Publications

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  • Favier, S., & Huettig, F. (2021). Long-term written language experience affects grammaticality judgments and usage but not priming of spoken sentences. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74(8), 1378-1395. doi:10.1177/17470218211005228.

    Abstract

    ‘Book language’ offers a richer linguistic experience than typical conversational speech in terms of its syntactic properties. Here, we investigated the role of long-term syntactic experience on syntactic knowledge and processing. In a pre-registered study with 161 adult native Dutch speakers with varying levels of literacy, we assessed the contribution of individual differences in written language experience to offline and online syntactic processes. Offline syntactic knowledge was assessed as accuracy in an auditory grammaticality judgment task in which we tested violations of four Dutch grammatical norms. Online syntactic processing was indexed by syntactic priming of the Dutch dative alternation, using a comprehension-to-production priming paradigm with auditory presentation. Controlling for the contribution of non-verbal IQ, verbal working memory, and processing speed, we observed a robust effect of literacy experience on the detection of grammatical norm violations in spoken sentences, suggesting that exposure to the syntactic complexity and diversity of written language has specific benefits for general (modality-independent) syntactic knowledge. We replicated previous results by finding robust comprehension-to-production structural priming, both with and without lexical overlap between prime and target. Although literacy experience affected the usage of syntactic alternates in our large sample, it did not modulate their priming. We conclude that amount of experience with written language increases explicit awareness of grammatical norm violations and changes the usage of (PO vs. DO) dative spoken sentences but has no detectable effect on their implicit syntactic priming in proficient language users. These findings constrain theories about the effect of long-term experience on syntactic processing.
  • Favier, S., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2021). Literacy can enhance syntactic prediction in spoken language processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 150(10), 2167-2174. doi:10.1037/xge0001042.

    Abstract

    Language comprehenders can use syntactic cues to generate predictions online about upcoming language. Previous research with reading-impaired adults and healthy, low-proficiency adult and child learners suggests that reading skills are related to prediction in spoken language comprehension. Here we investigated whether differences in literacy are also related to predictive spoken language processing in non-reading-impaired proficient adult readers with varying levels of literacy experience. Using the visual world paradigm enabled us to measure prediction based on syntactic cues in the spoken sentence, prior to the (predicted) target word. Literacy experience was found to be the strongest predictor of target anticipation, independent of general cognitive abilities. These findings suggest that a) experience with written language can enhance syntactic prediction of spoken language in normal adult language users, and b) processing skills can be transferred to related tasks (from reading to listening) if the domains involve similar processes (e.g., predictive dependencies) and representations (e.g., syntactic).

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  • Felker, E. R. (2021). Learning second language speech perception in natural settings. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Felker, E. R., Broersma, M., & Ernestus, M. (2021). The role of corrective feedback and lexical guidance in perceptual learning of a novel L2 accent in dialogue. Applied Psycholinguistics, 42, 1029-1055. doi:10.1017/S0142716421000205.

    Abstract

    Perceptual learning of novel accents is a critical skill for second-language speech perception, but little is known about the mechanisms that facilitate perceptual learning in communicative contexts. To study perceptual learning in an interactive dialogue setting while maintaining experimental control of the phonetic input, we employed an innovative experimental method incorporating prerecorded speech into a naturalistic conversation. Using both computer-based and face-to-face dialogue settings, we investigated the effect of two types of learning mechanisms in interaction: explicit corrective feedback and implicit lexical guidance. Dutch participants played an information-gap game featuring minimal pairs with an accented English speaker whose /ε/ pronunciations were shifted to /ɪ/. Evidence for the vowel shift came either from corrective feedback about participants’ perceptual mistakes or from onscreen lexical information that constrained their interpretation of the interlocutor’s words. Corrective feedback explicitly contrasting the minimal pairs was more effective than generic feedback. Additionally, both receiving lexical guidance and exhibiting more uptake for the vowel shift improved listeners’ subsequent online processing of accented words. Comparable learning effects were found in both the computer-based and face-to-face interactions, showing that our results can be generalized to a more naturalistic learning context than traditional computer-based perception training programs.
  • Fernandes, T., Arunkumar, M., & Huettig, F. (2021). The role of the written script in shaping mirror-image discrimination: Evidence from illiterate, Tamil literate, and Tamil-Latin-alphabet bi-literate adults. Cognition, 206: 104493. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104493.

    Abstract

    Learning a script with mirrored graphs (e.g., d ≠ b) requires overcoming the evolutionary-old perceptual tendency to process mirror images as equivalent. Thus, breaking mirror invariance offers an important tool for understanding cultural re-shaping of evolutionarily ancient cognitive mechanisms. Here we investigated the role of script (i.e., presence vs. absence of mirrored graphs: Latin alphabet vs. Tamil) by revisiting mirror-image processing by illiterate, Tamil monoliterate, and Tamil-Latin-alphabet bi-literate adults. Participants performed two same-different tasks (one orientation-based, another shape-based) on Latin-alphabet letters. Tamil monoliterate were significantly better than illiterate and showed good explicit mirror-image discrimination. However, only bi-literate adults fully broke mirror invariance: slower shape-based judgments for mirrored than identical pairs and reduced disadvantage in orientation-based over shape-based judgments of mirrored pairs. These findings suggest learning a script with mirrored graphs is the strongest force for breaking mirror invariance.

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  • Fernández, G., & HBS Consortium (2021). Protocol of the Healthy Brain Study: An accessible resource for understanding the human brain and how it dynamically and individually operates in its bio-social context. PLoS One, 16(12): e0260952. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0260952.

    Abstract

    The endeavor to understand the human brain has seen more progress in the last few decades than in the previous two millennia. Still, our understanding of how the human brain relates to behavior in the real world and how this link is modulated by biological, social, and environmental factors is limited. To address this, we designed the Healthy Brain Study (HBS), an interdisciplinary, longitudinal, cohort study based on multidimensional, dynamic assessments in both the laboratory and the real world. Here, we describe the rationale and design of the currently ongoing HBS. The HBS is examining a population-based sample of 1,000 healthy participants (age 30-39) who are thoroughly studied across an entire year. Data are collected through cognitive, affective, behavioral, and physiological testing, neuroimaging, bio-sampling, questionnaires, ecological momentary assessment, and real-world assessments using wearable devices. These data will become an accessible resource for the scientific community enabling the next step in understanding the human brain and how it dynamically and individually operates in its bio-social context. An access procedure to the collected data and bio-samples is in place and published on https://www.healthybrainstudy.nl/en/data-and-methods. https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/7955

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  • Fink, B., Bläsing, B., Ravignani, A., & Shackelford, T. K. (2021). Evolution and functions of human dance. Evolution and Human Behavior, 42(4), 351-360. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2021.01.003.

    Abstract

    Dance is ubiquitous among humans and has received attention from several disciplines. Ethnographic documentation suggests that dance has a signaling function in social interaction. It can influence mate preferences and facilitate social bonds. Research has provided insights into the proximate mechanisms of dance, individually or when dancing with partners or in groups. Here, we review dance research from an evolutionary perspective. We propose that human dance evolved from ordinary (non-communicative) movements to communicate socially relevant information accurately. The need for accurate social signaling may have accompanied increases in group size and population density. Because of its complexity in production and display, dance may have evolved as a vehicle for expressing social and cultural information. Mating-related qualities and motives may have been the predominant information derived from individual dance movements, whereas group dance offers the opportunity for the exchange of socially relevant content, for coordinating actions among group members, for signaling coalitional strength, and for stabilizing group structures. We conclude that, despite the cultural diversity in dance movements and contexts, the primary communicative functions of dance may be the same across societies.
  • Fisher, N., Hadley, L., Corps, R. E., & Pickering, M. (2021). The effects of dual-task interference in predicting turn-ends in speech and music. Brain Research, 1768: 147571. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2021.147571.

    Abstract

    Determining when a partner’s spoken or musical turn will end requires well-honed predictive abilities. Evidence suggests that our motor systems are activated during perception of both speech and music, and it has been argued that motor simulation is used to predict turn-ends across domains. Here we used a dual-task interference paradigm to investigate whether motor simulation of our partner’s action underlies our ability to make accurate turn-end predictions in speech and in music. Furthermore, we explored how specific this simulation is to the action being predicted. We conducted two experiments, one investigating speech turn-ends, and one investigating music turn-ends. In each, 34 proficient pianists predicted turn-endings while (1) passively listening, (2) producing an effector-specific motor activity (mouth/hand movement), or (3) producing a task- and effector-specific motor activity (mouthing words/fingering a piano melody). In the speech experiment, any movement during speech perception disrupted predictions of spoken turn-ends, whether the movement was task-specific or not. In the music experiment, only task-specific movement (i.e., fingering a piano melody) disrupted predictions of musical turn-ends. These findings support the use of motor simulation to make turn-end predictions in both speech and music but suggest that the specificity of this simulation may differ between domains.
  • Fisher, V. (2021). Embodied Songs: Insights Into the Nature of Cross-Modal Meaning-Making Within Sign Language Informed, Embodied Interpretations of Vocal Music. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 624689. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.624689.

    Abstract

    Embodied song practices involve the transformation of songs from the acoustic modality into an embodied-visual form, to increase meaningful access for d/Deaf audiences. This goes beyond the translation of lyrics, by combining poetic sign language with other bodily movements to embody the para-linguistic expressive and musical features that enhance the message of a song. To date, the limited research into this phenomenon has focussed on linguistic features and interactions with rhythm. The relationship between bodily actions and music has not been probed beyond an assumed implication of conformance. However, as the primary objective is to communicate equivalent meanings, the ways that the acoustic and embodied-visual signals relate to each other should reveal something about underlying conceptual agreement. This paper draws together a range of pertinent theories from within a grounded cognition framework including semiotics, analogy mapping and cross-modal correspondences. These theories are applied to embodiment strategies used by prominent d/Deaf and hearing Dutch practitioners, to unpack the relationship between acoustic songs, their embodied representations, and their broader conceptual and affective meanings. This leads to the proposition that meaning primarily arises through shared patterns of internal relations across a range of amodal and cross-modal features with an emphasis on dynamic qualities. These analogous patterns can inform metaphorical interpretations and trigger shared emotional responses. This exploratory survey offers insights into the nature of cross-modal and embodied meaning-making, as a jumping-off point for further research.
  • Frost, R. L. A., & Casillas, M. (2021). Investigating statistical learning of nonadjacent dependencies: Running statistical learning tasks in non-WEIRD populations. In SAGE Research Methods Cases. doi:10.4135/9781529759181.

    Abstract

    Language acquisition is complex. However, one thing that has been suggested to help learning is the way that information is distributed throughout language; co-occurrences among particular items (e.g., syllables and words) have been shown to help learners discover the words that a language contains and figure out how those words are used. Humans’ ability to draw on this information—“statistical learning”—has been demonstrated across a broad range of studies. However, evidence from non-WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) societies is critically lacking, which limits theorizing on the universality of this skill. We extended work on statistical language learning to a new, non-WEIRD linguistic population: speakers of Yélî Dnye, who live on a remote island off mainland Papua New Guinea (Rossel Island). We performed a replication of an existing statistical learning study, training adults on an artificial language with statistically defined words, then examining what they had learnt using a two-alternative forced-choice test. Crucially, we implemented several key amendments to the original study to ensure the replication was suitable for remote field-site testing with speakers of Yélî Dnye. We made critical changes to the stimuli and materials (to test speakers of Yélî Dnye, rather than English), the instructions (we re-worked these significantly, and added practice tasks to optimize participants’ understanding), and the study format (shifting from a lab-based to a portable tablet-based setup). We discuss the requirement for acute sensitivity to linguistic, cultural, and environmental factors when adapting studies to test new populations.
  • Garcia, R., Garrido Rodriguez, G., & Kidd, E. (2021). Developmental effects in the online use of morphosyntactic cues in sentence processing: Evidence from Tagalog. Cognition, 216: 104859. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104859.

    Abstract

    Children must necessarily process their input in order to learn it, yet the architecture of the developing parsing system and how it interfaces with acquisition is unclear. In the current paper we report experimental and corpus data investigating adult and children's use of morphosyntactic cues for making incremental online predictions of thematic roles in Tagalog, a verb-initial symmetrical voice language of the Philippines. In Study 1, Tagalog-speaking adults completed a visual world eye-tracking experiment in which they viewed pictures of causative actions that were described by transitive sentences manipulated for voice and word order. The pattern of results showed that adults process agent and patient voice differently, predicting the upcoming noun in the patient voice but not in the agent voice, consistent with the observation of a patient voice preference in adult sentence production. In Study 2, our analysis of a corpus of child-directed speech showed that children heard more patient voice- than agent voice-marked verbs. In Study 3, 5-, 7-, and 9-year-old children completed a similar eye-tracking task as used in Study 1. The overall pattern of results suggested that, like the adults in Study 1, children process agent and patient voice differently in a manner that reflects the input distributions, with children developing towards the adult state across early childhood. The results are most consistent with theoretical accounts that identify a key role for input distributions in acquisition and language processing

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  • Geipel, I., Lattenkamp, E. Z., Dixon, M. M., Wiegrebe, L., & Page, R. A. (2021). Hearing sensitivity: An underlying mechanism for niche differentiation in gleaning bats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118: e2024943118. doi:10.1073/pnas.2024943118.

    Abstract

    Tropical ecosystems are known for high species diversity. Adaptations permitting niche differentiation enable species to coexist. Historically, research focused primarily on morphological and behavioral adaptations for foraging, roosting, and other basic ecological factors. Another important factor, however, is differences in sensory capabilities. So far, studies mainly have focused on the output of behavioral strategies of predators and their prey preference. Understanding the coexistence of different foraging strategies, however, requires understanding underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms. In this study, we investigate hearing in bats and how it shapes bat species coexistence. We present the hearing thresholds and echolocation calls of 12 different gleaning bats from the ecologically diverse Phyllostomid family. We measured their auditory brainstem responses to assess their hearing sensitivity. The audiograms of these species had similar overall shapes but differed substantially for frequencies below 9 kHz and in the frequency range of their echolocation calls. Our results suggest that differences among bats in hearing abilities contribute to the diversity in foraging strategies of gleaning bats. We argue that differences in auditory sensitivity could be important mechanisms shaping diversity in sensory niches and coexistence of species.
  • Gialluisi, A., Andlauer, T. F. M., Mirza-Schreiber, N., Moll, K., Becker, J., Hoffmann, P., Ludwig, K. U., Czamara, D., St Pourcain, B., Honbolygó, F., Tóth, D., Csépe, V., Huguet, H., Chaix, Y., Iannuzzi, S., Demonet, J.-F., Morris, A. P., Hulslander, J., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C. and 29 moreGialluisi, A., Andlauer, T. F. M., Mirza-Schreiber, N., Moll, K., Becker, J., Hoffmann, P., Ludwig, K. U., Czamara, D., St Pourcain, B., Honbolygó, F., Tóth, D., Csépe, V., Huguet, H., Chaix, Y., Iannuzzi, S., Demonet, J.-F., Morris, A. P., Hulslander, J., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C., Olson, R. K., Smith, S. D., Pennington, B. F., Vaessen, A., Maurer, U., Lyytinen, H., Peyrard-Janvid, M., Leppänen, P. H. T., Brandeis, D., Bonte, M., Stein, J. F., Talcott, J. B., Fauchereau, F., Wilcke, A., Kirsten, H., Müller, B., Francks, C., Bourgeron, T., Monaco, A. P., Ramus, F., Landerl, K., Kere, J., Scerri, T. S., Paracchini, S., Fisher, S. E., Schumacher, J., Nöthen, M. M., Müller-Myhsok, B., & Schulte-Körne, G. (2021). Genome-wide association study reveals new insights into the heritability and genetic correlates of developmental dyslexia. Molecular Psychiatry, 26, 3004-3017. doi:10.1038/s41380-020-00898-x.

