Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 663
  • Acheson, D. J. (2013). Signatures of response conflict monitoring in language production. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 94, 214-215. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.09.106.
  • Acheson, D. J., & Hagoort, P. (2013). Stimulating the brain's language network: Syntactic ambiguity resolution after TMS to the IFG and MTG. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(10), 1664-1677. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00430.

    Abstract

    The posterior middle temporal gyrus (MTG) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) are two critical nodes of the brain's language network. Previous neuroimaging evidence has supported a dissociation in language comprehension in which parts of the MTG are involved in the retrieval of lexical syntactic information and the IFG is involved in unification operations that maintain, select, and integrate multiple sources of information over time. In the present investigation, we tested for causal evidence of this dissociation by modulating activity in IFG and MTG using an offline TMS procedure: continuous theta-burst stimulation. Lexical–syntactic retrieval was manipulated by using sentences with and without a temporarily word-class (noun/verb) ambiguity (e.g., run). In one group of participants, TMS was applied to the IFG and MTG, and in a control group, no TMS was applied. Eye movements were recorded and quantified at two critical sentence regions: a temporarily ambiguous region and a disambiguating region. Results show that stimulation of the IFG led to a modulation of the ambiguity effect (ambiguous–unambiguous) at the disambiguating sentence region in three measures: first fixation durations, total reading times, and regressive eye movements into the region. Both IFG and MTG stimulation modulated the ambiguity effect for total reading times in the temporarily ambiguous sentence region relative to a control group. The current results demonstrate that an offline repetitive TMS protocol can have influences at a different point in time during online processing and provide causal evidence for IFG involvement in unification operations during sentence comprehension.
  • Ahlsson, F., Åkerud, H., Schijven, D., Olivier, J., & Sundström-Poromaa, I. (2015). Gene expression in placentas from nondiabetic women giving birth to large for gestational age infants. Reproductive Sciences, 22(10), 1281-1288. doi:10.1177/1933719115578928.

    Abstract

    Gestational diabetes, obesity, and excessive weight gain are known independent risk factors for the birth of a large for gestational age (LGA) infant. However, only 1 of the 10 infants born LGA is born by mothers with diabetes or obesity. Thus, the aim of the present study was to compare placental gene expression between healthy, nondiabetic mothers (n = 22) giving birth to LGA infants and body mass index-matched mothers (n = 24) giving birth to appropriate for gestational age infants. In the whole gene expression analysis, only 29 genes were found to be differently expressed in LGA placentas. Top upregulated genes included insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1, aminolevulinate δ synthase 2, and prolactin, whereas top downregulated genes comprised leptin, gametocyte-specific factor 1, and collagen type XVII α 1. Two enriched gene networks were identified, namely, (1) lipid metabolism, small molecule biochemistry, and organismal development and (2) cellular development, cellular growth, proliferation, and tumor morphology.
  • Alday, P. M. (2015). Be Careful When Assuming the Obvious: Commentary on “The Placement of the Head that Minimizes Online Memory: A Complex Systems Approach”. Language Dynamics and Change, 5(1), 138-146. doi:10.1163/22105832-00501008.

    Abstract

    Ferrer-i-Cancho (this volume) presents a mathematical model of both the synchronic and diachronic nature of word order based on the assumption that memory costs are a never decreasing function of distance and a few very general linguistic assumptions. However, even these minimal and seemingly obvious assumptions are not as safe as they appear in light of recent typological and psycholinguistic evidence. The interaction of word order and memory has further depths to be explored.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2015). Discovering prominence and its role in language processing: An individual (differences) approach. Linguistics Vanguard, 1(1), 201-213. doi:10.1515/lingvan-2014-1013.

