Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 324
  • Abbot-Smith, K., Chang, F., Rowland, C. F., Ferguson, H., & Pine, J. (2017). Do two and three year old children use an incremental first-NP-as-agent bias to process active transitive and passive sentences?: A permutation analysis. PLoS One, 12(10): e0186129. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186129.

    Abstract

    We used eye-tracking to investigate if and when children show an incremental bias to assume that the first noun phrase in a sentence is the agent (first-NP-as-agent bias) while processing the meaning of English active and passive transitive sentences. We also investigated whether children can override this bias to successfully distinguish active from passive sentences, after processing the remainder of the sentence frame. For this second question we used eye-tracking (Study 1) and forced-choice pointing (Study 2). For both studies, we used a paradigm in which participants simultaneously saw two novel actions with reversed agent-patient relations while listening to active and passive sentences. We compared English-speaking 25-month-olds and 41-month-olds in between-subjects sentence structure conditions (Active Transitive Condition vs. Passive Condition). A permutation analysis found that both age groups showed a bias to incrementally map the first noun in a sentence onto an agent role. Regarding the second question, 25-month-olds showed some evidence of distinguishing the two structures in the eye-tracking study. However, the 25-month-olds did not distinguish active from passive sentences in the forced choice pointing task. In contrast, the 41-month-old children did reanalyse their initial first-NP-as-agent bias to the extent that they clearly distinguished between active and passive sentences both in the eye-tracking data and in the pointing task. The results are discussed in relation to the development of syntactic (re)parsing.

    Supplementary material

    Data available from OSF
  • Acuna-Hidalgo, R., Deriziotis, P., Steehouwer, M., Gilissen, C., Graham, S. A., Van Dam, S., Hoover-Fong, J., Telegrafi, A. B., Destree, A., Smigiel, R., Lambie, L. A., Kayserili, H., Altunoglu, U., Lapi, E., Uzielli, M. L., Aracena, M., Nur, B. G., Mihci, E., Moreira, L. M. A., Ferreira, V. B., Horovitz, D. D. G., Da Rocha, K. M., Jezela-Stanek, A., Brooks, A. S., Reutter, H., Cohen, J. S., Fatemi, A., Smitka, M., Grebe, T. A., Di Donato, N., Deshpande, C., Vandersteen, A., Marques Lourenço, C., Dufke, A., Rossier, E., Andre, G., Baumer, A., Spencer, C., McGaughran, J., Franke, L., Veltman, J. A., De Vries, B. B. A., Schinzel, A., Fisher, S. E., Hoischen, A., & Van Bon, B. W. (2017). Overlapping SETBP1 gain-of-function mutations in Schinzel-Giedion syndrome and hematologic malignancies. PLoS Genetics, 13: e1006683. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006683.

    Abstract

    Schinzel-Giedion syndrome (SGS) is a rare developmental disorder characterized by multiple malformations, severe neurological alterations and increased risk of malignancy. SGS is caused by de novo germline mutations clustering to a 12bp hotspot in exon 4 of SETBP1. Mutations in this hotspot disrupt a degron, a signal for the regulation of protein degradation, and lead to the accumulation of SETBP1 protein. Overlapping SETBP1 hotspot mutations have been observed recurrently as somatic events in leukemia. We collected clinical information of 47 SGS patients (including 26 novel cases) with germline SETBP1 mutations and of four individuals with a milder phenotype caused by de novo germline mutations adjacent to the SETBP1 hotspot. Different mutations within and around the SETBP1 hotspot have varying effects on SETBP1 stability and protein levels in vitro and in in silico modeling. Substitutions in SETBP1 residue I871 result in a weak increase in protein levels and mutations affecting this residue are significantly more frequent in SGS than in leukemia. On the other hand, substitutions in residue D868 lead to the largest increase in protein levels. Individuals with germline mutations affecting D868 have enhanced cell proliferation in vitro and higher incidence of cancer compared to patients with other germline SETBP1 mutations. Our findings substantiate that, despite their overlap, somatic SETBP1 mutations driving malignancy are more disruptive to the degron than germline SETBP1 mutations causing SGS. Additionally, this suggests that the functional threshold for the development of cancer driven by the disruption of the SETBP1 degron is higher than for the alteration in prenatal development in SGS. Drawing on previous studies of somatic SETBP1 mutations in leukemia, our results reveal a genotype-phenotype correlation in germline SETBP1 mutations spanning a molecular, cellular and clinical phenotype.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2017). Electrophysiology Reveals the Neural Dynamics of Naturalistic Auditory Language Processing: Event-Related Potentials Reflect Continuous Model Update. eNeuro, 4(6): e0311. doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0311-16.2017.

    Abstract

    The recent trend away from ANOVA-based analyses places experimental investigations into the neurobiology of cognition in more naturalistic and ecologically valid designs within reach. Using mixed-effects models for epoch-based regression, we demonstrate the feasibility of examining event-related potentials (ERPs), and in particular the N400, to study the neural dynamics of human auditory language processing in a naturalistic setting. Despite the large variability between trials during naturalistic stimulation, we replicated previous findings from the literature: the effects of frequency, animacy, word order and find previously unexplored interaction effects. This suggests a new perspective on ERPs, namely as a continuous modulation reflecting continuous stimulation instead of a series of discrete and essentially sequential processes locked to discrete events. Significance Statement Laboratory experiments on language often lack ecologicalal validity. In addition to the intrusive laboratory equipment, the language used is often highly constrained in an attempt to control possible confounds. More recent research with naturalistic stimuli has been largely confined to fMRI, where the low temporal resolution helps to smooth over the uneven finer structure of natural language use. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of using naturalistic stimuli with temporally sensitive methods such as EEG and MEG using modern computational approaches and show how this provides new insights into the nature of ERP components and the temporal dynamics of language as a sensory and cognitive process. The full complexity of naturalistic language use cannot be captured by carefully controlled designs alone.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2017). Commentary on Sanborn and Chater: Posterior Modes Are Attractor Basins. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21(7), 491-492. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2017.04.003.
  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2017). Segmentation as Retention and Recognition: the R&R model. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 1531-1536). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    We present the Retention and Recognition model (R&R), a probabilistic exemplar model that accounts for segmentation in Artificial Language Learning experiments. We show that R&R provides an excellent fit to human responses in three segmentation experiments with adults (Frank et al., 2010), outperforming existing models. Additionally, we analyze the results of the simulations and propose alternative explanations for the experimental findings.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2017). The Uselessness of the Useful: Language Standardisation and Variation in Multilingual Context. In I. Tieken-Boon van Ostade, & C. Percy (Eds.), Prescription and tradition in language: Establishing standards across the time and space (pp. 71-87). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Aparicio, X., Heidlmayr, K., & Isel, F. (2017). Inhibition Efficiency in Highly Proficient Bilinguals and Simultaneous Interpreters: Evidence from Language Switching and Stroop Tasks. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 46, 1427-1451. doi:10.1007/s10936-017-9501-3.

    Abstract

    The present behavioral study aimed to examine the impact of language control expertise on two domain-general control processes, i.e. active inhibition of competing representations and overcoming of inhibition. We compared how Simultaneous Interpreters (SI) and Highly Proficient Bilinguals—two groups assumed to differ in language control capacity—performed executive tasks involving specific inhibition processes. In Experiment 1 (language decision task), both active and overcoming of inhibition processes are involved, while in Experiment 2 (bilingual Stroop task) only interference suppression is supposed to be required. The results of Experiment 1 showed a language switching effect only for the highly proficient bilinguals, potentially because overcoming of inhibition requires more cognitive resources than in SI. Nevertheless, both groups performed similarly on the Stroop task in Experiment 2, which suggests that active inhibition may work similarly in both groups. These contrasting results suggest that overcoming of inhibition may be harder to master than active inhibition. Taken together, these data indicate that some executive control processes may be less sensitive to the degree of expertise in bilingual language control than others. Our findings lend support to psycholinguistic models of bilingualism postulating a higher-order mechanism regulating language activation.
  • Armeni, K., Willems, R. M., & Frank, S. (2017). Probabilistic language models in cognitive neuroscience: Promises and pitfalls. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 83, 579-588. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.09.001.

    Abstract

    Cognitive neuroscientists of language comprehension study how neural computations relate to cognitive computations during comprehension. On the cognitive part of the equation, it is important that the computations and processing complexity are explicitly defined. Probabilistic language models can be used to give a computationally explicit account of language complexity during comprehension. Whereas such models have so far predominantly been evaluated against behavioral data, only recently have the models been used to explain neurobiological signals. Measures obtained from these models emphasize the probabilistic, information-processing view of language understanding and provide a set of tools that can be used for testing neural hypotheses about language comprehension. Here, we provide a cursory review of the theoretical foundations and example neuroimaging studies employing probabilistic language models. We highlight the advantages and potential pitfalls of this approach and indicate avenues for future research
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Highly proficient bilinguals maintain language-specific pragmatic constraints on pronouns: Evidence from speech and gesture. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 81-86). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The use of subject pronouns by bilingual speakers using both a pro-drop and a non-pro-drop language (e.g. Spanish heritage speakers in the USA) is a well-studied topic in research on cross-linguistic influence in language contact situations. Previous studies looking at bilinguals with different proficiency levels have yielded conflicting results on whether there is transfer from the non-pro-drop patterns to the pro-drop language. Additionally, previous research has focused on speech patterns only. In this paper, we study the two modalities of language, speech and gesture, and ask whether and how they reveal cross-linguistic influence on the use of subject pronouns in discourse. We focus on elicited narratives from heritage speakers of Turkish in the Netherlands, in both Turkish (pro-drop) and Dutch (non-pro-drop), as well as from monolingual control groups. The use of pronouns was not very common in monolingual Turkish narratives and was constrained by the pragmatic contexts, unlike in Dutch. Furthermore, Turkish pronouns were more likely to be accompanied by localized gestures than Dutch pronouns, presumably because pronouns in Turkish are pragmatically marked forms. We did not find any cross-linguistic influence in bilingual speech or gesture patterns, in line with studies (speech only) of highly proficient bilinguals. We therefore suggest that speech and gesture parallel each other not only in monolingual but also in bilingual production. Highly proficient heritage speakers who have been exposed to diverse linguistic and gestural patterns of each language from early on maintain monolingual patterns of pragmatic constraints on the use of pronouns multimodally.
  • Barthel, M., Meyer, A. S., & Levinson, S. C. (2017). Next speakers plan their turn early and speak after turn-final ‘go-signals’. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 393. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00393.

    Abstract

    In conversation, turn-taking is usually fluid, with next speakers taking their turn right after the end of the previous turn. Most, but not all, previous studies show that next speakers start to plan their turn early, if possible already during the incoming turn. The present study makes use of the list-completion paradigm (Barthel et al., 2016), analyzing speech onset latencies and eye-movements of participants in a task-oriented dialogue with a confederate. The measures are used to disentangle the contributions to the timing of turn-taking of early planning of content on the one hand and initiation of articulation as a reaction to the upcoming turn-end on the other hand. Participants named objects visible on their computer screen in response to utterances that did, or did not, contain lexical and prosodic cues to the end of the incoming turn. In the presence of an early lexical cue, participants showed earlier gaze shifts toward the target objects and responded faster than in its absence, whereas the presence of a late intonational cue only led to faster response times and did not affect the timing of participants' eye movements. The results show that with a combination of eye-movement and turn-transition time measures it is possible to tease apart the effects of early planning and response initiation on turn timing. They are consistent with models of turn-taking that assume that next speakers (a) start planning their response as soon as the incoming turn's message can be understood and (b) monitor the incoming turn for cues to turn-completion so as to initiate their response when turn-transition becomes relevant
  • Bauer, B. (2017). Nominal apposition in Indo-European: Its forms and functions, and its evolution in Latin-Romance. Berlin: De Gruyter.

    Abstract

    Nominal apposition—the combining of two equivalent nouns—has been a neglected topic in (Indo-European) linguistics, despite its prominence in syntax and morphology (i.c. composition). This book presents an extensive comparative and diachronic analysis of nominal apposition in Indo-European, examining its occurrence, its syntactic and morphological characteristics and functions in the early languages, identifying parallels with similar phenomena elsewhere (e.g. noun classification and script determinatives), and tracing its evolution in Latin-Romance. While nominal apposition is not exclusive to Indo-European, its development fits the evolution of Indo-European grammar.
  • Belke, E., Shao, Z., & Meyer, A. S. (2017). Strategic origins of early semantic facilitation in the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(10), 1659-1668. doi:10.1037/xlm0000399.

    Abstract

    In the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm, participants repeatedly name small sets of objects that do or do not belong to the same semantic category. A standard finding is that, after a first presentation cycle where one might find semantic facilitation, naming is slower in related (homogeneous) than in unrelated (heterogeneous) sets. According to competitive theories of lexical selection, this is because the lexical representations of the object names compete more vigorously in homogeneous than in heterogeneous sets. However, Navarrete, del Prato, Peressotti, and Mahon (2014) argued that this pattern of results was not due to increased lexical competition but to weaker repetition priming in homogeneous compared to heterogeneous sets. They demonstrated that when homogeneous sets were not repeated immediately but interleaved with unrelated sets, semantic relatedness induced facilitation rather than interference. We replicate this finding but also show that the facilitation effect has a strategic origin: It is substantial when sets are separated by pauses, making it easy for participants to notice the relatedness within some sets and use it to predict upcoming items. However, the effect is much reduced when these pauses are eliminated. In our view, the semantic facilitation effect does not constitute evidence against competitive theories of lexical selection. It can be accounted for within any framework that acknowledges strategic influences on the speed of object naming in the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm.
  • Bergmann, C., Tsuji, S., & Cristia, A. (2017). Top-down versus bottom-up theories of phonological acquisition: A big data approach. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2103-2107).

