Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 111
  • Alday, P. M. (2016). Towards a rigorous motivation for Ziph's law. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/178.html.

    Abstract

    Language evolution can be viewed from two viewpoints: the development of a communicative system and the biological adaptations necessary for producing and perceiving said system. The communicative-system vantage point has enjoyed a wealth of mathematical models based on simple distributional properties of language, often formulated as empirical laws. However, be- yond vague psychological notions of “least effort”, no principled explanation has been proposed for the existence and success of such laws. Meanwhile, psychological and neurobiological mod- els have focused largely on the computational constraints presented by incremental, real-time processing. In the following, we show that information-theoretic entropy underpins successful models of both types and provides a more principled motivation for Zipf’s Law
  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2016). Generalization in Artificial Language Learning: Modelling the Propensity to Generalize. In Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Cognitive Aspects of Computational Language Learning (pp. 64-72). Association for Computational Linguistics. doi:10.18653/v1/W16-1909.

    Abstract

    Experiments in Artificial Language Learn- ing have revealed much about the cogni- tive mechanisms underlying sequence and language learning in human adults, in in- fants and in non-human animals. This pa- per focuses on their ability to generalize to novel grammatical instances (i.e., in- stances consistent with a familiarization pattern). Notably, the propensity to gen- eralize appears to be negatively correlated with the amount of exposure to the artifi- cial language, a fact that has been claimed to be contrary to the predictions of statis- tical models (Pe ̃ na et al. (2002); Endress and Bonatti (2007)). In this paper, we pro- pose to model generalization as a three- step process, and we demonstrate that the use of statistical models for the first two steps, contrary to widespread intuitions in the ALL-field, can explain the observed decrease of the propensity to generalize with exposure time.
  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2016). Pre-Wiring and Pre-Training: What does a neural network need to learn truly general identity rules? In T. R. Besold, A. Bordes, & A. D'Avila Garcez (Eds.), CoCo 2016 Cognitive Computation: Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Computation: Integrating neural and symbolic approaches 2016. CEUR Workshop Proceedings.

    Abstract

    In an influential paper, Marcus et al. [1999] claimed that connectionist models cannot account for human success at learning tasks that involved generalization of abstract knowledge such as grammatical rules. This claim triggered a heated debate, centered mostly around variants of the Simple Recurrent Network model [Elman, 1990]. In our work, we revisit this unresolved debate and analyze the underlying issues from a different perspective. We argue that, in order to simulate human-like learning of grammatical rules, a neural network model should not be used as a tabula rasa , but rather, the initial wiring of the neural connections and the experience acquired prior to the actual task should be incorporated into the model. We present two methods that aim to provide such initial state: a manipu- lation of the initial connections of the network in a cognitively plausible manner (concretely, by implementing a “delay-line” memory), and a pre-training algorithm that incrementally challenges the network with novel stimuli. We implement such techniques in an Echo State Network [Jaeger, 2001], and we show that only when combining both techniques the ESN is able to learn truly general identity rules.
  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2017). Segmentation as Retention and Recognition: the R&R model. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 1531-1536). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    We present the Retention and Recognition model (R&R), a probabilistic exemplar model that accounts for segmentation in Artificial Language Learning experiments. We show that R&R provides an excellent fit to human responses in three segmentation experiments with adults (Frank et al., 2010), outperforming existing models. Additionally, we analyze the results of the simulations and propose alternative explanations for the experimental findings.
  • Allen, S. E. M. (1998). A discourse-pragmatic explanation for the subject-object asymmetry in early null arguments. In A. Sorace, C. Heycock, & R. Shillcock (Eds.), Proceedings of the GALA '97 Conference on Language Acquisition (pp. 10-15). Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.

    Abstract

    The present paper assesses discourse-pragmatic factors as a potential explanation for the subject-object assymetry in early child language. It identifies a set of factors which characterize typical situations of informativeness (Greenfield & Smith, 1976), and uses these factors to identify informative arguments in data from four children aged 2;0 through 3;6 learning Inuktitut as a first language. In addition, it assesses the extent of the links between features of informativeness on one hand and lexical vs. null and subject vs. object arguments on the other. Results suggest that a pragmatics account of the subject-object asymmetry can be upheld to a greater extent than previous research indicates, and that several of the factors characterizing informativeness are good indicators of those arguments which tend to be omitted in early child language.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Highly proficient bilinguals maintain language-specific pragmatic constraints on pronouns: Evidence from speech and gesture. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 81-86). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The use of subject pronouns by bilingual speakers using both a pro-drop and a non-pro-drop language (e.g. Spanish heritage speakers in the USA) is a well-studied topic in research on cross-linguistic influence in language contact situations. Previous studies looking at bilinguals with different proficiency levels have yielded conflicting results on whether there is transfer from the non-pro-drop patterns to the pro-drop language. Additionally, previous research has focused on speech patterns only. In this paper, we study the two modalities of language, speech and gesture, and ask whether and how they reveal cross-linguistic influence on the use of subject pronouns in discourse. We focus on elicited narratives from heritage speakers of Turkish in the Netherlands, in both Turkish (pro-drop) and Dutch (non-pro-drop), as well as from monolingual control groups. The use of pronouns was not very common in monolingual Turkish narratives and was constrained by the pragmatic contexts, unlike in Dutch. Furthermore, Turkish pronouns were more likely to be accompanied by localized gestures than Dutch pronouns, presumably because pronouns in Turkish are pragmatically marked forms. We did not find any cross-linguistic influence in bilingual speech or gesture patterns, in line with studies (speech only) of highly proficient bilinguals. We therefore suggest that speech and gesture parallel each other not only in monolingual but also in bilingual production. Highly proficient heritage speakers who have been exposed to diverse linguistic and gestural patterns of each language from early on maintain monolingual patterns of pragmatic constraints on the use of pronouns multimodally.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2016). Pragmatic relativity: Gender and context affect the use of personal pronouns in discourse differentially across languages. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1295-1300). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Speakers use differential referring expressions in pragmatically appropriate ways to produce coherent narratives. Languages, however, differ in a) whether REs as arguments can be dropped and b) whether personal pronouns encode gender. We examine two languages that differ from each other in these two aspects and ask whether the co-reference context and the gender encoding options affect the use of REs differentially. We elicited narratives from Dutch and Turkish speakers about two types of three-person events, one including people of the same and the other of mixed-gender. Speakers re-introduced referents into the discourse with fuller forms (NPs) and maintained them with reduced forms (overt or null pronoun). Turkish speakers used pronouns mainly to mark emphasis and only Dutch speakers used pronouns differentially across the two types of videos. We argue that linguistic possibilities available in languages tune speakers into taking different principles into account to produce pragmatically coherent narratives
  • Bergmann, C., Cristia, A., & Dupoux, E. (2016). Discriminability of sound contrasts in the face of speaker variation quantified. In Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 1331-1336). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    How does a naive language learner deal with speaker variation irrelevant to distinguishing word meanings? Experimental data is contradictory, and incompatible models have been proposed. Here, we examine basic assumptions regarding the acoustic signal the learner deals with: Is speaker variability a hurdle in discriminating sounds or can it easily be ignored? To this end, we summarize existing infant data. We then present machine-based discriminability scores of sound pairs obtained without any language knowledge. Our results show that speaker variability decreases sound contrast discriminability, and that some contrasts are affected more than others. However, chance performance is rare; most contrasts remain discriminable in the face of speaker variation. We take our results to mean that speaker variation is not a uniform hurdle to discriminating sound contrasts, and careful examination is necessary when planning and interpreting studies testing whether and to what extent infants (and adults) are sensitive to speaker differences.

    Additional information

    Scripts and data
  • Bergmann, C., Tsuji, S., & Cristia, A. (2017). Top-down versus bottom-up theories of phonological acquisition: A big data approach. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2103-2107).

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

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

    Abstract

    Theories of language acquisition and perceptual learning increasingly rely on statistical learning mechanisms. The current meta-analysis aims to clarify the robustness of this capacity in infancy within the word segmentation literature. Our analysis reveals a significant, small effect size for conceptual replications of Saffran, Aslin, & Newport (1996), and a nonsignificant effect across all studies that incorporate transitional probabilities to segment words. In both conceptual replications and the broader literature, however, statistical learning is moderated by whether stimuli are naturally produced or synthesized. These findings invite deeper questions about the complex factors that influence statistical learning, and the role of statistical learning in language acquisition.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Kösem, A. (2017). An entrained rhythm's frequency, not phase, influences temporal sampling of speech. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2416-2420). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-73.

    Abstract

    Brain oscillations have been shown to track the slow amplitude fluctuations in speech during comprehension. Moreover, there is evidence that these stimulus-induced cortical rhythms may persist even after the driving stimulus has ceased. However, how exactly this neural entrainment shapes speech perception remains debated. This behavioral study investigated whether and how the frequency and phase of an entrained rhythm would influence the temporal sampling of subsequent speech. In two behavioral experiments, participants were presented with slow and fast isochronous tone sequences, followed by Dutch target words ambiguous between as /ɑs/ “ash” (with a short vowel) and aas /a:s/ “bait” (with a long vowel). Target words were presented at various phases of the entrained rhythm. Both experiments revealed effects of the frequency of the tone sequence on target word perception: fast sequences biased listeners to more long /a:s/ responses. However, no evidence for phase effects could be discerned. These findings show that an entrained rhythm’s frequency, but not phase, influences the temporal sampling of subsequent speech. These outcomes are compatible with theories suggesting that sensory timing is evaluated relative to entrained frequency. Furthermore, they suggest that phase tracking of (syllabic) rhythms by theta oscillations plays a limited role in speech parsing.
  • Bosker, H. R., Reinisch, E., & Sjerps, M. J. (2016). Listening under cognitive load makes speech sound fast. In H. van den Heuvel, B. Cranen, & S. Mattys (Eds.), Proceedings of the Speech Processing in Realistic Environments [SPIRE] Workshop (pp. 23-24). Groningen.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2016). Our own speech rate influences speech perception. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Stattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 227-231).

