Publications

Displaying 1 - 20 of 416
  • Acheson, D. J., & Hagoort, P. (2014). Twisting tongues to test for conflict monitoring in speech production. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8: 206. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00206.

    Abstract

    A number of recent studies have hypothesized that monitoring in speech production may occur via domain-general mechanisms responsible for the detection of response conflict. Outside of language, two ERP components have consistently been elicited in conflict-inducing tasks (e.g., the flanker task): the stimulus-locked N2 on correct trials, and the response-locked error-related negativity (ERN). The present investigation used these electrophysiological markers to test whether a common response conflict monitor is responsible for monitoring in speech and non-speech tasks. Electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded while participants performed a tongue twister (TT) task and a manual version of the flanker task. In the TT task, people rapidly read sequences of four nonwords arranged in TT and non-TT patterns three times. In the flanker task, people responded with a left/right button press to a center-facing arrow, and conflict was manipulated by the congruency of the flanking arrows. Behavioral results showed typical effects of both tasks, with increased error rates and slower speech onset times for TT relative to non-TT trials and for incongruent relative to congruent flanker trials. In the flanker task, stimulus-locked EEG analyses replicated previous results, with a larger N2 for incongruent relative to congruent trials, and a response-locked ERN. In the TT task, stimulus-locked analyses revealed broad, frontally-distributed differences beginning around 50 ms and lasting until just before speech initiation, with TT trials more negative than non-TT trials; response-locked analyses revealed an ERN. Correlation across these measures showed some correlations within a task, but little evidence of systematic cross-task correlation. Although the present results do not speak against conflict signals from the production system serving as cues to self-monitoring, they are not consistent with signatures of response conflict being mediated by a single, domain-general conflict monitor
  • Agus, T., Carrion Castillo, A., Pressnitzer, D., & Ramus, F. (2014). Perceptual learning of acoustic noise by individuals with dyslexia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research., 57, 1069-1077. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/13-0020).

    Abstract

    Purpose: A phonological deficit is thought to affect most individuals with developmental dyslexia. The present study addresses whether the phonological deficit is caused by difficulties with perceptual learning of fine acoustic details. Method: A demanding test of nonverbal auditory memory, “noise learning,” was administered to both adults with dyslexia and control adult participants. On each trial, listeners had to decide whether a stimulus was a 1-s noise token or 2 abutting presentations of the same 0.5-s noise token (repeated noise). Without the listener’s knowledge, the exact same noise tokens were presented over many trials. An improved ability to perform the task for such “reference” noises reflects learning of their acoustic details. Results: Listeners with dyslexia did not differ from controls in any aspect of the task, qualitatively or quantitatively. They required the same amount of training to achieve discrimination of repeated from nonrepeated noises, and they learned the reference noises as often and as rapidly as the control group. However, they did show all the hallmarks of dyslexia, including a well-characterized phonological deficit. Conclusion: The data did not support the hypothesis that deficits in basic auditory processing or nonverbal learning and memory are the cause of the phonological deficit in dyslexia
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2014). Towards a Computational Model of Actor-Based Language Comprehension. Neuroinformatics, 12(1), 143-179. doi:10.1007/s12021-013-9198-x.

    Abstract

    Neurophysiological data from a range of typologically diverse languages provide evidence for a cross-linguistically valid, actor-based strategy of understanding sentence-level meaning. This strategy seeks to identify the participant primarily responsible for the state of affairs (the actor) as quickly and unambiguously as possible, thus resulting in competition for the actor role when there are multiple candidates. Due to its applicability across languages with vastly different characteristics, we have proposed that the actor strategy may derive from more basic cognitive or neurobiological organizational principles, though it is also shaped by distributional properties of the linguistic input (e.g. the morphosyntactic coding strategies for actors in a given language). Here, we describe an initial computational model of the actor strategy and how it interacts with language-specific properties. Specifically, we contrast two distance metrics derived from the output of the computational model (one weighted and one unweighted) as potential measures of the degree of competition for actorhood by testing how well they predict modulations of electrophysiological activity engendered by language processing. To this end, we present an EEG study on word order processing in German and use linear mixed-effects models to assess the effect of the various distance metrics. Our results show that a weighted metric, which takes into account the weighting of an actor-identifying feature in the language under consideration outperforms an unweighted distance measure. We conclude that actor competition effects cannot be reduced to feature overlap between multiple sentence participants and thereby to the notion of similarity-based interference, which is prominent in current memory-based models of language processing. Finally, we argue that, in addition to illuminating the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of actor competition, the present model can form the basis for a more comprehensive, neurobiologically plausible computational model of constructing sentence-level meaning.
  • Alferink, I., & Gullberg, M. (2014). French-Dutch bilinguals do not maintain obligatory semantic distinctions: Evidence from placement verbs. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17, 22-37. doi:10.1017/S136672891300028X.

