Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 609
  • Abbot-Smith, K., Chang, F., Rowland, C. F., Ferguson, H., & Pine, J. (2017). Do two and three year old children use an incremental first-NP-as-agent bias to process active transitive and passive sentences?: A permutation analysis. PLoS One, 12(10): e0186129. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186129.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    Data available from OSF
  • Acerbi, A., Van Leeuwen, E. J. C., Haun, D. B. M., & Tennie, C. (2016). Conformity cannot be identified based on population-level signatures. Scientific Reports, 6: 36068. doi:10.1038/srep36068.

    Abstract

    Conformist transmission, defined as a disproportionate likelihood to copy the majority, is considered a potent mechanism underlying the emergence and stabilization of cultural diversity. However, ambiguity within and across disciplines remains as to how to identify conformist transmission empirically. In most studies, a population level outcome has been taken as the benchmark to evidence conformist transmission: a sigmoidal relation between individuals’ probability to copy the majority and the proportional majority size. Using an individual-based model, we show that, under ecologically plausible conditions, this sigmoidal relation can also be detected without equipping individuals with a conformist bias. Situations in which individuals copy randomly from a fixed subset of demonstrators in the population, or in which they have a preference for one of the possible variants, yield similar sigmoidal patterns as a conformist bias would. Our findings warrant a revisiting of studies that base their conformist transmission conclusions solely on the sigmoidal curve. More generally, our results indicate that population level outcomes interpreted as conformist transmission could potentially be explained by other individual-level strategies, and that more empirical support is needed to prove the existence of an individual-level conformist bias in human and other animals.
  • Acuna-Hidalgo, R., Deriziotis, P., Steehouwer, M., Gilissen, C., Graham, S. A., Van Dam, S., Hoover-Fong, J., Telegrafi, A. B., Destree, A., Smigiel, R., Lambie, L. A., Kayserili, H., Altunoglu, U., Lapi, E., Uzielli, M. L., Aracena, M., Nur, B. G., Mihci, E., Moreira, L. M. A., Ferreira, V. B. and 26 moreAcuna-Hidalgo, R., Deriziotis, P., Steehouwer, M., Gilissen, C., Graham, S. A., Van Dam, S., Hoover-Fong, J., Telegrafi, A. B., Destree, A., Smigiel, R., Lambie, L. A., Kayserili, H., Altunoglu, U., Lapi, E., Uzielli, M. L., Aracena, M., Nur, B. G., Mihci, E., Moreira, L. M. A., Ferreira, V. B., Horovitz, D. D. G., Da Rocha, K. M., Jezela-Stanek, A., Brooks, A. S., Reutter, H., Cohen, J. S., Fatemi, A., Smitka, M., Grebe, T. A., Di Donato, N., Deshpande, C., Vandersteen, A., Marques Lourenço, C., Dufke, A., Rossier, E., Andre, G., Baumer, A., Spencer, C., McGaughran, J., Franke, L., Veltman, J. A., De Vries, B. B. A., Schinzel, A., Fisher, S. E., Hoischen, A., & Van Bon, B. W. (2017). Overlapping SETBP1 gain-of-function mutations in Schinzel-Giedion syndrome and hematologic malignancies. PLoS Genetics, 13: e1006683. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006683.

    Abstract

    Schinzel-Giedion syndrome (SGS) is a rare developmental disorder characterized by multiple malformations, severe neurological alterations and increased risk of malignancy. SGS is caused by de novo germline mutations clustering to a 12bp hotspot in exon 4 of SETBP1. Mutations in this hotspot disrupt a degron, a signal for the regulation of protein degradation, and lead to the accumulation of SETBP1 protein. Overlapping SETBP1 hotspot mutations have been observed recurrently as somatic events in leukemia. We collected clinical information of 47 SGS patients (including 26 novel cases) with germline SETBP1 mutations and of four individuals with a milder phenotype caused by de novo germline mutations adjacent to the SETBP1 hotspot. Different mutations within and around the SETBP1 hotspot have varying effects on SETBP1 stability and protein levels in vitro and in in silico modeling. Substitutions in SETBP1 residue I871 result in a weak increase in protein levels and mutations affecting this residue are significantly more frequent in SGS than in leukemia. On the other hand, substitutions in residue D868 lead to the largest increase in protein levels. Individuals with germline mutations affecting D868 have enhanced cell proliferation in vitro and higher incidence of cancer compared to patients with other germline SETBP1 mutations. Our findings substantiate that, despite their overlap, somatic SETBP1 mutations driving malignancy are more disruptive to the degron than germline SETBP1 mutations causing SGS. Additionally, this suggests that the functional threshold for the development of cancer driven by the disruption of the SETBP1 degron is higher than for the alteration in prenatal development in SGS. Drawing on previous studies of somatic SETBP1 mutations in leukemia, our results reveal a genotype-phenotype correlation in germline SETBP1 mutations spanning a molecular, cellular and clinical phenotype.
  • Adams, H. H. H., Hibar, D. P., Chouraki, V., Stein, J. L., Nyquist, P., Renteria, M. E., Trompet, S., Arias-Vasquez, A., Seshadri, S., Desrivières, S., Beecham, A. H., Jahanshad, N., Wittfeld, K., Van der Lee, S. J., Abramovic, L., Alhusaini, S., Amin, N., Andersson, M., Arfanakis, K. A., Aribisala, B. S. and 322 moreAdams, H. H. H., Hibar, D. P., Chouraki, V., Stein, J. L., Nyquist, P., Renteria, M. E., Trompet, S., Arias-Vasquez, A., Seshadri, S., Desrivières, S., Beecham, A. H., Jahanshad, N., Wittfeld, K., Van der Lee, S. J., Abramovic, L., Alhusaini, S., Amin, N., Andersson, M., Arfanakis, K. A., Aribisala, B. S., Armstrong, N. J., Athanasiu, L., Axelsson, T., Beiser, A., Bernard, M., Bis, J. C., Blanken, L. M. E., Blanton, S. H., Bohlken, M. M., Boks, M. P., Bralten, J., Brickman, A. M., Carmichael, O., Chakravarty, M. M., Chauhan, G., Chen, Q., Ching, C. R. K., Cuellar-Partida, G., Den Braber, A., Doan, N. T., Ehrlich, S., Filippi, I., Ge, T., Giddaluru, S., Goldman, A. L., Gottesman, R. F., Greven, C. U., Grimm, O., Griswold, M. E., Guadalupe, T., Hass, J., Haukvik, U. K., Hilal, S., Hofer, E., Höhn, D., Holmes, A. J., Hoogman, M., Janowitz, D., Jia, T., Karbalai, N., Kasperaviciute, D., Kim, S., Klein, M., Krämer, B., Lee–, P. H., Liao, J., Liewald, D. C. M., Lopez, L. M., Luciano, M., Macare, C., Marquand, A., Matarin, M., Mather, K. A., Mattheisen, M., Mazoyer, B., McKay, D. R., McWhirter, R., Milaneschi, Y., Muetzel, R. L., Muñoz Maniega, S., Nho, K., Nugent, A. C., Olde Loohuis, L. M., Oosterlaan, J., Papmeyer, M., Pappa, I., Pirpamer, L., Pudas, S., Pütz, B., Rajan, K. B., Ramasamy, A., Richards, J. S., Risacher, S. L., Roiz-Santiañez, R., Rommelse, N., Rose, E. J., Royle, N. A., Rundek, T., Sämann, P. G., Satizabal, C. L., Schmaal, L., Schork, A. J., Shen, L., Shin, J., Shumskaya, E., Smith, A. V., Sprooten, E., Strike, L. T., Teumer, A., Thomson, R., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Toro, R., Trabzuni, D., Vaidya, D., Van der Grond, J., Van der Meer, D., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Van Eijk, K. R., VanErp, T. G. M., Van Rooij, D., Walton, E., Westlye, L. T., Whelan, C. D., Windham, B. G., Winkler, A. M., Woldehawariat, G., Wolf, C., Wolfers, T., Xu, B., Yanek, L. R., Yang, J., Zijdenbos, A., Zwiers, M. P., Agartz, I., Aggarwal, N. T., Almasy, L., Ames, D., Amouyel, P., Andreassen, O. A., Arepalli, S., Assareh, A. A., Barral, S., Bastin, M. E., Becker, J. T., Becker, D. M., Bennett, D. A., Blangero, J., Van Bokhoven, H., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Brunner, H. G., Buckner, R. L., Buitelaar, J. K., Bulayeva, K. B., Cahn, W., Calhoun, V. D., Cannon, D. M., Cavalleri, G. L., Chen, C., Cheng, C.-Y., Cichon, S., Cookson, M. R., Corvin, A., Crespo-Facorro, B., Curran, J. E., Czisch, M., Dale, A. M., Davies, G. E., De Geus, E. J. C., De Jager, P. L., De Zubicaray, G. I., Delanty, N., Depondt, C., DeStefano, A., Dillman, A., Djurovic, S., Donohoe, G., Drevets, W. C., Duggirala, R., Dyer, T. D., Erk, S., Espeseth, T., Evans, D. A., Fedko, I. O., Fernández, G., Ferrucci, L., Fisher, S. E., Fleischman, D. A., Ford, I., Foroud, T. M., Fox, P. T., Francks, C., Fukunaga, M., Gibbs, J. R., Glahn, D. C., Gollub, R. L., Göring, H. H. H., Grabe, H. J., Green, R. C., Gruber, O., Guelfi, S., Hansell, N. K., Hardy, J., Hartman, C. A., Hashimoto, R., Hegenscheid, K., Heinz, A., Le Hellard, S., Hernandez, D. G., Heslenfeld, D. J., Ho, B.-C., Hoekstra, P. J., Hoffmann, W., Hofman, A., Holsboer, F., Homuth, G., Hosten, N., Hottenga, J.-J., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Ikeda, M., Ikram, M. K., Jack Jr, C. R., Jenkinson, M., Johnson, R., Jönsson, E. G., Jukema, J. W., Kahn, R. S., Kanai, R., Kloszewska, I., Knopman, D. S., Kochunov, P., Kwok, J. B., Launer, L. J., Lawrie, S. M., Lemaître, H., Liu, X., Longo, D. L., Longstreth Jr, W. T., Lopez, O. L., Lovestone, S., Martinez, O., Martinot, J.-L., Mattay, V. S., McDonald, C., McIntosh, A. M., McMahon, F. J., McMahon, K. L., Mecocci, P., Melle, I., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Mohnke, S., Montgomery, G. W., Morris, D. W., Mosley, T. H., Mühleisen, T. W., Müller-Myhsok, B., Nalls, M. A., Nauck, M., Nichols, T. E., Niessen, W. J., Nöthen, M. M., Nyberg, L., Ohi, K., Olvera, R. L., Ophoff, R. A., Pandolfo, M., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Pike, G. B., Potkin, S. G., Psaty, B. M., Reppermund, S., Rietschel, M., Roffman, J. L., Romanczuk-Seiferth, N., Rotter, J. I., Ryten, M., Sacco, R. L., Sachdev, P. S., Saykin, A. J., Schmidt, R., Schofield, P. R., Sigursson, S., Simmons, A., Singleton, A., Sisodiya, S. M., Smith, C., Smoller, J. W., Soininen, H., Srikanth, V., Steen, V. M., Stott, D. J., Sussmann, J. E., Thalamuthu, A., Tiemeier, H., Toga, A. W., Traynor, B., Troncoso, J., Turner, J. A., Tzourio, C., Uitterlinden, A. G., Valdés Hernández, M. C., Van der Brug, M., Van der Lugt, A., Van der Wee, N. J. A., Van Duijn, C. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Van 't Ent, D., Van Tol, M.-J., Vardarajan, B. N., Veltman, D. J., Vernooij, M. W., Völzke, H., Walter, H., Wardlaw, J. M., Wassink, T. H., Weale, M. E., Weinberger, D. R., Weiner, M. W., Wen, W., Westman, E., White, T., Wong, T. Y., Wright, C. B., Zielke, R. H., Zonderman, A. B., the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, EPIGEN, IMAGEN, SYS, Deary, I. J., DeCarli, C., Schmidt, H., Martin, N. G., De Craen, A. J. M., Wright, M. J., Gudnason, V., Schumann, G., Fornage, M., Franke, B., Debette, S., Medland, S. E., Ikram, M. A., & Thompson, P. M. (2016). Novel genetic loci underlying human intracranial volume identified through genome-wide association. Nature Neuroscience, 19, 1569-1582. doi:10.1038/nn.4398.

