerging from integration of multiple words in a sentence even in the presence of strong focus on the verb.
  • Arana, S., Pesnot Lerousseau, J., & Hagoort, P. (2023). Deep learning models to study sentence comprehension in the human brain. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2023.2198245.

    Abstract

    Recent artificial neural networks that process natural language achieve unprecedented performance in tasks requiring sentence-level understanding. As such, they could be interesting models of the integration of linguistic information in the human brain. We review works that compare these artificial language models with human brain activity and we assess the extent to which this approach has improved our understanding of the neural processes involved in natural language comprehension. Two main results emerge. First, the neural representation of word meaning aligns with the context-dependent, dense word vectors used by the artificial neural networks. Second, the processing hierarchy that emerges within artificial neural networks broadly matches the brain, but is surprisingly inconsistent across studies. We discuss current challenges in establishing artificial neural networks as process models of natural language comprehension. We suggest exploiting the highly structured representational geometry of artificial neural networks when mapping representations to brain data.

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  • Araujo, S., Narang, V., Misra, D., Lohagun, N., Khan, O., Singh, A., Mishra, R. K., Hervais-Adelman, A., & Huettig, F. (2023). A literacy-related color-specific deficit in rapid automatized naming: Evidence from neurotypical completely illiterate and literate adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 152(8), 2403-2409. doi:10.1037/xge0001376.

    Abstract

    There is a robust positive relationship between reading skills and the time to name aloud an array of letters, digits, objects, or colors as quickly as possible. A convincing and complete explanation for the direction and locus of this association remains, however, elusive. In this study we investigated rapid automatized naming (RAN) of every-day objects and basic color patches in neurotypical illiterate and literate adults. Literacy acquisition and education enhanced RAN performance for both conceptual categories but this advantage was much larger for (abstract) colors than every-day objects. This result suggests that (i) literacy/education may be causal for serial rapid naming ability of non-alphanumeric items, (ii) differences in the lexical quality of conceptual representations can underlie the reading-related differential RAN performance.

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  • Aravena-Bravo, P., Cristia, A., Garcia, R., Kotera, H., Nicolas, R. K., Laranjo, R., Arokoyo, B. E., Benavides-Varela, S., Benders, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Cychosz, M., Ben, R. D., Diop, Y., Durán-Urzúa, C., Havron, N., Manalili, M., Narasimhan, B., Omane, P. O., Rowland, C. F., Kolberg, L. S. and 4 moreAravena-Bravo, P., Cristia, A., Garcia, R., Kotera, H., Nicolas, R. K., Laranjo, R., Arokoyo, B. E., Benavides-Varela, S., Benders, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Cychosz, M., Ben, R. D., Diop, Y., Durán-Urzúa, C., Havron, N., Manalili, M., Narasimhan, B., Omane, P. O., Rowland, C. F., Kolberg, L. S., Ssemata, A. S., Styles, S. J., Troncoso-Acosta, B., & Woon, F. T. (2023). Towards diversifying early language development research: The first truly global international summer/winter school on language acquisition (/L+/) 2021. Journal of Cognition and Development. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/15248372.2023.2231083.

    Abstract

    With a long-term aim of empowering researchers everywhere to contribute to work on language development, we organized the First Truly Global /L+/ International Summer/ Winter School on Language Acquisition, a free 5-day virtual school for early career researchers. In this paper, we describe the school, our experience organizing it, and lessons learned. The school had a diverse organizer team, composed of 26 researchers (17 from under represented areas: Subsaharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Central and South America); and a diverse volunteer team, with a total of 95 volunteers from 35 different countries, nearly half from under represented areas. This helped world-wide Page 5 of 5 promotion of the school, leading to 958 registrations from 88 different countries, with 300 registrants (based in 63 countries, 80% from under represented areas) selected to participate in the synchronous aspects of the event. The school employed asynchronous (pre-recorded lectures, which were close-captioned) and synchronous elements (e.g., discussions to place the recorded lectures into participants' context; networking events) across three time zones. A post-school questionnaire revealed that 99% of participants enjoyed taking part in the school. Not with standing these positive quantitative outcomes, qualitative comments suggested we fell short in several areas, including the geographic diversity among lecturers and greater customization of contents to the participants’ contexts. Although much remains to be done to promote inclusivity in linguistic research, we hope our school will contribute to empowering researchers to investigate and publish on language acquisition in their home languages, to eventually result in more representative theories and empirical generalizations

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    https://osf.io/fbnda
  • Assmann, M., Büring, D., Jordanoska, I., & Prüller, M. (2023). Towards a theory of morphosyntactic focus marking. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. doi:10.1007/s11049-023-09567-4.

    Abstract

    Based on six detailed case studies of languages in which focus is marked morphosyntactically, we propose a novel formal theory of focus marking, which can capture these as well as the familiar English-type prosodic focus marking. Special attention is paid to the patterns of focus syncretism, that is, when different size and/or location of focus are indistinguishably realized by the same form.

    The key ingredients to our approach are that complex constituents (not just words) may be directly focally marked, and that the choice of focal marking is governed by blocking.
  • Barak, L., Harmon, Z., Feldman, N. H., Edwards, J., & Shafto, P. (2023). When children's production deviates from observed input: Modeling the variable production of the English past tense. Cognitive Science, 47(8): e13328. doi:10.1111/cogs.13328.

