Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 287
  • Acheson, D. J., & MacDonald, M. C. (2009). Twisting tongues and memories: Explorations of the relationship between language production and verbal working memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 60(3), 329-350. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2008.12.002.

    Abstract

    Many accounts of working memory posit specialized storage mechanisms for the maintenance of serial order. We explore an alternative, that maintenance is achieved through temporary activation in the language production architecture. Four experiments examined the extent to which the phonological similarity effect can be explained as a sublexical speech error. Phonologically similar nonword stimuli were ordered to create tongue twister or control materials used in four tasks: reading aloud, immediate spoken recall, immediate typed recall, and serial recognition. Dependent measures from working memory (recall accuracy) and language production (speech errors) fields were used. Even though lists were identical except for item order, robust effects of tongue twisters were observed. Speech error analyses showed that errors were better described as phoneme rather than item ordering errors. The distribution of speech errors was comparable across all experiments and exhibited syllable-position effects, suggesting an important role for production processes. Implications for working memory and language production are discussed.
  • Acheson, D. J., & MacDonald, M. C. (2009). Verbal working memory and language production: Common approaches to the serial ordering of verbal information. Psychological Bulletin, 135(1), 50-68. doi:10.1037/a0014411.

    Abstract

    Verbal working memory (WM) tasks typically involve the language production architecture for recall; however, language production processes have had a minimal role in theorizing about WM. A framework for understanding verbal WM results is presented here. In this framework, domain-specific mechanisms for serial ordering in verbal WM are provided by the language production architecture, in which positional, lexical, and phonological similarity constraints are highly similar to those identified in the WM literature. These behavioral similarities are paralleled in computational modeling of serial ordering in both fields. The role of long-term learning in serial ordering performance is emphasized, in contrast to some models of verbal WM. Classic WM findings are discussed in terms of the language production architecture. The integration of principles from both fields illuminates the maintenance and ordering mechanisms for verbal information.
  • Adank, P., & Janse, E. (2009). Perceptual learning of time-compressed and natural fast speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 126(5), 2649-2659. doi:10.1121/1.3216914.

    Abstract

    Speakers vary their speech rate considerably during a conversation, and listeners are able to quickly adapt to these variations in speech rate. Adaptation to fast speech rates is usually measured using artificially time-compressed speech. This study examined adaptation to two types of fast speech: artificially time-compressed speech and natural fast speech. Listeners performed a speeded sentence verification task on three series of sentences: normal-speed sentences, time-compressed sentences, and natural fast sentences. Listeners were divided into two groups to evaluate the possibility of transfer of learning between the time-compressed and natural fast conditions. The first group verified the natural fast before the time-compressed sentences, while the second verified the time-compressed before the natural fast sentences. The results showed transfer of learning when the time-compressed sentences preceded the natural fast sentences, but not when natural fast sentences preceded the time-compressed sentences. The results are discussed in the framework of theories on perceptual learning. Second, listeners show adaptation to the natural fast sentences, but performance for this type of fast speech does not improve to the level of time-compressed sentences.
  • Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., Jones, R. L., & Clark, V. (2009). A Semantics-Based Approach to the “no negative evidence” problem. Cognitive Science, 33(7), 1301-1316. doi:10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01055.x.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have shown that children retreat from argument-structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., *Don’t giggle me) by inferring that frequently encountered verbs are unlikely to be grammatical in unattested constructions, and by making use of syntax-semantics correspondences (e.g., verbs denoting internally caused actions such as giggling cannot normally be used causatively). The present study tested a new account based on a unitary learning mechanism that combines both of these processes. Seventy-two participants (ages 5–6, 9–10, and adults) rated overgeneralization errors with higher (*The funny man’s joke giggled Bart) and lower (*The funny man giggled Bart) degrees of direct external causation. The errors with more-direct causation were rated as less unacceptable than those with less-direct causation. This finding is consistent with the new account, under which children acquire—in an incremental and probabilistic fashion—the meaning of particular constructions (e.g., transitive causative = direct external causation) and particular verbs, rejecting generalizations where the incompatibility between the two is too great.
  • Ambridge, B., & Rowland, C. F. (2009). Predicting children's errors with negative questions: Testing a schema-combination account. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(2), 225-266. doi:10.1515/COGL.2009.014.

    Abstract

    Positive and negative what, why and yes/no questions with the 3sg auxiliaries can and does were elicited from 50 children aged 3;3–4;3. In support of the constructivist “schema-combination” account, only children who produced a particular positive question type correctly (e.g., What does she want?) produced a characteristic “auxiliary-doubling” error (e.g., *What does she doesn't want?) for the corresponding negative question type. This suggests that these errors are formed by superimposing a positive question frame (e.g., What does THING PROCESS?) and an inappropriate negative frame (e.g., She doesn't PROCESS) learned from declarative utterances. In addition, a significant correlation between input frequency and correct production was observed for 11 of the 12 lexical frames (e.g., What does THING PROCESS?), although some negative question types showed higher rates of error than one might expect based on input frequency alone. Implications for constructivist and generativist theories of question-acquisition are discussed.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1999). [Review of M. E. Kropp Dakubu: Korle meets the sea: a sociolinguistic history of Accra]. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 62, 198-199. doi:10.1017/S0041977X0001836X.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1999). Partir c'est mourir un peu: Universal and culture specific features of leave taking. RASK International Journal of Language and Communication, 9/10, 257-283.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1999). Spatial information packaging in Ewe and Likpe: A comparative perspective. Frankfurter Afrikanistische Blätter, 11, 7-34.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1999). The typology and semantics of complex nominal duplication in Ewe. Anthropological Linguistics, 41, 75-106.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2009). Verb extensions in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé). Journal of West African Languages, 36(1/2), 139-157.
  • Bastiaanse, R., De Goede, D., & Love, T. (2009). Auditory sentence processing: An introduction. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 38(3), 177-179. doi:10.1007/s10936-009-9109-3.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Böcker, K. B. E., Cluitmans, P. J. M., & Brunia, C. H. M. (1999). Event-related desynchronization related to the anticipation of a stimulus providing knowledge of results. Clinical Neurophysiology, 110, 250-260.

    Abstract

    In the present paper, event-related desynchronization (ERD) in the alpha and beta frequency bands is quantified in order to investigate the processes related to the anticipation of a knowledge of results (KR) stimulus. In a time estimation task, 10 subjects were instructed to press a button 4 s after the presentation of an auditory stimulus. Two seconds after the response they received auditory or visual feedback on the timing of their response. Preceding the button press, a centrally maximal ERD is found. Preceding the visual KR stimulus, an ERD is present that has an occipital maximum. Contrary to expectation, preceding the auditory KR stimulus there are no signs of a modalityspecific ERD. Results are related to a thalamo-cortical gating model which predicts a correspondence between negative slow potentials and ERD during motor preparation and stimulus anticipation.
  • Böcker, K. B. E., Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Vroomen, J., Brunia, C. H. M., & de Gelder, B. (1999). An ERP correlate of metrical stress in spoken word recognition. Psychophysiology, 36, 706-720. doi:10.1111/1469-8986.3660706.

    Abstract

    Rhythmic properties of spoken language such as metrical stress, that is, the alternation of strong and weak syllables, are important in speech recognition of stress-timed languages such as Dutch and English. Nineteen subjects listened passively to or discriminated actively between sequences of bisyllabic Dutch words, which started with either a weak or a strong syllable. Weak-initial words, which constitute 12% of the Dutch lexicon, evoked more negativity than strong-initial words in the interval between P2 and N400 components of the auditory event-related potential. This negativity was denoted as N325. The N325 was larger during stress discrimination than during passive listening. N325 was also larger when a weak-initial word followed sequence of strong-initial words than when it followed words with the same stress pattern. The latter difference was larger for listeners who performed well on stress discrimination. It was concluded that the N325 is probably a manifestation of the extraction of metrical stress from the acoustic signal and its transformation into task requirements.
  • Brandt, S., Kidd, E., Lieven, E., & Tomasello, M. (2009). The discourse bases of relativization: An investigation of young German and English-speaking children's comprehension of relative clauses. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(3), 539-570. doi:10.1515/COGL.2009.024.

    Abstract

    In numerous comprehension studies, across different languages, children have performed worse on object relatives (e.g., the dog that the cat chased) than on subject relatives (e.g., the dog that chased the cat). One possible reason for this is that the test sentences did not exactly match the kinds of object relatives that children typically experience. Adults and children usually hear and produce object relatives with inanimate heads and pronominal subjects (e.g., the car that we bought last year) (cf. Kidd et al., Language and Cognitive Processes 22: 860–897, 2007). We tested young 3-year old German- and English-speaking children with a referential selection task. Children from both language groups performed best in the condition where the experimenter described inanimate referents with object relatives that contained pronominal subjects (e.g., Can you give me the sweater that he bought?). Importantly, when the object relatives met the constraints identified in spoken discourse, children understood them as well as subject relatives, or even better. These results speak against a purely structural explanation for children's difficulty with object relatives as observed in previous studies, but rather support the usage-based account, according to which discourse function and experience with language shape the representation of linguistic structures.
  • Broersma, M. (2009). Triggered codeswitching between cognate languages. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12(4), 447-462. doi:10.1017/S1366728909990204.
  • Brouwer, G. J., Tong, F., Hagoort, P., & Van Ee, R. (2009). Perceptual incongruence influences bistability and cortical activation. Plos One, 4(3): e5056. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005056.

    Abstract

    We employed a parametric psychophysical design in combination with functional imaging to examine the influence of metric changes in perceptual incongruence on perceptual alternation rates and cortical responses. Subjects viewed a bistable stimulus defined by incongruent depth cues; bistability resulted from incongruence between binocular disparity and monocular perspective cues that specify different slants (slant rivalry). Psychophysical results revealed that perceptual alternation rates were positively correlated with the degree of perceived incongruence. Functional imaging revealed systematic increases in activity that paralleled the psychophysical results within anterior intraparietal sulcus, prior to the onset of perceptual alternations. We suggest that this cortical activity predicts the frequency of subsequent alternations, implying a putative causal role for these areas in initiating bistable perception. In contrast, areas implicated in form and depth processing (LOC and V3A) were sensitive to the degree of slant, but failed to show increases in activity when these cues were in conflict.
  • Brown, P. (1999). Anthropologie cognitive. Anthropologie et Sociétés, 23(3), 91-119.