    Abstract

    During conversation, spoken utterances occur in rich acoustic contexts, including speech produced by our interlocutor(s) and speech we produced ourselves. Prosodic characteristics of the acoustic context have been known to influence speech perception in a contrastive fashion: for instance, a vowel presented in a fast context is perceived to have a longer duration than the same vowel in a slow context. Given the ubiquity of the sound of our own voice, it may be that our own speech rate - a common source of acoustic context - also influences our perception of the speech of others. Two experiments were designed to test this hypothesis. Experiment 1 replicated earlier contextual rate effects by showing that hearing pre-recorded fast or slow context sentences alters the perception of ambiguous Dutch target words. Experiment 2 then extended this finding by showing that talking at a fast or slow rate prior to the presentation of the target words also altered the perception of those words. These results suggest that between-talker variation in speech rate production may induce between-talker variation in speech perception, thus potentially explaining why interlocutors tend to converge on speech rate in dialogue settings.

    Additional information

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  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). The role of temporal amplitude modulations in the political arena: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2228-2232). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-142.

    Abstract

    Speech is an acoustic signal with inherent amplitude modulations in the 1-9 Hz range. Recent models of speech perception propose that this rhythmic nature of speech is central to speech recognition. Moreover, rhythmic amplitude modulations have been shown to have beneficial effects on language processing and the subjective impression listeners have of the speaker. This study investigated the role of amplitude modulations in the political arena by comparing the speech produced by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three presidential debates of 2016. Inspection of the modulation spectra, revealing the spectral content of the two speakers’ amplitude envelopes after matching for overall intensity, showed considerably greater power in Clinton’s modulation spectra (compared to Trump’s) across the three debates, particularly in the 1-9 Hz range. The findings suggest that Clinton’s speech had a more pronounced temporal envelope with rhythmic amplitude modulations below 9 Hz, with a preference for modulations around 3 Hz. This may be taken as evidence for a more structured temporal organization of syllables in Clinton’s speech, potentially due to more frequent use of preplanned utterances. Outcomes are interpreted in light of the potential beneficial effects of a rhythmic temporal envelope on intelligibility and speaker perception.
  • Bowerman, M. (1983). Hidden meanings: The role of covert conceptual structures in children's development of language. In D. Rogers, & J. A. Sloboda (Eds.), The acquisition of symbolic skills (pp. 445-470). New York: Plenum Press.
  • Bruggeman, L., & Cutler, A. (2016). Lexical manipulation as a discovery tool for psycholinguistic research. In C. Carignan, & M. D. Tyler (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (SST2016) (pp. 313-316).
  • Burchfield, L. A., Luk, S.-.-H.-K., Antoniou, M., & Cutler, A. (2017). Lexically guided perceptual learning in Mandarin Chinese. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 576-580). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-618.

    Abstract

    Lexically guided perceptual learni ng refers to the use of lexical knowledge to retune sp eech categories and thereby adapt to a novel talker’s pronunciation. This adaptation has been extensively documented, but primarily for segmental-based learning in English and Dutch. In languages with lexical tone, such as Mandarin Chinese, tonal categories can also be retuned in this way, but segmental category retuning had not been studied. We report two experiment s in which Mandarin Chinese listeners were exposed to an ambiguous mixture of [f] and [s] in lexical contexts favoring an interpretation as either [f] or [s]. Listeners were subsequently more likely to identify sounds along a continuum between [f] and [s], and to interpret minimal word pairs, in a manner consistent with this exposure. Thus lexically guided perceptual learning of segmental categories had indeed taken place, consistent with suggestions that such learning may be a universally available adaptation process
  • Casillas, M., Bergelson, E., Warlaumont, A. S., Cristia, A., Soderstrom, M., VanDam, M., & Sloetjes, H. (2017). A New Workflow for Semi-automatized Annotations: Tests with Long-Form Naturalistic Recordings of Childrens Language Environments. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2098-2102). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1418.

    Abstract

    Interoperable annotation formats are fundamental to the utility, expansion, and sustainability of collective data repositories.In language development research, shared annotation schemes have been critical to facilitating the transition from raw acoustic data to searchable, structured corpora. Current schemes typically require comprehensive and manual annotation of utterance boundaries and orthographic speech content, with an additional, optional range of tags of interest. These schemes have been enormously successful for datasets on the scale of dozens of recording hours but are untenable for long-format recording corpora, which routinely contain hundreds to thousands of audio hours. Long-format corpora would benefit greatly from (semi-)automated analyses, both on the earliest steps of annotation—voice activity detection, utterance segmentation, and speaker diarization—as well as later steps—e.g., classification-based codes such as child-vs-adult-directed speech, and speech recognition to produce phonetic/orthographic representations. We present an annotation workflow specifically designed for long-format corpora which can be tailored by individual researchers and which interfaces with the current dominant scheme for short-format recordings. The workflow allows semi-automated annotation and analyses at higher linguistic levels. We give one example of how the workflow has been successfully implemented in a large cross-database project.
  • Casillas, M., Amatuni, A., Seidl, A., Soderstrom, M., Warlaumont, A., & Bergelson, E. (2017). What do Babies hear? Analyses of Child- and Adult-Directed Speech. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2093-2097). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1409.

    Abstract

    Child-directed speech is argued to facilitate language development, and is found cross-linguistically and cross-culturally to varying degrees. However, previous research has generally focused on short samples of child-caregiver interaction, often in the lab or with experimenters present. We test the generalizability of this phenomenon with an initial descriptive analysis of the speech heard by young children in a large, unique collection of naturalistic, daylong home recordings. Trained annotators coded automatically-detected adult speech 'utterances' from 61 homes across 4 North American cities, gathered from children (age 2-24 months) wearing audio recorders during a typical day. Coders marked the speaker gender (male/female) and intended addressee (child/adult), yielding 10,886 addressee and gender tags from 2,523 minutes of audio (cf. HB-CHAAC Interspeech ComParE challenge; Schuller et al., in press). Automated speaker-diarization (LENA) incorrectly gender-tagged 30% of male adult utterances, compared to manually-coded consensus. Furthermore, we find effects of SES and gender on child-directed and overall speech, increasing child-directed speech with child age, and interactions of speaker gender, child gender, and child age: female caretakers increased their child-directed speech more with age than male caretakers did, but only for male infants. Implications for language acquisition and existing classification algorithms are discussed.
  • Crago, M. B., Allen, S. E. M., & Pesco, D. (1998). Issues of Complexity in Inuktitut and English Child Directed Speech. In Proceedings of the twenty-ninth Annual Stanford Child Language Research Forum (pp. 37-46).
  • Croijmans, I., & Majid, A. (2016). Language does not explain the wine-specific memory advantage of wine experts. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 141-146). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Although people are poor at naming odors, naming a smell helps to remember that odor. Previous studies show wine experts have better memory for smells, and they also name smells differently than novices. Is wine experts’ odor memory is verbally mediated? And is the odor memory advantage that experts have over novices restricted to odors in their domain of expertise, or does it generalize? Twenty-four wine experts and 24 novices smelled wines, wine-related odors and common odors, and remembered these. Half the participants also named the smells. Wine experts had better memory for wines, but not for the other odors, indicating their memory advantage is restricted to wine. Wine experts named odors better than novices, but there was no relationship between experts’ ability to name odors and their memory for odors. This suggests experts’ odor memory advantage is not linguistically mediated, but may be the result of differential perceptual learning
  • Cutler, A., & Otake, T. (1998). Assimilation of place in Japanese and Dutch. In R. Mannell, & J. Robert-Ribes (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: vol. 5 (pp. 1751-1754). Sydney: ICLSP.

    Abstract

    Assimilation of place of articulation across a nasal and a following stop consonant is obligatory in Japanese, but not in Dutch. In four experiments the processing of assimilated forms by speakers of Japanese and Dutch was compared, using a task in which listeners blended pseudo-word pairs such as ranga-serupa. An assimilated blend of this pair would be rampa, an unassimilated blend rangpa. Japanese listeners produced significantly more assimilated than unassimilated forms, both with pseudo-Japanese and pseudo-Dutch materials, while Dutch listeners produced significantly more unassimilated than assimilated forms in each materials set. This suggests that Japanese listeners, whose native-language phonology involves obligatory assimilation constraints, represent the assimilated nasals in nasal-stop sequences as unmarked for place of articulation, while Dutch listeners, who are accustomed to hearing unassimilated forms, represent the same nasal segments as marked for place of articulation.
  • Ip, M., & Cutler, A. (2016). Cross-language data on five types of prosodic focus. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 330-334).

    Abstract

    To examine the relative roles of language-specific and language-universal mechanisms in the production of prosodic focus, we compared production of five different types of focus by native speakers of English and Mandarin. Two comparable dialogues were constructed for each language, with the same words appearing in focused and unfocused position; 24 speakers recorded each dialogue in each language. Duration, F0 (mean, maximum, range), and rms-intensity (mean, maximum) of all critical word tokens were measured. Across the different types of focus, cross-language differences were observed in the degree to which English versus Mandarin speakers use the different prosodic parameters to mark focus, suggesting that while prosody may be universally available for expressing focus, the means of its employment may be considerably language-specific
  • Cutler, A. (2017). Converging evidence for abstract phonological knowledge in speech processing. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 1447-1448). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The perceptual processing of speech is a constant interplay of multiple competing albeit convergent processes: acoustic input vs. higher-level representations, universal mechanisms vs. language-specific, veridical traces of speech experience vs. construction and activation of abstract representations. The present summary concerns the third of these issues. The ability to generalise across experience and to deal with resulting abstractions is the hallmark of human cognition, visible even in early infancy. In speech processing, abstract representations play a necessary role in both production and perception. New sorts of evidence are now informing our understanding of the breadth of this role.
  • Cutler, A. (1998). How listeners find the right words. In Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Congress on Acoustics: Vol. 2 (pp. 1377-1380). Melville, NY: Acoustical Society of America.

    Abstract

    Languages contain tens of thousands of words, but these are constructed from a tiny handful of phonetic elements. Consequently, words resemble one another, or can be embedded within one another, a coup stick snot with standing. me process of spoken-word recognition by human listeners involves activation of multiple word candidates consistent with the input, and direct competition between activated candidate words. Further, human listeners are sensitive, at an early, prelexical, stage of speeeh processing, to constraints on what could potentially be a word of the language.
  • Ip, M. H. K., & Cutler, A. (2017). Intonation facilitates prediction of focus even in the presence of lexical tones. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 1218-1222). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-264.