    Abstract

    As children gradually master grammatical rules, they often go through a period of producing form-meaning associations that were not observed in the input. For example, 2- to 3-year-old English-learning children use the bare form of verbs in settings that require obligatory past tense meaning while already starting to produce the grammatical –ed inflection. While many studies have focused on overgeneralization errors, fewer studies have attempted to explain the root of this earlier stage of rule acquisition. In this work, we use computational modeling to replicate children's production behavior prior to the generalization of past tense production in English. We illustrate how seemingly erroneous productions emerge in a model, without being licensed in the grammar and despite the model aiming at conforming to grammatical forms. Our results show that bare form productions stem from a tension between two factors: (1) trying to produce a less frequent meaning (the past tense) and (2) being unable to restrict the production of frequent forms (the bare form) as learning progresses. Like children, our model goes through a stage of bare form production and then converges on adult-like production of the regular past tense, showing that these different stages can be accounted for through a single learning mechanism.
  • Barendse, M. T., & Rosseel, Y. (2023). Multilevel SEM with random slopes in discrete data using the pairwise maximum likelihood. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 76(2), 327-352. doi:10.1111/bmsp.12294.

    Abstract

    Pairwise maximum likelihood (PML) estimation is a promising method for multilevel models with discrete responses. Multilevel models take into account that units within a cluster tend to be more alike than units from different clusters. The pairwise likelihood is then obtained as the product of bivariate likelihoods for all within-cluster pairs of units and items. In this study, we investigate the PML estimation method with computationally intensive multilevel random intercept and random slope structural equation models (SEM) in discrete data. In pursuing this, we first reconsidered the general ‘wide format’ (WF) approach for SEM models and then extend the WF approach with random slopes. In a small simulation study we the determine accuracy and efficiency of the PML estimation method by varying the sample size (250, 500, 1000, 2000), response scales (two-point, four-point), and data-generating model (mediation model with three random slopes, factor model with one and two random slopes). Overall, results show that the PML estimation method is capable of estimating computationally intensive random intercept and random slopes multilevel models in the SEM framework with discrete data and many (six or more) latent variables with satisfactory accuracy and efficiency. However, the condition with 250 clusters combined with a two-point response scale shows more bias.

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    figures
  • Barrios, A., & Garcia, R. (2023). Filipino children’s acquisition of nominal and verbal markers in L1 and L2 Tagalog. Languages, 8(3): 188. doi:10.3390/languages8030188.

    Abstract

    Western Austronesian languages, like Tagalog, have unique, complex voice systems that require the correct combinations of verbal and nominal markers, raising many questions about their learnability. In this article, we review the experimental and observational studies on both the L1 and L2 acquisition of Tagalog. The reviewed studies reveal error patterns that reflect the complex nature of the Tagalog voice system. The main goal of the article is to present a full picture of commission errors in young Filipino children’s expression of causation and agency in Tagalog by describing patterns of nominal marking and voice marking in L1 Tagalog and L2 Tagalog. It also aims to provide an overview of existing research, as well as characterize research on nominal and verbal acquisition, specifically in terms of research problems, data sources, and methodology. Additionally, we discuss the research gaps in at least fifty years’ worth of studies in the area from the 1960’s to the present, as well as ideas for future research to advance the state of the art.
  • Bartolozzi, F. (2023). Repetita Iuvant? Studies on the role of repetition priming as a supportive mechanism during conversation. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bastiaanse, R., & Ohlerth, A.-K. (2023). Presurgical language mapping: What are we testing? Journal of Personalized Medicine, 13: 376. doi:10.3390/jpm13030376.

    Abstract

    Gliomas are brain tumors infiltrating healthy cortical and subcortical areas that may host cognitive functions, such as language. If these areas are damaged during surgery, the patient might develop word retrieval or articulation problems. For this reason, many glioma patients are operated on awake, while their language functions are tested. For this practice, quite simple tests are used, for example, picture naming. This paper describes the process and timeline of picture naming (noun retrieval) and shows the timeline and localization of the distinguished stages. This is relevant information for presurgical language testing with navigated Magnetic Stimulation (nTMS). This novel technique allows us to identify cortical involved in the language production process and, thus, guides the neurosurgeon in how to approach and remove the tumor. We argue that not only nouns, but also verbs should be tested, since sentences are built around verbs, and sentences are what we use in daily life. This approach’s relevance is illustrated by two case studies of glioma patients.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2023). Multiplication, addition, and subtraction in numerals: Formal variation in Latin’s decads+ from an Indo-European perspective. Journal of Latin Linguistics, 22(1), 1-56. doi:10.1515/joll-2023-2001.