    Abstract

    In reaction to the dominance of universalism in the 1970s and '80s, there have recently been a number of reappraisals of the relation between language and cognition, and the field of cognitive anthropology is flourishing in several new directions in both America and Europe. This is partly due to a renewal and re-evaluation of approaches to the question of linguistic relativity associated with Whorf, and partly to the inspiration of modern developments in cognitive science. This review briefly sketches the history of cognitive anthropology and surveys current research on both sides of the Atlantic. The focus is on assessing current directions, considering in particular, by way of illustration, recent work in cultural models and on spatial language and cognition. The review concludes with an assessment of how cognitive anthropology could contribute directly both to the broader project of cognitive science and to the anthropological study of how cultural ideas and practices relate to structures and processes of human cognition.
  • Brown, C. M., Hagoort, P., & Ter Keurs, M. (1999). Electrophysiological signatures of visual lexical processing: open en closed-class words. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 11(3), 261-281.

    Abstract

    In this paper presents evidence of the disputed existence of an electrophysiological marker for the lexical-categorical distinction between open- and closed-class words. Event-related brain potentials were recorded from the scalp while subjects read a story. Separate waveforms were computed for open- and closed-class words. Two aspects of the waveforms could be reliably related to vocabulary class. The first was an early negativity in the 230- to 350-msec epoch, with a bilateral anterior predominance. This negativity was elicited by open- and closed-class words alike, was not affected by word frequency or word length, and had an earlier peak latency for closed-class words. The second was a frontal slow negative shift in the 350- to 500-msec epoch, largest over the left side of the scalp. This late negativity was only elicited by closed-class words. Although the early negativity cannot serve as a qualitative marker of the open- and closed-class distinction, it does reflect the earliest electrophysiological manifestation of the availability of categorical information from the mental lexicon. These results suggest that the brain honors the distinction between open- and closed-class words, in relation to the different roles that they play in on-line sentence processing.
  • Brown, P. (1999). Repetition [Encyclopedia entry for 'Lexicon for the New Millenium', ed. Alessandro Duranti]. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 9(2), 223-226. doi:10.1525/jlin.1999.9.1-2.223.

    Abstract

    This is an encyclopedia entry describing conversational and interactional uses of linguistic repetition.
  • Brucato, N., Cassar, O., Tonasso, L., Guitard, E., Migot-Nabias, F., Tortevoye, P., Plancoulaine, S., Larrouy, G., Gessain, A., & Dugoujon, J.-M. (2009). Genetic diversity and dynamics of the Noir Marron settlement in French Guyana: A study combining mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome and HTLV-1 genotyping [Abstract]. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, 25(11), 1258. doi:10.1089/aid.2009.9992.

    Abstract

    The Noir Marron are the direct descendants of thousands of African slaves deported to the Guyanas during the Atlantic Slave Trade and later escaped mainly from Dutch colonial plantations. Six ethnic groups are officially recognized, four of which are located in French Guyana: the Aluku, the Ndjuka, the Saramaka, and the Paramaka. The aim of this study was: (1) to determine the Noir Marron settlement through genetic exchanges with other communities such as Amerindians and Europeans; (2) to retrace their origins in Africa. Buffy-coat DNA from 142 Noir Marron, currently living in French Guyana, were analyzed using mtDNA (typing of SNP coding regions and sequencing of HVSI/II) and Y chromosomes (typing STR and SNPs) to define their genetic profile. Results were compared to an African database composed by published data, updated with genotypes of 82 Fon from Benin, and 128 Ahizi and 63 Yacouba from the Ivory-Coast obtained in this study for the same markers. Furthermore, the determination of the genomic subtype of HTLV-1 strains (env gp21 and LTR regions), which can be used as a marker of migration of infected populations, was performed for samples from 23 HTLV-1 infected Noir Marron and compared with the corresponding database. MtDNA profiles showed a high haplotype diversity, in which 99% of samples belonged to the major haplogroup L, frequent in Africa. Each haplotype was largely represented on the West African coast, but notably higher homologies were obtained with the samples present in the Gulf of Guinea. Y Chromosome analysis revealed the same pattern, i.e. a conservation of the African contribution to the Noir Marron genetic profile, with 98% of haplotypes belonging to the major haplogroup E1b1a, frequent in West Africa. The genetic diversity was higher than those observed in African populations, proving the large Noir Marron’s fatherland, but a predominant identity in the Gulf of Guinea can be suggested. Concerning HTLV-1 genotyping, all the Noir Marron strains belonged to the large Cosmopolitan A subtype. However, among them 17/23 (74%) clustered with the West African clade comprizing samples originating from Ivory-Coast, Ghana, Burkina-Fasso and Senegal, while 3 others clustered in the Trans-Sahelian clade and the remaining 3 were similar to strains found in individuals in South America. Through the combined analyses of three approaches, we have provided a conclusive image of the genetic profile of the Noir Marron communities studied. The high degree of preservation of the African gene pool contradicts the expected gene flow that would correspond to the major cultural exchanges observed between Noir Marron, Europeans and Amerindians. Marital practices and historical events could explain these observations. Corresponding to historical and cultural data, the origin of the ethnic groups is widely dispatched throughout West Africa. However, all results converge to suggest an individualization from a major birthplace in the Gulf of Guinea.
  • Brucato, N., Tortevoye, P., Plancoulaine, S., Guitard, E., Sanchez-Mazas, A., Larrouy, G., Gessain, A., & Dugoujon, J.-M. (2009). The genetic diversity of three peculiar populations descending from the slave trade: Gm study of Noir Marron from French Guiana. Comptes Rendus Biologies, 332(10), 917-926. doi:10.1016/j.crvi.2009.07.005.

    Abstract

    The Noir Marron communities are the direct descendants of African slaves brought to the Guianas during the four centuries (16th to 19th) of the Atlantic slave trade. Among them, three major ethnic groups have been studied: the Aluku, the Ndjuka and the Saramaka. Their history led them to share close relationships with Europeans and Amerindians, as largely documented in their cultural records. The study of Gm polymorphisms of immunoglobulins may help to estimate the amount of gene flow linked to these cultural exchanges. Surprisingly, very low levels of European contribution (2.6%) and Amerindian contribution (1.7%) are detected in the Noir Marron gene pool. On the other hand, an African contribution of 95.7% redraws their origin to West Africa (FSTless-than-or-equals, slant0.15). This highly preserved African gene pool of the Noir Marron is unique in comparison to other African American populations of Latin America, who are notably more admixed

    Additional information

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  • Burenhult, N. (2009). [Commentary on M. Meschiari, 'Roots of the savage mind: Apophenia and imagination as cognitive process']. Quaderni di semantica, 30(2), 239-242. doi:10.1400/127893.
  • Burenhult, N., & Wegener, C. (2009). Preliminary notes on the phonology, orthography and vocabulary of Semnam (Austroasiatic, Malay Peninsula). Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 1, 283-312. Retrieved from http://www.jseals.org/.

    Abstract

    This paper reports tentatively some features of Semnam, a Central Aslian language spoken by some 250 people in the Perak valley, Peninsular Malaysia. It outlines the unusually rich phonemic system of this hitherto undescribed language (e.g. a vowel system comprising 36 distinctive nuclei), and proposes a practical orthography for it. It also includes the c. 1,250- item wordlist on which the analysis is based, collected intermittently in the field 2006-2008.
  • Casasanto, D. (2009). [Review of the book Music, language, and the brain by Aniruddh D. Patel]. Language and Cognition, 1(1), 143-146. doi:10.1515/LANGCOG.2009.007.
  • Casasanto, D. (2009). Embodiment of abstract concepts: Good and bad in right- and left-handers. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 351-367. doi:10.1037/a0015854.

    Abstract

    Do people with different kinds of bodies think differently? According to the body-specificity hypothesis, people who interact with their physical environments in systematically different ways should form correspondingly different mental representations. In a test of this hypothesis, 5 experiments investigated links between handedness and the mental representation of abstract concepts with positive or negative valence (e.g., honesty, sadness, intelligence). Mappings from spatial location to emotional valence differed between right- and left-handed participants. Right-handers tended to associate rightward space with positive ideas and leftward space with negative ideas, but left-handers showed the opposite pattern, associating rightward space with negative ideas and leftward with positive ideas. These contrasting mental metaphors for valence cannot be attributed to linguistic experience, because idioms in English associate good with right but not with left. Rather, right- and left-handers implicitly associated positive valence more strongly with the side of space on which they could act more fluently with their dominant hands. These results support the body-specificity hypothesis and provide evidence for the perceptuomotor basis of even the most abstract ideas.
  • Chen, X. S., Collins, L. J., Biggs, P. J., & Penny, D. (2009). High throughput genome-wide survey of small RNAs from the parasitic protists giardia intestinalis and trichomonas vaginalis. Genome biology and evolution, 1, 165-175. doi:10.1093/gbe/evp017.

