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  • 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.

    Additional information

    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. and 26 moreAcuna-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). 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.
  • 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.
  • Ambridge, B., Rowland, C. F., Theakston, A. L., & Tomasello, M. (2006). Comparing different accounts of inversion errors in children's non-subject wh-questions: ‘What experimental data can tell us?’. Journal of Child Language, 33(3), 519-557. doi:10.1017/S0305000906007513.

    Abstract

    This study investigated different accounts of children's acquisition of non-subject wh-questions. Questions using each of 4 wh-words (what, who, how and why), and 3 auxiliaries (BE, DO and CAN) in 3sg and 3pl form were elicited from 28 children aged 3;6–4;6. Rates of non-inversion error (Who she is hitting?) were found not to differ by wh-word, auxiliary or number alone, but by lexical auxiliary subtype and by wh-word+lexical auxiliary combination. This finding counts against simple rule-based accounts of question acquisition that include no role for the lexical subtype of the auxiliary, and suggests that children may initially acquire wh-word+lexical auxiliary combinations from the input. For DO questions, auxiliary-doubling errors (What does she does like?) were also observed, although previous research has found that such errors are virtually non-existent for positive questions. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed.
  • 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
  • Baayen, R. H., Feldman, L. B., & Schreuder, R. (2006). Morphological influences on the recognition of monosyllabic monomorphemic words. Journal of Memory and Language, 55(2), 290-313. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2006.03.008.

    Abstract

    Balota et al. [Balota, D., Cortese, M., Sergent-Marshall, S., Spieler, D., & Yap, M. (2004). Visual word recognition for single-syllable words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133, 283–316] studied lexical processing in word naming and lexical decision using hierarchical multiple regression techniques for a large data set of monosyllabic, morphologically simple words. The present study supplements their work by making use of more flexible regression techniques that are better suited for dealing with collinearity and non-linearity, and by documenting the contributions of several variables that they did not take into account. In particular, we included measures of morphological connectivity, as well as a new frequency count, the frequency of a word in speech rather than in writing. The morphological measures emerged as strong predictors in visual lexical decision, but not in naming, providing evidence for the importance of morphological connectivity even for the recognition of morphologically simple words. Spoken frequency was predictive not only for naming but also for visual lexical decision. In addition, it co-determined subjective frequency estimates and norms for age of acquisition. Finally, we show that frequency predominantly reflects conceptual familiarity rather than familiarity with a word’s form.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Bock, K., Butterfield, S., Cutler, A., Cutting, J. C., Eberhard, K. M., & Humphreys, K. R. (2006). Number agreement in British and American English: Disagreeing to agree collectively. Language, 82(1), 64-113.

    Abstract

    British andAmerican speakers exhibit different verb number agreement patterns when sentence subjects have collective headnouns. From linguistic andpsycholinguistic accounts of how agreement is implemented, three alternative hypotheses can be derived to explain these differences. The hypotheses involve variations in the representation of notional number, disparities in how notional andgrammatical number are used, and inequalities in the grammatical number specifications of collective nouns. We carriedout a series of corpus analyses, production experiments, andnorming studies to test these hypotheses. The results converge to suggest that British and American speakers are equally sensitive to variations in notional number andimplement subjectverb agreement in much the same way, but are likely to differ in the lexical specifications of number for collectives. The findings support a psycholinguistic theory that explains verb and pronoun agreement within a parallel architecture of lexical andsyntactic formulation.
  • Bod, R., Fitz, H., & Zuidema, W. (2006). On the structural ambiguity in natural language that the neural architecture cannot deal with [Commentary]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29, 71-72. doi:10.1017/S0140525X06239025.

    Abstract

    We argue that van der Velde's & de Kamps's model does not solve the binding problem but merely shifts the burden of constructing appropriate neural representations of sentence structure to unexplained preprocessing of the linguistic input. As a consequence, their model is not able to explain how various neural representations can be assigned to sentences that are structurally ambiguous.
  • 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., 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., & 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.

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  • 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.
  • Bosking, W. H., Sun, P., Ozker, M., Pei, X., Foster, B. L., Beauchamp, M. S., & Yoshor, D. (2017). Saturation in phosphene size with increasing current levels delivered to human visual cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 37(30), 7188-7197. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2896-16.2017.