    Abstract

    While formal variation in Latin’s numerals is generally acknowledged, little is known about (relative) incidence, distribution, context, or linguistic productivity. Addressing this lacuna, this article examines “decads+” in Latin, which convey the numbers between the full decads: the teens (‘eleven’ through ‘nineteen’) as well as the numerals between the higher decads starting at ‘twenty-one’ through ‘ninety-nine’. Latin’s decads+ are compounds and prone to variation. The data, which are drawn from a variety of sources, reveal (a) substantial formal variation in Latin, both internally and typologically; (b) co-existence of several types of formation; (c) productivity of potential borrowings; (d) resilience of early formations; (e) patterns in structure and incidence that anticipate the Romance numerals; and (f) historical trends. From a typological and general linguistic perspective as well, Latin’s decads+ are most relevant because their formal variation involves sequence, connector, and arithmetical operations and because their historical depth shows a gradual shift away from widespread formal variation, eventually resulting in the relatively rigid system found in Romance. Moreover, the combined system attested in decads+ in Latin – based on a combination of inherited, innovative and borrowed patterns and reflecting different stages of development – presents a number of typological inconsistencies that require further assessment

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  • Benetti, S., Ferrari, A., & Pavani, F. (2023). Multimodal processing in face-to-face interactions: A bridging link between psycholinguistics and sensory neuroscience. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 17: 1108354. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2023.1108354.

    Abstract

    In face-to-face communication, humans are faced with multiple layers of discontinuous multimodal signals, such as head, face, hand gestures, speech and non-speech sounds, which need to be interpreted as coherent and unified communicative actions. This implies a fundamental computational challenge: optimally binding only signals belonging to the same communicative action while segregating signals that are not connected by the communicative content. How do we achieve such an extraordinary feat, reliably, and efficiently? To address this question, we need to further move the study of human communication beyond speech-centred perspectives and promote a multimodal approach combined with interdisciplinary cooperation. Accordingly, we seek to reconcile two explanatory frameworks recently proposed in psycholinguistics and sensory neuroscience into a neurocognitive model of multimodal face-to-face communication. First, we introduce a psycholinguistic framework that characterises face-to-face communication at three parallel processing levels: multiplex signals, multimodal gestalts and multilevel predictions. Second, we consider the recent proposal of a lateral neural visual pathway specifically dedicated to the dynamic aspects of social perception and reconceive it from a multimodal perspective (“lateral processing pathway”). Third, we reconcile the two frameworks into a neurocognitive model that proposes how multiplex signals, multimodal gestalts, and multilevel predictions may be implemented along the lateral processing pathway. Finally, we advocate a multimodal and multidisciplinary research approach, combining state-of-the-art imaging techniques, computational modelling and artificial intelligence for future empirical testing of our model.
  • Bergelson, E., Soderstrom, M., Schwarz, I.-C., Rowland, C. F., Ramírez-Esparza, N., Rague Hamrick, L., Marklund, E., Kalashnikova, M., Guez, A., Casillas, M., Benetti, L., Van Alphen, P. M., & Cristia, A. (2023). Everyday language input and production in 1,001 children from six continents. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(52): 2300671120. doi:10.1073/pnas.2300671120.

    Abstract

    Language is a universal human ability, acquired readily by young children, whootherwise struggle with many basics of survival. And yet, language ability is variableacross individuals. Naturalistic and experimental observations suggest that children’slinguistic skills vary with factors like socioeconomic status and children’s gender.But which factors really influence children’s day-to-day language use? Here, weleverage speech technology in a big-data approach to report on a unique cross-culturaland diverse data set: >2,500 d-long, child-centered audio-recordings of 1,001 2- to48-mo-olds from 12 countries spanning six continents across urban, farmer-forager,and subsistence-farming contexts. As expected, age and language-relevant clinical risksand diagnoses predicted how much speech (and speech-like vocalization) childrenproduced. Critically, so too did adult talk in children’s environments: Children whoheard more talk from adults produced more speech. In contrast to previous conclusionsbased on more limited sampling methods and a different set of language proxies,socioeconomic status (operationalized as maternal education) was not significantlyassociated with children’s productions over the first 4 y of life, and neither weregender or multilingualism. These findings from large-scale naturalistic data advanceour understanding of which factors are robust predictors of variability in the speechbehaviors of young learners in a wide range of everyday contexts
  • Bögels, S., & Levinson, S. C. (2023). Ultrasound measurements of interactive turn-taking in question-answer sequences: Articulatory preparation is delayed but not tied to the response. PLoS One, 18: e0276470. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0276470.

    Abstract

    We know that speech planning in conversational turn-taking can happen in overlap with the previous turn and research suggests that it starts as early as possible, that is, as soon as the gist of the previous turn becomes clear. The present study aimed to investigate whether planning proceeds all the way up to the last stage of articulatory preparation (i.e., putting the articulators in place for the first phoneme of the response) and what the timing of this process is. Participants answered pre-recorded quiz questions (being under the illusion that they were asked live), while their tongue movements were measured using ultrasound. Planning could start early for some quiz questions (i.e., midway during the question), but late for others (i.e., only at the end of the question). The results showed no evidence for a difference between tongue movements in these two types of questions for at least two seconds after planning could start in early-planning questions, suggesting that speech planning in overlap with the current turn proceeds more slowly than in the clear. On the other hand, when time-locking to speech onset, tongue movements differed between the two conditions from up to two seconds before this point. This suggests that articulatory preparation can occur in advance and is not fully tied to the overt response itself.

    Additional information

    supporting information
  • Wu, M., Bosker, H. R., & Riecke, L. (2023). Sentential contextual facilitation of auditory word processing builds up during sentence tracking. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 35(8), 1262 -1278. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02007.