    Abstract

    RNA interference (RNAi) is a set of mechanisms which regulate gene expression in eukaryotes. Key elements of RNAi are small sense and antisense RNAs from 19 to 26 nucleotides generated from double-stranded RNAs. miRNAs are a major type of RNAi-associated small RNAs and are found in most eukaryotes studied to date. To investigate whether small RNAs associated with RNAi appear to be present in all eukaryotic lineages, and therefore present in the ancestral eukaryote, we studied two deep-branching protozoan parasites, Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis. Little is known about endogenous small RNAs involved in RNAi of these organisms. Using Illumina Solexa sequencing and genome-wide analysis of small RNAs from these distantly related deep-branching eukaryotes, we identified 10 strong miRNA candidates from Giardia and 11 from Trichomonas. We also found evidence of Giardia siRNAs potentially involved in the expression of variant-specific-surface proteins. In addition, 8 new snoRNAs from Trichomonas are identified. Our results indicate that miRNAs are likely to be general in ancestral eukaryotes, and therefore are likely to be a universal feature of eukaryotes.
  • Chen, A. (2009). Intonation and reference maintenance in Turkish learners of Dutch: A first insight. AILE - Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Etrangère, 28(2), 67-91.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates L2 learners’ use of intonation in reference maintenance in comparison to native speakers at three longitudinal points. Nominal referring expressions were elicited from two untutored Turkish learners of Dutch and five native speakers of Dutch via a film retelling task, and were analysed in terms of pitch span and word duration. Effects of two types of change in information states were examined, between new and given and between new and accessible. We found native-like use of word duration in both types of change early on but different performances between learners and development over time in one learner in the use of pitch span. Further, the use of morphosyntactic devices had different effects on the two learners. The inter-learner differences and late systematic use of pitch span, in spite of similar use of pitch span in learners’ L1 and L2, suggest that learning may play a role in the acquisition of intonation as a device for reference maintenance.
  • Chen, A. (2009). Perception of paralinguistic intonational meaning in a second language. Language Learning, 59(2), 367-409.
  • Choi, S., McDonough, L., Bowerman, M., & Mandler, J. M. (1999). Early sensitivity to language-specific spatial categories in English and Korean. Cognitive Development, 14, 241-268. doi:10.1016/S0885-2014(99)00004-0.

    Abstract

    This study investigates young children’s comprehension of spatial terms in two languages that categorize space strikingly differently. English makes a distinction between actions resulting in containment (put in) versus support or surface attachment (put on), while Korean makes a cross-cutting distinction between tight-fit relations (kkita) versus loose-fit or other contact relations (various verbs). In particular, the Korean verb kkita refers to actions resulting in a tight-fit relation regardless of containment or support. In a preferential looking study we assessed the comprehension of in by 20 English learners and kkita by 10 Korean learners, all between 18 and 23 months. The children viewed pairs of scenes while listening to sentences with and without the target word. The target word led children to gaze at different and language-appropriate aspects of the scenes. We conclude that children are sensitive to language-specific spatial categories by 18–23 months.
  • Cholin, J., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2009). Effects of syllable preparation and syllable frequency in speech production: Further evidence for syllabic units at a post-lexical level. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24, 662-684. doi:10.1080/01690960802348852.

    Abstract

    In the current paper, we asked at what level in the speech planning process speakers retrieve stored syllables. There is evidence that syllable structure plays an essential role in the phonological encoding of words (e.g., online syllabification and phonological word formation). There is also evidence that syllables are retrieved as whole units. However, findings that clearly pinpoint these effects to specific levels in speech planning are scarce. We used a naming variant of the implicit priming paradigm to contrast voice onset latencies for frequency-manipulated disyllabic Dutch pseudo-words. While prior implicit priming studies only manipulated the item's form and/or syllable structure overlap we introduced syllable frequency as an additional factor. If the preparation effect for syllables obtained in the implicit priming paradigm proceeds beyond phonological planning, i.e., includes the retrieval of stored syllables, then the preparation effect should differ for high- and low frequency syllables. The findings reported here confirm this prediction: Low-frequency syllables benefit significantly more from the preparation than high-frequency syllables. Our findings support the notion of a mental syllabary at a post-lexical level, between the levels of phonological and phonetic encoding.
  • Clifton, Jr., C., Cutler, A., McQueen, J. M., & Van Ooijen, B. (1999). The processing of inflected forms. [Commentary on H. Clahsen: Lexical entries and rules of language.]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 1018-1019.

    Abstract

    Clashen proposes two distinct processing routes, for regularly and irregularly inflected forms, respectively, and thus is apparently making a psychological claim. We argue his position, which embodies a strictly linguistic perspective, does not constitute a psychological processing model.
  • Collins, L. J., & Chen, X. S. (2009). Ancestral RNA: The RNA biology of the eukaryotic ancestor. RNA Biology, 6(5), 495-502. doi:10.4161/rna.6.5.9551.

    Abstract

    Our knowledge of RNA biology within eukaryotes has exploded over the last five years. Within new research we see that some features that were once thought to be part of multicellular life have now been identified in several protist lineages. Hence, it is timely to ask which features of eukaryote RNA biology are ancestral to all eukaryotes. We focus on RNA-based regulation and epigenetic mechanisms that use small regulatory ncRNAs and long ncRNAs, to highlight some of the many questions surrounding eukaryotic ncRNA evolution.
  • Cronin, K. A., Schroeder, K. K. E., Rothwell, E. S., Silk, J. B., & Snowdon, C. T. (2009). Cooperatively breeding cottontop tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) do not donate rewards to their long-term mates. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 123(3), 231-241. doi:10.1037/a0015094.

    Abstract

    This study tested the hypothesis that cooperative breeding facilitates the emergence of prosocial behavior by presenting cottontop tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) with the option to provide food rewards to pair-bonded mates. In Experiment 1, tamarins could provide rewards to mates at no additional cost while obtaining rewards for themselves. Contrary to the hypothesis, tamarins did not demonstrate a preference to donate rewards, behaving similar to chimpanzees in previous studies. In Experiment 2, the authors eliminated rewards for the donor for a stricter test of prosocial behavior, while reducing separation distress and food preoccupation. Again, the authors found no evidence for a donation preference. Furthermore, tamarins were significantly less likely to deliver rewards to mates when the mate displayed interest in the reward. The results of this study contrast with those recently reported for cooperatively breeding common marmosets, and indicate that prosocial preferences in a food donation task do not emerge in all cooperative breeders. In previous studies, cottontop tamarins have cooperated and reciprocated to obtain food rewards; the current findings sharpen understanding of the boundaries of cottontop tamarins’ food-provisioning behavior.
  • Cutler, A. (1979). Contemporary reaction to Rudolf Meringer’s speech error research. Historiograpia Linguistica, 6, 57-76.
  • Cutler, A. (1986). Forbear is a homophone: Lexical prosody does not constrain lexical access. Language and Speech, 29, 201-220.

    Abstract

    Because stress can occur in any position within an Eglish word, lexical prosody could serve as a minimal distinguishing feature between pairs of words. However, most pairs of English words with stress pattern opposition also differ vocalically: OBject an obJECT, CONtent and content have different vowels in their first syllables an well as different stress patters. To test whether prosodic information is made use in auditory word recognition independently of segmental phonetic information, it is necessary to examine pairs like FORbear – forBEAR of TRUSty – trusTEE, semantically unrelated words which echbit stress pattern opposition but no segmental difference. In a cross-modal priming task, such words produce the priming effects characteristic of homophones, indicating that lexical prosody is not used in the same was as segmental structure to constrain lexical access.
  • Cutler, A. (2009). Greater sensitivity to prosodic goodness in non-native than in native listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125, 3522-3525. doi:10.1121/1.3117434.

    Abstract

    English listeners largely disregard suprasegmental cues to stress in recognizing words. Evidence for this includes the demonstration of Fear et al. [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 97, 1893–1904 (1995)] that cross-splicings are tolerated between stressed and unstressed full vowels (e.g., au- of autumn, automata). Dutch listeners, however, do exploit suprasegmental stress cues in recognizing native-language words. In this study, Dutch listeners were presented with English materials from the study of Fear et al. Acceptability ratings by these listeners revealed sensitivity to suprasegmental mismatch, in particular, in replacements of unstressed full vowels by higher-stressed vowels, thus evincing greater sensitivity to prosodic goodness than had been shown by the original native listener group.
  • Cutler, A. (1986). Phonological structure in speech recognition. Phonology Yearbook, 3, 161-178. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4615397.

    Abstract

    Two bodies of recent research from experimental psycholinguistics are summarised, each of which is centred upon a concept from phonology: LEXICAL STRESS and the SYLLABLE. The evidence indicates that neither construct plays a role in prelexical representations during speech recog- nition. Both constructs, however, are well supported by other performance evidence. Testing phonological claims against performance evidence from psycholinguistics can be difficult, since the results of studies designed to test processing models are often of limited relevance to phonological theory.
  • Cutler, A., & Otake, T. (1999). Pitch accent in spoken-word recognition in Japanese. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 105, 1877-1888.

    Abstract

    Three experiments addressed the question of whether pitch-accent information may be exploited in the process of recognizing spoken words in Tokyo Japanese. In a two-choice classification task, listeners judged from which of two words, differing in accentual structure, isolated syllables had been extracted ~e.g., ka from baka HL or gaka LH!; most judgments were correct, and listeners’ decisions were correlated with the fundamental frequency characteristics of the syllables. In a gating experiment, listeners heard initial fragments of words and guessed what the words were; their guesses overwhelmingly had the same initial accent structure as the gated word even when only the beginning CV of the stimulus ~e.g., na- from nagasa HLL or nagashi LHH! was presented. In addition, listeners were more confident in guesses with the same initial accent structure as the stimulus than in guesses with different accent. In a lexical decision experiment, responses to spoken words ~e.g., ame HL! were speeded by previous presentation of the same word ~e.g., ame HL! but not by previous presentation of a word differing only in accent ~e.g., ame LH!. Together these findings provide strong evidence that accentual information constrains the activation and selection of candidates for spoken-word recognition.
  • Cutler, A., & Swinney, D. A. (1986). Prosody and the development of comprehension. Journal of Child Language, 14, 145-167.

    Abstract

    Four studies are reported in which young children’s response time to detect word targets was measured. Children under about six years of age did not show response time advantage for accented target words which adult listeners show. When semantic focus of the target word was manipulated independently of accent, children of about five years of age showed an adult-like response time advantage for focussed targets, but children younger than five did not. Id is argued that the processing advantage for accented words reflect the semantic role of accent as an expression of sentence focus. Processing advantages for accented words depend on the prior development of representations of sentence semantic structure, including the concept of focus. The previous literature on the development of prosodic competence shows an apparent anomaly in that young children’s productive skills appear to outstrip their receptive skills; however, this anomaly disappears if very young children’s prosody is assumed to be produced without an underlying representation of the relationship between prosody and semantics.
  • Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (1999). Sharpening Ockham’s razor (Commentary on W.J.M. Levelt, A. Roelofs & A.S. Meyer: A theory of lexical access in speech production). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 40-41.

