Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 869
  • 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. (2018). Reply to 'Sigmoidal acquisition curves are good indicators of conformist transmission'. Scientific Reports, 8(1): 14016. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-30382-0.

    Abstract

    In the Smaldino et al. study ‘Sigmoidal Acquisition Curves are Good Indicators of Conformist Transmission’, our original findings regarding the conditional validity of using population-level sigmoidal acquisition curves as means to evidence individual-level conformity are contested. We acknowledge the identification of useful nuances, yet conclude that our original findings remain relevant for the study of conformist learning mechanisms. Replying to: Smaldino, P. E., Aplin, L. M. & Farine, D. R. Sigmoidal Acquisition Curves Are Good Indicators of Conformist Transmission. Sci. Rep. 8, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-30248-5 (2018).
  • Acuna-Hidalgo, R., Deriziotis, P., Steehouwer, M., Gilissen, C., Graham, S. A., Van Dam, S., Hoover-Fong, J., Telegrafi, A. B., Destree, A., Smigiel, R., Lambie, L. A., Kayserili, H., Altunoglu, U., Lapi, E., Uzielli, M. L., Aracena, M., Nur, B. G., Mihci, E., Moreira, L. M. A., Ferreira, V. B. and 26 moreAcuna-Hidalgo, R., Deriziotis, P., Steehouwer, M., Gilissen, C., Graham, S. A., Van Dam, S., Hoover-Fong, J., Telegrafi, A. B., Destree, A., Smigiel, R., Lambie, L. A., Kayserili, H., Altunoglu, U., Lapi, E., Uzielli, M. L., Aracena, M., Nur, B. G., Mihci, E., Moreira, L. M. A., Ferreira, V. B., Horovitz, D. D. G., Da Rocha, K. M., Jezela-Stanek, A., Brooks, A. S., Reutter, H., Cohen, J. S., Fatemi, A., Smitka, M., Grebe, T. A., Di Donato, N., Deshpande, C., Vandersteen, A., Marques Lourenço, C., Dufke, A., Rossier, E., Andre, G., Baumer, A., Spencer, C., McGaughran, J., Franke, L., Veltman, J. A., De Vries, B. B. A., Schinzel, A., Fisher, S. E., Hoischen, A., & Van Bon, B. W. (2017). Overlapping SETBP1 gain-of-function mutations in Schinzel-Giedion syndrome and hematologic malignancies. PLoS Genetics, 13: e1006683. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006683.

    Abstract

    Schinzel-Giedion syndrome (SGS) is a rare developmental disorder characterized by multiple malformations, severe neurological alterations and increased risk of malignancy. SGS is caused by de novo germline mutations clustering to a 12bp hotspot in exon 4 of SETBP1. Mutations in this hotspot disrupt a degron, a signal for the regulation of protein degradation, and lead to the accumulation of SETBP1 protein. Overlapping SETBP1 hotspot mutations have been observed recurrently as somatic events in leukemia. We collected clinical information of 47 SGS patients (including 26 novel cases) with germline SETBP1 mutations and of four individuals with a milder phenotype caused by de novo germline mutations adjacent to the SETBP1 hotspot. Different mutations within and around the SETBP1 hotspot have varying effects on SETBP1 stability and protein levels in vitro and in in silico modeling. Substitutions in SETBP1 residue I871 result in a weak increase in protein levels and mutations affecting this residue are significantly more frequent in SGS than in leukemia. On the other hand, substitutions in residue D868 lead to the largest increase in protein levels. Individuals with germline mutations affecting D868 have enhanced cell proliferation in vitro and higher incidence of cancer compared to patients with other germline SETBP1 mutations. Our findings substantiate that, despite their overlap, somatic SETBP1 mutations driving malignancy are more disruptive to the degron than germline SETBP1 mutations causing SGS. Additionally, this suggests that the functional threshold for the development of cancer driven by the disruption of the SETBP1 degron is higher than for the alteration in prenatal development in SGS. Drawing on previous studies of somatic SETBP1 mutations in leukemia, our results reveal a genotype-phenotype correlation in germline SETBP1 mutations spanning a molecular, cellular and clinical phenotype.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2017). Commentary on Sanborn and Chater: Posterior Modes Are Attractor Basins. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21(7), 491-492. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2017.04.003.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2017). Electrophysiology Reveals the Neural Dynamics of Naturalistic Auditory Language Processing: Event-Related Potentials Reflect Continuous Model Update. eNeuro, 4(6): e0311. doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0311-16.2017.

    Abstract

    The recent trend away from ANOVA-based analyses places experimental investigations into the neurobiology of cognition in more naturalistic and ecologically valid designs within reach. Using mixed-effects models for epoch-based regression, we demonstrate the feasibility of examining event-related potentials (ERPs), and in particular the N400, to study the neural dynamics of human auditory language processing in a naturalistic setting. Despite the large variability between trials during naturalistic stimulation, we replicated previous findings from the literature: the effects of frequency, animacy, word order and find previously unexplored interaction effects. This suggests a new perspective on ERPs, namely as a continuous modulation reflecting continuous stimulation instead of a series of discrete and essentially sequential processes locked to discrete events. Significance Statement Laboratory experiments on language often lack ecologicalal validity. In addition to the intrusive laboratory equipment, the language used is often highly constrained in an attempt to control possible confounds. More recent research with naturalistic stimuli has been largely confined to fMRI, where the low temporal resolution helps to smooth over the uneven finer structure of natural language use. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of using naturalistic stimuli with temporally sensitive methods such as EEG and MEG using modern computational approaches and show how this provides new insights into the nature of ERP components and the temporal dynamics of language as a sensory and cognitive process. The full complexity of naturalistic language use cannot be captured by carefully controlled designs alone.
  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2018). Pre-Wiring and Pre-Training: What Does a Neural Network Need to Learn Truly General Identity Rules? Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 61, 927-946. doi:10.1613/jair.1.11197.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    The present paper assesses discourse-pragmatic factors as a potential explanation for the subject-object assymetry in early child language. It identifies a set of factors which characterize typical situations of informativeness (Greenfield & Smith, 1976), and uses these factors to identify informative arguments in data from four children aged 2;0 through 3;6 learning Inuktitut as a first language. In addition, it assesses the extent of the links between features of informativeness on one hand and lexical vs. null and subject vs. object arguments on the other. Results suggest that a pragmatics account of the subject-object asymmetry can be upheld to a greater extent than previous research indicates, and that several of the factors characterizing informativeness are good indicators of those arguments which tend to be omitted in early child language.
  • Allen, S. E. M. (1998). Categories within the verb category: Learning the causative in Inuktitut. Linguistics, 36(4), 633-677.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1998). Particules énonciatives en Ewe. Faits de langues, 6(11/12), 179-204.

    Abstract

    Particles are little words that speakers use to signal the illocutionary force of utterances and/or express their attitude towards elements of the communicative situation, e.g. the addresses. This paper presents an overview of the classification, meaning and use of utterance particles in Ewe. It argues that they constitute a grammatical word class on functional and distributional grounds. The paper calls for a cross-cultural investigation of particles, especially in Africa, where they have been neglected for far too long.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2017). The Uselessness of the Useful: Language Standardisation and Variation in Multilingual Context. In I. Tieken-Boon van Ostade, & C. Percy (Eds.), Prescription and tradition in language: Establishing standards across the time and space (pp. 71-87). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Aparicio, X., Heidlmayr, K., & Isel, F. (2017). Inhibition Efficiency in Highly Proficient Bilinguals and Simultaneous Interpreters: Evidence from Language Switching and Stroop Tasks. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 46, 1427-1451. doi:10.1007/s10936-017-9501-3.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Cognitive neuroscientists of language comprehension study how neural computations relate to cognitive computations during comprehension. On the cognitive part of the equation, it is important that the computations and processing complexity are explicitly defined. Probabilistic language models can be used to give a computationally explicit account of language complexity during comprehension. Whereas such models have so far predominantly been evaluated against behavioral data, only recently have the models been used to explain neurobiological signals. Measures obtained from these models emphasize the probabilistic, information-processing view of language understanding and provide a set of tools that can be used for testing neural hypotheses about language comprehension. Here, we provide a cursory review of the theoretical foundations and example neuroimaging studies employing probabilistic language models. We highlight the advantages and potential pitfalls of this approach and indicate avenues for future research
  • Arshamian, A., Iravani, B., Majid, A., & Lundström, J. N. (2018). Respiration modulates olfactory memory consolidation in humans. The Journal of Neuroscience, 38(48), 10286-10294. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3360-17.2018.