    Abstract

    While listening to meaningful speech, auditory input is processed more rapidly near the end (vs. beginning) of sentences. Although several studies have shown such word-to-word changes in auditory input processing, it is still unclear from which processing level these word-to-word dynamics originate. We investigated whether predictions derived from sentential context can result in auditory word-processing dynamics during sentence tracking. We presented healthy human participants with auditory stimuli consisting of word sequences, arranged into either predictable (coherent sentences) or less predictable (unstructured, random word sequences) 42-Hz amplitude-modulated speech, and a continuous 25-Hz amplitude-modulated distractor tone. We recorded RTs and frequency-tagged neuroelectric responses 1(auditory steady-state responses) to individual words at multiple temporal positions within the sentences, and quantified sentential context effects at each position while controlling for individual word characteristics (i.e., phonetics, frequency, and familiarity). We found that sentential context increasingly facilitates auditory word processing as evidenced by accelerated RTs and increased auditory steady-state responses to later-occurring words within sentences. These purely top–down contextually driven auditory word-processing dynamics occurred only when listeners focused their attention on the speech and did not transfer to the auditory processing of the concurrent distractor tone. These findings indicate that auditory word-processing dynamics during sentence tracking can originate from sentential predictions. The predictions depend on the listeners' attention to the speech, and affect only the processing of the parsed speech, not that of concurrently presented auditory streams.
  • Bruggeman, L., & Cutler, A. (2023). Listening like a native: Unprofitable procedures need to be discarded. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 26(5), 1093-1102. doi:10.1017/S1366728923000305.

    Abstract

    Two languages, historically related, both have lexical stress, with word stress distinctions signalled in each by the same suprasegmental cues. In each language, words can overlap segmentally but differ in placement of primary versus secondary stress (OCtopus, ocTOber). However, secondary stress occurs more often in the words of one language, Dutch, than in the other, English, and largely because of this, Dutch listeners find it helpful to use suprasegmental stress cues when recognising spoken words. English listeners, in contrast, do not; indeed, Dutch listeners can outdo English listeners in correctly identifying the source words of English word fragments (oc-). Here we show that Dutch-native listeners who reside in an English-speaking environment and have become dominant in English, though still maintaining their use of these stress cues in their L1, ignore the same cues in their L2 English, performing as poorly in the fragment identification task as the L1 English do.
  • Bulut, T. (2023). Domain‐general and domain‐specific functional networks of Broca's area underlying language processing. Brain and Behavior, 13(7): e3046. doi:10.1002/brb3.3046.

    Abstract

    Introduction
    Despite abundant research on the role of Broca's area in language processing, there is still no consensus on language specificity of this region and its connectivity network.

    Methods
    The present study employed the meta-analytic connectivity modeling procedure to identify and compare domain-specific (language-specific) and domain-general (shared between language and other domains) functional connectivity patterns of three subdivisions within the broadly defined Broca's area: pars opercularis (IFGop), pars triangularis (IFGtri), and pars orbitalis (IFGorb) of the left inferior frontal gyrus.

    Results
    The findings revealed a left-lateralized frontotemporal network for all regions of interest underlying domain-specific linguistic functions. The domain-general network, however, spanned frontoparietal regions that overlap with the multiple-demand network and subcortical regions spanning the thalamus and the basal ganglia.

    Conclusions
    The findings suggest that language specificity of Broca's area emerges within a left-lateralized frontotemporal network, and that domain-general resources are garnered from frontoparietal and subcortical networks when required by task demands.

    Additional information

    Supporting Information Data availability
  • Byun, K.-S. (2023). Establishing intersubjectivity in cross-signing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Cabrelli, J., Chaouch-Orozco, A., González Alonso, J., Pereira Soares, S. M., Puig-Mayenco, E., & Rothman, J. (Eds.). (2023). The Cambridge handbook of third language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108957823.
  • Cabrelli, J., Chaouch-Orozco, A., González Alonso, J., Pereira Soares, S. M., Puig-Mayenco, E., & Rothman, J. (2023). Introduction - Multilingualism: Language, brain, and cognition. In J. Cabrelli, A. Chaouch-Orozco, J. González Alonso, S. M. Pereira Soares, E. Puig-Mayenco, & J. Rothman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of third language acquisition (pp. 1-20). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108957823.001.

    Abstract

    This chapter provides an introduction to the handbook. It succintly overviews the key questions in the field of L3/Ln acquisition and summarizes the scope of all the chapters included. The chapter ends by raising some outstanding questions that the field needs to address.
  • Caplan, S., Peng, M. Z., Zhang, Y., & Yu, C. (2023). Using an Egocentric Human Simulation Paradigm to quantify referential and semantic ambiguity in early word learning. In M. Goldwater, F. K. Anggoro, B. K. Hayes, & D. C. Ong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2023) (pp. 1043-1049).

    Abstract

    In order to understand early word learning we need to better understand and quantify properties of the input that young children receive. We extended the human simulation paradigm (HSP) using egocentric videos taken from infant head-mounted cameras. The videos were further annotated with gaze information indicating in-the-moment visual attention from the infant. Our new HSP prompted participants for two types of responses, thus differentiating referential from semantic ambiguity in the learning input. Consistent with findings on visual attention in word learning, we find a strongly bimodal distribution over HSP accuracy. Even in this open-ended task, most videos only lead to a small handful of common responses. What's more, referential ambiguity was the key bottleneck to performance: participants can nearly always recover the exact word that was said if they identify the correct referent. Finally, analysis shows that adult learners relied on particular, multimodal behavioral cues to infer those target referents.
  • Carota, F., Nili, H., Kriegeskorte, N., & Pulvermüller, F. (2023). Experientially-grounded and distributional semantic vectors uncover dissociable representations of semantic categories. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2023.2232481.

