Publications

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  • Jacoby, N., Margulis, E. H., Clayton, M., Hannon, E., Honing, H., Iversen, J., Klein, T. R., Mehr, S. A., Pearson, L., Peretz, I., Perlman, M., Polak, R., Ravignani, A., Savage, P. E., Steingo, G., Stevens, C. J., Trainor, L., Trehub, S., Veal, M., & Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2020). Cross-cultural work in music cognition: Challenges, insights, and recommendations. Music Perception, 37(3), 185-195. doi:10.1525/mp.2020.37.3.185.

    Abstract

    Many foundational questions in the psychology of music require cross-cultural approaches, yet the vast majority of work in the field to date has been conducted with Western participants and Western music. For cross-cultural research to thrive, it will require collaboration between people from different disciplinary backgrounds, as well as strategies for overcoming differences in assumptions, methods, and terminology. This position paper surveys the current state of the field and offers a number of concrete recommendations focused on issues involving ethics, empirical methods, and definitions of “music” and “culture.”
  • 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. (2020). Dissimilarity in Sulcal Width Patterns in the Cortex can be Used to Identify Patients With Schizophrenia With Extreme Deficits in Cognitive Performance. Schizophrenia Bulletin. Advance online publication. 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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  • Jebb, D., Huang, Z., Pippel, M., Hughes, G. M., Lavrichenko, K., Devanna, P., Winkler, S., Jermiin, L. S., Skirmuntt, E. C., Katzourakis, A., Burkitt-Gray, L., Ray, D. A., Sullivan, K. A. M., Roscito, J. G., Kirilenko, B. M., Dávalos, L. M., Corthals, A. P., Power, M. L., Jones, G., Ransome, R. D. and 9 moreJebb, D., Huang, Z., Pippel, M., Hughes, G. M., Lavrichenko, K., Devanna, P., Winkler, S., Jermiin, L. S., Skirmuntt, E. C., Katzourakis, A., Burkitt-Gray, L., Ray, D. A., Sullivan, K. A. M., Roscito, J. G., Kirilenko, B. M., Dávalos, L. M., Corthals, A. P., Power, M. L., Jones, G., Ransome, R. D., Dechmann, D., Locatelli, A. G., Puechmaille, S. J., Fedrigo, O., Jarvis, E. D., Hiller, M., Vernes, S. C., Myers, E. W., & Teeling, E. C. (2020). Six reference-quality genomes reveal evolution of bat adaptations. Nature, 583, 578-584. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2486-3.

    Abstract

    Bats possess extraordinary adaptations, including flight, echolocation, extreme longevity and unique immunity. High-quality genomes are crucial for understanding the molecular basis and evolution of these traits. Here we incorporated long-read sequencing and state-of-the-art scaffolding protocols1 to generate, to our knowledge, the first reference-quality genomes of six bat species (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Rousettus aegyptiacus, Phyllostomus discolor, Myotis myotis, Pipistrellus kuhlii and Molossus molossus). We integrated gene projections from our ‘Tool to infer Orthologs from Genome Alignments’ (TOGA) software with de novo and homology gene predictions as well as short- and long-read transcriptomics to generate highly complete gene annotations. To resolve the phylogenetic position of bats within Laurasiatheria, we applied several phylogenetic methods to comprehensive sets of orthologous protein-coding and noncoding regions of the genome, and identified a basal origin for bats within Scrotifera. Our genome-wide screens revealed positive selection on hearing-related genes in the ancestral branch of bats, which is indicative of laryngeal echolocation being an ancestral trait in this clade. We found selection and loss of immunity-related genes (including pro-inflammatory NF-κB regulators) and expansions of anti-viral APOBEC3 genes, which highlights molecular mechanisms that may contribute to the exceptional immunity of bats. Genomic integrations of diverse viruses provide a genomic record of historical tolerance to viral infection in bats. Finally, we found and experimentally validated bat-specific variation in microRNAs, which may regulate bat-specific gene-expression programs. Our reference-quality bat genomes provide the resources required to uncover and validate the genomic basis of adaptations of bats, and stimulate new avenues of research that are directly relevant to human health and disease

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  • Jessop, A., & Chang, F. (2020). Thematic role information is maintained in the visual object-tracking system. Quarterly journal of experimental psychology, 73(1), 146-163. doi:10.1177%2F1747021819882842.

    Abstract

    Thematic roles characterise the functions of participants in events, but there is no agreement on how these roles are identified in the real world. In three experiments, we examined how role identification in push events is supported by the visual object-tracking system. Participants saw one to three push events in visual scenes with nine identical randomly moving circles. After a period of random movement, two circles from one of the push events and a foil object were given different colours and the participants had to identify their roles in the push with an active sentence, such as red pushed blue. It was found that the participants could track the agent and patient targets and generate descriptions that identified their roles at above chance levels, even under difficult conditions, such as when tracking multiple push events (Experiments 1–3), fixating their gaze (Experiment 1), performing a concurrent speeded-response task (Experiment 2), and when tracking objects that were temporarily invisible (Experiment 3). The results were consistent with previous findings of an average tracking capacity limit of four objects, individual differences in this capacity, and the use of attentional strategies. The studies demonstrated that thematic role information can be maintained when tracking the identity of visually identical objects, then used to map role fillers (e.g., the agent of a push event) into their appropriate sentence positions. This suggests that thematic role features are stored temporarily in the visual object-tracking system.
  • Jongman, S. R., Roelofs, A., & Lewis, A. G. (2020). Attention for speaking: Prestimulus motor-cortical alpha power predicts picture naming latencies. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(5), 747-761. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01513.

    Abstract

    There is a range of variability in the speed with which a single speaker will produce the same word from one instance to another. Individual differences studies have shown that the speed of production and the ability to maintain attention are related. This study investigated whether fluctuations in production latencies can be explained by spontaneous fluctuations in speakers' attention just prior to initiating speech planning. A relationship between individuals' incidental attentional state and response performance is well attested in visual perception, with lower prestimulus alpha power associated with faster manual responses. Alpha is thought to have an inhibitory function: Low alpha power suggests less inhibition of a specific brain region, whereas high alpha power suggests more inhibition. Does the same relationship hold for cognitively demanding tasks such as word production? In this study, participants named pictures while EEG was recorded, with alpha power taken to index an individual's momentary attentional state. Participants' level of alpha power just prior to picture presentation and just prior to speech onset predicted subsequent naming latencies. Specifically, higher alpha power in the motor system resulted in faster speech initiation. Our results suggest that one index of a lapse of attention during speaking is reduced inhibition of motor-cortical regions: Decreased motor-cortical alpha power indicates reduced inhibition of this area while early stages of production planning unfold, which leads to increased interference from motor-cortical signals and longer naming latencies. This study shows that the language production system is not impermeable to the influence of attention.
  • Jongman, S. R., Piai, V., & Meyer, A. S. (2020). Planning for language production: The electrophysiological signature of attention to the cue to speak. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(7), 915-932. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1690153.

    Abstract

    In conversation, speech planning can overlap with listening to the interlocutor. It has been postulated that once there is enough information to formulate a response, planning is initiated and the response is maintained in working memory. Concurrently, the auditory input is monitored for the turn end such that responses can be launched promptly. In three EEG experiments, we aimed to identify the neural signature of phonological planning and monitoring by comparing delayed responding to not responding (reading aloud, repetition and lexical decision). These comparisons consistently resulted in a sustained positivity and beta power reduction over posterior regions. We argue that these effects reflect attention to the sequence end. Phonological planning and maintenance were not detected in the neural signature even though it is highly likely these were taking place. This suggests that EEG must be used cautiously to identify response planning when the neural signal is overridden by attention effects
  • Jongman, S. R., Khoe, Y. H., & Hintz, F. (2020). Vocabulary size influences spontaneous speech in native language users: Validating the use of automatic speech recognition in individual differences research. Language and Speech. Advance online publication. 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.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Effects and non-effects of late language exposure on spatial language development: Evidence from deaf adults and children. Language Learning and Development. Advance online publication. 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.
  • Kastens, K. (2020). The Jerome Bruner Library treasure. In M. E. Poulsen (Ed.), The Jerome Bruner Library: From New York to Nijmegen (pp. 29-34). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • Kaufeld, G., Naumann, W., Meyer, A. S., Bosker, H. R., & Martin, A. E. (2020). Contextual speech rate influences morphosyntactic prediction and integration. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(7), 933-948. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1701691.

    Abstract

    Understanding spoken language requires the integration and weighting of multiple cues, and may call on cue integration mechanisms that have been studied in other areas of perception. In the current study, we used eye-tracking (visual-world paradigm) to examine how contextual speech rate (a lower-level, perceptual cue) and morphosyntactic knowledge (a higher-level, linguistic cue) are iteratively combined and integrated. Results indicate that participants used contextual rate information immediately, which we interpret as evidence of perceptual inference and the generation of predictions about upcoming morphosyntactic information. Additionally, we observed that early rate effects remained active in the presence of later conflicting lexical information. This result demonstrates that (1) contextual speech rate functions as a cue to morphosyntactic inferences, even in the presence of subsequent disambiguating information; and (2) listeners iteratively use multiple sources of information to draw inferences and generate predictions during speech comprehension. We discuss the implication of these demonstrations for theories of language processing
  • Kaufeld, G., Ravenschlag, A., Meyer, A. S., Martin, A. E., & Bosker, H. R. (2020). Knowledge-based and signal-based cues are weighted flexibly during spoken language comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(3), 549-562. doi:10.1037/xlm0000744.

    Abstract

    During spoken language comprehension, listeners make use of both knowledge-based and signal-based sources of information, but little is known about how cues from these distinct levels of representational hierarchy are weighted and integrated online. In an eye-tracking experiment using the visual world paradigm, we investigated the flexible weighting and integration of morphosyntactic gender marking (a knowledge-based cue) and contextual speech rate (a signal-based cue). We observed that participants used the morphosyntactic cue immediately to make predictions about upcoming referents, even in the presence of uncertainty about the cue’s reliability. Moreover, we found speech rate normalization effects in participants’ gaze patterns even in the presence of preceding morphosyntactic information. These results demonstrate that cues are weighted and integrated flexibly online, rather than adhering to a strict hierarchy. We further found rate normalization effects in the looking behavior of participants who showed a strong behavioral preference for the morphosyntactic gender cue. This indicates that rate normalization effects are robust and potentially automatic. We discuss these results in light of theories of cue integration and the two-stage model of acoustic context effects
  • Kaufeld, G., Bosker, H. R., Ten Oever, S., Alday, P. M., Meyer, A. S., & Martin, A. E. (2020). Linguistic structure and meaning organize neural oscillations into a content-specific hierarchy. Journal of Neuroscience, 49(2), 9467-9475. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0302-20.2020.

    Abstract

    Neural oscillations track linguistic information during speech comprehension (e.g., Ding et al., 2016; Keitel et al., 2018), and are known to be modulated by acoustic landmarks and speech intelligibility (e.g., Doelling et al., 2014; Zoefel & VanRullen, 2015). However, studies investigating linguistic tracking have either relied on non-naturalistic isochronous stimuli or failed to fully control for prosody. Therefore, it is still unclear whether low frequency activity tracks linguistic structure during natural speech, where linguistic structure does not follow such a palpable temporal pattern. Here, we measured electroencephalography (EEG) and manipulated the presence of semantic and syntactic information apart from the timescale of their occurrence, while carefully controlling for the acoustic-prosodic and lexical-semantic information in the signal. EEG was recorded while 29 adult native speakers (22 women, 7 men) listened to naturally-spoken Dutch sentences, jabberwocky controls with morphemes and sentential prosody, word lists with lexical content but no phrase structure, and backwards acoustically-matched controls. Mutual information (MI) analysis revealed sensitivity to linguistic content: MI was highest for sentences at the phrasal (0.8-1.1 Hz) and lexical timescale (1.9-2.8 Hz), suggesting that the delta-band is modulated by lexically-driven combinatorial processing beyond prosody, and that linguistic content (i.e., structure and meaning) organizes neural oscillations beyond the timescale and rhythmicity of the stimulus. This pattern is consistent with neurophysiologically inspired models of language comprehension (Martin, 2016, 2020; Martin & Doumas, 2017) where oscillations encode endogenously generated linguistic content over and above exogenous or stimulus-driven timing and rhythm information.
  • Kendrick, K. H., Brown, P., Dingemanse, M., Floyd, S., Gipper, S., Hayano, K., Hoey, E., Hoymann, G., Manrique, E., Rossi, G., & Levinson, S. C. (2020). Sequence organization: A universal infrastructure for social action. Journal of Pragmatics, 168, 119-138. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2020.06.009.