    Abstract

    In English and Dutch, listeners entrain to prosodic contours to predict where focus will fall in an utterance. However, is this strategy universally available, even in languages with different phonological systems? In a phoneme detection experiment, we examined whether prosodic entrainment is also found in Mandarin Chinese, a tone language, where in principle the use of pitch for lexical identity may take precedence over the use of pitch cues to salience. Consistent with the results from Germanic languages, response times were facilitated when preceding intonation predicted accent on the target-bearing word. Acoustic analyses revealed greater F0 range in the preceding intonation of the predicted-accent sentences. These findings have implications for how universal and language-specific mechanisms interact in the processing of salience.
  • Cutler, A. (1980). Productivity in word formation. In J. Kreiman, & A. E. Ojeda (Eds.), Papers from the Sixteenth Regional Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society (pp. 45-51). Chicago, Ill.: CLS.
  • Cutler, A. (1983). Semantics, syntax and sentence accent. In M. Van den Broecke, & A. Cohen (Eds.), Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (pp. 85-91). Dordrecht: Foris.
  • Cutler, A., Treiman, R., & Van Ooijen, B. (1998). Orthografik inkoncistensy ephekts in foneme detektion? In R. Mannell, & J. Robert-Ribes (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 6 (pp. 2783-2786). Sydney: ICSLP.

    Abstract

    The phoneme detection task is widely used in spoken word recognition research. Alphabetically literate participants, however, are more used to explicit representations of letters than of phonemes. The present study explored whether phoneme detection is sensitive to how target phonemes are, or may be, orthographically realised. Listeners detected the target sounds [b,m,t,f,s,k] in word-initial position in sequences of isolated English words. Response times were faster to the targets [b,m,t], which have consistent word-initial spelling, than to the targets [f,s,k], which are inconsistently spelled, but only when listeners’ attention was drawn to spelling by the presence in the experiment of many irregularly spelled fillers. Within the inconsistent targets [f,s,k], there was no significant difference between responses to targets in words with majority and minority spellings. We conclude that performance in the phoneme detection task is not necessarily sensitive to orthographic effects, but that salient orthographic manipulation can induce such sensitivity.
  • Cutler, A. (1998). The recognition of spoken words with variable representations. In D. Duez (Ed.), Proceedings of the ESCA Workshop on Sound Patterns of Spontaneous Speech (pp. 83-92). Aix-en-Provence: Université de Aix-en-Provence.
  • Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. R. (2016). Anatomical biasing of click learning and production: An MRI and 3d palate imaging study. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/57.html.

    Abstract

    The current paper presents results for data on click learning obtained from a larger imaging study (using MRI and 3D intraoral scanning) designed to quantify and characterize intra- and inter-population variation of vocal tract structures and the relation of this to speech production. The aim of the click study was to ascertain whether and to what extent vocal tract morphology influences (1) the ability to learn to produce clicks and (2) the productions of those that successfully learn to produce these sounds. The results indicate that the presence of an alveolar ridge certainly does not prevent an individual from learning to produce click sounds (1). However, the subtle details of how clicks are produced may indeed be driven by palate shape (2).
  • Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. (2016). Defining and counting phonological classes in cross-linguistic segment databases. In N. Calzolari, K. Choukri, T. Declerck, S. Goggi, M. Grobelnik, B. Maegaard, J. Mariani, H. Mazo, A. Moreno, J. Odijk, & S. Piperidis (Eds.), Proceedings of LREC 2016: 10th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (pp. 1955-1962). Paris: European Language Resources Association (ELRA).

    Abstract

    Recently, there has been an explosion in the availability of large, good-quality cross-linguistic databases such as WALS (Dryer & Haspelmath, 2013), Glottolog (Hammarstrom et al., 2015) and Phoible (Moran & McCloy, 2014). Databases such as Phoible contain the actual segments used by various languages as they are given in the primary language descriptions. However, this segment-level representation cannot be used directly for analyses that require generalizations over classes of segments that share theoretically interesting features. Here we present a method and the associated R (R Core Team, 2014) code that allows the exible denition of such meaningful classes and that can identify the sets of segments falling into such a class for any language inventory. The method and its results are important for those interested in exploring cross-linguistic patterns of phonetic and phonological diversity and their relationship to extra-linguistic factors and processes such as climate, economics, history or human genetics.
  • Doumas, L. A., & Martin, A. E. (2016). Abstraction in time: Finding hierarchical linguistic structure in a model of relational processing. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 2279-2284). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Abstract mental representation is fundamental for human cognition. Forming such representations in time, especially from dynamic and noisy perceptual input, is a challenge for any processing modality, but perhaps none so acutely as for language processing. We show that LISA (Hummel & Holyaok, 1997) and DORA (Doumas, Hummel, & Sandhofer, 2008), models built to process and to learn structured (i.e., symbolic) rep resentations of conceptual properties and relations from unstructured inputs, show oscillatory activation during processing that is highly similar to the cortical activity elicited by the linguistic stimuli from Ding et al.(2016). We argue, as Ding et al.(2016), that this activation reflects formation of hierarchical linguistic representation, and furthermore, that the kind of computational mechanisms in LISA/DORA (e.g., temporal binding by systematic asynchrony of firing) may underlie formation of abstract linguistic representations in the human brain. It may be this repurposing that allowed for the generation or mergence of hierarchical linguistic structure, and therefore, human language, from extant cognitive and neural systems. We conclude that models of thinking and reasoning and models of language processing must be integrated —not only for increased plausiblity, but in order to advance both fields towards a larger integrative model of human cognition
  • Doumas, L. A. A., Hamer, A., Puebla, G., & Martin, A. E. (2017). A theory of the detection and learning of structured representations of similarity and relative magnitude. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 1955-1960). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Responding to similarity, difference, and relative magnitude (SDM) is ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. However, humans seem unique in the ability to represent relative magnitude (‘more’/‘less’) and similarity (‘same’/‘different’) as abstract relations that take arguments (e.g., greater-than (x,y)). While many models use structured relational representations of magnitude and similarity, little progress has been made on how these representations arise. Models that developuse these representations assume access to computations of similarity and magnitude a priori, either encoded as features or as output of evaluation operators. We detail a mechanism for producing invariant responses to “same”, “different”, “more”, and “less” which can be exploited to compute similarity and magnitude as an evaluation operator. Using DORA (Doumas, Hummel, & Sandhofer, 2008), these invariant responses can serve be used to learn structured relational representations of relative magnitude and similarity from pixel images of simple shapes
  • Drozd, K. F. (1998). No as a determiner in child English: A summary of categorical evidence. In A. Sorace, C. Heycock, & R. Shillcock (Eds.), Proceedings of the Gala '97 Conference on Language Acquisition (pp. 34-39). Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press,.

    Abstract

    This paper summarizes the results of a descriptive syntactic category analysis of child English no which reveals that young children use and represent no as a determiner and negatives like no pen as NPs, contra standard analyses.
  • Drozdova, P., Van Hout, R., & Scharenborg, O. (2016). Processing and adaptation to ambiguous sounds during the course of perceptual learning. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2811-2815). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2016-814.

    Abstract

    Listeners use their lexical knowledge to interpret ambiguous sounds, and retune their phonetic categories to include this ambiguous sound. Although there is ample evidence for lexically-guided retuning, the adaptation process is not fully understood. Using a lexical decision task with an embedded auditory semantic priming task, the present study investigates whether words containing an ambiguous sound are processed in the same way as “natural” words and whether adaptation to the ambiguous sound tends to equalize the processing of “ambiguous” and natural words. Analyses of the yes/no responses and reaction times to natural and “ambiguous” words showed that words containing an ambiguous sound were accepted as words less often and were processed slower than the same words without ambiguity. The difference in acceptance disappeared after exposure to approximately 15 ambiguous items. Interestingly, lower acceptance rates and slower processing did not have an effect on the processing of semantic information of the following word. However, lower acceptance rates of ambiguous primes predict slower reaction times of these primes, suggesting an important role of stimulus-specific characteristics in triggering lexically-guided perceptual learning.
  • Edmiston, P., Perlman, M., & Lupyan, G. (2017). Creating words from iterated vocal imitation. In G. Gunzelman, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 331-336). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    We report the results of a large-scale (N=1571) experiment to investigate whether spoken words can emerge from the process of repeated imitation. Participants played a version of the children’s game “Telephone”. The first generation was asked to imitate recognizable environmental sounds (e.g., glass breaking, water splashing); subsequent generations imitated the imitators for a total of 8 generations. We then examined whether the vocal imitations became more stable and word-like, retained a resemblance to the original sound, and became more suitable as learned category labels. The results showed (1) the imitations became progressively more word-like, (2) even after 8 generations, they could be matched above chance to the environmental sound that motivated them, and (3) imitations from later generations were more effective as learned category labels. These results show how repeated imitation can create progressively more word-like forms while retaining a semblance of iconicity.
  • Eryilmaz, K., Little, H., & De Boer, B. (2016). Using HMMs To Attribute Structure To Artificial Languages. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/125.html.

    Abstract

    We investigated the use of Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) as a way of representing repertoires of continuous signals in order to infer their building blocks. We tested the idea on a dataset from an artificial language experiment. The study demonstrates using HMMs for this purpose is viable, but also that there is a lot of room for refinement such as explicit duration modeling, incorporation of autoregressive elements and relaxing the Markovian assumption, in order to accommodate specific details.
  • Filippi, P., Congdon, J. V., Hoang, J., Bowling, D. L., Reber, S., Pašukonis, A., Hoeschele, M., Ocklenburg, S., de Boer, B., Sturdy, C. B., Newen, A., & Güntürkün, O. (2016). Humans Recognize Vocal Expressions Of Emotional States Universally Across Species. In The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/91.html.

    Abstract

    The perception of danger in the environment can induce physiological responses (such as a heightened state of arousal) in animals, which may cause measurable changes in the prosodic modulation of the voice (Briefer, 2012). The ability to interpret the prosodic features of animal calls as an indicator of emotional arousal may have provided the first hominins with an adaptive advantage, enabling, for instance, the recognition of a threat in the surroundings. This ability might have paved the ability to process meaningful prosodic modulations in the emerging linguistic utterances.
  • Filippi, P., Ocklenburg, S., Bowling, D. L., Heege, L., Newen, A., Güntürkün, O., & de Boer, B. (2016). Multimodal Processing Of Emotional Meanings: A Hypothesis On The Adaptive Value Of Prosody. In The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/90.html.