    Abstract

    Intracranial volume reflects the maximally attained brain size during development, and remains stable with loss of tissue in late life. It is highly heritable, but the underlying genes remain largely undetermined. In a genome-wide association study of 32,438 adults, we discovered five previously unknown loci for intracranial volume and confirmed two known signals. Four of the loci were also associated with adult human stature, but these remained associated with intracranial volume after adjusting for height. We found a high genetic correlation with child head circumference (genetic = 0.748), which indicates a similar genetic background and allowed us to identify four additional loci through meta-analysis (Ncombined = 37,345). Variants for intracranial volume were also related to childhood and adult cognitive function, and Parkinson’s disease, and were enriched near genes involved in growth pathways, including PI3K-AKT signaling. These findings identify the biological underpinnings of intracranial volume and provide genetic support for theories on brain reserve and brain overgrowth.
  • Aebi, M., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Poelmans, G., Buitelaar, J. K., Sonuga-Barke, E. J., Stringaris, A., Consortium, I., Faraone, S. V., Franke, B., Steinhausen, H. C., & van Hulzen, K. J. (2016). Gene-set and multivariate genome-wide association analysis of oppositional defiant behavior subtypes in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 171(5), 573-88. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.32346.

    Abstract

    Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a frequent psychiatric disorder seen in children and adolescents with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ODD is also a common antecedent to both affective disorders and aggressive behaviors. Although the heritability of ODD has been estimated to be around 0.60, there has been little research into the molecular genetics of ODD. The present study examined the association of irritable and defiant/vindictive dimensions and categorical subtypes of ODD (based on latent class analyses) with previously described specific polymorphisms (DRD4 exon3 VNTR, 5-HTTLPR, and seven OXTR SNPs) as well as with dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin genes and pathways in a clinical sample of children and adolescents with ADHD. In addition, we performed a multivariate genome-wide association study (GWAS) of the aforementioned ODD dimensions and subtypes. Apart from adjusting the analyses for age and sex, we controlled for "parental ability to cope with disruptive behavior." None of the hypothesis-driven analyses revealed a significant association with ODD dimensions and subtypes. Inadequate parenting behavior was significantly associated with all ODD dimensions and subtypes, most strongly with defiant/vindictive behaviors. In addition, the GWAS did not result in genome-wide significant findings but bioinformatics and literature analyses revealed that the proteins encoded by 28 of the 53 top-ranked genes functionally interact in a molecular landscape centered around Beta-catenin signaling and involved in the regulation of neurite outgrowth. Our findings provide new insights into the molecular basis of ODD and inform future genetic studies of oppositional behavior. (c) 2015 The Authors. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2017). Commentary on Sanborn and Chater: Posterior Modes Are Attractor Basins. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21(7), 491-492. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2017.04.003.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2017). Electrophysiology Reveals the Neural Dynamics of Naturalistic Auditory Language Processing: Event-Related Potentials Reflect Continuous Model Update. eNeuro, 4(6): e0311. doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0311-16.2017.

    Abstract

    The recent trend away from ANOVA-based analyses places experimental investigations into the neurobiology of cognition in more naturalistic and ecologically valid designs within reach. Using mixed-effects models for epoch-based regression, we demonstrate the feasibility of examining event-related potentials (ERPs), and in particular the N400, to study the neural dynamics of human auditory language processing in a naturalistic setting. Despite the large variability between trials during naturalistic stimulation, we replicated previous findings from the literature: the effects of frequency, animacy, word order and find previously unexplored interaction effects. This suggests a new perspective on ERPs, namely as a continuous modulation reflecting continuous stimulation instead of a series of discrete and essentially sequential processes locked to discrete events. Significance Statement Laboratory experiments on language often lack ecologicalal validity. In addition to the intrusive laboratory equipment, the language used is often highly constrained in an attempt to control possible confounds. More recent research with naturalistic stimuli has been largely confined to fMRI, where the low temporal resolution helps to smooth over the uneven finer structure of natural language use. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of using naturalistic stimuli with temporally sensitive methods such as EEG and MEG using modern computational approaches and show how this provides new insights into the nature of ERP components and the temporal dynamics of language as a sensory and cognitive process. The full complexity of naturalistic language use cannot be captured by carefully controlled designs alone.
  • Ambridge, B., Bidgood, A., Pine, J. M., & Rowland, C. F. (2016). Is Passive Syntax Semantically Constrained? Evidence From Adult Grammaticality Judgment and Comprehension Studies. Cognitive Science, 40, 1435-1459. doi:10.1111/cogs.12277.

    Abstract

    To explain the phenomenon that certain English verbs resist passivization (e.g., *£5 was cost by the book), Pinker (1989) proposed a semantic constraint on the passive in the adult grammar: The greater the extent to which a verb denotes an action where a patient is affected or acted upon, the greater the extent to which it is compatible with the passive. However, a number of comprehension and production priming studies have cast doubt upon this claim, finding no difference between highly affecting agent-patient/theme-experiencer passives (e.g., Wendy was kicked/frightened by Bob) and non-actional experiencer theme passives (e.g., Wendy was heard by Bob). The present study provides evidence that a semantic constraint is psychologically real, and is readily observed when more fine-grained independent and dependent measures are used (i.e., participant ratings of verb semantics, graded grammaticality judgments, and reaction time in a forced-choice picture-matching comprehension task). We conclude that a semantic constraint on the passive must be incorporated into accounts of the adult grammar.

    Additional information

    cogs12277-sup-0001-DataS1-S2.docx
  • Ameka, F. K. (1992). Interjections: The universal yet neglected part of speech. Journal of Pragmatics, 18(2/3), 101-118. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(92)90048-G.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1992). The meaning of phatic and conative interjections. Journal of Pragmatics, 18(2/3), 245-271. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(92)90054-F.

    Abstract

    The purpose of this paper is to investigate the meanings of the members of two subclasses of interjections in Ewe: the conative/volitive which are directed at an auditor, and the phatic which are used in the maintenance of social and communicative contact. It is demonstrated that interjections like other linguistic signs have meanings which can be rigorously stated. In addition, the paper explores the differences and similarities between the semantic structures of interjections on one hand and formulaic words on the other. This is done through a comparison of the semantics and pragmatics of an interjection and a formulaic word which are used for welcoming people in Ewe. It is contended that formulaic words are speech acts qua speech acts while interjections are not fully fledged speech acts because they lack illocutionary dictum in their semantic structure.
  • Aparicio, X., Heidlmayr, K., & Isel, F. (2017). Inhibition Efficiency in Highly Proficient Bilinguals and Simultaneous Interpreters: Evidence from Language Switching and Stroop Tasks. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 46, 1427-1451. doi:10.1007/s10936-017-9501-3.

    Abstract

    The present behavioral study aimed to examine the impact of language control expertise on two domain-general control processes, i.e. active inhibition of competing representations and overcoming of inhibition. We compared how Simultaneous Interpreters (SI) and Highly Proficient Bilinguals—two groups assumed to differ in language control capacity—performed executive tasks involving specific inhibition processes. In Experiment 1 (language decision task), both active and overcoming of inhibition processes are involved, while in Experiment 2 (bilingual Stroop task) only interference suppression is supposed to be required. The results of Experiment 1 showed a language switching effect only for the highly proficient bilinguals, potentially because overcoming of inhibition requires more cognitive resources than in SI. Nevertheless, both groups performed similarly on the Stroop task in Experiment 2, which suggests that active inhibition may work similarly in both groups. These contrasting results suggest that overcoming of inhibition may be harder to master than active inhibition. Taken together, these data indicate that some executive control processes may be less sensitive to the degree of expertise in bilingual language control than others. Our findings lend support to psycholinguistic models of bilingualism postulating a higher-order mechanism regulating language activation.
  • Araújo, S., Faísca, L., Reis, A., Marques, J. F., & Petersson, K. M. (2016). Visual naming deficits in dyslexia: An ERP investigation of different processing domains. Neuropsychologia, 91, 61-76. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.07.007.

    Abstract

    Naming speed deficits are well documented in developmental dyslexia, expressed by slower naming times and more errors in response to familiar items. Here we used event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine at what processing level the deficits in dyslexia emerge during a discrete-naming task. Dyslexic and skilled adult control readers performed a primed object-naming task, in which the relationship between the prime and the target was manipulated along perceptual, semantic and phonological dimensions. A 3×2 design that crossed Relationship Type (Visual, Phonemic Onset, and Semantic) with Relatedness (Related and Unrelated) was used. An attenuated N/P190 – indexing early visual processing – and N300 – which index late visual processing – was observed to pictures preceded by perceptually related (vs. unrelated) primes in the control but not in the dyslexic group. These findings suggest suboptimal processing in early stages of object processing in dyslexia, when integration and mapping of perceptual information to a more form-specific percept in memory take place. On the other hand, both groups showed an N400 effect associated with semantically related pictures (vs. unrelated), taken to reflect intact integration of semantic similarities in both dyslexic and control readers. We also found an electrophysiological effect of phonological priming in the N400 range – that is, an attenuated N400 to objects preceded by phonemic related primes vs. unrelated – while it showed a more widespread distributed and more pronounced over the right hemisphere in the dyslexics. Topographic differences between groups might have originated from a word form encoding process with different characteristics in dyslexics compared to control readers.
  • Armeni, K., Willems, R. M., & Frank, S. (2017). Probabilistic language models in cognitive neuroscience: Promises and pitfalls. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 83, 579-588. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.09.001.

    Abstract

    Cognitive neuroscientists of language comprehension study how neural computations relate to cognitive computations during comprehension. On the cognitive part of the equation, it is important that the computations and processing complexity are explicitly defined. Probabilistic language models can be used to give a computationally explicit account of language complexity during comprehension. Whereas such models have so far predominantly been evaluated against behavioral data, only recently have the models been used to explain neurobiological signals. Measures obtained from these models emphasize the probabilistic, information-processing view of language understanding and provide a set of tools that can be used for testing neural hypotheses about language comprehension. Here, we provide a cursory review of the theoretical foundations and example neuroimaging studies employing probabilistic language models. We highlight the advantages and potential pitfalls of this approach and indicate avenues for future research
  • Asaridou, S. S., Takashima, A., Dediu, D., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2016). Repetition suppression in the left inferior frontal gyrus predicts tone learning performance. Cerebral Cortex, 26(6), 2728-2742. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhv126.

    Abstract

    Do individuals differ in how efficiently they process non-native sounds? To what extent do these differences relate to individual variability in sound-learning aptitude? We addressed these questions by assessing the sound-learning abilities of Dutch native speakers as they were trained on non-native tone contrasts. We used fMRI repetition suppression to the non-native tones to measure participants' neuronal processing efficiency before and after training. Although all participants improved in tone identification with training, there was large individual variability in learning performance. A repetition suppression effect to tone was found in the bilateral inferior frontal gyri (IFGs) before training. No whole-brain effect was found after training; a region-of-interest analysis, however, showed that, after training, repetition suppression to tone in the left IFG correlated positively with learning. That is, individuals who were better in learning the non-native tones showed larger repetition suppression in this area. Crucially, this was true even before training. These findings add to existing evidence that the left IFG plays an important role in sound learning and indicate that individual differences in learning aptitude stem from differences in the neuronal efficiency with which non-native sounds are processed.
  • Aschrafi, A., Verheijen, J., Gordebeke, P. M., Olde Loohuis, N. F., Menting, K., Jager, A., Palkovits, M., Geenen, B., Kos, A., Martens, G. J. M., Glennon, J. C., Kaplan, B. B., Gaszner, B., & Kozicz, T. (2016). MicroRNA-326 acts as a molecular switch in the regulation of midbrain urocortin 1 expression. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, 41(5), 342-354. doi:10.1503/jpn.150154.