    Abstract

    This article makes the case for the universality of the sequence organization observable in informal human conversational interaction. Using the descriptive schema developed by Schegloff (2007), we examine the major patterns of action-sequencing in a dozen nearly all unrelated languages. What we find is that these patterns are instantiated in very similar ways for the most part right down to the types of different action sequences. There are also some notably different cultural exploitations of the patterns, but the patterns themselves look strongly universal. Recent work in gestural communication in the great apes suggests that sequence organization may have been a crucial route into the development of language. Taken together with the fundamental role of this organization in language acquisition, sequential behavior of this kind seems to have both phylogenetic and ontogenetic priority, which probably puts substantial functional pressure on language form.

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  • Kidd, E., & Donnelly, S. (2020). Individual differences in first language acquisition. Annual Review of Linguistics, 6, 319-340. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-011619-030326.

    Abstract

    Humans vary in almost every dimension imaginable, and language is no exception. In this article, we review the past research that has focused on individual differences (IDs) in first language acquisition. We first consider how different theoretical traditions in language acquisition treat IDs, and we argue that a focus on IDs is important given its potential to reveal the developmental dynamics and architectural constraints of the linguistic system. We then review IDs research that has examined variation in children’s linguistic input, early speech perception, and vocabulary and grammatical development. In each case, we observe systematic and meaningful variation, such that variation in one domain (e.g., early auditory and speech processing) has meaningful developmental consequences for development in higher-order domains (e.g., vocabulary). The research suggests a high degree of integration across the linguistic system, in which development across multiple linguistic domains is tightly coupled.
  • Kidd, E., Bigood, A., Donnelly, S., Durrant, S., Peter, M. S., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). Individual differences in first language acquisition and their theoretical implications. In C. F. Rowland, A. L. Theakston, B. Ambridge, & K. E. Twomey (Eds.), Current Perspectives on Child Language Acquisition: How children use their environment to learn (pp. 189-219). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:10.1075/tilar.27.09kid.

    Abstract

    Much of Lieven’s pioneering work has helped move the study of individual differences to the centre of child language research. The goal of the present chapter is to illustrate how the study of individual differences provides crucial insights into the language acquisition process. In part one, we summarise some of the evidence showing how pervasive individual differences are across the whole of the language system; from gestures to morphosyntax. In part two, we describe three causal factors implicated in explaining individual differences, which, we argue, must be built into any theory of language acquisition (intrinsic differences in the neurocognitive learning mechanisms, the child’s communicative environment, and developmental cascades in which each new linguistic skill that the child has to acquire depends critically on the prior acquisition of foundational abilities). In part three, we present an example study on the role of the speed of linguistic processing on vocabulary development, which illustrates our approach to individual differences. The results show evidence of a changing relationship between lexical processing speed and vocabulary over developmental time, perhaps as a result of the changing nature of the structure of the lexicon. The study thus highlights the benefits of an individual differences approach in building, testing, and constraining theories of language acquisition.
  • Kidd, E., Arciuli, J., Christiansen, M. H., Isbilen, E. S., Revius, K., & Smithson, M. (2020). Measuring children’s auditory statistical learning via serial recall. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 200: 104964. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2020.104964.

    Abstract

    Statistical learning (SL) has been a prominent focus of research in developmental and adult populations, guided by the assumption that it is a fundamental component of learning underlying higher-order cognition. In developmental populations, however, there have been recent concerns regarding the degree to which many current tasks reliably measure SL, particularly in younger children. In the current article, we present the results of two studies that measured auditory statistical learning (ASL) of linguistic stimuli in children aged 5–8 years. Children listened to 6 min of continuous syllables comprising four trisyllabic pseudowords. Following the familiarization phase, children completed (a) a two-alternative forced-choice task and (b) a serial recall task in which they repeated either target sequences embedded during familiarization or foils, manipulated for sequence length. Results showed that, although both measures consistently revealed learning at the group level, the recall task better captured learning across the full range of abilities and was more reliable at the individual level. We conclude that, as has also been demonstrated in adults, the method holds promise for future studies of individual differences in ASL of linguistic stimuli.
  • Kim, N., Brehm, L., Sturt, P., & Yoshida, M. (2020). How long can you hold the filler: Maintenance and retrieval. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(1), 17-42. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1626456.

    Abstract

    This study attempts to reveal the mechanisms behind the online formation of Wh-Filler-Gap Dependencies (WhFGD). Specifically, we aim to uncover the way in which maintenance and retrieval work in WhFGD processing, by paying special attention to the information that is retrieved when the gap is recognized. We use the agreement attraction phenomenon (Wagers, M. W., Lau, E. F., & Phillips, C. (2009). Agreement attraction in comprehension: Representations and processes. Journal of Memory and Language, 61(2), 206-237) as a probe. The first and second experiments examined the type of information that is maintained and how maintenance is motivated, investigating the retrieved information at the gap for reactivated fillers and definite NPs. The third experiment examined the role of the retrieval, comparing reactivated and active fillers. We contend that the information being accessed reflects the extent to which the filler is maintained, where the reader is able to access fine-grained information including category information as well as a representation of both the head and the modifier at the verb.

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  • Knudsen, B., Creemers, A., & Meyer, A. S. (2020). Forgotten little words: How backchannels and particles may facilitate speech planning in conversation? Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 593671. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.593671.

    Abstract

    In everyday conversation, turns often follow each other immediately or overlap in time. It has been proposed that speakers achieve this tight temporal coordination between their turns by engaging in linguistic dual-tasking, i.e., by beginning to plan their utterance during the preceding turn. This raises the question of how speakers manage to co-ordinate speech planning and listening with each other. Experimental work addressing this issue has mostly concerned the capacity demands and interference arising when speakers retrieve some content words while listening to others. However, many contributions to conversations are not content words, but backchannels, such as “hm”. Backchannels do not provide much conceptual content and are therefore easy to plan and respond to. To estimate how much they might facilitate speech planning in conversation, we determined their frequency in a Dutch and a German corpus of conversational speech. We found that 19% of the contributions in the Dutch corpus, and 16% of contributions in the German corpus were backchannels. In addition, many turns began with fillers or particles, most often translation equivalents of “yes” or “no,” which are likewise easy to plan.We proposed that to generate comprehensive models of using language in conversation psycholinguists should study not only the generation and processing of content words, as is commonly done, but also consider backchannels, fillers, and particles.
  • Kong, X., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Joliot, M., Fedorenko, E., Liu, J., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2020). Gene expression correlates of the cortical network underlying sentence processing. Neurobiology of Language. Advance publication. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00004.

    Abstract

    A pivotal question in modern neuroscience is which genes regulate brain circuits that underlie cognitive functions. However, the field is still in its infancy. Here we report an integrated investigation of the high-level language network (i.e., sentence processing network) in the human cerebral cortex, combining regional gene expression profiles, task fMRI, large-scale neuroimaging meta-analysis, and resting-state functional network approaches. We revealed reliable gene expression-functional network correlations using three different network definition strategies, and identified a consensus set of genes related to connectivity within the sentence-processing network. The genes involved showed enrichment for neural development and actin-related functions, as well as association signals with autism, which can involve disrupted language functioning. Our findings help elucidate the molecular basis of the brain’s infrastructure for language. The integrative approach described here will be useful to study other complex cognitive traits.
  • Kong, X., Postema, M., Guadalupe, T., De Kovel, C. G. F., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Hoogman, M., Mathias, S. R., Van Rooij, D., Schijven, D., Glahn, D. C., Medland, S. E., Jahanshad, N., Thomopoulos, S. I., Turner, J. A., Buitelaar, J., Van Erp, T. G. M., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Schmaal, L. and 2 moreKong, X., Postema, M., Guadalupe, T., De Kovel, C. G. F., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Hoogman, M., Mathias, S. R., Van Rooij, D., Schijven, D., Glahn, D. C., Medland, S. E., Jahanshad, N., Thomopoulos, S. I., Turner, J. A., Buitelaar, J., Van Erp, T. G. M., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Schmaal, L., Thompson, P. M., & Francks, C. (2020). Mapping brain asymmetry in health and disease through the ENIGMA consortium. Human Brain Mapping. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/hbm.25033.

    Abstract

    Left-right asymmetry of the human brain is one of its cardinal features, and also a complex, multivariate trait. Decades of research have suggested that brain asymmetry may be altered in psychiatric disorders. However, findings have been inconsistent and often based on small sample sizes. There are also open questions surrounding which structures are asymmetrical on average in the healthy population, and how variability in brain asymmetry relates to basic biological variables such as age and sex. Over the last four years, the ENIGMA-Laterality Working Group has published six studies of grey matter morphological asymmetry based on total sample sizes from roughly 3,500 to 17,000 individuals, which were between one and two orders of magnitude larger than those published in previous decades. A population-level mapping of average asymmetry was achieved, including an intriguing fronto-occipital gradient of cortical thickness asymmetry in healthy brains. ENIGMA’s multidataset approach also supported an empirical illustration of reproducibility of hemispheric differences across datasets. Effect sizes were estimated for grey matter asymmetry based on large, international, samples in relation to age, sex, handedness, and brain volume, as well as for three psychiatric disorders:Autism Spectrum Disorder was associated with subtly reduced asymmetry of cortical thickness at regions spread widely over the cortex; Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder was associated with altered subcortical asymmetry; Major Depressive Disorder was not significantly associated with changes of asymmetry. Ongoing studies are examining brain asymmetry in other disorders. Moreover, a groundwork has been laid for possibly identifying shared genetic contributions to brain asymmetry and disorders.
  • Kong, X., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Abe, Y., Alonso, P., Ameis, S. H., Arnold, P. D., Assogna, F., Baker, J. T., Batistuzzo, M. C., Benedetti, F., Beucke, J. C., Bollettini, I., Bose, A., Brem, S., Brennan, B. P., Buitelaar, J., Calvo, R., Cheng, Y., Cho, K. I. K., Dallaspezia, S. and 71 moreKong, X., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Abe, Y., Alonso, P., Ameis, S. H., Arnold, P. D., Assogna, F., Baker, J. T., Batistuzzo, M. C., Benedetti, F., Beucke, J. C., Bollettini, I., Bose, A., Brem, S., Brennan, B. P., Buitelaar, J., Calvo, R., Cheng, Y., Cho, K. I. K., Dallaspezia, S., Denys, D., Ely, B. A., Feusner, J., Fitzgerald, K. D., Fouche, J.-P., Fridgeirsson, E. A., Glahn, D. C., Gruner, P., Gürsel, D. A., Hauser, T. U., Hirano, Y., Hoexter, M. Q., Hu, H., Huyser, C., James, A., Jaspers-Fayer, F., Kathmann, N., Kaufmann, C., Koch, K., Kuno, M., Kvale, G., Kwon, J. S., Lazaro, L., Liu, Y., Lochner, C., Marques, P., Marsh, R., Martínez-Zalacaín, I., Mataix-Cols, D., Medland, S. E., Menchón, J. M., Minuzzi, L., Moreira, P. S., Morer, A., Morgado, P., Nakagawa, A., Nakamae, T., Nakao, T., Narayanaswamy, J. C., Nurmi, E. L., O'Neill, J., Pariente, J. C., Perriello, C., Piacentini, J., Piras, F., Piras, F., Pittenger, C., Reddy, Y. J., Rus-Oswald, O. G., Sakai, Y., Sato, J. R., Schmaal, L., Simpson, H. B., Soreni, N., Soriano-Mas, C., Spalletta, G., Stern, E. R., Stevens, M. C., Stewart, S. E., Szeszko, P. R., Tolin, D. F., Tsuchiyagaito, A., Van Rooij, D., Van Wingen, G. A., Venkatasubramanian, G., Wang, Z., Yun, J.-Y., ENIGMA-OCD Working Group, Thompson, P. M., Stein, D. J., Van den Heuvel, O. A., & Francks, C. (2020). Mapping cortical and subcortical asymmetry in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Findings from the ENIGMA Consortium. Biological Psychiatry, 87(12), 1022-1034. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.04.022.