    Abstract

    It has been suggested that, during real time language comprehension, the human language processing system attempts to identify the argument primarily responsible for the state of affairs (the “actor”) as quickly and unambiguously as possible. However, previous work on a prominence (e.g. animacy, definiteness, case marking) based heuristic for actor identification has suffered from underspecification of the relationship between different cue hierarchies. Qualitative work has yielded a partial ordering of many features (e.g. MacWhinney et al. 1984), but a precise quantification has remained elusive due to difficulties in exploring the full feature space in a particular language. Feature pairs tend to correlate strongly in individual languages for semantic-pragmatic reasons (e.g., animate arguments tend to be actors and actors tend to be morphosyntactically privileged), and it is thus difficult to create acceptable stimuli for a fully factorial design even for binary features. Moreover, the exponential function grows extremely rapidly and a fully crossed factorial design covering the entire feature space would be prohibitively long for a purely within-subjects design. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of parameter estimation in a short experiment. We are able to estimate parameters at a single subject level for the parameters animacy, case and number. This opens the door for research into individual differences and population variation. Moreover, the framework we introduce here can be used in the field to measure more “exotic” languages and populations, even with small sample sizes. Finally, pooled single-subject results are used to reduce the number of free parameters in previous work based on the extended Argument Dependency Model (Bornkessel-Schlesewsky and Schlesewsky 2006, 2009, 2013, in press; Alday et al. 2014).
  • Alibali, M. W., Kita, S., & Young, A. J. (2000). Gesture and the process of speech production: We think, therefore we gesture. Language and Cognitive Processes, 15(6), 593-613. doi:10.1080/016909600750040571.

    Abstract

    At what point in the process of speech production is gesture involved? According to the Lexical Retrieval Hypothesis, gesture is involved in generating the surface forms of utterances. Specifically, gesture facilitates access to items in the mental lexicon. According to the Information Packaging Hypothesis, gesture is involved in the conceptual planning of messages. Specifically, gesture helps speakers to ''package'' spatial information into verbalisable units. We tested these hypotheses in 5-year-old children, using two tasks that required comparable lexical access, but different information packaging. In the explanation task, children explained why two items did or did not have the same quantity (Piagetian conservation). In the description task, children described how two items looked different. Children provided comparable verbal responses across tasks; thus, lexical access was comparable. However, the demands for information packaging differed. Participants' gestures also differed across the tasks. In the explanation task, children produced more gestures that conveyed perceptual dimensions of the objects, and more gestures that conveyed information that differed from the accompanying speech. The results suggest that gesture is involved in the conceptual planning of speech.
  • Allen, S. E. M. (1998). Categories within the verb category: Learning the causative in Inuktitut. Linguistics, 36(4), 633-677.
  • Ambridge, B., Kidd, E., Rowland, C. F., & Theakston, A. L. (2015). Authors' response [The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition]. Journal of Child Language, 42(2), 316-322. doi:10.1017/S0305000914000841.

    Abstract

    Our target paper argued for the ubiquity of frequency effects in acquisition, and that any comprehensive theory must take into account the multiplicity of ways that frequently occurring and co-occurring linguistic units affect the acquisition process. The commentaries on the paper provide a largely unanimous endorsement of this position, but raise additional issues likely to frame further discussion and theoretical development. Specifically, while most commentators did not deny the importance of frequency effects, all saw this as the tip of the theoretical iceberg. In this short response we discuss common themes raised in the commentaries, focusing on the broader issue of what frequency effects mean for language acquisition.

    Additional information

    Target paper
  • Ambridge, B., & Rowland, C. F. (2013). Experimental methods in studying child language acquisition. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 4(2), 149-168. doi:10.1002/wcs.1215.

    Abstract

    This article reviews the some of the most widely used methods used for studying children's language acquisition including (1) spontaneous/naturalistic, diary, parental report data, (2) production methods (elicited production, repetition/elicited imitation, syntactic priming/weird word order), (3) comprehension methods (act-out, pointing, intermodal preferential looking, looking while listening, conditioned head turn preference procedure, functional neuroimaging) and (4) judgment methods (grammaticality/acceptability judgments, yes-no/truth-value judgments). The review outlines the types of studies and age-groups to which each method is most suited, as well as the advantage and disadvantages of each. We conclude by summarising the particular methodological considerations that apply to each paradigm and to experimental design more generally. These include (1) choosing an age-appropriate task that makes communicative sense (2) motivating children to co-operate, (3) choosing a between-/within-subjects design, (4) the use of novel items (e.g., novel verbs), (5) fillers, (6) blocked, counterbalanced and random presentation, (7) the appropriate number of trials and participants, (8) drop-out rates (9) the importance of control conditions, (10) choosing a sensitive dependent measure (11) classification of responses, and (12) using an appropriate statistical test. WIREs Cogn Sci 2013, 4:149–168. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1215
  • Ambridge, B., Bidgood, A., Twomey, K. E., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., & Freudenthal, D. (2015). Preemption versus Entrenchment: Towards a Construction-General Solution to the Problem of the Retreat from Verb Argument Structure Overgeneralization. PLoS One, 10(4): e0123723. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123723.

