Publications

Displaying 301 - 400 of 8415
  • Verga, L., Schwartze, M., Stapert, S., Winkens, I., & Kotz, S. A. (2021). Dysfunctional timing in traumatic brain injury patients: Co-occurrence of cognitive, motor, and perceptual deficits. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 731898. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.731898.

    Abstract

    Timing is an essential part of human cognition and of everyday life activities, such as walking or holding a conversation. Previous studies showed that traumatic brain injury (TBI) often affects cognitive functions such as processing speed and time-sensitive abilities, causing long-term sequelae as well as daily impairments. However, the existing evidence on timing capacities in TBI is mostly limited to perception and the processing of isolated intervals. It is therefore open whether the observed deficits extend to motor timing and to continuous dynamic tasks that more closely match daily life activities. The current study set out to answer these questions by assessing audio motor timing abilities and their relationship with cognitive functioning in a group of TBI patients (n=15) and healthy matched controls. We employed a comprehensive set of tasks aiming at testing timing abilities across perception and production and from single intervals to continuous auditory sequences. In line with previous research, we report functional impairments in TBI patients concerning cognitive processing speed and perceptual timing. Critically, these deficits extended to motor timing: The ability to adjust to tempo changes in an auditory pacing sequence was impaired in TBI patients, and this motor timing deficit covaried with measures of processing speed. These findings confirm previous evidence on perceptual and cognitive timing deficits resulting from TBI and provide first evidence for comparable deficits in motor behavior. This suggests basic co-occurring perceptual and motor timing impairments that may factor into a wide range of daily activities. Our results thus place TBI into the wider range of pathologies with well-documented timing deficits (such as Parkinson’s disease) and encourage the search for novel timing-based therapeutic interventions (e.g., employing dynamic and/or musical stimuli) with high transfer potential to everyday life activities.

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  • Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Fisher, S. E., Dale, P. S., & St Pourcain, B. (2021). The developmental genetic architecture of vocabulary skills during the first three years of life: Capturing emerging associations with later-life reading and cognition. PLoS Genetics, 17(2): e1009144. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1009144.

    Abstract

    Individual differences in early-life vocabulary measures are heritable and associated with subsequent reading and cognitive abilities, although the underlying mechanisms are little understood. Here, we (i) investigate the developmental genetic architecture of expressive and receptive vocabulary in early-life and (ii) assess timing of emerging genetic associations with mid-childhood verbal and non-verbal skills. We studied longitudinally assessed early-life vocabulary measures (15–38 months) and later-life verbal and non-verbal skills (7–8 years) in up to 6,524 unrelated children from the population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort. We dissected the phenotypic variance of rank-transformed scores into genetic and residual components by fitting multivariate structural equation models to genome-wide genetic-relationship matrices. Our findings show that the genetic architecture of early-life vocabulary involves multiple distinct genetic factors. Two of these genetic factors are developmentally stable and also contribute to genetic variation in mid-childhood skills: One genetic factor emerging with expressive vocabulary at 24 months (path coefficient: 0.32(SE = 0.06)) was also related to later-life reading (path coefficient: 0.25(SE = 0.12)) and verbal intelligence (path coefficient: 0.42(SE = 0.13)), explaining up to 17.9% of the phenotypic variation. A second, independent genetic factor emerging with receptive vocabulary at 38 months (path coefficient: 0.15(SE = 0.07)), was more generally linked to verbal and non-verbal cognitive abilities in mid-childhood (reading path coefficient: 0.57(SE = 0.07); verbal intelligence path coefficient: 0.60(0.10); performance intelligence path coefficient: 0.50(SE = 0.08)), accounting for up to 36.1% of the phenotypic variation and the majority of genetic variance in these later-life traits (≥66.4%). Thus, the genetic foundations of mid-childhood reading and cognitive abilities are diverse. They involve at least two independent genetic factors that emerge at different developmental stages during early language development and may implicate differences in cognitive processes that are already detectable during toddlerhood.

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  • Verhoef, E. (2021). Why do we change how we speak? Multivariate genetic analyses of language and related traits across development and disorder. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Fisher, S. E., Dale, P. S., & St Pourcain, B. (2021). The developmental origins of genetic factors influencing language and literacy: Associations with early-childhood vocabulary. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 62(6), 728-738. doi:10.1111/jcpp.13327.

    Abstract

    Background The heritability of language and literacy skills increases from early‐childhood to adolescence. The underlying mechanisms are little understood and may involve (a) the amplification of genetic influences contributing to early language abilities, and/or (b) the emergence of novel genetic factors (innovation). Here, we investigate the developmental origins of genetic factors influencing mid‐childhood/early‐adolescent language and literacy. We evaluate evidence for the amplification of early‐childhood genetic factors for vocabulary, in addition to genetic innovation processes. Methods Expressive and receptive vocabulary scores at 38 months, thirteen language‐ and literacy‐related abilities and nonverbal cognition (7–13 years) were assessed in unrelated children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, Nindividuals ≤ 6,092). We investigated the multivariate genetic architecture underlying early‐childhood expressive and receptive vocabulary, and each of 14 mid‐childhood/early‐adolescent language, literacy or cognitive skills with trivariate structural equation (Cholesky) models as captured by genome‐wide genetic relationship matrices. The individual path coefficients of the resulting structural models were finally meta‐analysed to evaluate evidence for overarching patterns. Results We observed little support for the emergence of novel genetic sources for language, literacy or cognitive abilities during mid‐childhood or early adolescence. Instead, genetic factors of early‐childhood vocabulary, especially those unique to receptive skills, were amplified and represented the majority of genetic variance underlying many of these later complex skills (≤99%). The most predictive early genetic factor accounted for 29.4%(SE = 12.9%) to 45.1%(SE = 7.6%) of the phenotypic variation in verbal intelligence and literacy skills, but also for 25.7%(SE = 6.4%) in performance intelligence, while explaining only a fraction of the phenotypic variation in receptive vocabulary (3.9%(SE = 1.8%)). Conclusions Genetic factors contributing to many complex skills during mid‐childhood and early adolescence, including literacy, verbal cognition and nonverbal cognition, originate developmentally in early‐childhood and are captured by receptive vocabulary. This suggests developmental genetic stability and overarching aetiological mechanisms.

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  • Verhoef, T., & Ravignani, A. (2021). Melodic universals emerge or are sustained through cultural evolution. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 668300. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.668300.

    Abstract

    To understand why music is structured the way it is, we need an explanation that accounts for both the universality and variability found in musical traditions. Here we test whether statistical universals that have been identified for melodic structures in music can emerge as a result of cultural adaptation to human biases through iterated learning. We use data from an experiment in which artificial whistled systems, where sounds were produced with a slide whistle, were learned by human participants and transmitted multiple times from person to person. These sets of whistled signals needed to be memorized and recalled and the reproductions of one participant were used as the input set for the next. We tested for the emergence of seven different melodic features, such as discrete pitches, motivic patterns, or phrase repetition, and found some evidence for the presence of most of these statistical universals. We interpret this as promising evidence that, similarly to rhythmic universals, iterated learning experiments can also unearth melodic statistical universals. More, ideally cross-cultural, experiments are nonetheless needed. Simulating the cultural transmission of artificial proto-musical systems can help unravel the origins of universal tendencies in musical structures.
  • Verhoef, E., Grove, J., Shapland, C. Y., Demontis, D., Burgess, S., Rai, D., Børglum, A. D., & St Pourcain, B. (2021). Discordant associations of educational attainment with ASD and ADHD implicate a polygenic form of pleiotropy. Nature Communications, 12: 6534. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-26755-1.

    Abstract

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are complex co-occurring neurodevelopmental conditions. Their genetic architectures reveal striking similarities but also differences, including strong, discordant polygenic associations with educational attainment (EA). To study genetic mechanisms that present as ASD-related positive and ADHD-related negative genetic correlations with EA, we carry out multivariable regression analyses using genome-wide summary statistics (N = 10,610–766,345). Our results show that EA-related genetic variation is shared across ASD and ADHD architectures, involving identical marker alleles. However, the polygenic association profile with EA, across shared marker alleles, is discordant for ASD versus ADHD risk, indicating independent effects. At the single-variant level, our results suggest either biological pleiotropy or co-localisation of different risk variants, implicating MIR19A/19B microRNA mechanisms. At the polygenic level, they point to a polygenic form of pleiotropy that contributes to the detectable genome-wide correlation between ASD and ADHD and is consistent with effect cancellation across EA-related regions.

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  • Vernes, S. C., Janik, V. M., Fitch, W. T., & Slater, P. J. B. (Eds.). (2021). Vocal learning in animals and humans [Special Issue]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376.
  • Vernes, S. C., Kriengwatana, B. P., Beeck, V. C., Fischer, J., Tyack, P. L., Ten Cate, C., & Janik, V. M. (2021). The multi-dimensional nature of vocal learning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200236. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0236.

    Abstract

    How learning affects vocalizations is a key question in the study of animal communication and human language. Parallel efforts in birds and humans have taught us much about how vocal learning works on a behavioural and neurobiological level. Subsequent efforts have revealed a variety of cases among mammals in which experience also has a major influence on vocal repertoires. Janik and Slater (Anim. Behav. 60, 1–11. (doi:10.1006/ anbe.2000.1410)) introduced the distinction between vocal usage and pro- duction learning, providing a general framework to categorize how different types of learning influence vocalizations. This idea was built on by Petkov and Jarvis (Front. Evol. Neurosci. 4, 12. (doi:10.3389/fnevo.2012. 00012)) to emphasize a more continuous distribution between limited and more complex vocal production learners. Yet, with more studies providing empirical data, the limits of the initial frameworks become apparent. We build on these frameworks to refine the categorization of vocal learning in light of advances made since their publication and widespread agreement that vocal learning is not a binary trait. We propose a novel classification system, based on the definitions by Janik and Slater, that deconstructs vocal learning into key dimensions to aid in understanding the mechanisms involved in this complex behaviour. We consider how vocalizations can change without learning, and a usage learning framework that considers context specificity and timing. We identify dimensions of vocal production learning, including the copying of auditory models (convergence/ divergence on model sounds, accuracy of copying), the degree of change (type and breadth of learning) and timing (when learning takes place, the length of time it takes and how long it is retained). We consider grey areas of classification and current mechanistic understanding of these beha- viours. Our framework identifies research needs and will help to inform neurobiological and evolutionary studies endeavouring to uncover the multi-dimensional nature of vocal learning. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Vocal learning in animals and humans’.
  • Vernes, S. C., Janik, V. M., Fitch, W. T., & Slater, P. J. B. (2021). Vocal learning in animals and humans. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20200234. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0234.
  • Von Holzen, K., & Bergmann, C. (2021). The development of infants’ responses to mispronunciations: A meta-analysis. Developmental Psychology, 57(1), 1-18. doi:10.1037/dev0001141.

    Abstract

    As they develop into mature speakers of their native language, infants must not only learn words but also the sounds that make up those words. To do so, they must strike a balance between accepting speaker dependent variation (e.g. mood, voice, accent), but appropriately rejecting variation when it (potentially) changes a word's meaning (e.g. cat vs. hat). This meta-analysis focuses on studies investigating infants' ability to detect mispronunciations in familiar words, or mispronunciation sensitivity. Our goal was to evaluate the development of infants' phonological representations for familiar words as well as explore the role of experimental manipulations related to theoretical questions and analysis choices. The results show that although infants are sensitive to mispronunciations, they still accept these altered forms as labels for target objects. Interestingly, this ability is not modulated by age or vocabulary size, suggesting that a mature understanding of native language phonology may be present in infants from an early age, possibly before the vocabulary explosion. These results also support several theoretical assumptions made in the literature, such as sensitivity to mispronunciation size and position of the mispronunciation. We also shed light on the impact of data analysis choices that may lead to different conclusions regarding the development of infants' mispronunciation sensitivity. Our paper concludes with recommendations for improved practice in testing infants' word and sentence processing on-line.
  • Wagner, M. A., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., Dhaene, S., & Lemhöfer, K. (2021). Phonetic convergence to non-native speech: Acoustic and perceptual evidence. Journal of Phonetics, 88: 101076. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2021.101076.

    Abstract

    While the tendency of speakers to align their speech to that of others acoustic-phonetically has been widely studied among native speakers, very few studies have examined whether natives phonetically converge to non-native speakers. Here we measured native Dutch speakers’ convergence to a non-native speaker with an unfamiliar accent in a novel non-interactive task. Furthermore, we assessed the role of participants’ perceptions of the non-native accent in their tendency to converge. In addition to a perceptual measure (AXB ratings), we examined convergence on different acoustic dimensions (e.g., vowel spectra, fricative CoG, speech rate, overall f0) to determine what dimensions, if any, speakers converge to. We further combined these two types of measures to discover what dimensions weighed in raters’ judgments of convergence. The results reveal overall convergence to our non-native speaker, as indexed by both perceptual and acoustic measures. However, the ratings suggest the stronger participants rated the non-native accent to be, the less likely they were to converge. Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that natives can phonetically converge to non-native speech, even without any apparent socio-communicative motivation to do so. We argue that our results are hard to integrate with a purely social view of convergence.
  • Wilkinson, G. S., Adams, D. M., Haghani, A., Lu, A. T., Zoller, J., Breeze, C. E., Arnold, B. D., Ball, H. C., Carter, G. G., Cooper, L. N., Dechmann, D. K. N., Devanna, P., Fasel, N. J., Galazyuk, A. V., Günther, L., Hurme, E., Jones, G., Knörnschild, M., Lattenkamp, E. Z., Li, C. Z. and 14 moreWilkinson, G. S., Adams, D. M., Haghani, A., Lu, A. T., Zoller, J., Breeze, C. E., Arnold, B. D., Ball, H. C., Carter, G. G., Cooper, L. N., Dechmann, D. K. N., Devanna, P., Fasel, N. J., Galazyuk, A. V., Günther, L., Hurme, E., Jones, G., Knörnschild, M., Lattenkamp, E. Z., Li, C. Z., Mayer, F., Reinhardt, J. A., Medellin, R. A., Nagy, M., Pope, B., Power, M. L., Ransome, R. D., Teeling, E. C., Vernes, S. C., Zamora-Mejías, D., Zhang, J., Faure, P. A., Greville, L. J., & Horvath, S. (2021). DNA methylation predicts age and provides insight into exceptional longevity of bats. Nature Communications, 12: 1615. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-21900-2.