    Abstract

    Objective Lateralized dysfunction has been suggested in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). However, it is currently unclear whether OCD is characterized by abnormal patterns of structural brain asymmetry. Here we carried out by far the largest study of brain structural asymmetry in OCD. Method We studied a collection of 16 pediatric datasets (501 OCD patients and 439 healthy controls), as well as 30 adult datasets (1777 patients and 1654 controls) from the OCD Working Group within the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro-Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) consortium. Asymmetries of the volumes of subcortical structures, and of regional cortical thickness and surface area measures, were assessed based on T1-weighted MRI scans, using harmonized image analysis and quality control protocols. We investigated possible alterations of brain asymmetry in OCD patients. We also explored potential associations of asymmetry with specific aspects of the disorder and medication status. Results In the pediatric datasets, the largest case-control differences were observed for volume asymmetry of the thalamus (more leftward; Cohen’s d = 0.19) and the pallidum (less leftward; d = -0.21). Additional analyses suggested putative links between these asymmetry patterns and medication status, OCD severity, and/or anxiety and depression comorbidities. No significant case-control differences were found in the adult datasets. Conclusions The results suggest subtle changes of the average asymmetry of subcortical structures in pediatric OCD, which are not detectable in adults with the disorder. These findings may reflect altered neurodevelopmental processes in OCD.
  • Kong, X., ENIGMA Laterality Working Group, & Francks, C. (2020). Reproducibility in the absence of selective reporting: An illustration from large‐scale brain asymmetry research. Human Brain Mapping. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/hbm.25154.

    Abstract

    The problem of poor reproducibility of scientific findings has received much attention over recent years, in a variety of fields including psychology and neuroscience. The problem has been partly attributed to publication bias and unwanted practices such as p‐hacking. Low statistical power in individual studies is also understood to be an important factor. In a recent multisite collaborative study, we mapped brain anatomical left–right asymmetries for regional measures of surface area and cortical thickness, in 99 MRI datasets from around the world, for a total of over 17,000 participants. In the present study, we revisited these hemispheric effects from the perspective of reproducibility. Within each dataset, we considered that an effect had been reproduced when it matched the meta‐analytic effect from the 98 other datasets, in terms of effect direction and significance threshold. In this sense, the results within each dataset were viewed as coming from separate studies in an “ideal publishing environment,” that is, free from selective reporting and p hacking. We found an average reproducibility rate of 63.2% (SD = 22.9%, min = 22.2%, max = 97.0%). As expected, reproducibility was higher for larger effects and in larger datasets. Reproducibility was not obviously related to the age of participants, scanner field strength, FreeSurfer software version, cortical regional measurement reliability, or regional size. These findings constitute an empirical illustration of reproducibility in the absence of publication bias or p hacking, when assessing realistic biological effects in heterogeneous neuroscience data, and given typically‐used sample sizes.
  • König, C. J., Langer, M., Fell, C. B., Pathak, R. D., Bajwa, N. u. H., Derous, E., Geißler, S. M., Hirose, S., Hülsheger, U., Javakhishvili, N., Junges, N., Knudsen, B., Lee, M. S. W., Mariani, M. G., Nag, G. C., Petrescu, C., Robie, C., Rohorua, H., Sammel, L. D., Schichtel, D. and 4 moreKönig, C. J., Langer, M., Fell, C. B., Pathak, R. D., Bajwa, N. u. H., Derous, E., Geißler, S. M., Hirose, S., Hülsheger, U., Javakhishvili, N., Junges, N., Knudsen, B., Lee, M. S. W., Mariani, M. G., Nag, G. C., Petrescu, C., Robie, C., Rohorua, H., Sammel, L. D., Schichtel, D., Titov, S., Todadze, K., von Lautz, A. H., & Ziem, M. (2020). Economic predictors of differences in interview faking between countries: Economic inequality matters, not the state of economy. Applied Psychology. doi:10.1111/apps.12278.

    Abstract

    Many companies recruit employees from different parts of the globe, and faking behavior by potential employees is a ubiquitous phenomenon. It seems that applicants from some countries are more prone to faking compared to others, but the reasons for these differences are largely unexplored. This study relates country-level economic variables to faking behavior in hiring processes. In a cross-national study across 20 countries, participants (N = 3839) reported their faking behavior in their last job interview. This study used the random response technique (RRT) to ensure participants anonymity and to foster honest answers regarding faking behavior. Results indicate that general economic indicators (gross domestic product per capita [GDP] and unemployment rate) show negligible correlations with faking across the countries, whereas economic inequality is positively related to the extent of applicant faking to a substantial extent. These findings imply that people are sensitive to inequality within countries and that inequality relates to faking, because inequality might actuate other psychological processes (e.g., envy) which in turn increase the probability for unethical behavior in many forms.
  • Kösem, A., Bosker, H. R., Jensen, O., Hagoort, P., & Riecke, L. (2020). Biasing the perception of spoken words with transcranial alternating current stimulation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(8), 1428-1437. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01579.

    Abstract

    Recent neuroimaging evidence suggests that the frequency of entrained oscillations in auditory cortices influences the perceived duration of speech segments, impacting word perception (Kösem et al. 2018). We further tested the causal influence of neural entrainment frequency during speech processing, by manipulating entrainment with continuous transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) at distinct oscillatory frequencies (3 Hz and 5.5 Hz) above the auditory cortices. Dutch participants listened to speech and were asked to report their percept of a target Dutch word, which contained a vowel with an ambiguous duration. Target words were presented either in isolation (first experiment) or at the end of spoken sentences (second experiment). We predicted that the tACS frequency would influence neural entrainment and therewith how speech is perceptually sampled, leading to a perceptual over- or underestimation of the vowel’s duration. Whereas results from Experiment 1 did not confirm this prediction, results from experiment 2 suggested a small effect of tACS frequency on target word perception: Faster tACS lead to more long-vowel word percepts, in line with the previous neuroimaging findings. Importantly, the difference in word perception induced by the different tACS frequencies was significantly larger in experiment 1 vs. experiment 2, suggesting that the impact of tACS is dependent on the sensory context. tACS may have a stronger effect on spoken word perception when the words are presented in continuous speech as compared to when they are isolated, potentially because prior (stimulus-induced) entrainment of brain oscillations might be a prerequisite for tACS to be effective.
  • Kyriacou, M., Conklin, K., & Thompson, D. (2020). Passivizability of idioms: Has the wrong tree been barked up? Language and Speech, 63(2), 404-435. doi:10.1177/0023830919847691.

    Abstract

    A growing number of studies support the partial compositionality of idiomatic phrases, while idioms are thought to vary in their syntactic flexibility. Some idioms, like kick the bucket, have been classified as inflexible and incapable of being passivized without losing their figurative interpretation (i.e., the bucket was kicked ≠ died). Crucially, this has never been substantiated by empirical findings. In the current study, we used eye-tracking to examine whether the passive forms of (flexible and inflexible) idioms retain or lose their figurative meaning. Active and passivized idioms (he kicked the bucket/the bucket was kicked) and incongruous active and passive control phrases (he kicked the apple/the apple was kicked) were inserted in sentences biasing the figurative meaning of the respective idiom (die). Active idioms served as a baseline. We hypothesized that if passivized idioms retain their figurative meaning (the bucket was kicked = died), they should be processed more efficiently than the control phrases, since their figurative meaning would be congruous in the context. If, on the other hand, passivized idioms lose their figurative interpretation (the bucket was kicked = the pail was kicked), then their meaning should be just as incongruous as that of both control phrases, in which case we would expect no difference in their processing. Eye movement patterns demonstrated a processing advantage for passivized idioms (flexible and inflexible) over control phrases, thus indicating that their figurative meaning was not compromised. These findings challenge classifications of idiom flexibility and highlight the creative nature of language.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Linnenschmidt, M., Mardus, E., Vernes, S. C., Wiegrebe, L., & Schutte, M. (2020). Impact of auditory feedback on bat vocal development. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 249-251). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z. (2020). Vocal learning in the pale spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus discolor. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z., Vernes, S. C., & Wiegrebe, L. (2020). Vocal production learning in the pale spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus discolor. Biology Letters, 16: 20190928. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2019.0928.

    Abstract

    Vocal production learning (VPL), or the ability to modify vocalizations through the imitation of sounds, is a rare trait in the animal kingdom. While humans are exceptional vocal learners, few other mammalian species share this trait. Owing to their singular ecology and lifestyle, bats are highly specialized for the precise emission and reception of acoustic signals. This specialization makes them ideal candidates for the study of vocal learning, and several bat species have previously shown evidence supportive of vocal learning. Here we use a sophisticated automated set-up and a contingency training paradigm to explore the vocal learning capacity of pale spear-nosed bats. We show that these bats are capable of directional change of the fundamental frequency of their calls according to an auditory target. With this study, we further highlight the importance of bats for the study of vocal learning and provide evidence for the VPL capacity of the pale spear-nosed bat.

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  • Lei, L., Raviv, L., & Alday, P. M. (2020). Using spatial visualizations and real-world social networks to understand language evolution and change. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 252-254). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Lemhöfer, K., Schriefers, H., & Indefrey, P. (2020). Syntactic processing in L2 depends on perceived reliability of the input: Evidence from P600 responses to correct input. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(10), 1948-1965. doi:10.1037/xlm0000895.

    Abstract

    In 3 ERP experiments, we investigated how experienced L2 speakers process natural and correct syntactic input that deviates from their own, sometimes incorrect, syntactic representations. Our previous study (Lemhöfer, Schriefers, & Indefrey, 2014) had shown that L2 speakers do engage in native-like syntactic processing of gender agreement but base this processing on their own idiosyncratic (and sometimes incorrect) grammars. However, as in other standard ERP studies, but different from realistic L2 input, the materials in that study contained a large proportion of incorrect sentences. In the present study, German speakers of Dutch read exclusively objectively correct Dutch sentences that did or did not contain subjective determiner “errors” (e.g., de boot “the boat,” which conflicts with the intuition of many German speakers that the correct phrase should be het boot). During reading for comprehension (Experiment 1), no syntax-related ERP responses for subjectively incorrect compared to correct phrases were observed. The same was true even when participants explicitly attended to and learned from the determiners in the sentences (Experiment 2). Only when participants judged the correctness of determiners in each sentence (Experiment 3) did a clear P600 appear. These results suggest that the full and native-like use of subjective grammars, as reflected in the P600 to subjective violations, occurs only when speakers have reason to mistrust the grammaticality of the input, either because of the nature of the task (grammaticality judgments) or because of the salient presence of incorrect sentences.
  • Lev-Ari, S., & Sebanz, N. (2020). Interacting with multiple partners improves communication skills. Cognitive Science, 44(4): e12836. doi:10.1111/cogs.12836.

    Abstract

    Successful communication is important for both society and people’s personal life. Here we show that people can improve their communication skills by interacting with multiple others, and that this improvement seems to come about by a greater tendency to take the addressee’s perspective when there are multiple partners. In Experiment 1, during a training phase, participants described figures to a new partner in each round or to the same partner in all rounds. Then all participants interacted with a new partner and their recordings from that round were presented to naïve listeners. Participants who had interacted with multiple partners during training were better understood. This occurred despite the fact that the partners had not provided the participants with any input other than feedback on comprehension during the interaction. In Experiment 2, participants were asked to provide descriptions to a different future participant in each round or to the same future participant in all rounds. Next they performed a surprise memory test designed to tap memory for global details, in line with the addressee’s perspective. Those who had provided descriptions for multiple future participants performed better. These results indicate that people can improve their communication skills by interacting with multiple people, and that this advantage might be due to a greater tendency to take the addressee’s perspective in such cases. Our findings thus show how the social environment can influence our communication skills by shaping our own behavior during interaction in a manner that promotes the development of our communication skills.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (2020). On becoming a physicist of mind. Annual Review of Linguistics, 6(1), 1-23. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-011619-030256.

    Abstract

    In 1976, the German Max Planck Society established a new research enterprise in psycholinguistics, which became the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I was fortunate enough to be invited to direct this institute. It enabled me, with my background in visual and auditory psychophysics and the theory of formal grammars and automata, to develop a long-term chronometric endeavor to dissect the process of speaking. It led, among other work, to my book Speaking (1989) and to my research team's article in Brain and Behavioral Sciences “A Theory of Lexical Access in Speech Production” (1999). When I later became president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, I helped initiate the Women for Science research project of the Inter Academy Council, a project chaired by my physicist sister at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. As an emeritus I published a comprehensive History of Psycholinguistics (2013). As will become clear, many people inspired and joined me in these undertakings.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (2020). The alpha and omega of Jerome Bruner's contributions to the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. In M. E. Poulsen (Ed.), The Jerome Bruner Library: From New York to Nijmegen (pp. 11-18). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

    Abstract

    Presentation of the official opening of the Jerome Bruner Library, January 8th, 2020
  • Levinson, S. C. (2020). On technologies of the intellect: Goody Lecture 2020. Halle: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.
  • Liang, S., Deng, W., Li, X., Wang, Q., Greenshaw, A. J., Guo, W., Kong, X., Li, M., Zhao, L., Meng, Y., Zhang, C., Yu, H., Li, X.-m., Ma, X., & Li, T. (2020). Aberrant posterior cingulate connectivity classify first-episode schizophrenia from controls: A machine learning study. Schizophrenia Research, 220, 187-193. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2020.03.022.