    Abstract

    Electrically stimulating early visual cortex results in a visual percept known as a phosphene. Although phosphenes can be evoked by a wide range of electrode sizes and current amplitudes, they are invariably described as small. To better understand this observation, we electrically stimulated 93 electrodes implanted in the visual cortex of 13 human subjects who reported phosphene size while stimulation current was varied. Phosphene size increased as the stimulation current was initially raised above threshold, but then rapidly reached saturation. Phosphene size also depended on the location of the stimulated site, with size increasing with distance from the foveal representation. We developed a model relating phosphene size to the amount of activated cortex and its location within the retinotopic map. First, a sigmoidal curve was used to predict the amount of activated cortex at a given current. Second, the amount of active cortex was converted to degrees of visual angle by multiplying by the inverse cortical magnification factor for that retinotopic location. This simple model accurately predicted phosphene size for a broad range of stimulation currents and cortical locations. The unexpected saturation in phosphene sizes suggests that the functional architecture of cerebral cortex may impose fundamental restrictions on the spread of artificially evoked activity and this may be an important consideration in the design of cortical prosthetic devices.
  • 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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  • Bowerman, M. (1971). [Review of A. Bar Adon & W.F. Leopold (Eds.), Child language: A book of readings (Prentice Hall, 1971)]. Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 16, 808-809.
  • Bowerman, M. (1983). How do children avoid constructing an overly general grammar in the absence of feedback about what is not a sentence? Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, 22, 23-35.

    Abstract

    The theory that language acquisition is guided and constrained by inborn linguistic knowledge is assessed. Specifically, the "no negative evidence" view, the belief that linguistic theory should be restricted in such a way that the grammars it allows can be learned by children on the basis of positive evidence only, is explored. Child language data are cited in order to investigate influential innatist approaches to language acquisition. Baker's view that children are innately constrained in significant ways with respect to language acquisition is evaluated. Evidence indicates that children persistently make overgeneralizations of the sort that violate the constrained view of language acquisition. Since children eventually do develop correct adult grammar, they must have other mechanisms for cutting back on these overgeneralizations. Thus, any hypothesized constraints cannot be justified on grounds that without them the child would end up with overly general grammar. It is necessary to explicate the mechanisms by which children eliminate their tendency toward overgeneralization.
  • 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.
  • Braun, B., Kochanski, G., Grabe, E., & Rosner, B. S. (2006). Evidence for attractors in English intonation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119(6), 4006-4015. doi:10.1121/1.2195267.

    Abstract

    Although the pitch of the human voice is continuously variable, some linguists contend that intonation in speech is restricted to a small, limited set of patterns. This claim is tested by asking subjects to mimic a block of 100 randomly generated intonation contours and then to imitate themselves in several successive sessions. The produced f0 contours gradually converge towards a limited set of distinct, previously recognized basic English intonation patterns. These patterns are "attractors" in the space of possible intonation English contours. The convergence does not occur immediately. Seven of the ten participants show continued convergence toward their attractors after the first iteration. Subjects retain and use information beyond phonological contrasts, suggesting that intonational phonology is not a complete description of their mental representation of intonation.
  • Braun, B. (2006). Phonetics and phonology of thematic contrast in German. Language and Speech, 49(4), 451-493.

    Abstract

    It is acknowledged that contrast plays an important role in understanding discourse and information structure. While it is commonly assumed that contrast can be marked by intonation only, our understanding of the intonational realization of contrast is limited. For German there is mainly introspective evidence that the rising theme accent (or topic accent) is realized differently when signaling contrast than when not. In this article, the acoustic basis for the reported impressionistic differences is investigated in terms of the scaling (height) and alignment (positioning) of tonal targets. Subjects read target sentences in a contrastive and a noncontrastive context (Experiment 1). Prosodic annotation revealed that thematic accents were not realized with different accent types in the two contexts but acoustic comparison showed that themes in contrastive context exhibited a higher and later peak. The alignment and scaling of accents can hence be controlled in a linguistically meaningful way, which has implications for intonational phonology. In Experiment 2, nonlinguists' perception of a subset of the production data was assessed. They had to choose whether, in a contrastive context, the presumed contrastive or noncontrastive realization of a sentence was more appropriate. For some sentence pairs only, subjects had a clear preference. For Experiment 3, a group of linguists annotated the thematic accents of the contrastive and noncontrastive versions of the same data as used in Experiment 2. There was considerable disagreement in labels, but different accent types were consistently used when the two versions differed strongly in F0 excursion. Although themes in contrastive contexts were clearly produced differently than themes in noncontrastive contexts, this difference is not easily perceived or annotated.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Broeder, D., & Wittenburg, P. (2006). The IMDI metadata framework, its current application and future direction. International Journal of Metadata, Semantics and Ontologies, 1(2), 119-132. doi:10.1504/IJMSO.2006.011008.