    Abstract

    Participants aged 5;2-6;8, 9;2-10;6 and 18;1-22;2 (72 at each age) rated verb argument structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., *Daddy giggled the baby) using a five-point scale. The study was designed to investigate the feasibility of two proposed construction-general solutions to the question of how children retreat from, or avoid, such errors. No support was found for the prediction of the preemption hypothesis that the greater the frequency of the verb in the single most nearly synonymous construction (for this example, the periphrastic causative; e.g., Daddy made the baby giggle), the lower the acceptability of the error. Support was found, however, for the prediction of the entrenchment hypothesis that the greater the overall frequency of the verb, regardless of construction, the lower the acceptability of the error, at least for the two older groups. Thus while entrenchment appears to be a robust solution to the problem of the retreat from error, and one that generalizes across different error types, we did not find evidence that this is the case for preemption. The implication is that the solution to the retreat from error lies not with specialized mechanisms, but rather in a probabilistic process of construction competition.
  • Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., Chang, F., & Bidgood, A. (2013). The retreat from overgeneralization in child language acquisition: Word learning, morphology, and verb argument structure. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 4(1), 47-62. doi:10.1002/wcs.1207.

    Abstract

    This review investigates empirical evidence for different theoretical proposals regarding the retreat from overgeneralization errors in three domains: word learning (e.g., *doggie to refer to all animals), morphology [e.g., *spyer, *cooker (one who spies/cooks), *unhate, *unsqueeze, *sitted; *drawed], and verb argument structure [e.g., *Don't giggle me (c.f. Don't make me giggle); *Don't say me that (c.f. Don't say that to me)]. The evidence reviewed provides support for three proposals. First, in support of the pre-emption hypothesis, the acquisition of competing forms that express the desired meaning (e.g., spy for *spyer, sat for *sitted, and Don't make me giggle for *Don't giggle me) appears to block errors. Second, in support of the entrenchment hypothesis, repeated occurrence of particular items in particular constructions (e.g., giggle in the intransitive construction) appears to contribute to an ever strengthening probabilistic inference that non-attested uses (e.g., *Don't giggle me) are ungrammatical for adult speakers. That is, both the rated acceptability and production probability of particular errors decline with increasing frequency of pre-empting and entrenching forms in the input. Third, learners appear to acquire semantic and morphophonological constraints on particular constructions, conceptualized as properties of slots in constructions [e.g., the (VERB) slot in the morphological un-(VERB) construction or the transitive-causative (SUBJECT) (VERB) (OBJECT) argument-structure construction]. Errors occur as children acquire the fine-grained semantic and morphophonological properties of particular items and construction slots, and so become increasingly reluctant to use items in slots with which they are incompatible. Findings also suggest some role for adult feedback and conventionality; the principle that, for many given meanings, there is a conventional form that is used by all members of the speech community.
  • Ambridge, B., Kidd, E., Rowland, C. F., & Theakston, A. L. (2015). The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 42(2), 239-273. doi:10.1017/S030500091400049X.

    Abstract

    This review article presents evidence for the claim that frequency effects are pervasive in children's first language acquisition, and hence constitute a phenomenon that any successful account must explain. The article is organized around four key domains of research: children's acquisition of single words, inflectional morphology, simple syntactic constructions, and more advanced constructions. In presenting this evidence, we develop five theses. (i) There exist different types of frequency effect, from effects at the level of concrete lexical strings to effects at the level of abstract cues to thematic-role assignment, as well as effects of both token and type, and absolute and relative, frequency. High-frequency forms are (ii) early acquired and (iii) prevent errors in contexts where they are the target, but also (iv) cause errors in contexts in which a competing lower-frequency form is the target. (v) Frequency effects interact with other factors (e.g. serial position, utterance length), and the patterning of these interactions is generally informative with regard to the nature of the learning mechanism. We conclude by arguing that any successful account of language acquisition, from whatever theoretical standpoint, must be frequency sensitive to the extent that it can explain the effects documented in this review, and outline some types of account that do and do not meet this criterion.

    Additional information

    Author's response
  • 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., & Essegbey, J. (2013). Serialising languages: Satellite-framed, verb-framed or neither. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 2(1), 19-38.