    Abstract

    Background Posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) is a key aspect of the default mode network (DMN). Aberrant PCC functional connectivity (FC) is implicated in schizophrenia, but the potential for PCC related changes as biological classifier of schizophrenia has not yet been evaluated. Methods We conducted a data-driven approach using resting-state functional MRI data to explore differences in PCC-based region- and voxel-wise FC patterns, to distinguish between patients with first-episode schizophrenia (FES) and demographically matched healthy controls (HC). Discriminative PCC FCs were selected via false discovery rate estimation. A gradient boosting classifier was trained and validated based on 100 FES vs. 93 HC. Subsequently, classification models were tested in an independent dataset of 87 FES patients and 80 HC using resting-state data acquired on a different MRI scanner. Results Patients with FES had reduced connectivity between PCC and frontal areas, left parahippocampal regions, left anterior cingulate cortex, and right inferior parietal lobule, but hyperconnectivity with left lateral temporal regions. Predictive voxel-wise clusters were similar to region-wise selected brain areas functionally connected with PCC in relation to discriminating FES from HC subject categories. Region-wise analysis of FCs yielded a relatively high predictive level for schizophrenia, with an average accuracy of 72.28% in the independent samples, while selected voxel-wise connectivity yielded an accuracy of 68.72%. Conclusion FES exhibited a pattern of both increased and decreased PCC-based connectivity, but was related to predominant hypoconnectivity between PCC and brain areas associated with DMN, that may be a useful differential feature revealing underpinnings of neuropathophysiology for schizophrenia.
  • Liao, Y., Flecken, M., Dijkstra, K., & Zwaan, R. A. (2020). Going places in Dutch and mandarin Chinese: Conceptualising the path of motion cross-linguistically. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(4), 498-520. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1676455.

    Abstract

    We study to what extent linguistic differences in grammatical aspect systems and verb lexicalisation patterns of Dutch and mandarin Chinese affect how speakers conceptualise the path of motion in motion events, using description and memory tasks. We hypothesised that speakers of the two languages would show different preferences towards the selection of endpoint-, trajectory- or location-information in Endpoint-oriented (not reached) events, whilst showing a similar bias towards encoding endpoints in Endpoint-reached events. Our findings show that (1) groups did not differ in endpoint encoding and memory for both event types; (2) Dutch speakers conceptualised Endpoint-oriented motion focusing on the trajectory, whereas Chinese speakers focused on the location of the moving entity. In addition, we report detailed linguistic patterns of how grammatical aspect, verb semantics and adjuncts containing path-information are combined in the two languages. Results are discussed in relation to typologies of motion expression and event cognition theory.

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  • Lingwood, J., Levy, R., Billington, J., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). Barriers and solutions to participation in family-based education interventions. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 23(2), 185-198. doi:10.1080/13645579.2019.1645377.

    Abstract

    The fact that many sub-populations do not take part in research, especially participants fromlower socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds, is a serious problem in education research. Toincrease the participation of such groups we must discover what social, economic andpractical factors prevent participation, and how to overcome these barriers. In the currentpaper, we review the literature on this topic, before describing a case study that demonstratesfour potential solutions to four barriers to participation in a shared reading intervention forfamilies from lower SES backgrounds. We discuss the implications of our findings forfamily-based interventions more generally, and the difficulty of balancing strategies toencourage participation with adhering to the methodological integrity of a research study

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Lingwood, J., Billington, J., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). Evaluating the effectiveness of a ‘real‐world’ shared reading intervention for preschool children and their families: A randomised controlled trial. Journal of Research in Reading, 43(3), 249-271. doi:10.1111/1467-9817.12301.

    Abstract

    Background: Shared reading interventions can impact positively on preschool children’s language development and on their caregiver’s attitudes/behaviours towards reading. However, a number of barriers may discourage families from engaging with these interventions, particularly families from lower socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds. We investigated how families from such backgrounds responded to an intervention designed explicitly to overcome these barriers. Methods: In a preregistered cluster randomised controlled trial, 85 lower SES families and their 3-year-old to 4-year-old children from 10 different preschools were randomly allocated to take part in The Reader’s Shared Reading programme (intervention) or an existing ‘Story Time’ group at a library (control) once a week for 8 weeks. Three outcome measures were assessed at baseline and post intervention: (1) attendance, (2) enjoyment of the reading groups and (3) caregivers’ knowledge of, attitudes and behaviours towards reading. A fourth children’s vocabulary – was assessed at baseline and 4 weeks post intervention. Results: Families were significantly more likely to attend the intervention group and rated it more favourably, compared with the control group. However, there were no significant effects on caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours or on children’s language. Conclusion: The intervention was only successful in engaging families from disadvantaged backgrounds in shared reading. Implications for the use, duration and intensity of shared reading interventions are discussed.

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    Data, scripts and output files
  • Lopopolo, A., Van de Bosch, A., Petersson, K. M., & Willems, R. M. (2020). Distinguishing syntactic operations in the brain: Dependency and phrase-structure parsing. Neurobiology of Language. Advance online publication. 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.
  • MacDonald, K., Räsänen, O., Casillas, M., & Warlaumont, A. S. (2020). Measuring prosodic predictability in children’s home language environments. In S. Denison, M. Mack, Y. Xu, & B. C. Armstrong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Virtual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2020) (pp. 695-701). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Children learn language from the speech in their home environment. Recent work shows that more infant-directed speech (IDS) leads to stronger lexical development. But what makes IDS a particularly useful learning signal? Here, we expand on an attention-based account first proposed by Räsänen et al. (2018): that prosodic modifications make IDS less predictable, and thus more interesting. First, we reproduce the critical finding from Räsänen et al.: that lab-recorded IDS pitch is less predictable compared to adult-directed speech (ADS). Next, we show that this result generalizes to the home language environment, finding that IDS in daylong recordings is also less predictable than ADS but that this pattern is much less robust than for IDS recorded in the lab. These results link experimental work on attention and prosodic modifications of IDS to real-world language-learning environments, highlighting some challenges of scaling up analyses of IDS to larger datasets that better capture children’s actual input.
  • Macuch Silva, V., Holler, J., Ozyurek, A., & Roberts, S. G. (2020). Multimodality and the origin of a novel communication system in face-to-face interaction. Royal Society Open Science, 7: 182056. doi:10.1098/rsos.182056.

    Abstract

    Face-to-face communication is multimodal at its core: it consists of a combination of vocal and visual signalling. However, current evidence suggests that, in the absence of an established communication system, visual signalling, especially in the form of visible gesture, is a more powerful form of communication than vocalisation, and therefore likely to have played a primary role in the emergence of human language. This argument is based on experimental evidence of how vocal and visual modalities (i.e., gesture) are employed to communicate about familiar concepts when participants cannot use their existing languages. To investigate this further, we introduce an experiment where pairs of participants performed a referential communication task in which they described unfamiliar stimuli in order to reduce reliance on conventional signals. Visual and auditory stimuli were described in three conditions: using visible gestures only, using non-linguistic vocalisations only and given the option to use both (multimodal communication). The results suggest that even in the absence of conventional signals, gesture is a more powerful mode of communication compared to vocalisation, but that there are also advantages to multimodality compared to using gesture alone. Participants with an option to produce multimodal signals had comparable accuracy to those using only gesture, but gained an efficiency advantage. The analysis of the interactions between participants showed that interactants developed novel communication systems for unfamiliar stimuli by deploying different modalities flexibly to suit their needs and by taking advantage of multimodality when required.
  • Yu, J., Mailhammer, R., & Cutler, A. (2020). Vocabulary structure affects word recognition: Evidence from German listeners. In N. Minematsu, M. Kondo, T. Arai, & R. Hayashi (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2020 (pp. 474-478). Tokyo: ISCA. doi:10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-97.

    Abstract

    Lexical stress is realised similarly in English, German, and Dutch. On a suprasegmental level, stressed syllables tend to be longer and more acoustically salient than unstressed syllables; segmentally, vowels in unstressed syllables are often reduced. The frequency of unreduced unstressed syllables (where only the suprasegmental cues indicate lack of stress) however, differs across the languages. The present studies test whether listener behaviour is affected by these vocabulary differences, by investigating German listeners’ use of suprasegmental cues to lexical stress in German and English word recognition. In a forced-choice identification task, German listeners correctly assigned single-syllable fragments (e.g., Kon-) to one of two words differing in stress (KONto, konZEPT). Thus, German listeners can exploit suprasegmental information for identifying words. German listeners also performed above chance in a similar task in English (with, e.g., DIver, diVERT), i.e., their sensitivity to these cues also transferred to a nonnative language. An English listener group, in contrast, failed in the English fragment task. These findings mirror vocabulary patterns: German has more words with unreduced unstressed syllables than English does.
  • Mak, M., De Vries, C., & Willems, R. M. (2020). The influence of mental imagery instructions and personality characteristics on reading experiences. Collabra: Psychology, 6(1): 43. doi:10.1525/collabra.281.

    Abstract

    It is well established that readers form mental images when reading a narrative. However, the consequences of mental imagery (i.e. the influence of mental imagery on the way people experience stories) are still unclear. Here we manipulated the amount of mental imagery that participants engaged in while reading short literary stories in two experiments. Participants received pre-reading instructions aimed at encouraging or discouraging mental imagery. After reading, participants answered questions about their reading experiences. We also measured individual trait differences that are relevant for literary reading experiences. The results from the first experiment suggests an important role of mental imagery in determining reading experiences. However, the results from the second experiment show that mental imagery is only a weak predictor of reading experiences compared to individual (trait) differences in how imaginative participants were. Moreover, the influence of mental imagery instructions did not extend to reading experiences unrelated to mental imagery. The implications of these results for the relationship between mental imagery and reading experiences are discussed.
  • Mandal, S., Best, C. T., Shaw, J., & Cutler, A. (2020). Bilingual phonology in dichotic perception: A case study of Malayalam and English voicing. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 5(1): 73. doi:10.5334/gjgl.853.

    Abstract

    Listeners often experience cocktail-party situations, encountering multiple ongoing conversa- tions while tracking just one. Capturing the words spoken under such conditions requires selec- tive attention and processing, which involves using phonetic details to discern phonological structure. How do bilinguals accomplish this in L1-L2 competition? We addressed that question using a dichotic listening task with fluent Malayalam-English bilinguals, in which they were pre- sented with synchronized nonce words, one in each language in separate ears, with competing onsets of a labial stop (Malayalam) and a labial fricative (English), both voiced or both voiceless. They were required to attend to the Malayalam or the English item, in separate blocks, and report the initial consonant they heard. We found that perceptual intrusions from the unattended to the attended language were influenced by voicing, with more intrusions on voiced than voiceless tri- als. This result supports our proposal for the feature specification of consonants in Malayalam- English bilinguals, which makes use of privative features, underspecification and the “standard approach” to laryngeal features, as against “laryngeal realism”. Given this representational account, we observe that intrusions result from phonetic properties in the unattended signal being assimilated to the closest matching phonological category in the attended language, and are more likely for segments with a greater number of phonological feature specifications.
  • Manhardt, F., Ozyurek, A., Sumer, B., Mulder, K., Karadöller, D. Z., & Brouwer, S. (2020). Iconicity in spatial language guides visual attention: A comparison between signers’ and speakers’ eye gaze during message preparation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(9), 1735-1753. doi:10.1037/xlm0000843.

    Abstract

    To talk about space, spoken languages rely on arbitrary and categorical forms (e.g., left, right). In sign languages, however, the visual–spatial modality allows for iconic encodings (motivated form-meaning mappings) of space in which form and location of the hands bear resemblance to the objects and spatial relations depicted. We assessed whether the iconic encodings in sign languages guide visual attention to spatial relations differently than spatial encodings in spoken languages during message preparation at the sentence level. Using a visual world production eye-tracking paradigm, we compared 20 deaf native signers of Sign-Language-of-the-Netherlands and 20 Dutch speakers’ visual attention to describe left versus right configurations of objects (e.g., “pen is to the left/right of cup”). Participants viewed 4-picture displays in which each picture contained the same 2 objects but in different spatial relations (lateral [left/right], sagittal [front/behind], topological [in/on]) to each other. They described the target picture (left/right) highlighted by an arrow. During message preparation, signers, but not speakers, experienced increasing eye-gaze competition from other spatial configurations. This effect was absent during picture viewing prior to message preparation of relational encoding. Moreover, signers’ visual attention to lateral and/or sagittal relations was predicted by the type of iconicity (i.e., object and space resemblance vs. space resemblance only) in their spatial descriptions. Findings are discussed in relation to how “thinking for speaking” differs from “thinking for signing” and how iconicity can mediate the link between language and human experience and guides signers’ but not speakers’ attention to visual aspects of the world.