    Abstract

    In mammals, respiratory-locked hippocampal rhythms are implicated in the scaffolding and transfer of information between sensory and memory networks. These oscillations are entrained by nasal respiration and driven by the olfactory bulb. They then travel to the piriform cortex where they propagate further downstream to the hippocampus and modulate neural processes critical for memory formation. In humans, bypassing nasal airflow through mouth-breathing abolishes these rhythms and impacts encoding as well as recognition processes thereby reducing memory performance. It has been hypothesized that similar behavior should be observed for the consolidation process, the stage between encoding and recognition, were memory is reactivated and strengthened. However, direct evidence for such an effect is lacking in human and non-human animals. Here we tested this hypothesis by examining the effect of respiration on consolidation of episodic odor memory. In two separate sessions, female and male participants encoded odors followed by a one hour awake resting consolidation phase where they either breathed solely through their nose or mouth. Immediately after the consolidation phase, memory for odors was tested. Recognition memory significantly increased during nasal respiration compared to mouth respiration during consolidation. These results provide the first evidence that respiration directly impacts consolidation of episodic events, and lends further support to the notion that core cognitive functions are modulated by the respiratory cycle.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Highly proficient bilinguals maintain language-specific pragmatic constraints on pronouns: Evidence from speech and gesture. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 81-86). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The use of subject pronouns by bilingual speakers using both a pro-drop and a non-pro-drop language (e.g. Spanish heritage speakers in the USA) is a well-studied topic in research on cross-linguistic influence in language contact situations. Previous studies looking at bilinguals with different proficiency levels have yielded conflicting results on whether there is transfer from the non-pro-drop patterns to the pro-drop language. Additionally, previous research has focused on speech patterns only. In this paper, we study the two modalities of language, speech and gesture, and ask whether and how they reveal cross-linguistic influence on the use of subject pronouns in discourse. We focus on elicited narratives from heritage speakers of Turkish in the Netherlands, in both Turkish (pro-drop) and Dutch (non-pro-drop), as well as from monolingual control groups. The use of pronouns was not very common in monolingual Turkish narratives and was constrained by the pragmatic contexts, unlike in Dutch. Furthermore, Turkish pronouns were more likely to be accompanied by localized gestures than Dutch pronouns, presumably because pronouns in Turkish are pragmatically marked forms. We did not find any cross-linguistic influence in bilingual speech or gesture patterns, in line with studies (speech only) of highly proficient bilinguals. We therefore suggest that speech and gesture parallel each other not only in monolingual but also in bilingual production. Highly proficient heritage speakers who have been exposed to diverse linguistic and gestural patterns of each language from early on maintain monolingual patterns of pragmatic constraints on the use of pronouns multimodally.
  • Bailey, A., Hervas, A., Matthews, N., Palferman, S., Wallace, S., Aubin, A., Michelotti, J., Wainhouse, C., Papanikolaou, K., Rutter, M., Maestrini, E., Marlow, A., Weeks, D. E., Lamb, J., Francks, C., Kearsley, G., Scudder, P., Monaco, A. P., Baird, G., Cox, A. and 46 moreBailey, A., Hervas, A., Matthews, N., Palferman, S., Wallace, S., Aubin, A., Michelotti, J., Wainhouse, C., Papanikolaou, K., Rutter, M., Maestrini, E., Marlow, A., Weeks, D. E., Lamb, J., Francks, C., Kearsley, G., Scudder, P., Monaco, A. P., Baird, G., Cox, A., Cockerill, H., Nuffield, F., Le Couteur, A., Berney, T., Cooper, H., Kelly, T., Green, J., Whittaker, J., Gilchrist, A., Bolton, P., Schönewald, A., Daker, M., Ogilvie, C., Docherty, Z., Deans, Z., Bolton, B., Packer, R., Poustka, F., Rühl, D., Schmötzer, G., Bölte, S., Klauck, S. M., Spieler, A., Poustka., A., Van Engeland, H., Kemner, C., De Jonge, M., Den Hartog, I., Lord, C., Cook, E., Leventhal, B., Volkmar, F., Pauls, D., Klin, A., Smalley, S., Fombonne, E., Rogé, B., Tauber, M., Arti-Vartayan, E., Fremolle-Kruck., J., Pederson, L., Haracopos, D., Brondum-Nielsen, K., & Cotterill, R. (1998). A full genome screen for autism with evidence for linkage to a region on chromosome 7q. International Molecular Genetic Study of Autism Consortium. Human Molecular Genetics, 7(3), 571-578. doi:10.1093/hmg/7.3.571.

    Abstract

    Autism is characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and restricted and sterotyped patterns of interests and activities. Developmental difficulties are apparent before 3 years of age and there is evidence for strong genetic influences most likely involving more than one susceptibility gene. A two-stage genome search for susceptibility loci in autism was performed on 87 affected sib pairs plus 12 non-sib affected relative-pairs, from a total of 99 families identified by an international consortium. Regions on six chromosomes (4, 7, 10, 16, 19 and 22) were identified which generated a multipoint maximum lod score (MLS) > 1. A region on chromosome 7q was the most significant with an MLS of 3.55 near markers D7S530 and D7S684 in the subset of 56 UK affected sib-pair families, and an MLS of 2.53 in all 87 affected sib-pair families. An area on chromosome 16p near the telomere was the next most significant, with an MLS of 1.97 in the UK families, and 1.51 in all families. These results are an important step towards identifying genes predisposing to autism; establishing their general applicability requires further study.
  • Bakker-Marshall, I., Takashima, A., Schoffelen, J.-M., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Theta-band Oscillations in the Middle Temporal Gyrus Reflect Novel Word Consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30(5), 621-633. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01240.

    Abstract

    Like many other types of memory formation, novel word learning benefits from an offline consolidation period after the initial encoding phase. A previous EEG study has shown that retrieval of novel words elicited more word-like-induced electrophysiological brain activity in the theta band after consolidation [Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 1286–1297, 2015]. This suggests that theta-band oscillations play a role in lexicalization, but it has not been demonstrated that this effect is directly caused by the formation of lexical representations. This study used magnetoencephalography to localize the theta consolidation effect to the left posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), a region known to be involved in lexical storage. Both untrained novel words and words learned immediately before test elicited lower theta power during retrieval than existing words in this region. After a 24-hr consolidation period, the difference between novel and existing words decreased significantly, most strongly in the left pMTG. The magnitude of the decrease after consolidation correlated with an increase in behavioral competition effects between novel words and existing words with similar spelling, reflecting functional integration into the mental lexicon. These results thus provide new evidence that consolidation aids the development of lexical representations mediated by the left pMTG. Theta synchronization may enable lexical access by facilitating the simultaneous activation of distributed semantic, phonological, and orthographic representations that are bound together in the pMTG.
  • Barlas, P., Kyriakou, K., Guest, O., Kleanthous, S., & Otterbacher, J. (2021). To "see" is to stereotype: Image tagging algorithms, gender recognition, and the accuracy-fairness trade-off. Proceedings of the ACM on Human Computer Interaction, 4(CSCW3): 32. doi:10.1145/3432931.

    Abstract

    Machine-learned computer vision algorithms for tagging images are increasingly used by developers and researchers, having become popularized as easy-to-use "cognitive services." Yet these tools struggle with gender recognition, particularly when processing images of women, people of color and non-binary individuals. Socio-technical researchers have cited data bias as a key problem; training datasets often over-represent images of people and contexts that convey social stereotypes. The social psychology literature explains that people learn social stereotypes, in part, by observing others in particular roles and contexts, and can inadvertently learn to associate gender with scenes, occupations and activities. Thus, we study the extent to which image tagging algorithms mimic this phenomenon. We design a controlled experiment, to examine the interdependence between algorithmic recognition of context and the depicted person's gender. In the spirit of auditing to understand machine behaviors, we create a highly controlled dataset of people images, imposed on gender-stereotyped backgrounds. Our methodology is reproducible and our code publicly available. Evaluating five proprietary algorithms, we find that in three, gender inference is hindered when a background is introduced. Of the two that "see" both backgrounds and gender, it is the one whose output is most consistent with human stereotyping processes that is superior in recognizing gender. We discuss the accuracy--fairness trade-off, as well as the importance of auditing black boxes in better understanding this double-edged sword.
  • 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
  • Bartolozzi, F., Jongman, S. R., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). Concurrent speech planning does not eliminate repetition priming from spoken words: Evidence from linguistic dual-tasking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 47(3), 466-480. doi:10.1037/xlm0000944.

    Abstract

    In conversation, production and comprehension processes may overlap, causing interference. In 3 experiments, we investigated whether repetition priming can work as a supporting device, reducing costs associated with linguistic dual-tasking. Experiment 1 established the rate of decay of repetition priming from spoken words to picture naming for primes embedded in sentences. Experiments 2 and 3 investigated whether the rate of decay was faster when participants comprehended the prime while planning to name unrelated pictures. In all experiments, the primed picture followed the sentences featuring the prime on the same trial, or 10 or 50 trials later. The results of the 3 experiments were strikingly similar: robust repetition priming was observed when the primed picture followed the prime sentence. Thus, repetition priming was observed even when the primes were processed while the participants prepared an unrelated spoken utterance. Priming might, therefore, support utterance planning in conversation, where speakers routinely listen while planning their utterances.

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2017). Nominal apposition in Indo-European: Its forms and functions, and its evolution in Latin-Romance. Berlin: De Gruyter.