    Abstract

    Neuronal populations code similar concepts by similar activity patterns across the human brain's semantic networks. However, it is unclear to what extent such meaning-to-symbol mapping reflects distributional statistics, or experiential information grounded in sensorimotor and emotional knowledge. We asked whether integrating distributional and experiential data better distinguished conceptual categories than each method taken separately. We examined the similarity structure of fMRI patterns elicited by visually presented action- and object-related words using representational similarity analysis (RSA). We found that the distributional and experiential/integrative models respectively mapped the high-dimensional semantic space in left inferior frontal, anterior temporal, and in left precentral, posterior inferior/middle temporal cortex. Furthermore, results from model comparisons uncovered category-specific similarity patterns, as both distributional and experiential models matched the similarity patterns for action concepts in left fronto-temporal cortex, whilst the experiential/integrative (but not distributional) models matched the similarity patterns for object concepts in left fusiform and angular gyrus.
  • Carota, F., Schoffelen, J.-M., Oostenveld, R., & Indefrey, P. (2023). Parallel or sequential? Decoding conceptual and phonological/phonetic information from MEG signals during language production. Cognitive Neuropsychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/02643294.2023.2283239.

    Abstract

    Speaking requires the temporally coordinated planning of core linguistic information, from conceptual meaning to articulation. Recent neurophysiological results suggested that these operations involve a cascade of neural events with subsequent onset times, whilst competing evidence suggests early parallel neural activation. To test these hypotheses, we examined the sources of neuromagnetic activity recorded from 34 participants overtly naming 134 images from 4 object categories (animals, tools, foods and clothes). Within each category, word length and phonological neighbourhood density were co-varied to target phonological/phonetic processes. Multivariate pattern analyses (MVPA) searchlights in source space decoded object categories in occipitotemporal and middle temporal cortex, and phonological/phonetic variables in left inferior frontal (BA 44) and motor cortex early on. The findings suggest early activation of multiple variables due to intercorrelated properties and interactivity of processing, thus raising important questions about the representational properties of target words during the preparatory time enabling overt speaking.
  • Çetinçelik, M., Rowland, C. F., & Snijders, T. M. (2023). Does the speaker’s eye gaze facilitate infants’ word segmentation from continuous speech? An ERP study. Developmental Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/desc.13436.

    Abstract

    The environment in which infants learn language is multimodal and rich with social cues. Yet, the effects of such cues, such as eye contact, on early speech perception have not been closely examined. This study assessed the role of ostensive speech, signalled through the speaker's eye gaze direction, on infants’ word segmentation abilities. A familiarisation-then-test paradigm was used while electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded. Ten-month-old Dutch-learning infants were familiarised with audio-visual stories in which a speaker recited four sentences with one repeated target word. The speaker addressed them either with direct or with averted gaze while speaking. In the test phase following each story, infants heard familiar and novel words presented via audio-only. Infants’ familiarity with the words was assessed using event-related potentials (ERPs). As predicted, infants showed a negative-going ERP familiarity effect to the isolated familiarised words relative to the novel words over the left-frontal region of interest during the test phase. While the word familiarity effect did not differ as a function of the speaker's gaze over the left-frontal region of interest, there was also a (not predicted) positive-going early ERP familiarity effect over right fronto-central and central electrodes in the direct gaze condition only. This study provides electrophysiological evidence that infants can segment words from audio-visual speech, regardless of the ostensiveness of the speaker's communication. However, the speaker's gaze direction seems to influence the processing of familiar words.
  • Çetinçelik, M., Rowland, C. F., & Snijders, T. M. (2023). Ten-month-old infants’ neural tracking of naturalistic speech is not facilitated by the speaker’s eye gaze. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 64: 101297. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2023.101297.

    Abstract

    Eye gaze is a powerful ostensive cue in infant-caregiver interactions, with demonstrable effects on language acquisition. While the link between gaze following and later vocabulary is well-established, the effects of eye gaze on other aspects of language, such as speech processing, are less clear. In this EEG study, we examined the effects of the speaker’s eye gaze on ten-month-old infants’ neural tracking of naturalistic audiovisual speech, a marker for successful speech processing. Infants watched videos of a speaker telling stories, addressing the infant with direct or averted eye gaze. We assessed infants’ speech-brain coherence at stress (1–1.75 Hz) and syllable (2.5–3.5 Hz) rates, tested for differences in attention by comparing looking times and EEG theta power in the two conditions, and investigated whether neural tracking predicts later vocabulary. Our results showed that infants’ brains tracked the speech rhythm both at the stress and syllable rates, and that infants’ neural tracking at the syllable rate predicted later vocabulary. However, speech-brain coherence did not significantly differ between direct and averted gaze conditions and infants did not show greater attention to direct gaze. Overall, our results suggest significant neural tracking at ten months, related to vocabulary development, but not modulated by speaker’s gaze.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Chang, F., Tatsumi, T., Hiranuma, Y., & Bannard, C. (2023). Visual heuristics for verb production: Testing a deep‐learning model with experiments in Japanese. Cognitive Science, 47(8): e13324. doi:10.1111/cogs.13324.