    Abstract

    Background: Altered levels of urocortin 1 (Ucn1) in the centrally projecting Edinger-Westphal nucleus (EWcp) of depressed suicide attempters or completers mediate the brain’s response to stress, while the mechanism regulating Ucn1 expression is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that microRNAs (miRNAs), which are vital fine-tuners of gene expression during the brain’s response to stress, have the capacity to modulate Ucn1 expression. Methods: Computational analysis revealed that the Ucn1 3’ untranslated region contained a conserved binding site for miR-326. We examined miR-326 and Ucn1 levels in the EWcp of depressed suicide completers. In addition, we evaluated miR-326 and Ucn1 levels in the serum and the EWcp of a chronic variable mild stress (CVMS) rat model of behavioural despair and after recovery from CVMS, respectively. Gain and loss of miR-326 function experiments examined the regulation of Ucn1 by this miRNA in cultured midbrain neurons. Results: We found reduced miR-326 levels concomitant with elevated Ucn1 levels in the EWcp of depressed suicide completers as well as in the EWcp of CVMS rats. In CVMS rats fully recovered from stress, both serum and EWcp miR-326 levels rebounded to nonstressed levels. While downregulation of miR-326 levels in primary midbrain neurons enhanced Ucn1 expression levels, miR-326 overexpression selectively reduced the levels of this neuropeptide. Limitations: This study lacked experiments showing that in vivo alteration of miR-326 levels alleviate depression-like behaviours. We show only correlative data for miR-325 and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript levels in the EWcp. Conclusion: We identified miR-326 dysregulation in depressed suicide completers and characterized this miRNA as an upstream regulator of the Ucn1 neuropeptide expression in midbrain neurons. © 2016 Joule Inc. or its licensors.
  • Baayen, H., & Lieber, R. (1991). Productivity and English derivation: A corpus-based study. Linguistics, 29(5), 801-843. doi:10.1515/ling.1991.29.5.801.

    Abstract

    The notion of productivity is one which is central to the study of morphology. It is a notion about which linguists frequently have intuitions. But it is a notion which still remains somewhat problematic in the literature on generative morphology some 15 years after Aronoff raised the issue in his (1976) monograph. In this paper we will review some of the definitions and measures of productivity discussed in the generative and pregenerative literature. We will adopt the definition of productivity suggested by Schultink (1961) and propose a number of statistical measures of productivity whose results, when applied to a fixed corpus, accord nicely with our intuitive estimates of productivity, and which shed light on the quantitative weight of linguistic restrictions on word formation rules. Part of our purpose here is also a very simple one: to make available a substantial set of empirical data concerning the productivity of some of the major derivational affixes of English.

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  • Backus, A., Schoffelen, J.-M., Szebényi, S., Hanslmayr, S., & Doeller, C. (2016). Hippocampal-prefrontal theta oscillations support memory integration. Current Biology, 26, 450-457. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.048.

    Abstract

    Integration of separate memories forms the basis of inferential reasoning - an essential cognitive process that enables complex behavior. Considerable evidence suggests that both hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) play a crucial role in memory integration. Although previous studies indicate that theta oscillations facilitate memory processes, the electrophysiological mechanisms underlying memory integration remain elusive. To bridge this gap, we recorded magnetoencephalography data while participants performed an inference task and employed novel source reconstruction techniques to estimate oscillatory signals from the hippocampus. We found that hippocampal theta power during encoding predicts subsequent memory integration. Moreover, we observed increased theta coherence between hippocampus and mPFC. Our results suggest that integrated memory representations arise through hippocampal theta oscillations, possibly reflecting dynamic switching between encoding and retrieval states, and facilitating communication with mPFC. These findings have important implications for our understanding of memory-based decision making and knowledge acquisition
  • Baranova, J., & Dingemanse, M. (2016). Reasons for requests. Discourse Studies, 18(6), 641-675. doi:10.1177/1461445616667154.

    Abstract

    Reasons play an important role in social interaction. We study reasons-giving in the context of request sequences in Russian. By contrasting request sequences with and without reasons, we are able to shed light on the interactional work people do when they provide reasons or ask for them. In a systematic collection of request sequences in everyday conversation (N = 158), we find reasons in a variety of sequential positions, showing the various points at which participants may orient to the need for a reason. Reasons may be left implicit (as in many minimal requests that are readily complied with), or they can be made explicit. Participants may make reasons explicit either as part of the initial formulation of a request or in an interactionally contingent way. Across sequential positions, we show that reasons for requests recurrently deal with three possible issues: (1) providing information when a request is underspecified, (2) managing relationships between the requester and requestee and (3) explicating ancillary actions implemented by a request. By spelling out information normally left to presuppositions and implicatures, reasons make requests more understandable and help participants to navigate the social landscape of asking assistance from others.
  • Barendse, M. T., Ligtvoet, R., Timmerman, M. E., & Oort, F. J. (2016). Model fit after pairwise maximum likelihood. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 528. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00528.

    Abstract

    Maximum likelihood factor analysis of discrete data within the structural equation modeling framework rests on the assumption that the observed discrete responses are manifestations of underlying continuous scores that are normally distributed. As maximizing the likelihood of multivariate response patterns is computationally very intensive, the sum of the log–likelihoods of the bivariate response patterns is maximized instead. Little is yet known about how to assess model fit when the analysis is based on such a pairwise maximum likelihood (PML) of two–way contingency tables. We propose new fit criteria for the PML method and conduct a simulation study to evaluate their performance in model selection. With large sample sizes (500 or more), PML performs as well the robust weighted least squares analysis of polychoric correlations.
  • Barış Demiral, Ş., Gambi, C., Nieuwland, M. S., & Pickering, M. J. (2016). Neural correlates of verbal joint action: ERPs reveal common perception and action systems in a shared-Stroop task. Brain Research, 1649, 79-89. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2016.08.025.

    Abstract

    Recent social-cognitive research suggests that the anticipation of co-actors' actions influences people's mental representations. However, the precise nature of such representations is still unclear. In this study we investigated verbal joint representations in a delayed Stroop paradigm, where each participant responded to one color after a short delay. Participants either performed the task as a single actor (single-action, Experiment 1), or they performed it together (joint-action, Experiment 2). We investigated effects of co-actors' actions on the ERP components associated with perceptual conflict (Go N2) and response selection (P3b). Compared to single-action, joint-action reduced the N2 amplitude congruency effect when participants had to respond (Go trials), indicating that representing a co-actor's utterance helped to dissociate action codes and attenuated perceptual conflict for the responding participant. Yet, on NoGo trials the centro-parietal P3 (P3b) component amplitude increased for joint-action, suggesting that participants mapped the stimuli onto the co-actor's upcoming response as if it were their own response. We conclude that people represent others' utterances similarly to the way they represent their own utterances, and that shared perception-action codes for self and others can sometimes reduce, rather than enhance, perceptual conflict.
  • Barthel, M., Meyer, A. S., & Levinson, S. C. (2017). Next speakers plan their turn early and speak after turn-final ‘go-signals’. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 393. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00393.

    Abstract

    In conversation, turn-taking is usually fluid, with next speakers taking their turn right after the end of the previous turn. Most, but not all, previous studies show that next speakers start to plan their turn early, if possible already during the incoming turn. The present study makes use of the list-completion paradigm (Barthel et al., 2016), analyzing speech onset latencies and eye-movements of participants in a task-oriented dialogue with a confederate. The measures are used to disentangle the contributions to the timing of turn-taking of early planning of content on the one hand and initiation of articulation as a reaction to the upcoming turn-end on the other hand. Participants named objects visible on their computer screen in response to utterances that did, or did not, contain lexical and prosodic cues to the end of the incoming turn. In the presence of an early lexical cue, participants showed earlier gaze shifts toward the target objects and responded faster than in its absence, whereas the presence of a late intonational cue only led to faster response times and did not affect the timing of participants' eye movements. The results show that with a combination of eye-movement and turn-transition time measures it is possible to tease apart the effects of early planning and response initiation on turn timing. They are consistent with models of turn-taking that assume that next speakers (a) start planning their response as soon as the incoming turn's message can be understood and (b) monitor the incoming turn for cues to turn-completion so as to initiate their response when turn-transition becomes relevant
  • Barthel, M., Sauppe, S., Levinson, S. C., & Meyer, A. S. (2016). The timing of utterance planning in task-oriented dialogue: Evidence from a novel list-completion paradigm. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 1858. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01858.

    Abstract

    In conversation, interlocutors rarely leave long gaps between turns, suggesting that next speak- ers begin to plan their turns while listening to the previous speaker. The present experiment used analyses of speech onset latencies and eye-movements in a task-oriented dialogue paradigm to investigate when speakers start planning their response. Adult German participants heard a confederate describe sets of objects in utterances that either ended in a noun (e.g. Ich habe eine Tür und ein Fahrrad (‘I have a door and a bicycle’)) or a verb form (Ich habe eine Tür und ein Fahrrad besorgt (‘I have gotten a door and a bicycle’)), while the presence or absence of the final verb either was or was not predictable from the preceding sentence structure. In response, participants had to name any unnamed objects they could see in their own display in utterances such as Ich habe ein Ei (‘I have an egg’). The main question was when participants started to plan their response. The results are consistent with the view that speakers begin to plan their turn as soon as sufficient information is available to do so, irrespective of further incoming words.
  • Bastos, A. M., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2016). A tutorial review of functional connectivity analysis methods and their interpretational pitfalls. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 9: 175. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2015.00175.

    Abstract

    Oscillatory neuronal activity may provide a mechanism for dynamic network coordination. Rhythmic neuronal interactions can be quantified using multiple metrics, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. This tutorial will review and summarize current analysis methods used in the field of invasive and non-invasive electrophysiology to study the dynamic connections between neuronal populations. First, we review metrics for functional connectivity, including coherence, phase synchronization, phase-slope index, and Granger causality, with the specific aim to provide an intuition for how these metrics work, as well as their quantitative definition. Next, we highlight a number of interpretational caveats and common pitfalls that can arise when performing functional connectivity analysis, including the common reference problem, the signal to noise ratio problem, the volume conduction problem, the common input problem, and the sample size bias problem. These pitfalls will be illustrated by presenting a set of MATLAB-scripts, which can be executed by the reader to simulate each of these potential problems. We discuss how these issues can be addressed using current methods.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2016). [Review of the book Social variation and the Latin language by James N. Adams]. Folia Linguistica Historica, 37, 315-326. doi:10.1515/flih-2016-0010.
  • Bavin, E. L., Prendergast, L. A., Kidd, E., Baker, E., & Dissanayake, C. (2016). Online processing of sentences containing noun modification in young children with high-functioning autism. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 51(2), 137-147. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12191.

    Abstract

    Background: There is variability in the language of children with autism, even those who are high functioning. However, little is known about how they process language structures in real time, including how they handle potential ambiguity, and whether they follow referential constraints. Previous research with older autism spectrum disorder (ASD) participants has shown that these individuals can use context to access rapidly the meaning of ambiguous words. The severity of autism has also been shown to influence the speed in which children with ASD access lexical information. Aims: To understand more about how children with ASD process language in real time (i.e., as it unfolds). The focus was the integration of information and use of referential constraints to identify a referent named in a sentence. Methods & Procedures: We used an eye-tracking task to compare performance between young, high-functioning children with autism (HFA) and children with typical development (TD). A large sample of 5–9-year-old children (mean age = 6;8 years), 48 with HFA and 56 with TD participated; all were attending mainstream schools. For each item participants were shown a display of four images that differed in two dimensions. Each sentence contained an adjective and noun that restricted the choice from four to two (the target and competitor), followed by a prepositional phrase (e.g., the blue square with dots); this added modifying information to provide a unique description of the target. We calculated looking time at the target, the competitor and the two distractors for each 200 ms time interval as children processed the sentence and looked at the display. Generalized estimating equations were used to carry out repeated-measures analyses on the proportion of looking time to target and competitor and time to fixate to target. Outcomes & Results: Children in both groups (HFA and TD) looked at the target and competitor more than at the distractors following the adjective and noun and following the modifying information in the prepositional phrase more at the target. However, the HFA group was significantly slower in both phases and looked proportionally less at the target. Across the sample, IQ and language did not affect the results; however, age and attention had an impact. The older children showed an advantage in processing the information as did the children with higher attention scores. Conclusions & Implications: The HFA group took longer than the TD group to integrate the disambiguating information provided in the course of processing a sentence and integrate it with the visual information, indicating that for the ASD group incremental processing was not as advanced as for children with ASD, and they were less sensitive to referential conventions. Training for young children with ASD on the use of referential conventions and available contextual clues may be of benefit to them in understanding the language they hear.
  • Bavin, E. L., Kidd, E., Prendergast, L. A., & Baker, E. K. (2016). Young Children with ASD Use Lexical and Referential Information During On-line Sentence Processing. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 171. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00171.