    Abstract

    Nominal apposition—the combining of two equivalent nouns—has been a neglected topic in (Indo-European) linguistics, despite its prominence in syntax and morphology (i.c. composition). This book presents an extensive comparative and diachronic analysis of nominal apposition in Indo-European, examining its occurrence, its syntactic and morphological characteristics and functions in the early languages, identifying parallels with similar phenomena elsewhere (e.g. noun classification and script determinatives), and tracing its evolution in Latin-Romance. While nominal apposition is not exclusive to Indo-European, its development fits the evolution of Indo-European grammar.
  • Bauer, B. L. M., & Mota, M. (2018). On language, cognition, and the brain: An interview with Peter Hagoort. Sobre linguagem, cognição e cérebro: Uma entrevista com Peter Hagoort. Revista da Anpoll, (45), 291-296. doi:10.18309/anp.v1i45.1179.

    Abstract

    Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, founding Director of the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN, 1999), and professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Radboud University, all located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, PETER HAGOORT examines how the brain controls language production and comprehension. He was one of the first to integrate psychological theory and models from neuroscience in an attempt to understand how the human language faculty is instantiated in the brain.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (1998). Impersonal verbs in Italic. Their development from an Indo-European perspective. Journal of Indo-European Studies, 26, 91-120.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (1998). Language loss in Gaul: Socio-historical and linguistic factors in language conflict. Southwest Journal of Linguistics, 15, 23-44.
  • Becker, M., Devanna, P., Fisher, S. E., & Vernes, S. C. (2018). Mapping of Human FOXP2 Enhancers Reveals Complex Regulation. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 11: 47. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2018.00047.

    Abstract

    Mutations of the FOXP2 gene cause a severe speech and language disorder, providing a molecular window into the neurobiology of language. Individuals with FOXP2 mutations have structural and functional alterations affecting brain circuits that overlap with sites of FOXP2 expression, including regions of the cortex, striatum, and cerebellum. FOXP2 displays complex patterns of expression in the brain, as well as in non-neuronal tissues, suggesting that sophisticated regulatory mechanisms control its spatio-temporal expression. However, to date, little is known about the regulation of FOXP2 or the genomic elements that control its expression. Using chromatin conformation capture (3C), we mapped the human FOXP2 locus to identify putative enhancer regions that engage in long-range interactions with the promoter of this gene. We demonstrate the ability of the identified enhancer regions to drive gene expression. We also show regulation of the FOXP2 promoter and enhancer regions by candidate regulators – FOXP family and TBR1 transcription factors. These data point to regulatory elements that may contribute to the temporal- or tissue-specific expression patterns of human FOXP2. Understanding the upstream regulatory pathways controlling FOXP2 expression will bring new insight into the molecular networks contributing to human language and related disorders.
  • Beckmann, N. S., Indefrey, P., & Petersen, W. (2018). Words count, but thoughts shift: A frame-based account to conceptual shifts in noun countability. Voprosy Kognitivnoy Lingvistiki (Issues of Cognitive Linguistics ), 2, 79-89. doi:10.20916/1812-3228-2018-2-79-89.

    Abstract

    The current paper proposes a frame-based account to conceptual shifts in the countability do-main. We interpret shifts in noun countability as syntactically driven metonymy. Inserting a noun in an incongruent noun phrase, that is combining it with a determiner of the other countability class, gives rise to a re-interpretation of the noun referent. We assume lexical entries to be three-fold frame com-plexes connecting conceptual knowledge representations with language-specific form representations via a lemma level. Empirical data from a lexical decision experiment are presented, that support the as-sumption of such a lemma level connecting perceptual input of linguistic signs to conceptual knowledge.
  • Behnke, K. (1998). The acquisition of phonetic categories in young infants: A self-organising artificial neural network approach. PhD Thesis, University of Twente, Enschede. doi:10.17617/2.2057688.
  • 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.
  • Belpaeme, T., Vogt, P., Van den Berghe, R., Bergmann, K., Göksun, T., De Haas, M., Kanero, J., Kennedy, J., Küntay, A. C., Oudgenoeg-Paz, O., Papadopoulos, F., Schodde, T., Verhagen, J., Wallbridge, C. D., Willemsen, B., De Wit, J., Geçkin, V., Hoffmann, L., Kopp, S., Krahmer, E. and 4 moreBelpaeme, T., Vogt, P., Van den Berghe, R., Bergmann, K., Göksun, T., De Haas, M., Kanero, J., Kennedy, J., Küntay, A. C., Oudgenoeg-Paz, O., Papadopoulos, F., Schodde, T., Verhagen, J., Wallbridge, C. D., Willemsen, B., De Wit, J., Geçkin, V., Hoffmann, L., Kopp, S., Krahmer, E., Mamus, E., Montanier, J.-M., Oranç, C., & Pandey, A. K. (2018). Guidelines for designing social robots as second language tutors. International Journal of Social Robotics, 10(3), 325-341. doi:10.1007/s12369-018-0467-6.

    Abstract

    In recent years, it has been suggested that social robots have potential as tutors and educators for both children and adults. While robots have been shown to be effective in teaching knowledge and skill-based topics, we wish to explore how social robots can be used to tutor a second language to young children. As language learning relies on situated, grounded and social learning, in which interaction and repeated practice are central, social robots hold promise as educational tools for supporting second language learning. This paper surveys the developmental psychology of second language learning and suggests an agenda to study how core concepts of second language learning can be taught by a social robot. It suggests guidelines for designing robot tutors based on observations of second language learning in human–human scenarios, various technical aspects and early studies regarding the effectiveness of social robots as second language tutors.
  • Benítez-Burraco, A., & Dediu, D. (2018). Ancient DNA and language evolution: A special section. Journal of Language Evolution, 3(1), 47-48. doi:10.1093/jole/lzx024.
  • Bentz, C., Dediu, D., Verkerk, A., & Jäger, G. (2018). Language family trees reflect geography and demography beyond neutral drift. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG XII) (pp. 38-40). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.006.
  • Bentz, C., Dediu, D., Verkerk, A., & Jäger, G. (2018). The evolution of language families is shaped by the environment beyond neutral drift. Nature Human Behaviour, 2, 816-821. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0457-6.

    Abstract

    There are more than 7,000 languages spoken in the world today1. It has been argued that the natural and social environment of languages drives this diversity. However, a fundamental question is how strong are environmental pressures, and does neutral drift suffice as a mechanism to explain diversification? We estimate the phylogenetic signals of geographic dimensions, distance to water, climate and population size on more than 6,000 phylogenetic trees of 46 language families. Phylogenetic signals of environmental factors are generally stronger than expected under the null hypothesis of no relationship with the shape of family trees. Importantly, they are also—in most cases—not compatible with neutral drift models of constant-rate change across the family tree branches. Our results suggest that language diversification is driven by further adaptive and non-adaptive pressures. Language diversity cannot be understood without modelling the pressures that physical, ecological and social factors exert on language users in different environments across the globe.
  • Bergmann, C., & Cristia, A. (2018). Environmental influences on infants’ native vowel discrimination: The case of talker number in daily life. Infancy, 23(4), 484-501. doi:10.1111/infa.12232.

    Abstract

    Both quality and quantity of speech from the primary caregiver have been found to impact language development. A third aspect of the input has been largely ignored: the number of talkers who provide input. Some infants spend most of their waking time with only one person; others hear many different talkers. Even if the very same words are spoken the same number of times, the pronunciations can be more variable when several talkers pronounce them. Is language acquisition affected by the number of people who provide input? To shed light on the possible link between how many people provide input in daily life and infants’ native vowel discrimination, three age groups were tested: 4-month-olds (before attunement to native vowels), 6-month-olds (at the cusp of native vowel attunement) and 12-month-olds (well attuned to the native vowel system). No relationship was found between talker number and native vowel discrimination skills in 4- and 6-month-olds, who are overall able to discriminate the vowel contrast. At 12 months, we observe a small positive relationship, but further analyses reveal that the data are also compatible with the null hypothesis of no relationship. Implications in the context of infant language acquisition and cognitive development are discussed.
  • Bergmann, C., Tsuji, S., Piccinini, P. E., Lewis, M. L., Braginsky, M. B., Frank, M. C., & Cristia, A. (2018). Promoting replicability in developmental research through meta-analyses: Insights from language acquisition research. Child Development, 89(6), 1996-2009. doi:10.1111/cdev.13079.

    Abstract

    Previous work suggests key factors for replicability, a necessary feature for theory building, include statistical power and appropriate research planning. These factors are examined by analyzing a collection of 12 standardized meta-analyses on language development between birth and 5 years. With a median effect size of Cohen's d= 0.45 and typical sample size of 18 participants, most research is underpowered (range: 6%-99%; median 44%); and calculating power based on seminal publications is not a suitable strategy. Method choice can be improved, as shown in analyses on exclusion rates and effect size as a function of method. The article ends with a discussion on how to increase replicability in both language acquisition studies specifically and developmental research more generally.
  • Bergmann, C., Tsuji, S., & Cristia, A. (2017). Top-down versus bottom-up theories of phonological acquisition: A big data approach. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2103-2107).

