Publications

Displaying 301 - 400 of 8808
  • Verga, L., Sroka, M. G. U., Varola, M., Villanueva, S., & Ravignani, A. (2022). Spontaneous rhythm discrimination in a mammalian vocal learner. Biology Letters, 18: 20220316. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2022.0316.

    Abstract

    Rhythm and vocal production learning are building blocks of human music and speech. Vocal learning has been hypothesized as a prerequisite for rhythmic capacities. Yet, no mammalian vocal learner but humans have shown the capacity to flexibly and spontaneously discriminate rhythmic patterns. Here we tested untrained rhythm discrimination in a mammalian vocal learning species, the harbour seal (Phoca vitulina). Twenty wild-born seals were exposed to music-like playbacks of conspecific call sequences varying in basic rhythmic properties. These properties were called length, sequence regularity, and overall tempo. All three features significantly influenced seals' reaction (number of looks and their duration), demonstrating spontaneous rhythm discrimination in a vocal learning mammal. This finding supports the rhythm–vocal learning hypothesis and showcases pinnipeds as promising models for comparative research on rhythmic phylogenies.
  • Vernes, S. C., Devanna, P., Hörpel, S. G., Alvarez van Tussenbroek, I., Firzlaff, U., Hagoort, P., Hiller, M., Hoeksema, N., Hughes, G. M., Lavrichenko, K., Mengede, J., Morales, A. E., & Wiesmann, M. (2022). The pale spear‐nosed bat: A neuromolecular and transgenic model for vocal learning. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1517, 125-142. doi:10.1111/nyas.14884.

    Abstract

    Vocal learning, the ability to produce modified vocalizations via learning from acoustic signals, is a key trait in the evolution of speech. While extensively studied in songbirds, mammalian models for vocal learning are rare. Bats present a promising study system given their gregarious natures, small size, and the ability of some species to be maintained in captive colonies. We utilize the pale spear-nosed bat (Phyllostomus discolor) and report advances in establishing this species as a tractable model for understanding vocal learning. We have taken an interdisciplinary approach, aiming to provide an integrated understanding across genomics (Part I), neurobiology (Part II), and transgenics (Part III). In Part I, we generated new, high-quality genome annotations of coding genes and noncoding microRNAs to facilitate functional and evolutionary studies. In Part II, we traced connections between auditory-related brain regions and reported neuroimaging to explore the structure of the brain and gene expression patterns to highlight brain regions. In Part III, we created the first successful transgenic bats by manipulating the expression of FoxP2, a speech-related gene. These interdisciplinary approaches are facilitating a mechanistic and evolutionary understanding of mammalian vocal learning and can also contribute to other areas of investigation that utilize P. discolor or bats as study species.

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  • Vessel, E. A., Ishizu, T., & Bignardi, G. (2022). Neural correlates of visual aesthetic appeal. In M. Skov, & M. Nadal (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of neuroaesthetics (pp. 103-133). London: Routledge.
  • Visser, I., Bergmann, C., Byers-Heinlein, K., Dal Ben, R., Duch, W., Forbes, S., Franchin, L., Frank, M., Geraci, A., Hamlin, J. K., Kaldy, Z., Kulke, L., Laverty, C., Lew-Williams, C., Mateu, V., Mayor, J., Moreau, D., Nomikou, I., Schuwerk, T., Simpson, E. and 8 moreVisser, I., Bergmann, C., Byers-Heinlein, K., Dal Ben, R., Duch, W., Forbes, S., Franchin, L., Frank, M., Geraci, A., Hamlin, J. K., Kaldy, Z., Kulke, L., Laverty, C., Lew-Williams, C., Mateu, V., Mayor, J., Moreau, D., Nomikou, I., Schuwerk, T., Simpson, E., Singh, L., Soderstrom, M., Sullivan, J., Van den Heuvel, M. I., Westermann, G., Yamada, Y., Zaadnoordijk, L., & Zettersten, M. (2022). Improving the generalizability of infant psychological research: The ManyBabies model. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 45: e35. doi:10.1017/S0140525X21000455.

    Abstract

    Yarkoni’s analysis clearly articulates a number of concerns limiting the generalizability and explanatory power of psychological findings, many of which are compounded in infancy research. ManyBabies addresses these concerns via a radically collaborative, large-scale and open approach to research that is grounded in theory-building, committed to diversification, and focused on understanding sources of variation.
  • Vogelezang, S., Bradfield, J. P., the Early Growth Genetics Consortium, Grant, S. F. A., Felix, J. F., & Jaddoe, V. W. V. (2022). Genetics of early-life head circumference and genetic correlations with neurological, psychiatric and cognitive outcomes. BMC Medical Genomics, 15: 124. doi:10.1186/s12920-022-01281-1.

    Abstract

    Background

    Head circumference is associated with intelligence and tracks from childhood into adulthood.
    Methods

    We performed a genome-wide association study meta-analysis and follow-up of head circumference in a total of 29,192 participants between 6 and 30 months of age.
    Results

    Seven loci reached genome-wide significance in the combined discovery and replication analysis of which three loci near ARFGEF2, MYCL1, and TOP1, were novel. We observed positive genetic correlations for early-life head circumference with adult intracranial volume, years of schooling, childhood and adult intelligence, but not with adult psychiatric, neurological, or personality-related phenotypes.
    Conclusions

    The results of this study indicate that the biological processes underlying early-life head circumference overlap largely with those of adult head circumference. The associations of early-life head circumference with cognitive outcomes across the life course are partly explained by genetics.
  • De Vos, C., Casillas, M., Uittenbogert, T., Crasborn, O., & Levinson, S. C. (2022). Predicting conversational turns: Signers’ and non-signers’ sensitivity to language-specific and globally accessible cues. Language, 98(1), 35-62. doi:10.1353/lan.2021.0085.

    Abstract

    Precision turn-taking may constitute a crucial part of the human endowment for communication. If so, it should be implemented similarly across language modalities, as in signed vs. spoken language. Here in the first experimental study of turn-end prediction in sign language, we find support for the idea that signed language, like spoken language, involves turn-type prediction and turn-end anticipation. In both cases, turns eliciting specific responses like questions accelerate anticipation. We also show remarkable cross-modality predictive capacity: non-signers anticipate sign turn-ends surprisingly well. Finally, we show that despite non-signers’ ability to intuitively predict signed turn-ends, early native signers do it much better by using their access to linguistic signals (here, question markers). As shown in prior work, question formation facilitates prediction, and age of sign language acquisition affects accuracy. The study thus sheds light on the kind of features that may facilitate turn-taking universally, and those that are language-specific.

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  • Wang, M., Shao, Z., Verdonschot, R. G., Chen, Y., & Schiller, N. O. (2022). Orthography influences spoken word production in blocked cyclic naming. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-022-02123-y.

    Abstract

    Does the way a word is written influence its spoken production? Previous studies suggest that orthography is involved only when the orthographic representation is highly relevant during speaking (e.g., in reading-aloud tasks). To address this issue, we carried out two experiments using the blocked cyclic picture-naming paradigm. In both experiments, participants were asked to name pictures repeatedly in orthographically homogeneous or heterogeneous blocks. In the naming task, the written form was not shown; however, the radical of the first character overlapped between the four pictures in this block type. A facilitative orthographic effect was found when picture names shared part of their written forms, compared with the heterogeneous condition. This facilitative effect was independent of the position of orthographic overlap (i.e., the left, the lower, or the outer part of the character). These findings strongly suggest that orthography can influence speaking even when it is not highly relevant (i.e., during picture naming) and the orthographic effect is less likely to be attributed to strategic preparation.
  • Wanner-Kawahara, J., Yoshihara, M., Lupker, S. J., Verdonschot, R. G., & Nakayama, M. (2022). Morphological priming effects in L2 English verbs for Japanese-English bilinguals. Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 742965. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.742965.

    Abstract

    For native (L1) English readers, masked presentations of past-tense verb primes (e.g., fell and looked) produce faster lexical decision latencies to their present-tense targets (e.g., FALL and LOOK) than orthographically related (e.g., fill and loose) or unrelated (e.g., master and bank) primes. This facilitation observed with morphologically related prime-target pairs (morphological priming) is generally taken as evidence for strong connections based on morphological relationships in the L1 lexicon. It is unclear, however, if similar, morphologically based, connections develop in non-native (L2) lexicons. Several earlier studies with L2 English readers have reported mixed results. The present experiments examine whether past-tense verb primes (both regular and irregular verbs) significantly facilitate target lexical decisions for Japanese-English bilinguals beyond any facilitation provided by prime-target orthographic similarity. Overall, past-tense verb primes facilitated lexical decisions to their present-tense targets relative to both orthographically related and unrelated primes. Replicating previous masked priming experiments with L2 readers, orthographically related primes also facilitated target recognition relative to unrelated primes, confirming that orthographic similarity facilitates L2 target recognition. The additional facilitation from past-tense verb primes beyond that provided by orthographic primes suggests that, in the L2 English lexicon, connections based on morphological relationships develop in a way that is similar to how they develop in the L1 English lexicon even though the connections and processing of lower level, lexical/orthographic information may differ. Further analyses involving L2 proficiency revealed that as L2 proficiency increased, orthographic facilitation was reduced, indicating that there is a decrease in the fuzziness in orthographic representations in the L2 lexicon with increased proficiency.

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  • Whitehead, H., & Hersh, T. A. (2022). Posterior probabilities of membership of repertoires in acoustic clades. PLoS One, 17(4): e0267501. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0267501.

    Abstract

    Recordings of calls may be used to assess population structure for acoustic species. This can be particularly effective if there are identity calls, produced nearly exclusively by just one population segment. The identity call method, IDcall, classifies calls into types using contaminated mixture models, and then clusters repertoires of calls into identity clades (potential population segments) using identity calls that are characteristic of the repertoires in each identity clade. We show how to calculate the Bayesian posterior probabilities that each repertoire is a member of each identity clade, and display this information as a stacked bar graph. This methodology (IDcallPP) is introduced using the output of IDcall but could easily be adapted to estimate posterior probabilities of clade membership when acoustic clades are delineated using other methods. This output is similar to that of the STRUCTURE software which uses molecular genetic data to assess population structure and has become a standard in conservation genetics. The technique introduced here should be a valuable asset to those who use acoustic data to address evolution, ecology, or conservation, and creates a methodological and conceptual bridge between geneticists and acousticians who aim to assess population structure.
  • Wierenga, L. M., Doucet, G. E., Dima, D., Agartz, I., Aghajani, M., Akudjedu, T. N., Albajes-Eizagirre, A., Alnæs, D., Alpert, K. I., Andreassen, O. A., Anticevic, A., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bargallo, N., Baumeister, S., Baur-Streubel, R., Bertolino, A., Bonvino, A., Boomsma, D. I., Borgwardt, S. and 139 moreWierenga, L. M., Doucet, G. E., Dima, D., Agartz, I., Aghajani, M., Akudjedu, T. N., Albajes-Eizagirre, A., Alnæs, D., Alpert, K. I., Andreassen, O. A., Anticevic, A., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bargallo, N., Baumeister, S., Baur-Streubel, R., Bertolino, A., Bonvino, A., Boomsma, D. I., Borgwardt, S., Bourque, J., Den Braber, A., Brandeis, D., Breier, A., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buitelaar, J. K., Busatto, G. F., Calhoun, V. D., Canales-Rodríguez, E. J., Cannon, D. M., Caseras, X., Castellanos, F. X., Chaim-Avancini, T. M., Ching, C. R. K., Clark, V. P., Conrod, P. J., Conzelmann, A., Crivello, F., Davey, C. G., Dickie, E. W., Ehrlich, S., Van 't Ent, D., Fisher, S. E., Fouche, J.-P., Franke, B., Fuentes-Claramonte, P., De Geus, E. J. C., Di Giorgio, A., Glahn, D. C., Gotlib, I. H., Grabe, H. J., Gruber, O., Gruner, P., Gur, R. E., Gur, R. C., Gurholt, T. P., De Haan, L., Haatveit, B., Harrison, B. J., Hartman, C. A., Hatton, S. N., Heslenfeld, D. J., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Hickie, I. B., Hoekstra, P. J., Hohmann, S., Holmes, A. J., Hoogman, M., Hosten, N., Howells, F. M., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Huyser, C., Jahanshad, N., James, A. C., Jiang, J., Jönsson, E. G., Joska, J. A., Kalnin, A. J., Karolinska Schizophrenia Project (KaSP) Consortium, Klein, M., Koenders, L., Kolskår, K. K., Krämer, B., Kuntsi, J., Lagopoulos, J., Lazaro, L., Lebedeva, I. S., Lee, P. H., Lochner, C., Machielsen, M. W. J., Maingault, S., Martin, N. G., Martínez-Zalacaín, I., Mataix-Cols, D., Mazoyer, B., McDonald, B. C., McDonald, C., McIntosh, A. M., McMahon, K. L., McPhilemy, G., Van der Meer, D., Menchón, J. M., Naaijen, J., Nyberg, L., Oosterlaan, J., Paloyelis, Y., Pauli, P., Pergola, G., Pomarol-Clotet, E., Portella, M. J., Radua, J., Reif, A., Richard, G., Roffman, J. L., Rosa, P. G. P., Sacchet, M. D., Sachdev, P. S., Salvador, R., Sarró, S., Satterthwaite, T. D., Saykin, A. J., Serpa, M. H., Sim, K., Simmons, A., Smoller, J. W., Sommer, I. E., Soriano-Mas, C., Stein, D. J., Strike, L. T., Szeszko, P. R., Temmingh, H. S., Thomopoulos, S. I., Tomyshev, A. S., Trollor, J. N., Uhlmann, A., Veer, I. M., Veltman, D. J., Voineskos, A., Völzke, H., Walter, H., Wang, L., Wang, Y., Weber, B., Wen, W., West, J. D., Westlye, L. T., Whalley, H. C., Williams, S. C. R., Wittfeld, K., Wolf, D. H., Wright, M. J., Yoncheva, Y. N., Zanetti, M. V., Ziegler, G. C., De Zubicaray, G. I., Thompson, P. M., Crone, E. A., Frangou, S., & Tamnes, C. K. (2022). Greater male than female variability in regional brain structure across the lifespan. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 470-499. doi:10.1002/hbm.25204.