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  • The ManyBabies Consortium (2020). Quantifying sources of variability in infancy research using the infant-directed speech preference. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 30(1), 24-52. doi:10.1177/2515245919900809.

    Abstract

    Psychological scientists have become increasingly concerned with issues related to methodology and replicability, and infancy researchers in particular face specific challenges related to replicability: For example, high-powered studies are difficult to conduct, testing conditions vary across labs, and different labs have access to different infant populations. Addressing these concerns, we report on a large-scale, multisite study aimed at (a) assessing the overall replicability of a single theoretically important phenomenon and (b) examining methodological, cultural, and developmental moderators. We focus on infants’ preference for infant-directed speech (IDS) over adult-directed speech (ADS). Stimuli of mothers speaking to their infants and to an adult in North American English were created using seminaturalistic laboratory-based audio recordings. Infants’ relative preference for IDS and ADS was assessed across 67 laboratories in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia using the three common methods for measuring infants’ discrimination (head-turn preference, central fixation, and eye tracking). The overall meta-analytic effect size (Cohen’s d) was 0.35, 95% confidence interval = [0.29, 0.42], which was reliably above zero but smaller than the meta-analytic mean computed from previous literature (0.67). The IDS preference was significantly stronger in older children, in those children for whom the stimuli matched their native language and dialect, and in data from labs using the head-turn preference procedure. Together, these findings replicate the IDS preference but suggest that its magnitude is modulated by development, native-language experience, and testing procedure.

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  • Martin, A. E. (2020). A compositional neural architecture for language. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(8), 1407-1427. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01552.

    Abstract

    Hierarchical structure and compositionality imbue human language with unparalleled expressive power and set it apart from other perception–action systems. However, neither formal nor neurobiological models account for how these defining computational properties might arise in a physiological system. I attempt to reconcile hierarchy and compositionality with principles from cell assembly computation in neuroscience; the result is an emerging theory of how the brain could convert distributed perceptual representations into hierarchical structures across multiple timescales while representing interpretable incremental stages of (de) compositional meaning. The model's architecture—a multidimensional coordinate system based on neurophysiological models of sensory processing—proposes that a manifold of neural trajectories encodes sensory, motor, and abstract linguistic states. Gain modulation, including inhibition, tunes the path in the manifold in accordance with behavior and is how latent structure is inferred. As a consequence, predictive information about upcoming sensory input during production and comprehension is available without a separate operation. The proposed processing mechanism is synthesized from current models of neural entrainment to speech, concepts from systems neuroscience and category theory, and a symbolic-connectionist computational model that uses time and rhythm to structure information. I build on evidence from cognitive neuroscience and computational modeling that suggests a formal and mechanistic alignment between structure building and neural oscillations and moves toward unifying basic insights from linguistics and psycholinguistics with the currency of neural computation.
  • Maslowski, M., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2020). Eye-tracking the time course of distal and global speech rate effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 46(10), 1148-1163. doi:10.1037/xhp0000838.

    Abstract

    To comprehend speech sounds, listeners tune in to speech rate information in the proximal (immediately adjacent), distal (non-adjacent), and global context (further removed preceding and following sentences). Effects of global contextual speech rate cues on speech perception have been shown to follow constraints not found for proximal and distal speech rate. Therefore, listeners may process such global cues at distinct time points during word recognition. We conducted a printed-word eye-tracking experiment to compare the time courses of distal and global rate effects. Results indicated that the distal rate effect emerged immediately after target sound presentation, in line with a general-auditory account. The global rate effect, however, arose more than 200 ms later than the distal rate effect, indicating that distal and global context effects involve distinct processing mechanisms. Results are interpreted in a two-stage model of acoustic context effects. This model posits that distal context effects involve very early perceptual processes, while global context effects arise at a later stage, involving cognitive adjustments conditioned by higher-level information.
  • McQueen, J. M., Eisner, F., Burgering, M. A., & Vroomen, J. (2020). Specialized memory systems for learning spoken words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(1), 189-199. doi:10.1037/xlm0000704.

    Abstract

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

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  • Mengede, J., Devanna, P., Hörpel, S., Firzla, U., & Vernes, S. C. (2020). Studying the genetic bases of vocal learning in bats. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 280-282). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Meyer, L., Sun, Y., & Martin, A. E. (2020). “Entraining” to speech, generating language? Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(9), 1138-1148. doi:10.1080/23273798.2020.1827155.

    Abstract

    Could meaning be read from acoustics, or from the refraction rate of pyramidal cells innervated by the cochlea, everyone would be an omniglot. Speech does not contain sufficient acoustic cues to identify linguistic units such as morphemes, words, and phrases without prior knowledge. Our target article (Meyer, L., Sun, Y., & Martin, A. E. (2019). Synchronous, but not entrained: Exogenous and endogenous cortical rhythms of speech and language processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2019.1693050) thus questioned the concept of “entrainment” of neural oscillations to such units. We suggested that synchronicity with these points to the existence of endogenous functional “oscillators”—or population rhythmic activity in Giraud’s (2020) terms—that underlie the inference, generation, and prediction of linguistic units. Here, we address a series of inspirational commentaries by our colleagues. As apparent from these, some issues raised by our target article have already been raised in the literature. Psycho– and neurolinguists might still benefit from our reply, as “oscillations are an old concept in vision and motor functions, but a new one in linguistics” (Giraud, A.-L. 2020. Oscillations for all A commentary on Meyer, Sun & Martin (2020). Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 1–8).
  • Meyer, L., Sun, Y., & Martin, A. E. (2020). Synchronous, but not entrained: Exogenous and endogenous cortical rhythms of speech and language processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(9), 1089-1099. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1693050.

    Abstract

    Research on speech processing is often focused on a phenomenon termed “entrainment”, whereby the cortex shadows rhythmic acoustic information with oscillatory activity. Entrainment has been observed to a range of rhythms present in speech; in addition, synchronicity with abstract information (e.g. syntactic structures) has been observed. Entrainment accounts face two challenges: First, speech is not exactly rhythmic; second, synchronicity with representations that lack a clear acoustic counterpart has been described. We propose that apparent entrainment does not always result from acoustic information. Rather, internal rhythms may have functionalities in the generation of abstract representations and predictions. While acoustics may often provide punctate opportunities for entrainment, internal rhythms may also live a life of their own to infer and predict information, leading to intrinsic synchronicity – not to be counted as entrainment. This possibility may open up new research avenues in the psycho– and neurolinguistic study of language processing and language development.
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2020). Between-language competition as a driving force in foreign language attrition. Cognition, 198: 104218. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104218.

    Abstract

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

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  • Mickan, A., & Lemhöfer, K. (2020). Tracking syntactic conflict between languages over the course of L2 acquisition: A cross-sectional event-related potential study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(5), 822-846. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01528.

    Abstract

    One challenge of learning a foreign language (L2) in adulthood is the mastery of syntactic structures that are implemented differently in L2 and one's native language (L1). Here, we asked how L2 speakers learn to process syntactic constructions that are in direct conflict between L1 and L2, in comparison to structures without such a conflict. To do so, we measured EEG during sentence reading in three groups of German learners of Dutch with different degrees of L2 experience (from 3 to more than 18 months of L2 immersion) as well as a control group of Dutch native speakers. They read grammatical and ungrammatical Dutch sentences that, in the conflict condition, contained a structure with opposing word orders in Dutch and German (sentence-final double infinitives) and, in the no-conflict condition, a structure for which word order is identical in Dutch and German (subordinate clause inversion). Results showed, first, that beginning learners showed N400-like signatures instead of the expected P600 for both types of violations, suggesting that, in the very early stages of learning, different neurocognitive processes are employed compared with native speakers, regardless of L1–L2 similarity. In contrast, both advanced and intermediate learners already showed native-like P600 signatures for the no-conflict sentences. However, their P600 signatures were significantly delayed in processing the conflicting structure, even though behavioral performance was on a native level for both these groups and structures. These findings suggest that L1–L2 word order conflicts clearly remain an obstacle to native-like processing, even for advanced L2 learners.
  • Micklos, A., & Walker, B. (2020). Are people sensitive to problems in communication? Cognitive Science, 44(2): e12816. doi:10.1111/cogs.12816.

    Abstract

    Recent research indicates that interpersonal communication is noisy, and that people exhibit considerable insensitivity to problems in communication. Using a dyadic referential communication task, the goal of which is accurate information transfer, this study examined the extent to which interlocutors are sensitive to problems in communication and use other‐initiated repairs (OIRs) to address them. Participants were randomly assigned to dyads (N = 88 participants, or 44 dyads) and tried to communicate a series of recurring abstract geometric shapes to a partner across a text–chat interface. Participants alternated between directing (describing shapes) and matching (interpreting shape descriptions) roles across 72 trials of the task. Replicating prior research, over repeated social interactions communication success improved and the shape descriptions became increasingly efficient. In addition, confidence in having successfully communicated the different shapes increased over trials. Importantly, matchers were less confident on trials in which communication was unsuccessful, communication success was lower on trials that contained an OIR compared to those that did not contain an OIR, and OIR trials were associated with lower Director Confidence. This pattern of results demonstrates that (a) interlocutors exhibit (a degree of) sensitivity to problems in communication, (b) they appropriately use OIRs to address problems in communication, and (c) OIRs signal problems in communication.

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  • Misersky, J., & Redl, T. (2020). A psycholinguistic view on stereotypical and grammatical gender: The effects and remedies. In C. D. J. Bulten, C. F. Perquin-Deelen, M. H. Sinninghe Damsté, & K. J. Bakker (Eds.), Diversiteit. Een multidisciplinaire terreinverkenning (pp. 237-255). Deventer: Wolters Kluwer.
  • Mongelli, V. (2020). The role of neural feedback in language unification: How awareness affects combinatorial processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Montero-Melis, G., & Jaeger, T. F. (2020). Changing expectations mediate adaptation in L2 production. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(3), 602-617. doi:10.1017/S1366728919000506.

    Abstract

    Native language (L1) processing draws on implicit expectations. An open question is whether non-native learners of a second language (L2) similarly draw on expectations, and whether these expectations are based on learners’ L1 or L2 knowledge. We approach this question by studying inverse preference effects on lexical encoding. L1 and L2 speakers of Spanish described motion events, while they were either primed to express path, manner, or neither. In line with other work, we find that L1 speakers adapted more strongly after primes that are unexpected in their L1. For L2 speakers, adaptation depended on their L2 proficiency: The least proficient speakers exhibited the inverse preference effect on adaptation based on what was unexpected in their L1; but the more proficient speakers were, the more they exhibited inverse preference effects based on what was unexpected in the L2. We discuss implications for L1 transfer and L2 acquisition.
  • Montero-Melis, G., Isaksson, P., Van Paridon, J., & Ostarek, M. (2020). Does using a foreign language reduce mental imagery? Cognition, 196: 104134. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104134.

    Abstract

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

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  • Mudd, K., Lutzenberger, H., De Vos, C., Fikkert, P., Crasborn, O., & De Boer, B. (2020). How does social structure shape language variation? A case study of the Kata Kolok lexicon. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 302-304). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Muhinyi, A., Hesketh, A., Stewart, A. J., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). Story choice matters for caregiver extra-textual talk during shared reading with preschoolers. Journal of Child Language, 47(3), 633-654. doi:10.1017/S0305000919000783.

    Abstract

    This study aimed to examine the influence of the complexity of the story-book on caregiver extra-textual talk (i.e., interactions beyond text reading) during shared reading with preschool-age children. Fifty-three mother–child dyads (3;00–4;11) were video-recorded sharing two ostensibly similar picture-books: a simple story (containing no false belief) and a complex story (containing a false belief central to the plot, which provided content that was more challenging for preschoolers to understand). Book-reading interactions were transcribed and coded. Results showed that the complex stories facilitated more extra-textual talk from mothers, and a higher quality of extra-textual talk (as indexed by linguistic richness and level of abstraction). Although the type of story did not affect the number of questions mothers posed, more elaborative follow-ups on children's responses were provided by mothers when sharing complex stories. Complex stories may facilitate more and linguistically richer caregiver extra-textual talk, having implications for preschoolers’ developing language abilities.
  • Nielsen, A. K. S., & Dingemanse, M. (2020). Iconicity in word learning and beyond: A critical review. Language and Speech. Advance online publication. 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., Arkhipova, Y., & Rodríguez-Gómez, P. (2020). Anticipating words during spoken discourse comprehension: A large-scale, pre-registered replication study using brain potentials. Cortex, 133, 1-36. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2020.09.007.