    Abstract

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

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  • Berkers, R. M. W. J., Ekman, M., van Dongen, E. V., Takashima, A., Barth, M., Paller, K. A., & Fernández, G. (2018). Cued reactivation during slow-wave sleep induces brain connectivity changes related to memory stabilization. Scientific Reports, 8: 16958. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35287-6.

    Abstract

    Memory reprocessing following acquisition enhances memory consolidation. Specifically, neural activity during encoding is thought to be ‘replayed’ during subsequent slow-wave sleep. Such memory replay is thought to contribute to the functional reorganization of neural memory traces. In particular, memory replay may facilitate the exchange of information across brain regions by inducing a reconfiguration of connectivity across the brain. Memory reactivation can be induced by external cues through a procedure known as “targeted memory reactivation”. Here, we analysed data from a published study with auditory cues used to reactivate visual object-location memories during slow-wave sleep. We characterized effects of memory reactivation on brain network connectivity using graph-theory. We found that cue presentation during slow-wave sleep increased global network integration of occipital cortex, a visual region that was also active during retrieval of object locations. Although cueing did not have an overall beneficial effect on the retention of cued versus uncued associations, individual differences in overnight memory stabilization were related to enhanced network integration of occipital cortex. Furthermore, occipital cortex displayed enhanced connectivity with mnemonic regions, namely the hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, thalamus and medial prefrontal cortex during cue sound presentation. Together, these results suggest a neural mechanism where cue-induced replay during sleep increases integration of task-relevant perceptual regions with mnemonic regions. This cross-regional integration may be instrumental for the consolidation and long-term storage of enduring memories.

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  • Birhane, A., & Guest, O. (2021). Towards decolonising computational sciences. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, 29(2), 60-73. doi:10.7146/kkf.v29i2.124899.

    Abstract

    This article sets out our perspective on how to begin the journey of decolonising computational fi elds, such as data and cognitive sciences. We see this struggle as requiring two basic steps: a) realisation that the present-day system has inherited, and still enacts, hostile, conservative, and oppressive behaviours and principles towards women of colour; and b) rejection of the idea that centring individual people is a solution to system-level problems. The longer we ignore these two steps, the more “our” academic system maintains its toxic structure, excludes, and harms Black women and other minoritised groups. This also keeps the door open to discredited pseudoscience, like eugenics and physiognomy. We propose that grappling with our fi elds’ histories and heritage holds the key to avoiding mistakes of the past. In contrast to, for example, initiatives such as “diversity boards”, which can be harmful because they superfi cially appear reformatory but nonetheless center whiteness and maintain the status quo. Building on the work of many women of colour, we hope to advance the dialogue required to build both a grass-roots and a top-down re-imagining of computational sciences — including but not limited to psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, data science, statistics, machine learning, and artifi cial intelligence. We aspire to progress away from these fi elds’ stagnant, sexist, and racist shared past into an ecosystem that welcomes and nurtures demographically diverse researchers and ideas that critically challenge the status quo.
  • Black, A., & Bergmann, C. (2017). Quantifying infants' statistical word segmentation: A meta-analysis. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 124-129). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Theories of language acquisition and perceptual learning increasingly rely on statistical learning mechanisms. The current meta-analysis aims to clarify the robustness of this capacity in infancy within the word segmentation literature. Our analysis reveals a significant, small effect size for conceptual replications of Saffran, Aslin, & Newport (1996), and a nonsignificant effect across all studies that incorporate transitional probabilities to segment words. In both conceptual replications and the broader literature, however, statistical learning is moderated by whether stimuli are naturally produced or synthesized. These findings invite deeper questions about the complex factors that influence statistical learning, and the role of statistical learning in language acquisition.
  • Blythe, J. (2018). Genesis of the trinity: The convergent evolution of trirelational kinterms. In P. McConvell, & P. Kelly (Eds.), Skin, kin and clan: The dynamics of social categories in Indigenous Australia (pp. 431-471). Canberra: ANU EPress.
  • De Boer, B., & Thompson, B. (2018). Biology-culture co-evolution in finite populations. Scientific Reports, 8: 1209. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18928-0.

    Abstract

    Language is the result of two concurrent evolutionary processes: Biological and cultural inheritance. An influential evolutionary hypothesis known as the moving target problem implies inherent limitations on the interactions between our two inheritance streams that result from a difference in pace: The speed of cultural evolution is thought to rule out cognitive adaptation to culturally evolving aspects of language. We examine this hypothesis formally by casting it as as a problem of adaptation in time-varying environments. We present a mathematical model of biology-culture co-evolution in finite populations: A generalisation of the Moran process, treating co-evolution as coupled non-independent Markov processes, providing a general formulation of the moving target hypothesis in precise probabilistic terms. Rapidly varying culture decreases the probability of biological adaptation. However, we show that this effect declines with population size and with stronger links between biology and culture: In realistically sized finite populations, stochastic effects can carry cognitive specialisations to fixation in the face of variable culture, especially if the effects of those specialisations are amplified through cultural evolution. These results support the view that language arises from interactions between our two major inheritance streams, rather than from one primary evolutionary process that dominates another. © 2018 The Author(s).

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  • 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., Casillas, M., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Planning versus comprehension in turn-taking: Fast responders show reduced anticipatory processing of the question. Neuropsychologia, 109, 295-310. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.12.028.

    Abstract

    Rapid response latencies in conversation suggest that responders start planning before the ongoing turn is finished. Indeed, an earlier EEG study suggests that listeners start planning their responses to questions as soon as they can (Bögels, S., Magyari, L., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). Neural signatures of response planning occur midway through an incoming question in conversation. Scientific Reports, 5, 12881). The present study aimed to (1) replicate this early planning effect and (2) investigate whether such early response planning incurs a cost on participants’ concurrent comprehension of the ongoing turn. During the experiment participants answered questions from a confederate partner. To address aim (1), the questions were designed such that response planning could start either early or late in the turn. Our results largely replicate Bögels et al. (2015) showing a large positive ERP effect and an oscillatory alpha/beta reduction right after participants could have first started planning their verbal response, again suggesting an early start of response planning. To address aim (2), the confederate's questions also contained either an expected word or an unexpected one to elicit a differential N400 effect, either before or after the start of response planning. We hypothesized an attenuated N400 effect after response planning had started. In contrast, the N400 effects before and after planning did not differ. There was, however, a positive correlation between participants' response time and their N400 effect size after planning had started; quick responders showed a smaller N400 effect, suggesting reduced attention to comprehension and possibly reduced anticipatory processing. We conclude that early response planning can indeed impact comprehension processing.

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  • 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.
  • Bohnemeyer, J. (1998). Sententiale Topics im Yukatekischen. In Z. Dietmar (Ed.), Deskriptive Grammatik und allgemeiner Sprachvergleich (pp. 55-85). Tübingen, Germany: Max-Niemeyer-Verlag.

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  • Bohnemeyer, J. (1998). Temporale Relatoren im Hispano-Yukatekischen Sprachkontakt. In A. Koechert, & T. Stolz (Eds.), Convergencia e Individualidad - Las lenguas Mayas entre hispanización e indigenismo (pp. 195-241). Hannover, Germany: Verlag für Ethnologie.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). Accounting for rate-dependent category boundary shifts in speech perception. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 79, 333-343. doi:10.3758/s13414-016-1206-4.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Brain oscillations have been shown to track the slow amplitude fluctuations in speech during comprehension. Moreover, there is evidence that these stimulus-induced cortical rhythms may persist even after the driving stimulus has ceased. However, how exactly this neural entrainment shapes speech perception remains debated. This behavioral study investigated whether and how the frequency and phase of an entrained rhythm would influence the temporal sampling of subsequent speech. In two behavioral experiments, participants were presented with slow and fast isochronous tone sequences, followed by Dutch target words ambiguous between as /ɑs/ “ash” (with a short vowel) and aas /a:s/ “bait” (with a long vowel). Target words were presented at various phases of the entrained rhythm. Both experiments revealed effects of the frequency of the tone sequence on target word perception: fast sequences biased listeners to more long /a:s/ responses. However, no evidence for phase effects could be discerned. These findings show that an entrained rhythm’s frequency, but not phase, influences the temporal sampling of subsequent speech. These outcomes are compatible with theories suggesting that sensory timing is evaluated relative to entrained frequency. Furthermore, they suggest that phase tracking of (syllabic) rhythms by theta oscillations plays a limited role in speech parsing.
  • Bosker, H. R., Reinisch, E., & 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., & Ghitza, O. (2018). Entrained theta oscillations guide perception of subsequent speech: Behavioral evidence from rate normalization. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 33(8), 955-967. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1439179.

    Abstract

    This psychoacoustic study provides behavioral evidence that neural entrainment in the theta range (3-9 Hz) causally shapes speech perception. Adopting the ‘rate normalization’ paradigm (presenting compressed carrier sentences followed by uncompressed target words), we show that uniform compression of a speech carrier to syllable rates inside the theta range influences perception of subsequent uncompressed targets, but compression outside theta range does not. However, the influence of carriers – compressed outside theta range – on target perception is salvaged when carriers are ‘repackaged’ to have a packet rate inside theta. This suggests that the brain can only successfully entrain to syllable/packet rates within theta range, with a causal influence on the perception of subsequent speech, in line with recent neuroimaging data. Thus, this study points to a central role for sustained theta entrainment in rate normalization and contributes to our understanding of the functional role of brain oscillations in speech perception.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Reinisch, E. (2017). Foreign languages sound fast: evidence from implicit rate normalization. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 1063. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01063.