    Abstract

    Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a learning disorder affecting the ability to read, with a heritability of 40–60%. A notable part of this heritability remains unexplained, and large genetic studies are warranted to identify new susceptibility genes and clarify the genetic bases of dyslexia. We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 2274 dyslexia cases and 6272 controls, testing associations at the single variant, gene, and pathway level, and estimating heritability using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. We also calculated polygenic scores (PGSs) based on large-scale GWAS data for different neuropsychiatric disorders and cortical brain measures, educational attainment, and fluid intelligence, testing them for association with dyslexia status in our sample. We observed statistically significant (p  < 2.8 × 10−6) enrichment of associations at the gene level, for LOC388780 (20p13; uncharacterized gene), and for VEPH1 (3q25), a gene implicated in brain development. We estimated an SNP-based heritability of 20–25% for DD, and observed significant associations of dyslexia risk with PGSs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (at pT = 0.05 in the training GWAS: OR = 1.23[1.16; 1.30] per standard deviation increase; p  = 8 × 10−13), bipolar disorder (1.53[1.44; 1.63]; p = 1 × 10−43), schizophrenia (1.36[1.28; 1.45]; p = 4 × 10−22), psychiatric cross-disorder susceptibility (1.23[1.16; 1.30]; p = 3 × 10−12), cortical thickness of the transverse temporal gyrus (0.90[0.86; 0.96]; p = 5 × 10−4), educational attainment (0.86[0.82; 0.91]; p = 2 × 10−7), and intelligence (0.72[0.68; 0.76]; p = 9 × 10−29). This study suggests an important contribution of common genetic variants to dyslexia risk, and novel genomic overlaps with psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and cross-disorder susceptibility. Moreover, it revealed the presence of shared genetic foundations with a neural correlate previously implicated in dyslexia by neuroimaging evidence.
  • Giglio, L., Ostarek, M., Weber, K., & Hagoort, P. (2021). Commonalities and asymmetries in the neurobiological infrastructure for language production and comprehension. Cerebral Cortex. Advance online publication. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab287.

    Abstract

    The neurobiology of sentence production has been largely understudied compared to the neurobiology of sentence comprehension, due to difficulties with experimental control and motion-related artifacts in neuroimaging. We studied the neural response to constituents of increasing size and specifically focused on the similarities and differences in the production and comprehension of the same stimuli. Participants had to either produce or listen to stimuli in a gradient of constituent size based on a visual prompt. Larger constituent sizes engaged the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) and middle temporal gyrus (LMTG) extending to inferior parietal areas in both production and comprehension, confirming that the neural resources for syntactic encoding and decoding are largely overlapping. An ROI analysis in LIFG and LMTG also showed that production elicited larger responses to constituent size than comprehension and that the LMTG was more engaged in comprehension than production, while the LIFG was more engaged in production than comprehension. Finally, increasing constituent size was characterized by later BOLD peaks in comprehension but earlier peaks in production. These results show that syntactic encoding and parsing engage overlapping areas, but there are asymmetries in the engagement of the language network due to the specific requirements of production and comprehension.

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  • Goodhew, S. C., Reynolds, K., Edwards, M., & Kidd, E. (2021). The content of gender stereotypes embedded in language use. Journal of Language and Social Psychology.Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0261927X211033930.

    Abstract

    Gender stereotypes have endured despite substantial change in gender roles. Previous work has assessed how gender stereotypes affect language production in particular interactional contexts. Here, we assessed communication biases where context was less specified: written texts to diffuse audiences. We used Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) to computationally quantify the similarity in meaning between gendered names and stereotype-linked terms in these communications. This revealed that female names were more similar in meaning to the proscriptive (undesirable) masculine terms, such as emotional.
  • Gordon, R. L., Ravignani, A., Hyland Bruno, J., Robinson, C. M., Scartozzi, A., Embalabala, R., Niarchou, M., 23andMe Research Team, Cox, N. J., & Creanza, N. (2021). Linking the genomic signatures of human beat synchronization and learned song in birds. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200329. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0329.

    Abstract

    The development of rhythmicity is foundational to communicative and social behaviours in humans and many other species, and mechanisms of synchrony could be conserved across species. The goal of the current paper is to explore evolutionary hypotheses linking vocal learning and beat synchronization through genomic approaches, testing the prediction that genetic underpinnings of birdsong also contribute to the aetiology of human interactions with musical beat structure. We combined state-of-the-art-genomic datasets that account for underlying polygenicity of these traits: birdsong genome-wide transcriptomics linked to singing in zebra finches, and a human genome-wide association study of beat synchronization. Results of competitive gene set analysis revealed that the genetic architecture of human beat synchronization is significantly enriched for birdsong genes expressed in songbird Area X (a key nucleus for vocal learning, and homologous to human basal ganglia). These findings complement ethological and neural evidence of the relationship between vocal learning and beat synchronization, supporting a framework of some degree of common genomic substrates underlying rhythm-related behaviours in two clades, humans and songbirds (the largest evolutionary radiation of vocal learners). Future cross-species approaches investigating the genetic underpinnings of beat synchronization in a broad evolutionary context are discussed.

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  • Goriot, C., Van Hout, R., Broersma, M., Lobo, V., McQueen, J. M., & Unsworth, S. (2021). Using the peabody picture vocabulary test in L2 children and adolescents: Effects of L1. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 24(4), 546-568. doi:10.1080/13670050.2018.1494131.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

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  • Greenfield, M. D., Honing, H., Kotz, S. A., & Ravignani, A. (Eds.). (2021). Synchrony and rhythm interaction: From the brain to behavioural ecology [Special Issue]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376.
  • Greenfield, M. D., Honing, H., Kotz, S. A., & Ravignani, A. (2021). Synchrony and rhythm interaction: From the brain to behavioural ecology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200324. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0324.

    Abstract

    This theme issue assembles current studies that ask how and why precise synchronization and related forms of rhythm interaction are expressed in a wide range of behaviour. The studies cover human activity, with an emphasis on music, and social behaviour, reproduction and communication in non-human animals. In most cases, the temporally aligned rhythms have short—from several seconds down to a fraction of a second—periods and are regulated by central nervous system pacemakers, but interactions involving rhythms that are 24 h or longer and originate in biological clocks also occur. Across this spectrum of activities, species and time scales, empirical work and modelling suggest that synchrony arises from a limited number of coupled-oscillator mechanisms with which individuals mutually entrain. Phylogenetic distribution of these common mechanisms points towards convergent evolution. Studies of animal communication indicate that many synchronous interactions between the signals of neighbouring individuals are specifically favoured by selection. However, synchronous displays are often emergent properties of entrainment between signalling individuals, and in some situations, the very signallers who produce a display might not gain any benefit from the collective timing of their production.
  • De Gregorio, C., Valente, D., Raimondi, T., Torti, V., Miaretsoa, L., Friard, O., Giacoma, C., Ravignani, A., & Gamba, M. (2021). Categorical rhythms in a singing primate. Current Biology, 31, R1363-R1380. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2021.09.032.

    Abstract

    What are the origins of musical rhythm? One approach to the biology and evolution of music consists in finding common musical traits across species. These similarities allow biomusicologists to infer when and how musical traits appeared in our species1 . A parallel approach to the biology and evolution of music focuses on finding statistical universals in human music2 . These include rhythmic features that appear above chance across musical cultures. One such universal is the production of categorical rhythms3 , defined as those where temporal intervals between note onsets are distributed categorically rather than uniformly2 ,4 ,5 . Prominent rhythm categories include those with intervals related by small integer ratios, such as 1:1 (isochrony) and 1:2, which translates as some notes being twice as long as their adjacent ones. In humans, universals are often defined in relation to the beat, a top-down cognitive process of inferring a temporal regularity from a complex musical scene1 . Without assuming the presence of the beat in other animals, one can still investigate its downstream products, namely rhythmic categories with small integer ratios detected in recorded signals. Here we combine the comparative and statistical universals approaches, testing the hypothesis that rhythmic categories and small integer ratios should appear in species showing coordinated group singing3 . We find that a lemur species displays, in its coordinated songs, the isochronous and 1:2 rhythm categories seen in human music, showing that such categories are not, among mammals, unique to humans3

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  • Guadalupe, T., Kong, X., Akkermans, S. E. A., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2021). Relations between hemispheric asymmetries of grey matter and auditory processing of spoken syllables in 281 healthy adults. Brain Structure & Function. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s00429-021-02220-z.

    Abstract

    Most people have a right-ear advantage for the perception of spoken syllables, consistent with left hemisphere dominance for speech processing. However, there is considerable variation, with some people showing left-ear advantage. The extent to which this variation is reflected in brain structure remains unclear. We tested for relations between hemispheric asymmetries of auditory processing and of grey matter in 281 adults, using dichotic listening and voxel-based morphometry. This was the largest study of this issue to date. Per-voxel asymmetry indexes were derived for each participant following registration of brain magnetic resonance images to a template that was symmetrized. The asymmetry index derived from dichotic listening was related to grey matter asymmetry in clusters of voxels corresponding to the amygdala and cerebellum lobule VI. There was also a smaller, non-significant cluster in the posterior superior temporal gyrus, a region of auditory cortex. These findings contribute to the mapping of asymmetrical structure–function links in the human brain and suggest that subcortical structures should be investigated in relation to hemispheric dominance for speech processing, in addition to auditory cortex.

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  • Guest, O., & Martin, A. E. (2021). How computational modeling can force theory building in psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16(4), 789-802. doi:10.1177/1745691620970585.

    Abstract

    Psychology endeavors to develop theories of human capacities and behaviors on the basis of a variety of methodologies and dependent measures. We argue that one of the most divisive factors in psychological science is whether researchers choose to use computational modeling of theories (over and above data) during the scientific-inference process. Modeling is undervalued yet holds promise for advancing psychological science. The inherent demands of computational modeling guide us toward better science by forcing us to conceptually analyze, specify, and formalize intuitions that otherwise remain unexamined—what we dub open theory. Constraining our inference process through modeling enables us to build explanatory and predictive theories. Here, we present scientific inference in psychology as a path function in which each step shapes the next. Computational modeling can constrain these steps, thus advancing scientific inference over and above the stewardship of experimental practice (e.g., preregistration). If psychology continues to eschew computational modeling, we predict more replicability crises and persistent failure at coherent theory building. This is because without formal modeling we lack open and transparent theorizing. We also explain how to formalize, specify, and implement a computational model, emphasizing that the advantages of modeling can be achieved by anyone with benefit to all.
  • Hahn, L. E., Benders, T., Fikkert, P., & Snijders, T. M. (2021). Infants’ implicit rhyme perception in child songs and its relationship with vocabulary. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 680882. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.680882.

    Abstract

    Rhyme perception is an important predictor for future literacy. Assessing rhyme abilities, however, commonly requires children to make explicit rhyme judgements on single words. Here we explored whether infants already implicitly process rhymes in natural rhyming contexts (child songs) and whether this response correlates with later vocabulary size. In a passive listening ERP study, 10.5 month-old Dutch infants were exposed to rhyming and non-rhyming child songs. Two types of rhyme effects were analysed: (1) ERPs elicited by the first rhyme occurring in each song (rhyme sensitivity) and (2) ERPs elicited by rhymes repeating after the first rhyme in each song (rhyme repetition). Only for the latter a tentative negativity for rhymes from 0 to 200 ms after the onset of the rhyme word was found. This rhyme repetition effect correlated with productive vocabulary at 18 months-old, but not with any other vocabulary measure (perception at 10.5 or 18 months-old). While awaiting future replication, the study indicates precursors of phonological awareness already during infancy and with ecologically valid linguistic stimuli.
  • Heidlmayr, K., Ferragne, E., & Isel, F. (2021). Neuroplasticity in the phonological system: The PMN and the N400 as markers for the perception of non-native phonemic contrasts by late second language learners. Neuropsychologia, 156: 107831. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107831.

    Abstract

    Second language (L2) learners frequently encounter persistent difficulty in perceiving certain non-native sound contrasts, i.e., a phenomenon called “phonological deafness”. However, if extensive L2 experience leads to neuroplastic changes in the phonological system, then the capacity to discriminate non-native phonemic contrasts should progressively improve. Such perceptual changes should be attested by modifications at the neurophysiological level. We designed an EEG experiment in which the listeners’ perceptual capacities to discriminate second language phonemic contrasts influence the processing of lexical-semantic violations. Semantic congruency of critical words in a sentence context was driven by a phonemic contrast that was unique to the L2, English (e.g.,/ɪ/-/i:/, ship – sheep). Twenty-eight young adult native speakers of French with intermediate proficiency in English listened to sentences that contained either a semantically congruent or incongruent critical word (e.g., The anchor of the ship/*sheep was let down) while EEG was recorded. Three ERP effects were found to relate to increasing L2 proficiency: (1) a left frontal auditory N100 effect, (2) a smaller fronto-central phonological mismatch negativity (PMN) effect and (3) a semantic N400 effect. No effect of proficiency was found on oscillatory markers. The current findings suggest that neuronal plasticity in the human brain allows for the late acquisition of even hard-wired linguistic features such as the discrimination of phonemic contrasts in a second language. This is the first time that behavioral and neurophysiological evidence for the critical role of neural plasticity underlying L2 phonological processing and its interdependence with semantic processing has been provided. Our data strongly support the idea that pieces of information from different levels of linguistic processing (e.g., phonological, semantic) strongly interact and influence each other during online language processing.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Henry, M. J., Cook, P. F., de Reus, K., Nityananda, V., Rouse, A. A., & Kotz, S. A. (2021). An ecological approach to measuring synchronization abilities across the animal kingdom. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200336. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0336.