    Abstract

    Humans combine multiple sources of information to comprehend meanings. These sources can be characterized as linguistic (i.e., lexical units and/or sentences) or paralinguistic (e.g. body posture, facial expression, voice intonation, pragmatic context). Emotion communication is a special case in which linguistic and paralinguistic dimensions can simultaneously denote the same, or multiple incongruous referential meanings. Think, for instance, about when someone says “I’m sad!”, but does so with happy intonation and a happy facial expression. Here, the communicative channels express very specific (although conflicting) emotional states as denotations. In such cases of intermodal incongruence, are we involuntarily biased to respond to information in one channel over the other? We hypothesize that humans are involuntary biased to respond to prosody over verbal content and facial expression, since the ability to communicate socially relevant information such as basic emotional states through prosodic modulation of the voice might have provided early hominins with an adaptive advantage that preceded the emergence of segmental speech (Darwin 1871; Mithen, 2005). To address this hypothesis, we examined the interaction between multiple communicative channels in recruiting attentional resources, within a Stroop interference task (i.e. a task in which different channels give conflicting information; Stroop, 1935). In experiment 1, we used synonyms of “happy” and “sad” spoken with happy and sad prosody. Participants were asked to identify the emotion expressed by the verbal content while ignoring prosody (Word task) or vice versa (Prosody task). Participants responded faster and more accurately in the Prosody task. Within the Word task, incongruent stimuli were responded to more slowly and less accurately than congruent stimuli. In experiment 2, we adopted synonyms of “happy” and “sad” spoken in happy and sad prosody, while a happy or sad face was displayed. Participants were asked to identify the emotion expressed by the verbal content while ignoring prosody and face (Word task), to identify the emotion expressed by prosody while ignoring verbal content and face (Prosody task), or to identify the emotion expressed by the face while ignoring prosody and verbal content (Face task). Participants responded faster in the Face task and less accurately when the two non-focused channels were expressing an emotion that was incongruent with the focused one, as compared with the condition where all the channels were congruent. In addition, in the Word task, accuracy was lower when prosody was incongruent to verbal content and face, as compared with the condition where all the channels were congruent. Our data suggest that prosody interferes with emotion word processing, eliciting automatic responses even when conflicting with both verbal content and facial expressions at the same time. In contrast, although processed significantly faster than prosody and verbal content, faces alone are not sufficient to interfere in emotion processing within a three-dimensional Stroop task. Our findings align with the hypothesis that the ability to communicate emotions through prosodic modulation of the voice – which seems to be dominant over verbal content - is evolutionary older than the emergence of segmental articulation (Mithen, 2005; Fitch, 2010). This hypothesis fits with quantitative data suggesting that prosody has a vital role in the perception of well-formed words (Johnson & Jusczyk, 2001), in the ability to map sounds to referential meanings (Filippi et al., 2014), and in syntactic disambiguation (Soderstrom et al., 2003). This research could complement studies on iconic communication within visual and auditory domains, providing new insights for models of language evolution. Further work aimed at how emotional cues from different modalities are simultaneously integrated will improve our understanding of how humans interpret multimodal emotional meanings in real life interactions.
  • Franken, M. K., Eisner, F., Schoffelen, J.-M., Acheson, D. J., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Audiovisual recalibration of vowel categories. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 655-658). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-122.

    Abstract

    One of the most daunting tasks of a listener is to map a continuous auditory stream onto known speech sound categories and lexical items. A major issue with this mapping problem is the variability in the acoustic realizations of sound categories, both within and across speakers. Past research has suggested listeners may use visual information (e.g., lipreading) to calibrate these speech categories to the current speaker. Previous studies have focused on audiovisual recalibration of consonant categories. The present study explores whether vowel categorization, which is known to show less sharply defined category boundaries, also benefit from visual cues. Participants were exposed to videos of a speaker pronouncing one out of two vowels, paired with audio that was ambiguous between the two vowels. After exposure, it was found that participants had recalibrated their vowel categories. In addition, individual variability in audiovisual recalibration is discussed. It is suggested that listeners’ category sharpness may be related to the weight they assign to visual information in audiovisual speech perception. Specifically, listeners with less sharp categories assign more weight to visual information during audiovisual speech recognition.
  • Frost, R. L. A., Monaghan, P., & Christiansen, M. H. (2016). Using Statistics to Learn Words and Grammatical Categories: How High Frequency Words Assist Language Acquisition. In A. Papafragou, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 81-86). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2016/papers/0027/index.html.

    Abstract

    Recent studies suggest that high-frequency words may benefit speech segmentation (Bortfeld, Morgan, Golinkoff, & Rathbun, 2005) and grammatical categorisation (Monaghan, Christiansen, & Chater, 2007). To date, these tasks have been examined separately, but not together. We familiarised adults with continuous speech comprising repetitions of target words, and compared learning to a language in which targets appeared alongside high-frequency marker words. Marker words reliably preceded targets, and distinguished them into two otherwise unidentifiable categories. Participants completed a 2AFC segmentation test, and a similarity judgement categorisation test. We tested transfer to a word-picture mapping task, where words from each category were used either consistently or inconsistently to label actions/objects. Participants segmented the speech successfully, but only demonstrated effective categorisation when speech contained high-frequency marker words. The advantage of marker words extended to the early stages of the transfer task. Findings indicate the same high-frequency words may assist speech segmentation and grammatical categorisation.
  • Fusaroli, R., Tylén, K., Garly, K., Steensig, J., Christiansen, M. H., & Dingemanse, M. (2017). Measures and mechanisms of common ground: Backchannels, conversational repair, and interactive alignment in free and task-oriented social interactions. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 2055-2060). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    A crucial aspect of everyday conversational interactions is our ability to establish and maintain common ground. Understanding the relevant mechanisms involved in such social coordination remains an important challenge for cognitive science. While common ground is often discussed in very general terms, different contexts of interaction are likely to afford different coordination mechanisms. In this paper, we investigate the presence and relation of three mechanisms of social coordination – backchannels, interactive alignment and conversational repair – across free and task-oriented conversations. We find significant differences: task-oriented conversations involve higher presence of repair – restricted offers in particular – and backchannel, as well as a reduced level of lexical and syntactic alignment. We find that restricted repair is associated with lexical alignment and open repair with backchannels. Our findings highlight the need to explicitly assess several mechanisms at once and to investigate diverse activities to understand their role and relations.
  • Gannon, E., He, J., Gao, X., & Chaparro, B. (2016). RSVP Reading on a Smart Watch. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2016 Annual Meeting (pp. 1130-1134).

    Abstract

    Reading with Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) has shown promise for optimizing screen space and increasing reading speed without compromising comprehension. Given the wide use of small-screen devices, the present study compared RSVP and traditional reading on three types of reading comprehension, reading speed, and subjective measures on a smart watch. Results confirm previous studies that show faster reading speed with RSVP without detracting from comprehension. Subjective data indicate that Traditional is strongly preferred to RSVP as a primary reading method. Given the optimal use of screen space, increased speed and comparable comprehension, future studies should focus on making RSVP a more comfortable format.
  • Gerwien, J., & Flecken, M. (2016). First things first? Top-down influences on event apprehension. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 2633-2638). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Not much is known about event apprehension, the earliest stage of information processing in elicited language production studies, using pictorial stimuli. A reason for our lack of knowledge on this process is that apprehension happens very rapidly (<350 ms after stimulus onset, Griffin & Bock 2000), making it difficult to measure the process directly. To broaden our understanding of apprehension, we analyzed landing positions and onset latencies of first fixations on visual stimuli (pictures of real-world events) given short stimulus presentation times, presupposing that the first fixation directly results from information processing during apprehension
  • Hendricks, I., Lefever, E., Croijmans, I., Majid, A., & Van den Bosch, A. (2016). Very quaffable and great fun: Applying NLP to wine reviews. In Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Vol 2 (pp. 306-312). Stroudsburg, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics.

    Abstract

    We automatically predict properties of wines on the basis of smell and flavor de- scriptions from experts’ wine reviews. We show wine experts are capable of describ- ing their smell and flavor experiences in wine reviews in a sufficiently consistent manner, such that we can use their descrip- tions to predict properties of a wine based solely on language. The experimental re- sults show promising F-scores when using lexical and semantic information to predict the color, grape variety, country of origin, and price of a wine. This demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that wine ex- perts’ reviews really are informative.
  • Hintz, F., & Scharenborg, O. (2016). Neighbourhood density influences word recognition in native and non-native speech recognition in noise. In H. Van den Heuvel, B. Cranen, & S. Mattys (Eds.), Proceedings of the Speech Processing in Realistic Environments (SPIRE) workshop (pp. 46-47). Groningen.
  • Hintz, F., & Scharenborg, O. (2016). The effect of background noise on the activation of phonological and semantic information during spoken-word recognition. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2816-2820).

    Abstract

    During spoken-word recognition, listeners experience phonological competition between multiple word candidates, which increases, relative to optimal listening conditions, when speech is masked by noise. Moreover, listeners activate semantic word knowledge during the word’s unfolding. Here, we replicated the effect of background noise on phonological competition and investigated to which extent noise affects the activation of semantic information in phonological competitors. Participants’ eye movements were recorded when they listened to sentences containing a target word and looked at three types of displays. The displays either contained a picture of the target word, or a picture of a phonological onset competitor, or a picture of a word semantically related to the onset competitor, each along with three unrelated distractors. The analyses revealed that, in noise, fixations to the target and to the phonological onset competitor were delayed and smaller in magnitude compared to the clean listening condition, most likely reflecting enhanced phonological competition. No evidence for the activation of semantic information in the phonological competitors was observed in noise and, surprisingly, also not in the clear. We discuss the implications of the lack of an effect and differences between the present and earlier studies.
  • Irivine, E., & Roberts, S. G. (2016). Deictic tools can limit the emergence of referential symbol systems. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/99.html.