    Abstract

    The IMDI Framework offers next to a suitable set of metadata descriptors for language resources, a set of tools and an infrastructure to use these. This paper gives an overview of all these aspects and at the end describes the intentions and hopes for ensuring the interoperability of the IMDI framework within more general ones in development. An evaluation of the current state of the IMDI Framework is presented with an analysis of the benefits and more problematic issues. Finally we describe work on issues of long-term stability for IMDI by linking up to the work done within the ISO TC37/SC4 subcommittee (TC37/SC4).
  • Broeder, D., Auer, E., & Wittenburg, P. (2006). Unique resource identifiers. Language Archive Newsletter, no. 8, 8-9.
  • Broersma, M., & De Bot, K. (2006). Triggered codeswitching: A corpus-based evaluation of the original triggering hypothesis and a new alternative. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 9(1), 1-13. doi:10.1017/S1366728905002348.

    Abstract

    In this article the triggering hypothesis for codeswitching proposed by Michael Clyne is discussed and tested. According to this hypothesis, cognates can facilitate codeswitching of directly preceding or following words. It is argued that the triggering hypothesis in its original form is incompatible with language production models, as it assumes that language choice takes place at the surface structure of utterances, while in bilingual production models language choice takes place along with lemma selection. An adjusted version of the triggering hypothesis is proposed in which triggering takes place during lemma selection and the scope of triggering is extended to basic units in language production. Data from a Dutch–Moroccan Arabic corpus are used for a statistical test of the original and the adjusted triggering theory. The codeswitching patterns found in the data support part of the original triggering hypothesis, but they are best explained by the adjusted triggering theory.
  • Brown, P. (1983). [Review of the book Conversational routine: Explorations in standardized communication situations and prepatterned speech ed. by Florian Coulmas]. Language, 59, 215-219.
  • Brown, P. (1983). [Review of the books Mayan Texts I, II, and III ed. by Louanna Furbee-Losee]. International Journal of American Linguistics, 49, 337-341.
  • Brown, P. (2006). Language, culture and cognition: The view from space. Zeitschrift für Germanistische Linguistik, 34, 64-86.

    Abstract

    This paper addresses the vexed questions of how language relates to culture, and what kind of notion of culture is important for linguistic explanation. I first sketch five perspectives - five different construals - of culture apparent in linguistics and in cognitive science more generally. These are: (i) culture as ethno-linguistic group, (ii) culture as a mental module, (iii) culture as knowledge, (iv) culture as context, and (v) culture as a process emergent in interaction. I then present my own work on spatial language and cognition in a Mayan languge and culture, to explain why I believe a concept of culture is important for linguistics. I argue for a core role for cultural explanation in two domains: in analysing the semantics of words embedded in cultural practices which color their meanings (in this case, spatial frames of reference), and in characterizing thematic and functional links across different domains in the social and semiotic life of a particular group of people.
  • Bulut, T., Hung, Y., Tzeng, O., & Wu, D. (2017). Neural correlates of processing sentences and compound words in Chinese. PLOS ONE, 12(12): e0188526. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0188526.
  • Burenhult, N. (2006). Body part terms in Jahai. Language Sciences, 28(2-3), 162-180. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2005.11.002.

    Abstract

    This article explores the lexicon of body part terms in Jahai, a Mon-Khmer language spoken by a group of hunter–gatherers in the Malay Peninsula. It provides an extensive inventory of body part terms and describes their structural and semantic properties. The Jahai body part lexicon pays attention to fine anatomical detail but lacks labels for major, ‘higher-level’ categories, like ‘trunk’, ‘limb’, ‘arm’ and ‘leg’. In this lexicon it is therefore sometimes difficult to discern a clear partonomic hierarchy, a presumed universal of body part terminology.
  • 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.
  • Carlsson, K., Andersson, J., Petrovic, P., Petersson, K. M., Öhman, A., & Ingvar, M. (2006). Predictability modulates the affective and sensory-discriminative neural processing of pain. NeuroImage, 32(4), 1804-1814. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.05.027.