    Abstract

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

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

    Abstract

    In conversation, our own speech and that of others follow each other in rapid succession. Effects of the surrounding context on speech perception are well documented but, despite the ubiquity of the sound of our own voice, it is unknown whether our own speech also influences our perception of other talkers. This study investigated context effects induced by our own speech through six experiments, specifically targeting rate normalization (i.e., perceiving phonetic segments relative to surrounding speech rate). Experiment 1 revealed that hearing pre-recorded fast or slow context sentences altered the perception of ambiguous vowels, replicating earlier work. Experiment 2 demonstrated that talking at a fast or slow rate prior to target presentation also altered target perception, though the effect of preceding speech rate was reduced. Experiment 3 showed that silent talking (i.e., inner speech) at fast or slow rates did not modulate the perception of others, suggesting that the effect of self-produced speech rate in Experiment 2 arose through monitoring of the external speech signal. Experiment 4 demonstrated that, when participants were played back their own (fast/slow) speech, no reduction of the effect of preceding speech rate was observed, suggesting that the additional task of speech production may be responsible for the reduced effect in Experiment 2. Finally, Experiments 5 and 6 replicate Experiments 2 and 3 with new participant samples. Taken together, these results suggest that variation in speech production may induce variation in speech perception, thus carrying implications for our understanding of spoken communication in dialogue settings.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2018). Putting Laurel and Yanny in context. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(6), EL503-EL508. doi:10.1121/1.5070144.

    Abstract

    Recently, the world’s attention was caught by an audio clip that was perceived as “Laurel” or “Yanny”. Opinions were sharply split: many could not believe others heard something different from their perception. However, a crowd-source experiment with >500 participants shows that it is possible to make people hear Laurel, where they previously heard Yanny, by manipulating preceding acoustic context. This study is not only the first to reveal within-listener variation in Laurel/Yanny percepts, but also to demonstrate contrast effects for global spectral information in larger frequency regions. Thus, it highlights the intricacies of human perception underlying these social media phenomena.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Cooke, M. (2018). Talkers produce more pronounced amplitude modulations when speaking in noise. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 143(2), EL121-EL126. doi:10.1121/1.5024404.

    Abstract

    Speakers adjust their voice when talking in noise (known as Lombard speech), facilitating speech comprehension. Recent neurobiological models of speech perception emphasize the role of amplitude modulations in speech-in-noise comprehension, helping neural oscillators to ‘track’ the attended speech. This study tested whether talkers produce more pronounced amplitude modulations in noise. Across four different corpora, modulation spectra showed greater power in amplitude modulations below 4 Hz in Lombard speech compared to matching plain speech. This suggests that noise-induced speech contains more pronounced amplitude modulations, potentially helping the listening brain to entrain to the attended talker, aiding comprehension.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2021). The contribution of amplitude modulations in speech to perceived charisma. In B. Weiss, J. Trouvain, M. Barkat-Defradas, & J. J. Ohala (Eds.), Voice attractiveness: Prosody, phonology and phonetics (pp. 165-181). Singapore: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-981-15-6627-1_10.

    Abstract

    Speech contains pronounced amplitude modulations in the 1–9 Hz range, correlating with the syllabic rate of speech. Recent models of speech perception propose that this rhythmic nature of speech is central to speech recognition and has beneficial effects on language processing. Here, we investigated the contribution of amplitude modulations to the subjective impression listeners have of public speakers. The speech from US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three TV debates of 2016 was acoustically analyzed by means of modulation spectra. These indicated that Clinton’s speech had more pronounced amplitude modulations than Trump’s speech, particularly in the 1–9 Hz range. A subsequent perception experiment, with listeners rating the perceived charisma of (low-pass filtered versions of) Clinton’s and Trump’s speech, showed that more pronounced amplitude modulations (i.e., more ‘rhythmic’ speech) increased perceived charisma ratings. These outcomes highlight the important contribution of speech rhythm to charisma perception.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2017). The role of temporal amplitude modulations in the political arena: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2228-2232). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-142.

    Abstract

    Speech is an acoustic signal with inherent amplitude modulations in the 1-9 Hz range. Recent models of speech perception propose that this rhythmic nature of speech is central to speech recognition. Moreover, rhythmic amplitude modulations have been shown to have beneficial effects on language processing and the subjective impression listeners have of the speaker. This study investigated the role of amplitude modulations in the political arena by comparing the speech produced by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three presidential debates of 2016. Inspection of the modulation spectra, revealing the spectral content of the two speakers’ amplitude envelopes after matching for overall intensity, showed considerably greater power in Clinton’s modulation spectra (compared to Trump’s) across the three debates, particularly in the 1-9 Hz range. The findings suggest that Clinton’s speech had a more pronounced temporal envelope with rhythmic amplitude modulations below 9 Hz, with a preference for modulations around 3 Hz. This may be taken as evidence for a more structured temporal organization of syllables in Clinton’s speech, potentially due to more frequent use of preplanned utterances. Outcomes are interpreted in light of the potential beneficial effects of a rhythmic temporal envelope on intelligibility and speaker perception.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Peeters, D. (2021). Beat gestures influence which speech sounds you hear. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 288: 20202419. doi:10.1098/rspb.2020.2419.

    Abstract

    Beat gestures—spontaneously produced biphasic movements of the hand— are among the most frequently encountered co-speech gestures in human communication. They are closely temporally aligned to the prosodic charac- teristics of the speech signal, typically occurring on lexically stressed syllables. Despite their prevalence across speakers of the world’s languages, how beat gestures impact spoken word recognition is unclear. Can these simple ‘flicks of the hand’ influence speech perception? Across a range of experiments, we demonstrate that beat gestures influence the explicit and implicit perception of lexical stress (e.g. distinguishing OBject from obJECT), and in turn can influence what vowels listeners hear. Thus, we pro- vide converging evidence for a manual McGurk effect: relatively simple and widely occurring hand movements influence which speech sounds we hear

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    example stimuli and experimental data
  • Bosker, H. R. (2021). Using fuzzy string matching for automated assessment of listener transcripts in speech intelligibility studies. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-021-01542-4.

    Abstract

    Many studies of speech perception assess the intelligibility of spoken sentence stimuli by means of transcription tasks (‘type out what you hear’). The intelligibility of a given stimulus is then often expressed in terms of percentage of words correctly reported from the target sentence. Yet scoring the participants’ raw responses for words correctly identified from the target sentence is a time- consuming task, and hence resource-intensive. Moreover, there is no consensus among speech scientists about what specific protocol to use for the human scoring, limiting the reliability of human scores. The present paper evaluates various forms of fuzzy string matching between participants’ responses and target sentences, as automated metrics of listener transcript accuracy. We demonstrate that one particular metric, the Token Sort Ratio, is a consistent, highly efficient, and accurate metric for automated assessment of listener transcripts, as evidenced by high correlations with human-generated scores (best correlation: r = 0.940) and a strong relationship to acoustic markers of speech intelligibility. Thus, fuzzy string matching provides a practical tool for assessment of listener transcript accuracy in large-scale speech intelligibility studies. See https://tokensortratio.netlify.app for an online implementation.
  • 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.
  • Böttner, M. (1998). A collective extension of relational grammar. Logic Journal of the IGPL, 6(2), 175-793. doi:10.1093/jigpal/6.2.175.

    Abstract

    Relational grammar was proposed in Suppes (1976) as a semantical grammar for natural language. Fragments considered so far are restricted to distributive notions. In this article, relational grammar is extended to collective notions.
  • 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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  • Li, P., & Bowerman, M. (1998). The acquisition of lexical and grammatical aspect in Chinese. First Language, 18, 311-350. doi:10.1177/014272379801805404.