    Abstract

    Exceptionally long-lived species, including many bats, rarely show overt signs of aging, making it difficult to determine why species differ in lifespan. Here, we use DNA methylation (DNAm) profiles from 712 known-age bats, representing 26 species, to identify epigenetic changes associated with age and longevity. We demonstrate that DNAm accurately predicts chronological age. Across species, longevity is negatively associated with the rate of DNAm change at age-associated sites. Furthermore, analysis of several bat genomes reveals that hypermethylated age- and longevity-associated sites are disproportionately located in promoter regions of key transcription factors (TF) and enriched for histone and chromatin features associated with transcriptional regulation. Predicted TF binding site motifs and enrichment analyses indicate that age-related methylation change is influenced by developmental processes, while longevity-related DNAm change is associated with innate immunity or tumorigenesis genes, suggesting that bat longevity results from augmented immune response and cancer suppression.

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  • Willems, R. M., & Peelen, M. V. (2021). How context changes the neural basis of perception and language. iScience, 24(5): 102392. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2021.102392.

    Abstract

    Cognitive processes—from basic sensory analysis to language understanding—are typically contextualized. While the importance of considering context for understanding cognition has long been recognized in psychology and philosophy, it has not yet had much impact on cognitive neuroscience research, where cognition is often studied in decontextualized paradigms. Here, we present examples of recent studies showing that context changes the neural basis of diverse cognitive processes, including perception, attention, memory, and language. Within the domains of perception and language, we review neuroimaging results showing that context interacts with stimulus processing, changes activity in classical perception and language regions, and recruits additional brain regions that contribute crucially to naturalistic perception and language. We discuss how contextualized cognitive neuroscience will allow for discovering new principles of the mind and brain.
  • Wolf, M. C., Meyer, A. S., Rowland, C. F., & Hintz, F. (2021). The effects of input modality, word difficulty and reading experience on word recognition accuracy. Collabra: Psychology, 7(1): 24919. doi:10.1525/collabra.24919.

    Abstract

    Language users encounter words in at least two different modalities. Arguably, the most frequent encounters are in spoken or written form. Previous research has shown that – compared to the spoken modality – written language features more difficult words. Thus, frequent reading might have effects on word recognition. In the present study, we investigated 1) whether input modality (spoken, written, or bimodal) has an effect on word recognition accuracy, 2) whether this modality effect interacts with word difficulty, 3) whether the interaction of word difficulty and reading experience impacts word recognition accuracy, and 4) whether this interaction is influenced by input modality. To do so, we re-analysed a dataset that was collected in the context of a vocabulary test development to assess in which modality test words should be presented. Participants had carried out a word recognition task, where non-words and words of varying difficulty were presented in auditory, visual and audio-visual modalities. In addition to this main experiment, participants had completed a receptive vocabulary and an author recognition test to measure their reading experience. Our re-analyses did not reveal evidence for an effect of input modality on word recognition accuracy, nor for interactions with word difficulty or language experience. Word difficulty interacted with reading experience in that frequent readers were more accurate in recognizing difficult words than individuals who read less frequently. Practical implications are discussed.
  • Wongratwanich, P., Shimabukuro, K., Konishi, M., Nagasaki, T., Ohtsuka, M., Suei, Y., Nakamoto, T., Verdonschot, R. G., Kanesaki, T., Sutthiprapaporn, P., & Kakimoto, N. (2021). Do various imaging modalities provide potential early detection and diagnosis of medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw? A review. Dentomaxillofacial Radiology, 50: 20200417. doi:10.1259/dmfr.20200417.

    Abstract

    Objective: Patients with medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) often visit their dentists at advanced stages and subsequently require treatments that greatly affect quality of life. Currently, no clear diagnostic criteria exist to assess MRONJ, and the definitive diagnosis solely relies on clinical bone exposure. This ambiguity leads to a diagnostic delay, complications, and unnecessary burden. This article aims to identify imaging modalities' usage and findings of MRONJ to provide possible approaches for early detection. Methods: Literature searches were conducted using PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Cochrane Library to review all diagnostic imaging modalities for MRONJ. Results: Panoramic radiography offers a fundamental understanding of the lesions. Imaging findings were comparable between non-exposed and exposed MRONJ, showing osteolysis, osteosclerosis, and thickened lamina dura. Mandibular cortex index Class II could be a potential early MRONJ indicator. While three-dimensional modalities, CT and CBCT, were able to show more features unique to MRONJ such as a solid type periosteal reaction, buccal predominance of cortical perforation, and bone-within-bone appearance. MRI signal intensities of vital bones are hypointense on T1WI and hyperintense on T2WI and STIR when necrotic bone shows hypointensity on all T1WI, T2WI, and STIR. Functional imaging is the most sensitive method but is usually performed in metastasis detection rather than being a diagnostic tool for early MRONJ. Conclusion: Currently, MRONJ-specific imaging features cannot be firmly established. However, the current data are valuable as it may lead to a more efficient diagnostic procedure along with a more suitable selection of imaging modalities.
  • Yoshihara, M., Nakayama, M., Verdonschot, R. G., Hino, Y., & Lupker, S. J. (2021). Orthographic properties of distractors do influence phonological Stroop effects: Evidence from Japanese Romaji distractors. Memory & Cognition, 49(3), 600-612. doi:10.3758/s13421-020-01103-8.

    Abstract

    In attempting to understand mental processes, it is important to use a task that appropriately reflects the underlying processes being investigated. Recently, Verdonschot and Kinoshita (Memory & Cognition, 46,410-425, 2018) proposed that a variant of the Stroop task-the "phonological Stroop task"-might be a suitable tool for investigating speech production. The major advantage of this task is that the task is apparently not affected by the orthographic properties of the stimuli, unlike other, commonly used, tasks (e.g., associative-cuing and word-reading tasks). The viability of this proposal was examined in the present experiments by manipulating the script types of Japanese distractors. For Romaji distractors (e.g., "kushi"), color-naming responses were faster when the initial phoneme was shared between the color name and the distractor than when the initial phonemes were different, thereby showing a phoneme-based phonological Stroop effect (Experiment1). In contrast, no such effect was observed when the same distractors were presented in Katakana (e.g., "< ") pound, replicating Verdonschot and Kinoshita's original results (Experiment2). A phoneme-based effect was again found when the Katakana distractors used in Verdonschot and Kinoshita's original study were transcribed and presented in Romaji (Experiment3). Because the observation of a phonemic effectdirectly depended on the orthographic properties of the distractor stimuli, we conclude that the phonological Stroop task is also susceptible to orthographic influences.
  • Zaadnoordijk, L., Buckler, H., Cusack, R., Tsuji, S., & Bergmann, C. (2021). A global perspective on testing infants online: Introducing ManyBabies-AtHome. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 703234. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.703234.

    Abstract

    Online testing holds great promise for infant scientists. It could increase participant diversity, improve reproducibility and collaborative possibilities, and reduce costs for researchers and participants. However, despite the rise of platforms and participant databases, little work has been done to overcome the challenges of making this approach available to researchers across the world. In this paper, we elaborate on the benefits of online infant testing from a global perspective and identify challenges for the international community that have been outside of the scope of previous literature. Furthermore, we introduce ManyBabies-AtHome, an international, multi-lab collaboration that is actively working to facilitate practical and technical aspects of online testing as well as address ethical concerns regarding data storage and protection, and cross-cultural variation. The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to improve the method of testing infants online and make it globally available.
  • Zhang, Y., Ding, R., Frassinelli, D., Tuomainen, J., Klavinskis-Whiting, S., & Vigliocco, G. (2021). Electrophysiological signatures of second language multimodal comprehension. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 2971-2977). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Language is multimodal: non-linguistic cues, such as prosody, gestures and mouth movements, are always present in face-to- face communication and interact to support processing. In this paper, we ask whether and how multimodal cues affect L2 processing by recording EEG for highly proficient bilinguals when watching naturalistic materials. For each word, we quantified surprisal and the informativeness of prosody, gestures, and mouth movements. We found that each cue modulates the N400: prosodic accentuation, meaningful gestures, and informative mouth movements all reduce N400. Further, effects of meaningful gestures but not mouth informativeness are enhanced by prosodic accentuation, whereas effects of mouth are enhanced by meaningful gestures but reduced by beat gestures. Compared with L1, L2 participants benefit less from cues and their interactions, except for meaningful gestures and mouth movements. Thus, in real- world language comprehension, L2 comprehenders use multimodal cues just as L1 speakers albeit to a lesser extent.
  • Zhong, S., Wei, L., Zhao, C., Yang, L., Di, Z., Francks, C., & Gong, G. (2021). Interhemispheric relationship of genetic influence on human brain connectivity. Cerebral Cortex, 31(1), 77-88. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhaa207.

    Abstract

    To understand the origins of interhemispheric differences and commonalities/coupling in human brain wiring, it is crucial to determine how homologous interregional connectivities of the left and right hemispheres are genetically determined and related. To address this, in the present study, we analyzed human twin and pedigree samples with high-quality diffusion magnetic resonance imaging tractography and estimated the heritability and genetic correlation of homologous left and right white matter (WM) connections. The results showed that the heritability of WM connectivity was similar and coupled between the 2 hemispheres and that the degree of overlap in genetic factors underlying homologous WM connectivity (i.e., interhemispheric genetic correlation) varied substantially across the human brain: from complete overlap to complete nonoverlap. Particularly, the heritability was significantly stronger and the chance of interhemispheric complete overlap in genetic factors was higher in subcortical WM connections than in cortical WM connections. In addition, the heritability and interhemispheric genetic correlations were stronger for long-range connections than for short-range connections. These findings highlight the determinants of the genetics underlying WM connectivity and its interhemispheric relationships, and provide insight into genetic basis of WM connectivity asymmetries in both healthy and disease states.

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  • Zhou, W., Broersma, M., & Cutler, A. (2021). Asymmetric memory for birth language perception versus production in young international adoptees. Cognition, 213: 104788. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104788.

    Abstract

    Adults who as children were adopted into a different linguistic community retain knowledge of their birth language. The possession (without awareness) of such knowledge is known to facilitate the (re)learning of birth-language speech patterns; this perceptual learning predicts such adults' production success as well, indicating that the retained linguistic knowledge is abstract in nature. Adoptees' acquisition of their adopted language is fast and complete; birth-language mastery disappears rapidly, although this latter process has been little studied. Here, 46 international adoptees from China aged four to 10 years, with Dutch as their new language, plus 47 matched non-adopted Dutch-native controls and 40 matched non-adopted Chinese controls, undertook across a two-week period 10 blocks of training in perceptually identifying Chinese speech contrasts (one segmental, one tonal) which were unlike any Dutch contrasts. Chinese controls easily accomplished all these tasks. The same participants also provided speech production data in an imitation task. In perception, adoptees and Dutch controls scored equivalently poorly at the outset of training; with training, the adoptees significantly improved while the Dutch controls did not. In production, adoptees' imitations both before and after training could be better identified, and received higher goodness ratings, than those of Dutch controls. The perception results confirm that birth-language knowledge is stored and can facilitate re-learning in post-adoption childhood; the production results suggest that although processing of phonological category detail appears to depend on access to the stored knowledge, general articulatory dimensions can at this age also still be remembered, and may facilitate spoken imitation.

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  • Zinken, J., Kaiser, J., Weidner, M., Mondada, L., Rossi, G., & Sorjonen, M.-L. (2021). Rule talk: Instructing proper play with impersonal deontic statements. Frontiers in Communication, 6: 660394. doi:10.3389/fcomm.2021.660394.

    Abstract

    The present paper explores how rules are enforced and talked about in everyday life. Drawing on a corpus of board game recordings across European languages, we identify a sequential and praxeological context for rule talk. After a game rule is breached, a participant enforces proper play and then formulates a rule with an impersonal deontic statement (e.g. ‘It’s not allowed to do this’). Impersonal deontic statements express what may or may not be done without tying the obligation to a particular individual. Our analysis shows that such statements are used as part of multi-unit and multi-modal turns where rule talk is accomplished through both grammatical and embodied means. Impersonal deontic statements serve multiple interactional goals: they account for having changed another’s behavior in the moment and at the same time impart knowledge for the future. We refer to this complex action as an “instruction”. The results of this study advance our understanding of rules and rule-following in everyday life, and of how resources of language and the body are combined to enforce and formulate rules.
  • Zora, H., Riad, T., Ylinen, S., & Csépe, V. (2021). Phonological variations are compensated at the lexical level: Evidence from auditory neural activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 15: 622904. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2021.622904.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    How listeners handle prosodic cues of linguistic and paralinguistic origin is a central question for spoken communication. In the present EEG study, we addressed this question by examining neural responses to variations in pitch accent (linguistic) and affective (paralinguistic) prosody in Swedish words, using a passive auditory oddball paradigm. The results indicated that changes in pitch accent and affective prosody elicited mismatch negativity (MMN) responses at around 200 ms, confirming the brain’s pre-attentive response to any prosodic modulation. The MMN amplitude was, however, statistically larger to the deviation in affective prosody in comparison to the deviation in pitch accent and affective prosody combined, which is in line with previous research indicating not only a larger MMN response to affective prosody in comparison to neutral prosody but also a smaller MMN response to multidimensional deviants than unidimensional ones. The results, further, showed a significant P3a response to the affective prosody change in comparison to the pitch accent change at around 300 ms, in accordance with previous findings showing an enhanced positive response to emotional stimuli. The present findings provide evidence for distinct neural processing of different prosodic cues, and statistically confirm the intrinsic perceptual and motivational salience of paralinguistic information in spoken communication.
  • Alcock, K., Meints, K., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). The UK communicative development inventories: Words and gestures. Guilford, UK: J&R Press Ltd.
  • Alhama, R. G., Rowland, C. F., & Kidd, E. (2020). Evaluating word embeddings for language acquisition. In E. Chersoni, C. Jacobs, Y. Oseki, L. Prévot, & E. Santus (Eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics (pp. 38-42). Stroudsburg, PA, USA: Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).