    Abstract

    Previous experiments and models show that the pressure to communicate can lead to the emergence of symbols in specific tasks. The experiment presented here suggests that the ability to use deictic gestures can reduce the pressure for symbols to emerge in co-operative tasks. In the 'gesture-only' condition, pairs built a structure together in 'Minecraft', and could only communicate using a small range of gestures. In the 'gesture-plus' condition, pairs could also use sound to develop a symbol system if they wished. All pairs were taught a pointing convention. None of the pairs we tested developed a symbol system, and performance was no different across the two conditions. We therefore suggest that deictic gestures, and non-referential means of organising activity sequences, are often sufficient for communication. This suggests that the emergence of linguistic symbols in early hominids may have been late and patchy with symbols only emerging in contexts where they could significantly improve task success or efficiency. Given the communicative power of pointing however, these contexts may be fewer than usually supposed. An approach for identifying these situations is outlined.
  • Isbilen, E. S., McCauley, S. M., Kidd, E., & Christiansen, M. H. (2017). Testing statistical learning implicitly: A novel chunk-based measure of statistical learning. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 564-569). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Attempts to connect individual differences in statistical learning with broader aspects of cognition have received considerable attention, but have yielded mixed results. A possible explanation is that statistical learning is typically tested using the two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) task. As a meta-cognitive task relying on explicit familiarity judgments, 2AFC may not accurately capture implicitly formed statistical computations. In this paper, we adapt the classic serial-recall memory paradigm to implicitly test statistical learning in a statistically-induced chunking recall (SICR) task. We hypothesized that artificial language exposure would lead subjects to chunk recurring statistical patterns, facilitating recall of words from the input. Experiment 1 demonstrates that SICR offers more fine-grained insights into individual differences in statistical learning than 2AFC. Experiment 2 shows that SICR has higher test-retest reliability than that reported for 2AFC. Thus, SICR offers a more sensitive measure of individual differences, suggesting that basic chunking abilities may explain statistical learning.
  • Janssen, R., Winter, B., Dediu, D., Moisik, S. R., & Roberts, S. G. (2016). Nonlinear biases in articulation constrain the design space of language. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/86.html.

    Abstract

    In Iterated Learning (IL) experiments, a participant’s learned output serves as the next participant’s learning input (Kirby et al., 2014). IL can be used to model cultural transmission and has indicated that weak biases can be amplified through repeated cultural transmission (Kirby et al., 2007). So, for example, structural language properties can emerge over time because languages come to reflect the cognitive constraints in the individuals that learn and produce the language. Similarly, we propose that languages may also reflect certain anatomical biases. Do sound systems adapt to the affordances of the articulation space induced by the vocal tract? The human vocal tract has inherent nonlinearities which might derive from acoustics and aerodynamics (cf. quantal theory, see Stevens, 1989) or biomechanics (cf. Gick & Moisik, 2015). For instance, moving the tongue anteriorly along the hard palate to produce a fricative does not result in large changes in acoustics in most cases, but for a small range there is an abrupt change from a perceived palato-alveolar [ʃ] to alveolar [s] sound (Perkell, 2012). Nonlinearities such as these might bias all human speakers to converge on a very limited set of phonetic categories, and might even be a basis for combinatoriality or phonemic ‘universals’. While IL typically uses discrete symbols, Verhoef et al. (2014) have used slide whistles to produce a continuous signal. We conducted an IL experiment with human subjects who communicated using a digital slide whistle for which the degree of nonlinearity is controlled. A single parameter (α) changes the mapping from slide whistle position (the ‘articulator’) to the acoustics. With α=0, the position of the slide whistle maps Bark-linearly to the acoustics. As α approaches 1, the mapping gets more double-sigmoidal, creating three plateaus where large ranges of positions map to similar frequencies. In more abstract terms, α represents the strength of a nonlinear (anatomical) bias in the vocal tract. Six chains (138 participants) of dyads were tested, each chain with a different, fixed α. Participants had to communicate four meanings by producing a continuous signal using the slide-whistle in a ‘director-matcher’ game, alternating roles (cf. Garrod et al., 2007). Results show that for high αs, subjects quickly converged on the plateaus. This quick convergence is indicative of a strong bias, repelling subjects away from unstable regions already within-subject. Furthermore, high αs lead to the emergence of signals that oscillate between two (out of three) plateaus. Because the sigmoidal spaces are spatially constrained, participants increasingly used the sequential/temporal dimension. As a result of this, the average duration of signals with high α was ~100ms longer than with low α. These oscillations could be an expression of a basis for phonemic combinatoriality. We have shown that it is possible to manipulate the magnitude of an articulator-induced non-linear bias in a slide whistle IL framework. The results suggest that anatomical biases might indeed constrain the design space of language. In particular, the signaling systems in our study quickly converged (within-subject) on the use of stable regions. While these conclusions were drawn from experiments using slide whistles with a relatively strong bias, weaker biases could possibly be amplified over time by repeated cultural transmission, and likely lead to similar outcomes.
  • Janssen, R., Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. R. (2016). Simple agents are able to replicate speech sounds using 3d vocal tract model. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/97.html.

    Abstract

    Many factors have been proposed to explain why groups of people use different speech sounds in their language. These range from cultural, cognitive, environmental (e.g., Everett, et al., 2015) to anatomical (e.g., vocal tract (VT) morphology). How could such anatomical properties have led to the similarities and differences in speech sound distributions between human languages? It is known that hard palate profile variation can induce different articulatory strategies in speakers (e.g., Brunner et al., 2009). That is, different hard palate profiles might induce a kind of bias on speech sound production, easing some types of sounds while impeding others. With a population of speakers (with a proportion of individuals) that share certain anatomical properties, even subtle VT biases might become expressed at a population-level (through e.g., bias amplification, Kirby et al., 2007). However, before we look into population-level effects, we should first look at within-individual anatomical factors. For that, we have developed a computer-simulated analogue for a human speaker: an agent. Our agent is designed to replicate speech sounds using a production and cognition module in a computationally tractable manner. Previous agent models have often used more abstract (e.g., symbolic) signals. (e.g., Kirby et al., 2007). We have equipped our agent with a three-dimensional model of the VT (the production module, based on Birkholz, 2005) to which we made numerous adjustments. Specifically, we used a 4th-order Bezier curve that is able to capture hard palate variation on the mid-sagittal plane (XXX, 2015). Using an evolutionary algorithm, we were able to fit the model to human hard palate MRI tracings, yielding high accuracy fits and using as little as two parameters. Finally, we show that the samples map well-dispersed to the parameter-space, demonstrating that the model cannot generate unrealistic profiles. We can thus use this procedure to import palate measurements into our agent’s production module to investigate the effects on acoustics. We can also exaggerate/introduce novel biases. Our agent is able to control the VT model using the cognition module. Previous research has focused on detailed neurocomputation (e.g., Kröger et al., 2014) that highlights e.g., neurobiological principles or speech recognition performance. However, the brain is not the focus of our current study. Furthermore, present-day computing throughput likely does not allow for large-scale deployment of these architectures, as required by the population model we are developing. Thus, the question whether a very simple cognition module is able to replicate sounds in a computationally tractable manner, and even generalize over novel stimuli, is one worthy of attention in its own right. Our agent’s cognition module is based on running an evolutionary algorithm on a large population of feed-forward neural networks (NNs). As such, (anatomical) bias strength can be thought of as an attractor basin area within the parameter-space the agent has to explore. The NN we used consists of a triple-layered (fully-connected), directed graph. The input layer (three neurons) receives the formants frequencies of a target-sound. The output layer (12 neurons) projects to the articulators in the production module. A hidden layer (seven neurons) enables the network to deal with nonlinear dependencies. The Euclidean distance (first three formants) between target and replication is used as fitness measure. Results show that sound replication is indeed possible, with Euclidean distance quickly approaching a close-to-zero asymptote. Statistical analysis should reveal if the agent can also: a) Generalize: Can it replicate sounds not exposed to during learning? b) Replicate consistently: Do different, isolated agents always converge on the same sounds? c) Deal with consolidation: Can it still learn new sounds after an extended learning phase (‘infancy’) has been terminated? Finally, a comparison with more complex models will be used to demonstrate robustness.
  • Jeske, J., Kember, H., & Cutler, A. (2016). Native and non-native English speakers' use of prosody to predict sentence endings. In Proceedings of the 16th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (SST2016).
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Sumer, B., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Effects of delayed language exposure on spatial language acquisition by signing children and adults. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 2372-2376). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Deaf children born to hearing parents are exposed to language input quite late, which has long-lasting effects on language production. Previous studies with deaf individuals mostly focused on linguistic expressions of motion events, which have several event components. We do not know if similar effects emerge in simple events such as descriptions of spatial configurations of objects. Moreover, previous data mainly come from late adult signers. There is not much known about language development of late signing children soon after learning sign language. We compared simple event descriptions of late signers of Turkish Sign Language (adults, children) to age-matched native signers. Our results indicate that while late signers in both age groups are native-like in frequency of expressing a relational encoding, they lag behind native signers in using morphologically complex linguistic forms compared to other simple forms. Late signing children perform similar to adults and thus showed no development over time.
  • Kember, H., Choi, J., & Cutler, A. (2016). Processing advantages for focused words in Korean. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 702-705).

    Abstract

    In Korean, focus is expressed in accentual phrasing. To ascertain whether words focused in this manner enjoy a processing advantage analogous to that conferred by focus as expressed in, e.g, English and Dutch, we devised sentences with target words in one of four conditions: prosodic focus, syntactic focus, prosodic + syntactic focus, and no focus as a control. 32 native speakers of Korean listened to blocks of 10 sentences, then were presented visually with words and asked whether or not they had heard them. Overall, words with focus were recognised significantly faster and more accurately than unfocused words. In addition, words with syntactic focus or syntactic + prosodic focus were recognised faster than words with prosodic focus alone. As for other languages, Korean focus confers processing advantage on the words carrying it. While prosodic focus does provide an advantage, however, syntactic focus appears to provide the greater beneficial effect for recognition memory
  • Kember, H., Grohe, A.-.-K., Zahner, K., Braun, B., Weber, A., & Cutler, A. (2017). Similar prosodic structure perceived differently in German and English. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 1388-1392).