    Abstract

    This study reports three experiments on how children learning Mandarin Chinese comprehend and use aspect markers. These experiments examine the role of lexical aspect in children's acquisition of grammatical aspect. Results provide converging evidence for children's early sensitivity to (1) the association between atelic verbs and the imperfective aspect markers zai, -zhe, and -ne, and (2) the association between telic verbs and the perfective aspect marker -le. Children did not show a sensitivity in their use or understanding of aspect markers to the difference between stative and activity verbs or between semelfactive and activity verbs. These results are consistent with Slobin's (1985) basic child grammar hypothesis that the contrast between process and result is important in children's early acquisition of temporal morphology. In contrast, they are inconsistent with Bickerton's (1981, 1984) language bioprogram hypothesis that the distinctions between state and process and between punctual and nonpunctual are preprogrammed into language learners. We suggest new ways of looking at the results in the light of recent probabilistic hypotheses that emphasize the role of input, prototypes and connectionist representations.
  • Brand, J., Monaghan, P., & Walker, P. (2018). Changing Signs: Testing How Sound-Symbolism Supports Early Word Learning. In C. Kalish, M. Rau, J. Zhu, & T. T. Rogers (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2018) (pp. 1398-1403). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Learning a language involves learning how to map specific forms onto their associated meanings. Such mappings can utilise arbitrariness and non-arbitrariness, yet, our understanding of how these two systems operate at different stages of vocabulary development is still not fully understood. The Sound-Symbolism Bootstrapping Hypothesis (SSBH) proposes that sound-symbolism is essential for word learning to commence, but empirical evidence of exactly how sound-symbolism influences language learning is still sparse. It may be the case that sound-symbolism supports acquisition of categories of meaning, or that it enables acquisition of individualized word meanings. In two Experiments where participants learned form-meaning mappings from either sound-symbolic or arbitrary languages, we demonstrate the changing roles of sound-symbolism and arbitrariness for different vocabulary sizes, showing that sound-symbolism provides an advantage for learning of broad categories, which may then transfer to support learning individual words, whereas an arbitrary language impedes acquisition of categories of sound to meaning.
  • Brand, S., & Ernestus, M. (2018). Listeners’ processing of a given reduced word pronunciation variant directly reflects their exposure to this variant: evidence from native listeners and learners of French. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(5), 1240-1259. doi:10.1080/17470218.2017.1313282.

    Abstract

    n casual conversations, words often lack segments. This study investigates whether listeners rely on their experience with reduced word pronunciation variants during the processing of single segment reduction. We tested three groups of listeners in a lexical decision experiment with French words produced either with or without word-medial schwa (e.g., /ʀəvy/ and /ʀvy/ for revue). Participants also rated the relative frequencies of the two pronunciation variants of the words. If the recognition accuracy and reaction times for a given listener group correlate best with the frequencies of occurrence holding for that given listener group, recognition is influenced by listeners’ exposure to these variants. Native listeners' relative frequency ratings correlated well with their accuracy scores and RTs. Dutch advanced learners' accuracy scores and RTs were best predicted by their own ratings. In contrast, the accuracy and RTs from Dutch beginner learners of French could not be predicted by any relative frequency rating; the rating task was probably too difficult for them. The participant groups showed behaviour reflecting their difference in experience with the pronunciation variants. Our results strongly suggest that listeners store the frequencies of occurrence of pronunciation variants, and consequently the variants themselves
  • Brand, S., & Ernestus, M. (2018). Reduction of word-final obstruent-liquid-schwa clusters in Parisian French. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. Advance online publication. doi:10.1515/cllt-2017-0067.

    Abstract

    This corpus study investigated pronunciation variants of word-final obstruent-liquid-schwa (OLS) clusters in nouns in casual Parisian French. Results showed that at least one phoneme was absent in 80.7% of the 291 noun tokens in the dataset, and that the whole cluster was absent (e.g., [mis] for ministre) in no less than 15.5% of the tokens. We demonstrate that phonemes are not always completely absent, but that they may leave traces on neighbouring phonemes. Further, the clusters display undocumented voice assimilation patterns. Statistical modelling showed that a phoneme is most likely to be absent if the following phoneme is also absent. The durations of the phonemes are conditioned particularly by the position of the word in the prosodic phrase. We argue, on the basis of three different types of evidence, that in French word-final OLS clusters, the absence of obstruents is mainly due to gradient reduction processes, whereas the absence of schwa and liquids may also be due to categorical deletion processes.

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  • Brand, J., Monaghan, P., & Walker, P. (2018). The changing role of sound‐symbolism for small versus large vocabularies. Cognitive Science, 42(S2), 578-590. doi:10.1111/cogs.12565.

    Abstract

    Natural language contains many examples of sound‐symbolism, where the form of the word carries information about its meaning. Such systematicity is more prevalent in the words children acquire first, but arbitrariness dominates during later vocabulary development. Furthermore, systematicity appears to promote learning category distinctions, which may become more important as the vocabulary grows. In this study, we tested the relative costs and benefits of sound‐symbolism for word learning as vocabulary size varies. Participants learned form‐meaning mappings for words which were either congruent or incongruent with regard to sound‐symbolic relations. For the smaller vocabulary, sound‐symbolism facilitated learning individual words, whereas for larger vocabularies sound‐symbolism supported learning category distinctions. The changing properties of form‐meaning mappings according to vocabulary size may reflect the different ways in which language is learned at different stages of development.

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  • Brand, S. (2017). The processing of reduced word pronunciation variants by natives and learners: Evidence from French casual speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • 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. (2018). Connectionist principles in theories of speech production. In S.-A. Rueschemeyer, & M. G. Gaskell (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics (2nd ed., pp. 372-397). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    This chapter focuses on connectionist modeling in language production, highlighting how core principles of connectionism provide coverage for empirical observations about representation and selection at the phonological, lexical, and sentence levels. The first section focuses on the connectionist principles of localist representations and spreading activation. It discusses how these two principles have motivated classic models of speech production and shows how they cover results of the picture-word interference paradigm, the mixed error effect, and aphasic naming errors. The second section focuses on how newer connectionist models incorporate the principles of learning and distributed representations through discussion of syntactic priming, cumulative semantic interference, sequencing errors, phonological blends, and code-switching
  • Brehm, L., & Goldrick, M. (2017). Distinguishing discrete and gradient category structure in language: Insights from verb-particle constructions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition., 43(10), 1537-1556. doi:10.1037/xlm0000390.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    In work on grammatical agreement in sentence production, there are accounts of verb number formulation that emphasise the role of whole-structure properties and accounts that emphasise the role of word-driven properties. To evaluate these alternatives, we carried out two experiments that examined a referential (wholistic) contributor to agreement along with two lexical-semantic (local) factors. Both experiments gauged the accuracy and latency of inflected-verb production in order to assess how variations in grammatical number interacted with the other factors. The accuracy of verb production was modulated both by the referential effect of notional number and by the lexical-semantic effects of relatedness and category membership. As an index of agreement difficulty, latencies were little affected by either factor. The findings suggest that agreement is sensitive to referential as well as lexical forces and highlight the importance of lexical-structural integration in the process of sentence production.
  • Brehm, L., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). Planning when to say: Dissociating cue use in utterance initiation using cross-validation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/xge0001012.

    Abstract

    In conversation, turns follow each other with minimal gaps. To achieve this, speakers must launch their utterances shortly before the predicted end of the partner’s turn. We examined the relative importance of cues to partner utterance content and partner utterance length for launching coordinated speech. In three experiments, Dutch adult participants had to produce prepared utterances (e.g., vier, “four”) immediately after a recording of a confederate’s utterance (zeven, “seven”). To assess the role of corepresenting content versus attending to speech cues in launching coordinated utterances, we varied whether the participant could see the stimulus being named by the confederate, the confederate prompt’s length, and whether within a block of trials, the confederate prompt’s length was predictable. We measured how these factors affected the gap between turns and the participants’ allocation of visual attention while preparing to speak. Using a machine-learning technique, model selection by k-fold cross-validation, we found that gaps were most strongly predicted by cues from the confederate speech signal, though some benefit was also conferred by seeing the confederate’s stimulus. This shows that, at least in a simple laboratory task, speakers rely more on cues in the partner’s speech than corepresentation of their utterance content.
  • Brehm, L., Jackson, C. N., & Miller, K. L. (2021). Probabilistic online processing of sentence anomalies. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2021.1900579.

    Abstract

    Listeners can successfully interpret the intended meaning of an utterance even when it contains errors or other unexpected anomalies. The present work combines an online measure of attention to sentence referents (visual world eye-tracking) with offline judgments of sentence meaning to disclose how the interpretation of anomalous sentences unfolds over time in order to explore mechanisms of non-literal processing. We use a metalinguistic judgment in Experiment 1 and an elicited imitation task in Experiment 2. In both experiments, we focus on one morphosyntactic anomaly (Subject-verb agreement; The key to the cabinets literally *were … ) and one semantic anomaly (Without; Lulu went to the gym without her hat ?off) and show that non-literal referents to each are considered upon hearing the anomalous region of the sentence. This shows that listeners understand anomalies by overwriting or adding to an initial interpretation and that this occurs incrementally and adaptively as the sentence unfolds.
  • Brown, P. (1998). [Review of the book by A.J. Wootton, Interaction and the development of mind]. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 4(4), 816-817.
  • Brown, P. (1998). Children's first verbs in Tzeltal: Evidence for an early verb category. Linguistics, 36(4), 713-753.