    Abstract

    The diversity in the coding of the core schema of motion, i.e., Path, has led to a traditional typology of languages into verb-framed and satellite-framed languages. In the former Path is encoded in verbs and in the latter it is encoded in non-verb elements that function as sisters to co-event expressing verbs such as manner verbs. Verb serializing languages pose a challenge to this typology as they express Path as well as the Co-event of manner in finite verbs that together function as a single predicate in translational motion clause. We argue that these languages do not fit in the typology and constitute a type of their own. We draw on data from Akan and Frog story narrations in Ewe, a Kwa language, and Sranan, a Caribbean Creole with Gbe substrate, to show that in terms of discourse properties verb serializing languages behave like Verb-framed with respect to some properties and like Satellite-framed languages in terms of others. This study fed into the revision of the typology and such languages are now said to be equipollently-framed languages.
  • Andics, A., Gál, V., Vicsi, K., Rudas, G., & Vidnyánszky, Z. (2013). FMRI repetition suppression for voices is modulated by stimulus expectations. NeuroImage, 69, 277-283. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.12.033.

    Abstract

    According to predictive coding models of sensory processing, stimulus expectations have a profound effect on sensory cortical responses. This was supported by experimental results, showing that fMRI repetition suppression (fMRI RS) for face stimuli is strongly modulated by the probability of stimulus repetitions throughout the visual cortical processing hierarchy. To test whether processing of voices is also affected by stimulus expectations, here we investigated the effect of repetition probability on fMRI RS in voice-selective cortical areas. Changing (‘alt’) and identical (‘rep’) voice stimulus pairs were presented to the listeners in blocks, with a varying probability of alt and rep trials across blocks. We found auditory fMRI RS in the nonprimary voice-selective cortical regions, including the bilateral posterior STS, the right anterior STG and the right IFC, as well as in the IPL. Importantly, fMRI RS effects in all of these areas were strongly modulated by the probability of stimulus repetition: auditory fMRI RS was reduced or not present in blocks with low repetition probability. Our results revealed that auditory fMRI RS in higher-level voice-selective cortical regions is modulated by repetition probabilities and thus suggest that in audition, similarly to the visual modality, processing of sensory information is shaped by stimulus expectation processes.
  • Andics, A., McQueen, J. M., & Petersson, K. M. (2013). Mean-based neural coding of voices. NeuroImage, 79, 351-360. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.002.

    Abstract

    The social significance of recognizing the person who talks to us is obvious, but the neural mechanisms that mediate talker identification are unclear. Regions along the bilateral superior temporal sulcus (STS) and the inferior frontal cortex (IFC) of the human brain are selective for voices, and they are sensitive to rapid voice changes. Although it has been proposed that voice recognition is supported by prototype-centered voice representations, the involvement of these category-selective cortical regions in the neural coding of such "mean voices" has not previously been demonstrated. Using fMRI in combination with a voice identity learning paradigm, we show that voice-selective regions are involved in the mean-based coding of voice identities. Voice typicality is encoded on a supra-individual level in the right STS along a stimulus-dependent, identity-independent (i.e., voice-acoustic) dimension, and on an intra-individual level in the right IFC along a stimulus-independent, identity-dependent (i.e., voice identity) dimension. Voice recognition therefore entails at least two anatomically separable stages, each characterized by neural mechanisms that reference the central tendencies of voice categories.
  • Araújo, S., Faísca, L., Bramão, I., Reis, A., & Petersson, K. M. (2015). Lexical and sublexical orthographic processing: An ERP study with skilled and dyslexic adult readers. Brain and Language, 141, 16-27. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2014.11.007.

    Abstract

    This ERP study investigated the cognitive nature of the P1–N1 components during orthographic processing. We used an implicit reading task with various types of stimuli involving different amounts of sublexical or lexical orthographic processing (words, pseudohomophones, pseudowords, nonwords, and symbols), and tested average and dyslexic readers. An orthographic regularity effect (pseudowords– nonwords contrast) was observed in the average but not in the dyslexic group. This suggests an early sensitivity to the dependencies among letters in word-forms that reflect orthographic structure, while the dyslexic brain apparently fails to be appropriately sensitive to these complex features. Moreover, in the adults the N1-response may already reflect lexical access: (i) the N1 was sensitive to the familiar vs. less familiar orthographic sequence contrast; (ii) and early effects of the phonological form (words-pseudohomophones contrast) were also found. Finally, the later N320 component was attenuated in the dyslexics, suggesting suboptimal processing in later stages of phonological analysis.
  • Araújo, S., Reis, A., Petersson, K. M., & Faísca, L. (2015). Rapid automatized naming and reading performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(3), 868-883. doi:10.1037/edu0000006.