    Abstract

    Recent work has made available a number of standardized meta- analyses bearing on various aspects of infant language processing. We utilize data from two such meta-analyses (discrimination of vowel contrasts and word segmentation, i.e., recognition of word forms extracted from running speech) to assess whether the published body of empirical evidence supports a bottom-up versus a top-down theory of early phonological development by leveling the power of results from thousands of infants. We predicted that if infants can rely purely on auditory experience to develop their phonological categories, then vowel discrimination and word segmentation should develop in parallel, with the latter being potentially lagged compared to the former. However, if infants crucially rely on word form information to build their phonological categories, then development at the word level must precede the acquisition of native sound categories. Our results do not support the latter prediction. We discuss potential implications and limitations, most saliently that word forms are only one top-down level proposed to affect phonological development, with other proposals suggesting that top-down pressures emerge from lexical (i.e., word-meaning pairs) development. This investigation also highlights general procedures by which standardized meta-analyses may be reused to answer theoretical questions spanning across phenomena.

    Supplementary material

    Scripts and data
  • Black, A., & Bergmann, C. (2017). Quantifying infants' statistical word segmentation: A meta-analysis. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 124-129). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Theories of language acquisition and perceptual learning increasingly rely on statistical learning mechanisms. The current meta-analysis aims to clarify the robustness of this capacity in infancy within the word segmentation literature. Our analysis reveals a significant, small effect size for conceptual replications of Saffran, Aslin, & Newport (1996), and a nonsignificant effect across all studies that incorporate transitional probabilities to segment words. In both conceptual replications and the broader literature, however, statistical learning is moderated by whether stimuli are naturally produced or synthesized. These findings invite deeper questions about the complex factors that influence statistical learning, and the role of statistical learning in language acquisition.
  • De Boer, M., Kokal, I., Blokpoel, M., Liu, R., Stolk, A., Roelofs, K., Van Rooij, I., & Toni, I. (2017). Oxytocin modulates human communication by enhancing cognitive exploration. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 86, 64-72. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.09.010.

    Abstract

    Oxytocin is a neuropeptide known to influence how humans share material resources. Here we explore whether oxytocin influences how we share knowledge. We focus on two distinguishing features of human communication, namely the ability to select communicative signals that disambiguate the many-to-many mappings that exist between a signal’s form and meaning, and adjustments of those signals to the presumed cognitive characteristics of the addressee (“audience design”). Fifty-five males participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled experiment involving the intranasal administration of oxytocin. The participants produced novel non-verbal communicative signals towards two different addressees, an adult or a child, in an experimentally-controlled live interactive setting. We found that oxytocin administration drives participants to generate signals of higher referential quality, i.e. signals that disambiguate more communicative problems; and to rapidly adjust those communicative signals to what the addressee understands. The combined effects of oxytocin on referential quality and audience design fit with the notion that oxytocin administration leads participants to explore more pervasively behaviors that can convey their intention, and diverse models of the addressees. These findings suggest that, besides affecting prosocial drive and salience of social cues, oxytocin influences how we share knowledge by promoting cognitive exploration
  • Bögels, S., & Levinson, S. C. (2017). The brain behind the response: Insights into turn-taking in conversation from neuroimaging. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 50, 71-89. doi:10.1080/08351813.2017.1262118.

    Abstract

    This paper reviews the prospects for the cross-fertilization of conversation-analytic (CA) and neurocognitive studies of conversation, focusing on turn-taking. Although conversation is the primary ecological niche for language use, relatively little brain research has focused on interactive language use, partly due to the challenges of using brain-imaging methods that are controlled enough to perform sound experiments, but still reflect the rich and spontaneous nature of conversation. Recently, though, brain researchers have started to investigate conversational phenomena, for example by using 'overhearer' or controlled interaction paradigms. We review neuroimaging studies related to turn-taking and sequence organization, phenomena historically described by CA. These studies for example show early action recognition and immediate planning of responses midway during an incoming turn. The review discusses studies with an eye to a fruitful interchange between CA and neuroimaging research on conversation and an indication of how these disciplines can benefit from each other.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). Accounting for rate-dependent category boundary shifts in speech perception. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 79, 333-343. doi:10.3758/s13414-016-1206-4.

    Abstract

    The perception of temporal contrasts in speech is known to be influenced by the speech rate in the surrounding context. This rate-dependent perception is suggested to involve general auditory processes since it is also elicited by non-speech contexts, such as pure tone sequences. Two general auditory mechanisms have been proposed to underlie rate-dependent perception: durational contrast and neural entrainment. The present study compares the predictions of these two accounts of rate-dependent speech perception by means of four experiments in which participants heard tone sequences followed by Dutch target words ambiguous between /ɑs/ “ash” and /a:s/ “bait”. Tone sequences varied in the duration of tones (short vs. long) and in the presentation rate of the tones (fast vs. slow). Results show that the duration of preceding tones did not influence target perception in any of the experiments, thus challenging durational contrast as explanatory mechanism behind rate-dependent perception. Instead, the presentation rate consistently elicited a category boundary shift, with faster presentation rates inducing more /a:s/ responses, but only if the tone sequence was isochronous. Therefore, this study proposes an alternative, neurobiologically plausible, account of rate-dependent perception involving neural entrainment of endogenous oscillations to the rate of a rhythmic stimulus.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Kösem, A. (2017). An entrained rhythm's frequency, not phase, influences temporal sampling of speech. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2416-2420). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-73.

    Abstract

    Brain oscillations have been shown to track the slow amplitude fluctuations in speech during comprehension. Moreover, there is evidence that these stimulus-induced cortical rhythms may persist even after the driving stimulus has ceased. However, how exactly this neural entrainment shapes speech perception remains debated. This behavioral study investigated whether and how the frequency and phase of an entrained rhythm would influence the temporal sampling of subsequent speech. In two behavioral experiments, participants were presented with slow and fast isochronous tone sequences, followed by Dutch target words ambiguous between as /ɑs/ “ash” (with a short vowel) and aas /a:s/ “bait” (with a long vowel). Target words were presented at various phases of the entrained rhythm. Both experiments revealed effects of the frequency of the tone sequence on target word perception: fast sequences biased listeners to more long /a:s/ responses. However, no evidence for phase effects could be discerned. These findings show that an entrained rhythm’s frequency, but not phase, influences the temporal sampling of subsequent speech. These outcomes are compatible with theories suggesting that sensory timing is evaluated relative to entrained frequency. Furthermore, they suggest that phase tracking of (syllabic) rhythms by theta oscillations plays a limited role in speech parsing.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Reinisch, E. (2017). Foreign languages sound fast: evidence from implicit rate normalization. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 1063. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01063.

    Abstract

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that unfamiliar languages sound faster than one’s native language. Empirical evidence for this impression has, so far, come from explicit rate judgments. The aim of the present study was to test whether such perceived rate differences between native and foreign languages have effects on implicit speech processing. Our measure of implicit rate perception was “normalization for speaking rate”: an ambiguous vowel between short /a/ and long /a:/ is interpreted as /a:/ following a fast but as /a/ following a slow carrier sentence. That is, listeners did not judge speech rate itself; instead, they categorized ambiguous vowels whose perception was implicitly affected by the rate of the context. We asked whether a bias towards long /a:/ might be observed when the context is not actually faster but simply spoken in a foreign language. A fully symmetrical experimental design was used: Dutch and German participants listened to rate matched (fast and slow) sentences in both languages spoken by the same bilingual speaker. Sentences were followed by nonwords that contained vowels from an /a-a:/ duration continuum. Results from Experiments 1 and 2 showed a consistent effect of rate normalization for both listener groups. Moreover, for German listeners, across the two experiments, foreign sentences triggered more /a:/ responses than (rate matched) native sentences, suggesting that foreign sentences were indeed perceived as faster. Moreover, this Foreign Language effect was modulated by participants’ ability to understand the foreign language: those participants that scored higher on a foreign language translation task showed less of a Foreign Language effect. However, opposite effects were found for the Dutch listeners. For them, their native rather than the foreign language induced more /a:/ responses. Nevertheless, this reversed effect could be reduced when additional spectral properties of the context were controlled for. Experiment 3, using explicit rate judgments, replicated the effect for German but not Dutch listeners. We therefore conclude that the subjective impression that foreign languages sound fast may have an effect on implicit speech processing, with implications for how language learners perceive spoken segments in a foreign language.

    Supplementary material

    data sheet 1.docx
  • Bosker, H. R., Reinisch, E., & Sjerps, M. J. (2017). Cognitive load makes speech sound fast, but does not modulate acoustic context effects. Journal of Memory and Language, 94, 166-176. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.12.002.

    Abstract

    In natural situations, speech perception often takes place during the concurrent execution of other cognitive tasks, such as listening while viewing a visual scene. The execution of a dual task typically has detrimental effects on concurrent speech perception, but how exactly cognitive load disrupts speech encoding is still unclear. The detrimental effect on speech representations may consist of either a general reduction in the robustness of processing of the speech signal (‘noisy encoding’), or, alternatively it may specifically influence the temporal sampling of the sensory input, with listeners missing temporal pulses, thus underestimating segmental durations (‘shrinking of time’). The present study investigated whether and how spectral and temporal cues in a precursor sentence that has been processed under high vs. low cognitive load influence the perception of a subsequent target word. If cognitive load effects are implemented through ‘noisy encoding’, increasing cognitive load during the precursor should attenuate the encoding of both its temporal and spectral cues, and hence reduce the contextual effect that these cues can have on subsequent target sound perception. However, if cognitive load effects are expressed as ‘shrinking of time’, context effects should not be modulated by load, but a main effect would be expected on the perceived duration of the speech signal. Results from two experiments indicate that increasing cognitive load (manipulated through a secondary visual search task) did not modulate temporal (Experiment 1) or spectral context effects (Experiment 2). However, a consistent main effect of cognitive load was found: increasing cognitive load during the precursor induced a perceptual increase in its perceived speech rate, biasing the perception of a following target word towards longer durations. This finding suggests that cognitive load effects in speech perception are implemented via ‘shrinking of time’, in line with a temporal sampling framework. In addition, we argue that our results align with a model in which early (spectral and temporal) normalization is unaffected by attention but later adjustments may be attention-dependent.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). How our own speech rate influences our perception of others. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(8), 1225-1238. doi:10.1037/xlm0000381.

    Abstract

    In conversation, our own speech and that of others follow each other in rapid succession. Effects of the surrounding context on speech perception are well documented but, despite the ubiquity of the sound of our own voice, it is unknown whether our own speech also influences our perception of other talkers. This study investigated context effects induced by our own speech through six experiments, specifically targeting rate normalization (i.e., perceiving phonetic segments relative to surrounding speech rate). Experiment 1 revealed that hearing pre-recorded fast or slow context sentences altered the perception of ambiguous vowels, replicating earlier work. Experiment 2 demonstrated that talking at a fast or slow rate prior to target presentation also altered target perception, though the effect of preceding speech rate was reduced. Experiment 3 showed that silent talking (i.e., inner speech) at fast or slow rates did not modulate the perception of others, suggesting that the effect of self-produced speech rate in Experiment 2 arose through monitoring of the external speech signal. Experiment 4 demonstrated that, when participants were played back their own (fast/slow) speech, no reduction of the effect of preceding speech rate was observed, suggesting that the additional task of speech production may be responsible for the reduced effect in Experiment 2. Finally, Experiments 5 and 6 replicate Experiments 2 and 3 with new participant samples. Taken together, these results suggest that variation in speech production may induce variation in speech perception, thus carrying implications for our understanding of spoken communication in dialogue settings.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). The role of temporal amplitude modulations in the political arena: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2228-2232). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-142.

    Abstract

    Speech is an acoustic signal with inherent amplitude modulations in the 1-9 Hz range. Recent models of speech perception propose that this rhythmic nature of speech is central to speech recognition. Moreover, rhythmic amplitude modulations have been shown to have beneficial effects on language processing and the subjective impression listeners have of the speaker. This study investigated the role of amplitude modulations in the political arena by comparing the speech produced by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three presidential debates of 2016. Inspection of the modulation spectra, revealing the spectral content of the two speakers’ amplitude envelopes after matching for overall intensity, showed considerably greater power in Clinton’s modulation spectra (compared to Trump’s) across the three debates, particularly in the 1-9 Hz range. The findings suggest that Clinton’s speech had a more pronounced temporal envelope with rhythmic amplitude modulations below 9 Hz, with a preference for modulations around 3 Hz. This may be taken as evidence for a more structured temporal organization of syllables in Clinton’s speech, potentially due to more frequent use of preplanned utterances. Outcomes are interpreted in light of the potential beneficial effects of a rhythmic temporal envelope on intelligibility and speaker perception.
  • Bosman, A., Moisik, S. R., Dediu, D., & Waters-Rist, A. (2017). Talking heads: Morphological variation in the human mandible over the last 500 years in the Netherlands. HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology, 68(5), 329-342. doi:10.1016/j.jchb.2017.08.002.

    Abstract

    The primary aim of this paper is to assess patterns of morphological variation in the mandible to investigate changes during the last 500 years in the Netherlands. Three-dimensional geometric morphometrics is used on data collected from adults from three populations living in the Netherlands during three time-periods. Two of these samples come from Dutch archaeological sites (Alkmaar, 1484-1574, n = 37; and Middenbeemster, 1829-1866, n = 51) and were digitized using a 3D laser scanner. The third is a modern sample obtained from MRI scans of 34 modern Dutch individuals. Differences between mandibles are dominated by size. Significant differences in size are found among samples, with on average, males from Alkmaar having the largest mandibles and females from Middenbeemster having the smallest. The results are possibly linked to a softening of the diet, due to a combination of differences in food types and food processing that occurred between these time-periods. Differences in shape are most noticeable between males from Alkmaar and Middenbeemster. Shape differences between males and females are concentrated in the symphysis and ramus, which is mostly the consequence of sexual dimorphism. The relevance of this research is a better understanding of the anatomical variation of the mandible that can occur over an evolutionarily short time, as well as supporting research that has shown plasticity of the mandibular form related to diet and food processing. This plasticity of form must be taken into account in phylogenetic research and when the mandible is used in sex estimation of skeletons.
  • Bouhali, F., Mongelli, V., & Cohen, L. (2017). Musical literacy shifts asymmetries in the ventral visual cortex. NeuroImage, 156, 445-455. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.04.027.