    Abstract

    In this perspective paper, we focus on the study of synchronization abilities across the animal kingdom. We propose an ecological approach to studying nonhuman animal synchronization that begins from observations about when, how and why an animal might synchronize spontaneously with natural environmental rhythms. We discuss what we consider to be the most important, but thus far largely understudied, temporal, physical, perceptual and motivational constraints that must be taken into account when designing experiments to test synchronization in nonhuman animals. First and foremost, different species are likely to be sensitive to and therefore capable of synchronizing at different timescales. We also argue that it is fruitful to consider the latent flexibility of animal synchronization. Finally, we discuss the importance of an animal's motivational state for showcasing synchronization abilities. We demonstrate that the likelihood that an animal can successfully synchronize with an environmental rhythm is context-dependent and suggest that the list of species capable of synchronization is likely to grow when tested with ecologically honest, species-tuned experiments.
  • Hersh, T. A., Gero, S., Rendell, L., & Whitehead, H. (2021). Using identity calls to detect structure in acoustic datasets. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 12(9), 1668-1678. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.13644.

    Abstract

    Acoustic analyses can be powerful tools for illuminating structure within and between populations, especially for cryptic or difficult to access taxa. Acoustic repertoires are often compared using aggregate similarity measures across all calls of a particular type, but specific group identity calls may more clearly delineate structure in some taxa. 2. We present a new method—the identity call method—that estimates the number of acoustically distinct subdivisions in a set of repertoires and identifies call types that characterize those subdivisions. The method uses contaminated mixture models to identify call types, assigning each call a probability of belonging to each type. Repertoires are hierarchically clustered based on similarities in call type usage, producing a dendrogram with ‘identity clades’ of repertoires and the ‘identity calls’ that best characterize each clade. We validated this approach using acoustic data from sperm whales, grey-breasted wood-wrens and Australian field crickets, and ran a suite of tests to assess parameter sensitivity. 3. For all taxa, the method detected diagnostic signals (identity calls) and structure (identity clades; sperm whale subpopulations, wren subspecies and cricket species) that were consistent with past research. Some datasets were more sensitive to parameter variation than others, which may reflect real uncertainty or biological variability in the taxa examined. We recommend that users perform comparative analyses of different parameter combinations to determine which portions of the dendrogram warrant careful versus confident interpretation. 4. The presence of group-characteristic identity calls does not necessarily mean animals perceive them as such. Fine-scale experiments like playbacks are a key next step to understand call perception and function. This method can help inform such studies by identifying calls that may be salient to animals and are good candidates for investigation or playback stimuli. For cryptic or difficult to access taxa with group-specific calls, the identity call method can aid managers in quantifying behavioural diversity and/or identifying putative structure within and between populations, given that acoustic data can be inexpensive and minimally invasive to collect.
  • Heyselaar, E., Peeters, D., & Hagoort, P. (2021). Do we predict upcoming speech content in naturalistic environments? Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 36(4), 440-461. doi:10.1080/23273798.2020.1859568.

    Abstract

    The ability to predict upcoming actions is a hallmark of cognition. It remains unclear, however, whether the predictive behaviour observed in controlled lab environments generalises to rich, everyday settings. In four virtual reality experiments, we tested whether a well-established marker of linguistic prediction (anticipatory eye movements) replicated when increasing the naturalness of the paradigm by means of immersing participants in naturalistic scenes (Experiment 1), increasing the number of distractor objects (Experiment 2), modifying the proportion of predictable noun-referents (Experiment 3), and manipulating the location of referents relative to the joint attentional space (Experiment 4). Robust anticipatory eye movements were observed for Experiments 1–3. The anticipatory effect disappeared, however, in Experiment 4. Our findings suggest that predictive processing occurs in everyday communication if the referents are situated in the joint attentional space. Methodologically, our study confirms that ecological validity and experimental control may go hand-in-hand in the study of human predictive behaviour.
  • Hintz, F., Voeten, C. C., McQueen, J. M., & Scharenborg, O. (2021). The effects of onset and offset masking on the time course of non-native spoken-word recognition in noise. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 133-139). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    Link to Preprint on BioRxiv
  • Hoeksema, N., Verga, L., Mengede, J., Van Roessel, C., Villanueva, S., Salazar-Casals, A., Rubio-Garcia, A., Curcic-Blake, B., Vernes, S. C., & Ravignani, A. (2021). Neuroanatomy of the grey seal brain: Bringing pinnipeds into the neurobiological study of vocal learning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200252. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0252.

    Abstract

    Comparative studies of vocal learning and vocal non-learning animals can increase our understanding of the neurobiology and evolution of vocal learning and human speech. Mammalian vocal learning is understudied: most research has either focused on vocal learning in songbirds or its absence in non-human primates. Here we focus on a highly promising model species for the neurobiology of vocal learning: grey seals. We provide a neuroanatomical atlas (based on dissected brain slices and magnetic resonance images), a labelled MRI template, a 3D model with volumetric measurements of brain regions, and histological cortical stainings. Four main features of the grey seal brain stand out. (1) It is relatively big and highly convoluted. (2) It hosts a relatively large temporal lobe and cerebellum, structures which could support developed timing abilities and acoustic processing. (3) The cortex is similar to humans in thickness and shows the expected six-layered mammalian structure. (4) Expression of FoxP2 - a gene involved in vocal learning and spoken language - is present in deeper layers of the cortex. Our results could facilitate future studies targeting the neural and genetic underpinnings of mammalian vocal learning, thus bridging the research gap from songbirds to humans and non-human primates.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.
  • Hoey, E., Hömke, P., Löfgren, E., Neumann, T., Schuerman, W. L., & Kendrick, K. H. (2021). Using expletive insertion to pursue and sanction in interaction. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 25(1), 3-25. doi:10.1111/josl.12439.

    Abstract

    This article uses conversation analysis to examine constructions like who the fuck is that—sequence‐initiating actions into which an expletive like the fuck has been inserted. We describe how this turn‐constructional practice fits into and constitutes a recurrent sequence of escalating actions. In this sequence, it is used to pursue an adequate response after an inadequate one was given, and sanction the recipient for that inadequate response. Our analysis contributes to sociolinguistic studies of swearing by offering an account of swearing as a resource for social action.
  • Holler, J., Alday, P. M., Decuyper, C., Geiger, M., Kendrick, K. H., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). Competition reduces response times in multiparty conversation. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 693124. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.693124.

    Abstract

    Natural conversations are characterized by short transition times between turns. This holds in particular for multi-party conversations. The short turn transitions in everyday conversations contrast sharply with the much longer speech onset latencies observed in laboratory studies where speakers respond to spoken utterances. There are many factors that facilitate speech production in conversational compared to laboratory settings. Here we highlight one of them, the impact of competition for turns. In multi-party conversations, speakers often compete for turns. In quantitative corpus analyses of multi-party conversation, the fastest response determines the recorded turn transition time. In contrast, in dyadic conversations such competition for turns is much less likely to arise, and in laboratory experiments with individual participants it does not arise at all. Therefore, all responses tend to be recorded. Thus, competition for turns may reduce the recorded mean turn transition times in multi-party conversations for a simple statistical reason: slow responses are not included in the means. We report two studies illustrating this point. We first report the results of simulations showing how much the response times in a laboratory experiment would be reduced if, for each trial, instead of recording all responses, only the fastest responses of several participants responding independently on the trial were recorded. We then present results from a quantitative corpus analysis comparing turn transition times in dyadic and triadic conversations. There was no significant group size effect in question-response transition times, where the present speaker often selects the next one, thus reducing competition between speakers. But, as predicted, triads showed shorter turn transition times than dyads for the remaining turn transitions, where competition for the floor was more likely to arise. Together, these data show that turn transition times in conversation should be interpreted in the context of group size, turn transition type, and social setting.
  • Horan Skilton, A., & Peeters, D. (2021). Cross-linguistic differences in demonstrative systems: Comparing spatial and non-spatial influences on demonstrative use in Ticuna and Dutch. Journal of Pragmatics, 180, 248-265. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2021.05.001.

    Abstract

    In all spoken languages, speakers use demonstratives – words like this and that – to refer to entities in their immediate environment. But which factors determine whether they use one demonstrative (this) or another (that)? Here we report the results of an experiment examining the effects of referent visibility, referent distance, and addressee location on the production of demonstratives by speakers of Ticuna (isolate; Brazil, Colombia, Peru), an Amazonian language with four demonstratives, and speakers of Dutch (Indo-European; Netherlands, Belgium), which has two demonstratives. We found that Ticuna speakers’ use of demonstratives displayed effects of addressee location and referent distance, but not referent visibility. By contrast, under comparable conditions, Dutch speakers displayed sensitivity only to referent distance. Interestingly, we also observed that Ticuna speakers consistently used demonstratives in all referential utterances in our experimental paradigm, while Dutch speakers strongly preferred to use definite articles. Taken together, these findings shed light on the significant diversity found in demonstrative systems across languages. Additionally, they invite researchers studying exophoric demonstratives to broaden their horizons by cross-linguistically investigating the factors involved in speakers’ choice of demonstratives over other types of referring expressions, especially articles.
  • Hörpel, S. G., Baier, L., Peremans, H., Reijniers, J., Wiegrebe, L., & Firzlaff, U. (2021). Communication breakdown: Limits of spectro-temporal resolution for the perception of bat communication calls. Scientific Reports, 11: 13708. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-92842-4.

    Abstract

    During vocal communication, the spectro‑temporal structure of vocalizations conveys important contextual information. Bats excel in the use of sounds for echolocation by meticulous encoding of signals in the temporal domain. We therefore hypothesized that for social communication as well, bats would excel at detecting minute distortions in the spectro‑temporal structure of calls. To test this hypothesis, we systematically introduced spectro‑temporal distortion to communication calls of Phyllostomus discolor bats. We broke down each call into windows of the same length and randomized the phase spectrum inside each window. The overall degree of spectro‑temporal distortion in communication calls increased with window length. Modelling the bat auditory periphery revealed that cochlear mechanisms allow discrimination of fast spectro‑temporal envelopes. We evaluated model predictions with experimental psychophysical and neurophysiological data. We first assessed bats’ performance in discriminating original versions of calls from increasingly distorted versions of the same calls. We further examined cortical responses to determine additional specializations for call discrimination at the cortical level. Psychophysical and cortical responses concurred with model predictions, revealing discrimination thresholds in the range of 8–15 ms randomization‑window length. Our data suggest that specialized cortical areas are not necessary to impart psychophysical resilience to temporal distortion in communication calls.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Huisman, J. L. A. (2021). Variation in form and meaning across the Japonic language family: With a focus on the Ryukyuan languages. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Huisman, J. L. A., Van Hout, R., & Majid, A. (2021). Cross-linguistic constraints and lineage-specific developments in the semantics of cutting and breaking in Japonic and Germanic. Linguistic Typology. Advance online publication, 0. doi:10.1515/lingty-2021-2090.

    Abstract

    Semantic variation in the cutting and breaking domain has been shown to be constrained across languages in a previous typological study, but it was unclear whether Japanese was an outlier in this domain. Here we revisit cutting and breaking in the Japonic language area by collecting new naming data for 40 videoclips depicting cutting and breaking events in Standard Japanese, the highly divergent Tohoku dialects, as well as four related Ryukyuan languages (Amami, Okinawa, Miyako and Yaeyama). We find that the Japonic languages recapitulate the same semantic dimensions attested in the previous typological study, confirming that semantic variation in the domain of cutting and breaking is indeed cross-linguistically constrained. We then compare our new Japonic data to previously collected Germanic data and find that, in general, related languages resemble each other more than unrelated languages, and that the Japonic languages resemble each other more than the Germanic languages do. Nevertheless, English resembles all of the Japonic languages more than it resembles Swedish. Together, these findings show that the rate and extent of semantic change can differ between language families, indicating the existence of lineage-specific developments on top of universal cross-linguistic constraints.
  • Huisman, J. L. A., van Hout, R., & Majid, A. (2021). Patterns of semantic variation differ across body parts: evidence from the Japonic languages. Cognitive Linguistics, 32, 455-486. doi:10.1515/cog-2020-0079.

    Abstract

    The human body is central to myriad metaphors, so studying the conceptualisation of the body itself is critical if we are to understand its broader use. One essential but understudied issue is whether languages differ in which body parts they single out for naming. This paper takes a multi-method approach to investigate body part nomenclature within a single language family. Using both a naming task (Study 1) and colouring-in task (Study 2) to collect data from six Japonic languages, we found that lexical similarity for body part terminology was notably differentiated within Japonic, and similar variation was evident in semantics too. Novel application of cluster analysis on naming data revealed a relatively flat hierarchical structure for parts of the face, whereas parts of the body were organised with deeper hierarchical structure. The colouring data revealed that bounded parts show more stability across languages than unbounded parts. Overall, the data reveal there is not a single universal conceptualisation of the body as is often assumed, and that in-depth, multi-method explorations of under-studied languages are urgently required.
  • Huizeling, E., Wang, H., Holland, C., & Kessler, K. (2021). Changes in theta and alpha oscillatory signatures of attentional control in older and middle age. European Journal of Neuroscience, 54(1), 4314-4337. doi:10.1111/ejn.15259.

    Abstract

    Recent behavioural research has reported age-related changes in the costs of refocusing attention from a temporal (rapid serial visual presentation) to a spatial (visual search) task. Using magnetoencephalography, we have now compared the neural signatures of attention refocusing between three age groups (19–30, 40–49 and 60+ years) and found differences in task-related modulation and cortical localisation of alpha and theta oscillations. Efficient, faster refocusing in the youngest group compared to both middle age and older groups was reflected in parietal theta effects that were significantly reduced in the older groups. Residual parietal theta activity in older individuals was beneficial to attentional refocusing and could reflect preserved attention mechanisms. Slowed refocusing of attention, especially when a target required consolidation, in the older and middle-aged adults was accompanied by a posterior theta deficit and increased recruitment of frontal (middle-aged and older groups) and temporal (older group only) areas, demonstrating a posterior to anterior processing shift. Theta but not alpha modulation correlated with task performance, suggesting that older adults' stronger and more widely distributed alpha power modulation could reflect decreased neural precision or dedifferentiation but requires further investigation. Our results demonstrate that older adults present with different alpha and theta oscillatory signatures during attentional control, reflecting cognitive decline and, potentially, also different cognitive strategies in an attempt to compensate for decline.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Huizeling, E., Peeters, D., & Hagoort, P. (2021). Prediction of upcoming speech under fluent and disfluent conditions: Eye tracking evidence from immersive virtual reality. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2021.1994621.