    Abstract

    Research with adults and older children indicates that verb biases are strong influences on listeners’ interpretations when processing sentences, but they can be overruled. In this paper, we ask two questions: (i) are children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are high functioning sensitive to verb biases like their same age typically developing peers?, and (ii) do young children with ASD and young children with typical development (TD) override strong verb biases to consider alternative interpretations of ambiguous sentences? Participants were aged 5–9 years (mean age 6.65 years): children with ASD who were high functioning and children with TD. In task 1, biasing and neutral verbs were included (e.g., eat cake versus move cake). In task 2, the focus was on whether the prepositional phrase occurring with an instrument biasing verb (e.g., ‘Chop the tree with the axe’) was interpreted as an instrument even if the named item was an implausible instrument (e.g., candle in ‘Cut the cake with the candle’). Overall, the results showed similarities between groups but the ASD group was generally slower. In task 1, both groups looked at the named object faster in the biasing than the non-biasing condition, and in the biasing condition the ASD group looked away from the target more quickly than the TD group. In task 2, both groups identified the target in the prepositional phrase. They were more likely to override the verb instrument bias and consider the alternative (modification) interpretation in the implausible condition (e.g., looking at the picture of a cake with a candle on it’). Our findings indicate that children of age 5 years and above can use context to override verb biases. Additionally, an important component of the sentence processing mechanism is largely intact for young children with ASD who are high functioning. Like children with TD, they draw on verb semantics and plausibility in integrating information. However, they are likely to be slower in processing the language they hear. Based on previous findings of associations between processing speed and cognitive functioning, the implication is that their understanding will be negatively affected, as will their academic outcomes.
  • Becker, M., Guadalupe, T., Franke, B., Hibar, D. P., Renteria, M. E., Stein, J. L., Thompson, P. M., Francks, C., Vernes, S. C., & Fisher, S. E. (2016). Early developmental gene enhancers affect subcortical volumes in the adult human brain. Human Brain Mapping, 37(5), 1788-1800. doi:10.1002/hbm.23136.

    Abstract

    Genome-wide association screens aim to identify common genetic variants contributing to the phenotypic variability of complex traits, such as human height or brain morphology. The identified genetic variants are mostly within noncoding genomic regions and the biology of the genotype–phenotype association typically remains unclear. In this article, we propose a complementary targeted strategy to reveal the genetic underpinnings of variability in subcortical brain volumes, by specifically selecting genomic loci that are experimentally validated forebrain enhancers, active in early embryonic development. We hypothesized that genetic variation within these enhancers may affect the development and ultimately the structure of subcortical brain regions in adults. We tested whether variants in forebrain enhancer regions showed an overall enrichment of association with volumetric variation in subcortical structures of >13,000 healthy adults. We observed significant enrichment of genomic loci that affect the volume of the hippocampus within forebrain enhancers (empirical P = 0.0015), a finding which robustly passed the adjusted threshold for testing of multiple brain phenotypes (cutoff of P < 0.0083 at an alpha of 0.05). In analyses of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we identified an association upstream of the ID2 gene with rs7588305 and variation in hippocampal volume. This SNP-based association survived multiple-testing correction for the number of SNPs analyzed but not for the number of subcortical structures. Targeting known regulatory regions offers a way to understand the underlying biology that connects genotypes to phenotypes, particularly in the context of neuroimaging genetics. This biology-driven approach generates testable hypotheses regarding the functional biology of identified associations.
  • Belke, E., Shao, Z., & Meyer, A. S. (2017). Strategic origins of early semantic facilitation in the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(10), 1659-1668. doi:10.1037/xlm0000399.

    Abstract

    In the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm, participants repeatedly name small sets of objects that do or do not belong to the same semantic category. A standard finding is that, after a first presentation cycle where one might find semantic facilitation, naming is slower in related (homogeneous) than in unrelated (heterogeneous) sets. According to competitive theories of lexical selection, this is because the lexical representations of the object names compete more vigorously in homogeneous than in heterogeneous sets. However, Navarrete, del Prato, Peressotti, and Mahon (2014) argued that this pattern of results was not due to increased lexical competition but to weaker repetition priming in homogeneous compared to heterogeneous sets. They demonstrated that when homogeneous sets were not repeated immediately but interleaved with unrelated sets, semantic relatedness induced facilitation rather than interference. We replicate this finding but also show that the facilitation effect has a strategic origin: It is substantial when sets are separated by pauses, making it easy for participants to notice the relatedness within some sets and use it to predict upcoming items. However, the effect is much reduced when these pauses are eliminated. In our view, the semantic facilitation effect does not constitute evidence against competitive theories of lexical selection. It can be accounted for within any framework that acknowledges strategic influences on the speed of object naming in the blocked-cyclic naming paradigm.
  • Bergmann, C., & Cristia, A. (2016). Development of infants' segmentation of words from native speech: a meta-analytic approach. Developmental Science, 19(6), 901-917. doi:10.1111/desc.12341.

    Abstract

    nfants start learning words, the building blocks of language, at least by 6 months. To do so, they must be able to extract the phonological form of words from running speech. A rich literature has investigated this process, termed word segmentation. We addressed the fundamental question of how infants of different ages segment words from their native language using a meta-analytic approach. Based on previous popular theoretical and experimental work, we expected infants to display familiarity preferences early on, with a switch to novelty preferences as infants become more proficient at processing and segmenting native speech. We also considered the possibility that this switch may occur at different points in time as a function of infants' native language and took into account the impact of various task- and stimulus-related factors that might affect difficulty. The combined results from 168 experiments reporting on data gathered from 3774 infants revealed a persistent familiarity preference across all ages. There was no significant effect of additional factors, including native language and experiment design. Further analyses revealed no sign of selective data collection or reporting. We conclude that models of infant information processing that are frequently cited in this domain may not, in fact, apply in the case of segmenting words from native speech.

    Additional information

    desc12341-sup-0001-sup_material.doc
  • Birchall, J., Dunn, M., & Greenhill, S. J. (2016). A combined comparative and phylogenetic analysis of the Chapacuran language family. International Journal of American Linguistics, 82(3), 255-284. doi:10.1086/687383.

    Abstract

    The Chapacuran language family, with three extant members and nine historically attested lects, has yet to be classified following modern standards in historical linguistics. This paper presents an internal classification of these languages by combining both the traditional comparative method (CM) and Bayesian phylogenetic inference (BPI). We identify multiple systematic sound correspondences and 285 cognate sets of basic vocabulary using the available documentation. These allow us to reconstruct a large portion of the Proto-Chapacuran phonemic inventory and identify tentative major subgroupings. The cognate sets form the input for the BPI analysis, which uses a stochastic Continuous-Time Markov Chain to model the change of these cognate sets over time. We test various models of lexical substitution and evolutionary clocks, and use ethnohistorical information and data collection dates to calibrate the resulting trees. The CM and BPI analyses produce largely congruent results, suggesting a division of the family into three different clades.

    Additional information

    Appendix
  • De Bleser, R., Willmes, K., Graetz, P., & Hagoort, P. (1991). De Akense Afasie Test. Logopedie en Foniatrie, 63, 207-217.
  • Bobb, S., Huettig, F., & Mani, N. (2016). Predicting visual information during sentence processing: Toddlers activate an object's shape before it is mentioned. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 151, 51-64. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2015.11.002.

    Abstract

    We examined the contents of language-mediated prediction in toddlers by investigating the extent to which toddlers are sensitive to visual-shape representations of upcoming words. Previous studies with adults suggest limits to the degree to which information about the visual form of a referent is predicted during language comprehension in low constraint sentences. 30-month-old toddlers heard either contextually constraining sentences or contextually neutral sentences as they viewed images that were either identical or shape related to the heard target label. We observed that toddlers activate shape information of upcoming linguistic input in contextually constraining semantic contexts: Hearing a sentence context that was predictive of the target word activated perceptual information that subsequently influenced visual attention toward shape-related targets. Our findings suggest that visual shape is central to predictive language processing in toddlers.
  • De Boer, M., Kokal, I., Blokpoel, M., Liu, R., Stolk, A., Roelofs, K., Van Rooij, I., & Toni, I. (2017). Oxytocin modulates human communication by enhancing cognitive exploration. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 86, 64-72. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.09.010.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    This paper reviews the prospects for the cross-fertilization of conversation-analytic (CA) and neurocognitive studies of conversation, focusing on turn-taking. Although conversation is the primary ecological niche for language use, relatively little brain research has focused on interactive language use, partly due to the challenges of using brain-imaging methods that are controlled enough to perform sound experiments, but still reflect the rich and spontaneous nature of conversation. Recently, though, brain researchers have started to investigate conversational phenomena, for example by using 'overhearer' or controlled interaction paradigms. We review neuroimaging studies related to turn-taking and sequence organization, phenomena historically described by CA. These studies for example show early action recognition and immediate planning of responses midway during an incoming turn. The review discusses studies with an eye to a fruitful interchange between CA and neuroimaging research on conversation and an indication of how these disciplines can benefit from each other.
  • Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., Alday, P. M., & Schlesewsky, M. (2016). A modality-independent, neurobiological grounding for the combinatory capacity of the language-ready brain: Comment on “Towards a Computational Comparative Neuroprimatology: Framing the language-ready brain” by Michael A. Arbib. Physics of Life Reviews, 16, 55-57. doi:10.1016/j.plrev.2016.01.003.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). Accounting for rate-dependent category boundary shifts in speech perception. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 79, 333-343. doi:10.3758/s13414-016-1206-4.

    Abstract

    The perception of temporal contrasts in speech is known to be influenced by the speech rate in the surrounding context. This rate-dependent perception is suggested to involve general auditory processes since it is also elicited by non-speech contexts, such as pure tone sequences. Two general auditory mechanisms have been proposed to underlie rate-dependent perception: durational contrast and neural entrainment. The present study compares the predictions of these two accounts of rate-dependent speech perception by means of four experiments in which participants heard tone sequences followed by Dutch target words ambiguous between /ɑs/ “ash” and /a:s/ “bait”. Tone sequences varied in the duration of tones (short vs. long) and in the presentation rate of the tones (fast vs. slow). Results show that the duration of preceding tones did not influence target perception in any of the experiments, thus challenging durational contrast as explanatory mechanism behind rate-dependent perception. Instead, the presentation rate consistently elicited a category boundary shift, with faster presentation rates inducing more /a:s/ responses, but only if the tone sequence was isochronous. Therefore, this study proposes an alternative, neurobiologically plausible, account of rate-dependent perception involving neural entrainment of endogenous oscillations to the rate of a rhythmic stimulus.
  • Bosker, H. R., Reinisch, E., & Sjerps, M. J. (2017). Cognitive load makes speech sound fast, but does not modulate acoustic context effects. Journal of Memory and Language, 94, 166-176. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.12.002.

    Abstract

    In natural situations, speech perception often takes place during the concurrent execution of other cognitive tasks, such as listening while viewing a visual scene. The execution of a dual task typically has detrimental effects on concurrent speech perception, but how exactly cognitive load disrupts speech encoding is still unclear. The detrimental effect on speech representations may consist of either a general reduction in the robustness of processing of the speech signal (‘noisy encoding’), or, alternatively it may specifically influence the temporal sampling of the sensory input, with listeners missing temporal pulses, thus underestimating segmental durations (‘shrinking of time’). The present study investigated whether and how spectral and temporal cues in a precursor sentence that has been processed under high vs. low cognitive load influence the perception of a subsequent target word. If cognitive load effects are implemented through ‘noisy encoding’, increasing cognitive load during the precursor should attenuate the encoding of both its temporal and spectral cues, and hence reduce the contextual effect that these cues can have on subsequent target sound perception. However, if cognitive load effects are expressed as ‘shrinking of time’, context effects should not be modulated by load, but a main effect would be expected on the perceived duration of the speech signal. Results from two experiments indicate that increasing cognitive load (manipulated through a secondary visual search task) did not modulate temporal (Experiment 1) or spectral context effects (Experiment 2). However, a consistent main effect of cognitive load was found: increasing cognitive load during the precursor induced a perceptual increase in its perceived speech rate, biasing the perception of a following target word towards longer durations. This finding suggests that cognitive load effects in speech perception are implemented via ‘shrinking of time’, in line with a temporal sampling framework. In addition, we argue that our results align with a model in which early (spectral and temporal) normalization is unaffected by attention but later adjustments may be attention-dependent.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Reinisch, E. (2017). Foreign languages sound fast: evidence from implicit rate normalization. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 1063. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01063.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    data sheet 1.docx
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). How our own speech rate influences our perception of others. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(8), 1225-1238. doi:10.1037/xlm0000381.