    Abstract

    For many traits, males show greater variability than females, with possible implications for understanding sex differences in health and disease. Here, the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta‐Analysis) Consortium presents the largest‐ever mega‐analysis of sex differences in variability of brain structure, based on international data spanning nine decades of life. Subcortical volumes, cortical surface area and cortical thickness were assessed in MRI data of 16,683 healthy individuals 1‐90 years old (47% females). We observed significant patterns of greater male than female between‐subject variance for all subcortical volumetric measures, all cortical surface area measures, and 60% of cortical thickness measures. This pattern was stable across the lifespan for 50% of the subcortical structures, 70% of the regional area measures, and nearly all regions for thickness. Our findings that these sex differences are present in childhood implicate early life genetic or gene‐environment interaction mechanisms. The findings highlight the importance of individual differences within the sexes, that may underpin sex‐specific vulnerability to disorders.
  • Wilms, V., Drijvers, L., & Brouwer, S. (2022). The Effects of Iconic Gestures and Babble Language on Word Intelligibility in Sentence Context. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 65, 1822-1838. doi:10.1044/2022\_JSLHR-21-00387.

    Abstract

    Purpose:This study investigated to what extent iconic co-speech gestures helpword intelligibility in sentence context in two different linguistic maskers (nativevs. foreign). It was hypothesized that sentence recognition improves with thepresence of iconic co-speech gestures and with foreign compared to nativebabble.Method:Thirty-two native Dutch participants performed a Dutch word recogni-tion task in context in which they were presented with videos in which anactress uttered short Dutch sentences (e.g.,Ze begint te openen,“She starts toopen”). Participants were presented with a total of six audiovisual conditions: nobackground noise (i.e., clear condition) without gesture, no background noise withgesture, French babble without gesture, French babble with gesture, Dutch bab-ble without gesture, and Dutch babble with gesture; and they were asked to typedown what was said by the Dutch actress. The accurate identification of theaction verbs at the end of the target sentences was measured.Results:The results demonstrated that performance on the task was better inthe gesture compared to the nongesture conditions (i.e., gesture enhancementeffect). In addition, performance was better in French babble than in Dutchbabble.Conclusions:Listeners benefit from iconic co-speech gestures during commu-nication and from foreign background speech compared to native. Theseinsights into multimodal communication may be valuable to everyone whoengages in multimodal communication and especially to a public who oftenworks in public places where competing speech is present in the background.
  • Wnuk, E., Verkerk, A., Levinson, S. C., & Majid, A. (2022). Color technology is not necessary for rich and efficient color language. Cognition, 229: 105223. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2022.105223.

    Abstract

    The evolution of basic color terms in language is claimed to be stimulated by technological development, involving technological control of color or exposure to artificially colored objects. Accordingly, technologically “simple” non-industrialized societies are expected to have poor lexicalization of color, i.e., only rudimentary lexica of 2, 3 or 4 basic color terms, with unnamed gaps in the color space. While it may indeed be the case that technology stimulates lexical growth of color terms, it is sometimes considered a sine qua non for color salience and lexicalization. We provide novel evidence that this overlooks the role of the natural environment, and people's engagement with the environment, in the evolution of color vocabulary. We introduce the Maniq—nomadic hunter-gatherers with no color technology, but who have a basic color lexicon of 6 or 7 terms, thus of the same order as large languages like Vietnamese and Hausa, and who routinely talk about color. We examine color language in Maniq and compare it to available data in other languages to demonstrate it has remarkably high consensual color term usage, on a par with English, and high coding efficiency. This shows colors can matter even for non-industrialized societies, suggesting technology is not necessary for color language. Instead, factors such as perceptual prominence of color in natural environments, its practical usefulness across communicative contexts, and symbolic importance can all stimulate elaboration of color language.
  • Woensdregt, M., Jara-Ettinger, J., & Rubio-Fernandez, P. (2022). Language universals rely on social cognition: Computational models of the use of this and that to redirect the receiver’s attention. In J. Culbertson, A. Perfors, H. Rabagliati, & V. Ramenzoni (Eds.), Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2022) (pp. 1382-1388). Toronto, Canada: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Demonstratives—simple referential devices like this and that—are linguistic universals, but their meaning varies cross-linguistically. In languages like English and Italian, demonstratives are thought to encode the referent’s distance from the producer (e.g., that one means “the one far away from me”),
    while in others, like Portuguese and Spanish, they encode relative distance from both producer and receiver (e.g., aquel means “the one far away from both of us”). Here we propose that demonstratives are also sensitive to the receiver’s focus of attention, hence requiring a deeper form of social cognition
    than previously thought. We provide initial empirical and computational evidence for this idea, suggesting that producers use
    demonstratives to redirect the receiver’s attention towards the intended referent, rather than only to indicate its physical distance.
  • Wolf, M. C. (2022). Spoken and written word processing: Effects of presentation modality and individual differences in experience to written language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Yang, J. (2022). Discovering the units in language cognition: From empirical evidence to a computational model. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Yang, J., Van den Bosch, A., & Frank, S. L. (2022). Unsupervised text segmentation predicts eye fixations during reading. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, 5: 731615. doi:10.3389/frai.2022.731615.

    Abstract

    Words typically form the basis of psycholinguistic and computational linguistic studies about sentence processing. However, recent evidence shows the basic units during reading, i.e., the items in the mental lexicon, are not always words, but could also be sub-word and supra-word units. To recognize these units, human readers require a cognitive mechanism to learn and detect them. In this paper, we assume eye fixations during reading reveal the locations of the cognitive units, and that the cognitive units are analogous with the text units discovered by unsupervised segmentation models. We predict eye fixations by model-segmented units on both English and Dutch text. The results show the model-segmented units predict eye fixations better than word units. This finding suggests that the predictive performance of model-segmented units indicates their plausibility as cognitive units. The Less-is-Better (LiB) model, which finds the units that minimize both long-term and working memory load, offers advantages both in terms of prediction score and efficiency among alternative models. Our results also suggest that modeling the least-effort principle for the management of long-term and working memory can lead to inferring cognitive units. Overall, the study supports the theory that the mental lexicon stores not only words but also smaller and larger units, suggests that fixation locations during reading depend on these units, and shows that unsupervised segmentation models can discover these units.
  • Zeller, J., Bylund, E., & Lewis, A. G. (2022). The parser consults the lexicon in spite of transparent gender marking: EEG evidence from noun class agreement processing in Zulu. Cognition, 226: 105148. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2022.105148.

    Abstract

    In sentence comprehension, the parser in many languages has the option to use both the morphological form of a noun and its lexical representation when evaluating agreement. The additional step of consulting the lexicon incurs processing costs, and an important question is whether the parser takes that step even when the formal cues alone are sufficiently reliable to evaluate agreement. Our study addressed this question using electrophysiology in Zulu, a language where both grammatical gender and number features are reliably expressed formally by noun class prefixes, but only gender features are lexically specified. We observed reduced, more topographically focal LAN, and more frontally distributed alpha/beta power effects for gender compared to number agreement violations. These differences provide evidence that for gender mismatches, even though the formal cues are reliable, the parser nevertheless takes the additional step of consulting the noun's lexical representation, a step which is not available for number.

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  • Zhang, Q., Zhou, Y., & Lou, H. (2022). The dissociation between age of acquisition and word frequency effects in Chinese spoken picture naming. Psychological Research, 86, 1918-1929. doi:10.1007/s00426-021-01616-0.

    Abstract

    This study aimed to examine the locus of age of acquisition (AoA) and word frequency (WF) effects in Chinese spoken picture naming, using a picture–word interference task. We conducted four experiments manipulating the properties of picture names (AoA in Experiments 1 and 2, while controlling WF; and WF in Experiments 3 and 4, while controlling AoA), and the relations between distractors and targets (semantic or phonological relatedness). Both Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated AoA effects in picture naming; pictures of early acquired concepts were named faster than those acquired later. There was an interaction between AoA and semantic relatedness, but not between AoA and phonological relatedness, suggesting localisation of AoA effects at the stage of lexical access in picture naming. Experiments 3 and 4 demonstrated WF effects: pictures of high-frequency concepts were named faster than those of low-frequency concepts. WF interacted with both phonological and semantic relatedness, suggesting localisation of WF effects at multiple levels of picture naming, including lexical access and phonological encoding. Our findings show that AoA and WF effects exist in Chinese spoken word production and may arise at related processes of lexical selection.
  • Zhang, Y., & Yu, C. (2022). Examining real-time attention dynamics in parent-infant picture book reading. In J. Culbertson, A. Perfors, H. Rabagliati, & V. Ramenzoni (Eds.), Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2022) (pp. 1367-1374). Toronto, Canada: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Picture book reading is a common word-learning context from which parents repeatedly name objects to their child and it has been found to facilitate early word learning. To learn the correct word-object mappings in a book-reading context, infants need to be able to link what they see with what they hear. However, given multiple objects on every book page, it is not clear how infants direct their attention to objects named by parents. The aim of the current study is to examine how infants mechanistically discover the correct word-object mappings during book reading in real time. We used head-mounted eye-tracking during parent-infant picture book reading and measured the infant's moment-by-moment visual attention to the named referent. We also examined how gesture cues provided by both the child and the parent may influence infants' attention to the named target. We found that although parents provided many object labels during book reading, infants were not able to attend to the named objects easily. However, their abilities to follow and use gestures to direct the other social partner’s attention increase the chance of looking at the named target during parent naming.
  • Zimianiti, E. (2022). Is semantic memory the winning component in second language teaching with Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM)? LingUU Journal, 6(1), 54-62.

    Abstract

    This paper constitutes a research proposal based on Rousse-Malpalt’s
    (2019) dissertation, which extensively examines the effectiveness of the
    Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM) in second language (L2) learning.
    Although it has been found that AIM is a greatly effective method in comparison with non-implicit teaching methods, the reasons behind its success and effectiveness are yet unknown. As Semantic Memory (SM) is the component of memory responsible for the conceptualization and storage of knowledge, this paper sets to propose an investigation of its role in the learning process of AIM and provide with insights as to why the embodied experience of learning with AIM is more effective than others. The tasks proposed for administration take into account the factors of gestures being related to a learner’s memorization process and Semantic Memory. Lastly, this paper provides with a future research idea about the learning mechanisms of sign languages in people with hearing deficits and healthy population, aiming to indicate which brain mechanisms benefit from the teaching method of AIM and reveal important brain functions for SLA via AIM.
  • Zora, H., Gussenhoven, C., Tremblay, A., & Liu, F. (2022). Editorial: Crosstalk between intonation and lexical tones: Linguistic, cognitive and neuroscience perspectives. Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 1101499. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1101499.

    Abstract

    The interplay between categorical and continuous aspects of the speech signal remains central and yet controversial in the fields of phonetics and phonology. The division between phonological abstractions and phonetic variations has been particularly relevant to the unraveling of diverse communicative functions of pitch in the domain of prosody. Pitch influences vocal communication in two major but fundamentally different ways, and lexical and intonational tones exquisitely capture these functions. Lexical tone contrasts convey lexical meanings as well as derivational meanings at the word level and are grammatically encoded as discrete structures. Intonational tones, on the other hand, signal post-lexical meanings at the phrasal level and typically allow gradient pragmatic variations. Since categorical and gradient uses of pitch are ubiquitous and closely intertwined in their physiological and psychological processes, further research is warranted for a more detailed understanding of their structural and functional characterisations. This Research Topic addresses this matter from a wide range of perspectives, including first and second language acquisition, speech production and perception, structural and functional diversity, and working with distinct languages and experimental measures. In the following, we provide a short overview of the contributions submitted to this topic
  • Yu, X. (2021). Foreign language learning in study-abroad and at-home contexts. PhD Thesis, Raboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Ahluwalia, T. S., Prins, B. P., Abdollahi, M., Armstrong, N. J., Aslibekyan, S., Bain, L., Jefferis, B., Baumert, J., Beekman, M., Ben-Shlomo, Y., Bis, J. C., Mitchell, B. D., De Geus, E., Delgado, G. E., Marek, D., Eriksson, J., Kajantie, E., Kanoni, S., Kemp, J. P., Lu, C. and 106 moreAhluwalia, T. S., Prins, B. P., Abdollahi, M., Armstrong, N. J., Aslibekyan, S., Bain, L., Jefferis, B., Baumert, J., Beekman, M., Ben-Shlomo, Y., Bis, J. C., Mitchell, B. D., De Geus, E., Delgado, G. E., Marek, D., Eriksson, J., Kajantie, E., Kanoni, S., Kemp, J. P., Lu, C., Marioni, R. E., McLachlan, S., Milaneschi, Y., Nolte, I. M., Petrelis, A. M., Porcu, E., Sabater-Lleal, M., Naderi, E., Seppälä, I., Shah, T., Singhal, G., Standl, M., Teumer, A., Thalamuthu, A., Thiering, E., Trompet, S., Ballantyne, C. M., Benjamin, E. J., Casas, J. P., Toben, C., Dedoussis, G., Deelen, J., Durda, P., Engmann, J., Feitosa, M. F., Grallert, H., Hammarstedt, A., Harris, S. E., Homuth, G., Hottenga, J.-J., Jalkanen, S., Jamshidi, Y., Jawahar, M. C., Jess, T., Kivimaki, M., Kleber, M. E., Lahti, J., Liu, Y., Marques-Vidal, P., Mellström, D., Mooijaart, S. P., Müller-Nurasyid, M., Penninx, B., Revez, J. A., Rossing, P., Räikkönen, K., Sattar, N., Scharnagl, H., Sennblad, B., Silveira, A., St Pourcain, B., Timpson, N. J., Trollor, J., CHARGE Inflammation Working Group, Van Dongen, J., Van Heemst, D., Visvikis-Siest, S., Vollenweider, P., Völker, U., Waldenberger, M., Willemsen, G., Zabaneh, D., Morris, R. W., Arnett, D. K., Baune, B. T., Boomsma, D. I., Chang, Y.-P.-C., Deary, I. J., Deloukas, P., Eriksson, J. G., Evans, D. M., Ferreira, M. A., Gaunt, T., Gudnason, V., Hamsten, A., Heinrich, J., Hingorani, A., Humphries, S. E., Jukema, J. W., Koenig, W., Kumari, M., Kutalik, Z., Lawlor, D. A., Lehtimäki, T., März, W., Mather, K. A., Naitza, S., Nauck, M., Ohlsson, C., Price, J. F., Raitakari, O., Rice, K., Sachdev, P. S., Slagboom, E., Sørensen, T. I. A., Spector, T., Stacey, D., Stathopoulou, M. G., Tanaka, T., Wannamethee, S. G., Whincup, P., Rotter, J. I., Dehghan, A., Boerwinkle, E., Psaty, B. M., Snieder, H., & Alizadeh, B. Z. (2021). Genome-wide association study of circulating interleukin 6 levels identifies novel loci. Human Molecular Genetics, 5(1), 393-409. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddab023.