    Abstract

    Traditional experiments indicate that prediction is important for efficient speech processing. In three virtual reality visual world paradigm experiments, we tested whether such findings hold in naturalistic settings (Experiment 1) and provided novel insights into whether disfluencies in speech (repairs/hesitations) inform one’s predictions in rich environments (Experiments 2–3). Experiment 1 supports that listeners predict upcoming speech in naturalistic environments, with higher proportions of anticipatory target fixations in predictable compared to unpredictable trials. In Experiments 2–3, disfluencies reduced anticipatory fixations towards predicted referents, compared to conjunction (Experiment 2) and fluent (Experiment 3) sentences. Unexpectedly, Experiment 2 provided no evidence that participants made new predictions from a repaired verb. Experiment 3 provided novel findings that fixations towards the speaker increase upon hearing a hesitation, supporting current theories of how hesitations influence sentence processing. Together, these findings unpack listeners’ use of visual (objects/speaker) and auditory (speech/disfluencies) information when predicting upcoming words.
  • Huizeling, E., Arana, S., Hagoort, P., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2021). Lexical frequency and sentence context influence the brain’s response to single words. Neurobiology of Language. Advance online publication. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00054.

    Abstract

    Typical adults read remarkably quickly. Such fast reading is facilitated by brain processes that are sensitive to both word frequency and contextual constraints. It is debated as to whether these attributes have additive or interactive effects on language processing in the brain. We investigated this issue by analysing existing magnetoencephalography data from 99 participants reading intact and scrambled sentences. Using a cross-validated model comparison scheme, we found that lexical frequency predicted the word-by-word elicited MEG signal in a widespread cortical network, irrespective of sentential context. In contrast, index (ordinal word position) was more strongly encoded in sentence words, in left front-temporal areas. This confirms that frequency influences word processing independently of predictability, and that contextual constraints affect word-by-word brain responses. With a conservative multiple comparisons correction, only the interaction between lexical frequency and surprisal survived, in anterior temporal and frontal cortex, and not between lexical frequency and entropy, nor between lexical frequency and index. However, interestingly, the uncorrected index*frequency interaction revealed an effect in left frontal and temporal cortex that reversed in time and space for intact compared to scrambled sentences. Finally, we provide evidence to suggest that, in sentences, lexical frequency and predictability may independently influence early (<150ms) and late stages of word processing, but interact during later stages of word processing (>150-250ms), thus helping to converge previous contradictory eye-tracking and electrophysiological literature. Current neuro-cognitive models of reading would benefit from accounting for these differing effects of lexical frequency and predictability on different stages of word processing.
  • Humphries, S., Holler*, J., Crawford, T., & Poliakoff*, E. (2021). Cospeech gestures are a window into the effects of Parkinson’s disease on action representations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 150(8), 1581-1597. doi:10.1037/xge0001002.

    Abstract

    -* indicates joint senior authors - Parkinson’s disease impairs motor function and cognition, which together affect language and communication. Co-speech gestures are a form of language-related actions that provide imagistic depictions of the speech content they accompany. Gestures rely on visual and motor imagery, but it is unknown whether gesture representations require the involvement of intact neural sensory and motor systems. We tested this hypothesis with a fine-grained analysis of co-speech action gestures in Parkinson’s disease. 37 people with Parkinson’s disease and 33 controls described two scenes featuring actions which varied in their inherent degree of bodily motion. In addition to the perspective of action gestures (gestural viewpoint/first- vs. third-person perspective), we analysed how Parkinson’s patients represent manner (how something/someone moves) and path information (where something/someone moves to) in gesture, depending on the degree of bodily motion involved in the action depicted. We replicated an earlier finding that people with Parkinson’s disease are less likely to gesture about actions from a first-person perspective – preferring instead to depict actions gesturally from a third-person perspective – and show that this effect is modulated by the degree of bodily motion in the actions being depicted. When describing high motion actions, the Parkinson’s group were specifically impaired in depicting manner information in gesture and their use of third-person path-only gestures was significantly increased. Gestures about low motion actions were relatively spared. These results inform our understanding of the neural and cognitive basis of gesture production by providing neuropsychological evidence that action gesture production relies on intact motor network function.

    Additional information

    Open data and code
  • Hustá, C., Zheng, X., Papoutsi, C., & Piai, V. (2021). Electrophysiological signatures of conceptual and lexical retrieval from semantic memory. Neuropsychologia, 161: 107988. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107988.

    Abstract

    Retrieval from semantic memory of conceptual and lexical information is essential for producing speech. It is unclear whether there are differences in the neural mechanisms of conceptual and lexical retrieval when spreading activation through semantic memory is initiated by verbal or nonverbal settings. The same twenty participants took part in two EEG experiments. The first experiment examined conceptual and lexical retrieval following nonverbal settings, whereas the second experiment was a replication of previous studies examining conceptual and lexical retrieval following verbal settings. Target pictures were presented after constraining and nonconstraining contexts. In the nonverbal settings, contexts were provided as two priming pictures (e.g., constraining: nest, feather; nonconstraining: anchor, lipstick; target picture: BIRD). In the verbal settings, contexts were provided as sentences (e.g., constraining: “The farmer milked a...”; nonconstraining: “The child drew a...”; target picture: COW). Target pictures were named faster following constraining contexts in both experiments, indicating that conceptual preparation starts before target picture onset in constraining conditions. In the verbal experiment, we replicated the alpha-beta power decreases in constraining relative to nonconstraining conditions before target picture onset. No such power decreases were found in the nonverbal experiment. Power decreases in constraining relative to nonconstraining conditions were significantly different between experiments. Our findings suggest that participants engage in conceptual preparation following verbal and nonverbal settings, albeit differently. The retrieval of a target word, initiated by verbal settings, is associated with alpha-beta power decreases. By contrast, broad conceptual preparation alone, prompted by nonverbal settings, does not seem enough to elicit alpha-beta power decreases. These findings have implications for theories of oscillations and semantic memory.

    Additional information

    1-s2.0-S0028393221002414-mmc1.pdf
  • Janse, E., & Andringa, S. J. (2021). The roles of cognitive abilities and hearing acuity in older adults’ recognition of words taken from fast and spectrally reduced speech. Applied Psycholinguistics, 42(3), 763-790. doi:10.1017/S0142716421000047.

    Abstract

    Previous literature has identified several cognitive abilities as predictors of individual differences in speech perception. Working memory was chief among them, but effects have also been found for processing speed. Most research has been conducted on speech in noise, but fast and unclear articulation also makes listening challenging, particularly for older listeners. As a first step toward specifying the cognitive mechanisms underlying spoken word recognition, we set up this study to determine which factors explain unique variation in word identification accuracy in fast speech, and the extent to which this was affected by further degradation of the speech signal. To that end, 105 older adults were tested on identification accuracy of fast words in unaltered and degraded conditions in which the speech stimuli were low-pass filtered. They were also tested on processing speed, memory, vocabulary knowledge, and hearing sensitivity. A structural equation analysis showed that only memory and hearing sensitivity explained unique variance in word recognition in both listening conditions. Working memory was more strongly associated with performance in the unfiltered than in the filtered condition. These results suggest that memory skills, rather than speed, facilitate the mapping of single words onto stored lexical representations, particularly in conditions of medium difficulty.
  • Yu, X., Janse, E., & Schoonen, R. (2021). The effect of learning context on L2 listening development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 43(2), 329-354. doi:10.1017/S0272263120000534.

    Abstract

    Little research has been done on the effect of learning context on L2 listening development. Motivated by DeKeyser’s (2015) skill acquisition theory of second language acquisition, this study compares L2 listening development in study abroad (SA) and at home (AH) contexts from both language knowledge and processing perspectives. One hundred forty-nine Chinese postgraduates studying in either China or the United Kingdom participated in a battery of listening tasks at the beginning and at the end of an academic year. These tasks measure auditory vocabulary knowledge and listening processing efficiency (i.e., accuracy, speed, and stability of processing) in word recognition, grammatical processing, and semantic analysis. Results show that, provided equal starting levels, the SA learners made more progress than the AH learners in speed of processing across the language processing tasks, with less clear results for vocabulary acquisition. Studying abroad may be an effective intervention for L2 learning, especially in terms of processing speed.
  • Yu, X., Janse, E., & Schoonen, R. (2021). The effect of learning context on L2 listening development: Knowledge and processing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 43, 329-354. doi:10.1017/S0272263120000534.

    Abstract

    Little research has been done on the effect of learning context on L2 listening development. Motivated by DeKeyser’s (2015) skill acquisition theory of second language acquisition, this study compares L2 listening development in study abroad (SA) and at home (AH) contexts from both language knowledge and processing perspectives. One hundred forty-nine Chinese postgraduates studying in either China or the United Kingdom participated in a battery of listening tasks at the beginning and at the end of an academic year. These tasks measure auditory vocabulary knowledge and listening processing efficiency (i.e., accuracy, speed, and stability of processing) in word recognition, grammatical processing, and semantic analysis. Results show that, provided equal starting levels, the SA learners made more progress than the AH learners in speed of processing across the language processing tasks, with less clear results for vocabulary acquisition. Studying abroad may be an effective intervention for L2 learning, especially in terms of processing speed.
  • Jansen, N. A., Braden, R. O., Srivastava, S., Otness, E. F., Lesca, G., Rossi, M., Nizon, M., Bernier, R. A., Quelin, C., Van Haeringen, A., Kleefstra, T., Wong, M. M. K., Whalen, S., Fisher, S. E., Morgan, A. T., & Van Bon, B. W. (2021). Clinical delineation of SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder. European Journal of Human Genetics, 29, 1198 -1205. doi:10.1038/s41431-021-00888-9.

    Abstract

    SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder (MIM#616078) is caused by haploinsufficiency of SETBP1 on chromosome 18q12.3, but there has not yet been any systematic evaluation of the major features of this monogenic syndrome, assessing penetrance and expressivity. We describe the first comprehensive study to delineate the associated clinical phenotype, with findings from 34 individuals, including 24 novel cases, all of whom have a SETBP1 loss-of-function variant or single (coding) gene deletion, confirmed by molecular diagnostics. The most commonly reported clinical features included mild motor developmental delay, speech impairment, intellectual disability, hypotonia, vision impairment, attention/concentration deficits, and hyperactivity. Although there is a mild overlap in certain facial features, the disorder does not lead to a distinctive recognizable facial gestalt. As well as providing insight into the clinical spectrum of SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder, this reports puts forward care recommendations for patient management.

    Additional information

    supplementary table
  • Janssen, J., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Alloza, C., Schippers, A., De Hoyos, L., Santonja, J., Gordaliza, P. M., Buimer, E. E. L., van Haren, N. E. M., Cahn, W., Arango, C., Kahn, R. S., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., & Schnack, H. G. (2021). Dissimilarity in sulcal width patterns in the cortex can be used to identify patients with schizophrenia with extreme deficits in cognitive performance. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 47(2), 552-561. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbaa131.

    Abstract

    Schizophrenia is a biologically complex disorder with multiple regional deficits in cortical brain morphology. In addition, interindividual heterogeneity of cortical morphological metrics is larger in patients with schizophrenia when compared to healthy controls. Exploiting interindividual differences in the severity of cortical morphological deficits in patients instead of focusing on group averages may aid in detecting biologically informed homogeneous subgroups. The person-based similarity index (PBSI) of brain morphology indexes an individual’s morphometric similarity across numerous cortical regions amongst a sample of healthy subjects. We extended the PBSI such that it indexes the morphometric similarity of an independent individual (eg, a patient) with respect to healthy control subjects. By employing a normative modeling approach on longitudinal data, we determined an individual’s degree of morphometric dissimilarity to the norm. We calculated the PBSI for sulcal width (PBSI-SW) in patients with schizophrenia and healthy control subjects (164 patients and 164 healthy controls; 656 magnetic resonance imaging scans) and associated it with cognitive performance and cortical sulcation index. A subgroup of patients with markedly deviant PBSI-SW showed extreme deficits in cognitive performance and cortical sulcation. Progressive reduction of PBSI-SW in the schizophrenia group relative to healthy controls was driven by these deviating individuals. By explicitly leveraging interindividual differences in the severity of PBSI-SW deficits, neuroimaging-driven subgrouping of patients is feasible. As such, our results pave the way for future applications of morphometric similarity indices for subtyping of clinical populations.

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  • Janssens, S. E. W., Sack, A. T., Ten Oever, S., & Graaf, T. A. (2021). Calibrating rhythmic stimulation parameters to individual electroencephalography markers: The consistency of individual alpha frequency in practical lab settings. European Journal of Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/ejn.15418.

    Abstract

    Rhythmic stimulation can be applied to modulate neuronal oscillations. Such ‘entrainment’ is optimized when stimulation frequency is individually calibrated based on magneto/encephalography markers. It remains unknown how consistent such individual markers are across days/sessions, within a session, or across cognitive states, hemispheres and estimation methods, especially in a realistic, practical, lab setting. We here estimated individual alpha frequency (IAF) repeatedly from short electroencephalography (EEG) measurements at rest or during an attention task (cognitive state), using single parieto-occipital electrodes in 24 participants on 4 days (between-sessions), with multiple measurements over an hour on 1 day (within-session). First, we introduce an algorithm to automatically reject power spectra without a sufficiently clear peak to ensure unbiased IAF estimations. Then we estimated IAF via the traditional ‘maximum’ method and a ‘Gaussian fit’ method. IAF was reliable within- and between-sessions for both cognitive states and hemispheres, though task-IAF estimates tended to be more variable. Overall, the ‘Gaussian fit’ method was more reliable than the ‘maximum’ method. Furthermore, we evaluated how far from an approximated ‘true’ task-related IAF the selected ‘stimulation frequency’ was, when calibrating this frequency based on a short rest-EEG, a short task-EEG, or simply selecting 10 Hz for all participants. For the ‘maximum’ method, rest-EEG calibration was best, followed by task-EEG, and then 10 Hz. For the ‘Gaussian fit’ method, rest-EEG and task-EEG-based calibration were similarly accurate, and better than 10 Hz. These results lead to concrete recommendations about valid, and automated, estimation of individual oscillation markers in experimental and clinical settings.
  • Jessop, A., & Chang, F. (2021). Thematic role tracking difficulties across multiple visual events influences role use in language production. Visual Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/13506285.2021.2013374.