    Abstract

    Numerous studies report brain potential evidence for the anticipation of specific words during language comprehension. In the most convincing demonstrations, highly predictable nouns exert an influence on processing even before they appear to a reader or listener, as indicated by the brain's neural response to a prenominal adjective or article when it mismatches the expectations about the upcoming noun. However, recent studies suggest that some well-known demonstrations of prediction may be hard to replicate. This could signal the use of data-contingent analysis, but might also mean that readers and listeners do not always use prediction-relevant information in the way that psycholinguistic theories typically suggest. To shed light on this issue, we performed a close replication of one of the best-cited ERP studies on word anticipation (Van Berkum, Brown, Zwitserlood, Kooijman & Hagoort, 2005; Experiment 1), in which participants listened to Dutch spoken mini-stories. In the original study, the marking of grammatical gender on pre-nominal adjectives (‘groot/grote’) elicited an early positivity when mismatching the gender of an unseen, highly predictable noun, compared to matching gender. The current pre-registered study involved that same manipulation, but used a novel set of materials twice the size of the original set, an increased sample size (N = 187), and Bayesian mixed-effects model analyses that better accounted for known sources of variance than the original. In our study, mismatching gender elicited more negative voltage than matching gender at posterior electrodes. However, this N400-like effect was small in size and lacked support from Bayes Factors. In contrast, we successfully replicated the original's noun effects. While our results yielded some support for prediction, they do not support the Van Berkum et al. effect and highlight the risks associated with commonly employed data-contingent analyses and small sample sizes. Our results also raise the question whether Dutch listeners reliably or consistently use adjectival inflection information to inform their noun predictions.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Barr, D. J., Bartolozzi, F., Busch-Moreno, S., Darley, E., Donaldson, D. I., Ferguson, H. J., Fu, X., Heyselaar, E., Huettig, F., Husband, E. M., Ito, A., Kazanina, N., Kogan, V., Kohút, Z., Kulakova, E., Mézière, D., Politzer-Ahles, S., Rousselet, G., Rueschemeyer, S.-A. and 3 moreNieuwland, M. S., Barr, D. J., Bartolozzi, F., Busch-Moreno, S., Darley, E., Donaldson, D. I., Ferguson, H. J., Fu, X., Heyselaar, E., Huettig, F., Husband, E. M., Ito, A., Kazanina, N., Kogan, V., Kohút, Z., Kulakova, E., Mézière, D., Politzer-Ahles, S., Rousselet, G., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., Segaert, K., Tuomainen, J., & Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn, S. (2020). Dissociable effects of prediction and integration during language comprehension: Evidence from a large-scale study using brain potentials. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 375: 20180522. doi:10.1098/rstb.2018.0522.

    Abstract

    Composing sentence meaning is easier for predictable words than for unpredictable words. Are predictable words genuinely predicted, or simply more plausible and therefore easier to integrate with sentence context? We addressed this persistent and fundamental question using data from a recent, large-scale (N = 334) replication study, by investigating the effects of word predictability and sentence plausibility on the N400, the brain’s electrophysiological index of semantic processing. A spatiotemporally fine-grained mixed-effects multiple regression analysis revealed overlapping effects of predictability and plausibility on the N400, albeit with distinct spatiotemporal profiles. Our results challenge the view that the predictability-dependent N400 reflects the effects of either prediction or integration, and suggest that semantic facilitation of predictable words arises from a cascade of processes that activate and integrate word meaning with context into a sentence-level meaning.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Kazanina, N. (2020). The neural basis of linguistic prediction: Introduction to the special issue. Neuropsychologia, 146: 107532. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107532.
  • Noble, C., Cameron-Faulkner, T., Jessop, A., Coates, A., Sawyer, H., Taylor-Ims, R., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). The impact of interactive shared book reading on children's language skills: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 63(6), 1878-1897. doi:10.1044/2020_JSLHR-19-00288.

    Abstract

    Purpose: Research has indicated that interactive shared book reading can support a wide range of early language skills and that children who are read to regularly in the early years learn language faster, enter school with a larger vocabulary, and become more successful readers at school. Despite the large volume of research suggesting interactive shared reading is beneficial for language development, two fundamental issues remain outstanding: whether shared book reading interventions are equally effective (a) for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds and (b) for a range of language skills. Method: To address these issues, we conducted a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of two 6-week interactive shared reading interventions on a range of language skills in children across the socioeconomic spectrum. One hundred and fifty children aged between 2;6 and 3;0 (years;months) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a pause reading, a dialogic reading, or an active shared reading control condition. Results: The findings indicated that the interventions were effective at changing caregiver reading behaviors. However, the interventions did not boost children’s language skills over and above the effect of an active reading control condition. There were also no effects of socioeconomic status. Conclusion: This randomized controlled trial showed that caregivers from all socioeconomic backgrounds successfully adopted an interactive shared reading style. However, while the interventions were effective at increasing caregivers’ use of interactive shared book reading behaviors, this did not have a significant impact on the children’s language skills. The findings are discussed in terms of practical implications and future research.

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  • Ortega, G., Ozyurek, A., & Peeters, D. (2020). Iconic gestures serve as manual cognates in hearing second language learners of a sign language: An ERP study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(3), 403-415. doi:10.1037/xlm0000729.

    Abstract

    When learning a second spoken language, cognates, words overlapping in form and meaning with one’s native language, help breaking into the language one wishes to acquire. But what happens when the to-be-acquired second language is a sign language? We tested whether hearing nonsigners rely on their gestural repertoire at first exposure to a sign language. Participants saw iconic signs with high and low overlap with the form of iconic gestures while electrophysiological brain activity was recorded. Upon first exposure, signs with low overlap with gestures elicited enhanced positive amplitude in the P3a component compared to signs with high overlap. This effect disappeared after a training session. We conclude that nonsigners generate expectations about the form of iconic signs never seen before based on their implicit knowledge of gestures, even without having to produce them. Learners thus draw from any available semiotic resources when acquiring a second language, and not only from their linguistic experience
  • Ortega, G., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Systematic mappings between semantic categories and types of iconic representations in the manual modality: A normed database of silent gesture. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 51-67. doi:10.3758/s13428-019-01204-6.

    Abstract

    An unprecedented number of empirical studies have shown that iconic gestures—those that mimic the sensorimotor attributes of a referent—contribute significantly to language acquisition, perception, and processing. However, there has been a lack of normed studies describing generalizable principles in gesture production and in comprehension of the mappings of different types of iconic strategies (i.e., modes of representation; Müller, 2013). In Study 1 we elicited silent gestures in order to explore the implementation of different types of iconic representation (i.e., acting, representing, drawing, and personification) to express concepts across five semantic domains. In Study 2 we investigated the degree of meaning transparency (i.e., iconicity ratings) of the gestures elicited in Study 1. We found systematicity in the gestural forms of 109 concepts across all participants, with different types of iconicity aligning with specific semantic domains: Acting was favored for actions and manipulable objects, drawing for nonmanipulable objects, and personification for animate entities. Interpretation of gesture–meaning transparency was modulated by the interaction between mode of representation and semantic domain, with some couplings being more transparent than others: Acting yielded higher ratings for actions, representing for object-related concepts, personification for animate entities, and drawing for nonmanipulable entities. This study provides mapping principles that may extend to all forms of manual communication (gesture and sign). This database includes a list of the most systematic silent gestures in the group of participants, a notation of the form of each gesture based on four features (hand configuration, orientation, placement, and movement), each gesture’s mode of representation, iconicity ratings, and professionally filmed videos that can be used for experimental and clinical endeavors.
  • Ortega, G., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Types of iconicity and combinatorial strategies distinguish semantic categories in silent gesture. Language and Cognition, 12(1), 84-113. doi:10.1017/langcog.2019.28.

    Abstract

    In this study we explore whether different types of iconic gestures (i.e., acting, drawing, representing) and their combinations are used systematically to distinguish between different semantic categories in production and comprehension. In Study 1, we elicited silent gestures from Mexican and Dutch participants to represent concepts from three semantic categories: actions, manipulable objects, and non-manipulable objects. Both groups favoured the acting strategy to represent actions and manipulable objects; while non-manipulable objects were represented through the drawing strategy. Actions elicited primarily single gestures whereas objects elicited combinations of different types of iconic gestures as well as pointing. In Study 2, a different group of participants were shown gestures from Study 1 and were asked to guess their meaning. Single-gesture depictions for actions were more accurately guessed than for objects. Objects represented through two-gesture combinations (e.g., acting + drawing) were more accurately guessed than objects represented with a single gesture. We suggest iconicity is exploited to make direct links with a referent, but when it lends itself to ambiguity, individuals resort to combinatorial structures to clarify the intended referent. Iconicity and the need to communicate a clear signal shape the structure of silent gestures and this in turn supports comprehension.
  • Ozyurek, A. (2020). From hands to brains: How does human body talk, think and interact in face-to-face language use? In K. Truong, D. Heylen, & M. Czerwinski (Eds.), ICMI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (pp. 1-2). New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. doi:10.1145/3382507.3419442.
  • Parente, F., Conklin, K., Guy, J. M., & Scott, R. (2020). The role of empirical methods in investigating readers’ constructions of authorial creativity in literary reading. Language and Literature: International Journal of Stylistics. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0963947020952200.

    Abstract

    The popularity of literary biographies and the importance publishers place on author publicity materials suggest the concept of an author’s creative intentions is important to readers’ appreciation of literary works. However, the question of how this kind of contextual information informs literary interpretation is contentious. One area of dispute concerns the extent to which readers’ constructions of an author’s creative intentions are text-centred and therefore can adequately be understood by linguistic evidence alone. The current study shows how the relationship between linguistic and contextual factors in readers’ constructions of an author’s creative intentions may be investigated empirically. We use eye-tracking to determine whether readers’ responses to textual features (changes to lexis and punctuation) are affected by prior, extra-textual prompts concerning information about an author’s creative intentions. We showed participants pairs of sentences from Oscar Wilde and Henry James while monitoring their eye movements. The first sentence was followed by a prompt denoting a different attribution (Authorial, Editorial/Publisher and Typographic) for the change that, if present, would appear in the second sentence. After reading the second sentence, participants were asked whether they had detected a change and, if so, to describe it. If the concept of an author’s creative intentions is implicated in literary reading this should influence participants’ reading behaviour and ability to accurately report a change based on the prompt. The findings showed that readers’ noticing of textual variants was sensitive to the prior prompt about its authorship, in the sense of producing an effect on attention and re-reading times. But they also showed that these effects did not follow the pattern predicted of them, based on prior assumptions about readers’ cultures. This last finding points to the importance, as well as the challenges, of further investigating the role of contextual information in readers’ constructions of an author’s creative intentions.
  • Peeters, D., Krahmer, E., & Maes, A. (2020). A conceptual framework for the study of demonstrative reference. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-020-01822-8.

    Abstract

    Language allows us to efficiently communicate about the things in the world around us. Seemingly simple words like this and that are a cornerstone of our capability to refer, as they contribute to guiding the attention of our addressee to the specific entity we are talking about. Such demonstratives are acquired early in life, ubiquitous in everyday talk, often closely tied to our gestural communicative abilities, and present in all spoken languages of the world. Based on a review of recent experimental work, we here introduce a new conceptual framework of demonstrative reference. In the context of this framework, we argue that several physical, psychological, and referent-intrinsic factors dynamically interact to influence whether a speaker will use one demonstrative form (e.g., this) or another (e.g., that) in a given setting. However, the relative influence of these factors themselves is argued to be a function of the cultural language setting at hand, the theory-of-mind capacities of the speaker, and the affordances of the specific context in which the speech event takes place. It is demonstrated that the framework has the potential to reconcile findings in the literature that previously seemed irreconcilable. We show that the framework may to a large extent generalize to instances of endophoric reference (e.g., anaphora) and speculate that it may also describe the specific form and kinematics a speaker’s pointing gesture takes. Testable predictions and novel research questions derived from the framework are presented and discussed.
  • Peeters, D. (2020). Bilingual switching between languages and listeners: Insights from immersive virtual reality. Cognition, 195: 104107. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104107.