    Abstract

    Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional cytokine with both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties with a heritability estimate of up to 61%. The circulating levels of IL-6 in blood have been associated with an increased risk of complex disease pathogenesis. We conducted a two-staged, discovery and replication meta genome-wide association study (GWAS) of circulating serum IL-6 levels comprising up to 67 428 (ndiscovery = 52 654 and nreplication = 14 774) individuals of European ancestry. The inverse variance fixed effects based discovery meta-analysis, followed by replication led to the identification of two independent loci, IL1F10/IL1RN rs6734238 on chromosome (Chr) 2q14, (Pcombined = 1.8 × 10−11), HLA-DRB1/DRB5 rs660895 on Chr6p21 (Pcombined = 1.5 × 10−10) in the combined meta-analyses of all samples. We also replicated the IL6R rs4537545 locus on Chr1q21 (Pcombined = 1.2 × 10−122). Our study identifies novel loci for circulating IL-6 levels uncovering new immunological and inflammatory pathways that may influence IL-6 pathobiology.
  • Ahn, D., Ferreira, V. S., & Gollan, T. H. (2021). Selective activation of language specific structural representations: Evidence from extended picture-word interference. Journal of Memory and Language, 120: 104249. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2021.104249.

    Abstract

    How do bilingual speakers represent and use information that guides the assembly of the words into phrases and sentences (i.e., sentence structures) for languages that have different word orders? Cross-language syntactic priming effects provide mixed evidence on whether bilinguals access sentence structures from both languages even when speaking just one. Here, we compared English monolinguals, Korean-immersed Korean-English bilinguals, and English-immersed Korean-English bilinguals while they produced noun phrases (“the lemon below the lobster”), which have different word orders in English and Korean (the Korean translation word order is [lobster][below][lemon]). We examined when speakers plan each noun using an extended picture-word interference paradigm, by measuring articulation times for each word in the phrase with either the distractor word “apple” (which slows the planning of “lemon”) or “crab” (which slows the planning of “lobster”). Results suggest that for phrases that are different in linear word order across languages, bilinguals only access the sentence structure of the one language they are actively speaking at the time, even when switching languages between trials.
  • Amatuni, A., Schroer, S. E., Zhang, Y., Peters, R. E., Reza, M. A., Crandall, D., & Yu, C. (2021). In-the-moment visual information from the infant's egocentric view determines the success of infant word learning: A computational study. 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. 265-271). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Infants learn the meaning of words from accumulated experiences of real-time interactions with their caregivers. To study the effects of visual sensory input on word learning, we recorded infant's view of the world using head-mounted eye trackers during free-flowing play with a caregiver. While playing, infants were exposed to novel label-object mappings and later learning outcomes for these items were tested after the play session. In this study we use a classification based approach to link properties of infants' visual scenes during naturalistic labeling moments to their word learning outcomes. We find that a model which integrates both highly informative and ambiguous sensory evidence is a better fit to infants' individual learning outcomes than models where either type of evidence is taken alone, and that raw labeling frequency is unable to account for the word learning differences we observe. Here we demonstrate how a computational model, using only raw pixels taken from the egocentric scene image, can derive insights on human language learning.
  • Araújo, S., Huettig, F., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). What underlies the deficit in rapid automatized naming (RAN) in adults with dyslexia? Evidence from eye movements. Scientific Studies of Reading, 25(6), 534-549. doi:10.1080/10888438.2020.1867863.

    Abstract

    This eye-tracking study explored how phonological encoding and speech production planning for successive words are coordinated in adult readers with dyslexia (N = 22) and control readers (N = 25) during rapid automatized naming (RAN). Using an object-RAN task, we orthogonally manipulated the word-form frequency and phonological neighborhood density of the object names and assessed the effects on speech and eye movements and their temporal coordination. In both groups, there was a significant interaction between word frequency and neighborhood density: shorter fixations for dense than for sparse neighborhoods were observed for low-, but not for high-frequency words. This finding does not suggest a specific difficulty in lexical phonological access in dyslexia. However, in readers with dyslexia only, these lexical effects percolated to the late processing stages, indicated by longer offset eye-speech lags. We close by discussing potential reasons for this finding, including suboptimal specification of phonological representations and deficits in attention control or in multi-item coordination.
  • Armeni, K. (2021). On model-based neurobiology of language comprehension: Neural oscillations, processing memory, and prediction. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Arunkumar, M., Van Paridon, J., Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (2021). Do illiterates have illusions? A conceptual (non)replication of Luria (1976). Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 5, 143-158. doi:10.1007/s41809-021-00080-x.

    Abstract

    Luria (1976) famously observed that people who never learnt to read and write do not perceive visual illusions. We conducted a conceptual replication of the Luria study of the effect of literacy on the processing of visual illusions. We designed two carefully controlled experiments with 161 participants with varying literacy levels ranging from complete illiterates to high literates in Chennai, India. Accuracy and reaction time in the identification of two types of visual shape and color illusions and the identification of appropriate control images were measured. Separate statistical analyses of Experiments 1 and 2 as well as pooled analyses of both experiments do not provide any support for the notion that literacy effects the perception of visual illusions. Our large sample, carefully controlled study strongly suggests that literacy does not meaningfully affect the identification of visual illusions and raises some questions about other reports about cultural effects on illusion perception.
  • Bakker-Marshall, I., Takashima, A., Fernandez, C. B., Janzen, G., McQueen, J. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2021). Overlapping and distinct neural networks supporting novel word learning in bilinguals and monolinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 24(3), 524-536. doi:10.1017/S1366728920000589.

    Abstract

    This study investigated how bilingual experience alters neural mechanisms supporting novel word learning. We hypothesised that novel words elicit increased semantic activation in the larger bilingual lexicon, potentially stimulating stronger memory integration than in monolinguals. English monolinguals and Spanish–English bilinguals were trained on two sets of written Swahili–English word pairs, one set on each of two consecutive days, and performed a recognition task in the MRI-scanner. Lexical integration was measured through visual primed lexical decision. Surprisingly, no group difference emerged in explicit word memory, and priming occurred only in the monolingual group. This difference in lexical integration may indicate an increased need for slow neocortical interleaving of old and new information in the denser bilingual lexicon. The fMRI data were consistent with increased use of cognitive control networks in monolinguals and of articulatory motor processes in bilinguals, providing further evidence for experience-induced neural changes: monolinguals and bilinguals reached largely comparable behavioural performance levels in novel word learning, but did so by recruiting partially overlapping but non-identical neural systems to acquire novel words.
  • Barlas, P., Kyriakou, K., Guest, O., Kleanthous, S., & Otterbacher, J. (2021). To "see" is to stereotype: Image tagging algorithms, gender recognition, and the accuracy-fairness trade-off. Proceedings of the ACM on Human Computer Interaction, 4(CSCW3): 32. doi:10.1145/3432931.

    Abstract

    Machine-learned computer vision algorithms for tagging images are increasingly used by developers and researchers, having become popularized as easy-to-use "cognitive services." Yet these tools struggle with gender recognition, particularly when processing images of women, people of color and non-binary individuals. Socio-technical researchers have cited data bias as a key problem; training datasets often over-represent images of people and contexts that convey social stereotypes. The social psychology literature explains that people learn social stereotypes, in part, by observing others in particular roles and contexts, and can inadvertently learn to associate gender with scenes, occupations and activities. Thus, we study the extent to which image tagging algorithms mimic this phenomenon. We design a controlled experiment, to examine the interdependence between algorithmic recognition of context and the depicted person's gender. In the spirit of auditing to understand machine behaviors, we create a highly controlled dataset of people images, imposed on gender-stereotyped backgrounds. Our methodology is reproducible and our code publicly available. Evaluating five proprietary algorithms, we find that in three, gender inference is hindered when a background is introduced. Of the two that "see" both backgrounds and gender, it is the one whose output is most consistent with human stereotyping processes that is superior in recognizing gender. We discuss the accuracy--fairness trade-off, as well as the importance of auditing black boxes in better understanding this double-edged sword.
  • Bartolozzi, F., Jongman, S. R., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). Concurrent speech planning does not eliminate repetition priming from spoken words: Evidence from linguistic dual-tasking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 47(3), 466-480. doi:10.1037/xlm0000944.

    Abstract

    In conversation, production and comprehension processes may overlap, causing interference. In 3 experiments, we investigated whether repetition priming can work as a supporting device, reducing costs associated with linguistic dual-tasking. Experiment 1 established the rate of decay of repetition priming from spoken words to picture naming for primes embedded in sentences. Experiments 2 and 3 investigated whether the rate of decay was faster when participants comprehended the prime while planning to name unrelated pictures. In all experiments, the primed picture followed the sentences featuring the prime on the same trial, or 10 or 50 trials later. The results of the 3 experiments were strikingly similar: robust repetition priming was observed when the primed picture followed the prime sentence. Thus, repetition priming was observed even when the primes were processed while the participants prepared an unrelated spoken utterance. Priming might, therefore, support utterance planning in conversation, where speakers routinely listen while planning their utterances.

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2021). Formation of numerals in the romance languages. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.013.685.

    Abstract

    The Romance languages have a rich numeral system that includes cardinals—providing the bases on which the other types of numeral series are built—ordinals, fractions, collectives, approximatives, distributives, and multiplicatives. Latin plays a decisive and continued role in their formation, both as the language to which many numerals go back directly and as an ongoing source for lexemes and formatives. While the Latin numeral system was synthetic, with a distinct ending for each type of numeral, the Romance numerals often feature more than one (unevenly distributed) marker or structure per series, which feature varying degrees of inherited, borrowed, or innovative elements. Formal consistency is strongest in cardinals, followed by ordinals and then the other types of numeral, which also tend to be more analytic or periphrastic. From a morphological perspective, Romance numerals overall have moved away from the inherited syntheticity, but several series continue to be synthetic formations—at least in part—with morphological markers drawn from Latin that may have undergone functional change (e.g. distributive > ordinal > collective). The underlying syntax of Romance numerals is in line with the overall grammatical patterns of Romance languages, as reflected in the prevalence of word order (with arithmetical correlates), connectors, (partial) loss of agreement, and analyticity. Innovation is prominent in the formation of higher numerals with bases beyond ‘thousand’, of teens and decads in Romanian, and of vigesimals in numerous Romance varieties.
  • Benetti, S., Zonca, J., Ferrari, A., Rezk, M., Rabini, G., & Collignon, O. (2021). Visual motion processing recruits regions selective for auditory motion in early deaf individuals. NeuroImage, 230: 117816. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117816.

    Abstract

    In early deaf individuals, the auditory deprived temporal brain regions become engaged in visual processing. In our study we tested further the hypothesis that intrinsic functional specialization guides the expression of cross-modal responses in the deprived auditory cortex. We used functional MRI to characterize the brain response to horizontal, radial and stochastic visual motion in early deaf and hearing individuals matched for the use of oral or sign language. Visual motion showed enhanced response in the ‘deaf’ mid-lateral planum temporale, a region selective to auditory motion as demonstrated by a separate auditory motion localizer in hearing people. Moreover, multivariate pattern analysis revealed that this reorganized temporal region showed enhanced decoding of motion categories in the deaf group, while visual motion-selective region hMT+/V5 showed reduced decoding when compared to hearing people. Dynamic Causal Modelling revealed that the ‘deaf’ motion-selective temporal region shows a specific increase of its functional interactions with hMT+/V5 and is now part of a large-scale visual motion selective network. In addition, we observed preferential responses to radial, compared to horizontal, visual motion in the ‘deaf’ right superior temporal cortex region that also show preferential response to approaching/receding sounds in the hearing brain. Overall, our results suggest that the early experience of auditory deprivation interacts with intrinsic constraints and triggers a large-scale reallocation of computational load between auditory and visual brain regions that typically support the multisensory processing of motion information.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Bentum, M. (2021). Listening with great expectations: A study of predictive natural speech processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bidgood, A., Pine, J., Rowland, C. F., Sala, G., Freudenthal, D., & Ambridge, B. (2021). Verb argument structure overgeneralisations for the English intransitive and transitive constructions: Grammaticality judgments and production priming. Language and Cognition, 13(3), 397-437. doi:10.1017/langcog.2021.8.

    Abstract

    We used a multi-method approach to investigate how children avoid (or retreat from) argument structure overgeneralisation errors (e.g., *You giggled me). Experiment 1 investigated how semantic and statistical constraints (preemption and entrenchment) influence children’s and adults’ judgments of the grammatical acceptability of 120 verbs in transitive and intransitive sentences. Experiment 2 used syntactic priming to elicit overgeneralisation errors from children (aged 5–6) to investigate whether the same constraints operate in production. For judgments, the data showed effects of preemption, entrenchment, and semantics for all ages. For production, only an effect of preemption was observed, and only for transitivisation errors with intransitive-only verbs (e.g., *The man laughed the girl). We conclude that preemption, entrenchment, and semantic effects are real, but are obscured by particular features of the present production task.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Birhane, A., & Guest, O. (2021). Towards decolonising computational sciences. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, 29(2), 60-73. doi:10.7146/kkf.v29i2.124899.

    Abstract

    This article sets out our perspective on how to begin the journey of decolonising computational fi elds, such as data and cognitive sciences. We see this struggle as requiring two basic steps: a) realisation that the present-day system has inherited, and still enacts, hostile, conservative, and oppressive behaviours and principles towards women of colour; and b) rejection of the idea that centring individual people is a solution to system-level problems. The longer we ignore these two steps, the more “our” academic system maintains its toxic structure, excludes, and harms Black women and other minoritised groups. This also keeps the door open to discredited pseudoscience, like eugenics and physiognomy. We propose that grappling with our fi elds’ histories and heritage holds the key to avoiding mistakes of the past. In contrast to, for example, initiatives such as “diversity boards”, which can be harmful because they superfi cially appear reformatory but nonetheless center whiteness and maintain the status quo. Building on the work of many women of colour, we hope to advance the dialogue required to build both a grass-roots and a top-down re-imagining of computational sciences — including but not limited to psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, data science, statistics, machine learning, and artifi cial intelligence. We aspire to progress away from
    these fi elds’ stagnant, sexist, and racist shared past into an ecosystem that welcomes and nurtures
    demographically diverse researchers and ideas that critically challenge the status quo.
  • Bluijs, S., Dera, J., & Peeters, D. (2021). Waarom digitale literatuur in het literatuuronderwijs thuishoort. Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde, 137(2), 150-163. doi:10.5117/TNTL2021.2.003.BLUI.
  • Bodur, K., Branje, S., Peirolo, M., Tiscareno, I., & German, J. S. (2021). Domain-initial strengthening in Turkish: Acoustic cues to prosodic hierarchy in stop consonants. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2021 (pp. 1459-1463). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2021-2230.