    Abstract

    Knowing what is going to happen next, that is, the capacity to predict upcoming events, modulates the extent to which aversive stimuli induce stress and anxiety. We explored this issue by manipulating the temporal predictability of aversive events by means of a visual cue, which was either correlated or uncorrelated with pain stimuli (electric shocks). Subjects reported lower levels of anxiety, negative valence and pain intensity when shocks were predictable. In addition to attenuate focus on danger, predictability allows for correct temporal estimation of, and selective attention to, the sensory input. With functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that predictability was related to enhanced activity in relevant sensory-discriminative processing areas, such as the primary and secondary sensory cortex and posterior insula. In contrast, the unpredictable more aversive context was correlated to brain activity in the anterior insula and the orbitofrontal cortex, areas associated with affective pain processing. This context also prompted increased activity in the posterior parietal cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex that we attribute to enhanced alertness and sustained attention during unpredictability.
  • Carota, F. (2006). Derivational morphology of Italian: Principles for formalization. Literary and Linguistic Computing, 21(SUPPL. 1), 41-53. doi:10.1093/llc/fql007.

    Abstract

    The present paper investigates the major derivational strategies underlying the formation of suffixed words in Italian, with the purpose of tackling the issue of their formalization. After having specified the theoretical cognitive premises that orient the work, the interacting component modules of the suffixation process, i.e. morphonology, morphotactics and affixal semantics, are explored empirically, by drawing ample naturally occurring data on a Corpus of written Italian. A special attention is paid to the semantic mechanisms that are involved into suffixation. Some semantic nuclei are identified for the major suffixed word types of Italian, which are due to word formation rules active at the synchronic level, and a semantic configuration of productive suffixes is suggested. A general framework is then sketched, which combines classical finite-state methods with a feature unification-based word grammar. More specifically, the semantic information specified for the affixal material is internalised into the structures of the Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG). The formal model allows us to integrate the various modules of suffixation. In particular, it treats, on the one hand, the interface between morphonology/morphotactics and semantics and, on the other hand, the interface between suffixation and inflection. Furthermore, since LFG exploits a hierarchically organised lexicon in order to structure the information regarding the affixal material, affixal co-selectional restrictions are advatageously constrained, avoiding potential multiple spurious analysis/generations.
  • 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., & 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.
  • 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.
  • Cho, T., & McQueen, J. M. (2006). Phonological versus phonetic cues in native and non-native listening: Korean and Dutch listeners' perception of Dutch and English consonants. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119(5), 3085-3096. doi:10.1121/1.2188917.

    Abstract

    We investigated how listeners of two unrelated languages, Korean and Dutch, process phonologically viable and nonviable consonants spoken in Dutch and American English. To Korean listeners, released final stops are nonviable because word-final stops in Korean are never released in words spoken in isolation, but to Dutch listeners, unreleased word-final stops are nonviable because word-final stops in Dutch are generally released in words spoken in isolation. Two phoneme monitoring experiments showed a phonological effect on both Dutch and English stimuli: Korean listeners detected the unreleased stops more rapidly whereas Dutch listeners detected the released stops more rapidly and/or more accurately. The Koreans, however, detected released stops more accurately than unreleased stops, but only in the non-native language they were familiar with (English). The results suggest that, in non-native speech perception, phonological legitimacy in the native language can be more important than the richness of phonetic information, though familiarity with phonetic detail in the non-native language can also improve listening performance.
  • 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.
  • Cholin, J., Levelt, W. J. M., & Schiller, N. O. (2006). Effects of syllable frequency in speech production. Cognition, 99, 205-235. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2005.01.009.

    Abstract

    In the speech production model proposed by [Levelt, W. J. M., Roelofs, A., Meyer, A. S. (1999). A theory of lexical access in speech production. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, pp. 1-75.], syllables play a crucial role at the interface of phonological and phonetic encoding. At this interface, abstract phonological syllables are translated into phonetic syllables. It is assumed that this translation process is mediated by a so-called Mental Syllabary. Rather than constructing the motor programs for each syllable on-line, the mental syllabary is hypothesized to provide pre-compiled gestural scores for the articulators. In order to find evidence for such a repository, we investigated syllable-frequency effects: If the mental syllabary consists of retrievable representations corresponding to syllables, then the retrieval process should be sensitive to frequency differences. In a series of experiments using a symbol-position association learning task, we tested whether highfrequency syllables are retrieved and produced faster compared to low-frequency syllables. We found significant syllable frequency effects with monosyllabic pseudo-words and disyllabic pseudo-words in which the first syllable bore the frequency manipulation; no effect was found when the frequency manipulation was on the second syllable. The implications of these results for the theory of word form encoding at the interface of phonological and phonetic encoding; especially with respect to the access mechanisms to the mental syllabary in the speech production model by (Levelt et al.) are discussed.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Cronin, K. A., Mitchell, M. A., Lonsdorf, E. V., & Thompson, S. D. (2006). One year later: Evaluation of PMC-Recommended births and transfers. Zoo Biology, 25, 267-277. doi:10.1002/zoo.20100.