    Abstract

    Continuous vector word representations (or word embeddings) have shown success in cap-turing semantic relations between words, as evidenced by evaluation against behavioral data of adult performance on semantic tasks (Pereira et al., 2016). Adult semantic knowl-edge is the endpoint of a language acquisition process; thus, a relevant question is whether these models can also capture emerging word representations of young language learners. However, the data for children’s semantic knowledge across development is scarce. In this paper, we propose to bridge this gap by using Age of Acquisition norms to evaluate word embeddings learnt from child-directed input. We present two methods that evaluate word embeddings in terms of (a) the semantic neighbourhood density of learnt words, and (b) con- vergence to adult word associations. We apply our methods to bag-of-words models, and find that (1) children acquire words with fewer semantic neighbours earlier, and (2) young learners only attend to very local context. These findings provide converging evidence for validity of our methods in understanding the prerequisite features for a distributional model of word learning.
  • Ambridge, B., Rowland, C. F., Theakston, A. L., & Twomey, K. E. (2020). Introduction. 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. 1-7). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:10.1075/tilar.27.int.
  • Ambridge, B., Rowland, C. F., & Gummery, A. (2020). Teaching the unlearnable: A training study of complex yes/no questions. Language and Cognition, 12(2), 385-410. doi:10.1017/langcog.2020.5.

    Abstract

    A central question in language acquisition is how children master sentence types that they have seldom, if ever, heard. Here we report the findings of a pre-registered, randomised, single-blind intervention study designed to test the prediction that, for one such sentence type, complex questions (e.g., Is the crocodile who’s hot eating?), children could combine schemas learned, on the basis of the input, for complex noun phrases (the [THING] who’s [PROPERTY]) and simple questions (Is [THING] [ACTION]ing?) to yield a complex-question schema (Is [the [THING] who’s [PROPERTY]] ACTIONing?). Children aged 4;2 to 6;8 (M = 5;6, SD = 7.7 months) were trained on simple questions (e.g., Is the bird cleaning?) and either (Experimental group, N = 61) complex noun phrases (e.g., the bird who’s sad) or (Control group, N = 61) matched simple noun phrases (e.g., the sad bird). In general, the two groups did not differ on their ability to produce novel complex questions at test. However, the Experimental group did show (a) some evidence of generalising a particular complex NP schema (the [THING] who’s [PROPERTY] as opposed to the [THING] that’s [PROPERTY]) from training to test, (b) a lower rate of auxiliary-doubling errors (e.g., *Is the crocodile who’s hot is eating?), and (c) a greater ability to produce complex questions on the first test trial. We end by suggesting some different methods – specifically artificial language learning and syntactic priming – that could potentially be used to better test the present account.
  • Amora, K. K., Garcia, R., & Gagarina, N. (2020). Tagalog adaptation of the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives: History, process and preliminary results. In N. Gagarina, & J. Lindgren (Eds.), New language versions of MAIN: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives – Revised (pp. 221-233).

    Abstract

    This paper briefly presents the current situation of bilingualism in the Philippines, specifically that of Tagalog-English bilingualism. More importantly, it describes the process of adapting the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (LITMUS-MAIN) to Tagalog, the basis of Filipino, which is the country’s national language. Finally, the results of a pilot study conducted on Tagalog-English bilingual children and adults (N=27) are presented. The results showed that Story Structure is similar across the two languages and that it develops significantly with age.
  • Anichini, M., De Heer Kloots, M., & Ravignani, A. (2020). Interactive rhythms in the wild, in the brain, and in silico. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74(3), 170-175. doi:10.1037/cep0000224.

    Abstract

    There are some historical divisions in methods, rationales, and purposes between studies on comparative cognition and behavioural ecology. In turn, the interaction between these two branches and studies from mathematics, computation and neuroscience is not usual. In this short piece, we attempt to build bridges among these disciplines. We present a series of interconnected vignettes meant to illustrate how a more interdisciplinary approach looks like when successful, and its advantages. Concretely, we focus on a recent topic, namely animal rhythms in interaction, studied under different approaches. We showcase 5 research efforts, which we believe successfully link 5 particular Scientific areas of rhythm research conceptualized as: Social neuroscience, Detailed rhythmic quantification, Ontogeny, Computational approaches and Spontaneous interactions. Our suggestions will hopefully spur a ‘Comparative rhythms in interaction’ field, which can integrate and capitalize on knowledge from zoology, comparative psychology, neuroscience, and computation.
  • Arana, S., Marquand, A., Hulten, A., Hagoort, P., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2020). Sensory modality-independent activation of the brain network for language. The Journal of Neuroscience, 40(14), 2914-2924. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2271-19.2020.

    Abstract

    The meaning of a sentence can be understood, whether presented in written or spoken form. Therefore it is highly probable that brain processes supporting language comprehension are at least partly independent of sensory modality. To identify where and when in the brain language processing is independent of sensory modality, we directly compared neuromagnetic brain signals of 200 human subjects (102 males) either reading or listening to sentences. We used multiset canonical correlation analysis to align individual subject data in a way that boosts those aspects of the signal that are common to all, allowing us to capture word-by-word signal variations, consistent across subjects and at a fine temporal scale. Quantifying this consistency in activation across both reading and listening tasks revealed a mostly left hemispheric cortical network. Areas showing consistent activity patterns include not only areas previously implicated in higher-level language processing, such as left prefrontal, superior & middle temporal areas and anterior temporal lobe, but also parts of the control-network as well as subcentral and more posterior temporal-parietal areas. Activity in this supramodal sentence processing network starts in temporal areas and rapidly spreads to the other regions involved. The findings do not only indicate the involvement of a large network of brain areas in supramodal language processing, but also indicate that the linguistic information contained in the unfolding sentences modulates brain activity in a word-specific manner across subjects.
  • Arshamian, A., Manko, P., & Majid, A. (2020). Limitations in odour simulation may originate from differential sensory embodiment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 375: 20190273. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0273.

    Abstract

    Across diverse lineages, animals communicate using chemosignals, but only humans communicate about chemical signals. Many studies have observed that compared with other sensory modalities, communication about smells is relatively rare and not always reliable. Recent cross-cultural studies, on the other hand, suggest some communities are more olfactorily oriented than previously supposed. Nevertheless, across the globe a general trend emerges where olfactory communication is relatively hard. We suggest here that this is in part because olfactory representations are different in kind: they have a low degree of embodiment, and are not easily expressed as primitives, thereby limiting the mental manipulations that can be performed with them. New exploratory data from Dutch children (9–12 year-olds) and adults support that mental imagery from olfaction is weak in comparison with vision and audition, and critically this is not affected by language development. Specifically, while visual and auditory imagery becomes more vivid with age, olfactory imagery shows no such development. This is consistent with the idea that olfactory representations are different in kind from representations from the other senses.

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  • Asano, Y., Yuan, C., Grohe, A.-K., Weber, A., Antoniou, M., & Cutler, A. (2020). Uptalk interpretation as a function of listening experience. In N. Minematsu, M. Kondo, T. Arai, & R. Hayashi (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2020 (pp. 735-739). Tokyo: ISCA. doi:10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-150.

    Abstract

    The term “uptalk” describes utterance-final pitch rises that carry no sentence-structural information. Uptalk is usually dialectal or sociolectal, and Australian English (AusEng) is particularly known for this attribute. We ask here whether experience with an uptalk variety affects listeners’ ability to categorise rising pitch contours on the basis of the timing and height of their onset and offset. Listeners were two groups of English-speakers (AusEng, and American English), and three groups of listeners with L2 English: one group with Mandarin as L1 and experience of listening to AusEng, one with German as L1 and experience of listening to AusEng, and one with German as L1 but no AusEng experience. They heard nouns (e.g. flower, piano) in the framework “Got a NOUN”, each ending with a pitch rise artificially manipulated on three contrasts: low vs. high rise onset, low vs. high rise offset and early vs. late rise onset. Their task was to categorise the tokens as “question” or “statement”, and we analysed the effect of the pitch contrasts on their judgements. Only the native AusEng listeners were able to use the pitch contrasts systematically in making these categorisations.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Language contact does not drive gesture transfer: Heritage speakers maintain language specific gesture patterns in each language. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(2), 414-428. doi:10.1017/S136672891900018X.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates whether there are changes in gesture rate when speakers of two languages with different gesture rates (Turkish-high gesture; Dutch-low gesture) come into daily contact. We analyzed gestures produced by second-generation heritage speakers of Turkish in the Netherlands in each language, comparing them to monolingual baselines. We did not find differences between bilingual and monolingual speakers, possibly because bilinguals were proficient in both languages and used them frequently – in line with a usage-based approach to language. However, bilinguals produced more deictic gestures than monolinguals in both Turkish and Dutch, which we interpret as a bilingual strategy. Deictic gestures may help organize discourse by placing entities in gesture space and help reduce the cognitive load associated with being bilingual, e.g., inhibition cost. Therefore, gesture rate does not necessarily change in contact situations but might be modulated by frequency of language use, proficiency, and cognitive factors related to being bilingual.
  • Azar, Z., Ozyurek, A., & Backus, A. (2020). Turkish-Dutch bilinguals maintain language-specific reference tracking strategies in elicited narratives. International Journal of Bilingualism, 24(2), 376-409. doi:10.1177/1367006919838375.

    Abstract

    Aim: This paper examines whether second-generation Turkish heritage speakers in the Netherlands follow language-specific patterns of reference tracking in Turkish and Dutch, focusing on discourse status and pragmatic contexts as factors that may modulate the choice of referring expressions (REs), that is, the noun phrase (NP), overt pronoun and null pronoun. Methodology: Two short silent videos were used to elicit narratives from 20 heritage speakers of Turkish, both in Turkish and in Dutch. Monolingual baseline data were collected from 20 monolingually raised speakers of Turkish in Turkey and 20 monolingually raised speakers of Dutch in the Netherlands. We also collected language background data from bilinguals with an extensive survey. Data and analysis: Using generalised logistic mixed-effect regression, we analysed the influence of discourse status and pragmatic context on the choice of subject REs in Turkish and Dutch, comparing bilingual data to the monolingual baseline in each language. Findings: Heritage speakers used overt versus null pronouns in Turkish and stressed versus reduced pronouns in Dutch in pragmatically appropriate contexts. There was, however, a slight increase in the proportions of overt pronouns as opposed to NPs in Turkish and as opposed to null pronouns in Dutch. We suggest an explanation based on the degree of entrenchment of differential RE types in relation to discourse status as the possible source of the increase. Originality: This paper provides data from an understudied language pair in the domain of reference tracking in language contact situations. Unlike several studies of pronouns in language contact, we do not find differences across monolingual and bilingual speakers with regard to pragmatic constraints on overt pronouns in the minority pro-drop language. Significance: Our findings highlight the importance of taking language proficiency and use into account while studying bilingualism and combining formal approaches to language use with usage-based approaches for a more complete understanding of bilingual language production.
  • Azar, Z. (2020). Effect of language contact on speech and gesture: The case of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals in the Netherlands. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Baranova, J. (2020). Reasons for every-day activities. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Barendse, M. T., & Rosseel, Y. (2020). Multilevel modeling in the ‘wide format’ approach with discrete data: A solution for small cluster sizes. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 27(5), 696-721. doi:10.1080/10705511.2019.1689366.

    Abstract

    In multilevel data, units at level 1 are nested in clusters at level 2, which in turn may be nested in even larger clusters at level 3, and so on. For continuous data, several authors have shown how to model multilevel data in a ‘wide’ or ‘multivariate’ format approach. We provide a general framework to analyze random intercept multilevel SEM in the ‘wide format’ (WF) and extend this approach for discrete data. In a simulation study, we vary response scale (binary, four response options), covariate presence (no, between-level, within-level), design (balanced, unbalanced), model misspecification (present, not present), and the number of clusters (small, large) to determine accuracy and efficiency of the estimated model parameters. With a small number of observations in a cluster, results indicate that the WF approach is a preferable approach to estimate multilevel data with discrete response options.
  • Barthel, M., & Levinson, S. C. (2020). Next speakers plan word forms in overlap with the incoming turn: Evidence from gaze-contingent switch task performance. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(9), 1183-1202. doi:10.1080/23273798.2020.1716030.

    Abstract

    To ensure short gaps between turns in conversation, next speakers regularly start planning their utterance in overlap with the incoming turn. Three experiments investigate which stages of utterance planning are executed in overlap. E1 establishes effects of associative and phonological relatedness of pictures and words in a switch-task from picture naming to lexical decision. E2 focuses on effects of phonological relatedness and investigates potential shifts in the time-course of production planning during background speech. E3 required participants to verbally answer questions as a base task. In critical trials, however, participants switched to visual lexical decision just after they began planning their answer. The task-switch was time-locked to participants' gaze for response planning. Results show that word form encoding is done as early as possible and not postponed until the end of the incoming turn. Hence, planning a response during the incoming turn is executed at least until word form activation.

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  • Barthel, M. (2020). Speech planning in dialogue: Psycholinguistic studies of the timing of turn taking. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2020). Appositive compounds in dialectal and sociolinguistic varieties of French. In M. Maiden, & S. Wolfe (Eds.), Variation and change in Gallo-Romance (pp. 326-346). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2020). Language sources and the reconstruction of early languages: Sociolinguistic discrepancies and evolution in Old French grammar. Diachronica, 37(3), 273-317. doi:10.1075/dia.18026.bau.

    Abstract

    This article argues that with the original emphasis on dialectal variation, using primarily literary texts from various regions, analysis of Old French has routinely neglected social variation, providing an incomplete picture of its grammar. Accordingly, Old French has been identified as typically featuring e.g. “pro-drop”, brace constructions, and single negation. Yet examination of these features in informal texts, as opposed to the formal texts typically dealt with, demonstrates that these documents do not corroborate the picture of Old French that is commonly presented in the linguistic literature. Our reconstruction of Old French grammar therefore needs adjustment and further refinement, in particular by implementing sociolinguistic data. With a broader scope, the call for inclusion of sociolinguistic variation may resonate in the investigation of other early languages, resulting in the reassessment of the sources used, and reopening the debate about social variation in dead languages and its role in language evolution.

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  • Bidgood, A., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., & Ambridge, B. (2020). Syntactic representations are both abstract and semantically constrained: Evidence from children’s and adults’ comprehension and production/priming of the English passive. Cognitive Science, 44(9): e12892. doi:10.1111/cogs.12892.