    Abstract

    Studies have shown that cross-linguistically, consonants at the left edge of higher-level prosodic boundaries tend to be more forcefully articulated than those at lower-level boundaries, a phenomenon known as domain-initial strengthening. This study tests whether similar effects occur in Turkish, using the Autosegmental-Metrical model proposed by Ipek & Jun [1, 2] as the basis for assessing boundary strength. Productions of /t/ and /d/ were elicited in four domain-initial prosodic positions corresponding to progressively higher-level boundaries: syllable, word, intermediate phrase, and Intonational Phrase. A fifth position, nuclear word, was included in order to better situate it within the prosodic hierarchy. Acoustic correlates of articulatory strength were measured, including closure duration for /d/ and /t/, as well as voice onset time and burst energy for /t/. Our results show that closure duration increases cumulatively from syllable to intermediate phrase, while voice onset time and burst energy are not influenced by boundary strength. These findings provide corroborating evidence for Ipek & Jun’s model, particularly for the distinction between word and intermediate phrase boundaries. Additionally, articulatory strength at the left edge of the nuclear word patterned closely with word-initial position, supporting the view that the nuclear word is not associated with a distinct phrasing domain
  • Bögels, S., & Torreira, F. (2021). Turn-end estimation in conversational turn-taking: The roles of context and prosody. Discourse Processes, 58(10), 903-924. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2021.1986664.

    Abstract

    This study investigated the role of contextual and prosodic information in turn-end estimation by means of a button-press task. We presented participants with turns extracted from a corpus of telephone calls visually (i.e., in transcribed form, word-by-word) and auditorily, and asked them to anticipate turn ends by pressing a button. The availability of the previous conversational context was generally helpful for turn-end estimation in short turns only, and more clearly so in the visual task than in the auditory task. To investigate the role of prosody, we examined whether participants in the auditory task pressed the button close to turn-medial points likely to constitute turn ends based on lexico-syntactic information alone. We observed that the vast majority of such button presses occurred in the presence of an intonational boundary rather than in its absence. These results are consistent with the view that prosodic cues in the proximity of turn ends play a relevant role in turn-end estimation.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Peeters, D. (2021). Beat gestures influence which speech sounds you hear. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 288: 20202419. doi:10.1098/rspb.2020.2419.

    Abstract

    Beat gestures—spontaneously produced biphasic movements of the hand—
    are among the most frequently encountered co-speech gestures in human
    communication. They are closely temporally aligned to the prosodic charac-
    teristics of the speech signal, typically occurring on lexically stressed
    syllables. Despite their prevalence across speakers of the world’s languages,
    how beat gestures impact spoken word recognition is unclear. Can these
    simple ‘flicks of the hand’ influence speech perception? Across a range
    of experiments, we demonstrate that beat gestures influence the explicit
    and implicit perception of lexical stress (e.g. distinguishing OBject from
    obJECT), and in turn can influence what vowels listeners hear. Thus, we pro-
    vide converging evidence for a manual McGurk effect: relatively simple and
    widely occurring hand movements influence which speech sounds we hear

    Additional information

    example stimuli and experimental data
  • Bosker, H. R. (2021). The contribution of amplitude modulations in speech to perceived charisma. In B. Weiss, J. Trouvain, M. Barkat-Defradas, & J. J. Ohala (Eds.), Voice attractiveness: Prosody, phonology and phonetics (pp. 165-181). Singapore: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-981-15-6627-1_10.

    Abstract

    Speech contains pronounced amplitude modulations in the 1–9 Hz range, correlating with the syllabic rate of speech. Recent models of speech perception propose that this rhythmic nature of speech is central to speech recognition and has beneficial effects on language processing. Here, we investigated the contribution of amplitude modulations to the subjective impression listeners have of public speakers. The speech from US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three TV debates of 2016 was acoustically analyzed by means of modulation spectra. These indicated that Clinton’s speech had more pronounced amplitude modulations than Trump’s speech, particularly in the 1–9 Hz range. A subsequent perception experiment, with listeners rating the perceived charisma of (low-pass filtered versions of) Clinton’s and Trump’s speech, showed that more pronounced amplitude modulations (i.e., more ‘rhythmic’ speech) increased perceived charisma ratings. These outcomes highlight the important contribution of speech rhythm to charisma perception.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2021). Using fuzzy string matching for automated assessment of listener transcripts in speech intelligibility studies. Behavior Research Methods, 53(5), 1945-1953. doi:10.3758/s13428-021-01542-4.

    Abstract

    Many studies of speech perception assess the intelligibility of spoken sentence stimuli by means
    of transcription tasks (‘type out what you hear’). The intelligibility of a given stimulus is then often
    expressed in terms of percentage of words correctly reported from the target sentence. Yet scoring
    the participants’ raw responses for words correctly identified from the target sentence is a time-
    consuming task, and hence resource-intensive. Moreover, there is no consensus among speech
    scientists about what specific protocol to use for the human scoring, limiting the reliability of
    human scores. The present paper evaluates various forms of fuzzy string matching between
    participants’ responses and target sentences, as automated metrics of listener transcript accuracy.
    We demonstrate that one particular metric, the Token Sort Ratio, is a consistent, highly efficient,
    and accurate metric for automated assessment of listener transcripts, as evidenced by high
    correlations with human-generated scores (best correlation: r = 0.940) and a strong relationship to
    acoustic markers of speech intelligibility. Thus, fuzzy string matching provides a practical tool for
    assessment of listener transcript accuracy in large-scale speech intelligibility studies. See
    https://tokensortratio.netlify.app for an online implementation.
  • Bosker, H. R., Badaya, E., & Corley, M. (2021). Discourse markers activate their, like, cohort competitors. Discourse Processes, 58(9), 837-851. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2021.1924000.

    Abstract

    Speech in everyday conversations is riddled with discourse markers (DMs), such as well, you know, and like. However, in many lab-based studies of speech comprehension, such DMs are typically absent from the carefully articulated and highly controlled speech stimuli. As such, little is known about how these DMs influence online word recognition. The present study specifically investigated the online processing of DM like and how it influences the activation of words in the mental lexicon. We specifically targeted the cohort competitor (CC) effect in the Visual World Paradigm: Upon hearing spoken instructions to “pick up the beaker,” human listeners also typically fixate—next to the target object—referents that overlap phonologically with the target word (cohort competitors such as beetle; CCs). However, several studies have argued that CC effects are constrained by syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, and discourse constraints. Therefore, the present study investigated whether DM like influences online word recognition by activating its cohort competitors (e.g., lightbulb). In an eye-tracking experiment using the Visual World Paradigm, we demonstrate that when participants heard spoken instructions such as “Now press the button for the, like … unicycle,” they showed anticipatory looks to the CC referent (lightbulb)well before hearing the target. This CC effect was sustained for a relatively long period of time, even despite hearing disambiguating information (i.e., the /k/ in like). Analysis of the reaction times also showed that participants were significantly faster to select CC targets (lightbulb) when preceded by DM like. These findings suggest that seemingly trivial DMs, such as like, activate their CCs, impacting online word recognition. Thus, we advocate a more holistic perspective on spoken language comprehension in naturalistic communication, including the processing of DMs.
  • Braden, R. O., Amor, D. J., Fisher, S. E., Mei, C., Myers, C. T., Mefford, H., Gill, D., Srivastava, S., Swanson, L. C., Goel, H., Scheffer, I. E., & Morgan, A. T. (2021). Severe speech impairment is a distinguishing feature of FOXP1-related disorder. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 63(12), 1417-1426. doi:10.1111/dmcn.14955.

    Abstract

    Aim
    To delineate the speech and language phenotype of a cohort of individuals with FOXP1-related disorder.

    Method
    We administered a standardized test battery to examine speech and oral motor function, receptive and expressive language, non-verbal cognition, and adaptive behaviour. Clinical history and cognitive assessments were analysed together with speech and language findings.

    Results
    Twenty-nine patients (17 females, 12 males; mean age 9y 6mo; median age 8y [range 2y 7mo–33y]; SD 6y 5mo) with pathogenic FOXP1 variants (14 truncating, three missense, three splice site, one in-frame deletion, eight cytogenic deletions; 28 out of 29 were de novo variants) were studied. All had atypical speech, with 21 being verbal and eight minimally verbal. All verbal patients had dysarthric and apraxic features, with phonological deficits in most (14 out of 16). Language scores were low overall. In the 21 individuals who carried truncating or splice site variants and small deletions, expressive abilities were relatively preserved compared with comprehension.

    Interpretation
    FOXP1-related disorder is characterized by a complex speech and language phenotype with prominent dysarthria, broader motor planning and programming deficits, and linguistic-based phonological errors. Diagnosis of the speech phenotype associated with FOXP1-related dysfunction will inform early targeted therapy.

    Additional information

    figure S1 table S1
  • Brand, S., & Ernestus, M. (2021). Reduction of word-final obstruent-liquid-schwa clusters in Parisian French. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 17(1), 249-285. doi:10.1515/cllt-2017-0067.

    Abstract

    This corpus study investigated pronunciation variants of word-final obstruent-liquid-schwa (OLS) clusters in nouns in casual Parisian French. Results showed that at least one phoneme was absent in 80.7% of the 291 noun tokens in the dataset, and that the whole cluster was absent (e.g., [mis] for ministre) in no less than 15.5% of the tokens. We demonstrate that phonemes are not always completely absent, but that they may leave traces on neighbouring phonemes. Further, the clusters display undocumented voice assimilation patterns. Statistical modelling showed that a phoneme is most likely to be absent if the following phoneme is also absent. The durations of the phonemes are conditioned particularly by the position of the word in the prosodic phrase. We argue, on the basis of three different types of evidence, that in French word-final OLS clusters, the absence of obstruents is mainly due to gradient reduction processes, whereas the absence of schwa and liquids may also be due to categorical deletion processes.
  • Brehm, L., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). Planning when to say: Dissociating cue use in utterance initiation using cross-validation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 150(9), 1772-1799. doi:10.1037/xge0001012.

    Abstract

    In conversation, turns follow each other with minimal gaps. To achieve this, speakers must launch their utterances shortly before the predicted end of the partner’s turn. We examined the relative importance of cues to partner utterance content and partner utterance length for launching coordinated speech. In three experiments, Dutch adult participants had to produce prepared utterances (e.g., vier, “four”) immediately after a recording of a confederate’s utterance (zeven, “seven”). To assess the role of corepresenting content versus attending to speech cues in launching coordinated utterances, we varied whether the participant could see the stimulus being named by the confederate, the confederate prompt’s length, and whether within a block of trials, the confederate prompt’s length was predictable. We measured how these factors affected the gap between turns and the participants’ allocation of visual attention while preparing to speak. Using a machine-learning technique, model selection by k-fold cross-validation, we found that gaps were most strongly predicted by cues from the confederate speech signal, though some benefit was also conferred by seeing the confederate’s stimulus. This shows that, at least in a simple laboratory task, speakers rely more on cues in the partner’s speech than corepresentation of their utterance content.
  • Brehm, L., Jackson, C. N., & Miller, K. L. (2021). Probabilistic online processing of sentence anomalies. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 36(8), 959-983. doi:10.1080/23273798.2021.1900579.

    Abstract

    Listeners can successfully interpret the intended meaning of an utterance even when it contains errors or other unexpected anomalies. The present work combines an online measure of attention to sentence referents (visual world eye-tracking) with offline judgments of sentence meaning to disclose how the interpretation of anomalous sentences unfolds over time in order to explore mechanisms of non-literal processing. We use a metalinguistic judgment in Experiment 1 and an elicited imitation task in Experiment 2. In both experiments, we focus on one morphosyntactic anomaly (Subject-verb agreement; The key to the cabinets literally *were … ) and one semantic anomaly (Without; Lulu went to the gym without her hat ?off) and show that non-literal referents to each are considered upon hearing the anomalous region of the sentence. This shows that listeners understand anomalies by overwriting or adding to an initial interpretation and that this occurs incrementally and adaptively as the sentence unfolds.
  • Brown, P., Sicoli, M. A., & Le Guen, O. (2021). Cross-speaker repetition and epistemic stance in Tzeltal, Yucatec, and Zapotec conversations. Journal of Pragmatics, 183, 256-272. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2021.07.005.

    Abstract

    As a turn-design strategy, repeating another has been described for English as a fairly restricted way of constructing a response, which, through re-saying what another speaker just said, is exploitable for claiming epistemic primacy, and thus avoided when a second speaker has no direct experience. Conversations in Mesoamerican languages present a challenge to the generality of this claim. This paper examines the epistemics of dialogic repetition in video-recordings of conversations in three Indigenous languages of Mexico: Tzeltal and Yucatec Maya, both spoken in southeastern Mexico, and Lachixío Zapotec, spoken in Oaxaca. We develop a typology of repetition in different sequential environments. We show that while the functions of repeats in Mesoamerica overlap with the range of repeat functions described for English, there is an additional epistemic environment in the Mesoamerican routine of repeating for affirmation: a responding speaker can repeat to affirm something introduced by another speaker of which s/he has no prior knowledge. We argue that, while dialogic repetition is a universally available turn-design strategy that makes epistemics potentially relevant, cross-cultural comparison reveals that cultural preferences intervene such that, in Mesoamerican conversations, repetition co-constructs knowledge as collective process over which no individual participant has final authority or ownership.

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  • Brown, A. R., Pouw, W., Brentari, D., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2021). People are less susceptible to illusion when they use their hands to communicate rather than estimate. Psychological Science, 32, 1227-1237. doi:10.1177/0956797621991552.