    Abstract

    To meet their exhibition, conservation, education, and scientific goals, members of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) collaborate to manage their living collections as single species populations. These cooperative population management programs, Species Survival Planss (SSP) and Population Management Plans (PMP), issue specimen-by-specimen recommendations aimed at perpetuating captive populations by maintaining genetic diversity and demographic stability. Species Survival Plans and PMPs differ in that SSP participants agree to complete recommendations, whereas PMP participants need only take recommendations under advisement. We evaluated the effect of program type and the number of participating institutions on the success of actions recommended by the Population Management Center (PMC): transfers of specimens between institutions, breeding, and target number of offspring. We analyzed AZA studbook databases for the occurrence of recommended or unrecommended transfers and births during the 1-year period after the distribution of standard AZA Breeding-and-Transfer Plans. We had three major findings: 1) on average, both SSPs and PMPs fell about 25% short of their target; however, as the number of participating institutions increased so too did the likelihood that programs met or exceeded their target; 2) SSPs exhibited significantly greater transfer success than PMPs, although transfer success for both program types was below 50%; and 3) SSPs exhibited significantly greater breeding success than PMPs, although breeding success for both program types was below 20%. Together, these results indicate that the science and sophistication behind genetic and demographic management of captive populations may be compromised by the challenges of implementation.
  • Cutler, A., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J. (1983). A language-specific comprehension strategy [Letters to Nature]. Nature, 304, 159-160. doi:10.1038/304159a0.

    Abstract

    Infants acquire whatever language is spoken in the environment into which they are born. The mental capability of the newborn child is not biased in any way towards the acquisition of one human language rather than another. Because psychologists who attempt to model the process of language comprehension are interested in the structure of the human mind, rather than in the properties of individual languages, strategies which they incorporate in their models are presumed to be universal, not language-specific. In other words, strategies of comprehension are presumed to be characteristic of the human language processing system, rather than, say, the French, English, or Igbo language processing systems. We report here, however, on a comprehension strategy which appears to be used by native speakers of French but not by native speakers of English.
  • Cutler, A. (1971). [Review of the book Probleme der Aufgabenanalyse bei der Erstellung von Sprachprogrammen by K. Bung]. Babel, 7, 29-31.
  • Cutler, A., Weber, A., & Otake, T. (2006). Asymmetric mapping from phonetic to lexical representations in second-language listening. Journal of Phonetics, 34(2), 269-284. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2005.06.002.

    Abstract

    The mapping of phonetic information to lexical representations in second-language (L2) listening was examined using an eyetracking paradigm. Japanese listeners followed instructions in English to click on pictures in a display. When instructed to click on a picture of a rocket, they experienced interference when a picture of a locker was present, that is, they tended to look at the locker instead. However, when instructed to click on the locker, they were unlikely to look at the rocket. This asymmetry is consistent with a similar asymmetry previously observed in Dutch listeners’ mapping of English vowel contrasts to lexical representations. The results suggest that L2 listeners may maintain a distinction between two phonetic categories of the L2 in their lexical representations, even though their phonetic processing is incapable of delivering the perceptual discrimination required for correct mapping to the lexical distinction. At the phonetic processing level, one of the L2 categories is dominant; the present results suggest that dominance is determined by acoustic–phonetic proximity to the nearest L1 category. At the lexical processing level, representations containing this dominant category are more likely than representations containing the non-dominant category to be correctly contacted by the phonetic input.
  • 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
  • Dalla Bella, S., Farrugia, F., Benoit, C.-E., Begel, V., Verga, L., Harding, E., & Kotz, S. A. (2017). BAASTA: Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities. Behavior Research Methods, 49(3), 1128-1145. doi:10.3758/s13428-016-0773-6.