    Abstract

    Language production and comprehension are intimately interrelated; and models of production and comprehension should, we argue, be constrained by common architectural guidelines. Levelt et al.'s target article adopts as guiding principle Ockham's razor: the best model of production is the simplest one. We recommend adoption of the same principle in comprehension, with consequent simplification of some well-known types of models.
  • Cutler, A., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J. (1986). The syllable’s differing role in the segmentation of French and English. Journal of Memory and Language, 25, 385-400. doi:10.1016/0749-596X(86)90033-1.

    Abstract

    Speech segmentation procedures may differ in speakers of different languages. Earlier work based on French speakers listening to French words suggested that the syllable functions as a segmentation unit in speech processing. However, while French has relatively regular and clearly bounded syllables, other languages, such as English, do not. No trace of syllabifying segmentation was found in English listeners listening to English words, French words, or nonsense words. French listeners, however, showed evidence of syllabification even when they were listening to English words. We conclude that alternative segmentation routines are available to the human language processor. In some cases speech segmentation may involve the operation of more than one procedure
  • Cutler, A. (1986). Why readers of this newsletter should run cross-linguistic experiments. European Psycholinguistics Association Newsletter, 13, 4-8.
  • Cutler, A., Otake, T., & McQueen, J. M. (2009). Vowel devoicing and the perception of spoken Japanese words. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125(3), 1693-1703. doi:10.1121/1.3075556.

    Abstract

    Three experiments, in which Japanese listeners detected Japanese words embedded in nonsense sequences, examined the perceptual consequences of vowel devoicing in that language. Since vowelless sequences disrupt speech segmentation [Norris et al. (1997). Cognit. Psychol. 34, 191– 243], devoicing is potentially problematic for perception. Words in initial position in nonsense sequences were detected more easily when followed by a sequence containing a vowel than by a vowelless segment (with or without further context), and vowelless segments that were potential devoicing environments were no easier than those not allowing devoicing. Thus asa, “morning,” was easier in asau or asazu than in all of asap, asapdo, asaf, or asafte, despite the fact that the /f/ in the latter two is a possible realization of fu, with devoiced [u]. Japanese listeners thus do not treat devoicing contexts as if they always contain vowels. Words in final position in nonsense sequences, however, produced a different pattern: here, preceding vowelless contexts allowing devoicing impeded word detection less strongly (so, sake was detected less accurately, but not less rapidly, in nyaksake—possibly arising from nyakusake—than in nyagusake). This is consistent with listeners treating consonant sequences as potential realizations of parts of existing lexical candidates wherever possible.
  • Dabrowska, E., Rowland, C. F., & Theakston, A. (2009). The acquisition of questions with long-distance dependencies. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(3), 571-597. doi:10.1515/COGL.2009.025.

    Abstract

    A number of researchers have claimed that questions and other constructions with long distance dependencies (LDDs) are acquired relatively early, by age 4 or even earlier, in spite of their complexity. Analysis of LDD questions in the input available to children suggests that they are extremely stereotypical, raising the possibility that children learn lexically specific templates such as WH do you think S-GAP? rather than general rules of the kind postulated in traditional linguistic accounts of this construction. We describe three elicited imitation experiments with children aged from 4;6 to 6;9 and adult controls. Participants were asked to repeat prototypical questions (i.e., questions which match the hypothesised template), unprototypical questions (which depart from it in several respects) and declarative counterparts of both types of interrogative sentences. The children performed significantly better on the prototypical variants of both constructions, even when both variants contained exactly the same lexical material, while adults showed prototypicality e¤ects for LDD questions only. These results suggest that a general declarative complementation construction emerges quite late in development (after age 6), and that even adults rely on lexically specific templates for LDD questions.
  • Davids, N., Van den Brink, D., Van Turennout, M., Mitterer, H., & Verhoeven, L. (2009). Towards neurophysiological assessment of phonemic discrimination: Context effects of the mismatch negativity. Clinical Neurophysiology, 120, 1078-1086. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2009.01.018.

    Abstract

    This study focusses on the optimal paradigm for simultaneous assessment of auditory and phonemic discrimination in clinical populations. We investigated (a) whether pitch and phonemic deviants presented together in one sequence are able to elicit mismatch negativities (MMNs) in healthy adults and (b) whether MMN elicited by a change in pitch is modulated by the presence of the phonemic deviants.
  • Davidson, D. J., & Indefrey, P. (2009). An event-related potential study on changes of violation and error responses during morphosyntactic learning. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(3), 433-446. Retrieved from http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/jocn.2008.21031.

    Abstract

    Based on recent findings showing electrophysiological changes in adult language learners after relatively short periods of training, we hypothesized that adult Dutch learners of German would show responses to German gender and adjective declension violations after brief instruction. Adjective declension in German differs from previously studied morphosyntactic regularities in that the required suffixes depend not only on the syntactic case, gender, and number features to be expressed, but also on whether or not these features are already expressed on linearly preceding elements in the noun phrase. Violation phrases and matched controls were presented over three test phases (pretest and training on the first day, and a posttest one week later). During the pretest, no electrophysiological differences were observed between violation and control conditions, and participants’ classification performance was near chance. During the training and posttest phases, classification improved, and there was a P600-like violation response to declension but not gender violations. An error-related response during training was associated with improvement in grammatical discrimination from pretest to posttest. The results show that rapid changes in neuronal responses can be observed in adult learners of a complex morphosyntactic rule, and also that error-related electrophysiological responses may relate to grammar acquisition.
  • Davidson, D. J., & Indefrey, P. (2009). Plasticity of grammatical recursion in German learners of Dutch. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24, 1335-1369. doi:10.1080/01690960902981883.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have examined cross-serial and embedded complement clauses in West Germanic in order to distinguish between different types of working memory models of human sentence processing, as well as different formal language models. Here, adult plasticity in the use of these constructions is investigated by examining the response of German-speaking learners of Dutch using magnetoencephalography (MEG). In three experimental sessions spanning their initial acquisition of Dutch, participants performed a sentence-scene matching task with Dutch sentences including two different verb constituent orders (Dutch verb order, German verb order), and in addition rated similar constructions in a separate rating task. The average planar gradient of the evoked field to the initial verb within the cluster revealed a larger evoked response for the German order relative to the Dutch order between 0.2 to 0.4 s over frontal sensors after 2 weeks, but not initially. The rating data showed that constructions consistent with Dutch grammar, but inconsistent with the German grammar were initially rated as unacceptable, but this preference reversed after 3 months. The behavioural and electrophysiological results suggest that cortical responses to verb order preferences in complement clauses can change within 3 months after the onset of adult language learning, implying that this aspect of grammatical processing remains plastic into adulthood.
  • Davies, R., Kidd, E., & Lander, K. (2009). Investigating the psycholinguistic correlates of speechreading in preschool age children. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 44(2), 164-174. doi:10.1080/13682820801997189.

    Abstract

    Background: Previous research has found that newborn infants can match phonetic information in the lips and voice from as young as ten weeks old. There is evidence that access to visual speech is necessary for normal speech development. Although we have an understanding of this early sensitivity, very little research has investigated older children's ability to speechread whole words. Aims: The aim of this study was to identify aspects of preschool children's linguistic knowledge and processing ability that may contribute to speechreading ability. We predicted a significant correlation between receptive vocabulary and speechreading, as well as phonological working memory to be a predictor of speechreading performance. Methods & Procedures: Seventy-six children (n = 76) aged between 2;10 and 4;11 years participated. Children were given three pictures and were asked to point to the picture that they thought that the experimenter had silently mouthed (ten trials). Receptive vocabulary and phonological working memory were also assessed. The results were analysed using Pearson correlations and multiple regressions. Outcomes & Results: The results demonstrated that the children could speechread at a rate greater than chance. Pearson correlations revealed significant, positive correlations between receptive vocabulary and speechreading score, phonological error rate and age. Further correlations revealed significant, positive relationships between The Children's Test of Non-Word Repetition (CNRep) and speechreading score, phonological error rate and age. Multiple regression analyses showed that receptive vocabulary best predicts speechreading ability over and above phonological working memory. Conclusions & Implications: The results suggest that preschool children are capable of speechreading, and that this ability is related to vocabulary size. This suggests that children aged between 2;10 and 4;11 are sensitive to visual information in the form of audio-visual mappings. We suggest that current and future therapies are correct to include visual feedback as a therapeutic tool; however, future research needs to be conducted in order to elucidate further the role of speechreading in development.
  • Dediu, D. (2009). Genetic biasing through cultural transmission: Do simple Bayesian models of language evolution generalize? Journal of Theoretical Biology, 259, 552-561. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.04.004.

    Abstract

    The recent Bayesian approaches to language evolution and change seem to suggest that genetic biases can impact on the characteristics of language, but, at the same time, that its cultural transmission can partially free it from these same genetic constraints. One of the current debates centres on the striking differences between sampling and a posteriori maximising Bayesian learners, with the first converging on the prior bias while the latter allows a certain freedom to language evolution. The present paper shows that this difference disappears if populations more complex than a single teacher and a single learner are considered, with the resulting behaviours more similar to the sampler. This suggests that generalisations based on the language produced by Bayesian agents in such homogeneous single agent chains are not warranted. It is not clear which of the assumptions in such models are responsible, but these findings seem to support the rising concerns on the validity of the “acquisitionist” assumption, whereby the locus of language change and evolution is taken to be the first language acquirers (children) as opposed to the competent language users (the adults).
  • Dietrich, R., & Klein, W. (1986). Simple language. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 11(2), 110-117.
  • Dimroth, C., & Klein, W. (2009). Einleitung. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 153, 5-9.
  • Dimroth, C. (2009). L'acquisition de la finitude en allemand L2 à différents âges. AILE (Acquisition et Interaction en Langue étrangère)/LIA (Languages, Interaction, Acquisition), 1(1), 113-135.