    Abstract

    When we use our hands to estimate the length of a stick in the Müller-Lyer illusion, we are highly susceptible to the illusion. But when we prepare to act on sticks under the same conditions, we are significantly less susceptible. Here, we asked whether people are susceptible to illusion when they use their hands not to act on objects but to describe them in spontaneous co-speech gestures or conventional sign languages of the deaf. Thirty-two English speakers and 13 American Sign Language signers used their hands to act on, estimate the length of, and describe sticks eliciting the Müller-Lyer illusion. For both gesture and sign, the magnitude of illusion in the description task was smaller than the magnitude of illusion in the estimation task and not different from the magnitude of illusion in the action task. The mechanisms responsible for producing gesture in speech and sign thus appear to operate not on percepts involved in estimation but on percepts derived from the way we act on objects.

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  • Burgers, N., Ettema, D. F., Hooimeijer, P., & Barendse, M. T. (2021). The effects of neighbours on sport club membership. European Journal for Sport and Society, 18(4), 310-325. 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.
  • Byers-Heinlein, K., Tsui, A. S. M., Bergmann, C., Black, A. K., Brown, A., Carbajal, M. J., Durrant, S., Fennell, C. T., Fiévet, A.-C., Frank, M. C., Gampe, A., Gervain, J., Gonzalez-Gomez, N., Hamlin, J. K., Havron, N., Hernik, M., Kerr, S., Killam, H., Klassen, K., Kosie, J. and 18 moreByers-Heinlein, K., Tsui, A. S. M., Bergmann, C., Black, A. K., Brown, A., Carbajal, M. J., Durrant, S., Fennell, C. T., Fiévet, A.-C., Frank, M. C., Gampe, A., Gervain, J., Gonzalez-Gomez, N., Hamlin, J. K., Havron, N., Hernik, M., Kerr, S., Killam, H., Klassen, K., Kosie, J., Kovács, Á. M., Lew-Williams, C., Liu, L., Mani, N., Marino, C., Mastroberardino, M., Mateu, V., Noble, C., Orena, A. J., Polka, L., Potter, C. E., Schreiner, M., Singh, L., Soderstrom, M., Sundara, M., Waddell, C., Werker, J. F., & Wermelinger, S. (2021). A multilab study of bilingual infants: Exploring the preference for infant-directed speech. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 4(1), 1-30. doi:10.1177/2515245920974622.

    Abstract

    From the earliest months of life, infants prefer listening to and learn better from infant-directed speech (IDS) than adult-directed speech (ADS). Yet, IDS differs within communities, across languages, and across cultures, both in form and in prevalence. This large-scale, multi-site study used the diversity of bilingual infant experiences to explore the impact of different types of linguistic experience on infants’ IDS preference. As part of the multi-lab ManyBabies project, we compared lab-matched samples of 333 bilingual and 385 monolingual infants’ preference for North-American English IDS (cf. ManyBabies Consortium, in press (MB1)), tested in 17 labs in 7 countries. Those infants were tested in two age groups: 6–9 months (the younger sample) and 12–15 months (the older sample). We found that bilingual and monolingual infants both preferred IDS to ADS, and did not differ in terms of the overall magnitude of this preference. However, amongst bilingual infants who were acquiring North-American English (NAE) as a native language, greater exposure to NAE was associated with a stronger IDS preference, extending the previous finding from MB1 that monolinguals learning NAE as a native language showed a stronger preference than infants unexposed to NAE. Together, our findings indicate that IDS preference likely makes a similar contribution to monolingual and bilingual development, and that infants are exquisitely sensitive to the nature and frequency of different types of language input in their early environments.
  • Carota, F., Nili, H., Pulvermüller, F., & Kriegeskorte, N. (2021). Distinct fronto-temporal substrates of distributional and taxonomic similarity among words: Evidence from RSA of BOLD signals. NeuroImage, 224: 117408. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117408.

    Abstract

    A class of semantic theories defines concepts in terms of statistical distributions of lexical items, basing meaning on vectors of word co-occurrence frequencies. A different approach emphasizes abstract hierarchical taxonomic relationships among concepts. However, the functional relevance of these different accounts and how they capture information-encoding of meaning in the brain still remains elusive.

    We investigated to what extent distributional and taxonomic models explained word-elicited neural responses using cross-validated representational similarity analysis (RSA) of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and novel model comparisons.

    Our findings show that the brain encodes both types of semantic similarities, but in distinct cortical regions. Posterior middle temporal regions reflected word links based on hierarchical taxonomies, along with the action-relatedness of the semantic word categories. In contrast, distributional semantics best predicted the representational patterns in left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG, BA 47). Both representations coexisted in angular gyrus supporting semantic binding and integration. These results reveal that neuronal networks with distinct cortical distributions across higher-order association cortex encode different representational properties of word meanings. Taxonomy may shape long-term lexical-semantic representations in memory consistently with sensorimotor details of semantic categories, whilst distributional knowledge in the LIFG (BA 47) enable semantic combinatorics in the context of language use.

    Our approach helps to elucidate the nature of semantic representations essential for understanding human language.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Estruch, S. B., Maassen, B., Franke, B., Francks, C., & Fisher, S. E. (2021). Whole-genome sequencing identifies functional noncoding variation in SEMA3C that cosegregates with dyslexia in a multigenerational family. Human Genetics, 140, 1183-1200. doi:10.1007/s00439-021-02289-w.

    Abstract

    Dyslexia is a common heritable developmental disorder involving impaired reading abilities. Its genetic underpinnings are thought to be complex and heterogeneous, involving common and rare genetic variation. Multigenerational families segregating apparent monogenic forms of language-related disorders can provide useful entrypoints into biological pathways. In the present study, we performed a genome-wide linkage scan in a three-generational family in which dyslexia affects 14 of its 30 members and seems to be transmitted with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. We identified a locus on chromosome 7q21.11 which cosegregated with dyslexia status, with the exception of two cases of phenocopy (LOD = 2.83). Whole-genome sequencing of key individuals enabled the assessment of coding and noncoding variation in the family. Two rare single-nucleotide variants (rs144517871 and rs143835534) within the first intron of the SEMA3C gene cosegregated with the 7q21.11 risk haplotype. In silico characterization of these two variants predicted effects on gene regulation, which we functionally validated for rs144517871 in human cell lines using luciferase reporter assays. SEMA3C encodes a secreted protein that acts as a guidance cue in several processes, including cortical neuronal migration and cellular polarization. We hypothesize that these intronic variants could have a cis-regulatory effect on SEMA3C expression, making a contribution to dyslexia susceptibility in this family.
  • Casillas, M., Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (2021). Early language experience in a Papuan community. Journal of Child Language, 48(4), 792-814. doi:10.1017/S0305000920000549.

    Abstract

    The rate at which young children are directly spoken to varies due to many factors, including (a) caregiver ideas about children as conversational partners and (b) the organization of everyday life. Prior work suggests cross-cultural variation in rates of child-directed speech is due to the former factor, but has been fraught with confounds in comparing postindustrial and subsistence farming communities. We investigate the daylong language environments of children (0;0–3;0) on Rossel Island, Papua New Guinea, a small-scale traditional community where prior ethnographic study demonstrated contingency-seeking child interaction styles. In fact, children were infrequently directly addressed and linguistic input rate was primarily affected by situational factors, though children’s vocalization maturity showed no developmental delay. We compare the input characteristics between this community and a Tseltal Mayan one in which near-parallel methods produced comparable results, then briefly discuss the models and mechanisms for learning best supported by our findings.
  • Çetinçelik, M., Rowland, C. F., & Snijders, T. M. (2021). Do the eyes have it? A systematic review on the role of eye gaze in infant language development. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 589096. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.589096.

    Abstract

    Eye gaze is a ubiquitous cue in child-caregiver interactions and infants are highly attentive to eye gaze from very early on. However, the question of why infants show gaze-sensitive behavior, and what role this sensitivity to gaze plays in their language development, is not yet well-understood. To gain a better understanding of the role of eye gaze in infants’ language learning, we conducted a broad systematic review of the developmental literature for all studies that investigate the role of eye gaze in infants’ language development. Across 77 peer-reviewed articles containing data from typically-developing human infants (0-24 months) in the domain of language development we identified two broad themes. The first tracked the effect of eye gaze on four developmental domains: (1) vocabulary development, (2) word-object mapping, (3) object processing, and (4) speech processing. Overall, there is considerable evidence that infants learn more about objects and are more likely to form word-object mappings in the presence of eye gaze cues, both of which are necessary for learning words. In addition, there is good evidence for longitudinal relationships between infants’ gaze following abilities and later receptive and expressive vocabulary. However, many domains (e.g. speech processing) are understudied; further work is needed to decide whether gaze effects are specific to tasks such as word-object mapping, or whether they reflect a general learning enhancement mechanism. The second theme explored the reasons why eye gaze might be facilitative for learning, addressing the question of whether eye gaze is treated by infants as a specialized socio-cognitive cue. We concluded that the balance of evidence supports the idea that eye gaze facilitates infants’ learning by enhancing their arousal, memory and attentional capacities to a greater extent than other low-level attentional cues. However, as yet, there are too few studies that directly compare the effect of eye gaze cues and non-social, attentional cues for strong conclusions to be drawn. We also suggest there might be a developmental effect, with eye gaze, over the course of the first two years of life, developing into a truly ostensive cue that enhances language learning across the board.

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  • Chan, A., Matthews, S., Tse, N., Lam, A., Chang, F., & Kidd, E. (2021). Revisiting Subject–Object Asymmetry in the Production of Cantonese Relative Clauses: Evidence From Elicited Production in 3-Year-Olds. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 679008. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.679008.

    Abstract

    Emergentist approaches to language acquisition identify a core role for language-specific experience and give primacy to other factors like function and domain-general learning mechanisms in syntactic development. This directly contrasts with a nativist structurally oriented approach, which predicts that grammatical development is guided by Universal Grammar and that structural factors constrain acquisition. Cantonese relative clauses (RCs) offer a good opportunity to test these perspectives because its typologically rare properties decouple the roles of frequency and complexity in subject- and object-RCs in a way not possible in European languages. Specifically, Cantonese object RCs of the classifier type are frequently attested in children’s linguistic experience and are isomorphic to frequent and early-acquired simple SVO transitive clauses, but according to formal grammatical analyses Cantonese subject RCs are computationally less demanding to process. Thus, the two opposing theories make different predictions: the emergentist approach predicts a specific preference for object RCs of the classifier type, whereas the structurally oriented approach predicts a subject advantage. In the current study we revisited this issue. Eighty-seven monolingual Cantonese children aged between 3;2 and 3;11 (Mage: 3;6) participated in an elicited production task designed to elicit production of subject- and object- RCs. The children were very young and most of them produced only noun phrases when RCs were elicited. Those (nine children) who did produce RCs produced overwhelmingly more object RCs than subject RCs, even when animacy cues were controlled. The majority of object RCs produced were the frequent classifier-type RCs. The findings concur with our hypothesis from the emergentist perspectives that input frequency and formal and functional similarity to known structures guide acquisition.
  • Chen, A., Çetinçelik, M., Roncaglia-Denissen, M. P., & Sadakata, M. (2021). Native language, L2 experience, and pitch processing in music. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. Advance online publication. doi:10.1075/lab.20030.che.

    Abstract

    The current study investigated how the role of pitch in one’s native language and L2 experience influenced musical melodic processing by testing Turkish and Mandarin Chinese advanced and beginning learners of English as an L2. Pitch has a lower functional load and shows a simpler pattern in Turkish than in Chinese as the former only contrasts between presence and the absence of pitch elevation, while the latter makes use of four different pitch contours lexically. Using the Musical Ear Test as the tool, we found that the Chinese listeners outperformed the Turkish listeners, and the advanced L2 learners outperformed the beginning learners. The Turkish listeners were further tested on their discrimination of bisyllabic Chinese lexical tones, and again an L2 advantage was observed. No significant difference was found for working memory between the beginning and advanced L2 learners. These results suggest that richness of tonal inventory of the native language is essential for triggering a music processing advantage, and on top of the tone language advantage, the L2 experience yields a further enhancement. Yet, unlike the tone language advantage that seems to relate to pitch expertise, learning an L2 seems to improve sound discrimination in general, and such improvement exhibits in non-native lexical tone discrimination.
  • Cohen, E., Van Leeuwen, E. J. C., Barbosa, A., & Haun, D. B. M. (2021). Does accent trump skin color in guiding children’s social preferences? Evidence from Brazil’s natural lab. Cognitive Development, 60: 101111. doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2021.101111.

    Abstract

    Previous research has shown significant effects of race and accent on children’s developing social preferences. Accounts of the primacy of accent biases in the evolution and ontogeny of discriminant cooperation have been proposed, but lack systematic cross-cultural investigation. We report three controlled studies conducted with 5−10 year old children across four towns in the Brazilian Amazon, selected for their variation in racial and accent homogeneity/heterogeneity. Study 1 investigated participants’ (N = 289) decisions about friendship and sharing across color-contrasted pairs of target individuals: Black-White, Black-Pardo (Brown), Pardo-White. Study 2 (N = 283) investigated effects of both color and accent (Local vs Non-Local) on friendship and sharing decisions. Overall, there was a significant bias toward the lighter colored individual. A significant preference for local accent mitigates but does not override the color bias, except in the site characterized by both racial and accent heterogeneity. Results also vary by participant age and color. Study 3 (N = 235) reports results of an accent discrimination task that shows an overall increase in accuracy with age. The research suggests that cooperative preferences based on accent and race develop differently in response to locally relevant parameters of racial and linguistic variation.
  • Coopmans, C. W., De Hoop, H., Kaushik, K., Hagoort, P., & Martin, A. E. (2021). Structure-(in)dependent interpretation of phrases in humans and LSTMs. In Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics (SCiL 2021) (pp. 459-463).

    Abstract

    In this study, we compared the performance of a long short-term memory (LSTM) neural network to the behavior of human participants on a language task that requires hierarchically structured knowledge. We show that humans interpret ambiguous noun phrases, such as second blue ball, in line with their hierarchical constituent structure. LSTMs, instead, only do
    so after unambiguous training, and they do not systematically generalize to novel items. Overall, the results of our simulations indicate that a model can behave hierarchically without relying on hierarchical constituent structure.
  • Creaghe, N., Quinn, S., & Kidd, E. (2021). Symbolic play provides a fertile context for language development. Infancy, 26(6), 980-1010. doi:10.1111/infa.12422.