    Abstract

    The Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA) is a new tool for the systematic assessment of perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills. It spans a broad range of timing skills aimed at differentiating individual timing profiles. BAASTA consists of sensitive time perception and production tasks. Perceptual tasks include duration discrimination, anisochrony detection (with tones and music), and a version of the Beat Alignment Task. Perceptual thresholds for duration discrimination and anisochrony detection are estimated with a maximum likelihood procedure (MLP) algorithm. Production tasks use finger tapping and include unpaced and paced tapping (with tones and music), synchronization-continuation, and adaptive tapping to a sequence with a tempo change. BAASTA was tested in a proof-of-concept study with 20 non-musicians (Experiment 1). To validate the results of the MLP procedure, less widespread than standard staircase methods, three perceptual tasks of the battery (duration discrimination, anisochrony detection with tones, and with music) were further tested in a second group of non-musicians using 2 down / 1 up and 3 down / 1 up staircase paradigms (n = 24) (Experiment 2). The results show that the timing profiles provided by BAASTA allow to detect cases of timing/rhythm disorders. In addition, perceptual thresholds yielded by the MLP algorithm, although generally comparable to the results provided by standard staircase, tend to be slightly lower. In sum, BAASTA provides a comprehensive battery to test perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills, and to detect timing/rhythm deficits.
  • Davidson, D. J. (2006). Strategies for longitudinal neurophysiology [commentary on Osterhout et al.]. Language Learning, 56(suppl. 1), 231-234. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2006.00362.x.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Desmet, T., De Baecke, C., Drieghe, D., Brysbaert, M., & Vonk, W. (2006). Relative clause attachment in Dutch: On-line comprehension corresponds to corpus frequencies when lexical variables are taken into account. Language and Cognitive Processes, 21(4), 453-485. doi:10.1080/01690960400023485.

    Abstract

    Desmet, Brysbaert, and De Baecke (2002a) showed that the production of relative clauses following two potential attachment hosts (e.g., ‘Someone shot the servant of the actress who was on the balcony’) was influenced by the animacy of the first host. These results were important because they refuted evidence from Dutch against experience-based accounts of syntactic ambiguity resolution, such as the tuning hypothesis. However, Desmet et al. did not provide direct evidence in favour of tuning, because their study focused on production and did not include reading experiments. In the present paper this line of research was extended. A corpus analysis and an eye-tracking experiment revealed that when taking into account lexical properties of the NP host sites (i.e., animacy and concreteness) the frequency pattern and the on-line comprehension of the relative clause attachment ambiguity do correspond. The implications for exposure-based accounts of sentence processing are discussed.
  • 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.

    Additional information

    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., 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.
  • 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.
  • Drude, S. (2006). Documentação lingüística: O formato de anotação de textos. Cadernos de Estudos Lingüísticos, 35, 27-51.

    Abstract

    This paper presents the methods of language documentation as applied in the Awetí Language Documentation Project, one of the projects in the Documentation of Endangered Languages Programme (DOBES). It describes the steps of how a large digital corpus of annotated multi-media data is built. Special attention is devoted to the format of annotation of linguistic data. The Advanced Glossing format is presented and justified
  • Dunn, M. (2006). [Review of the book Comparative Chukotko-Kamchatkan dictionary by Michael Fortescue]. Anthropological Linguistics, 48(3), 296-298.
  • 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.
  • 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

    Additional information

    Eising_etal_2017sup.pdf
  • Eisner, F., & McQueen, J. M. (2006). Perceptual learning in speech: Stability over time (L). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119(4), 1950-1953. doi:10.1121/1.2178721.

    Abstract

    Perceptual representations of phonemes are flexible and adapt rapidly to accommodate idiosyncratic articulation in the speech of a particular talker. This letter addresses whether such adjustments remain stable over time and under exposure to other talkers. During exposure to a story, listeners learned to interpret an ambiguous sound as [f] or [s]. Perceptual adjustments measured after 12 h were as robust as those measured immediately after learning. Equivalent effects were found when listeners heard speech from other talkers in the 12 h interval, and when they had the opportunity to consolidate learning during sleep.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2006). [Review of the book A grammar of Semelai by Nicole Kruspe]. Linguistic Typology, 10(3), 452-455. doi:10.1515/LINGTY.2006.014.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2006). Elicitation guide on parts of the body. Language Sciences, 28(2-3), 148-157. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2005.11.003.

    Abstract

    This document is intended for use as an elicitation guide for the field linguist consulting with native speakers in collecting terms for parts of the body, and in the exploration of their semantics.
  • Enfield, N. J., Majid, A., & Van Staden, M. (2006). Cross-linguistic categorisation of the body: Introduction. Language Sciences, 28(2-3), 137-147. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2005.11.001.