    Abstract

    Tense/aspect morphology on verbs is often thought to depend on event features like telicity, but it is not known how speakers identify these features in visual scenes. To examine this question, we asked Japanese speakers to describe computer-generated animations of simple actions with variation in visual features related to telicity. Experiments with adults and children found that they could use goal information in the animations to select appropriate past and progressive verb forms. They also produced a large number of different verb forms. To explain these findings, a deep-learning model of verb production from visual input was created that could produce a human-like distribution of verb forms. It was able to use visual cues to select appropriate tense/aspect morphology. The model predicted that video duration would be related to verb complexity, and past tense production would increase when it received the endpoint as input. These predictions were confirmed in a third study with Japanese adults. This work suggests that verb production could be tightly linked to visual heuristics that support the understanding of events.
  • Chen, A., Çetinçelik, M., Roncaglia-Denissen, M. P., & Sadakata, M. (2023). Native language, L2 experience, and pitch processing in music. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 13(2), 218-237. doi:10.1075/lab.20030.che.

    Abstract

    The current study investigated how the role of pitch in one’s native language and L2 experience influenced musical melodic processing by testing Turkish and Mandarin Chinese advanced and beginning learners of English as an L2. Pitch has a lower functional load and shows a simpler pattern in Turkish than in Chinese as the former only contrasts between presence and the absence of pitch elevation, while the latter makes use of four different pitch contours lexically. Using the Musical Ear Test as the tool, we found that the Chinese listeners outperformed the Turkish listeners, and the advanced L2 learners outperformed the beginning learners. The Turkish listeners were further tested on their discrimination of bisyllabic Chinese lexical tones, and again an L2 advantage was observed. No significant difference was found for working memory between the beginning and advanced L2 learners. These results suggest that richness of tonal inventory of the native language is essential for triggering a music processing advantage, and on top of the tone language advantage, the L2 experience yields a further enhancement. Yet, unlike the tone language advantage that seems to relate to pitch expertise, learning an L2 seems to improve sound discrimination in general, and such improvement exhibits in non-native lexical tone discrimination.
  • Chevrefils, L., Morgenstern, A., Beaupoil-Hourdel, P., Bedoin, D., Caët, S., Danet, C., Danino, C., De Pontonx, S., & Parisse, C. (2023). Coordinating eating and languaging: The choreography of speech, sign, gesture and action in family dinners. In W. Pouw, J. Trujillo, H. R. Bosker, L. Drijvers, M. Hoetjes, J. Holler, S. Kadava, L. Van Maastricht, E. Mamus, & A. Ozyurek (Eds.), Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GeSpIn) Conference. doi:10.17617/2.3527183.

    Abstract

    In this study, we analyze one French signing and one French speaking family’s interaction during dinner. The families composed of two parents and two children aged 3 to 11 were filmed with three cameras to capture all family members’ behaviors. The three videos per dinner were synchronized and coded on ELAN. We annotated all participants’ acting, and languaging.
    Our quantitative analyses show how family members collaboratively manage multiple streams of activity through the embodied performances of dining and interacting. We uncover different profiles according to participants’ modality of expression and status (focusing on the mother and the younger child). The hearing participants’ co-activity management illustrates their monitoring of dining and conversing and how they progressively master the affordances of the visual and vocal channels to maintain the simultaneity of the two activities. The deaf mother skillfully manages to alternate smoothly between dining and interacting. The deaf younger child manifests how she is in the process of developing her skills to manage multi-activity. Our qualitative analyses focus on the ecology of visual-gestural and audio-vocal languaging in the context of co-activity according to language and participant. We open new perspectives on the management of gaze and body parts in multimodal languaging.
  • Clough, S., Morrow, E., Mutlu, B., Turkstra, L., & Duff, M. C. C. (2023). Emotion recognition of faces and emoji in individuals with moderate-severe traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury, 37(7), 596-610. doi:10.1080/02699052.2023.2181401.

    Abstract

    Background. Facial emotion recognition deficits are common after moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and linked to poor social outcomes. We examine whether emotion recognition deficits extend to facial expressions depicted by emoji.
    Methods. Fifty-one individuals with moderate-severe TBI (25 female) and fifty-one neurotypical peers (26 female) viewed photos of human faces and emoji. Participants selected the best-fitting label from a set of basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, sadness, neutral, surprise, happy) or social emotions (embarrassed, remorseful, anxious, neutral, flirting, confident, proud).
    Results. We analyzed the likelihood of correctly labeling an emotion by group (neurotypical, TBI), stimulus condition (basic faces, basic emoji, social emoji), sex (female, male), and their interactions. Participants with TBI did not significantly differ from neurotypical peers in overall emotion labeling accuracy. Both groups had poorer labeling accuracy for emoji compared to faces. Participants with TBI (but not neurotypical peers) had poorer accuracy for labeling social emotions depicted by emoji compared to basic emotions depicted by emoji. There were no effects of participant sex.
    Discussion. Because emotion representation is more ambiguous in emoji than human faces, studying emoji use and perception in TBI is an important consideration for understanding functional communication and social participation after brain injury.
  • Clough, S., Padilla, V.-G., Brown-Schmidt, S., & Duff, M. C. (2023). Intact speech-gesture integration in narrative recall by adults with moderate-severe traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychologia, 189: 108665. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2023.108665.