    Abstract

    English and German have similar prosody, but their speakers realize some pitch falls (not rises) in subtly different ways. We here test for asymmetry in perception. An ABX discrimination task requiring F0 slope or duration judgements on isolated vowels revealed no cross-language difference in duration or F0 fall discrimination, but discrimination of rises (realized similarly in each language) was less accurate for English than for German listeners. This unexpected finding may reflect greater sensitivity to rising patterns by German listeners, or reduced sensitivity by English listeners as a result of extensive exposure to phrase-final rises (“uptalk”) in their language
  • Kempen, G., & Harbusch, K. (1998). A 'tree adjoining' grammar without adjoining: The case of scrambling in German. In Fourth International Workshop on Tree Adjoining Grammars and Related Frameworks (TAG+4).
  • Kita, S., van Gijn, I., & van der Hulst, H. (1998). Movement phases in signs and co-speech gestures, and their transcription by human coders. In Gesture and Sign-Language in Human-Computer Interaction (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence - LNCS Subseries, Vol. 1371) (pp. 23-35). Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.

    Abstract

    The previous literature has suggested that the hand movement in co-speech gestures and signs consists of a series of phases with qualitatively different dynamic characteristics. In this paper, we propose a syntagmatic rule system for movement phases that applies to both co-speech gestures and signs. Descriptive criteria for the rule system were developed for the analysis video-recorded continuous production of signs and gesture. It involves segmenting a stream of body movement into phases and identifying different phase types. Two human coders used the criteria to analyze signs and cospeech gestures that are produced in natural discourse. It was found that the criteria yielded good inter-coder reliability. These criteria can be used for the technology of automatic recognition of signs and co-speech gestures in order to segment continuous production and identify the potentially meaningbearing phase.
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1980). Argumentation [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (38/39).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1983). Intonation [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (49).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1998). Kaleidoskop [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (112).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1985). Schriftlichkeit [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (59).
  • Lee, R., Chambers, C. G., Huettig, F., & Ganea, P. A. (2017). Children’s semantic and world knowledge overrides fictional information during anticipatory linguistic processing. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 730-735). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Using real-time eye-movement measures, we asked how a fantastical discourse context competes with stored representations of semantic and world knowledge to influence children's and adults' moment-by-moment interpretation of a story. Seven-year- olds were less effective at bypassing stored semantic and world knowledge during real-time interpretation than adults. Nevertheless, an effect of discourse context on comprehension was still apparent.
  • Levelt, W. J. M., & Plomp, R. (1962). Musical consonance and critical bandwidth. In Proceedings of the 4th International Congress Acoustics (pp. 55-55).
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (1983). The speaker's organization of discourse. In Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Linguists (pp. 278-290).
  • Little, H., & de Boer, B. (2016). Did the pressure for discrimination trigger the emergence of combinatorial structure? In Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (pp. 109-110).
  • Little, H., Eryılmaz, K., & De Boer, B. (2016). Differing signal-meaning dimensionalities facilitates the emergence of structure. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/25.html.

    Abstract

    Structure of language is not only caused by cognitive processes, but also by physical aspects of the signalling modality. We test the assumptions surrounding the role which the physical aspects of the signal space will have on the emergence of structure in speech. Here, we use a signal creation task to test whether a signal space and a meaning space having similar dimensionalities will generate an iconic system with signal-meaning mapping and whether, when the topologies differ, the emergence of non-iconic structure is facilitated. In our experiments, signals are created using infrared sensors which use hand position to create audio signals. We find that people take advantage of signal-meaning mappings where possible. Further, we use trajectory probabilities and measures of variance to show that when there is a dimensionality mismatch, more structural strategies are used.
  • Little, H., Eryılmaz, K., & De Boer, B. (2016). Emergence of signal structure: Effects of duration constraints. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/25.html.

    Abstract

    Recent work has investigated the emergence of structure in speech using experiments which use artificial continuous signals. Some experiments have had no limit on the duration which signals can have (e.g. Verhoef et al., 2014), and others have had time limitations (e.g. Verhoef et al., 2015). However, the effect of time constraints on the structure in signals has never been experimentally investigated.
  • Little, H. (2016). Nahran Bhannamz: Language Evolution in an Online Zombie Apocalypse Game. In Createvolang: creativity and innovation in language evolution.
  • Little, H., Perlman, M., & Eryilmaz, K. (2017). Repeated interactions can lead to more iconic signals. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 760-765). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Previous research has shown that repeated interactions can cause iconicity in signals to reduce. However, data from several recent studies has shown the opposite trend: an increase in iconicity as the result of repeated interactions. Here, we discuss whether signals may become less or more iconic as a result of the modality used to produce them. We review several recent experimental results before presenting new data from multi-modal signals, where visual input creates audio feedback. Our results show that the growth in iconicity present in the audio information may come at a cost to iconicity in the visual information. Our results have implications for how we think about and measure iconicity in artificial signalling experiments. Further, we discuss how iconicity in real world speech may stem from auditory, kinetic or visual information, but iconicity in these different modalities may conflict.
  • Little, H. (Ed.). (2017). Special Issue on the Emergence of Sound Systems [Special Issue]. The Journal of Language Evolution, 2(1).
  • Lockwood, G., Hagoort, P., & Dingemanse, M. (2016). Synthesized Size-Sound Sound Symbolism. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1823-1828). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Studies of sound symbolism have shown that people can associate sound and meaning in consistent ways when presented with maximally contrastive stimulus pairs of nonwords such as bouba/kiki (rounded/sharp) or mil/mal (small/big). Recent work has shown the effect extends to antonymic words from natural languages and has proposed a role for shared cross-modal correspondences in biasing form-to-meaning associations. An important open question is how the associations work, and particularly what the role is of sound-symbolic matches versus mismatches. We report on a learning task designed to distinguish between three existing theories by using a spectrum of sound-symbolically matching, mismatching, and neutral (neither matching nor mismatching) stimuli. Synthesized stimuli allow us to control for prosody, and the inclusion of a neutral condition allows a direct test of competing accounts. We find evidence for a sound-symbolic match boost, but not for a mismatch difficulty compared to the neutral condition.
  • Macuch Silva, V., & Roberts, S. G. (2016). Language adapts to signal disruption in interaction. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/20.html.

    Abstract

    Linguistic traits are often seen as reflecting cognitive biases and constraints (e.g. Christiansen & Chater, 2008). However, language must also adapt to properties of the channel through which communication between individuals occurs. Perhaps the most basic aspect of any communication channel is noise. Communicative signals can be blocked, degraded or distorted by other sources in the environment. This poses a fundamental problem for communication. On average, channel disruption accompanies problems in conversation every 3 minutes (27% of cases of other-initiated repair, Dingemanse et al., 2015). Linguistic signals must adapt to this harsh environment. While modern language structures are robust to noise (e.g. Piantadosi et al., 2011), we investigate how noise might have shaped the early emergence of structure in language. The obvious adaptation to noise is redundancy. Signals which are maximally different from competitors are harder to render ambiguous by noise. Redundancy can be increased by adding differentiating segments to each signal (increasing the diversity of segments). However, this makes each signal more complex and harder to learn. Under this strategy, holistic languages may emerge. Another strategy is reduplication - repeating parts of the signal so that noise is less likely to disrupt all of the crucial information. This strategy does not increase the difficulty of learning the language - there is only one extra rule which applies to all signals. Therefore, under pressures for learnability, expressivity and redundancy, reduplicated signals are expected to emerge. However, reduplication is not a pervasive feature of words (though it does occur in limited domains like plurals or iconic meanings). We suggest that this is due to the pressure for redundancy being lifted by conversational infrastructure for repair. Receivers can request that senders repeat signals only after a problem occurs. That is, robustness is achieved by repeating the signal across conversational turns (when needed) instead of within single utterances. As a proof of concept, we ran two iterated learning chains with pairs of individuals in generations learning and using an artificial language (e.g. Kirby et al., 2015). The meaning space was a structured collection of unfamiliar images (3 shapes x 2 textures x 2 outline types). The initial language for each chain was the same written, unstructured, fully expressive language. Signals produced in each generation formed the training language for the next generation. Within each generation, pairs played an interactive communication game. The director was given a target meaning to describe, and typed a word for the matcher, who guessed the target meaning from a set. With a 50% probability, a contiguous section of 3-5 characters in the typed word was replaced by ‘noise’ characters (#). In one chain, the matcher could initiate repair by requesting that the director type and send another signal. Parallel generations across chains were matched for the number of signals sent (if repair was initiated for a meaning, then it was presented twice in the parallel generation where repair was not possible) and noise (a signal for a given meaning which was affected by noise in one generation was affected by the same amount of noise in the parallel generation). For the final set of signals produced in each generation we measured the signal redundancy (the zip compressibility of the signals), the character diversity (entropy of the characters of the signals) and systematic structure (z-score of the correlation between signal edit distance and meaning hamming distance). In the condition without repair, redundancy increased with each generation (r=0.97, p=0.01), and the character diversity decreased (r=-0.99,p=0.001) which is consistent with reduplication, as shown below (part of the initial and the final language): Linear regressions revealed that generations with repair had higher overall systematic structure (main effect of condition, t = 2.5, p < 0.05), increasing character diversity (interaction between condition and generation, t = 3.9, p = 0.01) and redundancy increased at a slower rate (interaction between condition and generation, t = -2.5, p < 0.05). That is, the ability to repair counteracts the pressure from noise, and facilitates the emergence of compositional structure. Therefore, just as systems to repair damage to DNA replication are vital for the evolution of biological species (O’Brien, 2006), conversational repair may regulate replication of linguistic forms in the cultural evolution of language. Future studies should further investigate how evolving linguistic structure is shaped by interaction pressures, drawing on experimental methods and naturalistic studies of emerging languages, both spoken (e.g Botha, 2006; Roberge, 2008) and signed (e.g Senghas, Kita, & Ozyurek, 2004; Sandler et al., 2005).
  • Maslowski, M., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2017). Whether long-term tracking of speech rate affects perception depends on who is talking. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 586-590). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1517.