    Abstract

    All accounts of language acquisition agree that, by around age 4, children’s knowledge of grammatical constructions is abstract, rather than tied solely to individual lexical items. The aim of the present research was to investigate, focusing on the passive, whether children’s and adults’ performance is additionally semantically constrained, varying according to the distance between the semantics of the verb and those of the construction. In a forced‐choice pointing study (Experiment 1), both 4‐ to 6‐year olds (N = 60) and adults (N = 60) showed support for the prediction of this semantic construction prototype account of an interaction such that the observed disadvantage for passives as compared to actives (i.e., fewer correct points/longer reaction time) was greater for experiencer‐theme verbs than for agent‐patient and theme‐experiencer verbs (e.g., Bob was seen/hit/frightened by Wendy). Similarly, in a production/priming study (Experiment 2), both 4‐ to 6‐year olds (N = 60) and adults (N = 60) produced fewer passives for experiencer‐theme verbs than for agent‐patient/theme‐experiencer verbs. We conclude that these findings are difficult to explain under accounts based on the notion of A(rgument) movement or of a monostratal, semantics‐free, level of syntax, and instead necessitate some form of semantic construction prototype account.

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  • Bobadilla-Suarez, S., Guest, O., & Love, B. C. (2020). Subjective value and decision entropy are jointly encoded by aligned gradients across the human brain. Communications Biology, 3: 597. doi:10.1038/s42003-020-01315-3.

    Abstract

    Recent work has considered the relationship between value and confidence in both behavioural and neural representation. Here we evaluated whether the brain organises value and confidence signals in a systematic fashion that reflects the overall desirability of options. If so, regions that respond to either increases or decreases in both value and confidence should be widespread. We strongly confirmed these predictions through a model-based fMRI analysis of a mixed gambles task that assessed subjective value (SV) and inverse decision entropy (iDE), which is related to confidence. Purported value areas more strongly signalled iDE than SV, underscoring how intertwined value and confidence are. A gradient tied to the desirability of actions transitioned from positive SV and iDE in ventromedial prefrontal cortex to negative SV and iDE in dorsal medial prefrontal cortex. This alignment of SV and iDE signals could support retrospective evaluation to guide learning and subsequent decisions.

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  • De Boer, B., Thompson, B., Ravignani, A., & Boeckx, C. (2020). Analysis of mutation and fixation for language. 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. 56-58). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • De Boer, B., Thompson, B., Ravignani, A., & Boeckx, C. (2020). Evolutionary dynamics do not motivate a single-mutant theory of human language. Scientific Reports, 10: 451. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-57235-8.

    Abstract

    One of the most controversial hypotheses in cognitive science is the Chomskyan evolutionary conjecture that language arose instantaneously in humans through a single mutation. Here we analyze the evolutionary dynamics implied by this hypothesis, which has never been formalized before. The hypothesis supposes the emergence and fixation of a single mutant (capable of the syntactic operation Merge) during a narrow historical window as a result of frequency-independent selection under a huge fitness advantage in a population of an effective size no larger than ~15 000 individuals. We examine this proposal by combining diffusion analysis and extreme value theory to derive a probabilistic formulation of its dynamics. We find that although a macro-mutation is much more likely to go to fixation if it occurs, it is much more unlikely a priori than multiple mutations with smaller fitness effects. The most likely scenario is therefore one where a medium number of mutations with medium fitness effects accumulate. This precise analysis of the probability of mutations occurring and going to fixation has not been done previously in the context of the evolution of language. Our results cast doubt on any suggestion that evolutionary reasoning provides an independent rationale for a single-mutant theory of language.

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  • Bögels, S., Kendrick, K. H., & Levinson, S. C. (2020). Conversational expectations get revised as response latencies unfold. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(6), 766-779. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1590609.

    Abstract

    The present study extends neuro-imaging into conversation through studying dialogue comprehension. Conversation entails rapid responses, with negative semiotics for delay. We explored how expectations about the valence of the forthcoming response develop during the silence before the response and whether negative responses have mainly cognitive or social-emotional consequences. EEG-participants listened to questions from a spontaneous spoken corpus, cross-spliced with short/long gaps and “yes”/“no” responses. Preceding contexts biased listeners to expect the eventual response, which was hypothesised to translate to expectations for a shorter or longer gap. “No” responses showed a trend towards an early positivity, suggesting socio-emotional consequences. Within the long gap, expecting a “yes” response led to an earlier negativity, as well as a trend towards stronger theta-oscillations, after 300 milliseconds. This suggests that listeners anticipate/predict “yes” responses to come earlier than “no” responses, showing strong sensitivities to timing, which presumably promote hastening the pace of verbal interaction.

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  • Bögels, S. (2020). Neural correlates of turn-taking in the wild: Response planning starts early in free interviews. Cognition, 203: 104347. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104347.

    Abstract

    Conversation is generally characterized by smooth transitions between turns, with only very short gaps. This entails that responders often begin planning their response before the ongoing turn is finished. However, controversy exists about whether they start planning as early as they can, to make sure they respond on time, or as late as possible, to minimize the overlap between comprehension and production planning. Two earlier EEG studies have found neural correlates of response planning (positive ERP and alpha decrease) as soon as listeners could start planning their response, already midway through the current turn. However, in these studies, the questions asked were highly controlled with respect to the position where planning could start (e.g., very early) and required short and easy responses. The present study measured participants' EEG while an experimenter interviewed them in a spontaneous interaction. Coding the questions in the interviews showed that, under these natural circumstances, listeners can, in principle, start planning a response relatively early, on average after only about one third of the question has passed. Furthermore, ERP results showed a large positivity, interpreted before as an early neural signature of response planning, starting about half a second after the start of the word that allowed listeners to start planning a response. A second neural signature of response planning, an alpha decrease, was not replicated as reliably. In conclusion, listeners appear to start planning their response early during the ongoing turn, also under natural circumstances, presumably in order to keep the gap between turns short and respond on time. These results have several important implications for turn-taking theories, which need to explain how interlocutors deal with the overlap between comprehension and production, how they manage to come in on time, and the sources that lead to variability between conversationalists in the start of planning.

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  • Bosker, H. R., & Cooke, M. (2020). Enhanced amplitude modulations contribute to the Lombard intelligibility benefit: Evidence from the Nijmegen Corpus of Lombard Speech. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147: 721. doi:10.1121/10.0000646.

    Abstract

    Speakers adjust their voice when talking in noise, which is known as Lombard speech. These acoustic adjustments facilitate speech comprehension in noise relative to plain speech (i.e., speech produced in quiet). However, exactly which characteristics of Lombard speech drive this intelligibility benefit in noise remains unclear. This study assessed the contribution of enhanced amplitude modulations to the Lombard speech intelligibility benefit by demonstrating that (1) native speakers of Dutch in the Nijmegen Corpus of Lombard Speech (NiCLS) produce more pronounced amplitude modulations in noise vs. in quiet; (2) more enhanced amplitude modulations correlate positively with intelligibility in a speech-in-noise perception experiment; (3) transplanting the amplitude modulations from Lombard speech onto plain speech leads to an intelligibility improvement, suggesting that enhanced amplitude modulations in Lombard speech contribute towards intelligibility in noise. Results are discussed in light of recent neurobiological models of speech perception with reference to neural oscillators phase-locking to the amplitude modulations in speech, guiding the processing of speech.
  • Bosker, H. R., Peeters, D., & Holler, J. (2020). How visual cues to speech rate influence speech perception. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73(10), 1523-1536. doi:10.1177/1747021820914564.

    Abstract

    Spoken words are highly variable and therefore listeners interpret speech sounds relative to the surrounding acoustic context, such as the speech rate of a preceding sentence. For instance, a vowel midway between short /ɑ/ and long /a:/ in Dutch is perceived as short /ɑ/ in the context of preceding slow speech, but as long /a:/ if preceded by a fast context. Despite the well-established influence of visual articulatory cues on speech comprehension, it remains unclear whether visual cues to speech rate also influence subsequent spoken word recognition. In two ‘Go Fish’-like experiments, participants were presented with audio-only (auditory speech + fixation cross), visual-only (mute videos of talking head), and audiovisual (speech + videos) context sentences, followed by ambiguous target words containing vowels midway between short /ɑ/ and long /a:/. In Experiment 1, target words were always presented auditorily, without visual articulatory cues. Although the audio-only and audiovisual contexts induced a rate effect (i.e., more long /a:/ responses after fast contexts), the visual-only condition did not. When, in Experiment 2, target words were presented audiovisually, rate effects were observed in all three conditions, including visual-only. This suggests that visual cues to speech rate in a context sentence influence the perception of following visual target cues (e.g., duration of lip aperture), which at an audiovisual integration stage bias participants’ target categorization responses. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how what we see influences what we hear.
  • Bosker, H. R., Sjerps, M. J., & Reinisch, E. (2020). Spectral contrast effects are modulated by selective attention in ‘cocktail party’ settings. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 82, 1318-1332. doi:10.3758/s13414-019-01824-2.

    Abstract

    Speech sounds are perceived relative to spectral properties of surrounding speech. For instance, target words ambiguous between /bɪt/ (with low F1) and /bɛt/ (with high F1) are more likely to be perceived as “bet” after a ‘low F1’ sentence, but as “bit” after a ‘high F1’ sentence. However, it is unclear how these spectral contrast effects (SCEs) operate in multi-talker listening conditions. Recently, Feng and Oxenham [(2018b). J.Exp.Psychol.-Hum.Percept.Perform. 44(9), 1447–1457] reported that selective attention affected SCEs to a small degree, using two simultaneously presented sentences produced by a single talker. The present study assessed the role of selective attention in more naturalistic ‘cocktail party’ settings, with 200 lexically unique sentences, 20 target words, and different talkers. Results indicate that selective attention to one talker in one ear (while ignoring another talker in the other ear) modulates SCEs in such a way that only the spectral properties of the attended talker influences target perception. However, SCEs were much smaller in multi-talker settings (Experiment 2) than those in single-talker settings (Experiment 1). Therefore, the influence of SCEs on speech comprehension in more naturalistic settings (i.e., with competing talkers) may be smaller than estimated based on studies without competing talkers.

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  • Bosker, H. R., Sjerps, M. J., & Reinisch, E. (2020). Temporal contrast effects in human speech perception are immune to selective attention. Scientific Reports, 10: 5607. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-62613-8.

    Abstract

    Two fundamental properties of perception are selective attention and perceptual contrast, but how these two processes interact remains unknown. Does an attended stimulus history exert a larger contrastive influence on the perception of a following target than unattended stimuli? Dutch listeners categorized target sounds with a reduced prefix “ge-” marking tense (e.g., ambiguous between gegaan-gaan “gone-go”). In ‘single talker’ Experiments 1–2, participants perceived the reduced syllable (reporting gegaan) when the target was heard after a fast sentence, but not after a slow sentence (reporting gaan). In ‘selective attention’ Experiments 3–5, participants listened to two simultaneous sentences from two different talkers, followed by the same target sounds, with instructions to attend only one of the two talkers. Critically, the speech rates of attended and unattended talkers were found to equally influence target perception – even when participants could watch the attended talker speak. In fact, participants’ target perception in ‘selective attention’ Experiments 3–5 did not differ from participants who were explicitly instructed to divide their attention equally across the two talkers (Experiment 6). This suggests that contrast effects of speech rate are immune to selective attention, largely operating prior to attentional stream segregation in the auditory processing hierarchy.

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  • Bosma, E., & Nota, N. (2020). Cognate facilitation in Frisian-Dutch bilingual children’s sentence reading: An eye-tracking study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 189: 104699. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104699.
  • Botvinik-Nezer, R., Holzmeister, F., Camerer, C. F., Dreber, A., Huber, J., Johannesson, M., Kirchler, M., Iwanir, R., Mumford, J. A., Adcock, R. A., Avesani, P., Baczkowski, B., Bajracharya, A., Bakst, L., Ball, S., Barilari, M., Bault, N., Beaton, D., Beitner, J., Benoit, R. G. and 177 moreBotvinik-Nezer, R., Holzmeister, F., Camerer, C. F., Dreber, A., Huber, J., Johannesson, M., Kirchler, M., Iwanir, R., Mumford, J. A., Adcock, R. A., Avesani, P., Baczkowski, B., Bajracharya, A., Bakst, L., Ball, S., Barilari, M., Bault, N., Beaton, D., Beitner, J., Benoit, R. G., Berkers, R., Bhanji, J. P., Biswal, B. B., Bobadilla-Suarez, S., Bortolini, T., Bottenhorn, K. L., Bowring, A., Braem, S., Brooks, H. R., Brudner, E. G., Calderon, C. B., Camilleri, J. A., Castrellon, J. J., Cecchetti, L., Cieslik, E. C., Cole, Z. J., Collignon, O., Cox, R. W., Cunningham, W. A., Czoschke, S., Dadi, K., Davis, C. P., De Luca, A., Delgado, M. R., Demetriou, L., Dennison, J. B., Di, X., Dickie, E. W., Dobryakova, E., Donnat, C. L., Dukart, J., Duncan, N. W., Durnez, J., Eed, A., Eickhoff, S. B., Erhart, A., Fontanesi, L., Fricke, G. M., Fu, S., Galván, A., Gau, R., Genon, S., Glatard, T., Glerean, E., Goeman, J. J., Golowin, S. A. E., González-García, C., Gorgolewski, K. J., Grady, C. L., Green, M. A., Guassi Moreira, J. F., Guest, O., Hakimi, S., Hamilton, J. P., Hancock, R., Handjaras, G., Harry, B. B., Hawco, C., Herholz, P., Herman, G., Heunis, S., Hoffstaedter, F., Hogeveen, J., Holmes, S., Hu, C.-P., Huettel, S. A., Hughes, M. E., Iacovella, V., Iordan, A. D., Isager, P. M., Isik, A. I., Jahn, A., Johnson, M. R., Johnstone, T., Joseph, M. J. E., Juliano, A. C., Kable, J. W., Kassinopoulos, M., Koba, C., Kong, X., Koscik, T. R., Kucukboyaci, N. E., Kuhl, B. A., Kupek, S., Laird, A. R., Lamm, C., Langner, R., Lauharatanahirun, N., Lee, H., Lee, S., Leemans, A., Leo, A., Lesage, E., Li, F., Li, M. Y. C., Lim, P. C., Lintz, E. N., Liphardt, S. W., Losecaat Vermeer, A. B., Love, B. C., Mack, M. L., Malpica, N., Marins, T., Maumet, C., McDonald, K., McGuire, J. T., Melero, H., Méndez Leal, A. S., Meyer, B., Meyer, K. N., Mihai, P. G., Mitsis, G. D., Moll, J., Nielson, D. M., Nilsonne, G., Notter, M. P., Olivetti, E., Onicas, A. I., Papale, P., Patil, K. R., Peelle, J. E., Pérez, A., Pischedda, D., Poline, J.-B., Prystauka, Y., Ray, S., Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., Reynolds, R. C., Ricciardi, E., Rieck, J. R., Rodriguez-Thompson, A. M., Romyn, A., Salo, T., Samanez-Larkin, G. R., Sanz-Morales, E., Schlichting, M. L., Schultz, D. H., Shen, Q., Sheridan, M. A., Silvers, J. A., Skagerlund, K., Smith, A., Smith, D. V., Sokol-Hessner, P., Steinkamp, S. R., Tashjian, S. M., Thirion, B., Thorp, J. N., Tinghög, G., Tisdall, L., Tompson, S. H., Toro-Serey, C., Torre Tresols, J. J., Tozzi, L., Truong, V., Turella, L., van 't Veer, A. E., Verguts, T., Vettel, J. M., Vijayarajah, S., Vo, K., Wall, M. B., Weeda, W. D., Weis, S., White, D. J., Wisniewski, D., Xifra-Porxas, A., Yearling, E. A., Yoon, S., Yuan, R., Yuen, K. S. L., Zhang, L., Zhang, X., Zosky, J. E., Nichols, T. E., Poldrack, R. A., & Schonberg, T. (2020). Variability in the analysis of a single neuroimaging dataset by many teams. Nature, 582, 84-88. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2314-9.