    Abstract

    It is often said that bilinguals are not the sum of two monolinguals but that bilingual systems represent a third pattern. This study explores the exact nature of this pattern. We ask whether there is evidence of a merged system when one language makes an obligatory distinction that the other one does not, namely in the case of placement verbs in French and Dutch, and whether such a merged system is realised as a more general or a more specific system. The results show that in elicited descriptions Belgian French-Dutch bilinguals drop one of the categories in one of the languages, resulting in a more general semantic system in comparison with the non-contact variety. They do not uphold the obligatory distinction in the verb nor elsewhere despite its communicative relevance. This raises important questions regarding how widespread these differences are and what drives these patterns
  • Alhama, R. G., Scha, R., & Zuidema, W. (2014). Rule learning in humans and animals. In E. A. Cartmill, S. Roberts, H. Lyn, & H. Cornish (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (EVOLANG 10) (pp. 371-372). Singapore: World Scientific.
  • Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., Freudenthal, D., & Chang, F. (2014). Avoiding dative overgeneralisation errors: semantics, statistics or both? Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 29(2), 218-243. doi:10.1080/01690965.2012.738300.

    Abstract

    How do children eventually come to avoid the production of overgeneralisation errors, in particular, those involving the dative (e.g., *I said her “no”)? The present study addressed this question by obtaining from adults and children (5–6, 9–10 years) judgements of well-formed and over-general datives with 301 different verbs (44 for children). A significant effect of pre-emption—whereby the use of a verb in the prepositional-object (PO)-dative construction constitutes evidence that double-object (DO)-dative uses are not permitted—was observed for every age group. A significant effect of entrenchment—whereby the use of a verb in any construction constitutes evidence that unattested dative uses are not permitted—was also observed for every age group, with both predictors also accounting for developmental change between ages 5–6 and 9–10 years. Adults demonstrated knowledge of a morphophonological constraint that prohibits Latinate verbs from appearing in the DO-dative construction (e.g., *I suggested her the trip). Verbs’ semantic properties (supplied by independent adult raters) explained additional variance for all groups and developmentally, with the relative influence of narrow- vs broad-range semantic properties increasing with age. We conclude by outlining an account of the formation and restriction of argument-structure generalisations designed to accommodate these findings.
  • Araújo, S., Faísca, L., Bramão, I., Petersson, K. M., & Reis, A. (2014). Lexical and phonological processes in dyslexic readers: Evidences from a visual lexical decision task. Dyslexia, 20, 38-53. doi:10.1002/dys.1461.

    Abstract

    The aim of the present study was to investigate whether reading failure in the context of an orthography of intermediate consistency is linked to inefficient use of the lexical orthographic reading procedure. The performance of typically developing and dyslexic Portuguese-speaking children was examined in a lexical decision task, where the stimulus lexicality, word frequency and length were manipulated. Both lexicality and length effects were larger in the dyslexic group than in controls, although the interaction between group and frequency disappeared when the data were transformed to control for general performance factors. Children with dyslexia were influenced in lexical decision making by the stimulus length of words and pseudowords, whereas age-matched controls were influenced by the length of pseudowords only. These findings suggest that non-impaired readers rely mainly on lexical orthographic information, but children with dyslexia preferentially use the phonological decoding procedure—albeit poorly—most likely because they struggle to process orthographic inputs as a whole such as controls do. Accordingly, dyslexic children showed significantly poorer performance than controls for all types of stimuli, including words that could be considered over-learned, such as high-frequency words. This suggests that their orthographic lexical entries are less established in the orthographic lexicon
  • Arnon, I., Casillas, M., Kurumada, C., & Estigarribia, B. (Eds.). (2014). Language in interaction: Studies in honor of Eve V. Clark. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Understanding how communicative goals impact and drive the learning process has been a long-standing issue in the field of language acquisition. Recent years have seen renewed interest in the social and pragmatic aspects of language learning: the way interaction shapes what and how children learn. In this volume, we bring together researchers working on interaction in different domains to present a cohesive overview of ongoing interactional research. The studies address the diversity of the environments children learn in; the role of para-linguistic information; the pragmatic forces driving language learning; and the way communicative pressures impact language use and change. Using observational, empirical and computational findings, this volume highlights the effect of interpersonal communication on what children hear and what they learn. This anthology is inspired by and dedicated to Prof. Eve V. Clark – a pioneer in all matters related to language acquisition – and a major force in establishing interaction and communication as crucial aspects of language learning.
  • Baayen, R. H. (2014). Productivity in language production. In D. Sandra, & M. Taft (Eds.), Morphological Structure, Lexical Representation and Lexical Access: A Special Issue of Language and Cognitive Processes (pp. 447-469). London: Routledge.