    Abstract

    The acquisition of literacy has a profound impact on the functional specialization and lateralization of the visual cortex. Due to the overall lateralization of the language network, specialization for printed words develops in the left occipitotemporal cortex, allegedly inducing a secondary shift of visual face processing to the right, in literate as compared to illiterate subjects. Applying the same logic to the acquisition of high-level musical literacy, we predicted that, in musicians as compared to non-musicians, occipitotemporal activations should show a leftward shift for music reading, and an additional rightward push for face perception. To test these predictions, professional musicians and non-musicians viewed pictures of musical notation, faces, words, tools and houses in the MRI, and laterality was assessed in the ventral stream combining ROI and voxel-based approaches. The results supported both predictions, and allowed to locate the leftward shift to the inferior temporal gyrus and the rightward shift to the fusiform cortex. Moreover, these laterality shifts generalized to categories other than music and faces. Finally, correlation measures across subjects did not support a causal link between the leftward and rightward shifts. Thus the acquisition of an additional perceptual expertise extensively modifies the laterality pattern in the visual system

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  • Brand, S. (2017). The processing of reduced word pronunciation variants by natives and learners: Evidence from French casual speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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  • Brandt, S., Nitschke, S., & Kidd, E. (2017). Priming the comprehension of German object relative clauses. Language Learning and Development, 13(3), 241-261. doi:10.1080/15475441.2016.1235500.

    Abstract

    Structural priming is a useful laboratory-based technique for investigating how children respond to temporary changes in the distribution of structures in their input. In the current study we investigated whether increasing the number of object relative clauses (RCs) in German-speaking children’s input changes their processing preferences for ambiguous RCs. Fifty-one 6-year-olds and 54 9-year-olds participated in a priming task that (i) gauged their baseline interpretations for ambiguous RC structures, (ii) primed an object-RC interpretation of ambiguous RCs, and (iii) determined whether priming persevered beyond immediate prime-target pairs. The 6-year old children showed no priming effect, whereas the 9-year-old group showed robust priming that was long lasting. Unlike in studies of priming in production, priming did not increase in magnitude when there was lexical overlap between prime and target. Overall, the results suggest that increased exposure to object RCs facilitates children’s interpretation of this otherwise infrequent structure, but only in older children. The implications for acquisition theory are discussed.
  • Brehm, L., & Bock, K. (2017). Referential and lexical forces in number agreement. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(2), 129-146. doi:10.1080/23273798.2016.1234060.

    Abstract

    In work on grammatical agreement in sentence production, there are accounts of verb number formulation that emphasise the role of whole-structure properties and accounts that emphasise the role of word-driven properties. To evaluate these alternatives, we carried out two experiments that examined a referential (wholistic) contributor to agreement along with two lexical-semantic (local) factors. Both experiments gauged the accuracy and latency of inflected-verb production in order to assess how variations in grammatical number interacted with the other factors. The accuracy of verb production was modulated both by the referential effect of notional number and by the lexical-semantic effects of relatedness and category membership. As an index of agreement difficulty, latencies were little affected by either factor. The findings suggest that agreement is sensitive to referential as well as lexical forces and highlight the importance of lexical-structural integration in the process of sentence production.
  • Brehm, L., & Goldrick, M. (2017). Distinguishing discrete and gradient category structure in language: Insights from verb-particle constructions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition., 43(10), 1537-1556. doi:10.1037/xlm0000390.

    Abstract

    The current work uses memory errors to examine the mental representation of verb-particle constructions (VPCs; e.g., make up the story, cut up the meat). Some evidence suggests that VPCs are represented by a cline in which the relationship between the VPC and its component elements ranges from highly transparent (cut up) to highly idiosyncratic (make up). Other evidence supports a multiple class representation, characterizing VPCs as belonging to discretely separated classes differing in semantic and syntactic structure. We outline a novel paradigm to investigate the representation of VPCs in which we elicit illusory conjunctions, or memory errors sensitive to syntactic structure. We then use a novel application of piecewise regression to demonstrate that the resulting error pattern follows a cline rather than discrete classes. A preregistered replication verifies these findings, and a final preregistered study verifies that these errors reflect syntactic structure. This provides evidence for gradient rather than discrete representations across levels of representation in language processing.
  • Brown, P. (2017). Politeness and impoliteness. In Y. Huang (Ed.), Oxford handbook of pragmatics (pp. 383-399). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199697960.013.16.

    Abstract

    This article selectively reviews the literature on politeness across different disciplines—linguistics, anthropology, communications, conversation analysis, social psychology, and sociology—and critically assesses how both theoretical approaches to politeness and research on linguistic politeness phenomena have evolved over the past forty years. Major new developments include a shift from predominantly linguistic approaches to those examining politeness and impoliteness as processes that are embedded and negotiated in interactional and cultural contexts, as well as a greater focus on how both politeness and interactional confrontation and conflict fit into our developing understanding of human cooperation and universal aspects of human social interaction.

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  • Burchfield, L. A., Luk, S.-.-H.-K., Antoniou, M., & Cutler, A. (2017). Lexically guided perceptual learning in Mandarin Chinese. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 576-580). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-618.

    Abstract

    Lexically guided perceptual learni ng refers to the use of lexical knowledge to retune sp eech categories and thereby adapt to a novel talker’s pronunciation. This adaptation has been extensively documented, but primarily for segmental-based learning in English and Dutch. In languages with lexical tone, such as Mandarin Chinese, tonal categories can also be retuned in this way, but segmental category retuning had not been studied. We report two experiment s in which Mandarin Chinese listeners were exposed to an ambiguous mixture of [f] and [s] in lexical contexts favoring an interpretation as either [f] or [s]. Listeners were subsequently more likely to identify sounds along a continuum between [f] and [s], and to interpret minimal word pairs, in a manner consistent with this exposure. Thus lexically guided perceptual learning of segmental categories had indeed taken place, consistent with suggestions that such learning may be a universally available adaptation process
  • Burenhult, N., Hill, C., Huber, J., Van Putten, S., Rybka, K., & San Roque, L. (2017). Forests: The cross-linguistic perspective. Geographica Helvetica, 72(4), 455-464. doi:10.5194/gh-72-455-2017.

    Abstract

    Do all humans perceive, think, and talk about tree cover ("forests") in more or less the same way? International forestry programs frequently seem to operate on the assumption that they do. However, recent advances in the language sciences show that languages vary greatly as to how the landscape domain is lexicalized and grammaticalized. Different languages segment and label the large-scale environment and its features according to astonishingly different semantic principles, often in tandem with highly culture-specific practices and ideologies. Presumed basic concepts like mountain, valley, and river cannot in fact be straightforwardly translated across languages. In this paper we describe, compare, and evaluate some of the semantic diversity observed in relation to forests. We do so on the basis of first-hand linguistic field data from a global sample of indigenous categorization systems as they are manifested in the following languages: Avatime (Ghana), Duna (Papua New Guinea), Jahai (Malay Peninsula), Lokono (the Guianas), Makalero (East Timor), and Umpila/Kuuku Ya'u (Cape York Peninsula). We show that basic linguistic categories relating to tree cover vary considerably in their principles of semantic encoding across languages, and that forest is a challenging category from the point of view of intercultural translatability. This has consequences for current global policies and programs aimed at standardizing forest definitions and measurements. It calls for greater attention to categorial diversity in designing and implementing such agendas, and for receptiveness to and understanding of local indigenous classification systems in communicating those agendas on the ground.
  • Callaghan, E., Holland, C., & Kessler, K. (2017). Age-Related Changes in the Ability to Switch between Temporal and Spatial Attention. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9: 28. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2017.00028.

    Abstract

    Background: Identifying age-related changes in cognition that contribute towards reduced driving performance is important for the development of interventions to improve older adults' driving and prolong the time that they can continue to drive. While driving, one is often required to switch from attending to events changing in time, to distribute attention spatially. Although there is extensive research into both spatial attention and temporal attention and how these change with age, the literature on switching between these modalities of attention is limited within any age group. Methods: Age groups (21-30, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70+ years) were compared on their ability to switch between detecting a target in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) stream and detecting a target in a visual search display. To manipulate the cost of switching, the target in the RSVP stream was either the first item in the stream (Target 1st), towards the end of the stream (Target Mid), or absent from the stream (Distractor Only). Visual search response times and accuracy were recorded. Target 1st trials behaved as no-switch trials, as attending to the remaining stream was not necessary. Target Mid and Distractor Only trials behaved as switch trials, as attending to the stream to the end was required. Results: Visual search response times (RTs) were longer on "Target Mid" and "Distractor Only" trials in comparison to "Target 1st" trials, reflecting switch-costs. Larger switch-costs were found in both the 40-49 and 60-69 years group in comparison to the 21-30 years group when switching from the Target Mid condition. Discussion: Findings warrant further exploration as to whether there are age-related changes in the ability to switch between these modalities of attention while driving. If older adults display poor performance when switching between temporal and spatial attention while driving, then the development of an intervention to preserve and improve this ability would be beneficial. © 2017 Callaghan, Holland and Kessler.
  • Carota, F., Kriegeskorte, N., Nili, H., & Pulvermüller, F. (2017). Representational Similarity Mapping of Distributional Semantics in Left Inferior Frontal, Middle Temporal, and Motor Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 27(1), 294-309. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhw379.

    Abstract

    Language comprehension engages a distributed network of frontotemporal, parietal, and sensorimotor regions, but it is still unclear how meaning of words and their semantic relationships are represented and processed within these regions and to which degrees lexico-semantic representations differ between regions and semantic types. We used fMRI and representational similarity analysis to relate word-elicited multivoxel patterns to semantic similarity between action and object words. In left inferior frontal (BA 44-45-47), left posterior middle temporal and left precentral cortex, the similarity of brain response patterns reflected semantic similarity among action-related verbs, as well as across lexical classes-between action verbs and tool-related nouns and, to a degree, between action verbs and food nouns, but not between action verbs and animal nouns. Instead, posterior inferior temporal cortex exhibited a reverse response pattern, which reflected the semantic similarity among object-related nouns, but not action-related words. These results show that semantic similarity is encoded by a range of cortical areas, including multimodal association (e.g., anterior inferior frontal, posterior middle temporal) and modality-preferential (premotor) cortex and that the representational geometries in these regions are partly dependent on semantic type, with semantic similarity among action-related words crossing lexical-semantic category boundaries.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Maassen, B., Franke, B., Heister, A., Naber, M., Van der Leij, A., Francks, C., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Association analysis of dyslexia candidate genes in a Dutch longitudinal sample. European Journal of Human Genetics, 25(4), 452-460. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2016.194.

    Abstract

    Dyslexia is a common specific learning disability with a substantive genetic component. Several candidate genes have been proposed to be implicated in dyslexia susceptibility, such as DYX1C1, ROBO1, KIAA0319, and DCDC2. Associations with variants in these genes have also been reported with a variety of psychometric measures tapping into the underlying processes that might be impaired in dyslexic people. In this study, we first conducted a literature review to select single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in dyslexia candidate genes that had been repeatedly implicated across studies. We then assessed the SNPs for association in the richly phenotyped longitudinal data set from the Dutch Dyslexia Program. We tested for association with several quantitative traits, including word and nonword reading fluency, rapid naming, phoneme deletion, and nonword repetition. In this, we took advantage of the longitudinal nature of the sample to examine if associations were stable across four educational time-points (from 7 to 12 years). Two SNPs in the KIAA0319 gene were nominally associated with rapid naming, and these associations were stable across different ages. Genetic association analysis with complex cognitive traits can be enriched through the use of longitudinal information on trait development.
  • Casillas, M., Bergelson, E., Warlaumont, A. S., Cristia, A., Soderstrom, M., VanDam, M., & Sloetjes, H. (2017). A New Workflow for Semi-automatized Annotations: Tests with Long-Form Naturalistic Recordings of Childrens Language Environments. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2098-2102). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1418.

    Abstract

    Interoperable annotation formats are fundamental to the utility, expansion, and sustainability of collective data repositories.In language development research, shared annotation schemes have been critical to facilitating the transition from raw acoustic data to searchable, structured corpora. Current schemes typically require comprehensive and manual annotation of utterance boundaries and orthographic speech content, with an additional, optional range of tags of interest. These schemes have been enormously successful for datasets on the scale of dozens of recording hours but are untenable for long-format recording corpora, which routinely contain hundreds to thousands of audio hours. Long-format corpora would benefit greatly from (semi-)automated analyses, both on the earliest steps of annotation—voice activity detection, utterance segmentation, and speaker diarization—as well as later steps—e.g., classification-based codes such as child-vs-adult-directed speech, and speech recognition to produce phonetic/orthographic representations. We present an annotation workflow specifically designed for long-format corpora which can be tailored by individual researchers and which interfaces with the current dominant scheme for short-format recordings. The workflow allows semi-automated annotation and analyses at higher linguistic levels. We give one example of how the workflow has been successfully implemented in a large cross-database project.
  • Casillas, M., & Frank, M. C. (2017). The development of children's ability to track and predict turn structure in conversation. Journal of Memory and Language, 92, 234-253. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.06.013.

    Abstract

    Children begin developing turn-taking skills in infancy but take several years to fluidly integrate their growing knowledge of language into their turn-taking behavior. In two eye-tracking experiments, we measured children’s anticipatory gaze to upcoming responders while controlling linguistic cues to turn structure. In Experiment 1, we showed English and non-English conversations to English-speaking adults and children. In Experiment 2, we phonetically controlled lexicosyntactic and prosodic cues in English-only speech. Children spontaneously made anticipatory gaze switches by age two and continued improving through age six. In both experiments, children and adults made more anticipatory switches after hearing questions. Consistent with prior findings on adult turn prediction, prosodic information alone did not increase children’s anticipatory gaze shifts. But, unlike prior work with adults, lexical information alone was not sucient either—children’s performance was best overall with lexicosyntax and prosody together. Our findings support an account in which turn tracking and turn prediction emerge in infancy and then gradually become integrated with children’s online linguistic processing.
  • Casillas, M., Amatuni, A., Seidl, A., Soderstrom, M., Warlaumont, A., & Bergelson, E. (2017). What do Babies hear? Analyses of Child- and Adult-Directed Speech. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2093-2097). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1409.