    Abstract

    Data analysis workflows in many scientific domains have become increasingly complex and flexible. Here we assess the effect of this flexibility on the results of functional magnetic resonance imaging by asking 70 independent teams to analyse the same dataset, testing the same 9 ex-ante hypotheses1. The flexibility of analytical approaches is exemplified by the fact that no two teams chose identical workflows to analyse the data. This flexibility resulted in sizeable variation in the results of hypothesis tests, even for teams whose statistical maps were highly correlated at intermediate stages of the analysis pipeline. Variation in reported results was related to several aspects of analysis methodology. Notably, a meta-analytical approach that aggregated information across teams yielded a significant consensus in activated regions. Furthermore, prediction markets of researchers in the field revealed an overestimation of the likelihood of significant findings, even by researchers with direct knowledge of the dataset2,3,4,5. Our findings show that analytical flexibility can have substantial effects on scientific conclusions, and identify factors that may be related to variability in the analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging. The results emphasize the importance of validating and sharing complex analysis workflows, and demonstrate the need for performing and reporting multiple analyses of the same data. Potential approaches that could be used to mitigate issues related to analytical variability are discussed.
  • Bouhali, F., Mongelli, V., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., & Cohen, L. (2020). Reading music and words: The anatomical connectivity of musicians’ visual cortex. NeuroImage, 212: 116666. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116666.

    Abstract

    Musical score reading and word reading have much in common, from their historical origins to their cognitive foundations and neural correlates. In the ventral occipitotemporal cortex (VOT), the specialization of the so-called Visual Word Form Area for word reading has been linked to its privileged structural connectivity to distant language regions. Here we investigated how anatomical connectivity relates to the segregation of regions specialized for musical notation or words in the VOT. In a cohort of professional musicians and non-musicians, we used probabilistic tractography combined with task-related functional MRI to identify the connections of individually defined word- and music-selective left VOT regions. Despite their close proximity, these regions differed significantly in their structural connectivity, irrespective of musical expertise. The music-selective region was significantly more connected to posterior lateral temporal regions than the word-selective region, which, conversely, was significantly more connected to anterior ventral temporal cortex. Furthermore, musical expertise had a double impact on the connectivity of the music region. First, music tracts were significantly larger in musicians than in non-musicians, associated with marginally higher connectivity to perisylvian music-related areas. Second, the spatial similarity between music and word tracts was significantly increased in musicians, consistently with the increased overlap of language and music functional activations in musicians, as compared to non-musicians. These results support the view that, for music as for words, very specific anatomical connections influence the specialization of distinct VOT areas, and that reciprocally those connections are selectively enhanced by the expertise for word or music reading.

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  • Brehm, L., Hussey, E., & Christianson, K. (2020). The role of word frequency and morpho-orthography in agreement processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(1), 58-77. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1631456.

    Abstract

    Agreement attraction in comprehension (when an ungrammatical verb is read quickly if preceded by a feature-matching local noun) is well described by a cue-based retrieval framework. This suggests a role for lexical retrieval in attraction. To examine this, we manipulated two probabilistic factors known to affect lexical retrieval: local noun word frequency and morpho-orthography (agreement morphology realised with or without –s endings) in a self-paced reading study. Noun number and word frequency affected noun and verb region reading times, with higher-frequency words not eliciting attraction. Morpho-orthography impacted verb processing but not attraction: atypical plurals led to slower verb reading times regardless of verb number. Exploratory individual difference analyses further underscore the importance of lexical retrieval dynamics in sentence processing. This provides evidence that agreement operates via a cue-based retrieval mechanism over lexical representations that vary in their strength and association to number features.

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  • Broersma, M., Carter, D., Donnelly, K., & Konopka, A. E. (2020). Triggered codeswitching: Lexical processing and conversational dynamics. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(2), 295-308. doi:10.1017/S1366728919000014.

    Abstract

    This study investigates the psycholinguistic process underlying triggered codeswitching – codeswitching facilitated by the occurrence of cognates – within the context of conversational dynamics. It confirms that, in natural bilingual speech, lexical selection of cognates can facilitate codeswitching by enhancing the activation of the non-selected language. Analyses of a large-scale corpus of Welsh–English conversational speech showed that 1) producing cognates facilitated codeswitching, 2) speakers who generally produced more cognates generally codeswitched more, even in clauses that did not contain cognates, 3) larger numbers of cognates in a clause increased the likelihood of codeswitching, 4) codeswitching temporarily remained facilitated after the production of cognates, and 5) hearing rather than producing cognates did not facilitate codeswitching. The findings confirm the validity of the proposed cognitive account of triggered codeswitching, and clarify the relation between the lexical activation of cognates and consecutive language choice, in accord with current insights in lexical processing.
  • Bruggeman, L., & Cutler, A. (2020). No L1 privilege in talker adaptation. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(3), 681-693. doi:10.1017/S1366728919000646.

    Abstract

    As a rule, listening is easier in first (L1) than second languages (L2); difficult L2 listening can challenge even highly proficient users. We here examine one particular listening function, adaptation to novel talkers, in such a high-proficiency population: Dutch emigrants to Australia, predominantly using English outside the family, but all also retaining L1 proficiency. Using lexically-guided perceptual learning (Norris, McQueen & Cutler, 2003), we investigated these listeners’ adaptation to an ambiguous speech sound, in parallel experiments in both their L1 and their L2. A control study established that perceptual learning outcomes were unaffected by the procedural measures required for this double comparison. The emigrants showed equivalent proficiency in tests in both languages, robust perceptual adaptation in their L2, English, but no adaptation in L1. We propose that adaptation to novel talkers is a language-specific skill requiring regular novel practice; a limited set of known (family) interlocutors cannot meet this requirement.
  • Brysbaert, M., Sui, L., Dirix, N., & Hintz, F. (2020). Dutch Author Recognition Test. Journal of Cognition, 3(1): 6. doi:10.5334/joc.95.

    Abstract

    Book reading shows large individual variability and correlates with better language ability and more empathy. This makes reading exposure an interesting variable to study. Research in English suggests that an author recognition test is the most reliable objective assessment of reading frequency. In this article, we describe the efforts we made to build and test a Dutch author recognition test (DART for older participants and DART_R for younger participants). Our data show that the test is reliable and valid, both in the Netherlands and in Belgium (split-half reliability over .9 with university students, significant correlations with language abilities) and can be used with a young, non-university population. The test is free to use for research purposes.

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  • Burenhult, N. (2020). Foraging and the history of languages in the Malay Peninsula. In T. Güldemann, P. McConvell, & R. Rhodes (Eds.), The language of Hunter-Gatherers (pp. 164-197). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Burgers, N., Ettema, D. F., Hooimeijer, P., & Barendse, M. T. (2020). The effects of neighbours on sport club membership. European Journal for Sport and Society. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/16138171.2020.1840710.

    Abstract

    Neighbours have been found to influence each other’s behaviour (contagion effect). However, little is known about the influence on sport club membership. This while increasing interest has risen for the social role of sport clubs. Sport clubs could bring people from different backgrounds together. A mixed composition is a key element in this social role. Individual characteristics are strong predictors of sport club membership. Western high educated men are more likely to be members. In contrast to people with a non-Western migration background. The neighbourhood is a more fixed meeting place, which provides unique opportunities for people from different backgrounds to interact. This study aims to gain more insight into the influence of neighbours on sport club membership. This research looks especially at the composition of neighbour’s migration background, since they tend to be more or less likely to be members and therefore could encourage of inhibit each other. A population database including the only registry data of all Dutch inhabitants was merged with data of 11 sport unions. The results show a cross-level effect of neighbours on sport club membership. We find a contagion effect of neighbours’ migration background; having a larger proportion of neighbours with a migration background from a non-Western country reduces the odds, as expected. However, this contagion effect was not found for people with a Moroccan or Turkish background.
  • Burghoorn, F., Dingemanse, M., Van Lier, R., & Van Leeuwen, T. M. (2020). The relation between the degree of synaesthesia, autistic traits, and local/global visual perception. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50, 12-29. doi:10.1007/s10803-019-04222-7.

    Abstract

    In individuals with synaesthesia specific sensory stimulation leads to unusual concurrent perceptions in the same or a different modality. Recent studies have demonstrated a high co-occurrence between synaesthesia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a condition also characterized by altered perception. A potentially shared characteristic of synaesthesia and ASD is a bias towards local (detail-focussed) perception. We investigated whether a bias towards local perception is indeed shared between synaesthesia and ASD. In a neurotypical population, we studied the relation between the degree of autistic traits (measured by the AQ) and the degree of grapheme-colour synaesthesia (measured by a consistency task), as well as whether both are related to a local bias in tasks assessing local/global visual perception. A positive correlation between total AQ scores and the degree of synaesthesia was found. Our study extends previous studies that found a high ASD-synaesthesia co-occurrence in clinical populations. Consistent with the hypothesized local perceptual bias in ASD, scores on the AQ-attention to detail subscale were related to increased performance on an Embedded Figures Task (EFT), and we found evidence for a relation to reduced susceptibility to visual illusions. We found no relation between autistic traits and local visual perception in a motion coherence task (MCT). Also, no relation between synaesthesia and local visual perception was found, although a reduced susceptibility to visual illusions resembled the results obtained for AQ-atttention to detail subscale. A suggested explanation for the absence of a relationship between the degree of synaesthesia and a local bias is that a possible local bias might be more pronounced in supra-threshold synaesthetes (compared to neurotypicals).
  • Byers-Heinlein, K., Bergmann, C., Davies, C., Frank, M., Hamlin, J. K., Kline, M., Kominsky, J., Kosie, J., Lew-Williams, C., Liu, L., Mastroberardino, M., Singh, L., Waddell, C. P. G., Zettersten, M., & Soderstrom, M. (2020). Building a collaborative psychological science: Lessons learned from ManyBabies 1. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 61(4), 349-363. doi:10.1037/cap0000216.

    Abstract

    The field of infancy research faces a difficult challenge: some questions require samples that are simply too large for any one lab to recruit and test. ManyBabies aims to address this problem by forming large-scale collaborations on key theoretical questions in developmental science, while promoting the uptake of Open Science practices. Here, we look back on the first project completed under the ManyBabies umbrella – ManyBabies 1 – which tested the development of infant-directed speech preference. Our goal is to share the lessons learned over the course of the project and to articulate our vision for the role of large-scale collaborations in the field. First, we consider the decisions made in scaling up experimental research for a collaboration involving 100+ researchers and 70+ labs. Next, we discuss successes and challenges over the course of the project, including: protocol design and implementation, data analysis, organizational structures and collaborative workflows, securing funding, and encouraging broad participation in the project. Finally, we discuss the benefits we see both in ongoing ManyBabies projects and in future large-scale collaborations in general, with a particular eye towards developing best practices and increasing growth and diversity in infancy research and psychological science in general. Throughout the paper, we include first-hand narrative experiences, in order to illustrate the perspectives of researchers playing different roles within the project. While this project focused on the unique challenges of infant research, many of the insights we gained can be applied to large-scale collaborations across the broader field of psychology.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Pepe, A., Kong, X., Fisher, S. E., Mazoyer, B., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Crivello, F., & Francks, C. (2020). Genetic effects on planum temporale asymmetry and their limited relevance to neurodevelopmental disorders, intelligence or educational attainment. Cortex, 124, 137-153. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2019.11.006.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have suggested that altered asymmetry of the planum temporale (PT) is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, including dyslexia, schizophrenia, and autism. Shared genetic factors have been suggested to link PT asymmetry to these disorders. In a dataset of unrelated subjects from the general population (UK Biobank, N= 18,057), we found that PT volume asymmetry had a significant heritability of roughly 14%. In genome-wide association analysis, two loci were significantly associated with PT asymmetry, including a coding polymorphism within the gene ITIH5 that is predicted to affect the protein’s function and to be deleterious (rs41298373, P=2.01×10−15), and a locus that affects the expression of the genes BOK and DTYMK (rs7420166, P=7.54×10-10). DTYMK showed left-right asymmetry of mRNA expression in post mortem PT tissue. Cortex-wide mapping of these SNP effects revealed influences on asymmetry that went somewhat beyond the PT. Using publicly available genome-wide association statistics from large-scale studies, we saw no significant genetic correlations of PT asymmetry with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, educational attainment or intelligence. Of the top two individual loci associated with PT asymmetry, rs41298373 showed a tentative association with intelligence (unadjusted P=0.025), while the locus at BOK/DTYMK showed tentative association with educational attainment (unadjusted Ps<0.05). These findings provide novel insights into the genetic contributions to human brain asymmetry, but do not support a substantial polygenic association of PT asymmetry with cognitive variation and mental disorders, as far as can be discerned with current sample sizes.

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  • Carrol, G., & Conklin, K. (2020). Is all formulaic language created equal? Unpacking the processing advantage for different types of formulaic sequences. Language and Speech, 63(1), 95-122. doi:10.1177/0023830918823230.

