Publications

Displaying 1 - 20 of 350
  • Acheson, D. J. (2013). Signatures of response conflict monitoring in language production. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 94, 214-215. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.09.106.
  • Acheson, D. J., & Hagoort, P. (2013). Stimulating the brain's language network: Syntactic ambiguity resolution after TMS to the IFG and MTG. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(10), 1664-1677. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00430.

    Abstract

    The posterior middle temporal gyrus (MTG) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) are two critical nodes of the brain's language network. Previous neuroimaging evidence has supported a dissociation in language comprehension in which parts of the MTG are involved in the retrieval of lexical syntactic information and the IFG is involved in unification operations that maintain, select, and integrate multiple sources of information over time. In the present investigation, we tested for causal evidence of this dissociation by modulating activity in IFG and MTG using an offline TMS procedure: continuous theta-burst stimulation. Lexical–syntactic retrieval was manipulated by using sentences with and without a temporarily word-class (noun/verb) ambiguity (e.g., run). In one group of participants, TMS was applied to the IFG and MTG, and in a control group, no TMS was applied. Eye movements were recorded and quantified at two critical sentence regions: a temporarily ambiguous region and a disambiguating region. Results show that stimulation of the IFG led to a modulation of the ambiguity effect (ambiguous–unambiguous) at the disambiguating sentence region in three measures: first fixation durations, total reading times, and regressive eye movements into the region. Both IFG and MTG stimulation modulated the ambiguity effect for total reading times in the temporarily ambiguous sentence region relative to a control group. The current results demonstrate that an offline repetitive TMS protocol can have influences at a different point in time during online processing and provide causal evidence for IFG involvement in unification operations during sentence comprehension.
  • Ambridge, B., & Rowland, C. F. (2013). Experimental methods in studying child language acquisition. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 4(2), 149-168. doi:10.1002/wcs.1215.

    Abstract

    This article reviews the some of the most widely used methods used for studying children's language acquisition including (1) spontaneous/naturalistic, diary, parental report data, (2) production methods (elicited production, repetition/elicited imitation, syntactic priming/weird word order), (3) comprehension methods (act-out, pointing, intermodal preferential looking, looking while listening, conditioned head turn preference procedure, functional neuroimaging) and (4) judgment methods (grammaticality/acceptability judgments, yes-no/truth-value judgments). The review outlines the types of studies and age-groups to which each method is most suited, as well as the advantage and disadvantages of each. We conclude by summarising the particular methodological considerations that apply to each paradigm and to experimental design more generally. These include (1) choosing an age-appropriate task that makes communicative sense (2) motivating children to co-operate, (3) choosing a between-/within-subjects design, (4) the use of novel items (e.g., novel verbs), (5) fillers, (6) blocked, counterbalanced and random presentation, (7) the appropriate number of trials and participants, (8) drop-out rates (9) the importance of control conditions, (10) choosing a sensitive dependent measure (11) classification of responses, and (12) using an appropriate statistical test. WIREs Cogn Sci 2013, 4:149–168. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1215
  • Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., Chang, F., & Bidgood, A. (2013). The retreat from overgeneralization in child language acquisition: Word learning, morphology, and verb argument structure. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 4(1), 47-62. doi:10.1002/wcs.1207.

    Abstract

    This review investigates empirical evidence for different theoretical proposals regarding the retreat from overgeneralization errors in three domains: word learning (e.g., *doggie to refer to all animals), morphology [e.g., *spyer, *cooker (one who spies/cooks), *unhate, *unsqueeze, *sitted; *drawed], and verb argument structure [e.g., *Don't giggle me (c.f. Don't make me giggle); *Don't say me that (c.f. Don't say that to me)]. The evidence reviewed provides support for three proposals. First, in support of the pre-emption hypothesis, the acquisition of competing forms that express the desired meaning (e.g., spy for *spyer, sat for *sitted, and Don't make me giggle for *Don't giggle me) appears to block errors. Second, in support of the entrenchment hypothesis, repeated occurrence of particular items in particular constructions (e.g., giggle in the intransitive construction) appears to contribute to an ever strengthening probabilistic inference that non-attested uses (e.g., *Don't giggle me) are ungrammatical for adult speakers. That is, both the rated acceptability and production probability of particular errors decline with increasing frequency of pre-empting and entrenching forms in the input. Third, learners appear to acquire semantic and morphophonological constraints on particular constructions, conceptualized as properties of slots in constructions [e.g., the (VERB) slot in the morphological un-(VERB) construction or the transitive-causative (SUBJECT) (VERB) (OBJECT) argument-structure construction]. Errors occur as children acquire the fine-grained semantic and morphophonological properties of particular items and construction slots, and so become increasingly reluctant to use items in slots with which they are incompatible. Findings also suggest some role for adult feedback and conventionality; the principle that, for many given meanings, there is a conventional form that is used by all members of the speech community.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2013). Possessive constructions in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé). In A. Aikhenvald, & R. Dixon (Eds.), Possession and ownership: A crosslinguistic typology (pp. 224-242). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ameka, F. K., & Essegbey, J. (2013). Serialising languages: Satellite-framed, verb-framed or neither. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 2(1), 19-38.