    Abstract

    A major finding in studies of early vocabulary acquisition has been that children tend to learn a lot of nouns early but make do with relatively few verbs, among which semantically general-purpose verbs like do, make, get, have, give, come, go, and be play a prominent role. The preponderance of nouns is explained in terms of nouns labelling concrete objects beings “easier” to learn than verbs, which label relational categories. Nouns label “natural categories” observable in the world, verbs label more linguistically and culturally specific categories of events linking objects belonging to such natural categories (Gentner 1978, 1982; Clark 1993). This view has been challenged recently by data from children learning certain non-Indo-European languges like Korean, where children have an early verb explosion and verbs dominate in early child utterances. Children learning the Mayan language Tzeltal also acquire verbs early, prior to any noun explosion as measured by production. Verb types are roughly equivalent to noun types in children’s beginning production vocabulary and soon outnumber them. At the one-word stage children’s verbs mostly have the form of a root stripped of affixes, correctly segmented despite structural difficulties. Quite early (before the MLU 2.0 point) there is evidence of productivity of some grammatical markers (although they are not always present): the person-marking affixes cross-referencing core arguments, and the completive/incompletive aspectual distinctions. The Tzeltal facts argue against a natural-categories explanation for childre’s early vocabulary, in favor of a view emphasizing the early effects of language-specific properties of the input. They suggest that when and how a child acquires a “verb” category is centrally influenced by the structural properties of the input, and that the semantic structure of the language - where the referential load is concentrated - plays a fundamental role in addition to distributional facts.
  • Brown, P. (1998). Conversational structure and language acquisition: The role of repetition in Tzeltal adult and child speech. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 8(2), 197-221. doi:10.1525/jlin.1998.8.2.197.

    Abstract

    When Tzeltal children in the Mayan community of Tenejapa, in southern Mexico, begin speaking, their production vocabulary consists predominantly of verb roots, in contrast to the dominance of nouns in the initial vocabulary of first‐language learners of Indo‐European languages. This article proposes that a particular Tzeltal conversational feature—known in the Mayanist literature as "dialogic repetition"—provides a context that facilitates the early analysis and use of verbs. Although Tzeltal babies are not treated by adults as genuine interlocutors worthy of sustained interaction, dialogic repetition in the speech the children are exposed to may have an important role in revealing to them the structural properties of the language, as well as in socializing the collaborative style of verbal interaction adults favor in this community.
  • Brown, P. (1998). Early Tzeltal verbs: Argument structure and argument representation. In E. Clark (Ed.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual Stanford Child Language Research Forum (pp. 129-140). Stanford: CSLI Publications.

    Abstract

    The surge of research activity focussing on children's acquisition of verbs (e.g., Tomasello and Merriman 1996) addresses some fundamental questions: Just how variable across languages, and across individual children, is the process of verb learning? How specific are arguments to particular verbs in early child language? How does the grammatical category 'Verb' develop? The position of Universal Grammar, that a verb category is early, contrasts with that of Tomasello (1992), Pine and Lieven and their colleagues (1996, in press), and many others, that children develop a verb category slowly, gradually building up subcategorizations of verbs around pragmatic, syntactic, and semantic properties of the language they are exposed to. On this latter view, one would expect the language which the child is learning, the cultural milieu and the nature of the interactions in which the child is engaged, to influence the process of acquiring verb argument structures. This paper explores these issues by examining the development of argument representation in the Mayan language Tzeltal, in both its lexical and verbal cross-referencing forms, and analyzing the semantic and pragmatic factors influencing the form argument representation takes. Certain facts about Tzeltal (the ergative/ absolutive marking, the semantic specificity of transitive and positional verbs) are proposed to affect the representation of arguments. The first 500 multimorpheme combinations of 3 children (aged between 1;8 and 2;4) are examined. It is argued that there is no evidence of semantically light 'pathbreaking' verbs (Ninio 1996) leading the way into word combinations. There is early productivity of cross-referencing affixes marking A, S, and O arguments (although there are systematic omissions). The paper assesses the respective contributions of three kinds of factors to these results - structural (regular morphology), semantic (verb specificity) and pragmatic (the nature of Tzeltal conversational interaction).
  • Brown, P. (1998). How and why are women more polite: Some evidence from a Mayan community. In J. Coates (Ed.), Language and gender (pp. 81-99). Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Brown, P. (2017). Politeness and impoliteness. In Y. Huang (Ed.), Oxford handbook of pragmatics (pp. 383-399). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199697960.013.16.

    Abstract

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

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  • Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1998). Politeness, introduction to the reissue: A review of recent work. In A. Kasher (Ed.), Pragmatics: Vol. 6 Grammar, psychology and sociology (pp. 488-554). London: Routledge.

    Abstract

    This article is a reprint of chapter 1, the introduction to Brown and Levinson, 1987, Politeness: Some universals in language usage (Cambridge University Press).
  • Brown, P. (1998). La identificación de las raíces verbales en Tzeltal (Maya): Cómo lo hacen los niños? Función, 17-18, 121-146.

    Abstract

    This is a Spanish translation of Brown 1997.
  • Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Tzeltal: The demonstrative system. In S. C. Levinson, S. Cutfield, M. Dunn, N. J. Enfield, & S. Meira (Eds.), Demonstratives in cross-linguistic perspective (pp. 150-177). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Burchfield, L. A., Luk, S.-.-H.-K., Antoniou, M., & Cutler, A. (2017). Lexically guided perceptual learning in Mandarin Chinese. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 576-580). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-618.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Do all humans perceive, think, and talk about tree cover ("forests") in more or less the same way? International forestry programs frequently seem to operate on the assumption that they do. However, recent advances in the language sciences show that languages vary greatly as to how the landscape domain is lexicalized and grammaticalized. Different languages segment and label the large-scale environment and its features according to astonishingly different semantic principles, often in tandem with highly culture-specific practices and ideologies. Presumed basic concepts like mountain, valley, and river cannot in fact be straightforwardly translated across languages. In this paper we describe, compare, and evaluate some of the semantic diversity observed in relation to forests. We do so on the basis of first-hand linguistic field data from a global sample of indigenous categorization systems as they are manifested in the following languages: Avatime (Ghana), Duna (Papua New Guinea), Jahai (Malay Peninsula), Lokono (the Guianas), Makalero (East Timor), and Umpila/Kuuku Ya'u (Cape York Peninsula). We show that basic linguistic categories relating to tree cover vary considerably in their principles of semantic encoding across languages, and that forest is a challenging category from the point of view of intercultural translatability. This has consequences for current global policies and programs aimed at standardizing forest definitions and measurements. It calls for greater attention to categorial diversity in designing and implementing such agendas, and for receptiveness to and understanding of local indigenous classification systems in communicating those agendas on the ground.
  • Byers-Heinlein, K., Tsui, A. S. M., Bergmann, C., Black, A. K., Brown, A., Carbajal, M. J., Durrant, S., Fennell, C. T., Fiévet, A.-C., Frank, M. C., Gampe, A., Gervain, J., Gonzalez-Gomez, N., Hamlin, J. K., Havron, N., Hernik, M., Kerr, S., Killam, H., Klassen, K., Kosie, J. and 18 moreByers-Heinlein, K., Tsui, A. S. M., Bergmann, C., Black, A. K., Brown, A., Carbajal, M. J., Durrant, S., Fennell, C. T., Fiévet, A.-C., Frank, M. C., Gampe, A., Gervain, J., Gonzalez-Gomez, N., Hamlin, J. K., Havron, N., Hernik, M., Kerr, S., Killam, H., Klassen, K., Kosie, J., Kovács, Á. M., Lew-Williams, C., Liu, L., Mani, N., Marino, C., Mastroberardino, M., Mateu, V., Noble, C., Orena, A. J., Polka, L., Potter, C. E., Schreiner, M., Singh, L., Soderstrom, M., Sundara, M., Waddell, C., Werker, J. F., & Wermelinger, S. (2021). A multilab study of bilingual infants: Exploring the preference for infant-directed speech. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 4(1), 1-30. doi:10.1177/2515245920974622.

    Abstract

    From the earliest months of life, infants prefer listening to and learn better from infant-directed speech (IDS) than adult-directed speech (ADS). Yet, IDS differs within communities, across languages, and across cultures, both in form and in prevalence. This large-scale, multi-site study used the diversity of bilingual infant experiences to explore the impact of different types of linguistic experience on infants’ IDS preference. As part of the multi-lab ManyBabies project, we compared lab-matched samples of 333 bilingual and 385 monolingual infants’ preference for North-American English IDS (cf. ManyBabies Consortium, in press (MB1)), tested in 17 labs in 7 countries. Those infants were tested in two age groups: 6–9 months (the younger sample) and 12–15 months (the older sample). We found that bilingual and monolingual infants both preferred IDS to ADS, and did not differ in terms of the overall magnitude of this preference. However, amongst bilingual infants who were acquiring North-American English (NAE) as a native language, greater exposure to NAE was associated with a stronger IDS preference, extending the previous finding from MB1 that monolinguals learning NAE as a native language showed a stronger preference than infants unexposed to NAE. Together, our findings indicate that IDS preference likely makes a similar contribution to monolingual and bilingual development, and that infants are exquisitely sensitive to the nature and frequency of different types of language input in their early environments.
  • Byun, K.-S., De Vos, C., Bradford, A., Zeshan, U., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). First encounters: Repair sequences in cross-signing. Topics in Cognitive Science, 10(2), 314-334. doi:10.1111/tops.12303.