    Abstract

    In conversation, our own speech and that of others follow each other in rapid succession. Effects of the surrounding context on speech perception are well documented but, despite the ubiquity of the sound of our own voice, it is unknown whether our own speech also influences our perception of other talkers. This study investigated context effects induced by our own speech through six experiments, specifically targeting rate normalization (i.e., perceiving phonetic segments relative to surrounding speech rate). Experiment 1 revealed that hearing pre-recorded fast or slow context sentences altered the perception of ambiguous vowels, replicating earlier work. Experiment 2 demonstrated that talking at a fast or slow rate prior to target presentation also altered target perception, though the effect of preceding speech rate was reduced. Experiment 3 showed that silent talking (i.e., inner speech) at fast or slow rates did not modulate the perception of others, suggesting that the effect of self-produced speech rate in Experiment 2 arose through monitoring of the external speech signal. Experiment 4 demonstrated that, when participants were played back their own (fast/slow) speech, no reduction of the effect of preceding speech rate was observed, suggesting that the additional task of speech production may be responsible for the reduced effect in Experiment 2. Finally, Experiments 5 and 6 replicate Experiments 2 and 3 with new participant samples. Taken together, these results suggest that variation in speech production may induce variation in speech perception, thus carrying implications for our understanding of spoken communication in dialogue settings.
  • Bosking, W. H., Sun, P., Ozker, M., Pei, X., Foster, B. L., Beauchamp, M. S., & Yoshor, D. (2017). Saturation in phosphene size with increasing current levels delivered to human visual cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 37(30), 7188-7197. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2896-16.2017.

    Abstract

    Electrically stimulating early visual cortex results in a visual percept known as a phosphene. Although phosphenes can be evoked by a wide range of electrode sizes and current amplitudes, they are invariably described as small. To better understand this observation, we electrically stimulated 93 electrodes implanted in the visual cortex of 13 human subjects who reported phosphene size while stimulation current was varied. Phosphene size increased as the stimulation current was initially raised above threshold, but then rapidly reached saturation. Phosphene size also depended on the location of the stimulated site, with size increasing with distance from the foveal representation. We developed a model relating phosphene size to the amount of activated cortex and its location within the retinotopic map. First, a sigmoidal curve was used to predict the amount of activated cortex at a given current. Second, the amount of active cortex was converted to degrees of visual angle by multiplying by the inverse cortical magnification factor for that retinotopic location. This simple model accurately predicted phosphene size for a broad range of stimulation currents and cortical locations. The unexpected saturation in phosphene sizes suggests that the functional architecture of cerebral cortex may impose fundamental restrictions on the spread of artificially evoked activity and this may be an important consideration in the design of cortical prosthetic devices.
  • Bosman, A., Moisik, S. R., Dediu, D., & Waters-Rist, A. (2017). Talking heads: Morphological variation in the human mandible over the last 500 years in the Netherlands. HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology, 68(5), 329-342. doi:10.1016/j.jchb.2017.08.002.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

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  • Bramão, I., Reis, A., Petersson, K. M., & Faísca, L. (2016). Knowing that strawberries are red and seeing red strawberries: The interaction between surface colour and colour knowledge information. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 28(6), 641-657. doi:10.1080/20445911.2016.1182171.

    Abstract

    his study investigates the interaction between surface and colour knowledge information during object recognition. In two different experiments, participants were instructed to decide whether two presented stimuli belonged to the same object identity. On the non-matching trials, we manipulated the shape and colour knowledge information activated by the two stimuli by creating four different stimulus pairs: (1) similar in shape and colour (e.g. TOMATO–APPLE); (2) similar in shape and dissimilar in colour (e.g. TOMATO–COCONUT); (3) dissimilar in shape and similar in colour (e.g. TOMATO–CHILI PEPPER) and (4) dissimilar in both shape and colour (e.g. TOMATO–PEANUT). The object pictures were presented in typical and atypical colours and also in black-and-white. The interaction between surface and colour knowledge showed to be contingent upon shape information: while colour knowledge is more important for recognising structurally similar shaped objects, surface colour is more prominent for recognising structurally dissimilar shaped objects.
  • Brandt, S., Nitschke, S., & Kidd, E. (2017). Priming the comprehension of German object relative clauses. Language Learning and Development, 13(3), 241-261. doi:10.1080/15475441.2016.1235500.

    Abstract

    Structural priming is a useful laboratory-based technique for investigating how children respond to temporary changes in the distribution of structures in their input. In the current study we investigated whether increasing the number of object relative clauses (RCs) in German-speaking children’s input changes their processing preferences for ambiguous RCs. Fifty-one 6-year-olds and 54 9-year-olds participated in a priming task that (i) gauged their baseline interpretations for ambiguous RC structures, (ii) primed an object-RC interpretation of ambiguous RCs, and (iii) determined whether priming persevered beyond immediate prime-target pairs. The 6-year old children showed no priming effect, whereas the 9-year-old group showed robust priming that was long lasting. Unlike in studies of priming in production, priming did not increase in magnitude when there was lexical overlap between prime and target. Overall, the results suggest that increased exposure to object RCs facilitates children’s interpretation of this otherwise infrequent structure, but only in older children. The implications for acquisition theory are discussed.
  • Brehm, L., & Goldrick, M. (2017). Distinguishing discrete and gradient category structure in language: Insights from verb-particle constructions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition., 43(10), 1537-1556. doi:10.1037/xlm0000390.

    Abstract

    The current work uses memory errors to examine the mental representation of verb-particle constructions (VPCs; e.g., make up the story, cut up the meat). Some evidence suggests that VPCs are represented by a cline in which the relationship between the VPC and its component elements ranges from highly transparent (cut up) to highly idiosyncratic (make up). Other evidence supports a multiple class representation, characterizing VPCs as belonging to discretely separated classes differing in semantic and syntactic structure. We outline a novel paradigm to investigate the representation of VPCs in which we elicit illusory conjunctions, or memory errors sensitive to syntactic structure. We then use a novel application of piecewise regression to demonstrate that the resulting error pattern follows a cline rather than discrete classes. A preregistered replication verifies these findings, and a final preregistered study verifies that these errors reflect syntactic structure. This provides evidence for gradient rather than discrete representations across levels of representation in language processing.
  • Brehm, L., & Goldrick, M. (2016). Empirical and conceptual challenges for neurocognitive theories of language production. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(4), 504-507. doi:10.1080/23273798.2015.1110604.
  • Brehm, L., & Bock, K. (2017). Referential and lexical forces in number agreement. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(2), 129-146. doi:10.1080/23273798.2016.1234060.

    Abstract

    In work on grammatical agreement in sentence production, there are accounts of verb number formulation that emphasise the role of whole-structure properties and accounts that emphasise the role of word-driven properties. To evaluate these alternatives, we carried out two experiments that examined a referential (wholistic) contributor to agreement along with two lexical-semantic (local) factors. Both experiments gauged the accuracy and latency of inflected-verb production in order to assess how variations in grammatical number interacted with the other factors. The accuracy of verb production was modulated both by the referential effect of notional number and by the lexical-semantic effects of relatedness and category membership. As an index of agreement difficulty, latencies were little affected by either factor. The findings suggest that agreement is sensitive to referential as well as lexical forces and highlight the importance of lexical-structural integration in the process of sentence production.
  • Broersma, M., Carter, D., & Acheson, D. J. (2016). Cognate costs in bilingual speech production: Evidence from language switching. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 1461. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01461.

    Abstract

    This study investigates cross-language lexical competition in the bilingual mental lexicon. It provides evidence for the occurrence of inhibition as well as the commonly reported facilitation during the production of cognates (words with similar phonological form and meaning in two languages) in a mixed picture naming task by highly proficient Welsh-English bilinguals. Previous studies have typically found cognate facilitation. It has previously been proposed (with respect to non-cognates) that cross-language inhibition is limited to low-proficient bilinguals; therefore, we tested highly proficient, early bilinguals. In a mixed naming experiment (i.e., picture naming with language switching), 48 highly proficient, early Welsh-English bilinguals named pictures in Welsh and English, including cognate and non-cognate targets. Participants were English-dominant, Welsh-dominant, or had equal language dominance. The results showed evidence for cognate inhibition in two ways. First, both facilitation and inhibition were found on the cognate trials themselves, compared to non-cognate controls, modulated by the participants' language dominance. The English-dominant group showed cognate inhibition when naming in Welsh (and no difference between cognates and controls when naming in English), and the Welsh-dominant and equal dominance groups generally showed cognate facilitation. Second, cognate inhibition was found as a behavioral adaptation effect, with slower naming for non-cognate filler words in trials after cognates than after non-cognate controls. This effect was consistent across all language dominance groups and both target languages, suggesting that cognate production involved cognitive control even if this was not measurable in the cognate trials themselves. Finally, the results replicated patterns of symmetrical switch costs, as commonly reported for balanced bilinguals. We propose that cognate processing might be affected by two different processes, namely competition at the lexical-semantic level and facilitation at the word form level, and that facilitation at the word form level might (sometimes) outweigh any effects of inhibition at the lemma level. In sum, this study provides evidence that cognate naming can cause costs in addition to benefits. The finding of cognate inhibition, particularly for the highly proficient bilinguals tested, provides strong evidence for the occurrence of lexical competition across languages in the bilingual mental lexicon.
  • Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1992). 'Left' and 'right' in Tenejapa: Investigating a linguistic and conceptual gap. Zeitschrift für Phonetik, Sprachwissenschaft und Kommunikationsforschung, 45(6), 590-611.

    Abstract

    From the perspective of a Kantian belief in the fundamental human tendency to cleave space along the three planes of the human body, Tenejapan Tzeltal exhibits a linguistic gap: there are no linguistic expressions that designate regions (as in English to my left) or describe the visual field (as in to the left of the tree) on the basis of a plane bisecting the body into a left and right side. Tenejapans have expressions for left and right hands (xin k'ab and wa'el k'ab), but these are basically body-part terms, they are not generalized to form a division of space. This paper describes the results of various elicited producton tasks in which concepts of left and right would provide a simple solution, showing that Tenejapan consultants use other notions even when the relevant linguistic distinctions could be made in Tzeltal (e.g. describing the position of one's limbs, or describing rotation of one's body). Instead of using the left-hand/right-hand distinction to construct a division of space, Tenejapans utilize a number of other systems: (i) an absolute, 'cardinal direction' system, supplemented by reference to other geographic or landmark directions, (ii) a generative segmentation of objects and places into analogic body-parts or other kinds of parts, and (iii) a rich system of positional adjectives to describe the exact disposition of things. These systems work conjointly to specify locations with precision and elegance. The overall system is not primarily egocentric, and it makes no essential reference to planes through the human body.
  • Burenhult, N., Hill, C., Huber, J., Van Putten, S., Rybka, K., & San Roque, L. (2017). Forests: The cross-linguistic perspective. Geographica Helvetica, 72(4), 455-464. doi:10.5194/gh-72-455-2017.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Background: Identifying age-related changes in cognition that contribute towards reduced driving performance is important for the development of interventions to improve older adults' driving and prolong the time that they can continue to drive. While driving, one is often required to switch from attending to events changing in time, to distribute attention spatially. Although there is extensive research into both spatial attention and temporal attention and how these change with age, the literature on switching between these modalities of attention is limited within any age group. Methods: Age groups (21-30, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70+ years) were compared on their ability to switch between detecting a target in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) stream and detecting a target in a visual search display. To manipulate the cost of switching, the target in the RSVP stream was either the first item in the stream (Target 1st), towards the end of the stream (Target Mid), or absent from the stream (Distractor Only). Visual search response times and accuracy were recorded. Target 1st trials behaved as no-switch trials, as attending to the remaining stream was not necessary. Target Mid and Distractor Only trials behaved as switch trials, as attending to the stream to the end was required. Results: Visual search response times (RTs) were longer on "Target Mid" and "Distractor Only" trials in comparison to "Target 1st" trials, reflecting switch-costs. Larger switch-costs were found in both the 40-49 and 60-69 years group in comparison to the 21-30 years group when switching from the Target Mid condition. Discussion: Findings warrant further exploration as to whether there are age-related changes in the ability to switch between these modalities of attention while driving. If older adults display poor performance when switching between temporal and spatial attention while driving, then the development of an intervention to preserve and improve this ability would be beneficial. © 2017 Callaghan, Holland and Kessler.
  • Carota, F., Bozic, M., & Marslen-Wilson, W. (2016). Decompositional Representation of Morphological Complexity: Multivariate fMRI Evidence from Italian. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28(12), 1878-1896. doi:10.1162/jocn\_a\_01009.