    Abstract

    The diversity in the coding of the core schema of motion, i.e., Path, has led to a traditional typology of languages into verb-framed and satellite-framed languages. In the former Path is encoded in verbs and in the latter it is encoded in non-verb elements that function as sisters to co-event expressing verbs such as manner verbs. Verb serializing languages pose a challenge to this typology as they express Path as well as the Co-event of manner in finite verbs that together function as a single predicate in translational motion clause. We argue that these languages do not fit in the typology and constitute a type of their own. We draw on data from Akan and Frog story narrations in Ewe, a Kwa language, and Sranan, a Caribbean Creole with Gbe substrate, to show that in terms of discourse properties verb serializing languages behave like Verb-framed with respect to some properties and like Satellite-framed languages in terms of others. This study fed into the revision of the typology and such languages are now said to be equipollently-framed languages.
  • Andics, A., Gál, V., Vicsi, K., Rudas, G., & Vidnyánszky, Z. (2013). FMRI repetition suppression for voices is modulated by stimulus expectations. NeuroImage, 69, 277-283. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.12.033.

    Abstract

    According to predictive coding models of sensory processing, stimulus expectations have a profound effect on sensory cortical responses. This was supported by experimental results, showing that fMRI repetition suppression (fMRI RS) for face stimuli is strongly modulated by the probability of stimulus repetitions throughout the visual cortical processing hierarchy. To test whether processing of voices is also affected by stimulus expectations, here we investigated the effect of repetition probability on fMRI RS in voice-selective cortical areas. Changing (‘alt’) and identical (‘rep’) voice stimulus pairs were presented to the listeners in blocks, with a varying probability of alt and rep trials across blocks. We found auditory fMRI RS in the nonprimary voice-selective cortical regions, including the bilateral posterior STS, the right anterior STG and the right IFC, as well as in the IPL. Importantly, fMRI RS effects in all of these areas were strongly modulated by the probability of stimulus repetition: auditory fMRI RS was reduced or not present in blocks with low repetition probability. Our results revealed that auditory fMRI RS in higher-level voice-selective cortical regions is modulated by repetition probabilities and thus suggest that in audition, similarly to the visual modality, processing of sensory information is shaped by stimulus expectation processes.
  • Andics, A., McQueen, J. M., & Petersson, K. M. (2013). Mean-based neural coding of voices. NeuroImage, 79, 351-360. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.002.

    Abstract

    The social significance of recognizing the person who talks to us is obvious, but the neural mechanisms that mediate talker identification are unclear. Regions along the bilateral superior temporal sulcus (STS) and the inferior frontal cortex (IFC) of the human brain are selective for voices, and they are sensitive to rapid voice changes. Although it has been proposed that voice recognition is supported by prototype-centered voice representations, the involvement of these category-selective cortical regions in the neural coding of such "mean voices" has not previously been demonstrated. Using fMRI in combination with a voice identity learning paradigm, we show that voice-selective regions are involved in the mean-based coding of voice identities. Voice typicality is encoded on a supra-individual level in the right STS along a stimulus-dependent, identity-independent (i.e., voice-acoustic) dimension, and on an intra-individual level in the right IFC along a stimulus-independent, identity-dependent (i.e., voice identity) dimension. Voice recognition therefore entails at least two anatomically separable stages, each characterized by neural mechanisms that reference the central tendencies of voice categories.
  • Andics, A. (2013). Who is talking? Behavioural and neural evidence for norm-based coding in voice identity learning. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Asaridou, S. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Speech and music shape the listening brain: Evidence for shared domain-general mechanisms. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 321. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00321.