    Abstract

    Evidence that rapid naming skill is associated with reading ability has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. However, there is considerable variation in the literature concerning the magnitude of this relationship. The objective of the present study was to provide a comprehensive analysis of the evidence on the relationship between rapid automatized naming (RAN) and reading performance. To this end, we conducted a meta-analysis of the correlational relationship between these 2 constructs to (a) determine the overall strength of the RAN–reading association and (b) identify variables that systematically moderate this relationship. A random-effects model analysis of data from 137 studies (857 effect sizes; 28,826 participants) indicated a moderate-to-strong relationship between RAN and reading performance (r = .43, I2 = 68.40). Further analyses revealed that RAN contributes to the 4 measures of reading (word reading, text reading, non-word reading, and reading comprehension), but higher coefficients emerged in favor of real word reading and text reading. RAN stimulus type and type of reading score were the factors with the greatest moderator effect on the magnitude of the RAN–reading relationship. The consistency of orthography and the subjects’ grade level were also found to impact this relationship, although the effect was contingent on reading outcome. It was less evident whether the subjects’ reading proficiency played a role in the relationship. Implications for future studies are discussed.
  • Asaridou, S. S., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Effects of early bilingual experience with a tone and a non-tone language on speech-music. PLoS One, 10(12): e0144225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144225.

    Abstract

    We investigated music and language processing in a group of early bilinguals who spoke a tone language and a non-tone language (Cantonese and Dutch). We assessed online speech-music processing interactions, that is, interactions that occur when speech and music are processed simultaneously in songs, with a speeded classification task. In this task, participants judged sung pseudowords either musically (based on the direction of the musical interval) or phonologically (based on the identity of the sung vowel). We also assessed longer-term effects of linguistic experience on musical ability, that is, the influence of extensive prior experience with language when processing music. These effects were assessed with a task in which participants had to learn to identify musical intervals and with four pitch-perception tasks. Our hypothesis was that due to their experience in two different languages using lexical versus intonational tone, the early Cantonese-Dutch bilinguals would outperform the Dutch control participants. In online processing, the Cantonese-Dutch bilinguals processed speech and music more holistically than controls. This effect seems to be driven by experience with a tone language, in which integration of segmental and pitch information is fundamental. Regarding longer-term effects of linguistic experience, we found no evidence for a bilingual advantage in either the music-interval learning task or the pitch-perception tasks. Together, these results suggest that being a Cantonese-Dutch bilingual does not have any measurable longer-term effects on pitch and music processing, but does have consequences for how speech and music are processed jointly.

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  • Asaridou, S. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Speech and music shape the listening brain: Evidence for shared domain-general mechanisms. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 321. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00321.

    Abstract

    Are there bi-directional influences between speech perception and music perception? An answer to this question is essential for understanding the extent to which the speech and music that we hear are processed by domain-general auditory processes and/or by distinct neural auditory mechanisms. This review summarizes a large body of behavioral and neuroscientific findings which suggest that the musical experience of trained musicians does modulate speech processing, and a sparser set of data, largely on pitch processing, which suggest in addition that linguistic experience, in particular learning a tone language, modulates music processing. Although research has focused mostly on music on speech effects, we argue that both directions of influence need to be studied, and conclude that the picture which thus emerges is one of mutual interaction across domains. In particular, it is not simply that experience with spoken language has some effects on music perception, and vice versa, but that because of shared domain-general subcortical and cortical networks, experiences in both domains influence behavior in both domains.
  • Athanasopoulos, P., Bylund, E., Montero-Melis, G., Damjanovic, L., Schartner, A., Kibbe, A., Riches, N., & Thierry, G. (2015). Two languages, two minds: Flexible cognitive processing driven by language of operation. Psychological Science, 26(4), 518-526. doi:10.1177/0956797614567509.

    Abstract

    People make sense of objects and events around them by classifying them into identifiable categories. The extent to which language affects this process has been the focus of a long-standing debate: Do different languages cause their speakers to behave differently? Here, we show that fluent German-English bilinguals categorize motion events according to the grammatical constraints of the language in which they operate. First, as predicted from cross-linguistic differences in motion encoding, bilingual participants functioning in a German testing context prefer to match events on the basis of motion completion to a greater extent than do bilingual participants in an English context. Second, when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in English, their categorization behavior is congruent with that predicted for German; when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in German, their categorization becomes congruent with that predicted for English. These findings show that language effects on cognition are context-bound and transient, revealing unprecedented levels of malleability in human cognition.