    Abstract

    Lexical statistics and a production experiment are used to gauge the extent to which the linguistic notion of morphological productivity is relevant for psycholinguistic theories of speech production in languages such as Dutch and English. Lexical statistics of productivity show that despite the relatively poor morphology of Dutch, new words are created often enough for the marginalisation of word formation in theories of speech production to be theoretically unattractive. This conclusion is supported by the results of a production experiment in which subjects freely created hundreds of productive, but only a handful of unproductive, neologisms. A tentative solution is proposed as to why the opposite pattern has been observed in the speech of jargonaphasics.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Competition from unseen or unheard novel words: Lexical consolidation across modalities. Journal of Memory and Language, 73, 116-139. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2014.03.002.

    Abstract

    In four experiments we investigated the formation of novel word memories across modalities, using competition between novel words and their existing phonological/orthographic neighbours as a test of lexical integration. Auditorily acquired novel words entered into competition both in the spoken modality (Experiment 1) and in the written modality (Experiment 4) after a consolidation period of 24 h. Words acquired from print, on the other hand, showed competition effects after 24 h in a visual word recognition task (Experiment 3) but required additional training and a consolidation period of a week before entering into spoken-word competition (Experiment 2). These cross-modal effects support the hypothesis that lexicalised rather than episodic representations underlie post-consolidation competition effects. We suggest that sublexical phoneme–grapheme conversion during novel word encoding and/or offline consolidation enables the formation of modality-specific lexemes in the untrained modality, which subsequently undergo the same cortical integration process as explicitly perceived word forms in the trained modality. Although conversion takes place in both directions, speech input showed an advantage over print both in terms of lexicalisation and explicit memory performance. In conclusion, the brain is able to integrate and consolidate internally generated lexical information as well as external perceptual input.
  • Baron-Cohen, S., Murphy, L., Chakrabarti, B., Craig, I., Mallya, U., Lakatosova, S., Rehnstrom, K., Peltonen, L., Wheelwright, S., Allison, C., Fisher, S. E., & Warrier, V. (2014). A genome wide association study of mathematical ability reveals an association at chromosome 3q29, a locus associated with autism and learning difficulties: A preliminary study. PLoS One, 9(5): e96374. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096374.

    Abstract

    Mathematical ability is heritable, but few studies have directly investigated its molecular genetic basis. Here we aimed to identify specific genetic contributions to variation in mathematical ability. We carried out a genome wide association scan using pooled DNA in two groups of U.K. samples, based on end of secondary/high school national academic exam achievement: high (n = 419) versus low (n = 183) mathematical ability while controlling for their verbal ability. Significant differences in allele frequencies between these groups were searched for in 906,600 SNPs using the Affymetrix GeneChip Human Mapping version 6.0 array. After meeting a threshold of p<1.5×10−5, 12 SNPs from the pooled association analysis were individually genotyped in 542 of the participants and analyzed to validate the initial associations (lowest p-value 1.14 ×10−6). In this analysis, one of the SNPs (rs789859) showed significant association after Bonferroni correction, and four (rs10873824, rs4144887, rs12130910 rs2809115) were nominally significant (lowest p-value 3.278 × 10−4). Three of the SNPs of interest are located within, or near to, known genes (FAM43A, SFT2D1, C14orf64). The SNP that showed the strongest association, rs789859, is located in a region on chromosome 3q29 that has been previously linked to learning difficulties and autism. rs789859 lies 1.3 kbp downstream of LSG1, and 700 bp upstream of FAM43A, mapping within the potential promoter/regulatory region of the latter. To our knowledge, this is only the second study to investigate the association of genetic variants with mathematical ability, and it highlights a number of interesting markers for future study.
  • Basnakova, J., Weber, K., Petersson, K. M., Van Berkum, J. J. A., & Hagoort, P. (2014). Beyond the language given: The neural correlates of inferring speaker meaning. Cerebral Cortex, 24(10), 2572-2578. doi:10.1093/cercor/bht112.