    Abstract

    Language sometimes requires tracking the same participant in different thematic roles across multiple visual events (e.g., The girl that another girl pushed chased a third girl). To better understand how vision and language interact in role tracking, participants described videos of multiple randomly moving circles where two push events were presented. A circle might have the same role in both push events (e.g., agent) or different roles (e.g., agent of one push and patient of other push). The first three studies found higher production accuracy for the same role conditions compared to the different role conditions across different linguistic structure manipulations. The last three studies compared a featural account, where role information was associated with particular circles, or a relational account, where role information was encoded with particular push events. These studies found no interference between different roles, contrary to the predictions of the featural account. The foil was manipulated in these studies to increase the saliency of the second push and it was found that this changed the accuracy in describing the first push. The results suggest that language-related thematic role processing uses a relational representation that can encode multiple events.

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  • Jones, G., Cabiddu, F., Andrews, M., & Rowland, C. F. (2021). Chunks of phonological knowledge play a significant role in children’s word learning and explain effects of neighborhood size, phonotactic probability, word frequency and word length. Journal of Memory and Language, 119: 104232. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2021.104232.

    Abstract

    A key omission from many accounts of children’s early word learning is the linguistic knowledge that the child has acquired up to the point when learning occurs. We simulate this knowledge using a computational model that learns phoneme and word sequence knowledge from naturalistic language corpora. We show how this simple model is able to account for effects of word length, word frequency, neighborhood density and phonotactic probability on children’s early word learning. Moreover, we show how effects of neighborhood density and phonotactic probability on word learning are largely influenced by word length, with our model being able to capture all effects. We then use predictions from the model to show how the ease by which a child learns a new word from maternal input is directly influenced by the phonological knowledge that the child has acquired from other words up to the point of encountering the new word. There are major implications of this work: models and theories of early word learning need to incorporate existing sublexical and lexical knowledge in explaining developmental change while well-established indices of word learning are rejected in favor of phonological knowledge of varying grain sizes.

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  • Jongman, S. R., Khoe, Y. H., & Hintz, F. (2021). Vocabulary size influences spontaneous speech in native language users: Validating the use of automatic speech recognition in individual differences research. Language and Speech, 64(1), 35-51. doi:10.1177/0023830920911079.

    Abstract

    Previous research has shown that vocabulary size affects performance on laboratory word production tasks. Individuals who know many words show faster lexical access and retrieve more words belonging to pre-specified categories than individuals who know fewer words. The present study examined the relationship between receptive vocabulary size and speaking skills as assessed in a natural sentence production task. We asked whether measures derived from spontaneous responses to every-day questions correlate with the size of participants’ vocabulary. Moreover, we assessed the suitability of automatic speech recognition for the analysis of participants’ responses in complex language production data. We found that vocabulary size predicted indices of spontaneous speech: Individuals with a larger vocabulary produced more words and had a higher speech-silence ratio compared to individuals with a smaller vocabulary. Importantly, these relationships were reliably identified using manual and automated transcription methods. Taken together, our results suggest that spontaneous speech elicitation is a useful method to investigate natural language production and that automatic speech recognition can alleviate the burden of labor-intensive speech transcription.
  • Kapteijns, B., & Hintz, F. (2021). Comparing predictors of sentence self-paced reading times: Syntactic complexity versus transitional probability metrics. PLoS One, 16(7): e0254546. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0254546.

    Abstract

    When estimating the influence of sentence complexity on reading, researchers typically opt for one of two main approaches: Measuring syntactic complexity (SC) or transitional probability (TP). Comparisons of the predictive power of both approaches have yielded mixed results. To address this inconsistency, we conducted a self-paced reading experiment. Participants read sentences of varying syntactic complexity. From two alternatives, we selected the set of SC and TP measures, respectively, that provided the best fit to the self-paced reading data. We then compared the contributions of the SC and TP measures to reading times when entered into the same model. Our results showed that both measures explained significant portions of variance in self-paced reading times. Thus, researchers aiming to measure sentence complexity should take both SC and TP into account. All of the analyses were conducted with and without control variables known to influence reading times (word/sentence length, word frequency and word position) to showcase how the effects of SC and TP change in the presence of the control variables.

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  • Karaca, F., Brouwer, S., Unsworth, S., & Huettig, F. (2021). Prediction in bilingual children: The missing piece of the puzzle. In E. Kaan, & T. Grüter (Eds.), Prediction in Second Language Processing and Learning (pp. 116-137). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    A wealth of studies has shown that more proficient monolingual speakers are better at predicting upcoming information during language comprehension. Similarly, prediction skills of adult second language (L2) speakers in their L2 have also been argued to be modulated by their L2 proficiency. How exactly language proficiency and prediction are linked, however, is yet to be systematically investigated. One group of language users which has the potential to provide invaluable insights into this link is bilingual children. In this paper, we compare bilingual children’s prediction skills with those of monolingual children and adult L2 speakers, and show how investigating bilingual children’s prediction skills may contribute to our understanding of how predictive processing works.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., & Ozyurek, A. (2021). Effects and non-effects of late language exposure on spatial language development: Evidence from deaf adults and children. Language Learning and Development, 17(1), 1-25. doi:10.1080/15475441.2020.1823846.

    Abstract

    Late exposure to the first language, as in the case of deaf children with hearing parents, hinders the production of linguistic expressions, even in adulthood. Less is known about the development of language soon after language exposure and if late exposure hinders all domains of language in children and adults. We compared late signing adults and children (MAge = 8;5) 2 years after exposure to sign language, to their age-matched native signing peers in expressions of two types of locative relations that are acquired in certain cognitive-developmental order: view-independent (IN-ON-UNDER) and view-dependent (LEFT-RIGHT). Late signing children and adults differed from native signers in their use of linguistic devices for view-dependent relations but not for view-independent relations. These effects were also modulated by the morphological complexity. Hindering effects of late language exposure on the development of language in children and adults are not absolute but are modulated by cognitive and linguistic complexity.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., Ünal, E., & Ozyurek, A. (2021). Spatial language use predicts spatial memory of children: Evidence from sign, speech, and speech-plus-gesture. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 672-678). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    There is a strong relation between children’s exposure to spatial terms and their later memory accuracy. In the current study, we tested whether the production of spatial terms by children themselves predicts memory accuracy and whether and how language modality of these encodings modulates memory accuracy differently. Hearing child speakers of Turkish and deaf child signers of Turkish Sign Language described pictures of objects in various spatial relations to each other and later tested for their memory accuracy of these pictures in a surprise memory task. We found that having described the spatial relation between the objects predicted better memory accuracy. However, the modality of these descriptions in sign, speech, or speech-plus-gesture did not reveal differences in memory accuracy. We discuss the implications of these findings for the relation between spatial language, memory, and the modality of encoding.
  • Kaufeld, G. (2021). Investigating spoken language comprehension as perceptual inference. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Kember, H., Choi, J., Yu, J., & Cutler, A. (2021). The processing of linguistic prominence. Language and Speech, 64(2), 413-436. doi:10.1177/0023830919880217.

    Abstract

    Prominence, the expression of informational weight within utterances, can be signaled by prosodic highlighting (head-prominence, as in English) or by position (as in Korean edge-prominence). Prominence confers processing advantages, even if conveyed only by discourse manipulations. Here we compared processing of prominence in English and Korean, using a task that indexes processing success, namely recognition memory. In each language, participants’ memory was tested for target words heard in sentences in which they were prominent due to prosody, position, both or neither. Prominence produced recall advantage, but the relative effects differed across language. For Korean listeners the positional advantage was greater, but for English listeners prosodic and syntactic prominence had equivalent and additive effects. In a further experiment semantic and phonological foils tested depth of processing of the recall targets. Both foil types were correctly rejected, suggesting that semantic processing had not reached the level at which word form was no longer available. Together the results suggest that prominence processing is primarily driven by universal effects of information structure; but language-specific differences in frequency of experience prompt different relative advantages of prominence signal types. Processing efficiency increases in each case, however, creating more accurate and more rapidly contactable memory representations.
  • Kidd, L., & Rowland, C. F. (2021). The effect of language-focused professional development on the knowledge and behaviour of preschool practitioners. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 21(1), 27-59. doi:10.1177/1468798418803664.

    Abstract

    The purpose of this project was to investigate the effectiveness of a language-focused professional development programme on the knowledge and behaviour of preschool practitioners (sometimes called early years practitioners) in the UK. In Study 1 we determined whether the training received by practitioners is effective in improving their knowledge of how to support children’s language and communicative development. In Study 2 we tested whether trained practitioners, and practitioners from centres with embedded Language Champions, were able to implement the techniques they had been taught. For this, we video-recorded practitioners interacting, one to one, with 2- and 3–4-year-old children in their centres. We conclude that (1) practitioners retain the knowledge they have been taught, both about how children learn and about how to promote this learning, and that (2), in some respects, this knowledge translates well into practice; practitioners in centres with embedded Language Champions and trained practitioners used language-enriching behaviours when interacting with children more often than did untrained practitioners. We discuss how the translation of some techniques into overt behaviour could be made more effective

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  • Kinoshita, S., & Verdonschot, R. G. (2021). Phonological encoding is free from orthographic influence: evidence from a picture variant of the phonological Stroop task. Psychological Research, 85, 1340-1347. doi:10.1007/s00426-020-01315-2.

    Abstract

    The phonological Stroop task, in which the participant names the color of written distractors, is being used increasingly to study the phonological encoding process in speech production. A brief review of experimental paradigms used to study the phonological encoding process indicated that currently it is not known whether the onset overlap benefit (faster color naming when the distractor shares the onset segment with the color name) in a phonological Stroop task is due to phonology or orthography. The present paper investigated this question using a picture variant of the phonological Stroop task. Participants named a small set of line drawings of animals (e.g., camel) with a pseudoword distractor printed on it. Picture naming was facilitated when the distractor shared the onset segment with the picture name regardless of orthographic overlap (CUST–camel = KUST–camel < NUST–camel). We conclude that the picture variant of the phonological Stroop task is a useful tool to study the phonological encoding process, free of orthographic influence.

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  • Kinoshita, S., Yu, L., Verdonschot, R. G., & Norris, D. (2021). Letter identity and visual similarity in the processing of diacritic letters. Memory & Cognition, 49(4), 815-825. doi:10.3758/s13421-020-01125-2.

    Abstract

    Are letters with a diacritic (e.g., a) recognized as a variant of the base letter (e.g., a), or as a separate letter identity? Two recent masked priming studies, one in French and one in Spanish, investigated this question, concluding that this depends on the language-specific linguistic function served by the diacritic. Experiment 1 tested this linguistic function hypothesis using Japanese kana, in which diacritics signal consonant voicing, and like French and unlike Spanish, provide lexical contrast. Contrary to the hypothesis, Japanese kana yielded the pattern of diacritic priming like Spanish. Specifically, for a target kana with a diacritic (e.g., (sic), /ga/), the kana prime without the diacritic (e.g., (sic), /ka/) facilitated recognition almost as much as the identity prime (e.g., (sic) = (sic)), whereas for a target kana without a diacritic, the kana prime with the diacritic produced less facilitation than the identity prime (e.g., (sic) < (sic)). We suggest that the pattern of diacritic priming has little to do with linguistic function, and instead it stems from a general property of visual object recognition. Experiment 2 tested this hypothesis using visually similar letters of the Latin alphabet that differ in the presence/absence of a visual feature (e.g., O and Q). The same asymmetry in priming was observed. These findings are consistent with the noisy channel model of letter/word recognition (Norris & Kinoshita, Psychological Review, 119, 517-545, 2012a).
  • Klein, W. (2021). Another analysis of counterfactuality: Replies. Theoretical Linguistics, 47, 313-349. doi:10.1515/tl-2021-2028.
  • Klein, W. (2021). Another way to look at counterfactuals. Theoretical Linguistics, 47, 189-226. doi:10.1515/tl-2021-2019.

    Abstract

    Counterfactuals such as If the world did not exist, we would not notice it have been a challenge for philosophers and linguists since antiquity. There is no generally accepted semantic analysis. The prevalent view, developed in varying forms by Robert Stalnaker, David Lewis, and others, enriches the idea of strict implication by the idea of a “minimal revision” of the actual world. Objections mainly address problems of maximal similarity between worlds. In this paper, I will raise several problems of a different nature and draw attention to several phenomena that are relevant for counterfactuality but rarely discussed in that context. An alternative analysis that is very close to the linguistic facts is proposed. A core notion is the “situation talked about”: it makes little sense to discuss whether an assertion is true or false unless it is clear which situation is talked about. In counterfactuals, this situation is marked as not belonging to the actual world. Typically, this is done in the form of the finite verb in the main clause. The if-clause is optional and has only a supportive role: it provides information about the world to which the situation talked about belongs. Counterfactuals only speak about some nonactual world, of which we only know what results from the protasis. In order to judge them as true or false, an additional assumption is required: they are warranted according to the same criteria that warrant the corresponding indicative assertion. Overall similarity between worlds is irrelevant.
  • Kong, X., Postema, M., Schijven, D., Carrion Castillo, A., Pepe, A., Crivello, F., Joliot, M., Mazoyer, B., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2021). Large-scale phenomic and genomic analysis of brain asymmetrical skew. Cerebral Cortex, 31(9), 4151-4168. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab075.

    Abstract

    The human cerebral hemispheres show a left–right asymmetrical torque pattern, which has been claimed to be absent in chimpanzees. The functional significance and developmental mechanisms are unknown. Here, we carried out the largest-ever analysis of global brain shape asymmetry in magnetic resonance imaging data. Three population datasets were used, UK Biobank (N = 39 678), Human Connectome Project (N = 1113), and BIL&GIN (N = 453). At the population level, there was an anterior and dorsal skew of the right hemisphere, relative to the left. Both skews were associated independently with handedness, and various regional gray and white matter metrics oppositely in the two hemispheres, as well as other variables related to cognitive functions, sociodemographic factors, and physical and mental health. The two skews showed single nucleotide polymorphisms-based heritabilities of 4–13%, but also substantial polygenicity in causal mixture model analysis, and no individually significant loci were found in genome-wide association studies for either skew. There was evidence for a significant genetic correlation between horizontal brain skew and autism, which requires future replication. These results provide the first large-scale description of population-average brain skews and their inter-individual variations, their replicable associations with handedness, and insights into biological and other factors which associate with human brain asymmetry.
  • Konishi, M., Verdonschot, R. G., & Kakimoto, N. (2021). An investigation of tooth loss factors in elderly patients using panoramic radiographs. Oral Radiology, 37(3), 436-442. doi:10.1007/s11282-020-00475-6.