    Abstract

    Derivational morphology is a cross-linguistically dominant mechanism for word formation, combining existing words with derivational affixes to create new word forms. However, the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the representation and processing of such forms remain unclear. Recent cross-linguistic neuroimaging research suggests that derived words are stored and accessed as whole forms, without engaging the left-hemisphere perisylvian network associated with combinatorial processing of syntactically and inflectionally complex forms. Using fMRI with a “simple listening” no-task procedure, we reexamine these suggestions in the context of the root-based combinatorially rich Italian lexicon to clarify the role of semantic transparency (between the derived form and its stem) and affix productivity in determining whether derived forms are decompositionally represented and which neural systems are involved. Combined univariate and multivariate analyses reveal a key role for semantic transparency, modulated by affix productivity. Opaque forms show strong cohort competition effects, especially for words with nonproductive suffixes (ventura, “destiny”). The bilateral frontotemporal activity associated with these effects indicates that opaque derived words are processed as whole forms in the bihemispheric language system. Semantically transparent words with productive affixes (libreria, “bookshop”) showed no effects of lexical competition, suggesting morphologically structured co-representation of these derived forms and their stems, whereas transparent forms with nonproductive affixes (pineta, pine forest) show intermediate effects. Further multivariate analyses of the transparent derived forms revealed affix productivity effects selectively involving left inferior frontal regions, suggesting that the combinatorial and decompositional processes triggered by such forms can vary significantly across languages.
  • Carota, F., Kriegeskorte, N., Nili, H., & Pulvermüller, F. (2017). Representational Similarity Mapping of Distributional Semantics in Left Inferior Frontal, Middle Temporal, and Motor Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 27(1), 294-309. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhw379.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Dyslexia is a common specific learning disability with a substantive genetic component. Several candidate genes have been proposed to be implicated in dyslexia susceptibility, such as DYX1C1, ROBO1, KIAA0319, and DCDC2. Associations with variants in these genes have also been reported with a variety of psychometric measures tapping into the underlying processes that might be impaired in dyslexic people. In this study, we first conducted a literature review to select single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in dyslexia candidate genes that had been repeatedly implicated across studies. We then assessed the SNPs for association in the richly phenotyped longitudinal data set from the Dutch Dyslexia Program. We tested for association with several quantitative traits, including word and nonword reading fluency, rapid naming, phoneme deletion, and nonword repetition. In this, we took advantage of the longitudinal nature of the sample to examine if associations were stable across four educational time-points (from 7 to 12 years). Two SNPs in the KIAA0319 gene were nominally associated with rapid naming, and these associations were stable across different ages. Genetic association analysis with complex cognitive traits can be enriched through the use of longitudinal information on trait development.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., van Bergen, E., Vino, A., van Zuijen, T., de Jong, P. F., Francks, C., & Fisher, S. E. (2016). Evaluation of results from genome-wide studies of language and reading in a novel independent dataset. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 15(6), 531-541. doi:10.1111/gbb.12299.

    Abstract

    Recent genome wide association scans (GWAS) for reading and language abilities have pin-pointed promising new candidate loci. However, the potential contributions of these loci remain to be validated. In the present study, we tested 17 of the most significantly associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from these GWAS studies (p < 10−6 in the original studies) in a new independent population dataset from the Netherlands: known as FIOLA (Familial Influences On Literacy Abilities). This dataset comprised 483 children from 307 nuclear families, plus 505 adults (including parents of participating children), and provided adequate statistical power to detect the effects that were previously reported. The following measures of reading and language performance were collected: word reading fluency, nonword reading fluency, phonological awareness, and rapid automatized naming. Two SNPs (rs12636438, rs7187223) were associated with performance in multivariate and univariate testing, but these did not remain significant after correction for multiple testing. Another SNP (rs482700) was only nominally associated in the multivariate test. For the rest of the SNPs we did not find supportive evidence of association. The findings may reflect differences between our study and the previous investigations in respects such as the language of testing, the exact tests used, and the recruitment criteria. Alternatively, most of the prior reported associations may have been false positives. A larger scale GWAS meta-analysis than those previously performed will likely be required to obtain robust insights into the genomic architecture underlying reading and language.
  • Casillas, M., & Frank, M. C. (2017). The development of children's ability to track and predict turn structure in conversation. Journal of Memory and Language, 92, 234-253. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.06.013.

    Abstract

    Children begin developing turn-taking skills in infancy but take several years to fluidly integrate their growing knowledge of language into their turn-taking behavior. In two eye-tracking experiments, we measured children’s anticipatory gaze to upcoming responders while controlling linguistic cues to turn structure. In Experiment 1, we showed English and non-English conversations to English-speaking adults and children. In Experiment 2, we phonetically controlled lexicosyntactic and prosodic cues in English-only speech. Children spontaneously made anticipatory gaze switches by age two and continued improving through age six. In both experiments, children and adults made more anticipatory switches after hearing questions. Consistent with prior findings on adult turn prediction, prosodic information alone did not increase children’s anticipatory gaze shifts. But, unlike prior work with adults, lexical information alone was not sucient either—children’s performance was best overall with lexicosyntax and prosody together. Our findings support an account in which turn tracking and turn prediction emerge in infancy and then gradually become integrated with children’s online linguistic processing.
  • Casillas, M., Bobb, S. C., & Clark, E. V. (2016). Turn taking, timing, and planning in early language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 43, 1310-1337. doi:10.1017/S0305000915000689.

    Abstract

    Young children answer questions with longer delays than adults do, and they don't reach typical adult response times until several years later. We hypothesized that this prolonged pattern of delay in children's timing results from competing demands: to give an answer, children must understand a question while simultaneously planning and initiating their response. Even as children get older and more efficient in this process, the demands on them increase because their verbal responses become more complex. We analyzed conversational question-answer sequences between caregivers and their children from ages 1;8 to 3;5, finding that children (1) initiate simple answers more quickly than complex ones, (2) initiate simple answers quickly from an early age, and (3) initiate complex answers more quickly as they grow older. Our results suggest that children aim to respond quickly from the start, improving on earlier-acquired answer types while they begin to practice later-acquired, slower ones.

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  • Chabout, J., Sarkar, A., Patel, S., Radden, T., Dunson, D., Fisher, S. E., & Jarvis, E. (2016). A Foxp2 mutation implicated in human speech deficits alters sequencing of ultrasonic vocalizations in adult male mice. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10: 197. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00197.

    Abstract

    Development of proficient spoken language skills is disrupted by mutations of the FOXP2 transcription factor. A heterozygous missense mutation in the KE family causes speech apraxia, involving difficulty producing words with complex learned sequences of syllables. Manipulations in songbirds have helped to elucidate the role of this gene in vocal learning, but findings in non-human mammals have been limited or inconclusive. Here we performed a systematic study of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) of adult male mice carrying the KE family mutation. Using novel statistical tools, we found that Foxp2 heterozygous mice did not have detectable changes in USV syllable acoustic structure, but produced shorter sequences and did not shift to more complex syntax in social contexts where wildtype animals did. Heterozygous mice also displayed a shift in the position of their rudimentary laryngeal motor cortex layer-5 neurons. Our findings indicate that although mouse USVs are mostly innate, the underlying contributions of FoxP2 to sequencing of vocalizations are conserved with humans.
  • Chen, X. S., Reader, R. H., Hoischen, A., Veltman, J. A., Simpson, N. H., Francks, C., Newbury, D. F., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Next-generation DNA sequencing identifies novel gene variants and pathways involved in specific language impairment. Scientific Reports, 7: 46105. doi:10.1038/srep46105.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Until at least 6 mo of age, infants show good discrimination for familiar phonetic contrasts (i.e., those heard in the environmental language) and contrasts that are unfamiliar. Adult-like discrimination (significantly worse for nonnative than for native contrasts) appears only later, by 9–10 mo. This has been interpreted as indicating that infants have no knowledge of phonology until vocabulary development begins, after 6 mo of age. Recently, however, word recognition has been observed before age 6 mo, apparently decoupling the vocabulary and phonology acquisition processes. Here we show that phonological acquisition is also in progress before 6 mo of age. The evidence comes from retention of birth-language knowledge in international adoptees. In the largest ever such study, we recruited 29 adult Dutch speakers who had been adopted from Korea when young and had no conscious knowledge of Korean language at all. Half were adopted at age 3–5 mo (before native-specific discrimination develops) and half at 17 mo or older (after word learning has begun). In a short intensive training program, we observe that adoptees (compared with 29 matched controls) more rapidly learn tripartite Korean consonant distinctions without counterparts in their later-acquired Dutch, suggesting that the adoptees retained phonological knowledge about the Korean distinction. The advantage is equivalent for the younger-adopted and the older-adopted groups, and both groups not only acquire the tripartite distinction for the trained consonants but also generalize it to untrained consonants. Although infants younger than 6 mo can still discriminate unfamiliar phonetic distinctions, this finding indicates that native-language phonological knowledge is nonetheless being acquired at that age.
  • Choi, S., & Bowerman, M. (1991). Learning to express motion events in English and Korean: The influence of language-specific lexicalization patterns. Cognition, 41, 83-121. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(91)90033-Z.

    Abstract

    English and Korean differ in how they lexicalize the components of motionevents. English characteristically conflates Motion with Manner, Cause, or Deixis, and expresses Path separately. Korean, in contrast, conflates Motion with Path and elements of Figure and Ground in transitive clauses for caused Motion, but conflates motion with Deixis and spells out Path and Manner separately in intransitive clauses for spontaneous motion. Children learningEnglish and Korean show sensitivity to language-specific patterns in the way they talk about motion from as early as 17–20 months. For example, learners of English quickly generalize their earliest spatial words — Path particles like up, down, and in — to both spontaneous and caused changes of location and, for up and down, to posture changes, while learners of Korean keep words for spontaneous and caused motion strictly separate and use different words for vertical changes of location and posture changes. These findings challenge the widespread view that children initially map spatial words directly to nonlinguistic spatial concepts, and suggest that they are influenced by the semantic organization of their language virtually from the beginning. We discuss how input and cognition may interact in the early phases of learning to talk about space.
  • Chu, M., & Kita, S. (2016). Co-thought and Co-speech Gestures Are Generated by the Same Action Generation Process. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42(2), 257-270. doi:10.1037/xlm0000168.

    Abstract

    People spontaneously gesture when they speak (co-speech gestures) and when they solve problems silently (co-thought gestures). In this study, we first explored the relationship between these 2 types of gestures and found that individuals who produced co-thought gestures more frequently also produced co-speech gestures more frequently (Experiments 1 and 2). This suggests that the 2 types of gestures are generated from the same process. We then investigated whether both types of gestures can be generated from the representational use of the action generation process that also generates purposeful actions that have a direct physical impact on the world, such as manipulating an object or locomotion (the action generation hypothesis). To this end, we examined the effect of object affordances on the production of both types of gestures (Experiments 3 and 4). We found that individuals produced co-thought and co-speech gestures more often when the stimulus objects afforded action (objects with a smooth surface) than when they did not (objects with a spiky surface). These results support the action generation hypothesis for representational gestures. However, our findings are incompatible with the hypothesis that co-speech representational gestures are solely generated from the speech production process (the speech production hypothesis).
  • Coco, M. I., Araujo, S., & Petersson, K. M. (2017). Disentangling stimulus plausibility and contextual congruency: Electro-physiological evidence for differential cognitive dynamics. Neuropsychologia, 96, 150-163. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.12.008.

    Abstract

    Expectancy mechanisms are routinely used by the cognitive system in stimulus processing and in anticipation of appropriate responses. Electrophysiology research has documented negative shifts of brain activity when expectancies are violated within a local stimulus context (e.g., reading an implausible word in a sentence) or more globally between consecutive stimuli (e.g., a narrative of images with an incongruent end). In this EEG study, we examine the interaction between expectancies operating at the level of stimulus plausibility and at more global level of contextual congruency to provide evidence for, or against, a disassociation of the underlying processing mechanisms. We asked participants to verify the congruency of pairs of cross-modal stimuli (a sentence and a scene), which varied in plausibility. ANOVAs on ERP amplitudes in selected windows of interest show that congruency violation has longer-lasting (from 100 to 500 ms) and more widespread effects than plausibility violation (from 200 to 400 ms). We also observed critical interactions between these factors, whereby incongruent and implausible pairs elicited stronger negative shifts than their congruent counterpart, both early on (100–200 ms) and between 400–500 ms. Our results suggest that the integration mechanisms are sensitive to both global and local effects of expectancy in a modality independent manner. Overall, we provide novel insights into the interdependence of expectancy during meaning integration of cross-modal stimuli in a verification task
  • Collins, J. (2016). The role of language contact in creating correlations between humidity and tone. Journal of Language Evolution, 46-52. doi:10.1093/jole/lzv012.
  • Cortázar-Chinarro, M., Lattenkamp, E. Z., Meyer-Lucht, Y., Luquet, E., Laurila, A., & Höglund, J. (2017). Drift, selection, or migration? Processes affecting genetic differentiation and variation along a latitudinal gradient in an amphibian. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17: 189. doi:10.1186/s12862-017-1022-z.