    Abstract

    Child-directed speech is argued to facilitate language development, and is found cross-linguistically and cross-culturally to varying degrees. However, previous research has generally focused on short samples of child-caregiver interaction, often in the lab or with experimenters present. We test the generalizability of this phenomenon with an initial descriptive analysis of the speech heard by young children in a large, unique collection of naturalistic, daylong home recordings. Trained annotators coded automatically-detected adult speech 'utterances' from 61 homes across 4 North American cities, gathered from children (age 2-24 months) wearing audio recorders during a typical day. Coders marked the speaker gender (male/female) and intended addressee (child/adult), yielding 10,886 addressee and gender tags from 2,523 minutes of audio (cf. HB-CHAAC Interspeech ComParE challenge; Schuller et al., in press). Automated speaker-diarization (LENA) incorrectly gender-tagged 30% of male adult utterances, compared to manually-coded consensus. Furthermore, we find effects of SES and gender on child-directed and overall speech, increasing child-directed speech with child age, and interactions of speaker gender, child gender, and child age: female caretakers increased their child-directed speech more with age than male caretakers did, but only for male infants. Implications for language acquisition and existing classification algorithms are discussed.
  • Chen, X. S., Reader, R. H., Hoischen, A., Veltman, J. A., Simpson, N. H., Francks, C., Newbury, D. F., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Next-generation DNA sequencing identifies novel gene variants and pathways involved in specific language impairment. Scientific Reports, 7: 46105. doi:10.1038/srep46105.

    Abstract

    A significant proportion of children have unexplained problems acquiring proficient linguistic skills despite adequate intelligence and opportunity. Developmental language disorders are highly heritable with substantial societal impact. Molecular studies have begun to identify candidate loci, but much of the underlying genetic architecture remains undetermined. We performed whole-exome sequencing of 43 unrelated probands affected by severe specific language impairment, followed by independent validations with Sanger sequencing, and analyses of segregation patterns in parents and siblings, to shed new light on aetiology. By first focusing on a pre-defined set of known candidates from the literature, we identified potentially pathogenic variants in genes already implicated in diverse language-related syndromes, including ERC1, GRIN2A, and SRPX2. Complementary analyses suggested novel putative candidates carrying validated variants which were predicted to have functional effects, such as OXR1, SCN9A and KMT2D. We also searched for potential “multiple-hit” cases; one proband carried a rare AUTS2 variant in combination with a rare inherited haplotype affecting STARD9, while another carried a novel nonsynonymous variant in SEMA6D together with a rare stop-gain in SYNPR. On broadening scope to all rare and novel variants throughout the exomes, we identified biological themes that were enriched for such variants, including microtubule transport and cytoskeletal regulation.
  • Choi, J., Cutler, A., & Broersma, M. (2017). Early development of abstract language knowledge: Evidence from perception-production transfer of birth-language memory. Royal Society Open Science, 4: 160660. doi:10.1098/rsos.160660.

    Abstract

    Children adopted early in life into another linguistic community typically forget their birth language but retain, unaware, relevant linguistic knowledge that may facilitate (re)learning of birth-language patterns. Understanding the nature of this knowledge can shed light on how language is acquired. Here, international adoptees from Korea with Dutch as their current language, and matched Dutch-native controls, provided speech production data on a Korean consonantal distinction unlike any Dutch distinctions, at the outset and end of an intensive perceptual training. The productions, elicited in a repetition task, were identified and rated by Korean listeners. Adoptees' production scores improved significantly more across the training period than control participants' scores, and, for adoptees only, relative production success correlated significantly with the rate of learning in perception (which had, as predicted, also surpassed that of the controls). Of the adoptee group, half had been adopted at 17 months or older (when talking would have begun), while half had been prelinguistic (under six months). The former group, with production experience, showed no advantage over the group without. Thus the adoptees' retained knowledge of Korean transferred from perception to production and appears to be abstract in nature rather than dependent on the amount of experience.
  • Choi, J., Broersma, M., & Cutler, A. (2017). Early phonology revealed by international adoptees' birth language retention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(28), 7307-7312. doi:10.1073/pnas.1706405114.

    Abstract

    Until at least 6 mo of age, infants show good discrimination for familiar phonetic contrasts (i.e., those heard in the environmental language) and contrasts that are unfamiliar. Adult-like discrimination (significantly worse for nonnative than for native contrasts) appears only later, by 9–10 mo. This has been interpreted as indicating that infants have no knowledge of phonology until vocabulary development begins, after 6 mo of age. Recently, however, word recognition has been observed before age 6 mo, apparently decoupling the vocabulary and phonology acquisition processes. Here we show that phonological acquisition is also in progress before 6 mo of age. The evidence comes from retention of birth-language knowledge in international adoptees. In the largest ever such study, we recruited 29 adult Dutch speakers who had been adopted from Korea when young and had no conscious knowledge of Korean language at all. Half were adopted at age 3–5 mo (before native-specific discrimination develops) and half at 17 mo or older (after word learning has begun). In a short intensive training program, we observe that adoptees (compared with 29 matched controls) more rapidly learn tripartite Korean consonant distinctions without counterparts in their later-acquired Dutch, suggesting that the adoptees retained phonological knowledge about the Korean distinction. The advantage is equivalent for the younger-adopted and the older-adopted groups, and both groups not only acquire the tripartite distinction for the trained consonants but also generalize it to untrained consonants. Although infants younger than 6 mo can still discriminate unfamiliar phonetic distinctions, this finding indicates that native-language phonological knowledge is nonetheless being acquired at that age.
  • Coco, M. I., Araujo, S., & Petersson, K. M. (2017). Disentangling stimulus plausibility and contextual congruency: Electro-physiological evidence for differential cognitive dynamics. Neuropsychologia, 96, 150-163. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.12.008.

    Abstract

    Expectancy mechanisms are routinely used by the cognitive system in stimulus processing and in anticipation of appropriate responses. Electrophysiology research has documented negative shifts of brain activity when expectancies are violated within a local stimulus context (e.g., reading an implausible word in a sentence) or more globally between consecutive stimuli (e.g., a narrative of images with an incongruent end). In this EEG study, we examine the interaction between expectancies operating at the level of stimulus plausibility and at more global level of contextual congruency to provide evidence for, or against, a disassociation of the underlying processing mechanisms. We asked participants to verify the congruency of pairs of cross-modal stimuli (a sentence and a scene), which varied in plausibility. ANOVAs on ERP amplitudes in selected windows of interest show that congruency violation has longer-lasting (from 100 to 500 ms) and more widespread effects than plausibility violation (from 200 to 400 ms). We also observed critical interactions between these factors, whereby incongruent and implausible pairs elicited stronger negative shifts than their congruent counterpart, both early on (100–200 ms) and between 400–500 ms. Our results suggest that the integration mechanisms are sensitive to both global and local effects of expectancy in a modality independent manner. Overall, we provide novel insights into the interdependence of expectancy during meaning integration of cross-modal stimuli in a verification task
  • Collins, J. (2017). Real and spurious correlations involving tonal languages. In N. J. Enfield (Ed.), Dependencies in language: On the causal ontology of linguistics systems (pp. 129-139). Berlin: Language Science Press.
  • Cortázar-Chinarro, M., Lattenkamp, E. Z., Meyer-Lucht, Y., Luquet, E., Laurila, A., & Höglund, J. (2017). Drift, selection, or migration? Processes affecting genetic differentiation and variation along a latitudinal gradient in an amphibian. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17: 189. doi:10.1186/s12862-017-1022-z.

    Abstract

    Past events like fluctuations in population size and post-glacial colonization processes may influence the relative importance of genetic drift, migration and selection when determining the present day patterns of genetic variation. We disentangle how drift, selection and migration shape neutral and adaptive genetic variation in 12 moor frog populations along a 1700 km latitudinal gradient. We studied genetic differentiation and variation at a MHC exon II locus and a set of 18 microsatellites. Results Using outlier analyses, we identified the MHC II exon 2 (corresponding to the β-2 domain) locus and one microsatellite locus (RCO8640) to be subject to diversifying selection, while five microsatellite loci showed signals of stabilizing selection among populations. STRUCTURE and DAPC analyses on the neutral microsatellites assigned populations to a northern and a southern cluster, reflecting two different post-glacial colonization routes found in previous studies. Genetic variation overall was lower in the northern cluster. The signature of selection on MHC exon II was weaker in the northern cluster, possibly as a consequence of smaller and more fragmented populations. Conclusion Our results show that historical demographic processes combined with selection and drift have led to a complex pattern of differentiation along the gradient where some loci are more divergent among populations than predicted from drift expectations due to diversifying selection, while other loci are more uniform among populations due to stabilizing selection. Importantly, both overall and MHC genetic variation are lower at northern latitudes. Due to lower evolutionary potential, the low genetic variation in northern populations may increase the risk of extinction when confronted with emerging pathogens and climate change.
  • Ip, M. H. K., & Cutler, A. (2017). Intonation facilitates prediction of focus even in the presence of lexical tones. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 1218-1222). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-264.

    Abstract

    In English and Dutch, listeners entrain to prosodic contours to predict where focus will fall in an utterance. However, is this strategy universally available, even in languages with different phonological systems? In a phoneme detection experiment, we examined whether prosodic entrainment is also found in Mandarin Chinese, a tone language, where in principle the use of pitch for lexical identity may take precedence over the use of pitch cues to salience. Consistent with the results from Germanic languages, response times were facilitated when preceding intonation predicted accent on the target-bearing word. Acoustic analyses revealed greater F0 range in the preceding intonation of the predicted-accent sentences. These findings have implications for how universal and language-specific mechanisms interact in the processing of salience.
  • Cutler, A. (2017). Converging evidence for abstract phonological knowledge in speech processing. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 1447-1448). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The perceptual processing of speech is a constant interplay of multiple competing albeit convergent processes: acoustic input vs. higher-level representations, universal mechanisms vs. language-specific, veridical traces of speech experience vs. construction and activation of abstract representations. The present summary concerns the third of these issues. The ability to generalise across experience and to deal with resulting abstractions is the hallmark of human cognition, visible even in early infancy. In speech processing, abstract representations play a necessary role in both production and perception. New sorts of evidence are now informing our understanding of the breadth of this role.
  • Dai, B., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2017). Pure linguistic interference during comprehension of competing speech signals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141, EL249-EL254. doi:10.1121/1.4977590.

    Abstract

    Speech-in-speech perception can be challenging because the processing of competing acoustic and linguistic information leads to informational masking. Here, a method is proposed to isolate the linguistic component of informational masking while keeping the distractor's acoustic information unchanged. Participants performed a dichotic listening cocktail-party task before and after training on 4-band noise-vocoded sentences that became intelligible through the training. Distracting noise-vocoded speech interfered more with target speech comprehension after training (i.e., when intelligible) than before training (i.e., when unintelligible) at −3 dB SNR. These findings confirm that linguistic and acoustic information have distinct masking effects during speech-in‐speech comprehension
  • Dediu, D., Janssen, R., & Moisik, S. R. (2017). Language is not isolated from its wider environment: Vocal tract influences on the evolution of speech and language. Language and Communication, 54, 9-20. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2016.10.002.

    Abstract

    Language is not a purely cultural phenomenon somehow isolated from its wider environment, and we may only understand its origins and evolution by seriously considering its embedding in this environment as well as its multimodal nature. By environment here we understand other aspects of culture (such as communication technology, attitudes towards language contact, etc.), of the physical environment (ultraviolet light incidence, air humidity, etc.), and of the biological infrastructure for language and speech. We are specifically concerned in this paper with the latter, in the form of the biases, constraints and affordances that the anatomy and physiology of the vocal tract create on speech and language. In a nutshell, our argument is that (a) there is an under-appreciated amount of inter-individual variation in vocal tract (VT) anatomy and physiology, (b) variation that is non-randomly distributed across populations, and that (c) results in systematic differences in phonetics and phonology between languages. Relevant differences in VT anatomy include the overall shape of the hard palate, the shape of the alveolar ridge, the relationship between the lower and upper jaw, to mention just a few, and our data offer a new way to systematically explore such differences and their potential impact on speech. These differences generate very small biases that nevertheless can be amplified by the repeated use and transmission of language, affecting language diachrony and resulting in cross-linguistic synchronic differences. Moreover, the same type of biases and processes might have played an essential role in the emergence and evolution of language, and might allow us a glimpse into the speech and language of extinct humans by, for example, reconstructing the anatomy of parts of their vocal tract from the fossil record and extrapolating the biases we find in present-day humans.
  • Dediu, D. (2017). From biology to language change and diversity. In N. J. Enfield (Ed.), Dependencies in language: On the causal ontology of linguistics systems (pp. 39-52). Berlin: Language Science Press.
  • Deriziotis, P., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Speech and Language: Translating the Genome. Trends in Genetics, 33(9), 642-656. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2017.07.002.

    Abstract

    Investigation of the biological basis of human speech and language is being transformed by developments in molecular technologies, including high-throughput genotyping and next-generation sequencing of whole genomes. These advances are shedding new light on the genetic architecture underlying language-related disorders (speech apraxia, specific language impairment, developmental dyslexia) as well as that contributing to variation in relevant skills in the general population. We discuss how state-of-the-art methods are uncovering a range of genetic mechanisms, from rare mutations of large effect to common polymorphisms that increase risk in a subtle way, while converging on neurogenetic pathways that are shared between distinct disorders. We consider the future of the field, highlighting the unusual challenges and opportunities associated with studying genomics of language-related traits.
  • Devaraju, K., Miskinyte, G., Hansen, M. G., Monni, E., Tornero, D., Woods, N. B., Bengzon, J., Ahlenius, H., Lindvall, O., & Kokaia, Z. (2017). Direct conversion of human fibroblasts to functional excitatory cortical neurons integrating into human neural networks. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 8: 207. doi:10.1186/s13287-017-0658-3.