    Abstract

    Research into recurrent, highly conventionalized “formulaic” sequences has shown a processing advantage compared to “novel” (non-formulaic) language. Studies of individual types of formulaic sequence often acknowledge the contribution of specific factors, but little work exists to compare the processing of different types of phrases with fundamentally different properties. We use eye-tracking to compare the processing of three types of formulaic phrases—idioms, binomials, and collocations—and consider whether overall frequency can explain the advantage for all three, relative to control phrases. Results show an advantage, as evidenced through shorter reading times, for all three types. While overall phrase frequency contributes much of the processing advantage, different types of phrase do show additional effects according to the specific properties that are relevant to each type: frequency, familiarity, and decomposability for idioms; predictability and semantic association for binomials; and mutual information for collocations. We discuss how the results contribute to our understanding of the representation and processing of multiword lexical units more broadly.

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  • Casasanto, D., Casasanto, L. S., Gijssels, T., & Hagoort, P. (2020). The Reverse Chameleon Effect: Negative social consequences of anatomical mimicry. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 1876. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01876.

    Abstract

    Bodily mimicry often makes the mimickee have more positive feelings about the mimicker. Yet, little is known about the causes of mimicry’s social effects. When people mimic each other’s bodily movements face to face, they can either adopt a mirrorwise perspective (moving in the same absolute direction) or an anatomical perspective (moving in the same direction relative to their own bodies). Mirrorwise mimicry maximizes visuo-spatial similarity between the mimicker and mimickee, whereas anatomical mimicry maximizes the similarity in the states of their motor systems. To compare the social consequences of visuo-spatial and motoric similarity, we asked participants to converse with an embodied virtual agent (VIRTUO), who mimicked their head movements either mirrorwise, anatomically, or not at all. Compared to participants who were not mimicked, those who were mimicked mirrorwise tended to rate VIRTUO more positively, but those who were mimicked anatomically rated him more negatively. During face-to-face conversation, mirrorwise and anatomical mimicry have opposite social consequences. Results suggest that visuo-spatial similarity between mimicker and mimickee, not similarity in motor system activity, gives rise to the positive social effects of bodily mimicry.
  • Casillas, M., Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (2020). Early language experience in a Tseltal Mayan village. Child Development, 91(5), 1819-1835. doi:10.1111/cdev.13349.

    Abstract

    Daylong at-home audio recordings from 10 Tseltal Mayan children (0;2–3;0; Southern Mexico) were analyzed for how often children engaged in verbal interaction with others and whether their speech environment changed with age, time of day, household size, and number of speakers present. Children were infrequently directly spoken to, with most directed speech coming from adults, and no increase with age. Most directed speech came in the mornings, and interactional peaks contained nearly four times the baseline rate of directed speech. Coarse indicators of children's language development (babbling, first words, first word combinations) suggest that Tseltal children manage to extract the linguistic information they need despite minimal directed speech. Multiple proposals for how they might do so are discussed.

    Additional information

    Tseltal-CLE-SuppMat.pdf
  • Casillas, M., & Hilbrink, E. (2020). Communicative act development. In K. P. Schneider, & E. Ifantidou (Eds.), Developmental and Clinical Pragmatics (pp. 61-88). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

    Abstract

    How do children learn to map linguistic forms onto their intended meanings? This chapter begins with an introduction to some theoretical and analytical tools used to study communicative acts. It then turns to communicative act development in spoken and signed language acquisition, including both the early scaffolding and production of communicative acts (both non-verbal and verbal) as well as their later links to linguistic development and Theory of Mind. The chapter wraps up by linking research on communicative act development to the acquisition of conversational skills, cross-linguistic and individual differences in communicative experience during development, and human evolution. Along the way, it also poses a few open questions for future research in this domain.
  • Castroflorio, E., Den Hoed, J., Svistunova, D., Finelli, M. J., Cebrian-Serrano, A., Corrochano, S., Bassett, A. R., Davies, B., & Oliver, P. L. (2020). The Ncoa7 locus regulates V-ATPase formation and function, neurodevelopment and behaviour. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. doi:10.1007/s00018-020-03721-6.

    Abstract

    Members of the Tre2/Bub2/Cdc16 (TBC), lysin motif (LysM), domain catalytic (TLDc) protein family are associated with multiple neurodevelopmental disorders, although their exact roles in disease remain unclear. For example, nuclear receptor coactivator 7 (NCOA7) has been associated with autism, although almost nothing is known regarding the mode-of-action of this TLDc protein in the nervous system. Here we investigated the molecular function of NCOA7 in neurons and generated a novel mouse model to determine the consequences of deleting this locus in vivo. We show that NCOA7 interacts with the cytoplasmic domain of the vacuolar (V)-ATPase in the brain and demonstrate that this protein is required for normal assembly and activity of this critical proton pump. Neurons lacking Ncoa7 exhibit altered development alongside defective lysosomal formation and function; accordingly, Ncoa7 deletion animals exhibited abnormal neuronal patterning defects and a reduced expression of lysosomal markers. Furthermore, behavioural assessment revealed anxiety and social defects in mice lacking Ncoa7. In summary, we demonstrate that NCOA7 is an important V-ATPase regulatory protein in the brain, modulating lysosomal function, neuronal connectivity and behaviour; thus our study reveals a molecular mechanism controlling endolysosomal homeostasis that is essential for neurodevelopment.
  • Chan, R. W., Alday, P. M., Zou-Williams, L., Lushington, K., Schlesewsky, M., Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., & Immink, M. A. (2020). Focused-attention meditation increases cognitive control during motor sequence performance: Evidence from the N2 cortical evoked potential. Behavioural Brain Research, 384: 112536. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112536.

    Abstract

    Previous work found that single-session focused attention meditation (FAM) enhanced motor sequence learning through increased cognitive control as a mechanistic action, although electrophysiological correlates of sequence learning performance following FAM were not investigated. We measured the persistent frontal N2 event-related potential (ERP) that is closely related to cognitive control processes and its ability to predict behavioural measures. Twenty-nine participants were randomised to one of three conditions reflecting the level of FAM experienced prior to a serial reaction time task (SRTT): 21 sessions of FAM (FAM21, N = 12), a single FAM session (FAM1, N = 9) or no preceding FAM control (Control, N = 8). Continuous 64-channel EEG were recorded during SRTT and N2 amplitudes for correct trials were extracted. Component amplitude, regions of interests, and behavioural outcomes were compared using mixed effects regression models between groups. FAM21 exhibited faster reaction time performances in majority of the learning blocks compared to FAM1 and Control. FAM21 also demonstrated a significantly more pronounced N2 over majority of anterior and central regions of interests during SRTT compared to the other groups. When N2 amplitudes were modelled against general learning performance, FAM21 showed the greatest rate of amplitude decline over anterior and central regions. The combined results suggest that FAM training provided greater cognitive control enhancement for improved general performance, and less pronounced effects for sequence-specific learning performance compared to the other groups. Importantly, FAM training facilitates dynamic modulation of cognitive control: lower levels of general learning performance was supported by greater levels of activation, whilst higher levels of general learning exhibited less activation.
  • Connaughton, D. M., Dai, R., Owen, D. J., Marquez, J., Mann, N., Graham-Paquin, A. L., Nakayama, M., Coyaud, E., Laurent, E. M. N., St-Germain, J. R., Snijders Blok, L., Vino, A., Klämbt, V., Deutsch, K., Wu, C.-H.-W., Kolvenbach, C. M., Kause, F., Ottlewski, I., Schneider, R., Kitzler, T. M. and 79 moreConnaughton, D. M., Dai, R., Owen, D. J., Marquez, J., Mann, N., Graham-Paquin, A. L., Nakayama, M., Coyaud, E., Laurent, E. M. N., St-Germain, J. R., Snijders Blok, L., Vino, A., Klämbt, V., Deutsch, K., Wu, C.-H.-W., Kolvenbach, C. M., Kause, F., Ottlewski, I., Schneider, R., Kitzler, T. M., Majmundar, A. J., Buerger, F., Onuchic-Whitford, A. C., Youying, M., Kolb, A., Salmanullah, D., Chen, E., Van der Ven, A. T., Rao, J., Ityel, H., Seltzsam, S., Rieke, J. M., Chen, J., Vivante, A., Hwang, D.-Y., Kohl, S., Dworschak, G. C., Hermle, T., Alders, M., Bartolomaeus, T., Bauer, S. B., Baum, M. A., Brilstra, E. H., Challman, T. D., Zyskind, J., Costin, C. E., Dipple, K. M., Duijkers, F. A., Ferguson, M., Fitzpatrick, D. R., Fick, R., Glass, I. A., Hulick, P. J., Kline, A. D., Krey, I., Kumar, S., Lu, W., Marco, E. J., Wentzensen, I. M., Mefford, H. C., Platzer, K., Povolotskaya, I. S., Savatt, J. M., Shcherbakova, N. V., Senguttuvan, P., Squire, A. E., Stein, D. R., Thiffault, I., Voinova, V. Y., Somers, M. J. G., Ferguson, M. A., Traum, A. Z., Daouk, G. H., Daga, A., Rodig, N. M., Terhal, P. A., Van Binsbergen, E., Eid, L. A., Tasic, V., Rasouly, H. M., Lim, T. Y., Ahram, D. F., Gharavi, A. G., Reutter, H. M., Rehm, H. L., MacArthur, D. G., Lek, M., Laricchia, K. M., Lifton, R. P., Xu, H., Mane, S. M., Sanna-Cherchi, S., Sharrocks, A. D., Raught, B., Fisher, S. E., Bouchard, M., Khokha, M. K., Shril, S., & Hildebrandt, F. (2020). Mutations of the transcriptional corepressor ZMYM2 cause syndromic urinary tract malformations. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 107(4), 727-742. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.08.013.

    Abstract

    Congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) constitute one of the most frequent birth defects and represent the most common cause of chronic kidney disease in the first three decades of life. Despite the discovery of dozens of monogenic causes of CAKUT, most pathogenic pathways remain elusive. We performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) in 551 individuals with CAKUT and identified a heterozygous de novo stop-gain variant in ZMYM2 in two different families with CAKUT. Through collaboration, we identified in total 14 different heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in ZMYM2 in 15 unrelated families. Most mutations occurred de novo, indicating possible interference with reproductive function. Human disease features are replicated in X. tropicalis larvae with morpholino knockdowns, in which expression of truncated ZMYM2 proteins, based on individual mutations, failed to rescue renal and craniofacial defects. Moreover, heterozygous Zmym2-deficient mice recapitulated features of CAKUT with high penetrance. The ZMYM2 protein is a component of a transcriptional corepressor complex recently linked to the silencing of developmentally regulated endogenous retrovirus elements. Using protein-protein interaction assays, we show that ZMYM2 interacts with additional epigenetic silencing complexes, as well as confirming that it binds to FOXP1, a transcription factor that has also been linked to CAKUT. In summary, our findings establish that loss-of-function mutations of ZMYM2, and potentially that of other proteins in its interactome, as causes of human CAKUT, offering new routes for studying the pathogenesis of the disorder.
  • Coopmans, C. W., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2020). Dissociating activation and integration of discourse referents: Evidence from ERPs and oscillations. Cortex, 126, 83-106. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2019.12.028.

    Abstract

    A key challenge in understanding stories and conversations is the comprehension of ‘anaphora’, words that refer back to previously mentioned words or concepts (‘antecedents’). In psycholinguistic theories, anaphor comprehension involves the initial activation of the antecedent and its subsequent integration into the unfolding representation of the narrated event. A recent proposal suggests that these processes draw upon the brain’s recognition memory and language networks, respectively, and may be dissociable in patterns of neural oscillatory synchronization (Nieuwland & Martin, 2017). We addressed this proposal in an electroencephalogram (EEG) study with pre-registered data acquisition and analyses, using event-related potentials (ERPs) and neural oscillations. Dutch participants read two-sentence mini stories containing proper names, which were repeated or new (ease of activation) and semantically coherent or incoherent with the preceding discourse (ease of integration). Repeated names elicited lower N400 and Late Positive Component amplitude than new names, and also an increase in theta-band (4-7 Hz) synchronization, which was largest around 240-450 ms after name onset. Discourse-coherent names elicited an increase in gamma-band (60-80 Hz) synchronization compared to discourse-incoherent names. This effect was largest around 690-1000 ms after name onset and exploratory beamformer analysis suggested a left frontal source. We argue that the initial activation and subsequent discourse-level integration of referents can be dissociated with event-related EEG activity, and are associated with respectively theta- and gamma-band activity. These findings further establish the link between memory and language through neural oscillations.

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    materials, data, and analysis scripts
  • Coopmans, C. W., & Schoenmakers, G.-J. (2020). Incremental structure building of preverbal PPs in Dutch. Linguistics in the Netherlands, 37(1), 38-52. doi:10.1075/avt.00036.coo.

    Abstract

    Incremental comprehension of head-final constructions can reveal structural attachment preferences for ambiguous phrases. This study investigates how temporarily ambiguous PPs are processed in Dutch verb-final constructions. In De aannemer heeft op het dakterras bespaard/gewerkt ‘The contractor has on the roof terrace saved/worked’, the PP is locally ambiguous between attachment as argument and as adjunct. This ambiguity is resolved by the sentence-final verb. In a self-paced reading task, we manipulated the argument/adjunct status of the PP, and its position relative to the verb. While we found no reading-time differences between argument and adjunct PPs, we did find that transitive verbs, for which the PP is an argument, were read more slowly than intransitive verbs, for which the PP is an adjunct. We suggest that Dutch parsers have a preference for adjunct attachment of preverbal PPs, and discuss our findings in terms of incremental parsing models that aim to minimize costly reanalysis.
  • Corps, R. E., Gambi, C., & Pickering, M. J. (2020). How do listeners time response articulation when answering questions? The role of speech rate. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(4), 781-802. doi:10.1037/xlm0000759.

    Abstract

    During conversation, interlocutors often produce their utterances with little overlap or gap between their turns. But what mechanism underlies this striking ability to time articulation appropriately? In 2 verbal yes/no question-answering experiments, we investigated whether listeners use the speech rate of questions to time articulation of their answers. In Experiment 1, we orthogonally manipulated the speech rate of the context (e.g., Do you have a . . .) and final word (e.g., dog?) of questions using time-compression, so that each component was spoken at the natural rate or twice as a fast. Listeners responded earlier when the context was speeded rather than natural, suggesting they used the speaker’s context rate to time answer articulation. Additionally, listeners responded earlier when the speaker’s final syllable was speeded than natural, regardless of context rate, suggesting they adjusted the timing of articulation after listening to a single syllable produced at a different rate. We replicated this final word effect in Experiment 2, which also showed that our speech rate manipulation did not influence the timing of response preparation. Together, these findings suggest listeners use speech rate information to time articulation when answering questions
  • Corps, R. E., & Rabagliati, H. (2020). How top-down processing enhances comprehension of noise-vocoded speech: Predictions about meaning are more important than predictions about form. Journal of Memory and Language, 113: 104114. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2020.104114.