    Abstract

    Past events like fluctuations in population size and post-glacial colonization processes may influence the relative importance of genetic drift, migration and selection when determining the present day patterns of genetic variation. We disentangle how drift, selection and migration shape neutral and adaptive genetic variation in 12 moor frog populations along a 1700 km latitudinal gradient. We studied genetic differentiation and variation at a MHC exon II locus and a set of 18 microsatellites. Results Using outlier analyses, we identified the MHC II exon 2 (corresponding to the β-2 domain) locus and one microsatellite locus (RCO8640) to be subject to diversifying selection, while five microsatellite loci showed signals of stabilizing selection among populations. STRUCTURE and DAPC analyses on the neutral microsatellites assigned populations to a northern and a southern cluster, reflecting two different post-glacial colonization routes found in previous studies. Genetic variation overall was lower in the northern cluster. The signature of selection on MHC exon II was weaker in the northern cluster, possibly as a consequence of smaller and more fragmented populations. Conclusion Our results show that historical demographic processes combined with selection and drift have led to a complex pattern of differentiation along the gradient where some loci are more divergent among populations than predicted from drift expectations due to diversifying selection, while other loci are more uniform among populations due to stabilizing selection. Importantly, both overall and MHC genetic variation are lower at northern latitudes. Due to lower evolutionary potential, the low genetic variation in northern populations may increase the risk of extinction when confronted with emerging pathogens and climate change.
  • Croijmans, I. (2016). Gelukkig kunnen we erover praten: Over de kunst om geuren en smaken in woorden te omschrijven. koffieTcacao, 17, 80-81.
  • Croijmans, I., & Majid, A. (2016). Not all flavor expertise is equal: The language of wine and coffee experts. PLoS One, 11(6): e0155845. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155845.

    Abstract

    People in Western cultures are poor at naming smells and flavors. However, for wine and coffee experts, describing smells and flavors is part of their daily routine. So are experts bet- ter than lay people at conveying smells and flavors in language? If smells and flavors are more easily linguistically expressed by experts, or more “ codable ” , then experts should be better than novices at describing smells and flavors. If experts are indeed better, we can also ask how general this advantage is: do experts show higher codability only for smells and flavors they are expert in (i.e., wine experts for wine and coffee experts for coffee) or is their linguistic dexterity more general? To address these questions, wine experts, coffee experts, and novices were asked to describe the smell and flavor of wines, coffees, every- day odors, and basic tastes. The resulting descriptions were compared on a number of measures. We found expertise endows a modest advantage in smell and flavor naming. Wine experts showed more consistency in how they described wine smells and flavors than coffee experts, and novices; but coffee experts were not more consistent for coffee descriptions. Neither expert group was any more accurate at identifying everyday smells or tastes. Interestingly, both wine and coffee experts tended to use more source-based terms (e.g., vanilla) in descriptions of their own area of expertise whereas novices tended to use more evaluative terms (e.g.,nice). However, the overall linguistic strategies for both groups were en par. To conclude, experts only have a limited, domain-specific advantage when communicating about smells and flavors. The ability to communicate about smells and flavors is a matter not only of perceptual training, but specific linguistic training too

    Additional information

    Data availability
  • Cronin, K. A., West, V., & Ross, S. R. (2016). Investigating the Relationship between Welfare and Rearing Young in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 181, 166-172. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2016.05.014.

    Abstract

    Whether the opportunity to breed and rear young improves the welfare of captive animals is currently debated. However, there is very little empirical data available to evaluate this relationship and this study is a first attempt to contribute objective data to this debate. We utilized the existing variation in the reproductive experiences of sanctuary chimpanzees at Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust in Zambia to investigate whether breeding and rearing young was associated with improved welfare for adult females (N = 43). We considered several behavioural welfare indicators, including rates of luxury behaviours and abnormal or stress-related behaviours under normal conditions and conditions inducing social stress. Furthermore, we investigated whether spending time with young was associated with good or poor welfare for adult females, regardless of their kin relationship. We used generalized linear mixed models and found no difference between adult females with and without dependent young on any welfare indices, nor did we find that time spent in proximity to unrelated young predicted welfare (all full-null model comparisons likelihood ratio tests P > 0.05). However, we did find that coprophagy was more prevalent among mother-reared than non-mother-reared individuals, in line with recent work suggesting this behaviour may have a different etiology than other behaviours often considered to be abnormal. In sum, the findings from this initial study lend support to the hypothesis that the opportunity to breed and rear young does not provide a welfare benefit for chimpanzees in captivity. We hope this investigation provides a valuable starting point for empirical study into the welfare implications of managed breeding.

    Additional information

    mmc1.pdf
  • Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (2016). Bottoms up! How top-down pitfalls ensnare speech perception researchers too. Commentary on C. Firestone & B. Scholl: Cognition does not affect perception: Evaluating the evidence for 'top-down' effects. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, e236. doi:10.1017/S0140525X15002745.

    Abstract

    Not only can the pitfalls that Firestone & Scholl (F&S) identify be generalised across multiple studies within the field of visual perception, but also they have general application outside the field wherever perceptual and cognitive processing are compared. We call attention to the widespread susceptibility of research on the perception of speech to versions of the same pitfalls.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Cross-linguistic differences in speech segmentation. MRC News, 56, 8-9.
  • Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (1992). Detection of vowels and consonants with minimal acoustic variation. Speech Communication, 11, 101-108. doi:10.1016/0167-6393(92)90004-Q.

    Abstract

    Previous research has shown that, in a phoneme detection task, vowels produce longer reaction times than consonants, suggesting that they are harder to perceive. One possible explanation for this difference is based upon their respective acoustic/articulatory characteristics. Another way of accounting for the findings would be to relate them to the differential functioning of vowels and consonants in the syllabic structure of words. In this experiment, we examined the second possibility. Targets were two pairs of phonemes, each containing a vowel and a consonant with similar phonetic characteristics. Subjects heard lists of English words had to press a response key upon detecting the occurrence of a pre-specified target. This time, the phonemes which functioned as vowels in syllabic structure yielded shorter reaction times than those which functioned as consonants. This rules out an explanation for response time difference between vowels and consonants in terms of function in syllable structure. Instead, we propose that consonantal and vocalic segments differ with respect to variability of tokens, both in the acoustic realisation of targets and in the representation of targets by listeners.
  • 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. (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. (1991). Proceed with caution. New Scientist, (1799), 53-54.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Proceedings with confidence. New Scientist, (1825), 54.
  • Cutler, A., & Butterfield, S. (1992). Rhythmic cues to speech segmentation: Evidence from juncture misperception. Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 218-236. doi:10.1016/0749-596X(92)90012-M.

    Abstract

    Segmentation of continuous speech into its component words is a nontrivial task for listeners. Previous work has suggested that listeners develop heuristic segmentation procedures based on experience with the structure of their language; for English, the heuristic is that strong syllables (containing full vowels) are most likely to be the initial syllables of lexical words, whereas weak syllables (containing central, or reduced, vowels) are nonword-initial, or, if word-initial, are grammatical words. This hypothesis is here tested against natural and laboratory-induced missegmentations of continuous speech. Precisely the expected pattern is found: listeners erroneously insert boundaries before strong syllables but delete them before weak syllables; boundaries inserted before strong syllables produce lexical words, while boundaries inserted before weak syllables produce grammatical words.
  • 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., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J. (1992). The monolingual nature of speech segmentation by bilinguals. Cognitive Psychology, 24, 381-410.

    Abstract

    Monolingual French speakers employ a syllable-based procedure in speech segmentation; monolingual English speakers use a stress-based segmentation procedure and do not use the syllable-based procedure. In the present study French-English bilinguals participated in segmentation experiments with English and French materials. Their results as a group did not simply mimic the performance of English monolinguals with English language materials and of French monolinguals with French language materials. Instead, the bilinguals formed two groups, defined by forced choice of a dominant language. Only the French-dominant group showed syllabic segmentation and only with French language materials. The English-dominant group showed no syllabic segmentation in either language. However, the English-dominant group showed stress-based segmentation with English language materials; the French-dominant group did not. We argue that rhythmically based segmentation procedures are mutually exclusive, as a consequence of which speech segmentation by bilinguals is, in one respect at least, functionally monolingual.
  • 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., & Butterfield, S. (1991). Word boundary cues in clear speech: A supplementary report. Speech Communication, 10, 335-353. doi:10.1016/0167-6393(91)90002-B.

    Abstract

    One of a listener's major tasks in understanding continuous speech is segmenting the speech signal into separate words. When listening conditions are difficult, speakers can help listeners by deliberately speaking more clearly. In four experiments, we examined how word boundaries are produced in deliberately clear speech. In an earlier report we showed that speakers do indeed mark word boundaries in clear speech, by pausing at the boundary and lengthening pre-boundary syllables; moreover, these effects are applied particularly to boundaries preceding weak syllables. In English, listeners use segmentation procedures which make word boundaries before strong syllables easier to perceive; thus marking word boundaries before weak syllables in clear speech will make clear precisely those boundaries which are otherwise hard to perceive. The present report presents supplementary data, namely prosodic analyses of the syllable following a critical word boundary. More lengthening and greater increases in intensity were applied in clear speech to weak syllables than to strong. Mean F0 was also increased to a greater extent on weak syllables than on strong. Pitch movement, however, increased to a greater extent on strong syllables than on weak. The effects were, however, very small in comparison to the durational effects we observed earlier for syllables preceding the boundary and for pauses at the boundary.
  • Dai, B., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2017). Pure linguistic interference during comprehension of competing speech signals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141, EL249-EL254. doi:10.1121/1.4977590.

    Abstract

    Speech-in-speech perception can be challenging because the processing of competing acoustic and linguistic information leads to informational masking. Here, a method is proposed to isolate the linguistic component of informational masking while keeping the distractor's acoustic information unchanged. Participants performed a dichotic listening cocktail-party task before and after training on 4-band noise-vocoded sentences that became intelligible through the training. Distracting noise-vocoded speech interfered more with target speech comprehension after training (i.e., when intelligible) than before training (i.e., when unintelligible) at −3 dB SNR. These findings confirm that linguistic and acoustic information have distinct masking effects during speech-in‐speech comprehension
  • Dalla Bella, S., Farrugia, F., Benoit, C.-E., Begel, V., Verga, L., Harding, E., & Kotz, S. A. (2017). BAASTA: Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities. Behavior Research Methods, 49(3), 1128-1145. doi:10.3758/s13428-016-0773-6.

    Abstract

    The Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA) is a new tool for the systematic assessment of perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills. It spans a broad range of timing skills aimed at differentiating individual timing profiles. BAASTA consists of sensitive time perception and production tasks. Perceptual tasks include duration discrimination, anisochrony detection (with tones and music), and a version of the Beat Alignment Task. Perceptual thresholds for duration discrimination and anisochrony detection are estimated with a maximum likelihood procedure (MLP) algorithm. Production tasks use finger tapping and include unpaced and paced tapping (with tones and music), synchronization-continuation, and adaptive tapping to a sequence with a tempo change. BAASTA was tested in a proof-of-concept study with 20 non-musicians (Experiment 1). To validate the results of the MLP procedure, less widespread than standard staircase methods, three perceptual tasks of the battery (duration discrimination, anisochrony detection with tones, and with music) were further tested in a second group of non-musicians using 2 down / 1 up and 3 down / 1 up staircase paradigms (n = 24) (Experiment 2). The results show that the timing profiles provided by BAASTA allow to detect cases of timing/rhythm disorders. In addition, perceptual thresholds yielded by the MLP algorithm, although generally comparable to the results provided by standard staircase, tend to be slightly lower. In sum, BAASTA provides a comprehensive battery to test perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills, and to detect timing/rhythm deficits.
  • Dediu, D. (2016). A multi-layered problem. IEEE CDS Newsletter, 13, 14-15.

    Abstract

    A response to Moving Beyond Nature-Nurture: a Problem of Science or Communication? by John Spencer, Mark Blumberg and David Shenk
  • Dediu, D., Janssen, R., & Moisik, S. R. (2017). Language is not isolated from its wider environment: Vocal tract influences on the evolution of speech and language. Language and Communication, 54, 9-20. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2016.10.002.