    Abstract

    In this study we test the hypothesis that symbolic play represents a fertile context for language acquisition because its inherent ambiguity elicits communicative behaviours that positively influence development. Infant-caregiver dyads (N = 54) participated in two 20-minute play sessions six months apart (Time 1 = 18 months, Time 2 = 24 months). During each session the dyads played with two sets of toys that elicited either symbolic or functional play. The sessions were transcribed and coded for several features of dyadic interaction and speech; infants’ linguistic proficiency was measured via parental report. The two play contexts resulted in different communicative and linguistic behaviour. Notably, the symbolic play condition resulted in significantly greater conversational turn-taking than functional play, and also resulted in the greater use of questions and mimetics in infant-directed speech (IDS). In contrast, caregivers used more imperative clauses in functional play. Regression analyses showed that unique properties of symbolic play (i.e., turn-taking, yes-no questions, mimetics) positively predicted children’s language proficiency, whereas unique features of functional play (i.e., imperatives in IDS) negatively predicted proficiency. The results provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that symbolic play is a fertile context for language development, driven by the need to negotiate meaning.
  • Creemers, A., & Embick, D. (2021). Retrieving stem meanings in opaque words during auditory lexical processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 36(9), 1107-1122. doi:10.1080/23273798.2021.1909085.

    Abstract

    Recent constituent priming experiments show that Dutch and German prefixed verbs prime their stem, regardless of semantic transparency (e.g. Smolka et al. [(2014). ‘Verstehen’ (‘understand’) primes ‘stehen’ (‘stand’): Morphological structure overrides semantic compositionality in the lexical representation of German complex verbs. Journal of Memory and Language, 72, 16–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2013.12.002]). We examine whether the processing of opaque verbs (e.g. herhalen “repeat”) involves the retrieval of only the whole-word meaning, or whether the lexical-semantic meaning of the stem (halen as “take/get”) is retrieved as well. We report the results of an auditory semantic priming experiment with Dutch prefixed verbs, testing whether the recognition of a semantic associate to the stem (BRENGEN “bring”) is facilitated by the presentation of an opaque prefixed verb. In contrast to prior visual studies, significant facilitation after semantically opaque primes is found, which suggests that the lexical-semantic meaning of stems in opaque words is retrieved. We examine the implications that these findings have for auditory word recognition, and for the way in which different types of meanings are represented and processed.

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  • Cristia, A., Lavechin, M., Scaff, C., Soderstrom, M., Rowland, C. F., Räsänen, O., Bunce, J., & Bergelson, E. (2021). A thorough evaluation of the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) system. Behavior Research Methods, 53, 467-486. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01393-5.

    Abstract

    In the previous decade, dozens of studies involving thousands of children across several research disciplines have made use of a combined daylong audio-recorder and automated algorithmic analysis called the LENAⓇ system, which aims to assess children’s language environment. While the system’s prevalence in the language acquisition domain is steadily growing, there are only scattered validation efforts on only some of its key characteristics. Here, we assess the LENAⓇ system’s accuracy across all of its key measures: speaker classification, Child Vocalization Counts (CVC), Conversational Turn Counts (CTC), and Adult Word Counts (AWC). Our assessment is based on manual annotation of clips that have been randomly or periodically sampled out of daylong recordings, collected from (a) populations similar to the system’s original training data (North American English-learning children aged 3-36 months), (b) children learning another dialect of English (UK), and (c) slightly older children growing up in a different linguistic and socio-cultural setting (Tsimane’ learners in rural Bolivia). We find reasonably high accuracy in some measures (AWC, CVC), with more problematic levels of performance in others (CTC, precision of male adults and other children). Statistical analyses do not support the view that performance is worse for children who are dissimilar from the LENAⓇ original training set. Whether LENAⓇ results are accurate enough for a given research, educational, or clinical application depends largely on the specifics at hand. We therefore conclude with a set of recommendations to help researchers make this determination for their goals.
  • Cuellar-Partida, G., Tung, J. Y., Eriksson, N., Albrecht, E., Aliev, F., Andreassen, O. A., Barroso, I., Beckmann, J. S., Boks, M. P., Boomsma, D. I., Boyd, H. A., Breteler, M. M. B., Campbell, H., Chasman, D. I., Cherkas, L. F., Davies, G., De Geus, E. J. C., Deary, I. J., Deloukas, P., Dick, D. M. and 98 moreCuellar-Partida, G., Tung, J. Y., Eriksson, N., Albrecht, E., Aliev, F., Andreassen, O. A., Barroso, I., Beckmann, J. S., Boks, M. P., Boomsma, D. I., Boyd, H. A., Breteler, M. M. B., Campbell, H., Chasman, D. I., Cherkas, L. F., Davies, G., De Geus, E. J. C., Deary, I. J., Deloukas, P., Dick, D. M., Duffy, D. L., Eriksson, J. G., Esko, T., Feenstra, B., Geller, F., Gieger, C., Giegling, I., Gordon, S. D., Han, J., Hansen, T. F., Hartmann, A. M., Hayward, C., Heikkilä, K., Hicks, A. A., Hirschhorn, J. N., Hottenga, J.-J., Huffman, J. E., Hwang, L.-D., Ikram, M. A., Kaprio, J., Kemp, J. P., Khaw, K.-T., Klopp, N., Konte, B., Kutalik, Z., Lahti, J., Li, X., Loos, R. J. F., Luciano, M., Magnusson, S. H., Mangino, M., Marques-Vidal, P., Martin, N. G., McArdle, W. L., McCarthy, M. I., Medina-Gomez, C., Melbye, M., Melville, S. A., Metspalu, A., Milani, L., Mooser, V., Nelis, M., Nyholt, D. R., O'Connell, K. S., Ophoff, R. A., Palmer, C., Palotie, A., Palviainen, T., Pare, G., Paternoster, L., Peltonen, L., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Polasek, O., Pramstaller, P. P., Prokopenko, I., Raikkonen, K., Ripatti, S., Rivadeneira, F., Rudan, I., Rujescu, D., Smit, J. H., Smith, G. D., Smoller, J. W., Soranzo, N., Spector, T. D., St Pourcain, B., Starr, J. M., Stefánsson, H., Steinberg, S., Teder-Laving, M., Thorleifsson, G., Stefansson, K., Timpson, N. J., Uitterlinden, A. G., Van Duijn, C. M., Van Rooij, F. J. A., Vink, J. M., Vollenweider, P., Vuoksimaa, E., Waeber, G., Wareham, N. J., Warrington, N., Waterworth, D., Werge, T., Wichmann, H.-E., Widen, E., Willemsen, G., Wright, A. F., Wright, M. J., Xu, M., Zhao, J. H., Kraft, P., Hinds, D. A., Lindgren, C. M., Magi, R., Neale, B. M., Evans, D. M., & Medland, S. E. (2021). Genome-wide association study identifies 48 common genetic variants associated with handedness. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 59-70. doi:10.1038/s41562-020-00956-y.

    Abstract

    Handedness has been extensively studied because of its relationship with language and the over-representation of left-handers in some neurodevelopmental disorders. Using data from the UK Biobank, 23andMe and the International Handedness Consortium, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of handedness (N = 1,766,671). We found 41 loci associated (P < 5 × 10−8) with left-handedness and 7 associated with ambidexterity. Tissue-enrichment analysis implicated the CNS in the aetiology of handedness. Pathways including regulation of microtubules and brain morphology were also highlighted. We found suggestive positive genetic correlations between left-handedness and neuropsychiatric traits, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, the genetic correlation between left-handedness and ambidexterity is low (rG = 0.26), which implies that these traits are largely influenced by different genetic mechanisms. Our findings suggest that handedness is highly polygenic and that the genetic variants that predispose to left-handedness may underlie part of the association with some psychiatric disorders.

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  • Cutler, A., & Jesse, A. (2021). Word stress in speech perception. In J. S. Pardo, L. C. Nygaard, & D. B. Pisoni (Eds.), The handbook of speech perception (2nd ed., pp. 239-265). Chichester: Wiley.
  • Cutler, A., Aslin, R. N., Gervain, J., & Nespor, M. (Eds.). (2021). Special issue in honor of Jacques Mehler, Cognition's founding editor [Special Issue]. Cognition, 213.
  • Cutler, A., Aslin, R. N., Gervain, J., & Nespor, M. (2021). Special issue in honor of Jacques Mehler, Cognition's founding editor [preface]. Cognition, 213: 104786. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104786.
  • Cychosz, M., Cristia, A., Bergelson, E., Casillas, M., Baudet, G., Warlaumont, A. S., Scaff, C., Yankowitz, L., & Seidl, A. (2021). Vocal development in a large‐scale crosslinguistic corpus. Developmental Science, 24(5): e13090. doi:10.1111/desc.13090.

    Abstract

    This study evaluates whether early vocalizations develop in similar ways in children across diverse cultural contexts. We analyze data from daylong audio recordings of 49 children (1–36 months) from five different language/cultural backgrounds. Citizen scientists annotated these recordings to determine if child vocalizations contained canonical transitions or not (e.g., “ba” vs. “ee”). Results revealed that the proportion of clips reported to contain canonical transitions increased with age. Furthermore, this proportion exceeded 0.15 by around 7 months, replicating and extending previous findings on canonical vocalization development but using data from the natural environments of a culturally and linguistically diverse sample. This work explores how crowdsourcing can be used to annotate corpora, helping establish developmental milestones relevant to multiple languages and cultures. Lower inter‐annotator reliability on the crowdsourcing platform, relative to more traditional in‐lab expert annotators, means that a larger number of unique annotators and/or annotations are required, and that crowdsourcing may not be a suitable method for more fine‐grained annotation decisions. Audio clips used for this project are compiled into a large‐scale infant vocalization corpus that is available for other researchers to use in future work.

    Additional information

    supporting information audio data
  • Decuyper, C., Brysbaert, M., Brodeur, M. B., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). Bank of Standardized Stimuli (BOSS): Dutch names for 1400 photographs. Journal of Cognition, 4(1): 33. doi:10.5334/joc.180.

    Abstract

    We present written naming norms from 153 young adult Dutch speakers for 1397 photographs (the BOSS set; see Brodeur, Dionne-Dostie, Montreuil, & Lepage, 2010; Brodeur, Guérard, & Bouras, 2014). From the norming study, we report the preferred (modal) name, alternative names, name agreement, and average object agreement. In addition, the data base includes Zipf frequency, word prevalence and Age of Acquisition for the modal picture names collected. Furthermore, we describe a subset of 359 photographs with very good name agreement and a subset of 35 photos with two common names. These sets may be particularly valuable for designing experiments. Though the participants typed the object names, comparisons with other datasets indicate that the collected norms are valuable for spoken naming studies as well.
  • DeMayo, B., Kellier, D., Braginsky, M., Bergmann, C., Hendriks, C., Rowland, C. F., Frank, M., & Marchman, V. (2021). Web-CDI: A system for online administration of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories. Language Development Research, 10.34758/kr8e-w591. doi:10.34758/kr8e-w591.

    Abstract

    Understanding the mechanisms that drive variation in children’s language acquisition requires large, population-representative datasets of children’s word learning across development. Parent report measures such as the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDI) are commonly used to collect such data, but the traditional paper-based forms make the curation of large datasets logistically challenging. Many CDI datasets are thus gathered using convenience samples, often recruited from communities in proximity to major research institutions. Here, we introduce Web-CDI, a web-based tool which allows researchers to collect CDI data online. Web-CDI contains functionality to collect and manage longitudinal data, share links to test administrations, and download vocabulary scores. To date, over 3,500 valid Web-CDI administrations have been completed. General trends found in past norming studies of the CDI are present in data collected from Web-CDI: scores of children’s productive vocabulary grow with age, female children show a slightly faster rate of vocabulary growth, and participants with higher levels of educational attainment report slightly higher vocabulary production scores than those with lower levels of education attainment. We also report results from an effort to oversample non-white, lower-education participants via online recruitment (N = 241). These data showed similar demographic trends to the full sample but this effort resulted in a high exclusion rate. We conclude by discussing implications and challenges for the collection of large, population-representative datasets.

    Additional information

    data and code
  • Den Hoed, J., Devaraju, K., & Fisher, S. E. (2021). Molecular networks of the FOXP2 transcription factor in the brain. EMBO Reports, 22(8): e52803. doi:10.15252/embr.202152803.

    Abstract

    The discovery of the FOXP2 transcription factor, and its implication in a rare severe human speech and language disorder, has led to two decades of empirical studies focused on uncovering its roles in the brain using a range of in vitro and in vivo methods. Here, we discuss what we have learned about the regulation of FOXP2, its downstream effectors, and its modes of action as a transcription factor in brain development and function, providing an integrated overview of what is currently known about the critical molecular networks.
  • Den Hoed, J., De Boer, E., Voisin, N., Dingemans, A. J. M., Guex, N., Wiel, L., Nellaker, C., Amudhavalli, S. M., Banka, S., Bena, F. S., Ben-Zeev, B., Bonagura, V. R., Bruel, A.-L., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Chew, H. B., Chrast, J., Cimbalistienė, L., Coon, H., The DDD study, Délot, E. C. and 77 moreDen Hoed, J., De Boer, E., Voisin, N., Dingemans, A. J. M., Guex, N., Wiel, L., Nellaker, C., Amudhavalli, S. M., Banka, S., Bena, F. S., Ben-Zeev, B., Bonagura, V. R., Bruel, A.-L., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Chew, H. B., Chrast, J., Cimbalistienė, L., Coon, H., The DDD study, Délot, E. C., Démurger, F., Denommé-Pichon, A.-S., Depienne, C., Donnai, D., Dyment, D. A., Elpeleg, O., Faivre, L., Gilissen, C., Granger, L., Haber, B., Hachiya, Y., Hamzavi Abedi, Y., Hanebeck, J., Hehir-Kwa, J. Y., Horist, B., Itai, T., Jackson, A., Jewell, R., Jones, K. L., Joss, S., Kashii, H., Kato, M., Kattentidt-Mouravieva, A. A., Kok, F., Kotzaeridou, U., Krishnamurthy, V., Kučinskas, V., Kuechler, A., Lavillaureix, A., Liu, P., Manwaring, L., Matsumoto, N., Mazel, B., McWalter, K., Meiner, V., Mikati, M. A., Miyatake, S., Mizuguchi, T., Moey, L. H., Mohammed, S., Mor-Shaked, H., Mountford, H., Newbury-Ecob, R., Odent, S., Orec, L., Osmond, M., Palculict, T. B., Parker, M., Petersen, A., Pfundt, R., Preikšaitienė, E., Radtke, K., Ranza, E., Rosenfeld, J. A., Santiago-Sim, T., Schwager, C., Sinnema, M., Snijders Blok, L., Spillmann, R. C., Stegmann, A. P. A., Thiffault, I., Tran, L., Vaknin-Dembinsky, A., Vedovato-dos-Santos, J. H., Vergano, S. A., Vilain, E., Vitobello, A., Wagner, M., Waheeb, A., Willing, M., Zuccarelli, B., Kini, U., Newbury, D. F., Kleefstra, T., Reymond, A., Fisher, S. E., & Vissers, L. E. L. M. (2021). Mutation-specific pathophysiological mechanisms define different neurodevelopmental disorders associated with SATB1 dysfunction. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 108(2), 346-356. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.01.007.