    Abstract

    Perhaps the main advantage of being bilingual is the capacity to communicate with interlocutors that have different language backgrounds. In the life of a bilingual, switching interlocutors hence sometimes involves switching languages. We know that the capacity to switch from one language to another is supported by control mechanisms, such as task-set reconfiguration. This study investigates whether similar neurophysiological mechanisms support bilingual switching between different listeners, within and across languages. A group of 48 unbalanced Dutch-English bilinguals named pictures for two monolingual Dutch and two monolingual English life-size virtual listeners in an immersive virtual reality environment. In terms of reaction times, switching languages came at a cost over and above the significant cost of switching from one listener to another. Analysis of event-related potentials showed similar electrophysiological correlates for switching listeners and switching languages. However, it was found that having to switch listeners and languages at the same time delays the onset of lexical processes more than a switch between listeners within the same language. Findings are interpreted in light of the interplay between proactive (sustained inhibition) and reactive (task-set reconfiguration) control in bilingual speech production. It is argued that a possible bilingual advantage in executive control may not be due to the process of switching per se. This study paves the way for the study of bilingual language switching in ecologically valid, naturalistic, experimental settings.

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  • Postema, M., Carrion Castillo, A., Fisher, S. E., Vingerhoets, G., & Francks, C. (2020). The genetics of situs inversus without primary ciliary dyskinesia. Scientific Reports, 10: 3677. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-60589-z.

    Abstract

    Situs inversus (SI), a left-right mirror reversal of the visceral organs, can occur with recessive Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD). However, most people with SI do not have PCD, and the etiology of their condition remains poorly studied. We sequenced the genomes of 15 people with SI, of which six had PCD, as well as 15 controls. Subjects with non-PCD SI in this sample had an elevated rate of left-handedness (five out of nine), which suggested possible developmental mechanisms linking brain and body laterality. The six SI subjects with PCD all had likely recessive mutations in genes already known to cause PCD. Two non-PCD SI cases also had recessive mutations in known PCD genes, suggesting reduced penetrance for PCD in some SI cases. One non-PCD SI case had recessive mutations in PKD1L1, and another in CFAP52 (also known as WDR16). Both of these genes have previously been linked to SI without PCD. However, five of the nine non-PCD SI cases, including three of the left-handers in this dataset, had no obvious monogenic basis for their condition. Environmental influences, or possible random effects in early development, must be considered.

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  • Poulsen, M.-E. (Ed.). (2020). The Jerome Bruner Library: From New York to Nijmegen. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

    Abstract

    Published in September 2020 by the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics to commemorate the arrival and the new beginning of the Jerome Bruner Library in Nijmegen
  • Pouw, W., Paxton, A., Harrison, S. J., & Dixon, J. A. (2020). Acoustic information about upper limb movement in voicing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(21), 11364-11367. doi:10.1073/pnas.2004163117.

    Abstract

    We show that the human voice has complex acoustic qualities that are directly coupled to peripheral musculoskeletal tensioning of the body, such as subtle wrist movements. In this study, human vocalizers produced a steady-state vocalization while rhythmically moving the wrist or the arm at different tempos. Although listeners could only hear but not see the vocalizer, they were able to completely synchronize their own rhythmic wrist or arm movement with the movement of the vocalizer which they perceived in the voice acoustics. This study corroborates recent evidence suggesting that the human voice is constrained by bodily tensioning affecting the respiratory-vocal system. The current results show that the human voice contains a bodily imprint that is directly informative for the interpersonal perception of another’s dynamic physical states.
  • Pouw, W., Wassenburg, S. I., Hostetter, A. B., De Koning, B. B., & Paas, F. (2020). Does gesture strengthen sensorimotor knowledge of objects? The case of the size-weight illusion. Psychological Research, 84(4), 966-980. doi:10.1007/s00426-018-1128-y.

    Abstract

    Co-speech gestures have been proposed to strengthen sensorimotor knowledge related to objects’ weight and manipulability. This pre-registered study (https ://www.osf.io/9uh6q /) was designed to explore how gestures affect memory for sensorimotor information through the application of the visual-haptic size-weight illusion (i.e., objects weigh the same, but are experienced as different in weight). With this paradigm, a discrepancy can be induced between participants’ conscious illusory perception of objects’ weight and their implicit sensorimotor knowledge (i.e., veridical motor coordination). Depending on whether gestures reflect and strengthen either of these types of knowledge, gestures may respectively decrease or increase the magnitude of the size-weight illusion. Participants (N = 159) practiced a problem-solving task with small and large objects that were designed to induce a size-weight illusion, and then explained the task with or without co-speech gesture or completed a control task. Afterwards, participants judged the heaviness of objects from memory and then while holding them. Confirmatory analyses revealed an inverted size-weight illusion based on heaviness judgments from memory and we found gesturing did not affect judgments. However, exploratory analyses showed reliable correlations between participants’ heaviness judgments from memory and (a) the number of gestures produced that simulated actions, and (b) the kinematics of the lifting phases of those gestures. These findings suggest that gestures emerge as sensorimotor imaginings that are governed by the agent’s conscious renderings about the actions they describe, rather than implicit motor routines.
  • Pouw, W., Harrison, S. J., Esteve-Gibert, N., & Dixon, J. A. (2020). Energy flows in gesture-speech physics: The respiratory-vocal system and its coupling with hand gestures. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(3): 1231. doi:10.1121/10.0001730.

    Abstract

    Expressive moments in communicative hand gestures often align with emphatic stress in speech. It has recently been found that acoustic markers of emphatic stress arise naturally during steady-state phonation when upper-limb movements impart physical impulses on the body, most likely affecting acoustics via respiratory activity. In this confirmatory study, participants (N = 29) repeatedly uttered consonant-vowel (/pa/) mono-syllables while moving in particular phase relations with speech, or not moving the upper limbs. This study shows that respiration-related activity is affected by (especially high-impulse) gesturing when vocalizations occur near peaks in physical impulse. This study further shows that gesture-induced moments of bodily impulses increase the amplitude envelope of speech, while not similarly affecting the Fundamental Frequency (F0). Finally, tight relations between respiration-related activity and vocalization were observed, even in the absence of movement, but even more so when upper-limb movement is present. The current findings expand a developing line of research showing that speech is modulated by functional biomechanical linkages between hand gestures and the respiratory system. This identification of gesture-speech biomechanics promises to provide an alternative phylogenetic, ontogenetic, and mechanistic explanatory route of why communicative upper limb movements co-occur with speech in humans. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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  • Pouw, W., & Dixon, J. A. (2020). Gesture networks: Introducing dynamic time warping and network analysis for the kinematic study of gesture ensembles. Discourse Processes, 57(4), 301-319. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2019.1678967.

    Abstract

    We introduce applications of established methods in time-series and network analysis that we jointly apply here for the kinematic study of gesture ensembles. We define a gesture ensemble as the set of gestures produced during discourse by a single person or a group of persons. Here we are interested in how gestures kinematically relate to one another. We use a bivariate time-series analysis called dynamic time warping to assess how similar each gesture is to other gestures in the ensemble in terms of their velocity profiles (as well as studying multivariate cases with gesture velocity and speech amplitude envelope profiles). By relating each gesture event to all other gesture events produced in the ensemble, we obtain a weighted matrix that essentially represents a network of similarity relationships. We can therefore apply network analysis that can gauge, for example, how diverse or coherent certain gestures are with respect to the gesture ensemble. We believe these analyses promise to be of great value for gesture studies, as we can come to understand how low-level gesture features (kinematics of gesture) relate to the higher-order organizational structures present at the level of discourse.

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  • Pouw, W., De Jonge-Hoekstra, L., Harrison, S. J., Paxton, A., & Dixon, J. A. (2020). Gesture-speech physics in fluent speech and rhythmic upper limb movements. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/nyas.14532.

    Abstract

    Communicative hand gestures are often coordinated with prosodic aspects of speech, and salient moments of gestural movement (e.g., quick changes in speed) often co-occur with salient moments in speech (e.g., near peaks in fundamental frequency and intensity). A common understanding is that such gesture and speech coordination is culturally and cognitively acquired, rather than having a biological basis. Recently, however, the biomechanical physical coupling of arm movements to speech movements has been identified as a potentially important factor in understanding the emergence of gesture-speech coordination. Specifically, in the case of steady-state vocalization and mono-syllable utterances, forces produced during gesturing are transferred onto the tensioned body, leading to changes in respiratory-related activity and thereby affecting vocalization F0 and intensity. In the current experiment (N = 37), we extend this previous line of work to show that gesture-speech physics impacts fluent speech, too. Compared with non-movement, participants who are producing fluent self-formulated speech, while rhythmically moving their limbs, demonstrate heightened F0 and amplitude envelope, and such effects are more pronounced for higher-impulse arm versus lower-impulse wrist movement. We replicate that acoustic peaks arise especially during moments of peak-impulse (i.e., the beat) of the movement, namely around deceleration phases of the movement. Finally, higher deceleration rates of higher-mass arm movements were related to higher peaks in acoustics. These results confirm a role for physical-impulses of gesture affecting the speech system. We discuss the implications of gesture-speech physics for understanding of the emergence of communicative gesture, both ontogenetically and phylogenetically.

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    data and analyses
  • Pouw, W., Harrison, S. J., & Dixon, J. A. (2020). Gesture–speech physics: The biomechanical basis for the emergence of gesture–speech synchrony. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 149(2), 391-404. doi:10.1037/xge0000646.

    Abstract

    The phenomenon of gesture–speech synchrony involves tight coupling of prosodic contrasts in gesture movement (e.g., peak velocity) and speech (e.g., peaks in fundamental frequency; F0). Gesture–speech synchrony has been understood as completely governed by sophisticated neural-cognitive mechanisms. However, gesture–speech synchrony may have its original basis in the resonating forces that travel through the body. In the current preregistered study, movements with high physical impact affected phonation in line with gesture–speech synchrony as observed in natural contexts. Rhythmic beating of the arms entrained phonation acoustics (F0 and the amplitude envelope). Such effects were absent for a condition with low-impetus movements (wrist movements) and a condition without movement. Further, movement–phonation synchrony was more pronounced when participants were standing as opposed to sitting, indicating a mediating role for postural stability. We conclude that gesture–speech synchrony has a biomechanical basis, which will have implications for our cognitive, ontogenetic, and phylogenetic understanding of multimodal language.
  • Pouw, W., Paxton, A., Harrison, S. J., & Dixon, J. A. (2020). Reply to Ravignani and Kotz: Physical impulses from upper-limb movements impact the respiratory–vocal system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(38), 23225-23226. doi:10.1073/pnas.2015452117.

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  • Pouw, W., Trujillo, J. P., & Dixon, J. A. (2020). The quantification of gesture–speech synchrony: A tutorial and validation of multimodal data acquisition using device-based and video-based motion tracking. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 723-740. doi:10.3758/s13428-019-01271-9.

    Abstract

    There is increasing evidence that hand gestures and speech synchronize their activity on multiple dimensions and timescales. For example, gesture’s kinematic peaks (e.g., maximum speed) are coupled with prosodic markers in speech. Such coupling operates on very short timescales at the level of syllables (200 ms), and therefore requires high-resolution measurement of gesture kinematics and speech acoustics. High-resolution speech analysis is common for gesture studies, given that field’s classic ties with (psycho)linguistics. However, the field has lagged behind in the objective study of gesture kinematics (e.g., as compared to research on instrumental action). Often kinematic peaks in gesture are measured by eye, where a “moment of maximum effort” is determined by several raters. In the present article, we provide a tutorial on more efficient methods to quantify the temporal properties of gesture kinematics, in which we focus on common challenges and possible solutions that come with the complexities of studying multimodal language. We further introduce and compare, using an actual gesture dataset (392 gesture events), the performance of two video-based motion-tracking methods (deep learning vs. pixel change) against a high-performance wired motion-tracking system (Polhemus Liberty). We show that the videography methods perform well in the temporal estimation of kinematic peaks, and thus provide a cheap alternative to expensive motion-tracking systems. We hope that the present article incites gesture researchers to embark on the widespread objective study of gesture kinematics and their relation to speech.
  • Preisig, B., Sjerps, M. J., Hervais-Adelman, A., Kösem, A., Hagoort, P., & Riecke, L. (2020). Bilateral gamma/delta transcranial alternating current stimulation affects interhemispheric speech sound integration. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(7), 1242-1250. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01498.