    Abstract

    Purpose

    Real-world communication is situated in rich multimodal contexts, containing speech and gesture. Speakers often convey unique information in gesture that is not present in the speech signal (e.g., saying “He searched for a new recipe” while making a typing gesture). We examine the narrative retellings of participants with and without moderate-severe traumatic brain injury across three timepoints over two online Zoom sessions to investigate whether people with TBI can integrate information from co-occurring speech and gesture and if information from gesture persists across delays.

    Methods

    60 participants with TBI and 60 non-injured peers watched videos of a narrator telling four short stories. On key details, the narrator produced complementary gestures that conveyed unique information. Participants retold the stories at three timepoints: immediately after, 20-min later, and one-week later. We examined the words participants used when retelling these key details, coding them as a Speech Match (e.g., “He searched for a new recipe”), a Gesture Match (e.g., “He searched for a new recipe online), or Other (“He looked for a new recipe”). We also examined whether participants produced representative gestures themselves when retelling these details.

    Results

    Despite recalling fewer story details, participants with TBI were as likely as non-injured peers to report information from gesture in their narrative retellings. All participants were more likely to report information from gesture and produce representative gestures themselves one-week later compared to immediately after hearing the story.

    Conclusion

    We demonstrated that speech-gesture integration is intact after TBI in narrative retellings. This finding has exciting implications for the utility of gesture to support comprehension and memory after TBI and expands our understanding of naturalistic multimodal language processing in this population.
  • Clough, S., Tanguay, A. F. N., Mutlu, B., Turkstra, L., & Duff, M. C. (2023). How do individuals with and without traumatic brain injury interpret emoji? Similarities and differences in perceived valence, arousal, and emotion representation. Journal of Nonverbal Communication, 47, 489-511. doi:10.1007/s10919-023-00433-w.

    Abstract

    Impaired facial affect recognition is common after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and linked to poor social outcomes. We explored whether perception of emotions depicted by emoji is also impaired after TBI. Fifty participants with TBI and 50 non-injured peers generated free-text labels to describe emotions depicted by emoji and rated their levels of valence and arousal on nine-point rating scales. We compared how the two groups’ valence and arousal ratings were clustered and examined agreement in the words participants used to describe emoji. Hierarchical clustering of affect ratings produced four emoji clusters in the non-injured group and three emoji clusters in the TBI group. Whereas the non-injured group had a strongly positive and a moderately positive cluster, the TBI group had a single positive valence cluster, undifferentiated by arousal. Despite differences in cluster numbers, hierarchical structures of the two groups’ emoji ratings were significantly correlated. Most emoji had high agreement in the words participants with and without TBI used to describe them. Participants with TBI perceived emoji similarly to non-injured peers, used similar words to describe emoji, and rated emoji similarly on the valence dimension. Individuals with TBI showed small differences in perceived arousal for a minority of emoji. Overall, results suggest that basic recognition processes do not explain challenges in computer-mediated communication reported by adults with TBI. Examining perception of emoji in context by people with TBI is an essential next step for advancing our understanding of functional communication in computer-mediated contexts after brain injury.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Coopmans, C. W. (2023). Triangles in the brain: The role of hierarchical structure in language use. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Coopmans, C. W., Struiksma, M. E., Coopmans, P. H. A., & Chen, A. (2023). Processing of grammatical agreement in the face of variation in lexical stress: A mismatch negativity study. Language and Speech, 66(1), 202-213. doi:10.1177/00238309221098116.

    Abstract

    Previous electroencephalography studies have yielded evidence for automatic processing of syntax and lexical stress. However, these studies looked at both effects in isolation, limiting their generalizability to everyday language comprehension. In the current study, we investigated automatic processing of grammatical agreement in the face of variation in lexical stress. Using an oddball paradigm, we measured the Mismatch Negativity (MMN) in Dutch-speaking participants while they listened to Dutch subject–verb sequences (linguistic context) or acoustically similar sequences in which the subject was replaced by filtered noise (nonlinguistic context). The verb forms differed in the inflectional suffix, rendering the subject–verb sequences grammatically correct or incorrect, and leading to a difference in the stress pattern of the verb forms. We found that the MMNs were modulated in both the linguistic and nonlinguistic condition, suggesting that the processing load induced by variation in lexical stress can hinder early automatic processing of grammatical agreement. However, as the morphological differences between the verb forms correlated with differences in number of syllables, an interpretation in terms of the prosodic structure of the sequences cannot be ruled out. Future research is needed to determine which of these factors (i.e., lexical stress, syllabic structure) most strongly modulate early syntactic processing.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Coopmans, C. W., Mai, A., Slaats, S., Weissbart, H., & Martin, A. E. (2023). What oscillations can do for syntax depends on your theory of structure building. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 24, 723. doi:10.1038/s41583-023-00734-5.
  • Coopmans, C. W., Kaushik, K., & Martin, A. E. (2023). Hierarchical structure in language and action: A formal comparison. Psychological Review, 130(4), 935-952. doi:10.1037/rev0000429.