    Abstract

    Most human communication is between people who speak or sign the same languages. Nevertheless, communication is to some extent possible where there is no language in common, as every tourist knows. How this works is of some theoretical interest (Levinson 2006). A nice arena to explore this capacity is when deaf signers of different languages meet for the first time, and are able to use the iconic affordances of sign to begin communication. Here we focus on Other-Initiated Repair (OIR), that is, where one signer makes clear he or she does not understand, thus initiating repair of the prior conversational turn. OIR sequences are typically of a three-turn structure (Schegloff 2007) including the problem source turn (T-1), the initiation of repair (T0), and the turn offering a problem solution (T+1). These sequences seem to have a universal structure (Dingemanse et al. 2013). We find that in most cases where such OIR occur, the signer of the troublesome turn (T-1) foresees potential difficulty, and marks the utterance with 'try markers' (Sacks & Schegloff 1979, Moerman 1988) which pause to invite recognition. The signers use repetition, gestural holds, prosodic lengthening and eyegaze at the addressee as such try-markers. Moreover, when T-1 is try-marked this allows for faster response times of T+1 with respect to T0. This finding suggests that signers in these 'first encounter' situations actively anticipate potential trouble and, through try-marking, mobilize and facilitate OIRs. The suggestion is that heightened meta-linguistic awareness can be utilized to deal with these problems at the limits of our communicational ability.
  • Byun, K.-S., De Vos, C., Roberts, S. G., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Interactive sequences modulate the selection of expressive forms in cross-signing. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG XII) (pp. 67-69). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.012.
  • 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., Nili, H., Pulvermüller, F., & Kriegeskorte, N. (2021). Distinct fronto-temporal substrates of distributional and taxonomic similarity among words: Evidence from RSA of BOLD signals. NeuroImage, 224: 117408. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117408.

    Abstract

    A class of semantic theories defines concepts in terms of statistical distributions of lexical items, basing meaning on vectors of word co-occurrence frequencies. A different approach emphasizes abstract hierarchical taxonomic relationships among concepts. However, the functional relevance of these different accounts and how they capture information-encoding of meaning in the brain still remains elusive. We investigated to what extent distributional and taxonomic models explained word-elicited neural responses using cross-validated representational similarity analysis (RSA) of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and novel model comparisons. Our findings show that the brain encodes both types of semantic similarities, but in distinct cortical regions. Posterior middle temporal regions reflected word links based on hierarchical taxonomies, along with the action-relatedness of the semantic word categories. In contrast, distributional semantics best predicted the representational patterns in left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG, BA 47). Both representations coexisted in angular gyrus supporting semantic binding and integration. These results reveal that neuronal networks with distinct cortical distributions across higher-order association cortex encode different representational properties of word meanings. Taxonomy may shape long-term lexical-semantic representations in memory consistently with sensorimotor details of semantic categories, whilst distributional knowledge in the LIFG (BA 47) enable semantic combinatorics in the context of language use. Our approach helps to elucidate the nature of semantic representations essential for understanding human language.
  • 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.
  • Carter, D. M., Broersma, M., Donnelly, K., & Konopka, A. E. (2018). Presenting the Bangor autoglosser and the Bangor automated clause-splitter. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 33(1), 21-28. doi:10.1093/llc/fqw065.

    Abstract

    Until recently, corpus studies of natural bilingual speech and, more specifically, codeswitching in bilingual speech have used a manual method of glossing, partof- speech tagging, and clause-splitting to prepare the data for analysis. In our article, we present innovative tools developed for the first large-scale corpus study of codeswitching triggered by cognates. A study of this size was only possible due to the automation of several steps, such as morpheme-by-morpheme glossing, splitting complex clauses into simple clauses, and the analysis of internal and external codeswitching through the use of database tables, algorithms, and a scripting language.
  • Casillas, M., Bergelson, E., Warlaumont, A. S., Cristia, A., Soderstrom, M., VanDam, M., & Sloetjes, H. (2017). A New Workflow for Semi-automatized Annotations: Tests with Long-Form Naturalistic Recordings of Childrens Language Environments. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 2098-2102). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1418.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Child-directed speech is argued to facilitate language development, and is found cross-linguistically and cross-culturally to varying degrees. However, previous research has generally focused on short samples of child-caregiver interaction, often in the lab or with experimenters present. We test the generalizability of this phenomenon with an initial descriptive analysis of the speech heard by young children in a large, unique collection of naturalistic, daylong home recordings. Trained annotators coded automatically-detected adult speech 'utterances' from 61 homes across 4 North American cities, gathered from children (age 2-24 months) wearing audio recorders during a typical day. Coders marked the speaker gender (male/female) and intended addressee (child/adult), yielding 10,886 addressee and gender tags from 2,523 minutes of audio (cf. HB-CHAAC Interspeech ComParE challenge; Schuller et al., in press). Automated speaker-diarization (LENA) incorrectly gender-tagged 30% of male adult utterances, compared to manually-coded consensus. Furthermore, we find effects of SES and gender on child-directed and overall speech, increasing child-directed speech with child age, and interactions of speaker gender, child gender, and child age: female caretakers increased their child-directed speech more with age than male caretakers did, but only for male infants. Implications for language acquisition and existing classification algorithms are discussed.
  • Castro-Caldas, A., Petersson, K. M., Reis, A., Stone-Elander, S., & Ingvar, M. (1998). The illiterate brain: Learning to read and write during childhood influences the functional organization of the adult brain. Brain, 121, 1053-1063. doi:10.1093/brain/121.6.1053.

    Abstract

    Learning a specific skill during childhood may partly determine the functional organization of the adult brain. This hypothesis led us to study oral language processing in illiterate subjects who, for social reasons, had never entered school and had no knowledge of reading or writing. In a brain activation study using PET and statistical parametric mapping, we compared word and pseudoword repetition in literate and illiterate subjects. Our study confirms behavioural evidence of different phonological processing in illiterate subjects. During repetition of real words, the two groups performed similarly and activated similar areas of the brain. In contrast, illiterate subjects had more difficulty repeating pseudowords correctly and did not activate the same neural structures as literates. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that learning the written form of language (orthography) interacts with the function of oral language. Our results indicate that learning to read and write during childhood influences the functional organization of the adult human brain.
  • Çetinçelik, M., Rowland, C. F., & Snijders, T. M. (2021). Do the eyes have it? A systematic review on the role of eye gaze in infant language development. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 589096. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.589096.

    Abstract

    Eye gaze is a ubiquitous cue in child-caregiver interactions and infants are highly attentive to eye gaze from very early on. However, the question of why infants show gaze-sensitive behavior, and what role this sensitivity to gaze plays in their language development, is not yet well-understood. To gain a better understanding of the role of eye gaze in infants’ language learning, we conducted a broad systematic review of the developmental literature for all studies that investigate the role of eye gaze in infants’ language development. Across 77 peer-reviewed articles containing data from typically-developing human infants (0-24 months) in the domain of language development we identified two broad themes. The first tracked the effect of eye gaze on four developmental domains: (1) vocabulary development, (2) word-object mapping, (3) object processing, and (4) speech processing. Overall, there is considerable evidence that infants learn more about objects and are more likely to form word-object mappings in the presence of eye gaze cues, both of which are necessary for learning words. In addition, there is good evidence for longitudinal relationships between infants’ gaze following abilities and later receptive and expressive vocabulary. However, many domains (e.g. speech processing) are understudied; further work is needed to decide whether gaze effects are specific to tasks such as word-object mapping, or whether they reflect a general learning enhancement mechanism. The second theme explored the reasons why eye gaze might be facilitative for learning, addressing the question of whether eye gaze is treated by infants as a specialized socio-cognitive cue. We concluded that the balance of evidence supports the idea that eye gaze facilitates infants’ learning by enhancing their arousal, memory and attentional capacities to a greater extent than other low-level attentional cues. However, as yet, there are too few studies that directly compare the effect of eye gaze cues and non-social, attentional cues for strong conclusions to be drawn. We also suggest there might be a developmental effect, with eye gaze, over the course of the first two years of life, developing into a truly ostensive cue that enhances language learning across the board.

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  • Chan, A., Yang, W., Chang, F., & Kidd, E. (2018). Four-year-old Cantonese-speaking children's online processing of relative clauses: A permutation analysis. Journal of Child Language, 45(1), 174-203. doi:10.1017/s0305000917000198.

    Abstract

    We report on an eye-tracking study that investigated four-year-old Cantonese-speaking children's online processing of subject and object relative clauses (RCs). Children's eye-movements were recorded as they listened to RC structures identifying a unique referent (e.g. “Can you pick up the horse that pushed the pig?”). Two RC types, classifier (CL) and ge3 RCs, were tested in a between-participants design. The two RC types differ in their syntactic analyses and frequency of occurrence, providing an important point of comparison for theories of RC acquisition and processing. A permutation analysis showed that the two structures were processed differently: CL RCs showed a significant object-over-subject advantage, whereas ge3 RCs showed the opposite effect. This study shows that children can have different preferences even for two very similar RC structures within the same language, suggesting that syntactic processing preferences are shaped by the unique features of particular constructions both within and across different linguistic typologies.
  • 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.

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