    Abstract

    Ultimate attainment in adult second language learners often differs tremendously from the end state typically achieved by young children learning their first language (L1) or a second language (L2). The research summarized in this article concentrates on developmental steps and orders of acquisition attested in learners of different ages. Findings from a longitudinal study concerned with the acquisition of verbal morpho-syntax in German as an L2 by two young Russian learners (8 and 14 years old) are compared to findings from the acquisition of the same target language by younger children and by untutored adult learners. The study focuses on the acquisition of verbal morphology, the role of auxiliary verbs and the position of finite and non finite verbs in relation to negation and additive scope particles.
  • Dimroth, C. (2009). Lernervarietäten im Sprachunterricht. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 39(153), 60-80.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). The enduring spoken word [Comment on Oard 2008]. Science, 323(5917), 1010-1011. doi:10.1126/science.323.5917.1010b.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). The selective advantage of body-part terms. Journal of Pragmatics, 41(10), 2130-2136. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2008.11.008.

    Abstract

    This paper addresses the question why body-part terms are so often used to talk about other things than body parts. It is argued that the strategy of falling back on stable common ground to maximize the chances of successful communication is the driving force behind the selective advantage of body-part terms. The many different ways in which languages may implement this universal strategy suggest that, in order to properly understand the privileged role of the body in the evolution of linguistic signs, we have to look beyond the body to language in its socio-cultural context. A theory which acknowledges the interacting influences of stable common ground and diversified cultural practices on the evolution of linguistic signs will offer the most explanatory power for both universal patterns and language-specific variation.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). Kããã [finalist photo in the 2008 AAA Photo Contest]. Anthropology News, 50(3), 23-23.

    Abstract

    Kyeei Yao, an age group leader, oversees a festival in Akpafu-Mempeasem, Volta Region, Ghana. The expensive draped cloth, Ashanti-inspired wreath, strings of beads that are handed down through the generations, and digital wristwatch work together to remind us that culture is a moving target, always renewing and reshaping itself. Kããã is a Siwu ideophone for "looking attentively".
  • Drude, S. (2009). Nasal harmony in Awetí ‐ A declarative account. ReVEL - Revista Virtual de Estudos da Linguagem, (3). Retrieved from http://www.revel.inf.br/en/edicoes/?mode=especial&id=16.

    Abstract

    This article describes and analyses nasal harmony (or spreading of nasality) in Awetí. It first shows generally how sounds in prefixes adapt to nasality or orality of stems, and how nasality in stems also ‘extends’ to the left. With abstract templates we show which phonetically nasal or oral sequences are possible in Awetí (focusing on stops, pre-nasalized stops and nasals) and which phonological analysis is appropriate for account for this regularities. In Awetí, there are intrinsically nasal and oral vowels and ‘neutral’ vowels which adapt phonetically to a following vowel or consonant, as is the case of sonorant consonants. Pre-nasalized stops such as “nt” are nasalized variants of stops, not post-oralized variants of nasals as in Tupí-Guaranian languages. For nasals and stops in syllable coda (end of morphemes), we postulate arqui-phonemes which adapt to the preceding vowel or a following consonant. Finally, using a declarative approach, the analysis formulates ‘rules’ (statements) which account for the ‘behavior’ of nasality in Awetí words, making use of “structured sequences” on both the phonetic and phonological levels. So, each unit (syllable, morpheme, word etc.) on any level has three components, a sequence of segments, a constituent structure (where pre-nasalized stops, like diphthongs, correspond to two segments), and an intonation structure. The statements describe which phonetic variants can be combined (concatenated) with which other variants, depending on their nasality or orality.
  • Duffield, N., Matsuo, A., & Roberts, L. (2009). Factoring out the parallelism effect in VP-ellipsis: English vs. Dutch contrasts. Second Language Research, 25, 427-467. doi:10.1177/0267658309349425.

    Abstract

    Previous studies, including Duffield and Matsuo (2001; 2002; 2009), have demonstrated second language learners’ overall sensitivity to a parallelism constraint governing English VP-ellipsis constructions: like native speakers (NS), advanced Dutch, Spanish and Japanese learners of English reliably prefer ellipsis clauses with structurally parallel antecedents over those with non-parallel antecedents. However, these studies also suggest that, in contrast to English native speakers, L2 learners’ sensitivity to parallelism is strongly influenced by other non-syntactic formal factors, such that the constraint applies in a comparatively restricted range of construction-specific contexts. This article reports a set of follow-up experiments — from both computer-based as well as more traditional acceptability judgement tasks — that systematically manipulates these other factors. Convergent results from these tasks confirm a qualitative difference in the judgement patterns of the two groups, as well as important differences between theoreticians’ judgements and those of typical native speakers. We consider the implications of these findings for theories of ultimate attainment in second language acquisition (SLA), as well as for current theoretical accounts of ellipsis.
  • Dunn, M. (2009). Contact and phylogeny in Island Melanesia. Lingua, 11(11), 1664-1678. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2007.10.026.

    Abstract

    This paper shows that despite evidence of structural convergence between some of the Austronesian and non-Austronesian (Papuan) languages of Island Melanesia, statistical methods can detect two independent genealogical signals derived from linguistic structural features. Earlier work by the author and others has presented a maximum parsimony analysis which gave evidence for a genealogical connection between the non-Austronesian languages of island Melanesia. Using the same data set, this paper demonstrates for the non-statistician the application of more sophisticated statistical techniques—including Bayesian methods of phylogenetic inference, and shows that the evidence for common ancestry is if anything stronger than originally supposed.
  • Edlinger, G., Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Brunia, C., Neuper, C., & Pfurtscheller, G. (1999). Cortical oscillatory activity assessed by combined EEG and MEG recordings and high resolution ERD methods. Biomedizinische Technik, 44(2), 131-134.
  • Eimer, M., Kiss, M., Press, C., & Sauter, D. (2009). The roles of feature-specific task set and bottom-up salience in attentional capture: An ERP study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35, 1316-1328. doi:10.1037/a0015872.

    Abstract

    We investigated the roles of top-down task set and bottom-up stimulus salience for feature-specific attentional capture. ERPs and behavioural performance were measured in two experiments where spatially nonpredictive cues preceded visual search arrays that included a colour-defined target. When cue arrays contained a target-colour singleton, behavioural spatial cueing effects were accompanied by a cue-induced N2pc component, indicative of attentional capture. Behavioural cueing effects and N2pc components were only minimally attenuated for non-singleton relative to singleton target-colour cues, demonstrating that top-down task set has a much greater impact on attentional capture than bottom-up salience. For nontarget-colour singleton cues, no N2pc was triggered, but an anterior N2 component indicative of top-down inhibition was observed. In Experiment 2, these cues produced an inverted behavioural cueing effect, which was accompanied by a delayed N2pc to targets presented at cued locations. These results suggest that perceptually salient visual stimuli without task-relevant features trigger a transient location-specific inhibition process that prevents attentional capture, but delays the selection of subsequent target events.
  • Enard, W., Gehre, S., Hammerschmidt, K., Hölter, S. M., Blass, T., Somel, M., Brückner, M. K., Schreiweis, C., Winter, C., Sohr, R., Becker, L., Wiebe, V., Nickel, B., Giger, T., Müller, U., Groszer, M., Adler, T., Aguilar, A., Bolle, I., Calzada-Wack, J. and 36 moreEnard, W., Gehre, S., Hammerschmidt, K., Hölter, S. M., Blass, T., Somel, M., Brückner, M. K., Schreiweis, C., Winter, C., Sohr, R., Becker, L., Wiebe, V., Nickel, B., Giger, T., Müller, U., Groszer, M., Adler, T., Aguilar, A., Bolle, I., Calzada-Wack, J., Dalke, C., Ehrhardt, N., Favor, J., Fuchs, H., Gailus-Durner, V., Hans, W., Hölzlwimmer, G., Javaheri, A., Kalaydjiev, S., Kallnik, M., Kling, E., Kunder, S., Moßbrugger, I., Naton, B., Racz, I., Rathkolb, B., Rozman, J., Schrewe, A., Busch, D. H., Graw, J., Ivandic, B., Klingenspor, M., Klopstock, T., Ollert, M., Quintanilla-Martinez, L., Schulz, H., Wolf, E., Wurst, W., Zimmer, A., Fisher, S. E., Morgenstern, R., Arendt, T., Hrabé de Angelis, M., Fischer, J., Schwarz, J., & Pääbo, S. (2009). A humanized version of Foxp2 affects cortico-basal ganglia circuits in mice. Cell, 137(5), 961-971. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.03.041.

    Abstract

    It has been proposed that two amino acid substitutions in the transcription factor FOXP2 have been positively selected during human evolution due to effects on aspects of speech and language. Here, we introduce these substitutions into the endogenous Foxp2 gene of mice. Although these mice are generally healthy, they have qualitatively different ultrasonic vocalizations, decreased exploratory behavior and decreased dopamine concentrations in the brain suggesting that the humanized Foxp2 allele affects basal ganglia. In the striatum, a part of the basal ganglia affected in humans with a speech deficit due to a nonfunctional FOXP2 allele, we find that medium spiny neurons have increased dendrite lengths and increased synaptic plasticity. Since mice carrying one nonfunctional Foxp2 allele show opposite effects, this suggests that alterations in cortico-basal ganglia circuits might have been important for the evolution of speech and language in humans.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). [Review of the book Serial verb constructions: A cross-linguistic typology ed. by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon]. Language, 85, 445-451. doi:10.1353/lan.0.0124.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). Common tragedy [Review of the book The native mind and the cultural construction of nature by Scott Atran Douglas Medin]. The Times Literary Supplement, September 18,2009, 10-11.
  • Enfield, N. J., & Diffloth, G. (2009). Phonology and sketch grammar of Kri, a Vietic language of Laos. Cahiers de Linguistique - Asie Orientale (CLAO), 38(1), 3-69.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). Language: Social motives for syntax [Review of the book Origins of human communication by Michael Tomasello]. Science, 324(5923), 39. doi:10.1126/science.1172660.
  • Enfield, N. J. (1999). On the indispensability of semantics: Defining the ‘vacuous’. Rask: internationalt tidsskrift for sprog og kommunikation, 9/10, 285-304.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). Relationship thinking and human pragmatics. Journal of Pragmatics, 41, 60-78. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2008.09.007.