    Abstract

    Since the cognitive revolution, language and action have been compared as cognitive systems, with cross-domain convergent views recently gaining renewed interest in biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. Language and action are both combinatorial systems whose mode of combination has been argued to be hierarchical, combining elements into constituents of increasingly larger size. This structural similarity has led to the suggestion that they rely on shared cognitive and neural resources. In this article, we compare the conceptual and formal properties of hierarchy in language and action using set theory. We show that the strong compositionality of language requires a particular formalism, a magma, to describe the algebraic structure corresponding to the set of hierarchical structures underlying sentences. When this formalism is applied to actions, it appears to be both too strong and too weak. To overcome these limitations, which are related to the weak compositionality and sequential nature of action structures, we formalize the algebraic structure corresponding to the set of actions as a trace monoid. We aim to capture the different system properties of language and action in terms of the distinction between hierarchical sets and hierarchical sequences and discuss the implications for the way both systems could be represented in the brain.
  • Corps, R. E., Liao, M., & Pickering, M. J. (2023). Evidence for two stages of prediction in non-native speakers: A visual-world eye-tracking study. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 26(1), 231-243. doi:10.1017/S1366728922000499.

    Abstract

    Comprehenders predict what a speaker is likely to say when listening to non-native (L2) and native (L1) utterances. But what are the characteristics of L2 prediction, and how does it relate to L1 prediction? We addressed this question in a visual-world eye-tracking experiment, which tested when L2 English comprehenders integrated perspective into their predictions. Male and female participants listened to male and female speakers producing sentences (e.g., I would like to wear the nice…) about stereotypically masculine (target: tie; distractor: drill) and feminine (target: dress; distractor: hairdryer) objects. Participants predicted associatively, fixating objects semantically associated with critical verbs (here, the tie and the dress). They also predicted stereotypically consistent objects (e.g., the tie rather than the dress, given the male speaker). Consistent predictions were made later than associative predictions, and were delayed for L2 speakers relative to L1 speakers. These findings suggest prediction involves both automatic and non-automatic stages.
  • Corps, R. E. (2023). What do we know about the mechanisms of response planning in dialog? In Psychology of Learning and Motivation (pp. 41-81). doi:10.1016/bs.plm.2023.02.002.

    Abstract

    During dialog, interlocutors take turns at speaking with little gap or overlap between their contributions. But language production in monolog is comparatively slow. Theories of dialog tend to agree that interlocutors manage these timing demands by planning a response early, before the current speaker reaches the end of their turn. In the first half of this chapter, I review experimental research supporting these theories. But this research also suggests that planning a response early, while simultaneously comprehending, is difficult. Does response planning need to be this difficult during dialog? In other words, is early-planning always necessary? In the second half of this chapter, I discuss research that suggests the answer to this question is no. In particular, corpora of natural conversation demonstrate that speakers do not directly respond to the immediately preceding utterance of their partner—instead, they continue an utterance they produced earlier. This parallel talk likely occurs because speakers are highly incremental and plan only part of their utterance before speaking, leading to pauses, hesitations, and disfluencies. As a result, speakers do not need to engage in extensive advance planning. Thus, laboratory studies do not provide a full picture of language production in dialog, and further research using naturalistic tasks is needed.
  • Corps, R. E., & Pickering, M. (2023). Response planning during question-answering: Does deciding what to say involve deciding how to say it? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-023-02382-3.

    Abstract

    To answer a question, speakers must determine their response and formulate it in words. But do they decide on a response before formulation, or do they formulate different potential answers before selecting one? We addressed this issue in a verbal question-answering experiment. Participants answered questions more quickly when they had one potential answer (e.g., Which tourist attraction in Paris is very tall?) than when they had multiple potential answers (e.g., What is the name of a Shakespeare play?). Participants also answered more quickly when the set of potential answers were on average short rather than long, regardless of whether there was only one or multiple potential answers. Thus, participants were not affected by the linguistic complexity of unselected but plausible answers. These findings suggest that participants select a single answer before formulation.
  • Corps, R. E., & Meyer, A. S. (2023). Word frequency has similar effects in picture naming and gender decision: A failure to replicate Jescheniak and Levelt (1994). Acta Psychologica, 241: 104073. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2023.104073.

    Abstract

    Word frequency plays a key role in theories of lexical access, which assume that the word frequency effect (WFE, faster access to high-frequency than low-frequency words) occurs as a result of differences in the representation and processing of the words. In a seminal paper, Jescheniak and Levelt (1994) proposed that the WFE arises during the retrieval of word forms, rather than the retrieval of their syntactic representations (their lemmas) or articulatory commands. An important part of Jescheniak and Levelt's argument was that they found a stable WFE in a picture naming task, which requires complete lexical access, but not in a gender decision task, which only requires access to the words' lemmas and not their word forms. We report two attempts to replicate this pattern, one with new materials, and one with Jescheniak and Levelt's orginal pictures. In both studies we found a strong WFE when the pictures were shown for the first time, but much weaker effects on their second and third presentation. Importantly these patterns were seen in both the picture naming and the gender decision tasks, suggesting that either word frequency does not exclusively affect word form retrieval, or that the gender decision task does not exclusively tap lemma access.

    Additional information

    raw data and analysis scripts

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