    Abstract

    Background: Human fibroblasts can be directly converted to several subtypes of neurons, but cortical projection neurons have not been generated. Methods: Here we screened for transcription factor combinations that could potentially convert human fibroblasts to functional excitatory cortical neurons. The induced cortical (iCtx) cells were analyzed for cortical neuronal identity using immunocytochemistry, single-cell quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), electrophysiology, and their ability to integrate into human neural networks in vitro and ex vivo using electrophysiology and rabies virus tracing. Results: We show that a combination of three ranscription fact ors, BRN2, MYT1L, and FEZF2, have the ability to directly convert human fibroblasts to functional excitatory cortical neurons. The conversion efficiency was increased to about 16% by treatment with small molecules and microRNAs. The iCtx cells exhibited electrophysiological properties of functional neurons, had pyramidal-like cell morphology, and expressed key cortical projection neuronal markers. Single-cell analysis of iCtx cells revealed a complex gene expression profile, a subpopulation of them displaying a molecular signature closely resembling that of human fetal primary cortical neurons. The iCtx cells received synaptic inputs from co-cultured human fetal primary cortical neurons, contained spines, and expressed the postsyna ptic excitatory scaffold protein PSD95. When transplanted ex vivo to organotypic cultures of adult human cerebral cortex, the iCtx cells exhibited morphological and electrophysiological properties of mature neurons, integrated structurally into the cortical tissue, and received synaptic inputs from adult human neurons. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that functional excitatory cortical neurons, generated here for the first time by direct conversion of human somatic cells, have the capacity for synaptic integration into adult human cortex.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Akita, K. (2017). An inverse relation between expressiveness and grammatical integration: on the morphosyntactic typology of ideophones, with special reference to Japanese. Journal of Linguistics, 53(3), 501-532. doi:10.1017/S002222671600030X.

    Abstract

    Words and phrases may differ in the extent to which they are susceptible to prosodic foregrounding and expressive morphology: their expressiveness. They may also differ in the degree to which they are integrated in the morphosyntactic structure of the utterance: their grammatical integration. We describe an inverse relation that holds across widely varied languages, such that more expressiveness goes together with less grammatical integration, and vice versa. We review typological evidence for this inverse relation in 10 languages, then quantify and explain it using Japanese corpus data. We do this by tracking ideophones —vivid sensory words also known as mimetics or expressives— across different morphosyntactic contexts and measuring their expressiveness in terms of intonation, phonation and expressive morphology. We find that as expressiveness increases, grammatical integration decreases. Using gesture as a measure independent of the speech signal, we find that the most expressive ideophones are most likely to come together with iconic gestures. We argue that the ultimate cause is the encounter of two distinct and partly incommensurable modes of representation: the gradient, iconic, depictive system represented by ideophones and iconic gestures and the discrete, arbitrary, descriptive system represented by ordinary words. The study shows how people combine modes of representation in speech and demonstrates the value of integrating description and depiction into the scientific vision of language.

    Supplementary material

    Open data & R code
  • Dingemanse, M. (2017). Expressiveness and system integration: On the typology of ideophones, with special reference to Siwu. STUF - Language Typology and Universals, 70(2), 363-384. doi:10.1515/stuf-2017-0018.

    Abstract

    Ideophones are often described as words that are highly expressive and morphosyntactically marginal. A study of ideophones in everyday conversations in Siwu (Kwa, eastern Ghana) reveals a landscape of variation and change that sheds light on some larger questions in the morphosyntactic typology of ideophones. The article documents a trade-off between expressiveness and morphosyntactic integration, with high expressiveness linked to low integration and vice versa. It also describes a pathway for deideophonisation and finds that frequency of use is a factor that influences the degree to which ideophones can come to be more like ordinary words. The findings have implications for processes of (de)ideophonisation, ideophone borrowing, and ideophone typology. A key point is that the internal diversity we find in naturally occurring data, far from being mere noise, is patterned variation that can help us to get a handle on the factors shaping ideophone systems within and across languages.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2017). Brain-to-brain interfaces and the role of language in distributing agency. In N. J. Enfield, & P. Kockelman (Eds.), Distributed Agency (pp. 59-66). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190457204.003.0007.

    Abstract

    Brain-to-brain interfaces, in which brains are physically connected without the intervention of language, promise new ways of collaboration and communication between humans. I examine the narrow view of language implicit in current conceptions of brain-to-brain interfaces and put forward a constructive alternative, stressing the role of language in organising joint agency. Two features of language stand out as crucial: its selectivity, which provides people with much-needed filters between public words and private worlds; and its negotiability, which provides people with systematic opportunities for calibrating understanding and expressing consent and dissent. Without these checks and balances, brain-to-brain interfaces run the risk of reducing people to the level of amoeba in a slime mold; with them, they may mature to become useful extensions of human agency
  • Dingemanse, M. (2017). On the margins of language: Ideophones, interjections and dependencies in linguistic theory. In N. J. Enfield (Ed.), Dependencies in language (pp. 195-202). Berlin: Language Science Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.573781.

    Abstract

    Linguistic discovery is viewpoint-dependent, just like our ideas about what is marginal and what is central in language. In this essay I consider two supposed marginalia —ideophones and interjections— which provide some useful pointers for widening our field of view. Ideophones challenge us to take a fresh look at language and consider how it is that our communication system combines multiple modes of representation. Interjections challenge us to extend linguistic inquiry beyond sentence level, and remind us that language is social-interactive at core. Marginalia, then, are not the obscure, exotic phenomena that can be safely ignored: they represent opportunities for innovation and invite us to keep pushing the edges of linguistic inquiry.
  • Dingemanse, M., Rossi, G., & Floyd, S. (2017). Place reference in story beginnings: a cross-linguistic study of narrative and interactional affordances. Language in Society, 46(2), 129-158. doi:10.1017/S0047404516001019.

    Abstract

    People often begin stories in conversation by referring to person, time, and place. We study story beginnings in three societies and find place reference is recurrently used to (i) set the stage, foreshadowing the type of story and the kind of response due, and to (ii) make the story cohere, anchoring elements of the developing story. Recipients orient to these interactional affordances of place reference by responding in ways that attend to the relevance of place for the story and by requesting clarification when references are incongruent or noticeably absent. The findings are based on 108 story beginnings in three unrelated languages: Cha’palaa, a Barbacoan language of Ecuador; Northern Italian, a Romance language of Italy; and Siwu, a Kwa language of Ghana. The commonalities suggest we have identified generic affordances of place reference, and that storytelling in conversation offers a robust sequential environment for systematic comparative research on conversational structures.
  • Doumas, L. A. A., Hamer, A., Puebla, G., & Martin, A. E. (2017). A theory of the detection and learning of structured representations of similarity and relative magnitude. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 1955-1960). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Responding to similarity, difference, and relative magnitude (SDM) is ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. However, humans seem unique in the ability to represent relative magnitude (‘more’/‘less’) and similarity (‘same’/‘different’) as abstract relations that take arguments (e.g., greater-than (x,y)). While many models use structured relational representations of magnitude and similarity, little progress has been made on how these representations arise. Models that developuse these representations assume access to computations of similarity and magnitude a priori, either encoded as features or as output of evaluation operators. We detail a mechanism for producing invariant responses to “same”, “different”, “more”, and “less” which can be exploited to compute similarity and magnitude as an evaluation operator. Using DORA (Doumas, Hummel, & Sandhofer, 2008), these invariant responses can serve be used to learn structured relational representations of relative magnitude and similarity from pixel images of simple shapes
  • Drijvers, L., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Visual context enhanced: The joint contribution of iconic gestures and visible speech to degraded speech comprehension. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 212-222. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-16-0101.

    Abstract

    Purpose This study investigated whether and to what extent iconic co-speech gestures contribute to information from visible speech to enhance degraded speech comprehension at different levels of noise-vocoding. Previous studies of the contributions of these 2 visual articulators to speech comprehension have only been performed separately. Method Twenty participants watched videos of an actress uttering an action verb and completed a free-recall task. The videos were presented in 3 speech conditions (2-band noise-vocoding, 6-band noise-vocoding, clear), 3 multimodal conditions (speech + lips blurred, speech + visible speech, speech + visible speech + gesture), and 2 visual-only conditions (visible speech, visible speech + gesture). Results Accuracy levels were higher when both visual articulators were present compared with 1 or none. The enhancement effects of (a) visible speech, (b) gestural information on top of visible speech, and (c) both visible speech and iconic gestures were larger in 6-band than 2-band noise-vocoding or visual-only conditions. Gestural enhancement in 2-band noise-vocoding did not differ from gestural enhancement in visual-only conditions.
  • Drozdova, P., Van Hout, R., & Scharenborg, O. (2017). L2 voice recognition: The role of speaker-, listener-, and stimulus-related factors. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 142(5), 3058-3068. doi:10.1121/1.5010169.

    Abstract

    Previous studies examined various factors influencing voice recognition and learning with mixed results. The present study investigates the separate and combined contribution of these various speaker-, stimulus-, and listener-related factors to voice recognition. Dutch listeners, with arguably incomplete phonological and lexical knowledge in the target language, English, learned to recognize the voice of four native English speakers, speaking in English, during four-day training. Training was successful and listeners' accuracy was shown to be influenced by the acoustic characteristics of speakers and the sound composition of the words used in the training, but not by lexical frequency of the words, nor the lexical knowledge of the listeners or their phonological aptitude. Although not conclusive, listeners with a lower working memory capacity seemed to be slower in learning voices than listeners with a higher working memory capacity. The results reveal that speaker-related, listener-related, and stimulus-related factors accumulate in voice recognition, while lexical information turns out not to play a role in successful voice learning and recognition. This implies that voice recognition operates at the prelexical processing level.
  • Edmiston, P., Perlman, M., & Lupyan, G. (2017). Creating words from iterated vocal imitation. In G. Gunzelman, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 331-336). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    We report the results of a large-scale (N=1571) experiment to investigate whether spoken words can emerge from the process of repeated imitation. Participants played a version of the children’s game “Telephone”. The first generation was asked to imitate recognizable environmental sounds (e.g., glass breaking, water splashing); subsequent generations imitated the imitators for a total of 8 generations. We then examined whether the vocal imitations became more stable and word-like, retained a resemblance to the original sound, and became more suitable as learned category labels. The results showed (1) the imitations became progressively more word-like, (2) even after 8 generations, they could be matched above chance to the environmental sound that motivated them, and (3) imitations from later generations were more effective as learned category labels. These results show how repeated imitation can create progressively more word-like forms while retaining a semblance of iconicity.
  • Eising, E., Pelzer, N., Vijfhuizen, L. S., De Vries, B., Ferrari, M. D., 'T Hoen, P. A. C., Terwindt, G. M., & Van den Maagdenberg, A. M. J. M. (2017). Identifying a gene expression signature of cluster headache in blood. Scientific Reports, 7: 40218. doi:10.1038/srep40218.

    Abstract

    Cluster headache is a relatively rare headache disorder, typically characterized by multiple daily, short-lasting attacks of excruciating, unilateral (peri-)orbital or temporal pain associated with autonomic symptoms and restlessness. To better understand the pathophysiology of cluster headache, we used RNA sequencing to identify differentially expressed genes and pathways in whole blood of patients with episodic (n = 19) or chronic (n = 20) cluster headache in comparison with headache-free controls (n = 20). Gene expression data were analysed by gene and by module of co-expressed genes with particular attention to previously implicated disease pathways including hypocretin dysregulation. Only moderate gene expression differences were identified and no associations were found with previously reported pathogenic mechanisms. At the level of functional gene sets, associations were observed for genes involved in several brain-related mechanisms such as GABA receptor function and voltage-gated channels. In addition, genes and modules of co-expressed genes showed a role for intracellular signalling cascades, mitochondria and inflammation. Although larger study samples may be required to identify the full range of involved pathways, these results indicate a role for mitochondria, intracellular signalling and inflammation in cluster headache

    Supplementary material

    Eising_etal_2017sup.pdf
  • Eising, E., Shyti, R., 'T hoen, P. A. C., Vijfhuizen, L. S., Huisman, S. M. H., Broos, L. A. M., Mahfourz, A., Reinders, M. J. T., Ferrrari, M. D., Tolner, E. A., De Vries, B., & Van den Maagdenberg, A. M. J. M. (2017). Cortical spreading depression causes unique dysregulation of inflammatory pathways in a transgenic mouse model of migraine. Molecular Biology, 54(4), 2986-2996. doi:10.1007/s12035-015-9681-5.

    Abstract

    Familial hemiplegic migraine type 1 (FHM1) is a rare monogenic subtype of migraine with aura caused by mutations in CACNA1A that encodes the α1A subunit of voltagegated CaV2.1 calcium channels. Transgenic knock-in mice that carry the human FHM1 R192Q missense mutation (‘FHM1 R192Q mice’) exhibit an increased susceptibility to cortical spreading depression (CSD), the mechanism underlying migraine aura. Here, we analysed gene expression profiles from isolated cortical tissue of FHM1 R192Q mice 24 h after experimentally induced CSD in order to identify molecular pathways affected by CSD. Gene expression profiles were generated using deep serial analysis of gene expression sequencing. Our data reveal a signature of inflammatory signalling upon CSD in the cortex of both mutant and wild-type mice. However, only in the brains of FHM1 R192Q mice specific genes are up-regulated in response to CSD that are implicated in interferon-related inflammatory signalling. Our findings show that CSD modulates inflammatory processes in both wild-type and mutant brains, but that an additional unique inflammatory signature becomes expressed after CSD in a relevant mouse model of migraine.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2017). Language in the Mainland Southeast Asia Area. In R. Hickey (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics (pp. 677-702). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781107279872.026.
  • Erard, M. (2017). Write yourself invisible. New Scientist, 236(3153), 36-39.

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  • Ernestus, M., Dikmans, M., & Giezenaar, G. (2017). Advanced second language learners experience difficulties processing reduced word pronunciation variants. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 6(1), 1-20. doi:10.1075/dujal.6.1.01ern.

    Abstract

    Words are often pronounced with fewer segments in casual conversations than in formal speech. Previous research has shown that foreign language learners and beginning second language learners experience problems processing reduced speech. We examined whether this also holds for advanced second language learners. We designed a dictation task in Dutch consisting of sentences spliced from casual conversations and an unreduced counterpart of this task, with the same sentences carefully articulated by the same speaker. Advanced second language learners of Dutch produced substantially more transcription errors for the reduced than for the unreduced sentences. These errors made the sentences incomprehensible or led to non-intended meanings. The learners often did not rely on the semantic and syntactic information in the sentence or on the subsegmental cues to overcome the reductions. Hence, advanced second language learners also appear to suffer from the reduced pronunciation variants of words that are abundant in everyday conversations
  • Ernestus, M., Kouwenhoven, H., & Van Mulken, M. (2017). The direct and indirect effects of the phonotactic constraints in the listener's native language on the comprehension of reduced and unreduced word pronunciation variants in a foreign language. Journal of Phonetics, 62, 50-64. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2017.02.003.