    Abstract

    Are there bi-directional influences between speech perception and music perception? An answer to this question is essential for understanding the extent to which the speech and music that we hear are processed by domain-general auditory processes and/or by distinct neural auditory mechanisms. This review summarizes a large body of behavioral and neuroscientific findings which suggest that the musical experience of trained musicians does modulate speech processing, and a sparser set of data, largely on pitch processing, which suggest in addition that linguistic experience, in particular learning a tone language, modulates music processing. Although research has focused mostly on music on speech effects, we argue that both directions of influence need to be studied, and conclude that the picture which thus emerges is one of mutual interaction across domains. In particular, it is not simply that experience with spoken language has some effects on music perception, and vice versa, but that because of shared domain-general subcortical and cortical networks, experiences in both domains influence behavior in both domains.
  • Ayub, Q., Yngvadottir, B., Chen, Y., Xue, Y., Hu, M., Vernes, S. C., Fisher, S. E., & Tyler-Smith, C. (2013). FOXP2 targets show evidence of positive selection in European populations. American Journal of Human Genetics, 92, 696-706. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.03.019.

    Abstract

    Forkhead box P2 (FOXP2) is a highly conserved transcription factor that has been implicated in human speech and language disorders and plays important roles in the plasticity of the developing brain. The pattern of nucleotide polymorphisms in FOXP2 in modern populations suggests that it has been the target of positive (Darwinian) selection during recent human evolution. In our study, we searched for evidence of selection that might have followed FOXP2 adaptations in modern humans. We examined whether or not putative FOXP2 targets identified by chromatin-immunoprecipitation genomic screening show evidence of positive selection. We developed an algorithm that, for any given gene list, systematically generates matched lists of control genes from the Ensembl database, collates summary statistics for three frequency-spectrum-based neutrality tests from the low-coverage resequencing data of the 1000 Genomes Project, and determines whether these statistics are significantly different between the given gene targets and the set of controls. Overall, there was strong evidence of selection of FOXP2 targets in Europeans, but not in the Han Chinese, Japanese, or Yoruba populations. Significant outliers included several genes linked to cellular movement, reproduction, development, and immune cell trafficking, and 13 of these constituted a significant network associated with cardiac arteriopathy. Strong signals of selection were observed for CNTNAP2 and RBFOX1, key neurally expressed genes that have been consistently identified as direct FOXP2 targets in multiple studies and that have themselves been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders involving language dysfunction.
  • Baron-Cohen, S., Johnson, D., Asher, J. E., Wheelwright, S., Fisher, S. E., Gregersen, P. K., & Allison, C. (2013). Is synaesthesia more common in autism? Molecular Autism, 4(1): 40. doi:10.1186/2040-2392-4-40.

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Synaesthesia is a neurodevelopmental condition in which a sensation in one modality triggers a perception in a second modality. Autism (shorthand for Autism Spectrum Conditions) is a neurodevelopmental condition involving social-communication disability alongside resistance to change and unusually narrow interests or activities. Whilst on the surface they appear distinct, they have been suggested to share common atypical neural connectivity. METHODS: In the present study, we carried out the first prevalence study of synaesthesia in autism to formally test whether these conditions are independent. After exclusions, 164 adults with autism and 97 controls completed a synaesthesia questionnaire, autism spectrum quotient, and test of genuineness-revised (ToG-R) online. RESULTS: The rate of synaesthesia in adults with autism was 18.9% (31 out of 164), almost three times greater than in controls (7.22%, 7 out of 97, P <0.05). ToG-R proved unsuitable for synaesthetes with autism. CONCLUSIONS: The significant increase in synaesthesia prevalence in autism suggests that the two conditions may share some common underlying mechanisms. Future research is needed to develop more feasible validation methods of synaesthesia in autism.

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  • Becker, R., Pefkou, M., Michel, C. M., & Hervais-Adelman, A. (2013). Left temporal alpha-band activity reflects single word intelligibility. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 7: 121. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2013.00121.