    Abstract

    Language is not a purely cultural phenomenon somehow isolated from its wider environment, and we may only understand its origins and evolution by seriously considering its embedding in this environment as well as its multimodal nature. By environment here we understand other aspects of culture (such as communication technology, attitudes towards language contact, etc.), of the physical environment (ultraviolet light incidence, air humidity, etc.), and of the biological infrastructure for language and speech. We are specifically concerned in this paper with the latter, in the form of the biases, constraints and affordances that the anatomy and physiology of the vocal tract create on speech and language. In a nutshell, our argument is that (a) there is an under-appreciated amount of inter-individual variation in vocal tract (VT) anatomy and physiology, (b) variation that is non-randomly distributed across populations, and that (c) results in systematic differences in phonetics and phonology between languages. Relevant differences in VT anatomy include the overall shape of the hard palate, the shape of the alveolar ridge, the relationship between the lower and upper jaw, to mention just a few, and our data offer a new way to systematically explore such differences and their potential impact on speech. These differences generate very small biases that nevertheless can be amplified by the repeated use and transmission of language, affecting language diachrony and resulting in cross-linguistic synchronic differences. Moreover, the same type of biases and processes might have played an essential role in the emergence and evolution of language, and might allow us a glimpse into the speech and language of extinct humans by, for example, reconstructing the anatomy of parts of their vocal tract from the fossil record and extrapolating the biases we find in present-day humans.
  • Dediu, D., & de Boer, B. (2016). Language evolution needs its own journal. Journal of Language Evolution, 1, 1-6. doi:10.1093/jole/lzv001.

    Abstract

    Interest in the origins and evolution of language has been around for as long as language has been around. However, only recently has the empirical study of language come of age. We argue that the field has sufficiently advanced that it now needs its own journal—the Journal of Language Evolution.
  • Dediu, D., & Christiansen, M. H. (2016). Language evolution: Constraints and opportunities from modern genetics. Topics in Cognitive Science, 8, 361-370. doi:10.1111/tops.12195.

    Abstract

    Our understanding of language, its origins and subsequent evolution (including language change) is shaped not only by data and theories from the language sciences, but also fundamentally by the biological sciences. Recent developments in genetics and evolutionary theory offer both very strong constraints on what scenarios of language evolution are possible and probable but also offer exciting opportunities for understanding otherwise puzzling phenomena. Due to the intrinsic breathtaking rate of advancement in these fields, the complexity, subtlety and sometimes apparent non-intuitiveness of the phenomena discovered, some of these recent developments have either being completely missed by language scientists, or misperceived and misrepresented. In this short paper, we offer an update on some of these findings and theoretical developments through a selection of illustrative examples and discussions that cast new light on current debates in the language sciences. The main message of our paper is that life is much more complex and nuanced than anybody could have predicted even a few decades ago, and that we need to be flexible in our theorizing instead of embracing a priori dogmas and trying to patch paradigms that are no longer satisfactory.
  • Dediu, D. (2016). Typology for the masses. Linguistic typology, 20(3), 579-581. doi:10.1515/lingty-2016-0029.
  • Defina, R. (2016). Do serial verb constructions describe single events? A study of co-speech gestures in Avatime. Language, 92(4), 890-910. doi:10.1353/lan.2016.0076.

    Abstract

    Serial verb constructions have often been said to refer to single conceptual events. However, evidence to support this claim has been elusive. This article introduces co-speech gestures as a new way of investigating the relationship. The alignment patterns of gestures with serial verb constructions and other complex clauses were compared in Avatime (Ka-Togo, Kwa, Niger-Congo). Serial verb constructions tended to occur with single gestures overlapping the entire construction. In contrast, other complex clauses were more likely to be accompanied by distinct gestures overlapping individual verbs. This pattern of alignment suggests that serial verb constructions are in fact used to describe single events.

    Additional information

    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2016.0069
  • Defina, R. (2016). Serial verb constructions and their subtypes in Avatime. Studies in Language, 40(3), 648-680. doi:10.1075/sl.40.3.07def.
  • Deriziotis, P., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Speech and Language: Translating the Genome. Trends in Genetics, 33(9), 642-656. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2017.07.002.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Background: Human fibroblasts can be directly converted to several subtypes of neurons, but cortical projection neurons have not been generated. Methods: Here we screened for transcription factor combinations that could potentially convert human fibroblasts to functional excitatory cortical neurons. The induced cortical (iCtx) cells were analyzed for cortical neuronal identity using immunocytochemistry, single-cell quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), electrophysiology, and their ability to integrate into human neural networks in vitro and ex vivo using electrophysiology and rabies virus tracing. Results: We show that a combination of three ranscription fact ors, BRN2, MYT1L, and FEZF2, have the ability to directly convert human fibroblasts to functional excitatory cortical neurons. The conversion efficiency was increased to about 16% by treatment with small molecules and microRNAs. The iCtx cells exhibited electrophysiological properties of functional neurons, had pyramidal-like cell morphology, and expressed key cortical projection neuronal markers. Single-cell analysis of iCtx cells revealed a complex gene expression profile, a subpopulation of them displaying a molecular signature closely resembling that of human fetal primary cortical neurons. The iCtx cells received synaptic inputs from co-cultured human fetal primary cortical neurons, contained spines, and expressed the postsyna ptic excitatory scaffold protein PSD95. When transplanted ex vivo to organotypic cultures of adult human cerebral cortex, the iCtx cells exhibited morphological and electrophysiological properties of mature neurons, integrated structurally into the cortical tissue, and received synaptic inputs from adult human neurons. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that functional excitatory cortical neurons, generated here for the first time by direct conversion of human somatic cells, have the capacity for synaptic integration into adult human cortex.
  • Dias, C., Estruch, S. B., Graham, S. A., McRae, J., Sawiak, S. J., Hurst, J. A., Joss, S. K., Holder, S. E., Morton, J. E., Turner, C., Thevenon, J., Mellul, K., Sánchez-Andrade, G., Ibarra-Soria, X., Derizioti, P., Santos, R. F., Lee, S.-C., Faivre, L., Kleefstra, T., Liu, P. and 3 moreDias, C., Estruch, S. B., Graham, S. A., McRae, J., Sawiak, S. J., Hurst, J. A., Joss, S. K., Holder, S. E., Morton, J. E., Turner, C., Thevenon, J., Mellul, K., Sánchez-Andrade, G., Ibarra-Soria, X., Derizioti, P., Santos, R. F., Lee, S.-C., Faivre, L., Kleefstra, T., Liu, P., Hurles, M. E., DDD Study, Fisher, S. E., & Logan, D. W. (2016). BCL11A haploinsufficiency causes an intellectual disability syndrome and dysregulates transcription. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 99(2), 253-274. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.05.030.

    Abstract

    Intellectual disability (ID) is a common condition with considerable genetic heterogeneity. Next-generation sequencing of large cohorts has identified an increasing number of genes implicated in ID, but their roles in neurodevelopment remain largely unexplored. Here we report an ID syndrome caused by de novo heterozygous missense, nonsense, and frameshift mutations in BCL11A, encoding a transcription factor that is a putative member of the BAF swi/snf chromatin-remodeling complex. Using a comprehensive integrated approach to ID disease modeling, involving human cellular analyses coupled to mouse behavioral, neuroanatomical, and molecular phenotyping, we provide multiple lines of functional evidence for phenotypic effects. The etiological missense variants cluster in the amino-terminal region of human BCL11A, and we demonstrate that they all disrupt its localization, dimerization, and transcriptional regulatory activity, consistent with a loss of function. We show that Bcl11a haploinsufficiency in mice causes impaired cognition, abnormal social behavior, and microcephaly in accordance with the human phenotype. Furthermore, we identify shared aberrant transcriptional profiles in the cortex and hippocampus of these mouse models. Thus, our work implicates BCL11A haploinsufficiency in neurodevelopmental disorders and defines additional targets regulated by this gene, with broad relevance for our understanding of ID and related syndromes
  • Diaz, B., Mitterer, H., Broersma, M., Escara, C., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2016). Variability in L2 phonemic learning originates from speech-specific capabilities: An MMN study on late bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19(5), 955-970. doi:10.1017/S1366728915000450.

    Abstract

    People differ in their ability to perceive second language (L2) sounds. In early bilinguals the variability in learning L2 phonemes stems from speech-specific capabilities (Díaz, Baus, Escera, Costa & Sebastián-Gallés, 2008). The present study addresses whether speech-specific capabilities similarly explain variability in late bilinguals. Event-related potentials were recorded (using a design similar to Díaz et al., 2008) in two groups of late Dutch–English bilinguals who were good or poor in overtly discriminating the L2 English vowels /ε-æ/. The mismatch negativity, an index of discrimination sensitivity, was similar between the groups in conditions involving pure tones (of different length, frequency, and presentation order) but was attenuated in poor L2 perceivers for native, unknown, and L2 phonemes. These results suggest that variability in L2 phonemic learning originates from speech-specific capabilities and imply a continuity of L2 phonemic learning mechanisms throughout the lifespan
  • Dietrich, R., & Klein, W. (1986). Simple language. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 11(2), 110-117.
  • Dima, A. L., & Dediu, D. (2016). Computation of Adherence to Medications and Visualization of Medication Histories in R with AdhereR: Towards Transparent and Reproducible Use of Electronic Healthcare Data. PLoS One, 12(4): e0174426. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0174426.

    Abstract

    Adherence to medications is an important indicator of the quality of medication management and impacts on health outcomes and cost-effectiveness of healthcare delivery. Electronic healthcare data (EHD) are increasingly used to estimate adherence in research and clinical practice, yet standardization and transparency of data processing are still a concern. Comprehensive and flexible open-source algorithms can facilitate the development of high-quality, consistent, and reproducible evidence in this field. Some EHD-based clinical decision support systems (CDSS) include visualization of medication histories, but this is rarely integrated in adherence analyses and not easily accessible for data exploration or implementation in new clinical settings. We introduce AdhereR, a package for the widely used open-source statistical environment R, designed to support researchers in computing EHD-based adherence estimates and in visualizing individual medication histories and adherence patterns. AdhereR implements a set of functions that are consistent with current adherence guidelines, definitions and operationalizations. We illustrate the use of AdhereR with an example dataset of 2-year records of 100 patients and describe the various analysis choices possible and how they can be adapted to different health conditions and types of medications. The package is freely available for use and its implementation facilitates the integration of medication history visualizations in open-source CDSS platforms.
  • Dimitrova, D. V., Chu, M., Wang, L., Ozyurek, A., & Hagoort, P. (2016). Beat that word: How listeners integrate beat gesture and focus in multimodal speech discourse. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28(9), 1255-1269. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00963.

    Abstract

    Communication is facilitated when listeners allocate their attention to important information (focus) in the message, a process called "information structure." Linguistic cues like the preceding context and pitch accent help listeners to identify focused information. In multimodal communication, relevant information can be emphasized by nonverbal cues like beat gestures, which represent rhythmic nonmeaningful hand movements. Recent studies have found that linguistic and nonverbal attention cues are integrated independently in single sentences. However, it is possible that these two cues interact when information is embedded in context, because context allows listeners to predict what information is important. In an ERP study, we tested this hypothesis and asked listeners to view videos capturing a dialogue. In the critical sentence, focused and nonfocused words were accompanied by beat gestures, grooming hand movements, or no gestures. ERP results showed that focused words are processed more attentively than nonfocused words as reflected in an N1 and P300 component. Hand movements also captured attention and elicited a P300 component. Importantly, beat gesture and focus interacted in a late time window of 600-900 msec relative to target word onset, giving rise to a late positivity when nonfocused words were accompanied by beat gestures. Our results show that listeners integrate beat gesture with the focus of the message and that integration costs arise when beat gesture falls on nonfocused information. This suggests that beat gestures fulfill a unique focusing function in multimodal discourse processing and that they have to be integrated with the information structure of the message.
  • Dingemanse, M., Kendrick, K. H., & Enfield, N. J. (2016). A Coding Scheme for Other-Initiated Repair across Languages. Open Linguistics, 2, 35-46. doi:10.1515/opli-2016-0002.

    Abstract

    We provide an annotated coding scheme for other-initiated repair, along with guidelines for building collections and aggregating cases based on interactionally relevant similarities and differences. The questions and categories of the scheme are grounded in inductive observations of conversational data and connected to a rich body of work on other-initiated repair in conversation analysis. The scheme is developed and tested in a 12-language comparative project and can serve as a stepping stone for future work on other-initiated repair and the systematic comparative study of conversational structures.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Akita, K. (2017). An inverse relation between expressiveness and grammatical integration: on the morphosyntactic typology of ideophones, with special reference to Japanese. Journal of Linguistics, 53(3), 501-532. doi:10.1017/S002222671600030X.

    Abstract

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

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    Open data & R code

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