    Abstract

    Whereas large-scale statistical analyses can robustly identify disease-gene relationships, they do not accurately capture genotype-phenotype correlations or disease mechanisms. We use multiple lines of independent evidence to show that different variant types in a single gene, SATB1, cause clinically overlapping but distinct neurodevelopmental disorders. Clinical evaluation of 42 individuals carrying SATB1 variants identified overt genotype-phenotype relationships, associated with different pathophysiological mechanisms, established by functional assays. Missense variants in the CUT1 and CUT2 DNA-binding domains result in stronger chromatin binding, increased transcriptional repression and a severe phenotype. Contrastingly, variants predicted to result in haploinsufficiency are associated with a milder clinical presentation. A similarly mild phenotype is observed for individuals with premature protein truncating variants that escape nonsense-mediated decay and encode truncated proteins, which are transcriptionally active but mislocalized in the cell. Our results suggest that in-depth mutation-specific genotype-phenotype studies are essential to capture full disease complexity and to explain phenotypic variability.
  • Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Alloza, C., Gordaliza, P. M., Fernández Pena, A., De Hoyos, L., Santonja, J., Buimer, E. E. L., Van Haren, N. E. M., Cahn, W., Arango, C., Kahn, R. S., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Schnack, H. G., & Janssen, J. (2021). Sex differences in lifespan trajectories and variability of human sulcal and gyral morphology. Cerebral Cortex, 31(11), 5107-5120. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab145.

    Abstract

    Sex differences in development and aging of human sulcal morphology have been understudied. We charted sex differences in trajectories and inter-individual variability of global sulcal depth, width, and length, pial surface area, exposed (hull) gyral surface area, unexposed sulcal surface area, cortical thickness, and cortex volume across the lifespan in a longitudinal sample (700 scans, 194 participants two scans, 104 three scans, age range: 16-70 years) of neurotypical males and females. After adjusting for brain volume, females had thicker cortex and steeper thickness decline until age 40 years; trajectories converged thereafter. Across sexes, sulcal shortening was faster before age 40, while sulcal shallowing and widening were faster thereafter. While hull area remained stable, sulcal surface area declined and was more strongly associated with sulcal shortening than with sulcal shallowing and widening. Males showed greater variability for cortex volume and thickness and lower variability for sulcal width. Across sexes, variability decreased with age for all measures except for cortical volume and thickness. Our findings highlight the association between loss of sulcal area, notably through sulcal shortening, with cortex volume loss. Studying sex differences in lifespan trajectories may improve knowledge of individual differences in brain development and the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric conditions.

    Additional information

    supplementary data
  • Donnelly, S., & Kidd, E. (2021). Onset neighborhood density slows lexical access in high vocabulary 30‐month olds. Cognitive Science, 45(9): e13022. doi:10.1111/cogs.13022.

    Abstract

    There is consensus that the adult lexicon exhibits lexical competition. In particular, substantial evidence demonstrates that words with more phonologically similar neighbors are recognized less efficiently than words with fewer neighbors. How and when these effects emerge in the child's lexicon is less clear. In the current paper, we build on previous research by testing whether phonological onset density slows lexical access in a large sample of 100 English-acquiring 30-month-olds. The children participated in a visual world looking-while-listening task, in which their attention was directed to one of two objects on a computer screen while their eye movements were recorded. We found moderate evidence of inhibitory effects of onset neighborhood density on lexical access and clear evidence for an interaction between onset neighborhood density and vocabulary, with larger effects of onset neighborhood density for children with larger vocabularies. Results suggest the lexicons of 30-month-olds exhibit lexical-level competition, with competition increasing with vocabulary size.
  • Donnelly, S., & Kidd, E. (2021). On the structure and source of individual differences in toddlers' comprehension of transitive sentences. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 661022. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661022.

    Abstract

    How children learn grammar is one of the most fundamental questions in cognitive science. Two theoretical accounts, namely, the Early Abstraction and Usage-Based accounts, propose competing answers to this question. To compare the predictions of these accounts, we tested the comprehension of 92 24-month old children of transitive sentences with novel verbs (e.g., “The boy is gorping the girl!”) with the Intermodal Preferential Looking (IMPL) task. We found very little evidence that children looked to the target video at above-chance levels. Using mixed and mixture models, we tested the predictions the two accounts make about: (i) the structure of individual differences in the IMPL task and (ii) the relationship between vocabulary knowledge, lexical processing, and performance in the IMPL task. However, the results did not strongly support either of the two accounts. The implications for theories on language acquisition and for tasks developed for examining individual differences are discussed.

    Additional information

    data via OSF
  • Donnelly, S., & Kidd, E. (2021). The longitudinal relationship between conversational turn-taking and vocabulary growth in early language development. Child Development, 92(2), 609-625. doi:10.1111/cdev.13511.

    Abstract

    Children acquire language embedded within the rich social context of interaction. This paper reports on a longitudinal study investigating the developmental relationship between conversational turn‐taking and vocabulary growth in English‐acquiring children (N = 122) followed between 9 and 24 months. Daylong audio recordings obtained every 3 months provided several indices of the language environment, including the number of adult words children heard in their environment and their number of conversational turns. Vocabulary was measured independently via parental report. Growth curve analyses revealed a bidirectional relationship between conversational turns and vocabulary growth, controlling for the amount of words in children’s environments. The results are consistent with theoretical approaches that identify social interaction as a core component of early language acquisition.
  • Doumas, L. A. A., & Martin, A. E. (2021). A model for learning structured representations of similarity and relative magnitude from experience. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 37, 158-166. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2021.01.001.

    Abstract

    How a system represents information tightly constrains the kinds of problems it can solve. Humans routinely solve problems that appear to require abstract representations of stimulus properties and relations. How we acquire such representations has central importance in an account of human cognition. We briefly describe a theory of how a system can learn invariant responses to instances of similarity and relative magnitude, and how structured, relational representations can be learned from initially unstructured inputs. Two operations, comparing distributed representations and learning from the concomitant network dynamics in time, underpin the ability to learn these representations and to respond to invariance in the environment. Comparing analog representations of absolute magnitude produces invariant signals that carry information about similarity and relative magnitude. We describe how a system can then use this information to bootstrap learning structured (i.e., symbolic) concepts of relative magnitude from experience without assuming such representations a priori.
  • Drew, P., Hakulinen, A., Heinemann, T., Niemi, J., & Rossi, G. (2021). Hendiadys in naturally occurring interactions: A cross-linguistic study of double verb constructions. Journal of Pragmatics, 182, 322-347. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2021.02.008.

    Abstract

    Double verb constructions known as hendiadys have been studied primarily in literary texts and corpora of written language. Much less is known about their properties and usage in spoken language, where expressions such as ‘come and see’, ‘go and tell’, ‘sit and talk’ are particularly common, and where we can find an even richer diversity of other constructions. In this study, we investigate hendiadys in corpora of naturally occurring social interactions in four languages, Danish, English (US and UK), Finnish and Italian, with the objective of exploring whether hendiadys is used systematically in recurrent interactional and sequential circumstances, from which it is possible to identify the pragmatic function(s) that hendiadys may serve. Examining hendiadys in conversation also offers us a special window into its grammatical properties, for example when a speaker self-corrects from a non-hendiadic to a hendiadic expression, exposing the boundary between related grammatical forms and demonstrating the distinctiveness of hendiadys in context. More broadly, we demonstrate that hendiadys is systematically associated with talk about complainable matters, in environments characterised by a conflict, dissonance, or friction that is ongoing in the interaction or that is being reported by one participant to another. We also find that the utterance in which hendiadys is used is typically in a subsequent and possibly terminal position in the sequence, summarising or concluding it. Another key finding is that the complainable or conflictual element in these interactions is expressed primarily by the first conjunct of the hendiadic construction. Whilst the first conjunct is semantically subsidiary to the second, it is pragmatically the most important one. This analysis leads us to revisit a long-established asymmetry between the verbal components of hendiadys, and to bring to light the synergy of grammar and pragmatics in language usage.
  • Drijvers, L., Jensen, O., & Spaak, E. (2021). Rapid invisible frequency tagging reveals nonlinear integration of auditory and visual information. Human Brain Mapping, 42(4), 1138-1152. doi:10.1002/hbm.25282.

    Abstract

    During communication in real-life settings, the brain integrates information from auditory and visual modalities to form a unified percept of our environment. In the current magnetoencephalography (MEG) study, we used rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT) to generate steady-state evoked fields and investigated the integration of audiovisual information in a semantic context. We presented participants with videos of an actress uttering action verbs (auditory; tagged at 61 Hz) accompanied by a gesture (visual; tagged at 68 Hz, using a projector with a 1440 Hz refresh rate). Integration ease was manipulated by auditory factors (clear/degraded speech) and visual factors (congruent/incongruent gesture). We identified MEG spectral peaks at the individual (61/68 Hz) tagging frequencies. We furthermore observed a peak at the intermodulation frequency of the auditory and visually tagged signals (fvisual – fauditory = 7 Hz), specifically when integration was easiest (i.e., when speech was clear and accompanied by a congruent gesture). This intermodulation peak is a signature of nonlinear audiovisual integration, and was strongest in left inferior frontal gyrus and left temporal regions; areas known to be involved in speech-gesture integration. The enhanced power at the intermodulation frequency thus reflects the ease of integration and demonstrates that speech-gesture information interacts in higher-order language areas. Furthermore, we provide a proof-of-principle of the use of RIFT to study the integration of audiovisual stimuli, in relation to, for instance, semantic context.
  • Duprez, J., Stokkermans, M., Drijvers, L., & Cohen, M. X. (2021). Synchronization between keyboard typing and neural oscillations. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 33(5), 887-901. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01692.

    Abstract

    Rhythmic neural activity synchronizes with certain rhythmic behaviors, such as breathing, sniffing, saccades, and speech. The extent to which neural oscillations synchronize with higher-level and more complex behaviors is largely unknown. Here we investigated electrophysiological synchronization with keyboard typing, which is an omnipresent behavior daily engaged by an uncountably large number of people. Keyboard typing is rhythmic with frequency characteristics roughly the same as neural oscillatory dynamics associated with cognitive control, notably through midfrontal theta (4 -7 Hz) oscillations. We tested the hypothesis that synchronization occurs between typing and midfrontal theta, and breaks down when errors are committed. Thirty healthy participants typed words and sentences on a keyboard without visual feedback, while EEG was recorded. Typing rhythmicity was investigated by inter-keystroke interval analyses and by a kernel density estimation method. We used a multivariate spatial filtering technique to investigate frequency-specific synchronization between typing and neuronal oscillations. Our results demonstrate theta rhythmicity in typing (around 6.5 Hz) through the two different behavioral analyses. Synchronization between typing and neuronal oscillations occurred at frequencies ranging from 4 to 15 Hz, but to a larger extent for lower frequencies. However, peak synchronization frequency was idiosyncratic across subjects, therefore not specific to theta nor to midfrontal regions, and correlated somewhat with peak typing frequency. Errors and trials associated with stronger cognitive control were not associated with changes in synchronization at any frequency. As a whole, this study shows that brain-behavior synchronization does occur during keyboard typing but is not specific to midfrontal theta.
  • Durrant, S., Jessop, A., Chang, F., Bidgood, A., Peter, M. S., Pine, J. M., & Rowland, C. F. (2021). Does the understanding of complex dynamic events at 10 months predict vocabulary development? Language and Cognition, 13(1), 66-98. doi:10.1017/langcog.2020.26.

    Abstract

    By the end of their first year, infants can interpret many different types of complex dynamic visual events, such as caused-motion, chasing, and goal-directed action. Infants of this age are also in the early stages of vocabulary development, producing their first words at around 12 months. The present work examined whether there are meaningful individual differences in infants’ ability to represent dynamic causal events in visual scenes, and whether these differences influence vocabulary development. As part of the longitudinal Language 0–5 Project, 78 10-month-old infants were tested on their ability to interpret three dynamic motion events, involving (a) caused-motion, (b) chasing behaviour, and (c) goal-directed movement. Planned analyses found that infants showed evidence of understanding the first two event types, but not the third. Looking behaviour in each task was not meaningfully related to vocabulary development, nor were there any correlations between the tasks. The results of additional exploratory analyses and simulations suggested that the infants’ understanding of each event may not be predictive of their vocabulary development, and that looking times in these tasks may not be reliably capturing any meaningful individual differences in their knowledge. This raises questions about how to convert experimental group designs to individual differences measures, and how to interpret infant looking time behaviour.
  • Eekhof, L. S., Van Krieken, K., Sanders, J., & Willems, R. M. (2021). Reading minds, reading stories: Social-cognitive abilities affect the linguistic processing of narrative viewpoint. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 698986. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.698986.

    Abstract

    Although various studies have shown that narrative reading draws on social-cognitive abilities, not much is known about the precise aspects of narrative processing that engage these abilities. We hypothesized that the linguistic processing of narrative viewpoint—expressed by elements that provide access to the inner world of characters—might play an important role in engaging social-cognitive abilities. Using eye tracking, we studied the effect of lexical markers of perceptual, cognitive, and emotional viewpoint on eye movements during reading of a 5,000-word narrative. Next, we investigated how this relationship was modulated by individual differences in social-cognitive abilities. Our results show diverging patterns of eye movements for perceptual viewpoint markers on the one hand, and cognitive and emotional viewpoint markers on the other. Whereas the former are processed relatively fast compared to non-viewpoint markers, the latter are processed relatively slow. Moreover, we found that social-cognitive abilities impacted the processing of words in general, and of perceptual and cognitive viewpoint markers in particular, such that both perspective-taking abilities and self-reported perspective-taking traits facilitated the processing of these markers. All in all, our study extends earlier findings that social cognition is of importance for story reading, showing that individual differences in social-cognitive abilities are related to the linguistic processing of narrative viewpoint.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Eekhof, L. S., Kuijpers, M. M., Faber, M., Gao, X., Mak, M., Van den Hoven, E., & Willems, R. M. (2021). Lost in a story, detached from the words. Discourse Processes, 58(7), 595-616. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2020.1857619.