    Abstract

    The approach to pragmatics explored in this article focuses on elements of social interaction which are of universal relevance, and which may provide bases for a comparative approach. The discussion is anchored by reference to a fragment of conversation from a video-recording of Lao speakers during a home visit in rural Laos. The following points are discussed. First, an understanding of the full richness of context is indispensable for a proper understanding of any interaction. Second, human relationships are a primary locus of social organization, and as such constitute a key focus for pragmatics. Third, human social intelligence forms a universal cognitive under-carriage for interaction, and requires careful cross-cultural study. Fourth, a neo-Peircean framework for a general understanding of semiotic processes gives us a way of stepping away from language as our basic analytical frame. It is argued that in order to get a grip on pragmatics across human groups, we need to take a comparative approach in the biological sense—i.e. with reference to other species as well. From this perspective, human pragmatics is about using semiotic resources to try to meet goals in the realm of social relationships.
  • Erard, M. (2009). How Many Languages? Linguists Discover New Tongues in China. Science, 324(5925), 332-333. doi:10.1126/science.324.5925.332a.
  • Evans, N., & Levinson, S. C. (2009). The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32(5), 429-492. doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999094X.

    Abstract

    Talk of linguistic universals has given cognitive scientists the impression that languages are all built to a common pattern. In fact, there are vanishingly few universals of language in the direct sense that all languages exhibit them. Instead, diversity can be found at almost every level of linguistic organization. This fundamentally changes the object of enquiry from a cognitive science perspective. This target article summarizes decades of cross-linguistic work by typologists and descriptive linguists, showing just how few and unprofound the universal characteristics of language are, once we honestly confront the diversity offered to us by the world's 6,000 to 8,000 languages. After surveying the various uses of “universal,” we illustrate the ways languages vary radically in sound, meaning, and syntactic organization, and then we examine in more detail the core grammatical machinery of recursion, constituency, and grammatical relations. Although there are significant recurrent patterns in organization, these are better explained as stable engineering solutions satisfying multiple design constraints, reflecting both cultural-historical factors and the constraints of human cognition.
  • Evans, N., & Levinson, S. C. (2009). With diversity in mind: Freeing the language sciences from universal grammar [Author's response]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32(5), 472-484. doi:10.1017/S0140525X09990525.

    Abstract

    Our response takes advantage of the wide-ranging commentary to clarify some aspects of our original proposal and augment others. We argue against the generative critics of our coevolutionary program for the language sciences, defend the use of close-to-surface models as minimizing crosslinguistic data distortion, and stress the growing role of stochastic simulations in making generalized historical accounts testable. These methods lead the search for general principles away from idealized representations and towards selective processes. Putting cultural evolution central in understanding language diversity makes learning fundamental in the cognition of language: increasingly powerful models of general learning, paired with channelled caregiver input, seem set to manage language acquisition without recourse to any innate “universal grammar.” Understanding why human language has no clear parallels in the animal world requires a cross-species perspective: crucial ingredients are vocal learning (for which there are clear non-primate parallels) and an intentionattributing cognitive infrastructure that provides a universal base for language evolution. We conclude by situating linguistic diversity within a broader trend towards understanding human cognition through the study of variation in, for example, human genetics, neurocognition, and psycholinguistic processing.
  • Everett, D., & Majid, A. (2009). Adventures in the jungle of language. [Interview by Asifa Majid and Jon Sutton.]. The Psychologist, 22(4), 312-313. Retrieved from http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk/archive/archive_home.cfm?volumeID=22&editionID=174&ArticleID=1494.

    Abstract

    Daniel Everett has spent his career in the Amazon, challenging some fundamental ideas about language and thought. Asifa Majid and Jon Sutton pose the questions
  • Fedorenko, E., Patel, A., Casasanto, D., Winawer, J., & Gibson, E. (2009). Structural integration in language and music: Evidence for a shared system. Memory & Cognition, 37, 1-9. doi:10.3758/MC.37.1.1.

    Abstract

    In this study, we investigate whether language and music share cognitive resources for structural processing. We report an experiment that used sung materials and manipulated linguistic complexity (subject-extracted relative clauses, object-extracted relative clauses) and musical complexity (in-key critical note, out-of-key critical note, auditory anomaly on the critical note involving a loudness increase). The auditory-anomaly manipulation was included in order to test whether the difference between in-key and out-of-key conditions might be due to any salient, unexpected acoustic event. The critical dependent measure involved comprehension accuracies to questions about the propositional content of the sentences asked at the end of each trial. The results revealed an interaction between linguistic and musical complexity such that the difference between the subject- and object-extracted relative clause conditions was larger in the out-of-key condition than in the in-key and auditory-anomaly conditions. These results provide evidence for an overlap in structural processing between language and music.
  • Fisher, S. E., Stein, J. F., & Monaco, A. P. (1999). A genome-wide search strategy for identifying quantitative trait loci involved in reading and spelling disability (developmental dyslexia). European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 8(suppl. 3), S47-S51. doi:10.1007/PL00010694.

    Abstract

    Family and twin studies of developmental dyslexia have consistently shown that there is a significant heritable component for this disorder. However, any genetic basis for the trait is likely to be complex, involving reduced penetrance, phenocopy, heterogeneity and oligogenic inheritance. This complexity results in reduced power for traditional parametric linkage analysis, where specification of the correct genetic model is important. One strategy is to focus on large multigenerational pedigrees with severe phenotypes and/or apparent simple Mendelian inheritance, as has been successfully demonstrated for speech and language impairment. This approach is limited by the scarcity of such families. An alternative which has recently become feasible due to the development of high-throughput genotyping techniques is the analysis of large numbers of sib-pairs using allele-sharing methodology. This paper outlines our strategy for conducting a systematic genome-wide search for genes involved in dyslexia in a large number of affected sib-pair familites from the UK. We use a series of psychometric tests to obtain different quantitative measures of reading deficit, which should correlate with different components of the dyslexia phenotype, such as phonological awareness and orthographic coding ability. This enable us to use QTL (quantitative trait locus) mapping as a powerful tool for localising genes which may contribute to reading and spelling disability.
  • Fisher, S. E., Marlow, A. J., Lamb, J., Maestrini, E., Williams, D. F., Richardson, A. J., Weeks, D. E., Stein, J. F., & Monaco, A. P. (1999). A quantitative-trait locus on chromosome 6p influences different aspects of developmental dyslexia. American Journal of Human Genetics, 64(1), 146-156. doi:10.1086/302190.

    Abstract

    Recent application of nonparametric-linkage analysis to reading disability has implicated a putative quantitative-trait locus (QTL) on the short arm of chromosome 6. In the present study, we use QTL methods to evaluate linkage to the 6p25-21.3 region in a sample of 181 sib pairs from 82 nuclear families that were selected on the basis of a dyslexic proband. We have assessed linkage directly for several quantitative measures that should correlate with different components of the phenotype, rather than using a single composite measure or employing categorical definitions of subtypes. Our measures include the traditional IQ/reading discrepancy score, as well as tests of word recognition, irregular-word reading, and nonword reading. Pointwise analysis by means of sib-pair trait differences suggests the presence, in 6p21.3, of a QTL influencing multiple components of dyslexia, in particular the reading of irregular words (P=.0016) and nonwords (P=.0024). A complementary statistical approach involving estimation of variance components supports these findings (irregular words, P=.007; nonwords, P=.0004). Multipoint analyses place the QTL within the D6S422-D6S291 interval, with a peak around markers D6S276 and D6S105 consistently identified by approaches based on trait differences (irregular words, P=.00035; nonwords, P=.0035) and variance components (irregular words, P=.007; nonwords, P=.0038). Our findings indicate that the QTL affects both phonological and orthographic skills and is not specific to phoneme awareness, as has been previously suggested. Further studies will be necessary to obtain a more precise localization of this QTL, which may lead to the isolation of one of the genes involved in developmental dyslexia.
  • Fisher, S. E., & Scharff, C. (2009). FOXP2 as a molecular window into speech and language [Review article]. Trends in Genetics, 25, 166-177. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2009.03.002.

    Abstract

    Rare mutations of the FOXP2 transcription factor gene cause a monogenic syndrome characterized by impaired speech development and linguistic deficits. Recent genomic investigations indicate that its downstream neural targets make broader impacts on common language impairments, bridging clinically distinct disorders. Moreover, the striking conservation of both FoxP2 sequence and neural expression in different vertebrates facilitates the use of animal models to study ancestral pathways that have been recruited towards human speech and language. Intriguingly, reduced FoxP2 dosage yields abnormal synaptic plasticity and impaired motor-skill learning in mice, and disrupts vocal learning in songbirds. Converging data indicate that Foxp2 is important for modulating the plasticity of relevant neural circuits. This body of research represents the first functional genetic forays into neural mechanisms contributing to human spoken language.
  • Francks, C. (2009). Understanding the genetics of behavioural and psychiatric traits will only be achieved through a realistic assessment of their complexity. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, 14(1), 11-16. doi:10.1080/13576500802536439.