    Abstract

    This study investigates how the comprehension of casual speech in foreign languages is affected by the phonotactic constraints in the listener’s native language. Non-native listeners of English with different native languages heard short English phrases produced by native speakers of English or Spanish and they indicated whether these phrases included can or can’t. Native Mandarin listeners especially tended to interpret can’t as can. We interpret this result as a direct effect of the ban on word-final /nt/ in Mandarin. Both the native Mandarin and the native Spanish listeners did not take full advantage of the subsegmental information in the speech signal cueing reduced can’t. This finding is probably an indirect effect of the phonotactic constraints in their native languages: these listeners have difficulties interpreting the subsegmental cues because these cues do not occur or have different functions in their native languages. Dutch resembles English in the phonotactic constraints relevant to the comprehension of can’t, and native Dutch listeners showed similar patterns in their comprehension of native and non-native English to native English listeners. This result supports our conclusion that the major patterns in the comprehension results are driven by the phonotactic constraints in the listeners’ native languages.
  • Eryilmaz, K., & Little, H. (2017). Using Leap Motion to investigate the emergence of structure in speech and language. Behavior Research Methods, 49(5), 1748-1768. doi:10.3758/s13428-016-0818-x.

    Abstract

    In evolutionary linguistics, experiments using artificial signal spaces are being used to investigate the emergence of speech structure. These signal spaces need to be continuous, non-discretised spaces from which discrete units and patterns can emerge. They need to be dissimilar from - but comparable with - the vocal-tract, in order to minimise interference from pre-existing linguistic knowledge, while informing us about language. This is a hard balance to strike. This article outlines a new approach which uses the Leap Motion, an infra-red controller which can convert manual movement in 3d space into sound. The signal space using this approach is more flexible than signal spaces in previous attempts. Further, output data using this approach is simpler to arrange and analyse. The experimental interface was built using free, and mostly open source libraries in Python. We provide our source code for other researchers as open source.
  • Esteve-Gibert, N., Prieto, P., & Liszkowski, U. (2017). Twelve-month-olds understand social intentions based on prosody and gesture shape. Infancy, 22, 108-129. doi:10.1111/infa.12146.

    Abstract

    Infants infer social and pragmatic intentions underlying attention-directing gestures, but the basis on which infants make these inferences is not well understood. Previous studies suggest that infants rely on information from preceding shared action contexts and joint perceptual scenes. Here, we tested whether 12-month-olds use information from act-accompanying cues, in particular prosody and hand shape, to guide their pragmatic understanding. In Experiment 1, caregivers directed infants’ attention to an object to request it, share interest in it, or inform them about a hidden aspect. Caregivers used distinct prosodic and gestural patterns to express each pragmatic intention. Experiment 2 was identical except that experimenters provided identical lexical information across conditions and used three sets of trained prosodic and gestural patterns. In all conditions, the joint perceptual scenes and preceding shared action contexts were identical. In both experiments, infants reacted appropriately to the adults’ intentions by attending to the object mostly in the sharing interest condition, offering the object mostly in the imperative condition, and searching for the referent mostly in the informing condition. Infants’ ability to comprehend pragmatic intentions based on prosody and gesture shape expands infants’ communicative understanding from common activities to novel situations for which shared background knowledge is missing.
  • Filippi, P., Gogoleva, S. S., Volodina, E. V., Volodin, I. A., & De Boer, B. (2017). Humans identify negative (but not positive) arousal in silver fox vocalizations: Implications for the adaptive value of interspecific eavesdropping. Current Zoology, 63(4), 445-456. doi:10.1093/cz/zox035.

    Abstract

    The ability to identify emotional arousal in heterospecific vocalizations may facilitate behaviors that increase survival opportunities. Crucially, this ability may orient inter-species interactions, particularly between humans and other species. Research shows that humans identify emotional arousal in vocalizations across multiple species, such as cats, dogs, and piglets. However, no previous study has addressed humans' ability to identify emotional arousal in silver foxes. Here, we adopted low-and high-arousal calls emitted by three strains of silver fox-Tame, Aggressive, and Unselected-in response to human approach. Tame and Aggressive foxes are genetically selected for friendly and attacking behaviors toward humans, respectively. Unselected foxes show aggressive and fearful behaviors toward humans. These three strains show similar levels of emotional arousal, but different levels of emotional valence in relation to humans. This emotional information is reflected in the acoustic features of the calls. Our data suggest that humans can identify high-arousal calls of Aggressive and Unselected foxes, but not of Tame foxes. Further analyses revealed that, although within each strain different acoustic parameters affect human accuracy in identifying high-arousal calls, spectral center of gravity, harmonic-to-noise ratio, and F0 best predict humans' ability to discriminate high-arousal calls across all strains. Furthermore, we identified in spectral center of gravity and F0 the best predictors for humans' absolute ratings of arousal in each call. Implications for research on the adaptive value of inter-specific eavesdropping are discussed.

    Supplementary material

    zox035_Supp.zip
  • Filippi, P., Congdon, J. V., Hoang, J., Bowling, D. L., Reber, S. A., Pasukonis, A., Hoeschele, M., Ocklenburg, S., De Boer, B., Sturdy, C. B., Newen, A., & Güntürkün, O. (2017). Humans recognize emotional arousal in vocalizations across all classes of terrestrial vertebrates: Evidence for acoustic universals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284: 20170990. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0990.

    Abstract

    Writing over a century ago, Darwin hypothesized that vocal expression of emotion dates back to our earliest terrestrial ancestors. If this hypothesis is true, we should expect to find cross-species acoustic universals in emotional vocalizations. Studies suggest that acoustic attributes of aroused vocalizations are shared across many mammalian species, and that humans can use these attributes to infer emotional content. But do these acoustic attributes extend to non-mammalian vertebrates? In this study, we asked human participants to judge the emotional content of vocalizations of nine vertebrate species representing three different biological classes—Amphibia, Reptilia (non-aves and aves) and Mammalia. We found that humans are able to identify higher levels of arousal in vocalizations across all species. This result was consistent across different language groups (English, German and Mandarin native speakers), suggesting that this ability is biologically rooted in humans. Our findings indicate that humans use multiple acoustic parameters to infer relative arousal in vocalizations for each species, but mainly rely on fundamental frequency and spectral centre of gravity to identify higher arousal vocalizations across species. These results suggest that fundamental mechanisms of vocal emotional expression are shared among vertebrates and could represent a homologous signalling system.
  • Filippi, P., Ocklenburg, S., Bowling, D. L., Heege, L., Güntürkün, O., Newen, A., & de Boer, B. (2017). More than words (and faces): evidence for a Stroop effect of prosody in emotion word processing. Cognition & Emotion, 31(5), 879-891. doi:10.1080/02699931.2016.1177489.

    Abstract

    Humans typically combine linguistic and nonlinguistic information to comprehend emotions. We adopted an emotion identification Stroop task to investigate how different channels interact in emotion communication. In experiment 1, synonyms of “happy” and “sad” were spoken with happy and sad prosody. Participants had more difficulty ignoring prosody than ignoring verbal content. In experiment 2, synonyms of “happy” and “sad” were spoken with happy and sad prosody, while happy or sad faces were displayed. Accuracy was lower when two channels expressed an emotion that was incongruent with the channel participants had to focus on, compared with the cross-channel congruence condition. When participants were required to focus on verbal content, accuracy was significantly lower also when prosody was incongruent with verbal content and face. This suggests that prosody biases emotional verbal content processing, even when conflicting with verbal content and face simultaneously. Implications for multimodal communication and language evolution studies are discussed.
  • Filippi, P., Laaha, S., & Fitch, W. T. (2017). Utterance-final position and pitch marking aid word learning in school-age children. Royal Society Open Science, 4: 161035. doi:10.1098/rsos.161035.

    Abstract

    We investigated the effects of word order and prosody on word learning in school-age children. Third graders viewed photographs belonging to one of three semantic categories while hearing four-word nonsense utterances containing a target word. In the control condition, all words had the same pitch and, across trials, the position of the target word was varied systematically within each utterance. The only cue to word–meaning mapping was the co-occurrence of target words and referents. This cue was present in all conditions. In the Utterance-final condition, the target word always occurred in utterance-final position, and at the same fundamental frequency as all the other words of the utterance. In the Pitch peak condition, the position of the target word was varied systematically within each utterance across trials, and produced with pitch contrasts typical of infant-directed speech (IDS). In the Pitch peak + Utterance-final condition, the target word always occurred in utterance-final position, and was marked with a pitch contrast typical of IDS. Word learning occurred in all conditions except the control condition. Moreover, learning performance was significantly higher than that observed with simple co-occurrence (control condition) only for the Pitch peak + Utterance-final condition. We conclude that, for school-age children, the combination of words' utterance-final alignment and pitch enhancement boosts word learning.
  • Fisher, S. E. (2017). Evolution of language: Lessons from the genome. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 24(1), 34-40. doi: 10.3758/s13423-016-1112-8.

    Abstract

    The post-genomic era is an exciting time for researchers interested in the biology of speech and language. Substantive advances in molecular methodologies have opened up entire vistas of investigation that were not previously possible, or in some cases even imagined. Speculations concerning the origins of human cognitive traits are being transformed into empirically addressable questions, generating specific hypotheses that can be explicitly tested using data collected from both the natural world and experimental settings. In this article, I discuss a number of promising lines of research in this area. For example, the field has begun to identify genes implicated in speech and language skills, including not just disorders but also the normal range of abilities. Such genes provide powerful entry points for gaining insights into neural bases and evolutionary origins, using sophisticated experimental tools from molecular neuroscience and developmental neurobiology. At the same time, sequencing of ancient hominin genomes is giving us an unprecedented view of the molecular genetic changes that have occurred during the evolution of our species. Synthesis of data from these complementary sources offers an opportunity to robustly evaluate alternative accounts of language evolution. Of course, this endeavour remains challenging on many fronts, as I also highlight in the article. Nonetheless, such an integrated approach holds great potential for untangling the complexities of the capacities that make us human.
  • Fisher, V. (2017). Dance as Embodied Analogy: Designing an Empirical Research Study. In M. Van Delft, J. Voets, Z. Gündüz, H. Koolen, & L. Wijers (Eds.), Danswetenschap in Nederland. Utrecht: Vereniging voor Dansonderzoek (VDO).
  • Fisher, V. (2017). Unfurling the wings of flight: Clarifying ‘the what’ and ‘the why’ of mental imagery use in dance. Research in Dance Education, 18(3), 252-272. doi:10.1080/14647893.2017.1369508.

    Abstract

    This article provides clarification regarding ‘the what’ and ‘the why’ of mental imagery use in dance. It proposes that mental images are invoked across sensory modalities and often combine internal and external perspectives. The content of images ranges from ‘direct’ body oriented simulations along a continuum employing analogous mapping through ‘semi-direct’ literal similarities to abstract metaphors. The reasons for employing imagery are diverse and often overlapping, affecting physical, affective (psychological) and cognitive domains. This paper argues that when dance uses imagery, it is mapping aspects of the world to the body via analogy. Such mapping informs and changes our understanding of both our bodies and the world. In this way, mental imagery use in dance is fundamentally a process of embodied cognition
  • Fitz, H., & Chang, F. (2017). Meaningful questions: The acquisition of auxiliary inversion in a connectionist model of sentence production. Cognition, 166, 225-250. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2017.05.008.

    Abstract

    Nativist theories have argued that language involves syntactic principles which are unlearnable from the input children receive. A paradigm case of these innate principles is the structure dependence of auxiliary inversion in complex polar questions (Chomsky, 1968, 1975, 1980). Computational approaches have focused on the properties of the input in explaining how children acquire these questions. In contrast, we argue that messages are structured in a way that supports structure dependence in syntax. We demonstrate this approach within a connectionist model of sentence production (Chang, 2009) which learned to generate a range of complex polar questions from a structured message without positive exemplars in the input. The model also generated different types of error in development that were similar in magnitude to those in children (e.g., auxiliary doubling, Ambridge, Rowland, & Pine, 2008; Crain & Nakayama, 1987). Through model comparisons we trace how meaning constraints and linguistic experience interact during the acquisition of auxiliary inversion. Our results suggest that auxiliary inversion rules in English can be acquired without innate syntactic principles, as long as it is assumed that speakers who ask complex questions express messages that are structured into multiple propositions
  • Floyd, S. (2017). Requesting as a means for negotiating distributed agency. In N. J. Enfield, & P. Kockelman (Eds.), Distributed Agency (pp. 67-78). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Francisco, A. A., Jesse, A., Groen, M. A., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). A general audiovisual temporal processing deficit in adult readers with dyslexia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 144-158. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0375.

    Abstract

    Purpose: Because reading is an audiovisual process, reading impairment may reflect an audiovisual processing deficit. The aim of the present study was to test the existence and scope of such a deficit in adult readers with dyslexia. Method: We tested 39 typical readers and 51 adult readers with dyslexia on their sensitivity to the simultaneity of audiovisual speech and nonspeech stimuli, their time window of audiovisual integration for speech (using incongruent /aCa/ syllables), and their audiovisual perception of phonetic categories. Results: Adult readers with dyslexia showed less sensitivity to audiovisual simultaneity than typical readers for both speech and nonspeech events. We found no differences between readers with dyslexia and typical readers in the temporal window of integration for audiovisual speech or in the audiovisual perception of phonetic categories. Conclusions: The results suggest an audiovisual temporal deficit in dyslexia that is not specific to speech-related events. But the differences found for audiovisual temporal sensitivity did not translate into a deficit in audiovisual speech perception. Hence, there seems to be a hiatus between simultaneity judgment and perception, suggesting a multisensory system that uses different mechanisms across tasks. Alternatively, it is possible that the audiovisual deficit in dyslexia is only observable when explicit judgments about audiovisual simultaneity are required
  • Francisco, A. A., Groen, M. A., Jesse, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Beyond the usual cognitive suspects: The importance of speechreading and audiovisual temporal sensitivity in reading ability. Learning and Individual Differences, 54, 60-72. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2017.01.003.