    Abstract

    Listeners quickly learn to understand speech that has been distorted, and this process is enhanced when comprehension is constrained by higher-level knowledge. In three experiments, we investigated whether this knowledge enhances comprehension of distorted speech because it allows listeners to predict (1) the meaning of the distorted utterance, or (2) the lower-level wordforms. Participants listened to question-answer sequences, in which questions were clearly-spoken but answers were noise-vocoded. Comprehension (Experiment 1) and learning (Experiment 2) were enhanced when listeners could use the question to predict the semantics of the distorted answer, but were not enhanced by predictions of answer form. Form predictions enhanced comprehension only when questions and answers were significantly separated by time and intervening linguistic material (Experiment 3). Together, these results suggest that high-level semantic predictions enhance comprehension and learning, with form predictions playing only a minimal role.
  • Creemers, A., Goodwin Davies, A., Wilder, R. J., Tamminga, M., & Embick, D. (2020). Opacity, transparency, and morphological priming: A study of prefixed verbs in Dutch. Journal of Memory and Language, 110: 104055. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2019.104055.

    Abstract

    A basic question for the study of the mental lexicon is whether there are morphological representations and processes that are independent of phonology and semantics. According to a prominent tradition, morphological relatedness requires semantic transparency: semantically transparent words are related in meaning to their stems, while semantically opaque words are not. This study examines the question of morphological relatedness using intra-modal auditory priming by Dutch prefixed verbs. The key conditions involve semantically transparent prefixed primes (e.g., aanbieden ‘offer’, with the stem bieden, also ‘offer’) and opaque primes (e.g., verbieden ‘forbid’). Results show robust facilitation for both transparent and opaque pairs; phonological (Experiment 1) and semantic (Experiment 2) controls rule out the possibility that these other types of relatedness are responsible for the observed priming effects. The finding of facilitation with opaque primes suggests that morphological processing is independent of semantic and phonological representations. Accordingly, the results are incompatible with theories that make semantic overlap a necessary condition for relatedness, and favor theories in which words may be related in ways that do not require shared meaning. The general discussion considers several specific proposals along these lines, and compares and contrasts questions about morphological relatedness of the type found here with the different but related question of whether there is morphological decomposition of complex forms or not.
  • Creemers, A. (2020). Morphological processing and the effects of semantic transparency. PhD Thesis, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  • Croijmans, I., Hendrickx, I., Lefever, E., Majid, A., & Van den Bosch, A. (2020). Uncovering the language of wine experts. Natural Language Engineering, 26(5), 511-530. doi:10.1017/S1351324919000500.

    Abstract

    Talking about odors and flavors is difficult for most people, yet experts appear to be able to convey critical information about wines in their reviews. This seems to be a contradiction, and wine expert descriptions are frequently received with criticism. Here, we propose a method for probing the language of wine reviews, and thus offer a means to enhance current vocabularies, and as a by-product question the general assumption that wine reviews are gibberish. By means of two different quantitative analyses—support vector machines for classification and Termhood analysis—on a corpus of online wine reviews, we tested whether wine reviews are written in a consistent manner, and thus may be considered informative; and whether reviews feature domain-specific language. First, a classification paradigm was trained on wine reviews from one set of authors for which the color, grape variety, and origin of a wine were known, and subsequently tested on data from a new author. This analysis revealed that, regardless of individual differences in vocabulary preferences, color and grape variety were predicted with high accuracy. Second, using Termhood as a measure of how words are used in wine reviews in a domain-specific manner compared to other genres in English, a list of 146 wine-specific terms was uncovered. These words were compared to existing lists of wine vocabulary that are currently used to train experts. Some overlap was observed, but there were also gaps revealed in the extant lists, suggesting these lists could be improved by our automatic analysis.
  • Cross, Z. R., Santamaria, A., Corcoran, A. W., Chatburn, A., Alday, P. M., Coussens, S., & Kohler, M. J. (2020). Individual alpha frequency modulates sleep-related emotional memory consolidation. Neuropsychologia, 148: 107660. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107660.

    Abstract

    Alpha-band oscillatory activity is involved in modulating memory and attention. However, few studies have investigated individual differences in oscillatory activity during the encoding of emotional memory, particularly in sleep paradigms where sleep is thought to play an active role in memory consolidation. The current study aimed to address the question of whether individual alpha frequency (IAF) modulates the consolidation of declarative memory across periods of sleep and wake. 22 participants aged 18 – 41 years (mean age = 25.77) viewed 120 emotionally valenced images (positive, negative, neutral) and completed a baseline memory task before a 2hr afternoon sleep opportunity and an equivalent period of wake. Following the sleep and wake conditions, participants were required to distinguish between 120 learned (target) images and 120 new (distractor) images. This method allowed us to delineate the role of different oscillatory components of sleep and wake states in the emotional modulation of memory. Linear mixed-effects models revealed interactions between IAF, rapid eye movement sleep theta power, and slow-wave sleep slow oscillatory density on memory outcomes. These results highlight the importance of individual factors in the EEG in modulating oscillatory-related memory consolidation and subsequent behavioural outcomes and test predictions proposed by models of sleep-based memory consolidation.

    Additional information

    supplementary data
  • Cucchiarini, C., Hubers, F., & Strik, H. (2020). Learning L2 idioms in a CALL environment: The role of practice intensity, modality, and idiom properties. Computer Assisted Language Learning. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/09588221.2020.1752734.

    Abstract

    Idiomatic expressions like hit the road or turn the tables are known to be problematic for L2 learners, but research indicates that learning L2 idiomatic language is important. Relatively few studies, most of them focusing on English idioms, have investigated how L2 idioms are actually acquired and how this process is affected by important idiom properties like transparency (the degree to which the figurative meaning of an idiom can be inferred from its literal analysis) and cross-language overlap (the degree to which L2 idioms correspond to L1 idioms). The present study employed a specially designed CALL system to investigate the effects of intensity of practice and the reading modality on learning Dutch L2 idioms, as well as the impact of idiom transparency and cross-language overlap. The results show that CALL practice with a focus on meaning and form is effective for learning L2 idioms and that the degree of practice needed depends on the properties of the idioms. L2 learners can achieve or even exceed native-like performance. Practicing reading idioms aloud does not lead to significantly higher performance than reading idioms silently.These findings have theoretical implications as they show that differences between native speakers and L2 learners are due to differences in exposure, rather than to different underlying acquisition mechanisms. For teaching practice, this study indicates that a properly designed CALL system is an effective and an ecologically sound environment for learning L2 idioms, a generally unattended area in L2 classes, and that teaching priorities should be based on degree of transparency and cross-language overlap of L2 idioms.
  • Ip, M. H. K., & Cutler, A. (2020). Universals of listening: Equivalent prosodic entrainment in tone and non-tone languages. Cognition, 202: 104311. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104311.

    Abstract

    In English and Dutch, listeners entrain to prosodic contours to predict where focus will fall in an utterance. Here, we ask whether this strategy is universally available, even in languages with very different phonological systems (e.g., tone versus non-tone languages). In a phoneme detection experiment, we examined whether prosodic entrainment also occurs in Mandarin Chinese, a tone language, where the use of various suprasegmental cues to lexical identity may take precedence over their use in salience. Consistent with the results from Germanic languages, response times were facilitated when preceding intonation predicted high stress on the target-bearing word, and the lexical tone of the target word (i.e., rising versus falling) did not affect the Mandarin listeners' response. Further, the extent to which prosodic entrainment was used to detect the target phoneme was the same in both English and Mandarin listeners. Nevertheless, native Mandarin speakers did not adopt an entrainment strategy when the sentences were presented in English, consistent with the suggestion that L2 listening may be strained by additional functional load from prosodic processing. These findings have implications for how universal and language-specific mechanisms interact in the perception of focus structure in everyday discourse.

    Additional information

    supplementary data
  • Cutter, M. G., Martin, A. E., & Sturt, P. (2020). Capitalization interacts with syntactic complexity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(6), 1146-1164. doi:10.1037/xlm0000780.

    Abstract

    We investigated whether readers use the low-level cue of proper noun capitalization in the parafovea to infer syntactic category, and whether this results in an early update of the representation of a sentence’s syntactic structure. Participants read sentences containing either a subject relative or object relative clause, in which the relative clause’s overt argument was a proper noun (e.g., The tall lanky guard who alerted Charlie/Charlie alerted to the danger was young) across three experiments. In Experiment 1 these sentences were presented in normal sentence casing or entirely in upper case. In Experiment 2 participants received either valid or invalid parafoveal previews of the relative clause. In Experiment 3 participants viewed relative clauses in only normal conditions. We hypothesized that we would observe relative clause effects (i.e., inflated fixation times for object relative clauses) while readers were still fixated on the word who, if readers use capitalization to infer a parafoveal word’s syntactic class. This would constitute a syntactic parafoveal-on-foveal effect. Furthermore, we hypothesised that this effect should be influenced by sentence casing in Experiment 1 (with no cue for syntactic category being available in upper case sentences) but not by parafoveal preview validity of the target words. We observed syntactic parafoveal-on-foveal effects in Experiment 1 and 3, and a Bayesian analysis of the combined data from all three experiments. These effects seemed to be influenced more by noun capitalization than lexical processing. We discuss our findings in relation to models of eye movement control and sentence processing theories.
  • Cutter, M. G., Martin, A. E., & Sturt, P. (2020). Readers detect an low-level phonological violation between two parafoveal words. Cognition, 204: 104395. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104395.

    Abstract

    In two eye-tracking studies we investigated whether readers can detect a violation of the phonological-grammatical convention for the indefinite article an to be followed by a word beginning with a vowel when these two words appear in the parafovea. Across two experiments participants read sentences in which the word an was followed by a parafoveal preview that was either correct (e.g. Icelandic), incorrect and represented a phonological violation (e.g. Mongolian), or incorrect without representing a phonological violation (e.g. Ethiopian), with this parafoveal preview changing to the target word as participants made a saccade into the space preceding an. Our data suggests that participants detected the phonological violation while the target word was still two words to the right of fixation, with participants making more regressions from the previewed word and having longer go-past times on this word when they received a violation preview as opposed to a non-violation preview. We argue that participants were attempting to perform aspects of sentence integration on the basis of low-level orthographic information from the previewed word.

    Additional information

    Data files and R Scripts
  • Cutter, M. G., Martin, A. E., & Sturt, P. (2020). The activation of contextually predictable words in syntactically illegal positions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73(9), 1423-1430. doi:10.1177/1747021820911021.

    Abstract

    We present an eye-tracking study testing a hypothesis emerging from several theories of prediction during language processing, whereby predictable words should be skipped more than unpredictable words even in syntactically illegal positions. Participants read sentences in which a target word became predictable by a certain point (e.g., “bone” is 92% predictable given, “The dog buried his. . .”), with the next word actually being an intensifier (e.g., “really”), which a noun cannot follow. The target noun remained predictable to appear later in the sentence. We used the boundary paradigm to present the predictable noun or an alternative unpredictable noun (e.g., “food”) directly after the intensifier, until participants moved beyond the intensifier, at which point the noun changed to a syntactically legal word. Participants also read sentences in which predictable or unpredictable nouns appeared in syntactically legal positions. A Bayesian linear-mixed model suggested a 5.7% predictability effect on skipping of nouns in syntactically legal positions, and a 3.1% predictability effect on skipping of nouns in illegal positions. We discuss our findings in relation to theories of lexical prediction during reading.

    Additional information

    OSF data
  • Cychosz, M., Romeo, R., Soderstrom, M., Scaff, C., Ganek, H., Cristia, A., Casillas, M., De Barbaro, K., Bang, J. Y., & Weisleder, A. (2020). Longform recordings of everyday life: Ethics for best practices. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 1951-1969. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01365-9.

    Abstract

    Recent advances in large-scale data storage and processing offer unprecedented opportunities for behavioral scientists to collect and analyze naturalistic data, including from under-represented groups. Audio data, particularly real-world audio recordings, are of particular interest to behavioral scientists because they provide high-fidelity access to subtle aspects of daily life and social interactions. However, these methodological advances pose novel risks to research participants and communities. In this article, we outline the benefits and challenges associated with collecting, analyzing, and sharing multi-hour audio recording data. Guided by the principles of autonomy, privacy, beneficence, and justice, we propose a set of ethical guidelines for the use of longform audio recordings in behavioral research. This article is also accompanied by an Open Science Framework Ethics Repository that includes informed consent resources such as frequent participant concerns and sample consent forms.
  • Davies, C., McGillion, M., Rowland, C. F., & Matthews, D. (2020). Can inferencing be trained in preschoolers using shared book-reading? A randomised controlled trial of parents’ inference-eliciting questions on oral inferencing ability. Journal of Child Language, 47(3), 655-679. doi:10.1017/S0305000919000801.

    Abstract

    The ability to make inferences is essential for effective language comprehension. While inferencing training benefits reading comprehension in school-aged children (see Elleman, 2017, for a review), we do not yet know whether it is beneficial to support the development of these skills prior to school entry. In a pre-registered randomised controlled trial, we evaluated the efficacy of a parent-delivered intervention intended to promote four-year-olds’ oral inferencing skills during shared book-reading. One hundred children from socioeconomically diverse backgrounds were randomly assigned to inferencing training or an active control condition of daily maths activities. The training was found to have no effect on inferencing. However, inferencing measures were highly correlated with children's baseline language ability. This suggests that a more effective approach to scaffolding inferencing in the preschool years might be to focus on promoting vocabulary to develop richer and stronger semantic networks.
  • Dempsey, J., & Brehm, L. (2020). Can propositional biases modulate syntactic repair processes? Insights from preceding comprehension questions. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 32(5-6), 543-552. doi:10.1080/20445911.2020.1803884.