    Abstract

    The electroencephalographic (EEG) correlates of degraded speech perception have been explored in a number of recent studies. However, such investigations have often been inconclusive as to whether observed differences in brain responses between conditions result from different acoustic properties of more or less intelligible stimuli or whether they relate to cognitive processes implicated in comprehending challenging stimuli. In this study we used noise vocoding to spectrally degrade monosyllabic words in order to manipulate their intelligibility. We used spectral rotation to generate incomprehensible control conditions matched in terms of spectral detail. We recorded EEG from 14 volunteers who listened to a series of noise vocoded (NV) and noise-vocoded spectrally-rotated (rNV) words, while they carried out a detection task. We specifically sought components of the EEG response that showed an interaction between spectral rotation and spectral degradation. This reflects those aspects of the brain electrical response that are related to the intelligibility of acoustically degraded monosyllabic words, while controlling for spectral detail. An interaction between spectral complexity and rotation was apparent in both evoked and induced activity. Analyses of event-related potentials showed an interaction effect for a P300-like component at several centro-parietal electrodes. Time-frequency analysis of the EEG signal in the alpha-band revealed a monotonic increase in event-related desynchronization (ERD) for the NV but not the rNV stimuli in the alpha band at a left temporo-central electrode cluster from 420-560 ms reflecting a direct relationship between the strength of alpha-band ERD and intelligibility. By matching NV words with their incomprehensible rNV homologues, we reveal the spatiotemporal pattern of evoked and induced processes involved in degraded speech perception, largely uncontaminated by purely acoustic effects.
  • Behrens, B., Flecken, M., & Carroll, M. (2013). Progressive Attraction: On the Use and Grammaticalization of Progressive Aspect in Dutch, Norwegian, and German. Journal of Germanic linguistics, 25(2), 95-136. doi:10.1017/S1470542713000020.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates the use of aspectual constructions in Dutch, Norwegian, and German, languages in which aspect marking that presents events explicitly as ongoing, is optional. Data were elicited under similar conditions with native speakers in the three countries. We show that while German speakers make insignificant use of aspectual constructions, usage patterns in Norwegian and Dutch present an interesting case of overlap, as well as differences, with respect to a set of factors that attract or constrain the use of different constructions. The results indicate that aspect marking is grammaticalizing in Dutch, but there are no clear signs of a similar process in Norwegian.*
  • Bergmann, C., Ten Bosch, L., Fikkert, P., & Boves, L. (2013). A computational model to investigate assumptions in the headturn preference procedure. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 676. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00676.

    Abstract

    In this paper we use a computational model to investigate four assumptions that are tacitly present in interpreting the results of studies on infants' speech processing abilities using the Headturn Preference Procedure (HPP): (1) behavioral differences originate in different processing; (2) processing involves some form of recognition; (3) words are segmented from connected speech; and (4) differences between infants should not affect overall results. In addition, we investigate the impact of two potentially important aspects in the design and execution of the experiments: (a) the specific voices used in the two parts on HPP experiments (familiarization and test) and (b) the experimenter's criterion for what is a sufficient headturn angle. The model is designed to be maximize cognitive plausibility. It takes real speech as input, and it contains a module that converts the output of internal speech processing and recognition into headturns that can yield real-time listening preference measurements. Internal processing is based on distributed episodic representations in combination with a matching procedure based on the assumptions that complex episodes can be decomposed as positive weighted sums of simpler constituents. Model simulations show that the first assumptions hold under two different definitions of recognition. However, explicit segmentation is not necessary to simulate the behaviors observed in infant studies. Differences in attention span between infants can affect the outcomes of an experiment. The same holds for the experimenter's decision criterion. The speakers used in experiments affect outcomes in complex ways that require further investigation. The paper ends with recommendations for future studies using the HPP. - See more at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00676/full#sthash.TUEwObRb.dpuf
  • Blythe, J. (2013). Preference organization driving structuration: Evidence from Australian Aboriginal interaction for pragmatically motivated grammaticalization. Language, 89(4), 883-919.

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  • De Boer, M., Toni, I., & Willems, R. M. (2013). What drives successful verbal communication? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7: 622. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00622.