    Abstract

    Objectives The aim of this study was to observe the dental condition in a group of elderly patients over a period of 10 years in order to clarify important risk factors. Materials and methods Participants were elderly patients (in their eighties) who took panoramic radiographs between 2015 and 2016, and for whom panoramic radiographs taken around 10 year earlier were also available. The number of remaining and lost teeth, the Eichner Index, the presence or absence of molar occlusion, the respective condition of dental pulp, dental crowns, alveolar bone resorption, as well as periapical lesions were investigated through the analysis of panoramic radiographs. Additionally, other important variables were collected from patients' medical records. From the obtained panoramic radiograph sets, the patients' dental condition was investigated, and a systematic comparison was conducted. Results The analysis of the panoramic radiographs showed that the number of remaining teeth decreased from an average of 20.8-15.5, and the percentage of patients with 20 or more teeth decreased from 69.2 to 26.9%. A factor analysis investigating tooth loss risk suggested that tooth loss was associated with the bridge, P2 or greater resorption of the alveolar bone, and apical lesions, and gender (with males having a higher risk compared to females). Conclusions Teeth showing P2 or greater alveolar bone resorption, bridge, and apical lesions on panoramic radiographs are most likely to be lost in an elderly patient's near future. Consequently, this group should be encouraged to visit their dental clinics regularly and receive comprehensive instruction on individual self-care methods.
  • Konishi, M., Fujita, M., Shimabukuro, K., Wongratwanich, P., Verdonschot, R. G., & Kakimoto, N. (2021). Intraoral ultrasonographic features of tongue cancer and the incidence of cervical lymph node metastasis. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 79(4), 932-939. doi:10.1016/j.joms.2020.09.006.

    Abstract

    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the visual characteristics of tongue lesion images obtained through intraoral ultrasonographic examination and the occurrence of late cervical lymph node metastasis in patients with tongue cancer. Patients and Methods: This study investigated patients with primary tongue cancer who were examined using intraoral ultrasonography at Hiroshima University Hospital between January 2014 and December 2017. The inclusion criteria were squamous cell carcinoma, curative treatment administration, lateral side of tongue, surgery or brachytherapy alone, no cervical lymph node or distant metastasis as primary treatment, and treatment in our hospital. The exclusion criteria were carcinoma in situ, palliative treatment, dorsum of tongue, and multiple primary cancers. The follow-up period was more than 1 year. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of late cervical lymph node metastasis, and the primary predictor variables were age, gender, longest diameter, thickness, margin or border shapes of the lesion, and treatment methods. The relationship between the occurrence of late cervical lymph node metastasis and the longest diameter, thickness, margin types, and border types as evaluated through intraoral ultrasonography were assessed. The data were collected through a retrospective chart review. Results: Fifty-four patients were included in this study. The analysis indicated that irregular lesion margins were significantly associated with the occurrence of late cervical lymph node metastasis (P < .0001). The cutoff value for late cervical lymph node metastasis was 21.2 mm for the longest diameter and 3.9 mm for the thickness. Conclusions: The results of this study indicates that the irregular lesion margin assessed using intraoral ultrasonography may serve as an effective predictor of late cervical lymph node metastasis in N0 cases. (C) 2020 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • Konishi, M., Fujita, M., Takeuchi, Y., Kubo, K., Imano, N., Nishibuchi, I., Murakami, Y., Shimabukuro, K., Wongratwanich, P., Verdonschot, R. G., Kakimoto, N., & Nagata, Y. (2021). Treatment outcomes of real-time intraoral sonography-guided implantation technique of 198Au grain brachytherapy for T1 and T2 tongue cancer. Journal of Radiation Research, 62(5), 871-876. doi:10.1093/jrr/rrab059.

    Abstract

    It is often challenging to determine the accurate size and shape of oral lesions through computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) when they are very small or obscured by metallic artifacts, such as dental prostheses. Intraoral ultrasonography (IUS) has been shown to be beneficial in obtaining precise information about total tumor extension, as well as the exact location and guiding the insertion of catheters during interstitial brachytherapy. We evaluated the role of IUS in assessing the clinical outcomes of interstitial brachytherapy with 198Au grains in tongue cancer through a retrospective medical chart review. The data from 45 patients with T1 (n = 21) and T2 (n = 24) tongue cancer, who were mainly treated with 198Au grain implants between January 2005 and April 2019, were included in this study. 198Au grain implantations were carried out, and positioning of the implants was confirmed by IUS, to ensure that 198Au grains were appropriately placed for the deep border of the tongue lesion. The five-year local control rates of T1 and T2 tongue cancers were 95.2% and 95.5%, respectively. We propose that the use of IUS to identify the extent of lesions and the position of implanted grains is effective when performing brachytherapy with 198Au grains.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Nagy, M., Drexl, M., Vernes, S. C., Wiegrebe, L., & Knörnschild, M. (2021). Hearing sensitivity and amplitude coding in bats are differentially shaped by echolocation calls and social calls. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 288(1942): 20202600. doi:10.1098/rspb.2020.2600.

    Abstract

    Differences in auditory perception between species are influenced by phylogenetic origin and the perceptual challenges imposed by the natural environment, such as detecting prey- or predator-generated sounds and communication signals. Bats are well suited for comparative studies on auditory perception since they predominantly rely on echolocation to perceive the world, while their social calls and most environmental sounds have low frequencies. We tested if hearing sensitivity and stimulus level coding in bats differ between high and low-frequency ranges by measuring auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) of 86 bats belonging to 11 species. In most species, auditory sensitivity was equally good at both high- and low-frequency ranges, while amplitude was more finely coded for higher frequency ranges. Additionally, we conducted a phylogenetic comparative analysis by combining our ABR data with published data on 27 species. Species-specific peaks in hearing sensitivity correlated with peak frequencies of echolocation calls and pup isolation calls, suggesting that changes in hearing sensitivity evolved in response to frequency changes of echolocation and social calls. Overall, our study provides the most comprehensive comparative assessment of bat hearing capacities to date and highlights the evolutionary pressures acting on their sensory perception.

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  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Hörpel, S. G., Mengede, J., & Firzlaff, U. (2021). A researcher’s guide to the comparison of vocal production learning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200237. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0237.

    Abstract

    Vocal production learning (VPL) is the capacity to learn to produce new vocalizations, which is a rare ability in the animal kingdom and thus far has only been identified in a handful of mammalian taxa and three groups of birds. Over the last few decades, approaches to the demonstration of VPL have varied among taxa, sound production systems and functions. These discrepancies strongly impede direct comparisons between studies. In the light of the growing number of experimental studies reporting VPL, the need for comparability is becoming more and more pressing. The comparative evaluation of VPL across studies would be facilitated by unified and generalized reporting standards, which would allow a better positioning of species on any proposed VPL continuum. In this paper, we specifically highlight five factors influencing the comparability of VPL assessments: (i) comparison to an acoustic baseline, (ii) comprehensive reporting of acoustic parameters, (iii) extended reporting of training conditions and durations, (iv) investigating VPL function via behavioural, perception-based experiments and (v) validation of findings on a neuronal level. These guidelines emphasize the importance of comparability between studies in order to unify the field of vocal learning.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Linnenschmidt, M., Mardus, E., Vernes, S. C., Wiegrebe, L., & Schutte, M. (2021). The vocal development of the pale spear-nosed bat is dependent on auditory feedback. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200253. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0253.

    Abstract

    Human vocal development and speech learning require acoustic feedback, and humans who are born deaf do not acquire a normal adult speech capacity. Most other mammals display a largely innate vocal repertoire. Like humans, bats are thought to be one of the few taxa capable of vocal learning as they can acquire new vocalizations by modifying vocalizations according to auditory experiences. We investigated the effect of acoustic deafening on the vocal development of the pale spear-nosed bat. Three juvenile pale spear-nosed bats were deafened, and their vocal development was studied in comparison with an age-matched, hear- ing control group. The results show that during development the deafened bats increased their vocal activity, and their vocalizations were substantially altered, being much shorter, higher in pitch, and more aperiodic than the vocalizations of the control animals. The pale spear-nosed bat relies on auditory feedback for vocal development and, in the absence of auditory input, species-atypical vocalizations are acquired. This work serves as a basis for further research using the pale spear-nosed bat as a mammalian model for vocal learning, and contributes to comparative studies on hearing impairment across species. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Vocal learning in animals and humans’.
  • Law, R., & Pylkkänen, L. (2021). Lists with and without syntax: A new approach to measuring the neural processing of syntax. The Journal of Neuroscience, 41(10), 2186-2196. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1179-20.2021.

    Abstract

    In the neurobiology of language, a fundamental challenge is deconfounding syntax from semantics. Changes in syntactic structure usually correlate with changes in meaning. We approached this challenge from a new angle. We deployed word lists, which are usually the unstructured control in studies of syntax, as both the test and the control stimulus. Three-noun lists (lamps, dolls, guitars) were embedded in sentences (The eccentric man hoarded lamps, dolls, guitars…) and in longer lists (forks, pen, toilet, rodeo, graves, drums, mulch, lamps, dolls, guitars…). This allowed us to perfectly control both lexical characteristics and local combinatorics: the same words occurred in both conditions and in neither case did the list items locally compose into phrases (e.g. ‘lamps’ and ‘dolls’ do not form a phrase). But in one case, the list partakes in a syntactic tree, while in the other, it does not. Being embedded inside a syntactic tree increased source-localized MEG activity at ~250-300ms from word onset in the left inferior frontal cortex, at ~300-350ms in the left anterior temporal lobe and, most reliably, at ~330-400ms in left posterior temporal cortex. In contrast, effects of semantic association strength, which we also varied, localized in left temporo-parietal cortex, with high associations increasing activity at around 400ms. This dissociation offers a novel characterization of the structure vs. meaning contrast in the brain: The fronto-temporal network that is familiar from studies of sentence processing can be driven by the sheer presence of global sentence structure, while associative semantics has a more posterior neural signature.

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  • Lev-Ari, S. (2021). People with larger social networks show poorer voice recognition. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/17470218211030798.

    Abstract

    The way we process language is influenced by our experience. We are more likely to attend to features that proved to be useful in the past. Importantly, the size of individuals’ social network can influence their experience, and consequently, how they process language. In the case of voice recognition, having a larger social network might provide more variable input and thus enhance the ability to recognise new voices. On the other hand, learning to recognise voices is more demanding and less beneficial for people with a larger social network as they have more speakers to learn yet spend less time with each. This paper tests whether social network size influences voice recognition, and if so, in which direction. Native Dutch speakers listed their social network and performed a voice recognition task. Results showed that people with larger social networks were poorer at learning to recognise voices. Experiment 2 replicated the results with a British sample and English stimuli. Experiment 3 showed that the effect does not generalise to voice recognition in an unfamiliar language suggesting that social network size influences attention to the linguistic rather than non-linguistic markers that differentiate speakers. The studies thus show that our social network size influences our inclination to learn speaker-specific patterns in our environment, and consequently, the development of skills that rely on such learned patterns, such as voice recognition.

    Additional information

    https://osf.io/wtb5f/
  • Levshina, N. (2021). Corpus-based typology: Applications, challenges and some solutions. Linguistic Typology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1515/lingty-2020-0118.

    Abstract

    Over the last few years, the number of corpora that can be used for language comparison has dramatically increased. The corpora are so diverse in their structure, size and annotation style, that a novice might not know where to start. The present paper charts this new and changing territory, providing a few landmarks, warning signs and safe paths. Although no corpora corpus at present can replace the traditional type of typological data based on language description in reference grammars, they corpora can help with diverse tasks, being particularly well suited for investigating probabilistic and gradient properties of languages and for discovering and interpreting cross-linguistic generalizations based on processing and communicative mechanisms. At the same time, the use of corpora for typological purposes has not only advantages and opportunities, but also numerous challenges. This paper also contains an empirical case study addressing two pertinent problems: the role of text types in language comparison and the problem of the word as a comparative concept.
  • Levshina, N. (2021). Communicative efficiency and differential case marking: A reverse-engineering approach. Linguistics Vanguard, 7(s3): 20190087. doi:10.1515/lingvan-2019-0087.
  • Levshina, N., & Moran, S. (2021). Efficiency in human languages: Corpus evidence for universal principles. Linguistics Vanguard, 7(s3): 20200081. doi:10.1515/lingvan-2020-0081.

    Abstract

    Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest in communicative efficiency. It has been argued that language users act efficiently, saving effort for processing and articulation, and that language structure and use reflect this tendency. The emergence of new corpus data has brought to life numerous studies on efficient language use in the lexicon, in morphosyntax, and in discourse and phonology in different languages. In this introductory paper, we discuss communicative efficiency in human languages, focusing on evidence of efficient language use found in multilingual corpora. The evidence suggests that efficiency is a universal feature of human language. We provide an overview of different manifestations of efficiency on different levels of language structure, and we discuss the major questions and findings so far, some of which are addressed for the first time in the contributions in this special collection.
  • Levshina, N., & Moran, S. (Eds.). (2021). Efficiency in human languages: Corpus evidence for universal principles [Special Issue]. Linguistics Vanguard, 7(s3).
  • Levshina, N. (2021). Conditional inference trees and random forests. In M. Paquot, & T. Gries (Eds.), Practical Handbook of Corpus Linguistics (pp. 611-643). New York: Springer.
  • Levshina, N. (2021). Cross-linguistic trade-offs and causal relationships between cues to grammatical subject and object, and the problem of efficiency-related explanations. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 648200. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648200.

    Abstract

    Cross-linguistic studies focus on inverse correlations (trade-offs) between linguistic variables that reflect different cues to linguistic meanings. For example, if a language has no case marking, it is likely to rely on word order as a cue for identification of grammatical roles. Such inverse correlations are interpreted as manifestations of language users’ tendency to use language efficiently. The present study argues that this interpretation is problematic. Linguistic variables, such as the presence of case, or flexibility of word order, are aggregate properties, which do not represent the use of linguistic cues in context directly. Still, such variables can be useful for circumscribing the potential role of communicative efficiency in language evolution, if we move from cross-linguistic trade-offs to multivariate causal networks. This idea is illustrated by a case study of linguistic variables related to four types of Subject and Object cues: case marking, rigid word order of Subject and Object, tight semantics and verb-medial order. The variables are obtained from online language corpora in thirty languages, annotated with the Universal Dependencies. The causal model suggests that the relationships between the variables can be explained predominantly by sociolinguistic factors, leaving little space for a potential impact of efficient linguistic behavior.
  • Lopopolo, A. (2021). Properties, structures and operations: Studies on language processing in the brain using computational linguistics and naturalistic stimuli. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lopopolo, A., Van de Bosch, A., Petersson, K. M., & Willems, R. M. (2021). Distinguishing syntactic operations in the brain: Dependency and phrase-structure parsing. Neurobiology of Language, 2(1), 152-175. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00029.