    Abstract

    Francks et al. (2007) performed a recent study in which the first putative genetic effect on human handedness was identified (the imprinted locus LRRTM1 on human chromosome 2). In this issue of Laterality, Tim Crow and colleagues present a critique of that study. The present paper presents a personal response to that critique which argues that Francks et al. (2007) published a substantial body of evidence implicating LRRTM1 in handedness and schizophrenia. Progress will now be achieved by others trying to validate, refute, or extend those findings, rather than by further armchair discussion.
  • Friederici, A. D., & Levelt, W. J. M. (1986). Cognitive processes of spatial coordinate assignment: On weighting perceptual cues. Naturwissenschaften, 73, 455-458.
  • Friedlaender, J., Hunley, K., Dunn, M., Terrill, A., Lindström, E., Reesink, G., & Friedlaender, F. (2009). Linguistics more robust than genetics [Letter to the editor]. Science, 324, 464-465. doi:10.1126/science.324_464c.
  • Ganushchak, L. Y., & Schiller, N. O. (2009). Speaking in one’s second language under time pressure: An ERP study on verbal self-monitoring in German-Dutch bilinguals. Psychophysiology, 46, 410-419. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2008.00774.x.

    Abstract

    This study addresses how verbal self-monitoring and the Error-Related Negativity (ERN) are affected by time pressure when a task is performed in a second language as opposed to performance in the native language. German–Dutch bilinguals were required to perform a phoneme-monitoring task in Dutch with and without a time pressure manipulation. We obtained an ERN following verbal errors that showed an atypical increase in amplitude under time pressure. This finding is taken to suggest that under time pressure participants had more interference from their native language, which in turn led to a greater response conflict and thus enhancement of the amplitude of the ERN. This result demonstrates once more that the ERN is sensitive to psycholinguistic manipulations and suggests that the functioning of the verbal self-monitoring systemduring speaking is comparable to other performance monitoring, such as action monitoring.
  • Garrido, L., Eisner, F., McGettigan, C., Stewart, L., Sauter, D., Hanley, J. R., Schweinberger, S. R., Warren, J. D., & Duchaine, B. (2009). Developmental phonagnosia: A selective deficit of vocal identity recognition. Neuropsychologia, 47(1), 123-131. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.08.003.

    Abstract

    Phonagnosia, the inability to recognize familiar voices, has been studied in brain-damaged patients but no cases due to developmental problems have been reported. Here we describe the case of KH, a 60-year-old active professional woman who reports that she has always experienced severe voice recognition difficulties. Her hearing abilities are normal, and an MRI scan showed no evidence of brain damage in regions associated with voice or auditory perception. To better understand her condition and to assess models of voice and high-level auditory processing, we tested KH on behavioural tasks measuring voice recognition, recognition of vocal emotions, face recognition, speech perception, and processing of environmental sounds and music. KH was impaired on tasks requiring the recognition of famous voices and the learning and recognition of new voices. In contrast, she performed well on nearly all other tasks. Her case is the first report of developmental phonagnosia, and the results suggest that the recognition of a speaker’s vocal identity depends on separable mechanisms from those used to recognize other information from the voice or non-vocal auditory stimuli.
  • Gazendam, L., Wartena, C., Malaise, V., Schreiber, G., De Jong, A., & Brugman, H. (2009). Automatic annotation suggestions for audiovisual archives: Evaluation aspects. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 34(2/3), 172-188. doi:10.1179/174327909X441090.

    Abstract

    In the context of large and ever growing archives, generating annotation suggestions automatically from textual resources related to the documents to be archived is an interesting option in theory. It could save a lot of work in the time consuming and expensive task of manual annotation and it could help cataloguers attain a higher inter-annotator agreement. However, some questions arise in practice: what is the quality of the automatically produced annotations? How do they compare with manual annotations and with the requirements for annotation that were defined in the archive? If different from the manual annotations, are the automatic annotations wrong? In the CHOICE project, partially hosted at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the Dutch public archive for audiovisual broadcasts, we automatically generate annotation suggestions for cataloguers. In this paper, we define three types of evaluation of these annotation suggestions: (1) a classic and strict evaluation measure expressing the overlap between automatically generated keywords and the manual annotations, (2) a loosened evaluation measure for which semantically very similar annotations are also considered as relevant matches, and (3) an in-use evaluation of the usefulness of manual versus automatic annotations in the context of serendipitous browsing. During serendipitous browsing, the annotations (manual or automatic) are used to retrieve and visualize semantically related documents.
  • Glaser, B., & Holmans, P. (2009). Comparison of methods for combining case-control and family-based association studies. Human Heredity, 68(2), 106-116. doi:10.1159/000212503.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVES: Combining the analysis of family-based samples with unrelated individuals can enhance the power of genetic association studies. Various combined analysis techniques have been recently developed; as yet, there have been no comparisons of their power, or robustness to confounding factors. We investigated empirically the power of up to six combined methods using simulated samples of trios and unrelated cases/controls (TDTCC), trios and unrelated controls (TDTC), and affected sibpairs with parents and unrelated cases/controls (ASPFCC). METHODS: We simulated multiplicative, dominant and recessive models with varying risk parameters in single samples. Additionally, we studied false-positive rates and investigated, if possible, the coverage of the true genetic effect (TDTCC). RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: Under the TDTCC design, we identified four approaches with equivalent power and false-positive rates. Combined statistics were more powerful than single-sample statistics or a pooled chi(2)-statistic when risk parameters were similar in single samples. Adding parental information to the CC part of the joint likelihood increased the power of generalised logistic regression under the TDTC but not the TDTCC scenario. Formal testing of differences between risk parameters in subsamples was the most sensitive approach to avoid confounding in combined analysis. Non-parametric analysis based on Monte-Carlo testing showed the highest power for ASPFCC samples.
  • De Goede, D., Shapiro, L. P., Wester, F., Swinney, D. A., & Bastiaanse, Y. R. M. (2009). The time course of verb processing in Dutch sentences. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 38(3), 181-199. doi:10.1007/s10936-009-9117-3.

    Abstract

    The verb has traditionally been characterized as the central element in a sentence. Nevertheless, the exact role of the verb during the actual ongoing comprehension of a sentence as it unfolds in time remains largely unknown. This paper reports the results of two Cross-Modal Lexical Priming (CMLP) experiments detailing the pattern of verb priming during on-line processing of Dutch sentences. Results are contrasted with data from a third CMLP experiment on priming of nouns in similar sentences. It is demonstrated that the meaning of a matrix verb remains active throughout the entire matrix clause, while this is not the case for the meaning of a subject head noun. Activation of the meaning of the verb only dissipates upon encountering a clear signal as to the start of a new clause.
  • Goudbeek, M., Swingley, D., & Smits, R. (2009). Supervised and unsupervised learning of multidimensional acoustic categories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35, 1913-1933. doi:10.1037/a0015781.

    Abstract

    Learning to recognize the contrasts of a language-specific phonemic repertoire can be viewed as forming categories in a multidimensional psychophysical space. Research on the learning of distributionally defined visual categories has shown that categories defined over I dimension are easy to learn and that learning multidimensional categories is more difficult but tractable under specific task conditions. In 2 experiments, adult participants learned either a unidimensional ora multidimensional category distinction with or without supervision (feedback) during learning. The unidimensional distinctions were readily learned and supervision proved beneficial, especially in maintaining category learning beyond the learning phase. Learning the multidimensional category distinction proved to be much more difficult and supervision was not nearly as beneficial as with unidimensionally defined categories. Maintaining a learned multidimensional category distinction was only possible when the distributional information (hat identified the categories remained present throughout the testing phase. We conclude that listeners are sensitive to both trial-by-trial feedback and the distributional information in the stimuli. Even given limited exposure, listeners learned to use 2 relevant dimensions. albeit with considerable difficulty.
  • Graham, S. A., Jégouzo, S. A. F., Yan, S., Powlesland, A. S., Brady, J. P., Taylor, M. E., & Drickamer, K. (2009). Prolectin, a glycan-binding receptor on dividing B cells in germinal centers. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284, 18537-18544. doi:10.1074/jbc.M109.012807.

    Abstract

    Prolectin, a previously undescribed glycan-binding receptor, has been identified by re-screening of the human genome for genes encoding proteins containing potential C-type carbohydrate-recognition domains. Glycan array analysis revealed that the carbohydrate-recognition domain in the extracellular domain of the receptor binds glycans with terminal α-linked mannose or fucose residues. Prolectin expressed in fibroblasts is found at the cell surface, but unlike many glycan-binding receptors it does not mediate endocytosis of a neoglycoprotein ligand. However, compared with other known glycan-binding receptors, the receptor contains an unusually large intracellular domain that consists of multiple sequence motifs, including phosphorylated tyrosine residues, that allow it to interact with signaling molecules such as Grb2. Immunohistochemistry has been used to demonstrate that prolectin is expressed on a specialized population of proliferating B cells in germinal centers. Thus, this novel receptor has the potential to function in carbohydrate-mediated communication between cells in the germinal center.
  • Gullberg, M., & Kita, S. (2009). Attention to speech-accompanying gestures: Eye movements and information uptake. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 33(4), 251-277. doi:10.1007/s10919-009-0073-2.

    Abstract

    There is growing evidence that addressees in interaction integrate the semantic information conveyed by speakers’ gestures. Little is known, however, about whether and how addressees’ attention to gestures and the integration of gestural information can be modulated. This study examines the influence of a social factor (speakers’ gaze to their own gestures), and two physical factors (the gesture’s location in gesture space and gestural holds) on addressees’ overt visual attention to gestures (direct fixations of gestures) and their uptake of gestural information. It also examines the relationship between gaze and uptake. The results indicate that addressees’ overt visual attention to gestures is affected both by speakers’ gaze and holds but for different reasons, whereas location in space plays no role. Addressees’ uptake of gesture information is only influenced by speakers’ gaze. There is little evidence of a direct relationship between addressees’ direct fixations of gestures and their uptake.
  • Gullberg, M. (2009). Gestures and the development of semantic representations in first and second language acquisition. Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Etrangère..Languages, Interaction, and Acquisition (former AILE), 1, 117-139.