    Abstract

    The domain of the human body is an ideal focus for semantic typology, since the body is a physical universal and all languages have terms referring to its parts. Previous research on body part terms has depended on secondary sources (e.g. dictionaries), and has lacked sufficient detail or clarity for a thorough understanding of these terms’ semantics. The present special issue is the outcome of a collaborative project aimed at improving approaches to investigating the semantics of body part terms, by developing materials to elicit information that provides for cross-linguistic comparison. The articles in this volume are original fieldwork-based descriptions of terminology for parts of the body in ten languages. Also included are an elicitation guide and experimental protocol used in gathering data. The contributions provide inventories of body part terms in each language, with analysis of both intensional and extensional aspects of meaning, differences in morphological complexity, semantic relations among terms, and discussion of partonomic structure within the domain.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2006). Languages as historical documents: The endangered archive in Laos. South East Asia Research, 14(3), 471-488.

    Abstract

    Abstract: This paper reviews current discussion of the issue of just what is lost when a language dies. Special reference is made to the current situation in Laos, a country renowned for its considerable cultural and linguistic diversity. It focuses on the historical, anthropological and ecological knowledge that a language can encode, and the social and cultural consequences of the loss of such traditional knowledge when a language is no longer passed on. Finally, the article points out the paucity of studies and obstacles to field research on minority languages in Laos, which seriously hamper their documentation.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2006). Lao body part terms. Language Sciences, 28(2-3), 181-200. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2005.11.011.

    Abstract

    This article presents a description of nominal expressions for parts of the human body conventionalised in Lao, a Southwestern Tai language spoken in Laos, Northeast Thailand, and Northeast Cambodia. An inventory of around 170 Lao expressions is listed, with commentary where some notability is determined, usually based on explicit comparison to the metalanguage, English. Notes on aspects of the grammatical and semantic structure of the set of body part terms are provided, including a discussion of semantic relations pertaining among members of the set of body part terms. I conclude that the semantic relations which pertain between terms for different parts of the body not only include part/whole relations, but also relations of location, connectedness, and general association. Calling the whole system a ‘partonomy’ attributes greater centrality to the part/whole relation than is warranted.
  • Erard, M. (2017). Write yourself invisible. New Scientist, 236(3153), 36-39.
  • 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., Lahey, M., Verhees, F., & Baayen, R. H. (2006). Lexical frequency and voice assimilation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 120(2), 1040-1051. doi:10.1121/1.2211548.

    Abstract

    Acoustic duration and degree of vowel reduction are known to correlate with a word’s frequency of occurrence. The present study broadens the research on the role of frequency in speech production to voice assimilation. The test case was regressive voice assimilation in Dutch. Clusters from a corpus of read speech were more often perceived as unassimilated in lower-frequency words and as either completely voiced regressive assimilation or, unexpectedly, as completely voiceless progressive assimilation in higher-frequency words. Frequency did not predict the voice classifications over and above important acoustic cues to voicing, suggesting that the frequency effects on the classifications were carried exclusively by the acoustic signal. The duration of the cluster and the period of glottal vibration during the cluster decreased while the duration of the release noises increased with frequency. This indicates that speakers reduce articulatory effort for higher-frequency words, with some acoustic cues signaling more voicing and others less voicing. A higher frequency leads not only to acoustic reduction but also to more assimilation.
  • Ernestus, M. (2006). Statistically gradient generalizations for contrastive phonological features. The Linguistic Review, 23(3), 217-233. doi:10.1515/TLR.2006.008.

    Abstract

    In mainstream phonology, contrastive properties, like stem-final voicing, are simply listed in the lexicon. This article reviews experimental evidence that such contrastive properties may be predictable to some degree and that the relevant statistically gradient generalizations form an inherent part of the grammar. The evidence comes from the underlying voice specification of stem-final obstruents in Dutch. Contrary to received wisdom, this voice specification is partly predictable from the obstruent’s manner and place of articulation and from the phonological properties of the preceding segments. The degree of predictability, which depends on the exact contents of the lexicon, directs speakers’ guesses of underlying voice specifications. Moreover, existing words that disobey the generalizations are disadvantaged by being recognized and produced more slowly and less accurately, also under natural conditions.We discuss how these observations can be accounted for in two types of different approaches to grammar, Stochastic Optimality Theory and exemplar-based modeling.
  • 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.