    Abstract

    Finding the structure of a sentence — the way its words hold together to convey meaning — is a fundamental step in language comprehension. Several brain regions, including the left inferior frontal gyrus, the left posterior superior temporal gyrus, and the left anterior temporal pole, are supposed to support this operation. The exact role of these areas is nonetheless still debated. In this paper we investigate the hypothesis that different brain regions could be sensitive to different kinds of syntactic computations. We compare the fit of phrase-structure and dependency structure descriptors to activity in brain areas using fMRI. Our results show a division between areas with regard to the type of structure computed, with the left ATP and left IFG favouring dependency structures and left pSTG favouring phrase structures.
  • Lowndes, R., Molz, B., Warriner, L., Herbik, A., De Best, P. B., Raz, N., Gouws, A., Ahmadi, K., McLean, R. J., Gottlob, I., Kohl, S., Choritz, L., Maguire, J., Kanowski, M., Käsmann-Kellner, B., Wieland, I., Banin, E., Levin, N., Hoffmann, M. B., Morland, A. B. and 1 moreLowndes, R., Molz, B., Warriner, L., Herbik, A., De Best, P. B., Raz, N., Gouws, A., Ahmadi, K., McLean, R. J., Gottlob, I., Kohl, S., Choritz, L., Maguire, J., Kanowski, M., Käsmann-Kellner, B., Wieland, I., Banin, E., Levin, N., Hoffmann, M. B., Morland, A. B., & Baseler, H. A. (2021). Structural differences across multiple visual cortical regions in the absence of cone function in congenital achromatopsia. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15: 718958. doi:10.3389/fnins.2021.718958.

    Abstract

    Most individuals with congenital achromatopsia (ACHM) carry mutations that affect the retinal phototransduction pathway of cone photoreceptors, fundamental to both high acuity vision and colour perception. As the central fovea is occupied solely by cones, achromats have an absence of retinal input to the visual cortex and a small central area of blindness. Additionally, those with complete ACHM have no colour perception, and colour processing regions of the ventral cortex also lack typical chromatic signals from the cones. This study examined the cortical morphology (grey matter volume, cortical thickness, and cortical surface area) of multiple visual cortical regions in ACHM (n = 15) compared to normally sighted controls (n = 42) to determine the cortical changes that are associated with the retinal characteristics of ACHM. Surface-based morphometry was applied to T1-weighted MRI in atlas-defined early, ventral and dorsal visual regions of interest. Reduced grey matter volume in V1, V2, V3, and V4 was found in ACHM compared to controls, driven by a reduction in cortical surface area as there was no significant reduction in cortical thickness. Cortical surface area (but not thickness) was reduced in a wide range of areas (V1, V2, V3, TO1, V4, and LO1). Reduction in early visual areas with large foveal representations (V1, V2, and V3) suggests that the lack of foveal input to the visual cortex was a major driving factor in morphological changes in ACHM. However, the significant reduction in ventral area V4 coupled with the lack of difference in dorsal areas V3a and V3b suggest that deprivation of chromatic signals to visual cortex in ACHM may also contribute to changes in cortical morphology. This research shows that the congenital lack of cone input to the visual cortex can lead to widespread structural changes across multiple visual areas.

    Additional information

    table S1
  • Lutzenberger, H., De Vos, C., Crasborn, O., & Fikkert, P. (2021). Formal variation in the Kata Kolok lexicon. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 6. doi:10.16995/glossa.5880.

    Abstract

    Sign language lexicons incorporate phonological specifications. Evidence from emerging sign languages suggests that phonological structure emerges gradually in a new language. In this study, we investigate variation in the form of signs across 20 deaf adult signers of Kata Kolok, a sign language that emerged spontaneously in a Balinese village community. Combining methods previously used for sign comparisons, we introduce a new numeric measure of variation. Our nuanced yet comprehensive approach to form variation integrates three levels (iconic motivation, surface realisation, feature differences) and allows for refinement through weighting the variation score by token and signer frequency. We demonstrate that variation in the form of signs appears in different degrees at different levels. Token frequency in a given dataset greatly affects how much variation can surface, suggesting caution in interpreting previous findings. Different sign variants have different scopes of use among the signing population, with some more widely used than others. Both frequency weightings (token and signer) identify dominant sign variants, i.e., sign forms that are produced frequently or by many signers. We argue that variation does not equal the absence of conventionalisation. Indeed, especially in micro-community sign languages, variation may be key to understanding patterns of language emergence.
  • Maihofer, A. X., Choi, K. W., Coleman, J. R., Daskalakis, N. P., Denckla, C. A., Ketema, E., Morey, R. A., Polimanti, R., Ratanatharathorn, A., Torres, K., Wingo, A. P., Zai, C. C., Aiello, A. E., Almli, L. M., Amstadter, A. B., Andersen, S. B., Andreassen, O. A., Arbisi, P. A., Ashley-Koch, A. E., Austin, S. B. and 161 moreMaihofer, A. X., Choi, K. W., Coleman, J. R., Daskalakis, N. P., Denckla, C. A., Ketema, E., Morey, R. A., Polimanti, R., Ratanatharathorn, A., Torres, K., Wingo, A. P., Zai, C. C., Aiello, A. E., Almli, L. M., Amstadter, A. B., Andersen, S. B., Andreassen, O. A., Arbisi, P. A., Ashley-Koch, A. E., Austin, S. B., Avdibegovic, E., Borglum, A. D., Babic, D., Bækvad-Hansen, M., Baker, D. G., Beckham, J. C., Bierut, L. J., Bisson, J. I., Boks, M. P., Bolger, E. A., Bradley, B., Brashear, M., Breen, G., Bryant, R. A., Bustamante, A. C., Bybjerg-Grauholm, J., Calabrese, J. R., Caldas-de-Almeida, J. M., Chen, C.-Y., Dale, A. M., Dalvie, S., Deckert, J., Delahanty, D. L., Dennis, M. F., Disner, S. G., Domschke, K., Duncan, L. E., Dzubur Kulenovic, A., Erbes, C. R., Evans, A., Farrer, L. A., Feeny, N. C., Flory, J. D., Forbes, D., Franz, C. E., Galea, S., Garrett, M. E., Gautam, A., Gelaye, B., Gelernter, J., Geuze, E., Gillespie, C. F., Goçi, A., Gordon, S. D., Guffanti, G., Hammamieh, R., Hauser, M. A., Heath, A. C., Hemmings, S. M., Hougaard, D. M., Jakovljevic, M., Jett, M., Johnson, E. O., Jones, I., Jovanovic, T., Qin, X.-J., Karstoft, K.-I., Kaufman, M. L., Kessler, R. C., Khan, A., Kimbrel, N. A., King, A. P., Koen, N., Kranzler, H. R., Kremen, W. S., Lawford, B. R., Lebois, L. A., Lewis, C., Liberzon, I., Linnstaedt, S. D., Logue, M. W., Lori, A., Lugonja, B., Luykx, J. J., Lyons, M. J., Maples-Keller, J. L., Marmar, C., Martin, N. G., Maurer, D., Mavissakalian, M. R., McFarlane, A., McGlinchey, R. E., McLaughlin, K. A., McLean, S. A., Mehta, D., Mellor, R., Michopoulos, V., Milberg, W., Miller, M. W., Morris, C. P., Mors, O., Mortensen, P. B., Nelson, E. C., Nordentoft, M., Norman, S. B., O’Donnell, M., Orcutt, H. K., Panizzon, M. S., Peters, E. S., Peterson, A. L., Peverill, M., Pietrzak, R. H., Polusny, M. A., Rice, J. P., Risbrough, V. B., Roberts, A. L., Rothbaum, A. O., Rothbaum, B. O., Roy-Byrne, P., Ruggiero, K. J., Rung, A., Rutten, B. P., Saccone, N. L., Sanchez, S. E., Schijven, D., Seedat, S., Seligowski, A. V., Seng, J. S., Sheerin, C. M., Silove, D., Smith, A. K., Smoller, J. W., Sponheim, S. R., Stein, D. J., Stevens, J. S., Teicher, M. H., Thompson, W. K., Trapido, E., Uddin, M., Ursano, R. J., van den Heuvel, L. L., Van Hooff, M., Vermetten, E., Vinkers, C., Voisey, J., Wang, Y., Wang, Z., Werge, T., Williams, M. A., Williamson, D. E., Winternitz, S., Wolf, C., Wolf, E. J., Yehuda, R., Young, K. A., Young, R. M., Zhao, H., Zoellner, L. A., Haas, M., Lasseter, H., Provost, A. C., Salem, R. M., Sebat, J., Shaffer, R. A., Wu, T., Ripke, S., Daly, M. J., Ressler, K. J., Koenen, K. C., Stein, M. B., & Nievergelt, C. M. (2021). Enhancing discovery of genetic variants for posttraumatic stress disorder through integration of quantitative phenotypes and trauma exposure information. Biological Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.09.020.

    Abstract

    Background Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is heritable and a potential consequence of exposure to traumatic stress. Evidence suggests that a quantitative approach to PTSD phenotype measurement and incorporation of lifetime trauma exposure (LTE) information could enhance the discovery power of PTSD genome-wide association studies (GWASs). Methods A GWAS on PTSD symptoms was performed in 51 cohorts followed by a fixed-effects meta-analysis (N = 182,199 European ancestry participants). A GWAS of LTE burden was performed in the UK Biobank cohort (N = 132,988). Genetic correlations were evaluated with linkage disequilibrium score regression. Multivariate analysis was performed using Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS. Functional mapping and annotation of leading loci was performed with FUMA. Replication was evaluated using the Million Veteran Program GWAS of PTSD total symptoms. Results GWASs of PTSD symptoms and LTE burden identified 5 and 6 independent genome-wide significant loci, respectively. There was a 72% genetic correlation between PTSD and LTE. PTSD and LTE showed largely similar patterns of genetic correlation with other traits, albeit with some distinctions. Adjusting PTSD for LTE reduced PTSD heritability by 31%. Multivariate analysis of PTSD and LTE increased the effective sample size of the PTSD GWAS by 20% and identified 4 additional loci. Four of these 9 PTSD loci were independently replicated in the Million Veteran Program. Conclusions Through using a quantitative trait measure of PTSD, we identified novel risk loci not previously identified using prior case-control analyses. PTSD and LTE have a high genetic overlap that can be leveraged to increase discovery power through multivariate methods.
  • Mamus, E., Speed, L. J., Ozyurek, A., & Majid, A. (2021). Sensory modality of input influences encoding of motion events in speech but not co-speech gestures. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 376-382). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Visual and auditory channels have different affordances and this is mirrored in what information is available for linguistic encoding. The visual channel has high spatial acuity, whereas the auditory channel has better temporal acuity. These differences may lead to different conceptualizations of events and affect multimodal language production. Previous studies of motion events typically present visual input to elicit speech and gesture. The present study compared events presented as audio- only, visual-only, or multimodal (visual+audio) input and assessed speech and co-speech gesture for path and manner of motion in Turkish. Speakers with audio-only input mentioned path more and manner less in verbal descriptions, compared to speakers who had visual input. There was no difference in the type or frequency of gestures across conditions, and gestures were dominated by path-only gestures. This suggests that input modality influences speakers’ encoding of path and manner of motion events in speech, but not in co-speech gestures.
  • Manhardt, F., Brouwer, S., & Ozyurek, A. (2021). A tale of two modalities: Sign and speech influence in each other in bimodal bilinguals. Psychological Science, 32(3), 424-436. doi:10.1177/0956797620968789.

    Abstract

    Bimodal bilinguals are hearing individuals fluent in a sign and a spoken language. Can the two languages influence each other in such individuals despite differences in the visual (sign) and vocal (speech) modalities of expression? We investigated cross-linguistic influences on bimodal bilinguals’ expression of spatial relations. Unlike spoken languages, sign uses iconic linguistic forms that resemble physical features of objects in a spatial relation and thus expresses specific semantic information. Hearing bimodal bilinguals (n = 21) fluent in Dutch and Sign Language of the Netherlands and their hearing nonsigning and deaf signing peers (n = 20 each) described left/right relations between two objects. Bimodal bilinguals expressed more specific information about physical features of objects in speech than nonsigners, showing influence from sign language. They also used fewer iconic signs with specific semantic information than deaf signers, demonstrating influence from speech. Bimodal bilinguals’ speech and signs are shaped by two languages from different modalities.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Manhardt, F. (2021). A tale of two modalities. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • He, J., Meyer, A. S., Creemers, A., & Brehm, L. (2021). Conducting language production research online: A web-based study of semantic context and name agreement effects in multi-word production. Collabra: Psychology, 7(1): 29935. doi:10.1525/collabra.29935.

    Abstract

    Few web-based experiments have explored spoken language production, perhaps due to concerns of data quality, especially for measuring onset latencies. The present study highlights how speech production research can be done outside of the laboratory by measuring utterance durations and speech fluency in a multiple-object naming task when examining two effects related to lexical selection: semantic context and name agreement. A web-based modified blocked-cyclic naming paradigm was created, in which participants named a total of sixteen simultaneously presented pictures on each trial. The pictures were either four tokens from the same semantic category (homogeneous context), or four tokens from different semantic categories (heterogeneous context). Name agreement of the pictures was varied orthogonally (high, low). In addition to onset latency, five dependent variables were measured to index naming performance: accuracy, utterance duration, total pause time, the number of chunks (word groups pronounced without intervening pauses), and first chunk length. Bayesian analyses showed effects of semantic context and name agreement for some of the dependent measures, but no interaction. We discuss the methodological implications of the current study and make best practice recommendations for spoken language production research in an online environment.
  • He, J., Meyer, A. S., & Brehm, L. (2021). Concurrent listening affects speech planning and fluency: The roles of representational similarity and capacity limitation. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 36(10), 1258-1280. doi:10.1080/23273798.2021.1925130.

    Abstract

    In a novel continuous speaking-listening paradigm, we explored how speech planning was affected by concurrent listening. In Experiment 1, Dutch speakers named pictures with high versus low name agreement while ignoring Dutch speech, Chinese speech, or eight-talker babble. Both name agreement and type of auditory input influenced response timing and chunking, suggesting that representational similarity impacts lexical selection and the scope of advance planning in utterance generation. In Experiment 2, Dutch speakers named pictures with high or low name agreement while either ignoring Dutch words, or attending to them for a later memory test. Both name agreement and attention demand influenced response timing and chunking, suggesting that attention demand impacts lexical selection and the planned utterance units in each response. The study indicates that representational similarity and attention demand play important roles in linguistic dual-task interference, and the interference can be managed by adapting when and how to plan speech.

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Mickan, A. (2021). What was that Spanish word again? Investigations into the cognitive mechanisms underlying foreign language attrition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., Valentini, B., Piai, V., & Lemhöfer, K. (2021). Electrophysiological evidence for cross-language interference in foreign-language attrition. Neuropsychologia, 155: 107795. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107795.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    data via Donders Repository
  • Misersky, J., Slivac, K., Hagoort, P., & Flecken, M. (2021). The State of the Onion: Grammatical aspect modulates object representation during event comprehension. Cognition, 214: 104744. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104744.