    Abstract

    This paper argues that speech-associated gestures can usefully inform studies exploring development of meaning in first and second language acquisition. The example domain is caused motion or placement meaning (putting a cup on a table) where acquisition problems have been observed and where adult native gesture use reflects crosslinguistically different placement verb semantics. Against this background, the paper summarises three studies examining the development of semantic representations in Dutch children acquiring Dutch, and adult learners’ acquiring Dutch and French placement verbs. Overall, gestures change systematically with semantic development both in children and adults and (1) reveal what semantic elements are included in current semantic representations, whether target-like or not, and (2) highlight developmental shifts in those representations. There is little evidence that gestures chiefly act as a support channel. Instead, the data support the theoretical notion that speech and gesture form an integrated system, opening new possibilities for studying the processes of acquisition.
  • Gullberg, M., & Holmqvist, K. (1999). Keeping an eye on gestures: Visual perception of gestures in face-to-face communication. Pragmatics & Cognition, 7(1), 35-63. doi:10.1075/pc.7.1.04gul.

    Abstract

    Since listeners usually look at the speaker's face, gestural information has to be absorbed through peripheral visual perception. In the literature, it has been suggested that listeners look at gestures under certain circumstances: 1) when the articulation of the gesture is peripheral; 2) when the speech channel is insufficient for comprehension; and 3) when the speaker him- or herself indicates that the gesture is worthy of attention. The research here reported employs eye tracking techniques to study the perception of gestures in face-to-face interaction. The improved control over the listener's visual channel allows us to test the validity of the above claims. We present preliminary findings substantiating claims 1 and 3, and relate them to theoretical proposals in the literature and to the issue of how visual and cognitive attention are related.
  • Gullberg, M. (2009). Reconstructing verb meaning in a second language: How English speakers of L2 Dutch talk and gesture about placement. Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 7, 221-245. doi:10.1075/arcl.7.09gul.

    Abstract

    This study examines to what extent English speakers of L2 Dutch reconstruct the meanings of placement verbs when moving from a general L1 verb of caused motion (put) to two specific caused posture verbs (zetten/leggen ‘set/lay’) in the L2 and whether the existence of low-frequency cognate forms in the L1 (set/lay) alleviates the reconstruction problem. Evidence from speech and gesture indicates that English speakers have difficulties with the specific verbs in L2 Dutch, initially looking for means to express general caused motion in L1-like fashion through over-generalisation. The gesture data further show that targetlike forms are often used to convey L1-like meaning. However, the differentiated use of zetten for vertical placement and dummy verbs (gaan ‘go’ and doen ‘do’) and intransitive posture verbs (zitten/staan/liggen ‘sit, stand, lie’) for horizontal placement, and a positive correlation between appropriate verb use and target-like gesturing suggest a beginning sensitivity to the semantic parameters of the L2 verbs and possible reconstruction.
  • Hagoort, P. (1999). De toekomstige eeuw zonder psychologie. Psychologie Magazine, 18, 35-36.
  • Hagoort, P., & Brown, C. M. (1999). Gender electrified: ERP evidence on the syntactic nature of gender processing. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 28(6), 715-728. doi:10.1023/A:1023277213129.

    Abstract

    The central issue of this study concerns the claim that the processing of gender agreement in online sentence comprehension is a syntactic rather than a conceptual/semantic process. This claim was tested for the grammatical gender agreement in Dutch between the definite article and the noun. Subjects read sentences in which the definite article and the noun had the same gender and sentences in which the gender agreement was violated, While subjects read these sentences, their electrophysiological activity was recorded via electrodes placed on the scalp. Earlier research has shown that semantic and syntactic processing events manifest themselves in different event-related brain potential (ERP) effects. Semantic integration modulates the amplitude of the so-called N400.The P600/SPS is an ERP effect that is more sensitive to syntactic processes. The violation of grammatical gender agreement was found to result in a P600/SPS. For violations in sentence-final position, an additional increase of the N400 amplitude was observed. This N400 effect is interpreted as resulting from the consequence of a syntactic violation for the sentence-final wrap-up. The overall pattern of results supports the claim that the on-line processing of gender agreement information is not a content driven but a syntactic-form driven process.
  • Hagoort, P., & Brown, C. M. (1999). The consequences of the temporal interaction between syntactic and semantic processes for haemodynamic studies of language. NeuroImage, 9, S1024-S1024.
  • Hagoort, P., Indefrey, P., Brown, C. M., Herzog, H., Steinmetz, H., & Seitz, R. J. (1999). The neural circuitry involved in the reading of german words and pseudowords: A PET study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 11(4), 383-398. doi:10.1162/089892999563490.

    Abstract

    Silent reading and reading aloud of German words and pseudowords were used in a PET study using (15O)butanol to examine the neural correlates of reading and of the phonological conversion of legal letter strings, with or without meaning. The results of 11 healthy, right-handed volunteers in the age range of 25 to 30 years showed activation of the lingual gyri during silent reading in comparison with viewing a fixation cross. Comparisons between the reading of words and pseudowords suggest the involvement of the middle temporal gyri in retrieving both the phonological and semantic code for words. The reading of pseudowords activates the left inferior frontal gyrus, including the ventral part of Broca’s area, to a larger extent than the reading of words. This suggests that this area might be involved in the sublexical conversion of orthographic input strings into phonological output codes. (Pre)motor areas were found to be activated during both silent reading and reading aloud. On the basis of the obtained activation patterns, it is hypothesized that the articulation of high-frequency syllables requires the retrieval of their concomitant articulatory gestures from the SMA and that the articulation of lowfrequency syllables recruits the left medial premotor cortex.
  • Hagoort, P., Ramsey, N., Rutten, G.-J., & Van Rijen, P. (1999). The role of the left anterior temporal cortex in language processing. Brain and Language, 69, 322-325. doi:10.1006/brln.1999.2169.
  • Hagoort, P., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2009). The speaking brain. Science, 326(5951), 372-373. doi:10.1126/science.1181675.

    Abstract

    How does intention to speak become the action of speaking? It involves the generation of a preverbal message that is tailored to the requirements of a particular language, and through a series of steps, the message is transformed into a linear sequence of speech sounds (1, 2). These steps include retrieving different kinds of information from memory (semantic, syntactic, and phonological), and combining them into larger structures, a process called unification. Despite general agreement about the steps that connect intention to articulation, there is no consensus about their temporal profile or the role of feedback from later steps (3, 4). In addition, since the discovery by the French physician Pierre Paul Broca (in 1865) of the role of the left inferior frontal cortex in speaking, relatively little progress has been made in understanding the neural infrastructure that supports speech production (5). One reason is that the characteristics of natural language are uniquely human, and thus the neurobiology of language lacks an adequate animal model. But on page 445 of this issue, Sahin et al. (6) demonstrate, by recording neuronal activity in the human brain, that different kinds of linguistic information are indeed sequentially processed within Broca's area.
  • Haun, D. B. M., & Call, J. (2009). Great apes’ capacities to recognize relational similarity. Cognition, 110, 147-159. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2008.10.012.

    Abstract

    Recognizing relational similarity relies on the ability to understand that defining object properties might not lie in the objects individually, but in the relations of the properties of various object to each other. This aptitude is highly relevant for many important human skills such as language, reasoning, categorization and understanding analogy and metaphor. In the current study, we investigated the ability to recognize relational similarities by testing five species of great apes, including human children in a spatial task. We found that all species performed better if related elements are connected by logico-causal as opposed to non-causal relations. Further, we find that only children above 4 years of age, bonobos and chimpanzees, unlike younger children, gorillas and orangutans display some mastery of reasoning by non-causal relational similarity. We conclude that recognizing relational similarity is not in its entirety unique to the human species. The lack of a capability for language does not prohibit recognition of simple relational similarities. The data are discussed in the light of the phylogenetic tree of relatedness of the great apes.
  • Haun, D. B. M., & Rapold, C. J. (2009). Variation in memory for body movements across cultures. Current Biology, 19(23), R1068-R1069. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.10.041.

    Abstract

    There has been considerable controversy over the existence of cognitive differences across human cultures: some claim that human cognition is essentially universal [1,2], others that it reflects cultural specificities [3,4]. One domain of interest has been spatial cognition [5,6]. Despite the global universality of physical space, cultures vary as to how space is coded in their language. Some, for example, do not use egocentric ‘left, right, front, back’ constructions to code spatial relations, instead using allocentric notions like ‘north, south, east, west’ [4,6]: “The spoon is north of the bowl!” Whether or not spatial cognition also varies across cultures remains a contested question [7,8]. Here we investigate whether memory for movements of one's own body differs between cultures with contrastive strategies for coding spatial relations. Our results show that the ways in which we memorize movements of our own body differ in line with culture-specific preferences for how to conceive of spatial relations.
  • Havik, E., Roberts, L., Van Hout, R., Schreuder, R., & Haverkort, M. (2009). Processing subject-object ambiguities in L2 Dutch: A self-paced reading study with German L2 learners of Dutch. Language Learning, 59(1), 73-112. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2009.00501.x.

    Abstract

    The results of two self-paced reading experiments are reported, which investigated the on-line processing of subject-object ambiguities in Dutch relative clause constructions like Dat is de vrouw die de meisjes heeft/hebben gezien by German advanced second language (L2) learners of Dutch. Native speakers of both Dutch and German have been shown to have a preference for a subject versus an object reading of such temporarily ambiguous sentences, and so we provided an ideal opportunity for the transfer of first language (L1) processing preferences to take place. We also investigated whether the participants' working memory span would affect their processing of the experimental items. The results suggest that processing decisions may be affected by working memory when task demands are high and in this case, the high working memory span learners patterned like the native speakers of lower working memory. However, when reading for comprehension alone, and when only structural information was available to guide parsing decisions, working memory span had no effect on the L2 learners' on-line processing, and this differed from the native speakers' even though the L1 and the L2 are highly comparable.
  • Hendriks, L., Witteman, M. J., Frietman, L. C. G., Westerhof, G., Van Baaren, R. B., Engels, R. C. M. E., & Dijksterhuis, A. J. (2009). Imitation can reduce malnutrition in residents in assisted living facilities [Letter to the editor]. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 571(1), 187-188. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02074.x.

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