    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to clarify whether audiovisual processing accounted for variance in reading and reading-related abilities, beyond the effect of a set of measures typically associated with individual differences in both reading and audiovisual processing. Testing adults with and without a diagnosis of dyslexia, we showed that—across all participants, and after accounting for variance in cognitive abilities—audiovisual temporal sensitivity contributed uniquely to variance in reading errors. This is consistent with previous studies demonstrating an audiovisual deficit in dyslexia. Additionally, we showed that speechreading (identification of speech based on visual cues from the talking face alone) was a unique contributor to variance in phonological awareness in dyslexic readers only: those who scored higher on speechreading, scored lower on phonological awareness. This suggests a greater reliance on visual speech as a compensatory mechanism when processing auditory speech is problematic. A secondary aim of this study was to better understand the nature of dyslexia. The finding that a sub-group of dyslexic readers scored low on phonological awareness and high on speechreading is consistent with a hybrid perspective of dyslexia: There are multiple possible pathways to reading impairment, which may translate into multiple profiles of dyslexia.
  • Frank, M. C., Bergelson, E., Bergmann, C., Cristia, A., Floccia, C., Gervain, J., Hamlin, J. K., Hannon, E. E., Kline, M., Levelt, C., Lew-Williams, C., Nazzi, T., Panneton, R., Rabagliati, H., Soderstrom, M., Sullivan, J., Waxman, S., & Yurovsky, D. (2017). A collaborative approach to infant research: Promoting reproducibility, best practices, and theory-building. Infancy, 22(4), 421-435. doi:10.1111/infa.12182.

    Abstract

    The ideal of scientific progress is that we accumulate measurements and integrate these into theory, but recent discussion of replicability issues has cast doubt on whether psychological research conforms to this model. Developmental research—especially with infant participants—also has discipline-specific replicability challenges, including small samples and limited measurement methods. Inspired by collaborative replication efforts in cognitive and social psychology, we describe a proposal for assessing and promoting replicability in infancy research: large-scale, multi-laboratory replication efforts aiming for a more precise understanding of key developmental phenomena. The ManyBabies project, our instantiation of this proposal, will not only help us estimate how robust and replicable these phenomena are, but also gain new theoretical insights into how they vary across ages, linguistic communities, and measurement methods. This project has the potential for a variety of positive outcomes, including less-biased estimates of theoretically important effects, estimates of variability that can be used for later study planning, and a series of best-practices blueprints for future infancy research.
  • Frank, S. L., & Willems, R. M. (2017). Word predictability and semantic similarity show distinct patterns of brain activity during language comprehension. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(9), 1192-1203. doi:10.1080/23273798.2017.1323109.

    Abstract

    We investigate the effects of two types of relationship between the words of a sentence or text – predictability and semantic similarity – by reanalysing electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from studies in which participants comprehend naturalistic stimuli. Each content word's predictability given previous words is quantified by a probabilistic language model, and semantic similarity to previous words is quantified by a distributional semantics model. Brain activity time-locked to each word is regressed on the two model-derived measures. Results show that predictability and semantic similarity have near identical N400 effects but are dissociated in the fMRI data, with word predictability related to activity in, among others, the visual word-form area, and semantic similarity related to activity in areas associated with the semantic network. This indicates that both predictability and similarity play a role during natural language comprehension and modulate distinct cortical regions.
  • Franken, M. K., Eisner, F., Schoffelen, J.-M., Acheson, D. J., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Audiovisual recalibration of vowel categories. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 655-658). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-122.

    Abstract

    One of the most daunting tasks of a listener is to map a continuous auditory stream onto known speech sound categories and lexical items. A major issue with this mapping problem is the variability in the acoustic realizations of sound categories, both within and across speakers. Past research has suggested listeners may use visual information (e.g., lipreading) to calibrate these speech categories to the current speaker. Previous studies have focused on audiovisual recalibration of consonant categories. The present study explores whether vowel categorization, which is known to show less sharply defined category boundaries, also benefit from visual cues. Participants were exposed to videos of a speaker pronouncing one out of two vowels, paired with audio that was ambiguous between the two vowels. After exposure, it was found that participants had recalibrated their vowel categories. In addition, individual variability in audiovisual recalibration is discussed. It is suggested that listeners’ category sharpness may be related to the weight they assign to visual information in audiovisual speech perception. Specifically, listeners with less sharp categories assign more weight to visual information during audiovisual speech recognition.
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Eisner, F., & Hagoort, P. (2017). Individual variability as a window on production-perception interactions in speech motor control. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 142(4), 2007-2018. doi:10.1121/1.5006899.

    Abstract

    An important part of understanding speech motor control consists of capturing the interaction between speech production and speech perception. This study tests a prediction of theoretical frameworks that have tried to account for these interactions: if speech production targets are specified in auditory terms, individuals with better auditory acuity should have more precise speech targets, evidenced by decreased within-phoneme variability and increased between-phoneme distance. A study was carried out consisting of perception and production tasks in counterbalanced order. Auditory acuity was assessed using an adaptive speech discrimination task, while production variability was determined using a pseudo-word reading task. Analyses of the production data were carried out to quantify average within-phoneme variability as well as average between-phoneme contrasts. Results show that individuals not only vary in their production and perceptual abilities, but that better discriminators have more distinctive vowel production targets (that is, targets with less within-phoneme variability and greater between-phoneme distances), confirming the initial hypothesis. This association between speech production and perception did not depend on local phoneme density in vowel space. This study suggests that better auditory acuity leads to more precise speech production targets, which may be a consequence of auditory feedback affecting speech production over time.
  • Frega, M., van Gestel, S. H. C., Linda, K., Van der Raadt, J., Keller, J., Van Rhijn, J. R., Schubert, D., Albers, C. A., & Kasri, N. N. (2017). Rapid neuronal differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells for measuring network activity on micro-electrode arrays. Journal of Visualized Experiments, e45900. doi:10.3791/54900.

    Abstract

    Neurons derived from human induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (hiPSCs) provide a promising new tool for studying neurological disorders. In the past decade, many protocols for differentiating hiPSCs into neurons have been developed. However, these protocols are often slow with high variability, low reproducibility, and low efficiency. In addition, the neurons obtained with these protocols are often immature and lack adequate functional activity both at the single-cell and network levels unless the neurons are cultured for several months. Partially due to these limitations, the functional properties of hiPSC-derived neuronal networks are still not well characterized. Here, we adapt a recently published protocol that describes production of human neurons from hiPSCs by forced expression of the transcription factor neurogenin-212. This protocol is rapid (yielding mature neurons within 3 weeks) and efficient, with nearly 100% conversion efficiency of transduced cells (>95% of DAPI-positive cells are MAP2 positive). Furthermore, the protocol yields a homogeneous population of excitatory neurons that would allow the investigation of cell-type specific contributions to neurological disorders. We modified the original protocol by generating stably transduced hiPSC cells, giving us explicit control over the total number of neurons. These cells are then used to generate hiPSC-derived neuronal networks on micro-electrode arrays. In this way, the spontaneous electrophysiological activity of hiPSC-derived neuronal networks can be measured and characterized, while retaining interexperimental consistency in terms of cell density. The presented protocol is broadly applicable, especially for mechanistic and pharmacological studies on human neuronal networks.

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  • Frost, R. L. A., Monaghan, P., & Tatsumi, T. (2017). Domain-general mechanisms for speech segmentation: The role of duration information in language learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43(3), 466-476. doi:10.1037/xhp0000325.

    Abstract

    Speech segmentation is supported by multiple sources of information that may either inform language processing specifically, or serve learning more broadly. The Iambic/Trochaic Law (ITL), where increased duration indicates the end of a group and increased emphasis indicates the beginning of a group, has been proposed as a domain-general mechanism that also applies to language. However, language background has been suggested to modulate use of the ITL, meaning that these perceptual grouping preferences may instead be a consequence of language exposure. To distinguish between these accounts, we exposed native-English and native-Japanese listeners to sequences of speech (Experiment 1) and nonspeech stimuli (Experiment 2), and examined segmentation using a 2AFC task. Duration was manipulated over 3 conditions: sequences contained either an initial-item duration increase, or a final-item duration increase, or items of uniform duration. In Experiment 1, language background did not affect the use of duration as a cue for segmenting speech in a structured artificial language. In Experiment 2, the same results were found for grouping structured sequences of visual shapes. The results are consistent with proposals that duration information draws upon a domain-general mechanism that can apply to the special case of language acquisition
  • Frost, R. L. A., & Monaghan, P. (2017). Sleep-driven computations in speech processing. PLoS One, 12(1): e0169538. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169538.

    Abstract

    Acquiring language requires segmenting speech into individual words, and abstracting over those words to discover grammatical structure. However, these tasks can be conflicting—on the one hand requiring memorisation of precise sequences that occur in speech, and on the other requiring a flexible reconstruction of these sequences to determine the grammar. Here, we examine whether speech segmentation and generalisation of grammar can occur simultaneously—with the conflicting requirements for these tasks being over-come by sleep-related consolidation. After exposure to an artificial language comprising words containing non-adjacent dependencies, participants underwent periods of consolidation involving either sleep or wake. Participants who slept before testing demonstrated a sustained boost to word learning and a short-term improvement to grammatical generalisation of the non-adjacencies, with improvements after sleep outweighing gains seen after an equal period of wake. Thus, we propose that sleep may facilitate processing for these conflicting tasks in language acquisition, but with enhanced benefits for speech segmentation.

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  • Fusaroli, R., Tylén, K., Garly, K., Steensig, J., Christiansen, M. H., & Dingemanse, M. (2017). Measures and mechanisms of common ground: Backchannels, conversational repair, and interactive alignment in free and task-oriented social interactions. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 2055-2060). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    A crucial aspect of everyday conversational interactions is our ability to establish and maintain common ground. Understanding the relevant mechanisms involved in such social coordination remains an important challenge for cognitive science. While common ground is often discussed in very general terms, different contexts of interaction are likely to afford different coordination mechanisms. In this paper, we investigate the presence and relation of three mechanisms of social coordination – backchannels, interactive alignment and conversational repair – across free and task-oriented conversations. We find significant differences: task-oriented conversations involve higher presence of repair – restricted offers in particular – and backchannel, as well as a reduced level of lexical and syntactic alignment. We find that restricted repair is associated with lexical alignment and open repair with backchannels. Our findings highlight the need to explicitly assess several mechanisms at once and to investigate diverse activities to understand their role and relations.
  • Gialluisi, A., Guadalupe, T., Francks, C., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Neuroimaging genetic analyses of novel candidate genes associated with reading and language. Brain and Language, 172, 9-15. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2016.07.002.

    Abstract

    Neuroimaging measures provide useful endophenotypes for tracing genetic effects on reading and language. A recent Genome-Wide Association Scan Meta-Analysis (GWASMA) of reading and language skills (N = 1862) identified strongest associations with the genes CCDC136/FLNC and RBFOX2. Here, we follow up the top findings from this GWASMA, through neuroimaging genetics in an independent sample of 1275 healthy adults. To minimize multiple-testing, we used a multivariate approach, focusing on cortical regions consistently implicated in prior literature on developmental dyslexia and language impairment. Specifically, we investigated grey matter surface area and thickness of five regions selected a priori: middle temporal gyrus (MTG); pars opercularis and pars triangularis in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG-PO and IFG-PT); postcentral parietal gyrus (PPG) and superior temporal gyrus (STG). First, we analysed the top associated polymorphisms from the reading/language GWASMA: rs59197085 (CCDC136/FLNC) and rs5995177 (RBFOX2). There was significant multivariate association of rs5995177 with cortical thickness, driven by effects on left PPG, right MTG, right IFG (both PO and PT), and STG bilaterally. The minor allele, previously associated with reduced reading-language performance, showed negative effects on grey matter thickness. Next, we performed exploratory gene-wide analysis of CCDC136/FLNC and RBFOX2; no other associations surpassed significance thresholds. RBFOX2 encodes an important neuronal regulator of alternative splicing. Thus, the prior reported association of rs5995177 with reading/language performance could potentially be mediated by reduced thickness in associated cortical regions. In future, this hypothesis could be tested using sufficiently large samples containing both neuroimaging data and quantitative reading/language scores from the same individuals.

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  • Goodhew, S. C., & Kidd, E. (2017). Language use statistics and prototypical grapheme colours predict synaesthetes' and non-synaesthetes' word-colour associations. Acta Psychologica, 173, 73-86. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.12.008.

    Abstract

    Synaesthesia is the neuropsychological phenomenon in which individuals experience unusual sensory associations, such as experiencing particular colours in response to particular words. While it was once thought the particular pairings between stimuli were arbitrary and idiosyncratic to particular synaesthetes, there is now growing evidence for a systematic psycholinguistic basis to the associations. Here we sought to assess the explanatory value of quantifiable lexical association measures (via latent semantic analysis; LSA) in the pairings observed between words and colours in synaesthesia. To test this, we had synaesthetes report the particular colours they experienced in response to given concept words, and found that language association between the concept and colour words provided highly reliable predictors of the reported pairings. These results provide convergent evidence for a psycholinguistic basis to synaesthesia, but in a novel way, showing that exposure to particular patterns of associations in language can predict the formation of particular synaesthetic lexical-colour associations. Consistent with previous research, the prototypical synaesthetic colour for the first letter of the word also played a role in shaping the colour for the whole word, and this effect also interacted with language association, such that the effect of the colour for the first letter was stronger as the association between the concept word and the colour word in language increased. Moreover, when a group of non-synaesthetes were asked what colours they associated with the concept words, they produced very similar reports to the synaesthetes that were predicted by both language association and prototypical synaesthetic colour for the first letter of the word. This points to a shared linguistic experience generating the associations for both groups.
  • Goudbeek, M., Smits, R., Cutler, A., & Swingley, D. (2017). Auditory and phonetic category formation. In H. Cohen, & C. Lefebvre (Eds.), Handbook of categorization in cognitive science (2nd revised ed.) (pp. 687-708). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Grabot, L., Kösem, A., Azizi, L., & Van Wassenhove, V. (2017). Prestimulus Alpha Oscillations and the Temporal Sequencing of Audio-visual Events. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(9), 1566-1582. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01145.