    Abstract

    Speech rate is known to modulate perception of temporally ambiguous speech sounds. For instance, a vowel may be perceived as short when the immediate speech context is slow, but as long when the context is fast. Yet, effects of long-term tracking of speech rate are largely unexplored. Two experiments tested whether long-term tracking of rate influences perception of the temporal Dutch vowel contrast /ɑ/-/a:/. In Experiment 1, one low-rate group listened to 'neutral' rate speech from talker A and to slow speech from talker B. Another high-rate group was exposed to the same neutral speech from A, but to fast speech from B. Between-group comparison of the 'neutral' trials revealed that the low-rate group reported a higher proportion of /a:/ in A's 'neutral' speech, indicating that A sounded faster when B was slow. Experiment 2 tested whether one's own speech rate also contributes to effects of long-term tracking of rate. Here, talker B's speech was replaced by playback of participants' own fast or slow speech. No evidence was found that one's own voice affected perception of talker A in larger speech contexts. These results carry implications for our understanding of the mechanisms involved in rate-dependent speech perception and of dialogue.
  • McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (1998). Spotting (different kinds of) words in (different kinds of) context. In R. Mannell, & J. Robert-Ribes (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 6 (pp. 2791-2794). Sydney: ICSLP.

    Abstract

    The results of a word-spotting experiment are presented in which Dutch listeners tried to spot different types of bisyllabic Dutch words embedded in different types of nonsense contexts. Embedded verbs were not reliably harder to spot than embedded nouns; this suggests that nouns and verbs are recognised via the same basic processes. Iambic words were no harder to spot than trochaic words, suggesting that trochaic words are not in principle easier to recognise than iambic words. Words were harder to spot in consonantal contexts (i.e., contexts which themselves could not be words) than in longer contexts which contained at least one vowel (i.e., contexts which, though not words, were possible words of Dutch). A control experiment showed that this difference was not due to acoustic differences between the words in each context. The results support the claim that spoken-word recognition is sensitive to the viability of sound sequences as possible words.
  • Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (Eds.). (2016). Speaking and Listening: Relationships Between Language Production and Comprehension [Special Issue]. Journal of Memory and Language, 89.
  • Micklos, A. (2016). Interaction for facilitating conventionalization: Negotiating the silent gesture communication of noun-verb pairs. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/143.html.

    Abstract

    This study demonstrates how interaction – specifically negotiation and repair – facilitates the emergence, evolution, and conventionalization of a silent gesture communication system. In a modified iterated learning paradigm, partners communicated noun-verb meanings using only silent gesture. The need to disambiguate similar noun-verb pairs drove these "new" language users to develop a morphology that allowed for quicker processing, easier transmission, and improved accuracy. The specific morphological system that emerged came about through a process of negotiation within the dyad, namely by means of repair. By applying a discourse analytic approach to the use of repair in an experimental methodology for language evolution, we are able to determine not only if interaction facilitates the emergence and learnability of a new communication system, but also how interaction affects such a system
  • Monaghan, P., Brand, J., Frost, R. L. A., & Taylor, G. (2017). Multiple variable cues in the environment promote accurate and robust word learning. In G. Gunzelman, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 817-822). Retrieved from https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2017/papers/0164/index.html.

    Abstract

    Learning how words refer to aspects of the environment is a complex task, but one that is supported by numerous cues within the environment which constrain the possibilities for matching words to their intended referents. In this paper we tested the predictions of a computational model of multiple cue integration for word learning, that predicted variation in the presence of cues provides an optimal learning situation. In a cross-situational learning task with adult participants, we varied the reliability of presence of distributional, prosodic, and gestural cues. We found that the best learning occurred when cues were often present, but not always. The effect of variability increased the salience of individual cues for the learner, but resulted in robust learning that was not vulnerable to individual cues’ presence or absence. Thus, variability of multiple cues in the language-learning environment provided the optimal circumstances for word learning.
  • Mulder, K., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2016). Comparing different methods for analyzing ERP signals. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 1373-1377). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2016-967.
  • Ortega, G., & Ozyurek, A. (2016). Generalisable patterns of gesture distinguish semantic categories in communication without language. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1182-1187). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    There is a long-standing assumption that gestural forms are geared by a set of modes of representation (acting, representing, drawing, moulding) with each technique expressing speakers’ focus of attention on specific aspects of referents (Müller, 2013). Beyond different taxonomies describing the modes of representation, it remains unclear what factors motivate certain depicting techniques over others. Results from a pantomime generation task show that pantomimes are not entirely idiosyncratic but rather follow generalisable patterns constrained by their semantic category. We show that a) specific modes of representations are preferred for certain objects (acting for manipulable objects and drawing for non-manipulable objects); and b) that use and ordering of deictics and modes of representation operate in tandem to distinguish between semantically related concepts (e.g., “to drink” vs “mug”). This study provides yet more evidence that our ability to communicate through silent gesture reveals systematic ways to describe events and objects around us
  • Ortega, G., Schiefner, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Speakers’ gestures predict the meaning and perception of iconicity in signs. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howe, & T. Tenbrink (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 889-894). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Sign languages stand out in that there is high prevalence of conventionalised linguistic forms that map directly to their referent (i.e., iconic). Hearing adults show low performance when asked to guess the meaning of iconic signs suggesting that their iconic features are largely inaccessible to them. However, it has not been investigated whether speakers’ gestures, which also share the property of iconicity, may assist non-signers in guessing the meaning of signs. Results from a pantomime generation task (Study 1) show that speakers’ gestures exhibit a high degree of systematicity, and share different degrees of form overlap with signs (full, partial, and no overlap). Study 2 shows that signs with full and partial overlap are more accurately guessed and are assigned higher iconicity ratings than signs with no overlap. Deaf and hearing adults converge in their iconic depictions for some concepts due to the shared conceptual knowledge and manual-visual modality.
  • Ozyurek, A. (1998). An analysis of the basic meaning of Turkish demonstratives in face-to-face conversational interaction. In S. Santi, I. Guaitella, C. Cave, & G. Konopczynski (Eds.), Oralite et gestualite: Communication multimodale, interaction: actes du colloque ORAGE 98 (pp. 609-614). Paris: L'Harmattan.
  • Peeters, D. (2016). Processing consequences of onomatopoeic iconicity in spoken language comprehension. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1632-1647). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Iconicity is a fundamental feature of human language. However its processing consequences at the behavioral and neural level in spoken word comprehension are not well understood. The current paper presents the behavioral and electrophysiological outcome of an auditory lexical decision task in which native speakers of Dutch listened to onomatopoeic words and matched control words while their electroencephalogram was recorded. Behaviorally, onomatopoeic words were processed as quickly and accurately as words with an arbitrary mapping between form and meaning. Event-related potentials time-locked to word onset revealed a significant decrease in negative amplitude in the N2 and N400 components and a late positivity for onomatopoeic words in comparison to the control words. These findings advance our understanding of the temporal dynamics of iconic form-meaning mapping in spoken word comprehension and suggest interplay between the neural representations of real-world sounds and spoken words.
  • Perlman, M., Fusaroli, R., Fein, D., & Naigles, L. (2017). The use of iconic words in early child-parent interactions. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 913-918). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    This paper examines the use of iconic words in early conversations between children and caregivers. The longitudinal data include a span of six observations of 35 children-parent dyads in the same semi-structured activity. Our findings show that children’s speech initially has a high proportion of iconic words, and over time, these words become diluted by an increase of arbitrary words. Parents’ speech is also initially high in iconic words, with a decrease in the proportion of iconic words over time – in this case driven by the use of fewer iconic words. The level and development of iconicity are related to individual differences in the children’s cognitive skills. Our findings fit with the hypothesis that iconicity facilitates early word learning and may play an important role in learning to produce new words.
  • Popov, V., Ostarek, M., & Tenison, C. (2017). Inferential Pitfalls in Decoding Neural Representations. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 961-966). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    A key challenge for cognitive neuroscience is to decipher the representational schemes of the brain. A recent class of decoding algorithms for fMRI data, stimulus-feature-based encoding models, is becoming increasingly popular for inferring the dimensions of neural representational spaces from stimulus-feature spaces. We argue that such inferences are not always valid, because decoding can occur even if the neural representational space and the stimulus-feature space use different representational schemes. This can happen when there is a systematic mapping between them. In a simulation, we successfully decoded the binary representation of numbers from their decimal features. Since binary and decimal number systems use different representations, we cannot conclude that the binary representation encodes decimal features. The same argument applies to the decoding of neural patterns from stimulus-feature spaces and we urge caution in inferring the nature of the neural code from such methods. We discuss ways to overcome these inferential limitations.
  • Pouw, W., Aslanidou, A., Kamermans, K. L., & Paas, F. (2017). Is ambiguity detection in haptic imagery possible? Evidence for Enactive imaginings. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 2925-2930). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    A classic discussion about visual imagery is whether it affords reinterpretation, like discovering two interpretations in the duck/rabbit illustration. Recent findings converge on reinterpretation being possible in visual imagery, suggesting functional equivalence with pictorial representations. However, it is unclear whether such reinterpretations are necessarily a visual-pictorial achievement. To assess this, 68 participants were briefly presented 2-d ambiguous figures. One figure was presented visually, the other via manual touch alone. Afterwards participants mentally rotated the memorized figures as to discover a novel interpretation. A portion (20.6%) of the participants detected a novel interpretation in visual imagery, replicating previous research. Strikingly, 23.6% of participants were able to reinterpret figures they had only felt. That reinterpretation truly involved haptic processes was further supported, as some participants performed co-thought gestures on an imagined figure during retrieval. These results are promising for further development of an Enactivist approach to imagination.
  • Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2016). Language evolution in the lab: The case of child learners. In A. Papagrafou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1643-1648). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Recent work suggests that cultural transmission can lead to the emergence of linguistic structure as speakers’ weak individual biases become amplified through iterated learning. However, to date, no published study has demonstrated a similar emergence of linguistic structure in children. This gap is problematic given that languages are mainly learned by children and that adults may bring existing linguistic biases to the task. Here, we conduct a large-scale study of iterated language learning in both children and adults, using a novel, child-friendly paradigm. The results show that while children make more mistakes overall, their languages become more learnable and show learnability biases similar to those of adults. Child languages did not show a significant increase in linguistic structure over time, but consistent mappings between meanings and signals did emerge on many occasions, as found with adults. This provides the first demonstration that cultural transmission affects the languages children and adults produce similarly.
  • Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2016). The developmental trajectory of children's statistical learning abilities. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1469-1474). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Infants, children and adults are capable of implicitly extracting regularities from their environment through statistical learning (SL). SL is present from early infancy and found across tasks and modalities, raising questions about the domain generality of SL. However, little is known about its’ developmental trajectory: Is SL fully developed capacity in infancy, or does it improve with age, like other cognitive skills? While SL is well established in infants and adults, only few studies have looked at SL across development with conflicting results: some find age-related improvements while others do not. Importantly, despite its postulated role in language learning, no study has examined the developmental trajectory of auditory SL throughout childhood. Here, we conduct a large-scale study of children's auditory SL across a wide age-range (5-12y, N=115). Results show that auditory SL does not change much across development. We discuss implications for modality-based differences in SL and for its role in language acquisition.
  • Rodd, J., & Chen, A. (2016). Pitch accents show a perceptual magnet effect: Evidence of internal structure in intonation categories. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 697-701).