    Abstract

    There is an ongoing debate about whether discourse biases can constrain sentence processing. Previous work has shown comprehension question accuracy to decrease for temporarily ambiguous sentences preceded by a context biasing towards an initial misinterpretation, suggesting a role of context for modulating comprehension. However, this creates limited modulation of reading times at the disambiguating word, suggesting initial syntactic processing may be unaffected by context [Christianson & Luke, 2011. Context strengthens initial misinterpretations of text. Scientific Studies of Reading, 15(2), 136–166]. The current experiments examine whether propositional and structural content from preceding comprehension questions can cue readers to expect certain structures in temporarily ambiguous garden-path sentences. The central finding is that syntactic repair processes remain unaffected while reading times in other regions are modulated by preceding questions. This suggests that reading strategies can be superficially influenced by preceding comprehension questions without impacting the fidelity of ultimate (mis)representations.

    Additional information

    pecp_a_1803884_sm1217.zip
  • Den Hoed, J., & Fisher, S. E. (2020). Genetic pathways involved in human speech disorders. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development, 65, 103-111. doi:10.1016/j.gde.2020.05.012.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Between sound and speech: Liminal signs in interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 53(1), 188-196. doi:10.1080/08351813.2020.1712967.

    Abstract

    When people talk, they recruit a wide range of expressive devices for interactional work, from sighs, sniffs, clicks, and whistles to other conduct that borders on the linguistic. These resources represent some of the more elusive yet no less powerful aspects of the interactional machinery as they are used in the management of turn and sequence and the marking of stance and affect. Phenomena long assumed to be beyond the purview of linguistic inquiry emerge as systematically deployed practices whose ambiguous degree of control and convention allows participants to carry out subtle interactional work without committing to specific words. While these resources have been characterised as non-lexical, non-verbal, or non-conventional, I propose they are unified in their liminality: they work well precisely because they equivocate between sound and speech. The empirical study of liminal signs shows the promise of sequential analysis for building a science of language on interactional foundations.
  • Dingemanse, M., Perlman, M., & Perniss, P. (2020). Construals of iconicity: Experimental approaches to form-meaning resemblances in language. Language and Cognition, 12(1), 1-14. doi:10.1017/langcog.2019.48.

    Abstract

    While speculations on form–meaning resemblances in language go back millennia, the experimental study of iconicity is only about a century old. Here we take stock of experimental work on iconicity and present a double special issue with a diverse set of new contributions. We contextualise the work by introducing a typology of approaches to iconicity in language. Some approaches construe iconicity as a discrete property that is either present or absent; others treat it as involving semiotic relationships that come in kinds; and yet others see it as a gradient substance that comes in degrees. We show the benefits and limitations that come with each of these construals and stress the importance of developing accounts that can fluently switch between them. With operationalisations of iconicity that are well defined yet flexible enough to deal with differences in tasks, modalities, and levels of analysis, experimental research on iconicity is well equipped to contribute to a comprehensive science of language.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Der Raum zwischen unseren Köpfen. Technology Review, 2020(13), 10-15.

    Abstract

    Aktuelle Vorstellungen von Gehirn-zu-Gehirn-Schnittstellen versprechen, die Sprache zu umgehen. Aber wenn wir sie verfeinern, um ihr kollaboratives Potenzial voll auszuschöpfen, sehen wir Sprache — oder zumindest ein sprachähnliches Infrastruktur für Kommunika­tion und Koordination — durch die Hintertür wieder hereinkommen. Es wäre nicht das erste Mal, dass sich die Sprache neu erfindet. Current conceptions of brain-to-brain interfaces attempt to bypass language. But when we refine them to more fully realise their collaborative potential we find language —or at least a language-like infrastructure for communication and coordination— slipping through the back door. It wouldn't be the first time that language reinvented itself.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Thompson, B. (2020). Playful iconicity: Structural markedness underlies the relation between funniness and iconicity. Language and Cognition, 12(1), 203-224. doi:10.1017/langcog.2019.49.

    Abstract

    Words like ‘waddle’, ‘flop’ and ‘zigzag’ combine playful connotations with iconic form-meaning resemblances. Here we propose that structural markedness may be a common factor underlying perceptions of playfulness and iconicity. Using collected and estimated lexical ratings covering a total of over 70,000 English words, we assess the robustness of this assocation. We identify cues of phonotactic complexity that covary with funniness and iconicity ratings and that, we propose, serve as metacommunicative signals to draw attention to words as playful and performative. To assess the generalisability of the findings we develop a method to estimate lexical ratings from distributional semantics and apply it to a dataset 20 times the size of the original set of human ratings. The method can be used more generally to extend coverage of lexical ratings. We find that it reliably reproduces correlations between funniness and iconicity as well as cues of structural markedness, though it also amplifies biases present in the human ratings. Our study shows that the playful and the poetic are part of the very texture of the lexicon.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Resource-rationality beyond individual minds: The case of interactive language use. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 43, 23-24. doi:10.1017/S0140525X19001638.

    Abstract

    Resource-rational approaches offer much promise for understanding human cognition, especially if they can reach beyond the confines of individual minds. Language allows people to transcend individual resource limitations by augmenting computation and enabling distributed cognition. Interactive language use, an environment where social rational agents routinely deal with resource constraints together, offers a natural laboratory to test resource-rationality in the wild.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Recruiting assistance and collaboration: A West-African corpus study. In S. Floyd, G. Rossi, & N. J. Enfield (Eds.), Getting others to do things: A pragmatic typology of recruitments (pp. 369-241). Berlin: Language Science Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.4018388.

    Abstract

    Doing things for and with others is one of the foundations of human social life. This chapter studies a systematic collection of 207 requests for assistance and collaboration from a video corpus of everyday conversations in Siwu, a Kwa language of Ghana. A range of social action formats and semiotic resources reveals how language is adapted to the interactional challenges posed by recruiting assistance. While many of the formats bear a language-specific signature, their sequential and interactional properties show important commonalities across languages. Two tentative findings are put forward for further cross-linguistic examination: a “rule of three” that may play a role in the organisation of successive response pursuits, and a striking commonality in animal-oriented recruitments across languages that may be explained by convergent cultural evolution. The Siwu recruitment system emerges as one instance of a sophisticated machinery for organising collaborative action that transcends language and culture.
  • Dolscheid, S., Çelik, S., Erkan, H., Küntay, A., & Majid, A. (2020). Space-pitch associations differ in their susceptibility to language. Cognition, 196: 104073. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104073.

    Abstract

    To what extent are links between musical pitch and space universal, and to what extent are they shaped by language? There is contradictory evidence in support of both universality and linguistic relativity presently, leaving the question open. To address this, speakers of Dutch who talk about pitch in terms of spatial height and speakers of Turkish who use a thickness metaphor were tested in simple nonlinguistic space-pitch association tasks. Both groups showed evidence of a thickness-pitch association, but differed significantly in their heightpitch associations, suggesting the latter may be more susceptible to language. When participants had to match pitches to spatial stimuli where height and thickness were opposed (i.e., a thick line high in space vs. a thin line low in space), Dutch and Turkish differed in their relative preferences. Whereas Turkish participants predominantly opted for a thickness-pitch interpretation—even if this meant a reversal of height-pitch mappings—Dutch participants favored a height-pitch interpretation more often. These findings provide new evidence that speakers of different languages vary in their space-pitch associations, while at the same time showing such associations are not equally susceptible to linguistic influences. Some space-pitch (i.e., heightpitch) associations are more malleable than others (i.e., thickness-pitch).
  • Donnelly, S., & Kidd, E. (2020). Individual differences in lexical processing efficiency and vocabulary in toddlers: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 192: 104781. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104781.

    Abstract

    Research on infants’ online lexical processing by Fernald, Perfors, and Marchman (2006) revealed substantial individual differences that are related to vocabulary development, such that infants with better lexical processing efficiency show greater vocabulary growth across time. Although it is clear that individual differences in lexical processing efficiency exist and are meaningful, the theoretical nature of lexical processing efficiency and its relation to vocabulary size is less clear. In the current study, we asked two questions: (a) Is lexical processing efficiency better conceptualized as a central processing capacity or as an emergent capacity reflecting a collection of word-specific capacities? and (b) Is there evidence for a causal role for lexical processing efficiency in early vocabulary development? In the study, 120 infants were tested on a measure of lexical processing at 18, 21, and 24 months, and their vocabulary was measured via parent report. Structural equation modeling of the 18-month time point data revealed that both theoretical constructs represented in the first question above (a) fit the data. A set of regression analyses on the longitudinal data revealed little evidence for a causal effect of lexical processing on vocabulary but revealed a significant effect of vocabulary size on lexical processing efficiency early in development. Overall, the results suggest that lexical processing efficiency is a stable construct in infancy that may reflect the structure of the developing lexicon.
  • Doumas, L. A. A., Martin, A. E., & Hummel, J. E. (2020). Relation learning in a neurocomputational architecture supports cross-domain transfer. 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. 932-937). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Humans readily generalize, applying prior knowledge to novel situations and stimuli. Advances in machine learning have begun to approximate and even surpass human performance, but these systems struggle to generalize what they have learned to untrained situations. We present a model based on wellestablished neurocomputational principles that demonstrates human-level generalisation. This model is trained to play one video game (Breakout) and performs one-shot generalisation to a new game (Pong) with different characteristics. The model generalizes because it learns structured representations that are functionally symbolic (viz., a role-filler binding calculus) from unstructured training data. It does so without feedback, and without requiring that structured representations are specified a priori. Specifically, the model uses neural co-activation to discover which characteristics of the input are invariant and to learn relational predicates, and oscillatory regularities in network firing to bind predicates to arguments. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of human-like generalisation in a machine system that does not assume structured representa- tions to begin with.
  • Doust, C., Gordon, S. D., Garden, N., Fisher, S. E., Martin, N. G., Bates, T. C., & Luciano, M. (2020). The association of dyslexia and developmental speech and language disorder candidate genes with reading and language abilities in adults. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 23(1), 22-32. doi:10.1017/thg.2020.7.

    Abstract

    Reading and language abilities are critical for educational achievement and success in adulthood. Variation in these traits is highly heritable, but the underlying genetic architecture is largely undiscovered. Genetic studies of reading and language skills traditionally focus on children with developmental disorders; however, much larger unselected adult samples are available, increasing power to identify associations with specific genetic variants of small effect size. We introduce an Australian adult population cohort (41.7–73.2 years of age, N = 1505) in which we obtained data using validated measures of several aspects of reading and language abilities. We performed genetic association analysis for a reading and spelling composite score, nonword reading (assessing phonological processing: a core component in learning to read), phonetic spelling, self-reported reading impairment and nonword repetition (a marker of language ability). Given the limited power in a sample of this size (~80% power to find a minimum effect size of 0.005), we focused on analyzing candidate genes that have been associated with dyslexia and developmental speech and language disorders in prior studies. In gene-based tests, FOXP2, a gene implicated in speech/language disorders, was associated with nonword repetition (p < .001), phonetic spelling (p = .002) and the reading and spelling composite score (p < .001). Gene-set analyses of candidate dyslexia and speech/language disorder genes were not significant. These findings contribute to the assessment of genetic associations in reading and language disorders, crucial for understanding their etiology and informing intervention strategies, and validate the approach of using unselected adult samples for gene discovery in language and reading.

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    Supplementary materials
  • Dowell, C., Hajnal, A., Pouw, W., & Wagman, J. B. (2020). Visual and haptic perception of affordances of feelies. Perception, 49(9), 905-925. doi:10.1177/0301006620946532.

    Abstract

    Most objects have well-defined affordances. Investigating perception of affordances of objects that were not created for a specific purpose would provide insight into how affordances are perceived. In addition, comparison of perception of affordances for such objects across different exploratory modalities (visual vs. haptic) would offer a strong test of the lawfulness of information about affordances (i.e., the invariance of such information over transformation). Along these lines, “feelies”— objects created by Gibson with no obvious function and unlike any common object—could shed light on the processes underlying affordance perception. This study showed that when observers reported potential uses for feelies, modality significantly influenced what kind of affordances were perceived. Specifically, visual exploration resulted in more noun labels (e.g., “toy”) than haptic exploration which resulted in more verb labels (i.e., “throw”). These results suggested that overlapping, but distinct classes of action possibilities are perceivable using vision and haptics. Semantic network analyses revealed that visual exploration resulted in object-oriented responses focused on object identification, whereas haptic exploration resulted in action-oriented responses. Cluster analyses confirmed these results. Affordance labels produced in the visual condition were more consistent, used fewer descriptors, were less diverse, but more novel than in the haptic condition.
  • Drijvers, L., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Non-native listeners benefit less from gestures and visible speech than native listeners during degraded speech comprehension. Language and Speech, 63(2), 209-220. doi:10.1177/0023830919831311.

    Abstract

    Native listeners benefit from both visible speech and iconic gestures to enhance degraded speech comprehension (Drijvers & Ozyürek, 2017). We tested how highly proficient non-native listeners benefit from these visual articulators compared to native listeners. We presented videos of an actress uttering a verb in clear, moderately, or severely degraded speech, while her lips were blurred, visible, or visible and accompanied by a gesture. Our results revealed that unlike native listeners, non-native listeners were less likely to benefit from the combined enhancement of visible speech and gestures, especially since the benefit from visible speech was minimal when the signal quality was not sufficient.
  • Egger, J., Rowland, C. F., & Bergmann, C. (2020). Improving the robustness of infant lexical processing speed measures. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 2188-2201. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01385-5.

    Abstract

    Visual reaction times to target pictures after naming events are an informative measurement in language acquisition research, because gaze shifts measured in looking-while-listening paradigms are an indicator of infants’ lexical speed of processing. This measure is very useful, as it can be applied from a young age onwards and has been linked to later language development. However, to obtain valid reaction times, the infant is required to switch the fixation of their eyes from a distractor to a target object. This means that usually at least half the trials have to be discarded—those where the participant is already fixating the target at the onset of the target word—so that no reaction time can be measured. With few trials, reliability suffers, which is especially problematic when studying individual differences. In order to solve this problem, we developed a gaze-triggered looking-while-listening paradigm. The trials do not differ from the original paradigm apart from the fact that the target object is chosen depending on the infant’s eye fixation before naming. The object the infant is looking at becomes the distractor and the other object is used as the target, requiring a fixation switch, and thus providing a reaction time. We tested our paradigm with forty-three 18-month-old infants, comparing the results to those from the original paradigm. The Gaze-triggered paradigm yielded more valid reaction time trials, as anticipated. The results of a ranked correlation between the conditions confirmed that the manipulated paradigm measures the same concept as the original paradigm.

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