    Abstract

    Even though language allows us to say exactly what we mean, we often use language to say things indirectly, in a way that depends on the specific communicative context. For example, we can use an apparently straightforward sentence like "It is hard to give a good presentation" to convey deeper meanings, like "Your talk was a mess!" One of the big puzzles in language science is how listeners work out what speakers really mean, which is a skill absolutely central to communication. However, most neuroimaging studies of language comprehension have focused on the arguably much simpler, context-independent process of understanding direct utterances. To examine the neural systems involved in getting at contextually constrained indirect meaning, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging as people listened to indirect replies in spoken dialog. Relative to direct control utterances, indirect replies engaged dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, right temporo-parietal junction and insula, as well as bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and right medial temporal gyrus. This suggests that listeners take the speaker's perspective on both cognitive (theory of mind) and affective (empathy-like) levels. In line with classic pragmatic theories, our results also indicate that currently popular "simulationist" accounts of language comprehension fail to explain how listeners understand the speaker's intended message.
  • Bavin, E. L., Kidd, E., Prendergast, L., Baker, E., Dissanayake, C., & Prior, M. (2014). Severity of autism is related to children's language processing. Autism Research, 7(6), 687-694. doi:10.1002/aur.1410.

    Abstract

    Problems in language processing have been associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with some research attributing the problems to overall language skills rather than a diagnosis of ASD. Lexical access was assessed in a looking-while-listening task in three groups of 5- to 7-year-old children; two had high-functioning ASD (HFA), an ASD severe (ASD-S) group (n = 16) and an ASD moderate (ASD-M) group (n = 21). The third group were typically developing (TD) (n = 48). Participants heard sentences of the form “Where's the x?” and their eye movements to targets (e.g., train), phonological competitors (e.g., tree), and distractors were recorded. Proportions of looking time at target were analyzed within 200 ms intervals. Significant group differences were found between the ASD-S and TD groups only, at time intervals 1000–1200 and 1200–1400 ms postonset. The TD group was more likely to be fixated on target. These differences were maintained after adjusting for language, verbal and nonverbal IQ, and attention scores. An analysis using parent report of autistic-like behaviors showed higher scores to be associated with lower proportions of looking time at target, regardless of group. Further analysis showed fixation for the TD group to be significantly faster than for the ASD-S. In addition, incremental processing was found for all groups. The study findings suggest that severity of autistic behaviors will impact significantly on children's language processing in real life situations when exposed to syntactically complex material. They also show the value of using online methods for understanding how young children with ASD process language. Autism Res 2014, 7: 687–694.
  • Benyamin, B., St Pourcain, B., Davis, O. S., Davies, G., Hansell, N. K., Brion, M.-J., Kirkpatrick, R. M., Cents, R. A. M., Franić, S., Miller, M. B., Haworth, C. M. A., Meaburn, E., Price, T. S., Evans, D. M., Timpson, N., Kemp, J., Ring, S., McArdle, W., Medland, S. E., Yang, J., Harris, S. E., Liewald, D. C., Scheet, P., Xiao, X., Hudziak, J. J., de Geus, E. J. C., Jaddoe, V. W. V., Starr, J. M., Verhulst, F. C., Pennell, C., Tiemeier, H., Iacono, W. G., Palmer, L. J., Montgomery, G. W., Martin, N. G., Boomsma, D. I., Posthuma, D., McGue, M., Wright, M. J., Davey Smith, G., Deary, I. J., Plomin, R., & Visscher, P. M. (2014). Childhood intelligence is heritable, highly polygenic and associated with FNBP1L. Molecular Psychiatry, 19(2), 253-258. doi:10.1038/mp.2012.184.

    Abstract

    Intelligence in childhood, as measured by psychometric cognitive tests, is a strong predictor of many important life outcomes, including educational attainment, income, health and lifespan. Results from twin, family and adoption studies are consistent with general intelligence being highly heritable and genetically stable throughout the life course. No robustly associated genetic loci or variants for childhood intelligence have been reported. Here, we report the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) on childhood intelligence (age range 6–18 years) from 17 989 individuals in six discovery and three replication samples. Although no individual single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected with genome-wide significance, we show that the aggregate effects of common SNPs explain 22–46% of phenotypic variation in childhood intelligence in the three largest cohorts (P=3.9 × 10−15, 0.014 and 0.028). FNBP1L, previously reported to be the most significantly associated gene for adult intelligence, was also significantly associated with childhood intelligence (P=0.003). Polygenic prediction analyses resulted in a significant correlation between predictor and outcome in all replication cohorts. The proportion of childhood intelligence explained by the predictor reached 1.2% (P=6 × 10−5), 3.5% (P=10−3) and 0.5% (P=6 × 10−5) in three independent validation cohorts. Given the sample sizes, these genetic prediction results are consistent with expectations if the genetic architecture of childhood intelligence is like that of body mass index or height. Our study provides molecular support for the heritability and polygenic nature of childhood intelligence. Larger sample sizes will be required to detect individual variants with genome-wide significance.
  • Bergmann, C., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2014). A computational model of the headturn preference procedure: Design, challenges, and insights. In J. Mayor, & P. Gomez (Eds.), Computational Models of Cognitive Processes (pp. 125-136). World Scientific. doi:10.1142/9789814458849_0010.