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, S. E., & Francks, C. (2006). Genes, cognition and dyslexia: Learning to read the genome. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10, 250-257. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2006.04.003.

    Abstract

    Studies of dyslexia provide vital insights into the cognitive architecture underpinning both disordered and normal reading. It is well established that inherited factors contribute to dyslexia susceptibility, but only very recently has evidence emerged to implicate specific candidate genes. In this article, we provide an accessible overview of four prominent examples--DYX1C1, KIAA0319, DCDC2 and ROBO1--and discuss their relevance for cognition. In each case correlations have been found between genetic variation and reading impairments, but precise risk variants remain elusive. Although none of these genes is specific to reading-related neuronal circuits, or even to the human brain, they have intriguing roles in neuronal migration or connectivity. Dissection of cognitive mechanisms that subserve reading will ultimately depend on an integrated approach, uniting data from genetic investigations, behavioural studies and neuroimaging.
  • Fisher, S. E. (2006). Tangled webs: Tracing the connections between genes and cognition. Cognition, 101, 270-297. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2006.04.004.

    Abstract

    The rise of molecular genetics is having a pervasive influence in a wide variety of fields, including research into neurodevelopmental disorders like dyslexia, speech and language impairments, and autism. There are many studies underway which are attempting to determine the roles of genetic factors in the aetiology of these disorders. Beyond the obvious implications for diagnosis, treatment and understanding, success in these efforts promises to shed light on the links between genes and aspects of cognition and behaviour. However, the deceptive simplicity of finding correlations between genetic and phenotypic variation has led to a common misconception that there exist straightforward linear relationships between specific genes and particular behavioural and/or cognitive outputs. The problem is exacerbated by the adoption of an abstract view of the nature of the gene, without consideration of molecular, developmental or ontogenetic frameworks. To illustrate the limitations of this perspective, I select two cases from recent research into the genetic underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disorders. First, I discuss the proposal that dyslexia can be dissected into distinct components specified by different genes. Second, I review the story of the FOXP2 gene and its role in human speech and language. In both cases, adoption of an abstract concept of the gene can lead to erroneous conclusions, which are incompatible with current knowledge of molecular and developmental systems. Genes do not specify behaviours or cognitive processes; they make regulatory factors, signalling molecules, receptors, enzymes, and so on, that interact in highly complex networks, modulated by environmental influences, in order to build and maintain the brain. I propose that it is necessary for us to fully embrace the complexity of biological systems, if we are ever to untangle the webs that link genes to cognition.
  • Fisher, S. E., & Marcus, G. (2006). The eloquent ape: Genes, brains and the evolution of language. Nature Reviews Genetics, 7, 9-20. doi:10.1038/nrg1747.

    Abstract

    The human capacity to acquire complex language seems to be without parallel in the natural world. The origins of this remarkable trait have long resisted adequate explanation, but advances in fields that range from molecular genetics to cognitive neuroscience offer new promise. Here we synthesize recent developments in linguistics, psychology and neuroimaging with progress in comparative genomics, gene-expression profiling and studies of developmental disorders. We argue that language should be viewed not as a wholesale innovation, but as a complex reconfiguration of ancestral systems that have been adapted in evolutionarily novel ways.
  • 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
  • Forkstam, C., Hagoort, P., Fernandez, G., Ingvar, M., & Petersson, K. M. (2006). Neural correlates of artificial syntactic structure classification. NeuroImage, 32(2), 956-967. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.03.057.

    Abstract

    The human brain supports acquisition mechanisms that extract structural regularities implicitly from experience without the induction of an explicit model. It has been argued that the capacity to generalize to new input is based on the acquisition of abstract representations, which reflect underlying structural regularities in the input ensemble. In this study, we explored the outcome of this acquisition mechanism, and to this end, we investigated the neural correlates of artificial syntactic classification using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. The participants engaged once a day during an 8-day period in a short-term memory acquisition task in which consonant-strings generated from an artificial grammar were presented in a sequential fashion without performance feedback. They performed reliably above chance on the grammaticality classification tasks on days 1 and 8 which correlated with a corticostriatal processing network, including frontal, cingulate, inferior parietal, and middle occipital/occipitotemporal regions as well as the caudate nucleus. Part of the left inferior frontal region (BA 45) was specifically related to syntactic violations and showed no sensitivity to local substring familiarity. In addition, the head of the caudate nucleus correlated positively with syntactic correctness on day 8 but not day 1, suggesting that this region contributes to an increase in cognitive processing fluency.
  • 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., 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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