    Abstract

    The question of whether intonation events have a categorical mental representation has long been a puzzle in prosodic research, and one that experiments testing production and perception across category boundaries have failed to definitively resolve. This paper takes the alternative approach of looking for evidence of structure within a postulated category by testing for a Perceptual Magnet Effect (PME). PME has been found in boundary tones but has not previously been conclusively found in pitch accents. In this investigation, perceived goodness and discriminability of re-synthesised Dutch nuclear rise contours (L*H H%) were evaluated by naive native speakers of Dutch. The variation between these stimuli was quantified using a polynomial-parametric modelling approach (i.e. the SOCoPaSul model) in place of the traditional approach whereby excursion size, peak alignment and pitch register are used independently of each other to quantify variation between pitch accents. Using this approach to calculate the acoustic-perceptual distance between different stimuli, PME was detected: (1) rated goodness, decreased as acoustic-perceptual distance relative to the prototype increased, and (2) equally spaced items far from the prototype were less frequently generalised than equally spaced items in the neighbourhood of the prototype. These results support the concept of categorically distinct intonation events.

    Additional information

    Link to Speech Prosody Website
  • Schuller, B., Steidl, S., Batliner, A., Bergelson, E., Krajewski, J., Janott, C., Amatuni, A., Casillas, M., Seidl, A., Soderstrom, M., Warlaumont, A. S., Hidalgo, G., Schnieder, S., Heiser, C., Hohenhorst, W., Herzog, M., Schmitt, M., Qian, K., Zhang, Y., Trigeorgis, G. and 2 moreSchuller, B., Steidl, S., Batliner, A., Bergelson, E., Krajewski, J., Janott, C., Amatuni, A., Casillas, M., Seidl, A., Soderstrom, M., Warlaumont, A. S., Hidalgo, G., Schnieder, S., Heiser, C., Hohenhorst, W., Herzog, M., Schmitt, M., Qian, K., Zhang, Y., Trigeorgis, G., Tzirakis, P., & Zafeiriou, S. (2017). The INTERSPEECH 2017 computational paralinguistics challenge: Addressee, cold & snoring. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 3442-3446). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-43.

    Abstract

    The INTERSPEECH 2017 Computational Paralinguistics Challenge addresses three different problems for the first time in research competition under well-defined conditions: In the Addressee sub-challenge, it has to be determined whether speech produced by an adult is directed towards another adult or towards a child; in the Cold sub-challenge, speech under cold has to be told apart from ‘healthy’ speech; and in the Snoring subchallenge, four different types of snoring have to be classified. In this paper, we describe these sub-challenges, their conditions, and the baseline feature extraction and classifiers, which include data-learnt feature representations by end-to-end learning with convolutional and recurrent neural networks, and bag-of-audiowords for the first time in the challenge series
  • Sekine, K. (2017). Gestural hesitation reveals children’s competence on multimodal communication: Emergence of disguised adaptor. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 3113-3118). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Speakers sometimes modify their gestures during the process of production into adaptors such as hair touching or eye scratching. Such disguised adaptors are evidence that the speaker can monitor their gestures. In this study, we investigated when and how disguised adaptors are first produced by children. Sixty elementary school children participated in this study (ten children in each age group; from 7 to 12 years old). They were instructed to watch a cartoon and retell it to their parents. The results showed that children did not produce disguised adaptors until the age of 8. The disguised adaptors accompany fluent speech until the children are 10 years old and accompany dysfluent speech until they reach 11 or 12 years of age. These results suggest that children start to monitor their gestures when they are 9 or 10 years old. Cognitive changes were considered as factors to influence emergence of disguised adaptors
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (1985). Predicate raising and semantic transparency in Mauritian Creole. In N. Boretzky, W. Enninger, & T. Stolz (Eds.), Akten des 2. Essener Kolloquiums über "Kreolsprachen und Sprachkontakte", 29-30 Nov. 1985 (pp. 203-229). Bochum: Brockmeyer.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (1980). Variabele competentie: Linguïstiek en sociolinguïstiek anno 1980. In Handelingen van het 36e Nederlands Filologencongres: Gehouden te Groningen op woensdag 9, donderdag 10 en vrijdag 11 April 1980 (pp. 41-56). Amsterdam: Holland University Press.
  • Sloetjes, H., & Seibert, O. (2016). Measuring by marking; the multimedia annotation tool ELAN. In A. Spink, G. Riedel, L. Zhou, L. Teekens, R. Albatal, & C. Gurrin (Eds.), Measuring Behavior 2016, 10th International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research (pp. 492-495).

    Abstract

    ELAN is a multimedia annotation tool developed by the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. It is applied in a variety of research areas. This paper presents a general overview of the tool and new developments as the calculation of inter-rater reliability, a commentary framework, semi-automatic segmentation and labeling and export to Theme.
  • Slonimska, A., & Roberts, S. G. (2017). A case for systematic sound symbolism in pragmatics:The role of the first phoneme in question prediction in context. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 1090-1095). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Turn-taking in conversation is a cognitively demanding process that proceeds rapidly due to interlocutors utilizing a range of cues to aid prediction. In the present study we set out to test recent claims that content question words (also called wh-words) sound similar within languages as an adaptation to help listeners predict that a question is about to be asked. We test whether upcoming questions can be predicted based on the first phoneme of a turn and the prior context. We analyze the Switchboard corpus of English by means of a decision tree to test whether /w/ and /h/ are good statistical cues of upcoming questions in conversation. Based on the results, we perform a controlled experiment to test whether people really use these cues to recognize questions. In both studies we show that both the initial phoneme and the sequential context help predict questions. This contributes converging evidence that elements of languages adapt to pragmatic pressures applied during conversation.
  • Speed, L., & Majid, A. (2016). Grammatical gender affects odor cognition. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1451-1456). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Language interacts with olfaction in exceptional ways. Olfaction is believed to be weakly linked with language, as demonstrated by our poor odor naming ability, yet olfaction seems to be particularly susceptible to linguistic descriptions. We tested the boundaries of the influence of language on olfaction by focusing on a non-lexical aspect of language (grammatical gender). We manipulated the grammatical gender of fragrance descriptions to test whether the congruence with fragrance gender would affect the way fragrances were perceived and remembered. Native French and German speakers read descriptions of fragrances containing ingredients with feminine or masculine grammatical gender, and then smelled masculine or feminine fragrances and rated them on a number of dimensions (e.g., pleasantness). Participants then completed an odor recognition test. Fragrances were remembered better when presented with descriptions whose grammatical gender matched the gender of the fragrance. Overall, results suggest grammatical manipulations of odor descriptions can affect odor cognition
  • Speed, L., Chen, J., Huettig, F., & Majid, A. (2016). Do classifier categories affect or reflect object concepts? In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 2267-2272). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    We conceptualize objects based on sensory and motor information gleaned from real-world experience. But to what extent is such conceptual information structured according to higher level linguistic features too? Here we investigate whether classifiers, a grammatical category, shape the conceptual representations of objects. In three experiments native Mandarin speakers (speakers of a classifier language) and native Dutch speakers (speakers of a language without classifiers) judged the similarity of a target object (presented as a word or picture) with four objects (presented as words or pictures). One object shared a classifier with the target, the other objects did not, serving as distractors. Across all experiments, participants judged the target object as more similar to the object with the shared classifier than distractor objects. This effect was seen in both Dutch and Mandarin speakers, and there was no difference between the two languages. Thus, even speakers of a non-classifier language are sensitive to object similarities underlying classifier systems, and using a classifier system does not exaggerate these similarities. This suggests that classifier systems simply reflect, rather than affect, conceptual structure.
  • Stanojevic, M., & Alhama, R. G. (2017). Neural discontinuous constituency parsing. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (pp. 1666-1676). Association for Computational Linguistics.

    Abstract

    One of the most pressing issues in dis- continuous constituency transition-based parsing is that the relevant information for parsing decisions could be located in any part of the stack or the buffer. In this pa- per, we propose a solution to this prob- lem by replacing the structured percep- tron model with a recursive neural model that computes a global representation of the configuration, therefore allowing even the most remote parts of the configura- tion to influence the parsing decisions. We also provide a detailed analysis of how this representation should be built out of sub-representations of its core elements (words, trees and stack). Additionally, we investigate how different types of swap or- acles influence the results. Our model is the first neural discontinuous constituency parser, and it outperforms all the previ- ously published models on three out of four datasets while on the fourth it obtains second place by a tiny difference.

    Additional information

    http://aclweb.org/anthology/D17-1174
  • Sumer, B., Grabitz, C., & Küntay, A. (2017). Early produced signs are iconic: Evidence from Turkish Sign Language. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 3273-3278). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Motivated form-meaning mappings are pervasive in sign languages, and iconicity has recently been shown to facilitate sign learning from early on. This study investigated the role of iconicity for language acquisition in Turkish Sign Language (TID). Participants were 43 signing children (aged 10 to 45 months) of deaf parents. Sign production ability was recorded using the adapted version of MacArthur Bates Communicative Developmental Inventory (CDI) consisting of 500 items for TID. Iconicity and familiarity ratings for a subset of 104 signs were available. Our results revealed that the iconicity of a sign was positively correlated with the percentage of children producing a sign and that iconicity significantly predicted the percentage of children producing a sign, independent of familiarity or phonological complexity. Our results are consistent with previous findings on sign language acquisition and provide further support for the facilitating effect of iconic form-meaning mappings in sign learning.
  • Sumer, B., Perniss, P. M., & Ozyurek, A. (2016). Viewpoint preferences in signing children's spatial descriptions. In J. Scott, & D. Waughtal (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 40) (pp. 360-374). Boston, MA: Cascadilla Press.

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