    Abstract

    The present ERP study assessed whether grammatical aspect is used as a cue in online event comprehension, in particular when reading about events in which an object is visually changed. While perfective aspect cues holistic event representations, including an event's endpoint, progressive aspect highlights intermediate phases of an event. In a 2 × 3 design, participants read SVO sentences describing a change-of-state event (e.g., to chop an onion), with grammatical Aspect manipulated (perfective “chopped” vs progressive “was chopping”). Thereafter, they saw a Picture of an object either having undergone substantial state-change (SC; a chopped onion), no state-change (NSC; an onion in its original state) or an unrelated object (U; a cactus, acting as control condition). Their task was to decide whether the object in the Picture was mentioned in the sentence. We focused on N400 modulation, with ERPs time-locked to picture onset. U pictures elicited an N400 response as expected, suggesting detection of categorical mismatches in object type. For SC and NSC pictures, a whole-head follow-up analysis revealed a P300, implying people were engaged in detailed evaluation of pictures of matching objects. SC pictures received most positive responses overall. Crucially, there was an interaction of Aspect and Picture: SC pictures resulted in a higher amplitude P300 after sentences in the perfective compared to the progressive. Thus, while the perfective cued for a holistic event representation, including the resultant state of the affected object (i.e., the chopped onion) constraining object representations online, the progressive defocused event completion and object-state change. Grammatical aspect thus guided online event comprehension by cueing the visual representation(s) of an object's state.
  • Montero-Melis, G. (2021). Consistency in motion event encoding across languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 625153. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.625153.

    Abstract

    Syntactic templates serve as schemas, allowing speakers to describe complex events in a systematic fashion. Motion events have long served as a prime example of how different languages favor different syntactic frames, in turn biasing their speakers towards different event conceptualizations. However, there is also variability in how motion events are syntactically framed within languages. Here we measure the consistency in event encoding in two languages, Spanish and Swedish. We test a dominant account in the literature, namely that variability within a language can be explained by specific properties of the events. This event-properties account predicts that descriptions of one and the same event should be consistent within a language, even in languages where there is overall variability in the use of syntactic frames. Spanish and Swedish speakers (N=84) described 32 caused motion events. While the most frequent syntactic framing in each language was as expected based on typology (Spanish: verb-framed, Swedish: satellite-framed, cf. Talmy, 2000), Swedish descriptions were substantially more consistent than Spanish descriptions. Swedish speakers almost invariably encoded all events with a single syntactic frame and systematically conveyed manner of motion. Spanish descriptions, in contrast, varied much more regarding syntactic framing and expression of manner. Crucially, variability in Spanish descriptions was not mainly a function of differences between events, as predicted by the event-properties account. Rather, Spanish variability in syntactic framing was driven by speaker biases. A similar picture arose for whether Spanish descriptions expressed manner information or not: Even after accounting for the effect of syntactic choice, a large portion of the variance in Spanish manner encoding remained attributable to differences among speakers. The results show that consistency in motion event encoding starkly differs across languages: Some languages (like Swedish) bias their speakers towards a particular linguistic event schema much more than others (like Spanish). Implications of these findings are discussed with respect to the typology of event framing, theories on the relationship between language and thought, and speech planning. In addition, the tools employed here to quantify variability can be applied to other domains of language.

    Additional information

    data and analysis scripts
  • Moreno Santillán, D. D., Lama, T. M., Gutierrez Guerrero, Y. T., Brown, A. M., Donat, P., Zhao, H., Rossiter, S. J., Yohe, L. R., Potter, J. H., Teeling, E. C., Vernes, S. C., Davies, K. T. J., Myers, E., Hughes, G. M., Huang, Z., Hoffmann, F., Corthals, A. P., Ray, D. A., & Dávalos, L. M. (2021). Large‐scale genome sampling reveals unique immunity and metabolic adaptations in bats. Molecular Ecology, 30(23), 6449-6467. doi:10.1111/mec.16027.

    Abstract

    Comprising more than 1,400 species, bats possess adaptations unique among mammals including powered flight, unexpected longevity, and extraordinary immunity. Some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these unique adaptations includes DNA repair, metabolism and immunity. However, analyses have been limited to a few divergent lineages, reducing the scope of inferences on gene family evolution across the Order Chiroptera. We conducted an exhaustive comparative genomic study of 37 bat species, one generated in this study, encompassing a large number of lineages, with a particular emphasis on multi-gene family evolution across immune and metabolic genes. In agreement with previous analyses, we found lineage-specific expansions of the APOBEC3 and MHC-I gene families, and loss of the proinflammatory PYHIN gene family. We inferred more than 1,000 gene losses unique to bats, including genes involved in the regulation of inflammasome pathways such as epithelial defense receptors, the natural killer gene complex and the interferon-gamma induced pathway. Gene set enrichment analyses revealed genes lost in bats are involved in defense response against pathogen-associated molecular patterns and damage-associated molecular patterns. Gene family evolution and selection analyses indicate bats have evolved fundamental functional differences compared to other mammals in both innate and adaptive immune system, with the potential to enhance anti-viral immune response while dampening inflammatory signaling. In addition, metabolic genes have experienced repeated expansions related to convergent shifts to plant-based diets. Our analyses support the hypothesis that, in tandem with flight, ancestral bats had evolved a unique set of immune adaptations whose functional implications remain to be explored.

    Additional information

    supplementary material table S1-S18
  • Morey, R. D., Kaschak, M. P., Díez-Álamo, A. M., Glenberg, A. M., Zwaan, R. A., Lakens, D., Ibáñez, A., García, A., Gianelli, C., Jones, J. L., Madden, J., Alifano, F., Bergen, B., Bloxsom, N. G., Bub, D. N., Cai, Z. G., Chartier, C. R., Chatterjee, A., Conwell, E., Cook, S. W. and 25 moreMorey, R. D., Kaschak, M. P., Díez-Álamo, A. M., Glenberg, A. M., Zwaan, R. A., Lakens, D., Ibáñez, A., García, A., Gianelli, C., Jones, J. L., Madden, J., Alifano, F., Bergen, B., Bloxsom, N. G., Bub, D. N., Cai, Z. G., Chartier, C. R., Chatterjee, A., Conwell, E., Cook, S. W., Davis, J. D., Evers, E., Girard, S., Harter, D., Hartung, F., Herrera, E., Huettig, F., Humphries, S., Juanchich, M., Kühne, K., Lu, S., Lynes, T., Masson, M. E. J., Ostarek, M., Pessers, S., Reglin, R., Steegen, S., Thiessen, E. D., Thomas, L. E., Trott, S., Vandekerckhove, J., Vanpaemel, W., Vlachou, M., Williams, K., & Ziv-Crispel, N. (2021). A pre-registered, multi-lab non-replication of the Action-sentence Compatibility Effect (ACE). Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-021-01927-8.

    Abstract

    The Action-sentence Compatibility Effect (ACE) is a well-known demonstration of the role of motor activity in the comprehension of language. Participants are asked to make sensibility judgments on sentences by producing movements toward the body or away from the body. The ACE is the finding that movements are faster when the direction of the movement (e.g., toward) matches the direction of the action in the to-be-judged sentence (e.g., Art gave you the pen describes action toward you). We report on a pre- registered, multi-lab replication of one version of the ACE. The results show that none of the 18 labs involved in the study observed a reliable ACE, and that the meta-analytic estimate of the size of the ACE was essentially zero.
  • Morgan, A., Braden, R., Wong, M. M. K., Colin, E., Amor, D., Liégeois, F., Srivastava, S., Vogel, A., Bizaoui, V., Ranguin, K., Fisher, S. E., & Van Bon, B. W. (2021). Speech and language deficits are central to SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder. European Journal of Human Genetics, 29, 1216-1225. doi:10.1038/s41431-021-00894-x.

    Abstract

    Expressive communication impairment is associated with haploinsufficiency of SETBP1, as reported in small case series. Heterozygous pathogenic loss-of-function (LoF) variants in SETBP1 have also been identified in independent cohorts ascertained for childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), warranting further investigation of the roles of this gene in speech development. Thirty-one participants (12 males, aged 0; 8–23; 2 years, 28 with pathogenic SETBP1 LoF variants, 3 with 18q12.3 deletions) were assessed for speech, language and literacy abilities. Broader development was examined with standardised motor, social and daily life skills assessments. Gross and fine motor deficits (94%) and intellectual impairments (68%) were common. Protracted and aberrant speech development was consistently seen, regardless of motor or intellectual ability. We expand the linguistic phenotype associated with SETBP1 LoF syndrome (SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder), revealing a striking speech presentation that implicates both motor (CAS, dysarthria) and language (phonological errors) systems, with CAS (80%) being the most common diagnosis. In contrast to past reports, the understanding of language was rarely better preserved than language expression (29%). Language was typically low, to moderately impaired, with commensurate expression and comprehension ability. Children were sociable with a strong desire to communicate. Minimally verbal children (32%) augmented speech with sign language, gestures or digital devices. Overall, relative to general development, spoken language and literacy were poorer than social, daily living, motor and adaptive behaviour skills. Our findings show that poor communication is a central feature of SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder, confirming this gene as a strong candidate for speech and language disorders.
  • Nielsen, A. K. S., & Dingemanse, M. (2021). Iconicity in word learning and beyond: A critical review. Language and Speech, 64(1), 52-72. doi:10.1177/0023830920914339.

    Abstract

    Interest in iconicity (the resemblance-based mapping between aspects of form and meaning) is in the midst of a resurgence, and a prominent focus in the field has been the possible role of iconicity in language learning. Here we critically review theory and empirical findings in this domain. We distinguish local learning enhancement (where the iconicity of certain lexical items influences the learning of those items) and general learning enhancement (where the iconicity of certain lexical items influences the later learning of non-iconic items or systems). We find that evidence for local learning enhancement is quite strong, though not as clear cut as it is often described and based on a limited sample of languages. Despite common claims about broader facilitatory effects of iconicity on learning, we find that current evidence for general learning enhancement is lacking. We suggest a number of productive avenues for future research and specify what types of evidence would be required to show a role for iconicity in general learning enhancement. We also review evidence for functions of iconicity beyond word learning: iconicity enhances comprehension by providing complementary representations, supports communication about sensory imagery, and expresses affective meanings. Even if learning benefits may be modest or cross-linguistically varied, on balance, iconicity emerges as a vital aspect of language.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2021). How ‘rational’ is semantic prediction? A critique and re-analysis of. Cognition, 215: 104848. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104848.

    Abstract

    In a recent article in Cognition, Delaney-Busch et al. (2019) claim evidence for ‘rational’, Bayesian adaptation of semantic predictions, using ERP data from Lau, Holcomb, and Kuperberg (2013). Participants read associatively related and unrelated prime-target word pairs in a first block with only 10% related trials and a second block with 50%. Related words elicited smaller N400s than unrelated words, and this difference was strongest in the second block, suggesting greater engagement in predictive processing. Using a rational adaptor model, Delaney-Busch et al. argue that the stronger N400 reduction for related words in the second block developed as a function of the number of related trials, and concluded therefore that participants predicted related words more strongly when their predictions were fulfilled more often. In this critique, I discuss two critical flaws in their analyses, namely the confounding of prediction effects with those of lexical frequency and the neglect of data from the first block. Re-analyses suggest a different picture: related words by themselves did not yield support for their conclusion, and the effect of relatedness gradually strengthened in othe two blocks in a similar way. Therefore, the N400 did not yield evidence that participants rationally adapted their semantic predictions. Within the framework proposed by Delaney-Busch et al., presumed semantic predictions may even be thought of as ‘irrational’. While these results yielded no evidence for rational or probabilistic prediction, they do suggest that participants became increasingly better at predicting target words from prime words.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2021). Commentary: Rational adaptation in lexical prediction: The influence of prediction strength. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 735849. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.735849.
  • Norris, D., & Cutler, A. (2021). More why, less how: What we need from models of cognition. Cognition, 213: 104688. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104688.

    Abstract

    Science regularly experiences periods in which simply describing the world is prioritised over attempting to explain it. Cognition, this journal, came into being some 45 years ago as an attempt to lay one such period to rest; without doubt, it has helped create the current cognitive science climate in which theory is decidedly welcome. Here we summarise the reasons why a theoretical approach is imperative in our field, and call attention to some potentially counter-productive trends in which cognitive models are concerned too exclusively with how processes work at the expense of why the processes exist in the first place and thus what the goal of modelling them must be.
  • Nota, N., Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2021). Facial signals and social actions in multimodal face-to-face interaction. Brain Sciences, 11(8): 1017. doi:10.3390/brainsci11081017.

    Abstract

    In a conversation, recognising the speaker’s social action (e.g., a request) early may help the potential following speakers understand the intended message quickly, and plan a timely response. Human language is multimodal, and several studies have demonstrated the contribution of the body to communication. However, comparatively few studies have investigated (non-emotional) conversational facial signals and very little is known about how they contribute to the communication of social actions. Therefore, we investigated how facial signals map onto the expressions of two fundamental social actions in conversations: asking questions and providing responses. We studied the distribution and timing of 12 facial signals across 6778 questions and 4553 responses, annotated holistically in a corpus of 34 dyadic face-to-face Dutch conversations. Moreover, we analysed facial signal clustering to find out whether there are specific combinations of facial signals within questions or responses. Results showed a high proportion of facial signals, with a qualitatively different distribution in questions versus responses. Additionally, clusters of facial signals were identified. Most facial signals occurred early in the utterance, and had earlier onsets in questions. Thus, facial signals may critically contribute to the communication of social actions in conversation by providing social action-specific visual information.
  • Onnis, L., & Huettig, F. (2021). Can prediction and retrodiction explain whether frequent multi-word phrases are accessed ’precompiled’ from memory or compositionally constructed on the fly? Brain Research, 1772: 147674. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2021.147674.

    Abstract

    An important debate on the architecture of the language faculty has been the extent to which it relies on a compositional system that constructs larger units from morphemes to words to phrases to utterances on the fly and in real time using grammatical rules; or a system that chunks large preassembled, stored units of language from memory; or some combination of both approaches. Good empirical evidence exists for both ’computed’ and ’large stored’ forms in language, but little is known about what shapes multi-word storage / access or compositional processing. Here we explored whether predictive and retrodictive processes are a likely determinant of multi-word storage / processing. Our results suggest that forward and backward predictability are independently informative in determining the lexical cohesiveness of multi-word phrases. In addition, our results call for a reevaluation of the role of retrodiction in contemporary language processing accounts (cf. Ferreira and Chantavarin 2018).

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