    Abstract

    This article explores the relationship between low- and high-level aspects of reading by studying the interplay between word processing, as measured with eye tracking, and narrative absorption and liking, as measured with questionnaires. Specifically, we focused on how individual differences in sensitivity to lexical word characteristics—measured as the effect of these characteristics on gaze duration—were related to narrative absorption and liking. By reanalyzing a large data set consisting of three previous eye-tracking experiments in which subjects (N = 171) read literary short stories, we replicated the well-established finding that word length, lemma frequency, position in sentence, age of acquisition, and orthographic neighborhood size of words influenced gaze duration. More importantly, we found that individual differences in the degree of sensitivity to three of these word characteristics, i.e., word length, lemma frequency, and age of acquisition, were negatively related to print exposure and to a lesser degree to narrative absorption and liking. Even though the underlying mechanisms of this relationship are still unclear, we believe the current findings underline the need to map out the interplay between, on the one hand, the technical and, on the other hand, the subjective processes of reading by studying reading behavior in more natural settings.

    Additional information

    Analysis scripts and data
  • Evans, N., Levinson, S. C., & Sterelny, K. (2021). Kinship revisited. Biological theory, 16, 123-126. doi:10.1007/s13752-021-00384-9.
  • Evans, N., Levinson, S. C., & Sterelny, K. (Eds.). (2021). Thematic issue on evolution of kinship systems [Special Issue]. Biological theory, 16.
  • Eviatar, Z., & Huettig, F. (Eds.). (2021). Literacy and writing systems [Special Issue]. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science.
  • Eviatar, Z., & Huettig, F. (2021). The literate mind. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 5, 81-84. doi:10.1007/s41809-021-00086-5.
  • Falk, J. J., Zhang, Y., Scheutz, M., & Yu, C. (2021). Parents adaptively use anaphora during parent-child social interaction. 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. 1472-1478). Vienna: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Anaphora, a ubiquitous feature of natural language, poses a particular challenge to young children as they first learn language due to its referential ambiguity. In spite of this, parents and caregivers use anaphora frequently in child-directed speech, potentially presenting a risk to effective communication if children do not yet have the linguistic capabilities of resolving anaphora successfully. Through an eye-tracking study in a naturalistic free-play context, we examine the strategies that parents employ to calibrate their use of anaphora to their child's linguistic development level. We show that, in this way, parents are able to intuitively scaffold the complexity of their speech such that greater referential ambiguity does not hurt overall communication success.
  • Favier, S., & Huettig, F. (2021). Are there core and peripheral syntactic structures? Experimental evidence from Dutch native speakers with varying literacy levels. Lingua, 251: 102991. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2020.102991.

    Abstract

    Some theorists posit the existence of a ‘core’ grammar that virtually all native speakers acquire, and a ‘peripheral’ grammar that many do not. We investigated the viability of such a categorical distinction in the Dutch language. We first consulted linguists’ intuitions as to the ‘core’ or ‘peripheral’ status of a wide range of grammatical structures. We then tested a selection of core- and peripheral-rated structures on naïve participants with varying levels of literacy experience, using grammaticality judgment as a proxy for receptive knowledge. Overall, participants demonstrated better knowledge of ‘core’ structures than ‘peripheral’ structures, but the considerable variability within these categories was strongly suggestive of a continuum rather than a categorical distinction between them. We also hypothesised that individual differences in the knowledge of core and peripheral structures would reflect participants’ literacy experience. This was supported only by a small trend in our data. The results fit best with the notion that more frequent syntactic structures are mastered by more people than infrequent ones and challenge the received sense of a categorical core-periphery distinction.
  • Favier, S., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2021). Literacy can enhance syntactic prediction in spoken language processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 150(10), 2167-2174. doi:10.1037/xge0001042.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

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

    Abstract

    ‘Book language’ offers a richer linguistic experience than typical conversational speech in terms of its syntactic properties. Here, we investigated the role of long-term syntactic experience on syntactic knowledge and processing. In a pre-registered study with 161 adult native Dutch speakers with varying levels of literacy, we assessed the contribution of individual differences in written language experience to offline and online syntactic processes. Offline syntactic knowledge was assessed as accuracy in an auditory grammaticality judgment task in which we tested violations of four Dutch grammatical norms. Online syntactic processing was indexed by syntactic priming of the Dutch dative alternation, using a comprehension-to-production priming paradigm with auditory presentation. Controlling for the contribution of non-verbal IQ, verbal working memory, and processing speed, we observed a robust effect of literacy experience on the detection of grammatical norm violations in spoken sentences, suggesting that exposure to the syntactic complexity and diversity of written language has specific benefits for general (modality-independent) syntactic knowledge. We replicated previous results by finding robust comprehension-to-production structural priming, both with and without lexical overlap between prime and target. Although literacy experience affected the usage of syntactic alternates in our large sample, it did not modulate their priming. We conclude that amount of experience with written language increases explicit awareness of grammatical norm violations and changes the usage of (PO vs. DO) dative spoken sentences but has no detectable effect on their implicit syntactic priming in proficient language users. These findings constrain theories about the effect of long-term experience on syntactic processing.
  • Felker, E. R., Broersma, M., & Ernestus, M. (2021). The role of corrective feedback and lexical guidance in perceptual learning of a novel L2 accent in dialogue. Applied Psycholinguistics, 42, 1029-1055. doi:10.1017/S0142716421000205.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

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    supplementary material
  • Ferrari, A., & Noppeney, U. (2021). Attention controls multisensory perception via two distinct mechanisms at different levels of the cortical hierarchy. PLoS Biology, 19(11): e3001465. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001465.

    Abstract

    To form a percept of the multisensory world, the brain needs to integrate signals from common sources weighted by their reliabilities and segregate those from independent sources. Previously, we have shown that anterior parietal cortices combine sensory signals into representations that take into account the signals’ causal structure (i.e., common versus independent sources) and their sensory reliabilities as predicted by Bayesian causal inference. The current study asks to what extent and how attentional mechanisms can actively control how sensory signals are combined for perceptual inference. In a pre- and postcueing paradigm, we presented observers with audiovisual signals at variable spatial disparities. Observers were precued to attend to auditory or visual modalities prior to stimulus presentation and postcued to report their perceived auditory or visual location. Combining psychophysics, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and Bayesian modelling, we demonstrate that the brain moulds multisensory inference via two distinct mechanisms. Prestimulus attention to vision enhances the reliability and influence of visual inputs on spatial representations in visual and posterior parietal cortices. Poststimulus report determines how parietal cortices flexibly combine sensory estimates into spatial representations consistent with Bayesian causal inference. Our results show that distinct neural mechanisms control how signals are combined for perceptual inference at different levels of the cortical hierarchy.

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Embodied song practices involve the transformation of songs from the acoustic modality into an embodied-visual form, to increase meaningful access for d/Deaf audiences. This goes beyond the translation of lyrics, by combining poetic sign language with other bodily movements to embody the para-linguistic expressive and musical features that enhance the message of a song. To date, the limited research into this phenomenon has focussed on linguistic features and interactions with rhythm. The relationship between bodily actions and music has not been probed beyond an assumed implication of conformance. However, as the primary objective is to communicate equivalent meanings, the ways that the acoustic and embodied-visual signals relate to each other should reveal something about underlying conceptual agreement. This paper draws together a range of pertinent theories from within a grounded cognition framework including semiotics, analogy mapping and cross-modal correspondences. These theories are applied to embodiment strategies used by prominent d/Deaf and hearing Dutch practitioners, to unpack the relationship between acoustic songs, their embodied representations, and their broader conceptual and affective meanings. This leads to the proposition that meaning primarily arises through shared patterns of internal relations across a range of amodal and cross-modal features with an emphasis on dynamic qualities. These analogous patterns can inform metaphorical interpretations and trigger shared emotional responses. This exploratory survey offers insights into the nature of cross-modal and embodied meaning-making, as a jumping-off point for further research.
  • Frances, C., Navarra-Barindelli, E., & Martin, C. D. (2021). Inhibitory and facilitatory effects of phonological and orthographic similarity on L2 word recognition across modalities in bilinguals. Scientific Reports, 11: 12812. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-92259-z.

    Abstract

    Language perception studies on bilinguals often show that words that share form and meaning across languages (cognates) are easier to process than words that share only meaning. This facilitatory phenomenon is known as the cognate effect. Most previous studies have shown this effect visually, whereas the auditory modality as well as the interplay between type of similarity and modality remain largely unexplored. In this study, highly proficient late Spanish–English bilinguals carried out a lexical decision task in their second language, both visually and auditorily. Words had high or low phonological and orthographic similarity, fully crossed. We also included orthographically identical words (perfect cognates). Our results suggest that similarity in the same modality (i.e., orthographic similarity in the visual modality and phonological similarity in the auditory modality) leads to improved signal detection, whereas similarity across modalities hinders it. We provide support for the idea that perfect cognates are a special category within cognates. Results suggest a need for a conceptual and practical separation between types of similarity in cognate studies. The theoretical implication is that the representations of items are active in both modalities of the non-target language during language processing, which needs to be incorporated to our current processing models.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Frances, C., Navarra-Barindelli, E., & Martin, C. D. (2021). Inhibitory and facilitatory effects of phonological and orthographic similarity on L2 word recognition across modalities in bilinguals. Scientific Reports, 11: 12812. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-92259-z.

    Abstract

    Language perception studies on bilinguals often show that words that share form and meaning across
    languages (cognates) are easier to process than words that share only meaning. This facilitatory
    phenomenon is known as the cognate effect. Most previous studies have shown this effect visually,
    whereas the auditory modality as well as the interplay between type of similarity and modality
    remain largely unexplored. In this study, highly proficient late Spanish–English bilinguals carried out
    a lexical decision task in their second language, both visually and auditorily. Words had high or low
    phonological and orthographic similarity, fully crossed. We also included orthographically identical
    words (perfect cognates). Our results suggest that similarity in the same modality (i.e., orthographic
    similarity in the visual modality and phonological similarity in the auditory modality) leads to
    improved signal detection, whereas similarity across modalities hinders it. We provide support for
    the idea that perfect cognates are a special category within cognates. Results suggest a need for a
    conceptual and practical separation between types of similarity in cognate studies. The theoretical
    implication is that the representations of items are active in both modalities of the non‑target
    language during language processing, which needs to be incorporated to our current processing
    models.
  • Frances, C. (2021). Semantic richness, semantic context, and language learning. PhD Thesis, Universidad del País Vasco-Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Donostia.

    Abstract

    As knowing a foreign language becomes a necessity in the modern world, a large portion of
    the population is faced with the challenge of learning a language in a classroom. This, in turn,
    presents a unique set of difficulties. Acquiring a language with limited and artificial exposure makes
    learning new information and vocabulary particularly difficult. The purpose of this thesis is to help us
    understand how we can compensate—at least partially—for these difficulties by presenting
    information in a way that aids learning. In particular, I focused on variables that affect semantic
    richness—meaning the amount and variability of information associated with a word. Some factors
    that affect semantic richness are intrinsic to the word and others pertain to that word’s relationship
    with other items and information. This latter group depends on the context around the to-be-
    learned items rather than the words themselves. These variables are easier to manipulate than
    intrinsic qualities, making them more accessible tools for teaching and understanding learning. I
    focused on two factors: emotionality of the surrounding semantic context and contextual diversity.
    Publication 1 (Frances, de Bruin, et al., 2020b) focused on content learning in a foreign
    language and whether the emotionality—positive or neutral—of the semantic context surrounding
    key information aided its learning. This built on prior research that showed a reduction in
    emotionality in a foreign language. Participants were taught information embedded in either
    positive or neutral semantic contexts in either their native or foreign language. When they were
    then tested on these embedded facts, participants’ performance decreased in the foreign language.
    But, more importantly, they remembered better the information from the positive than the neutral
    semantic contexts.
    In Publication 2 (Frances, de Bruin, et al., 2020a), I focused on how emotionality affected
    vocabulary learning. I taught participants the names of novel items described either in positive or
    neutral terms in either their native or foreign language. Participants were then asked to recall and
    recognize the object's name—when cued with its image. The effects of language varied with the
    difficulty of the task—appearing in recall but not recognition tasks. Most importantly, learning the
    words in a positive context improved learning, particularly of the association between the image of
    the object and its name.
    In Publication 3 (Frances, Martin, et al., 2020), I explored the effects of contextual
    diversity—namely, the number of texts a word appears in—on native and foreign language word
    learning. Participants read several texts that had novel pseudowords. The total number of
    encounters with the novel words was held constant, but they appeared in 1, 2, 4, or 8 texts in either
    their native or foreign language. Increasing contextual diversity—i.e., the number of texts a word
    appeared in—improved recall and recognition, as well as the ability to match the word with its
    meaning. Using a foreign language only affected performance when participants had to quickly
    identify the meaning of the word.
    Overall, I found that the tested contextual factors related to semantic richness—i.e.,
    emotionality of the semantic context and contextual diversity—can be manipulated to improve
    learning in a foreign language. Using positive emotionality not only improved learning in the foreign
    language, but it did so to the same extent as in the native language. On a theoretical level, this
    suggests that the reduction in emotionality in a foreign language is not ubiquitous and might relate
    to the way in which that language as learned.
    The third article shows an experimental manipulation of contextual diversity and how this
    can affect learning of a lexical item, even if the amount of information known about the item is kept
    constant. As in the case of emotionality, the effects of contextual diversity were also the same
    between languages. Although deducing words from context is dependent on vocabulary size, this
    does not seem to hinder the benefits of contextual diversity in the foreign language.
    Finally, as a whole, the articles contained in this compendium provide evidence that some
    aspects of semantic richness can be manipulated contextually to improve learning and memory. In
    addition, the effects of these factors seem to be independent of language status—meaning, native
    or foreign—when learning new content. This suggests that learning in a foreign and a native
    language is not as different as I initially hypothesized, allowing us to take advantage of native
    language learning tools in the foreign language, as well.

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