    Abstract

    Perceiving speech requires the integration of different speech cues, that is, formants. When the speech signal is split so that different cues are presented to the right and left ear (dichotic listening), comprehension requires the integration of binaural information. Based on prior electrophysiological evidence, we hypothesized that the integration of dichotically presented speech cues is enabled by interhemispheric phase synchronization between primary and secondary auditory cortex in the gamma frequency band. We tested this hypothesis by applying transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACS) bilaterally above the superior temporal lobe to induce or disrupt interhemispheric gamma-phase coupling. In contrast to initial predictions, we found that gamma TACS applied in-phase above the two hemispheres (interhemispheric lag 0°) perturbs interhemispheric integration of speech cues, possibly because the applied stimulation perturbs an inherent phase lag between the left and right auditory cortex. We also observed this disruptive effect when applying antiphasic delta TACS (interhemispheric lag 180°). We conclude that interhemispheric phase coupling plays a functional role in interhemispheric speech integration. The direction of this effect may depend on the stimulation frequency.
  • Puebla, G., Martin, A. E., & Doumas, L. A. A. (2020). The relational processing limits of classic and contemporary neural network models of language processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2020.1821906.

    Abstract

    Whether neural networks can capture relational knowledge is a matter of long-standing controversy. Recently, some researchers have argued that (1) classic connectionist models can handle relational structure and (2) the success of deep learning approaches to natural language processing suggests that structured representations are unnecessary to model human language. We tested the Story Gestalt model, a classic connectionist model of text comprehension, and a Sequence-to-Sequence with Attention model, a modern deep learning architecture for natural language processing. Both models were trained to answer questions about stories based on abstract thematic roles. Two simulations varied the statistical structure of new stories while keeping their relational structure intact. The performance of each model fell below chance at least under one manipulation. We argue that both models fail our tests because they can't perform dynamic binding. These results cast doubts on the suitability of traditional neural networks for explaining relational reasoning and language processing phenomena.

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  • Räsänen, O., Seshadri, S., Lavechin, M., Cristia, A., & Casillas, M. (2020). ALICE: An open-source tool for automatic measurement of phoneme, syllable, and word counts from child-centered daylong recordings. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01460-x.

    Abstract

    Recordings captured by wearable microphones are a standard method for investigating young children’s language environments. A key measure to quantify from such data is the amount of speech present in children’s home environments. To this end, the LENA recorder and software—a popular system for measuring linguistic input—estimates the number of adult words that children may hear over the course of a recording. However, word count estimation is challenging to do in a language-independent manner; the relationship between observable acoustic patterns and language-specific lexical entities is far from uniform across human languages. In this paper, we ask whether some alternative linguistic units, namely phone(me)s or syllables, could be measured instead of, or in parallel with, words in order to achieve improved cross-linguistic applicability and comparability of an automated system for measuring child language input. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of measuring different units from theoretical and technical points of view. We also investigate the practical applicability of measuring such units using a novel system called Automatic LInguistic unit Count Estimator (ALICE) together with audio from seven child-centered daylong audio corpora from diverse cultural and linguistic environments. We show that language-independent measurement of phoneme counts is somewhat more accurate than syllables or words, but all three are highly correlated with human annotations on the same data. We share an open-source implementation of ALICE for use by the language research community, allowing automatic phoneme, syllable, and word count estimation from child-centered audio recordings.
  • Rasenberg, M., Ozyurek, A., & Dingemanse, M. (2020). Alignment in multimodal interaction: An integrative framework. Cognitive Science, 44(11): e12911. doi:10.1111/cogs.12911.

    Abstract

    When people are engaged in social interaction, they can repeat aspects of each other’s communicative behavior, such as words or gestures. This kind of behavioral alignment has been studied across a wide range of disciplines and has been accounted for by diverging theories. In this paper, we review various operationalizations of lexical and gestural alignment. We reveal that scholars have fundamentally different takes on when and how behavior is considered to be aligned, which makes it difficult to compare findings and draw uniform conclusions. Furthermore, we show that scholars tend to focus on one particular dimension of alignment (traditionally, whether two instances of behavior overlap in form), while other dimensions remain understudied. This hampers theory testing and building, which requires a well‐defined account of the factors that are central to or might enhance alignment. To capture the complex nature of alignment, we identify five key dimensions to formalize the relationship between any pair of behavior: time, sequence, meaning, form, and modality. We show how assumptions regarding the underlying mechanism of alignment (placed along the continuum of priming vs. grounding) pattern together with operationalizations in terms of the five dimensions. This integrative framework can help researchers in the field of alignment and related phenomena (including behavior matching, mimicry, entrainment, and accommodation) to formulate their hypotheses and operationalizations in a more transparent and systematic manner. The framework also enables us to discover unexplored research avenues and derive new hypotheses regarding alignment.
  • Rasenberg, M., Rommers, J., & Van Bergen, G. (2020). Anticipating predictability: An ERP investigation of expectation-managing discourse markers in dialogue comprehension. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(1), 1-16. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1624789.

    Abstract

    n two ERP experiments, we investigated how the Dutch discourse markers eigenlijk “actually”, signalling expectation disconfirmation, and inderdaad “indeed”, signalling expectation confirmation, affect incremental dialogue comprehension. We investigated their effects on the processing of subsequent (un)predictable words, and on the quality of word representations in memory. Participants read dialogues with (un)predictable endings that followed a discourse marker (eigenlijk in Experiment 1, inderdaad in Experiment 2) or a control adverb. We found no strong evidence that discourse markers modulated online predictability effects elicited by subsequently read words. However, words following eigenlijk elicited an enhanced posterior post-N400 positivity compared with words following an adverb regardless of their predictability, potentially reflecting increased processing costs associated with pragmatically driven discourse updating. No effects of inderdaad were found on online processing, but inderdaad seemed to influence memory for (un)predictable dialogue endings. These findings nuance our understanding of how pragmatic markers affect incremental language comprehension.

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  • Rasenberg, M., Dingemanse, M., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Lexical and gestural alignment in interaction and the emergence of novel shared symbols. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 356-358). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Ravignani, A., & Kotz, S. (2020). Breathing, voice and synchronized movement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(38), 23223-23224. doi:10.1073/pnas.2011402117.

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    Pouw_etal_reply.pdf
  • Ravignani, A., Barbieri, C., Flaherty, M., Jadoul, Y., Lattenkamp, E. Z., Little, H., Martins, M., Mudd, K., & Verhoef, T. (Eds.). (2020). The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences. doi:10.17617/2.3190925.

    Additional information

    Link to pdf on EvoLang Website
  • Raviv, L., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (2020). Network structure and the cultural evolution of linguistic structure: A group communication experiment. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 359-361). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Raviv, L. (2020). Language and society: How social pressures shape grammatical structure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Raviv, L., Meyer, A. S., & Lev-Ari, S. (2020). The role of social network structure in the emergence of linguistic structure. Cognitive Science, 44(8): e12876. doi:10.1111/cogs.12876.

    Abstract

    Social network structure has been argued to shape the structure of languages, as well as affect the spread of innovations and the formation of conventions in the community. Specifically, theoretical and computational models of language change predict that sparsely connected communities develop more systematic languages, while tightly knit communities can maintain high levels of linguistic complexity and variability. However, the role of social network structure in the cultural evolution of languages has never been tested experimentally. Here, we present results from a behavioral group communication study, in which we examined the formation of new languages created in the lab by micro‐societies that varied in their network structure. We contrasted three types of social networks: fully connected, small‐world, and scale‐free. We examined the artificial languages created by these different networks with respect to their linguistic structure, communicative success, stability, and convergence. Results did not reveal any effect of network structure for any measure, with all languages becoming similarly more systematic, more accurate, more stable, and more shared over time. At the same time, small‐world networks showed the greatest variation in their convergence, stabilization, and emerging structure patterns, indicating that network structure can influence the community's susceptibility to random linguistic changes (i.e., drift).
  • De Reus, K., Carlson, D., Jadoul, Y., Lowry, A., Gross, S., Garcia, M., Salazar Casals, A., Rubio-García, A., Haas, C. E., De Boer, B., & Ravignani, A. (2020). Relationships between vocal ontogeny and vocal tract anatomy in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 63-66). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Ripperda, J., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2020). Speeding up the detection of non-iconic and iconic gestures (SPUDNIG): A toolkit for the automatic detection of hand movements and gestures in video data. Behavior Research Methods, 52(4), 1783-1794. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01350-2.

    Abstract

    In human face-to-face communication, speech is frequently accompanied by visual signals, especially communicative hand gestures. Analyzing these visual signals requires detailed manual annotation of video data, which is often a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. To facilitate this process, we here present SPUDNIG (SPeeding Up the Detection of Non-iconic and Iconic Gestures), a tool to automatize the detection and annotation of hand movements in video data. We provide a detailed description of how SPUDNIG detects hand movement initiation and termination, as well as open-source code and a short tutorial on an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) of our tool. We then provide a proof-of-principle and validation of our method by comparing SPUDNIG’s output to manual annotations of gestures by a human coder. While the tool does not entirely eliminate the need of a human coder (e.g., for false positives detection), our results demonstrate that SPUDNIG can detect both iconic and non-iconic gestures with very high accuracy, and could successfully detect all iconic gestures in our validation dataset. Importantly, SPUDNIG’s output can directly be imported into commonly used annotation tools such as ELAN and ANVIL. We therefore believe that SPUDNIG will be highly relevant for researchers studying multimodal communication due to its annotations significantly accelerating the analysis of large video corpora.

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    data and materials
  • Rodd, J., Decuyper, C., Bosker, H. R., & Ten Bosch, L. (2020). A tool for efficient and accurate segmentation of speech data: Announcing POnSS. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01449-6.

    Abstract

    Despite advances in automatic speech recognition (ASR), human input is still essential to produce research-grade segmentations of speech data. Con- ventional approaches to manual segmentation are very labour-intensive. We introduce POnSS, a browser-based system that is specialized for the task of segmenting the onsets and offsets of words, that combines aspects of ASR with limited human input. In developing POnSS, we identified several sub- tasks of segmentation, and implemented each of these as separate interfaces for the annotators to interact with, to streamline their task as much as possible. We evaluated segmentations made with POnSS against a base- line of segmentations of the same data made conventionally in Praat. We observed that POnSS achieved comparable reliability to segmentation us- ing Praat, but required 23% less annotator time investment. Because of its greater efficiency without sacrificing reliability, POnSS represents a distinct methodological advance for the segmentation of speech data.
  • Rodd, J., Bosker, H. R., Ernestus, M., Alday, P. M., Meyer, A. S., & Ten Bosch, L. (2020). Control of speaking rate is achieved by switching between qualitatively distinct cognitive ‘gaits’: Evidence from simulation. Psychological Review, 127(2), 281-304. doi:10.1037/rev0000172.

    Abstract

    That speakers can vary their speaking rate is evident, but how they accomplish this has hardly been studied. Consider this analogy: When walking, speed can be continuously increased, within limits, but to speed up further, humans must run. Are there multiple qualitatively distinct speech “gaits” that resemble walking and running? Or is control achieved by continuous modulation of a single gait? This study investigates these possibilities through simulations of a new connectionist computational model of the cognitive process of speech production, EPONA, that borrows from Dell, Burger, and Svec’s (1997) model. The model has parameters that can be adjusted to fit the temporal characteristics of speech at different speaking rates. We trained the model on a corpus of disyllabic Dutch words produced at different speaking rates. During training, different clusters of parameter values (regimes) were identified for different speaking rates. In a 1-gait system, the regimes used to achieve fast and slow speech are qualitatively similar, but quantitatively different. In a multiple gait system, there is no linear relationship between the parameter settings associated with each gait, resulting in an abrupt shift in parameter values to move from speaking slowly to speaking fast. After training, the model achieved good fits in all three speaking rates. The parameter settings associated with each speaking rate were not linearly related, suggesting the presence of cognitive gaits. Thus, we provide the first computationally explicit account of the ability to modulate the speech production system to achieve different speaking styles.

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  • Rodd, J. (2020). How speaking fast is like running: Modelling control of speaking rate. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Rojas-Berscia, L. M., Napurí, A., & Wang, L. (2020). Shawi (Chayahuita). Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 50(3), 417-430. doi:10.1017/S0025100318000415.

    Abstract

    Shawi1 is the language of the indigenous Shawi/Chayahuita people in Northwestern Amazonia, Peru. It belongs to the Kawapanan language family, together with its moribund sister language, Shiwilu. It is spoken by about 21,000 speakers (see Rojas-Berscia 2013) in the provinces of Alto Amazonas and Datem del Marañón in the region of Loreto and in the northern part of the region of San Martín, being one of the most vital languages in the country (see Figure 1).2 Although Shawi groups in the Upper Amazon were contacted by Jesuit missionaries during colonial times, the maintenance of their customs and language is striking. To date, most Shawi children are monolingual and have their first contact with Spanish at school. Yet, due to globalisation and the construction of highways by the Peruvian government, many Shawi villages are progressively westernising. This may result in the imminent loss of their indigenous culture and language.

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