    Abstract

    Perceiving the temporal order of sensory events typically depends on participants' attentional state, thus likely on the endogenous fluctuations of brain activity. Using magnetoencephalography, we sought to determine whether spontaneous brain oscillations could disambiguate the perceived order of auditory and visual events presented in close temporal proximity, that is, at the individual's perceptual order threshold (Point of Subjective Simultaneity [PSS]). Two neural responses were found to index an individual's temporal order perception when contrasting brain activity as a function of perceived order (i.e., perceiving the sound first vs. perceiving the visual event first) given the same physical audiovisual sequence. First, average differences in prestimulus auditory alpha power indicated perceiving the correct ordering of audiovisual events irrespective of which sensory modality came first: a relatively low alpha power indicated perceiving auditory or visual first as a function of the actual sequence order. Additionally, the relative changes in the amplitude of the auditory (but not visual) evoked responses were correlated with participant's correct performance. Crucially, the sign of the magnitude difference in prestimulus alpha power and evoked responses between perceived audiovisual orders correlated with an individual's PSS. Taken together, our results suggest that spontaneous oscillatory activity cannot disambiguate subjective temporal order without prior knowledge of the individual's bias toward perceiving one or the other sensory modality first. Altogether, our results suggest that, under high perceptual uncertainty, the magnitude of prestimulus alpha (de)synchronization indicates the amount of compensation needed to overcome an individual's prior in the serial ordering and temporal sequencing of information
  • Greenfield, P. M., Slobin, D., Cole, M., Gardner, H., Sylva, K., Levelt, W. J. M., Lucariello, J., Kay, A., Amsterdam, A., & Shore, B. (2017). Remembering Jerome Bruner: A series of tributes to Jerome “Jerry” Bruner, who died in 2016 at the age of 100, reflects the seminal contributions that led him to be known as a co-founder of the cognitive revolution. Observer, 30(2). Retrieved from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/remembering-jerome-bruner.

    Abstract

    Jerome Seymour “Jerry” Bruner was born on October 1, 1915, in New York City. He began his academic career as psychology professor at Harvard University; he ended it as University Professor Emeritus at New York University (NYU) Law School. What happened at both ends and in between is the subject of the richly variegated remembrances that follow. On June 5, 2016, Bruner died in his Greenwich Village loft at age 100. He leaves behind his beloved partner Eleanor Fox, who was also his distinguished colleague at NYU Law School; his son Whitley; his daughter Jenny; and three grandchildren. Bruner’s interdisciplinarity and internationalism are seen in the remarkable variety of disciplines and geographical locations represented in the following tributes. The reader will find developmental psychology, anthropology, computer science, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, cultural psychology, education, and law represented; geographically speaking, the writers are located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The memories that follow are arranged in roughly chronological order according to when the writers had their first contact with Jerry Bruner.
  • Greenhill, S. J., Wu, C.-H., Hua, X., Dunn, M., Levinson, S. C., & Gray, R. D. (2017). Evolutionary dynamics of language systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(42), E8822-E8829. doi:10.1073/pnas.1700388114.

    Abstract

    Understanding how and why language subsystems differ in their evolutionary dynamics is a fundamental question for historical and comparative linguistics. One key dynamic is the rate of language change. While it is commonly thought that the rapid rate of change hampers the reconstruction of deep language relationships beyond 6,000–10,000 y, there are suggestions that grammatical structures might retain more signal over time than other subsystems, such as basic vocabulary. In this study, we use a Dirichlet process mixture model to infer the rates of change in lexical and grammatical data from 81 Austronesian languages. We show that, on average, most grammatical features actually change faster than items of basic vocabulary. The grammatical data show less schismogenesis, higher rates of homoplasy, and more bursts of contact-induced change than the basic vocabulary data. However, there is a core of grammatical and lexical features that are highly stable. These findings suggest that different subsystems of language have differing dynamics and that careful, nuanced models of language change will be needed to extract deeper signal from the noise of parallel evolution, areal readaptation, and contact.
  • Grieco-Calub, T. M., Ward, K. M., & Brehm, L. (2017). Multitasking During Degraded Speech Recognition in School-Age Children. Trends in hearing, 21, 1-14. doi:10.1177/2331216516686786.

    Abstract

    Multitasking requires individuals to allocate their cognitive resources across different tasks. The purpose of the current study was to assess school-age children’s multitasking abilities during degraded speech recognition. Children (8 to 12 years old) completed a dual-task paradigm including a sentence recognition (primary) task containing speech that was either unpro- cessed or noise-band vocoded with 8, 6, or 4 spectral channels and a visual monitoring (secondary) task. Children’s accuracy and reaction time on the visual monitoring task was quantified during the dual-task paradigm in each condition of the primary task and compared with single-task performance. Children experienced dual-task costs in the 6- and 4-channel conditions of the primary speech recognition task with decreased accuracy on the visual monitoring task relative to baseline performance. In all conditions, children’s dual-task performance on the visual monitoring task was strongly predicted by their single-task (baseline) performance on the task. Results suggest that children’s proficiency with the secondary task contributes to the magnitude of dual-task costs while multitasking during degraded speech recognition.
  • De Groot, F., Huettig, F., & Olivers, C. N. L. (2017). Language-induced visual and semantic biases in visual search are subject to task requirements. Visual Cognition, 25, 225-240. doi:10.1080/13506285.2017.1324934.

    Abstract

    Visual attention is biased by both visual and semantic representations activated by words. We investigated to what extent language-induced visual and semantic biases are subject to task demands. Participants memorized a spoken word for a verbal recognition task, and performed a visual search task during the retention period. Crucially, while the word had to be remembered in all conditions, it was either relevant for the search (as it also indicated the target) or irrelevant (as it only served the memory test afterwards). On critical trials, displays contained objects that were visually or semantically related to the memorized word. When the word was relevant for the search, eye movement biases towards visually related objects arose earlier and more strongly than biases towards semantically related objects. When the word was irrelevant, there was still evidence for visual and semantic biases, but these biases were substantially weaker, and similar in strength and temporal dynamics, without a visual advantage. We conclude that language-induced attentional biases are subject to task requirements.
  • Guadalupe, T., Mathias, S. R., Van Erp, T. G. M., Whelan, C. D., Zwiers, M. P., Abe, Y., Abramovic, L., Agartz, I., Andreassen, O. A., Arias-Vásquez, A., Aribisala, B. S., Armstrong, N. J., Arolt, V., Artiges, E., Ayesa-Arriola, R., Baboyan, V. G., Banaschewski, T., Barker, G., Bastin, M. E., Baune, B. T., Blangero, J., Bokde, A. L., Boedhoe, P. S., Bose, A., Brem, S., Brodaty, H., Bromberg, U., Brooks, S., Büchel, C., Buitelaar, J., Calhoun, V. D., Cannon, D. M., Cattrell, A., Cheng, Y., Conrod, P. J., Conzelmann, A., Corvin, A., Crespo-Facorro, B., Crivello, F., Dannlowski, U., De Zubicaray, G. I., De Zwarte, S. M., Deary, I. J., Desrivières, S., Doan, N. T., Donohoe, G., Dørum, E. S., Ehrlich, S., Espeseth, T., Fernández, G., Flor, H., Fouche, J.-P., Frouin, V., Fukunaga, M., Gallinat, J., Garavan, H., Gill, M., Suarez, A. G., Gowland, P., Grabe, H. J., Grotegerd, D., Gruber, O., Hagenaars, S., Hashimoto, R., Hauser, T. U., Heinz, A., Hibar, D. P., Hoekstra, P. J., Hoogman, M., Howells, F. M., Hu, H., Hulshoff Pol, H. E.., Huyser, C., Ittermann, B., Jahanshad, N., Jönsson, E. G., Jurk, S., Kahn, R. S., Kelly, S., Kraemer, B., Kugel, H., Kwon, J. S., Lemaitre, H., Lesch, K.-P., Lochner, C., Luciano, M., Marquand, A. F., Martin, N. G., Martínez-Zalacaín, I., Martinot, J.-L., Mataix-Cols, D., Mather, K., McDonald, C., McMahon, K. L., Medland, S. E., Menchón, J. M., Morris, D. W., Mothersill, O., Maniega, S. M., Mwangi, B., Nakamae, T., Nakao, T., Narayanaswaamy, J. C., Nees, F., Nordvik, J. E., Onnink, A. M. H., Opel, N., Ophoff, R., Martinot, M.-L.-P., Orfanos, D. P., Pauli, P., Paus, T., Poustka, L., Reddy, J. Y., Renteria, M. E., Roiz-Santiáñez, R., Roos, A., Royle, N. A., Sachdev, P., Sánchez-Juan, P., Schmaal, L., Schumann, G., Shumskaya, E., Smolka, M. N., Soares, J. C., Soriano-Mas, C., Stein, D. J., Strike, L. T., Toro, R., Turner, J. A., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Uhlmann, A., Valdés Hernández, M., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Van der Meer, D., Van Haren, N. E.., Veltman, D. J., Venkatasubramanian, G., Vetter, N. C., Vuletic, D., Walitza, S., Walter, H., Walton, E., Wang, Z., Wardlaw, J., Wen, W., Westlye, L. T., Whelan, R., Wittfeld, K., Wolfers, T., Wright, M. J., Xu, J., Xu, X., Yun, J.-Y., Zhao, J., Franke, B., Thompson, P. M., Glahn, D. C., Mazoyer, B., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2017). Human subcortical asymmetries in 15,847 people worldwide reveal effects of age and sex. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 11(5), 1497-1514. doi:10.1007/s11682-016-9629-z.

    Abstract

    The two hemispheres of the human brain differ functionally and structurally. Despite over a century of research, the extent to which brain asymmetry is influenced by sex, handedness, age, and genetic factors is still controversial. Here we present the largest ever analysis of subcortical brain asymmetries, in a harmonized multi-site study using meta-analysis methods. Volumetric asymmetry of seven subcortical structures was assessed in 15,847 MRI scans from 52 datasets worldwide. There were sex differences in the asymmetry of the globus pallidus and putamen. Heritability estimates, derived from 1170 subjects belonging to 71 extended pedigrees, revealed that additive genetic factors influenced the asymmetry of these two structures and that of the hippocampus and thalamus. Handedness had no detectable effect on subcortical asymmetries, even in this unprecedented sample size, but the asymmetry of the putamen varied with age. Genetic drivers of asymmetry in the hippocampus, thalamus and basal ganglia may affect variability in human cognition, including susceptibility to psychiatric disorders.

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  • Guadalupe, T. (2017). The biology of variation in anatomical brain asymmetries. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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  • Hagoort, P. (2017). Don't forget neurobiology: An experimental approach to linguistic representation. Commentary on Branigan and Pickering "An experimental approach to linguistic representation". Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40: e292. doi:10.1017/S0140525X17000401.

    Abstract

    Acceptability judgments are no longer acceptable as the holy grail for testing the nature of linguistic representations. Experimental and quantitative methods should be used to test theoretical claims in psycholinguistics. These methods should include not only behavior, but also the more recent possibilities to probe the neural codes for language-relevant representation
  • Hagoort, P. (2017). The neural basis for primary and acquired language skills. In E. Segers, & P. Van den Broek (Eds.), Developmental Perspectives in Written Language and Literacy: In honor of Ludo Verhoeven (pp. 17-28). Amsterdam: Benjamins. doi:10.1075/z.206.02hag.

    Abstract

    Reading is a cultural invention that needs to recruit cortical infrastructure that was not designed for it (cultural recycling of cortical maps). In the case of reading both visual cortex and networks for speech processing are recruited. Here I discuss current views on the neurobiological underpinnings of spoken language that deviate in a number of ways from the classical Wernicke-Lichtheim-Geschwind model. More areas than Broca’s and Wernicke’s region are involved in language. Moreover, a division along the axis of language production and language comprehension does not seem to be warranted. Instead, for central aspects of language processing neural infrastructure is shared between production and comprehension. Arguments are presented in favor of a dynamic network view, in which the functionality of a region is co-determined by the network of regions in which it is embedded at particular moments in time. Finally, core regions of language processing need to interact with other networks (e.g. the attentional networks and the ToM network) to establish full functionality of language and communication. The consequences of this architecture for reading are discussed.
  • Hagoort, P. (2017). The core and beyond in the language-ready brain. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 81, 194-204. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.01.048.

    Abstract

    In this paper a general cognitive architecture of spoken language processing is specified. This is followed by an account of how this cognitive architecture is instantiated in the human brain. Both the spatial aspects of the networks for language are discussed, as well as the temporal dynamics and the underlying neurophysiology. A distinction is proposed between networks for coding/decoding linguistic information and additional networks for getting from coded meaning to speaker meaning, i.e. for making the inferences that enable the listener to understand the intentions of the speaker
  • Hao, X., Huang, Y., Song, Y., Kong, X., & Liu, J. (2017). Experience with the Cardinal Coordinate System Contributes to the Precision of Cognitive Maps. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 1166. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01166.

    Abstract

    The coordinate system has been proposed as a fundamental and cross-culturally used spatial representation, through which people code location and direction information in the environment. Here we provided direct evidence demonstrating that daily experience with the cardinal coordinate system (i.e., east, west, north, and south) contributed to the representation of cognitive maps. Behaviorally, we found that individuals who relied more on the cardinal coordinate system for daily navigation made smaller errors in an indoor pointing task, suggesting that the cardinal coordinate system is an important element of cognitive maps. Neurally, the extent to which individuals relied on the cardinal coordinate system was positively correlated with the gray matter volume of the entorhinal cortex, suggesting that the entorhinal cortex may serve as the neuroanatomical basis of coordinate-based navigation (the entorhinal coordinate area, ECA). Further analyses on the resting-state functional connectivity revealed that the intrinsic interaction between the ECA and two hippocampal sub-regions, the subiculum and cornu ammonis, might be linked with the representation precision of cognitive maps. In sum, our study reveals an association between daily experience with the cardinal coordinate system and cognitive maps, and suggests that the ECA works in collaboration with hippocampal sub-regions to represent cognitive maps.

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