    Abstract

    There is a vast amount of potential mappings between behaviors and intentions in communication: a behavior can indicate a multitude of different intentions, and the same intention can be communicated with a variety of behaviors. Humans routinely solve these many-to-many referential problems when producing utterances for an Addressee. This ability might rely on social cognitive skills, for instance, the ability to manipulate unobservable summary variables to disambiguate ambiguous behavior of other agents (“mentalizing”) and the drive to invest resources into changing and understanding the mental state of other agents (“communicative motivation”). Alternatively, the ambiguities of verbal communicative interactions might be solved by general-purpose cognitive abilities that process cues that are incidentally associated with the communicative interaction. In this study, we assess these possibilities by testing which cognitive traits account for communicative success during a verbal referential task. Cognitive traits were assessed with psychometric scores quantifying motivation, mentalizing abilities, and general-purpose cognitive abilities, taxing abstract visuo-spatial abilities. Communicative abilities of participants were assessed by using an on-line interactive task that required a speaker to verbally convey a concept to an Addressee. The communicative success of the utterances was quantified by measuring how frequently a number of Evaluators would infer the correct concept. Speakers with high motivational and general-purpose cognitive abilities generated utterances that were more easily interpreted. These findings extend to the domain of verbal communication the notion that motivational and cognitive factors influence the human ability to rapidly converge on shared communicative innovations.
  • Boersma, M., Kemner, C., de Reus, M. A., Collin, G., Snijders, T. M., Hofman, D., Buitelaar, J. K., Stam, C. J., & van den Heuvel, M. P. (2013). Disrupted functional brain networks in autistic toddlers. Brain Connectivity, 3(1), 41-49. doi:10.1089/brain.2012.0127.

    Abstract

    Communication and integration of information between brain regions plays a key role in healthy brain function. Conversely, disruption in brain communication may lead to cognitive and behavioral problems. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by impaired social interactions and aberrant basic information processing. Aberrant brain connectivity patterns have indeed been hypothesized to be a key neural underpinning of autism. In this study, graph analytical tools are used to explore the possible deviant functional brain network organization in autism at a very early stage of brain development. Electroencephalography (EEG) recordings in 12 toddlers with autism (mean age 3.5 years) and 19 control subjects were used to assess interregional functional brain connectivity, with functional brain networks constructed at the level of temporal synchronization between brain regions underlying the EEG electrodes. Children with autism showed a significantly increased normalized path length and reduced normalized clustering, suggesting a reduced global communication capacity already during early brain development. In addition, whole brain connectivity was found to be significantly reduced in these young patients suggesting an overall under-connectivity of functional brain networks in autism. Our findings support the hypothesis of abnormal neural communication in autism, with deviating effects already present at the early stages of brain development
  • Bögels, S., Barr, D., Garrod, S., & Kessler, K. (2013). "Are we still talking about the same thing?" MEG reveals perspective-taking in response to pragmatic violations, but not in anticipation. In M. Knauff, N. Pauen, I. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 215-220). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2013/papers/0066/index.html.

    Abstract

    The current study investigates whether mentalizing, or taking the perspective of your interlocutor, plays an essential role throughout a conversation or whether it is mostly used in reaction to misunderstandings. This study is the first to use a brain-imaging method, MEG, to answer this question. In a first phase of the experiment, MEG participants interacted "live" with a confederate who set naming precedents for certain pictures. In a later phase, these precedents were sometimes broken by a speaker who named the same picture in a different way. This could be done by the same speaker, who set the precedent, or by a different speaker. Source analysis of MEG data showed that in the 800 ms before the naming, when the picture was already on the screen, episodic memory and language areas were activated, but no mentalizing areas, suggesting that the speaker's naming intentions were not anticipated by the listener on the basis of shared experiences. Mentalizing areas only became activated after the same speaker had broken a precedent, which we interpret as a reaction to the violation of conversational pragmatics.
  • Bögels, S., Schriefers, H., Vonk, W., Chwilla, D., & Kerkhofs, R. (2013). Processing consequences of superfluous and missing prosodic breaks in auditory sentence comprehension. Neuropsychologia, 51, 2715-2728. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.09.008.

    Abstract

    This ERP study investigates whether a superfluous prosodic break (i.e., a prosodic break that does not coincide with a syntactic break) has more severe processing consequences during auditory sentence comprehension than a missing prosodic break (i.e., the absence of a prosodic break at the position of a syntactic break). Participants listened to temporarily ambiguous sentences involving a prosody-syntax match or mismatch. The disambiguation of these sentences was always lexical in nature in the present experiment. This contrasts with a related study by Pauker, Itzhak, Baum, and Steinhauer (2011), where the disambiguation was of a lexical type for missing PBs and of a prosodic type for superfluous PBs. Our results converge with those of Pauker et al.: superfluous prosodic breaks lead to more severe processing problems than missing prosodic breaks. Importantly, the present results extend those of Pauker et al. showing that this holds when the disambiguation is always lexical in nature. Furthermore, our results show that the way listeners use prosody can change over the course of the experiment which bears consequences for future studies.

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