    Abstract

    The Headturn Preference Procedure (HPP) is a frequently used method (e.g., Jusczyk & Aslin; and subsequent studies) to investigate linguistic abilities in infants. In this paradigm infants are usually first familiarised with words and then tested for a listening preference for passages containing those words in comparison to unrelated passages. Listening preference is defined as the time an infant spends attending to those passages with his or her head turned towards a flashing light and the speech stimuli. The knowledge and abilities inferred from the results of HPP studies have been used to reason about and formally model early linguistic skills and language acquisition. However, the actual cause of infants' behaviour in HPP experiments has been subject to numerous assumptions as there are no means to directly tap into cognitive processes. To make these assumptions explicit, and more crucially, to understand how infants' behaviour emerges if only general learning mechanisms are assumed, we introduce a computational model of the HPP. Simulations with the computational HPP model show that the difference in infant behaviour between familiarised and unfamiliar words in passages can be explained by a general learning mechanism and that many assumptions underlying the HPP are not necessarily warranted. We discuss the implications for conventional interpretations of the outcomes of HPP experiments.
  • Bergmann, C. (2014). Computational models of early language acquisition and the role of different voices. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bidgood, A., Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., & Rowland, C. F. (2014). The retreat from locative overgeneralisation errors: A novel verb grammaticality judgment study. PLoS One, 9(5): e97634. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097634.

    Abstract

    Whilst some locative verbs alternate between the ground- and figure-locative constructions (e.g. Lisa sprayed the flowers with water/Lisa sprayed water onto the flowers), others are restricted to one construction or the other (e.g. *Lisa filled water into the cup/*Lisa poured the cup with water). The present study investigated two proposals for how learners (aged 5–6, 9–10 and adults) acquire this restriction, using a novel-verb-learning grammaticality-judgment paradigm. In support of the semantic verb class hypothesis, participants in all age groups used the semantic properties of novel verbs to determine the locative constructions (ground/figure/both) in which they could and could not appear. In support of the frequency hypothesis, participants' tolerance of overgeneralisation errors decreased with each increasing level of verb frequency (novel/low/high). These results underline the need to develop an integrated account of the roles of semantics and frequency in the retreat from argument structure overgeneralisation.
  • Blasi, D. E., Christiansen, M. H., Wichmann, S., Hammarström, H., & Stadler, P. F. (2014). Sound symbolism and the origins of language. In E. A. Cartmill, S. Roberts, H. Lyn, & H. Cornish (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (EVOLANG 10) (pp. 391-392). Singapore: World Scientific.
  • Böckler, A., Hömke, P., & Sebanz, N. (2014). Invisible Man: Exclusion from shared attention affects gaze behavior and self-reports. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(2), 140-148. doi:10.1177/1948550613488951.

    Abstract

    Social exclusion results in lowered satisfaction of basic needs and shapes behavior in subsequent social situations. We investigated participants’ immediate behavioral response during exclusion from an interaction that consisted of establishing eye contact. A newly developed eye-tracker-based ‘‘looking game’’ was employed; participants exchanged looks with two virtual partners in an exchange where the player who had just been looked at chose whom to look at next. While some participants received as many looks as the virtual players (included), others were ignored after two initial looks (excluded). Excluded participants reported lower basic need satisfaction, lower evaluation of the interaction, and devaluated their interaction partners more than included participants, demonstrating that people are sensitive to epistemic ostracism. In line with William’s need-threat model, eye-tracking results revealed that excluded participants did not withdraw from the unfavorable interaction, but increased the number of looks to the player who could potentially reintegrate them.
  • De Boer, B., & Perlman, M. (2014). Physical mechanisms may be as important as brain mechanisms in evolution of speech [Commentary on Ackerman, Hage, & Ziegler. Brain Mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: an evolutionary perspective]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(6), 552-553. doi:10.1017/S0140525X13004007.

    Abstract

    We present two arguments why physical adaptations for vocalization may be as important as neural adaptations. First, fine control over vocalization is not easy for physical reasons, and modern humans may be exceptional. Second, we present an example of a gorilla that shows rudimentary voluntary control over vocalization, indicating that some neural control is already shared with great apes.

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