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  • Ayub, Q., Yngvadottir, B., Chen, Y., Xue, Y., Hu, M., Vernes, S. C., Fisher, S. E., & Tyler-Smith, C. (2013). FOXP2 targets show evidence of positive selection in European populations. American Journal of Human Genetics, 92, 696-706. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.03.019.

    Abstract

    Forkhead box P2 (FOXP2) is a highly conserved transcription factor that has been implicated in human speech and language disorders and plays important roles in the plasticity of the developing brain. The pattern of nucleotide polymorphisms in FOXP2 in modern populations suggests that it has been the target of positive (Darwinian) selection during recent human evolution. In our study, we searched for evidence of selection that might have followed FOXP2 adaptations in modern humans. We examined whether or not putative FOXP2 targets identified by chromatin-immunoprecipitation genomic screening show evidence of positive selection. We developed an algorithm that, for any given gene list, systematically generates matched lists of control genes from the Ensembl database, collates summary statistics for three frequency-spectrum-based neutrality tests from the low-coverage resequencing data of the 1000 Genomes Project, and determines whether these statistics are significantly different between the given gene targets and the set of controls. Overall, there was strong evidence of selection of FOXP2 targets in Europeans, but not in the Han Chinese, Japanese, or Yoruba populations. Significant outliers included several genes linked to cellular movement, reproduction, development, and immune cell trafficking, and 13 of these constituted a significant network associated with cardiac arteriopathy. Strong signals of selection were observed for CNTNAP2 and RBFOX1, key neurally expressed genes that have been consistently identified as direct FOXP2 targets in multiple studies and that have themselves been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders involving language dysfunction.
  • Azar, Z., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). Discourse Management: Reference tracking in speech and gesture in Turkish narratives. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(2), 222-240. doi:10.1075/dujal.4.2.06aza.

    Abstract

    Speakers achieve coherence in discourse by alternating between differential lexical forms e.g. noun phrase, pronoun, and null form in accordance with the accessibility of the entities they refer to, i.e. whether they introduce an entity into discourse for the first time or continue referring to an entity they already mentioned before. Moreover, tracking of entities in discourse is a multimodal phenomenon. Studies show that speakers are sensitive to the informational structure of discourse and use fuller forms (e.g. full noun phrases) in speech and gesture more when re-introducing an entity while they use attenuated forms (e.g. pronouns) in speech and gesture less when maintaining a referent. However, those studies focus mainly on non-pro-drop languages (e.g. English, German and French). The present study investigates whether the same pattern holds for pro-drop languages. It draws data from adult native speakers of Turkish using elicited narratives. We find that Turkish speakers mostly use fuller forms to code subject referents in re-introduction context and the null form in maintenance context and they point to gesture space for referents more in re-introduction context compared maintained context. Hence we provide supportive evidence for the reverse correlation between the accessibility of a discourse referent and its coding in speech and gesture. We also find that, as a novel contribution, third person pronoun is used in re-introduction context only when the referent was previously mentioned as the object argument of the immediately preceding clause.
  • Baggio, G., van Lambalgen, M., & Hagoort, P. (2015). Logic as Marr's computational level: Four case studies. Topics in Cognitive Science, 7, 287-298. doi:10.1111/tops.12125.

    Abstract

    We sketch four applications of Marr's levels-of-analysis methodology to the relations between logic and experimental data in the cognitive neuroscience of language and reasoning. The first part of the paper illustrates the explanatory power of computational level theories based on logic. We show that a Bayesian treatment of the suppression task in reasoning with conditionals is ruled out by EEG data, supporting instead an analysis based on defeasible logic. Further, we describe how results from an EEG study on temporal prepositions can be reanalyzed using formal semantics, addressing a potential confound. The second part of the article demonstrates the predictive power of logical theories drawing on EEG data on processing progressive constructions and on behavioral data on conditional reasoning in people with autism. Logical theories can constrain processing hypotheses all the way down to neurophysiology, and conversely neuroscience data can guide the selection of alternative computational level models of cognition.
  • 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, I., Takashima, A., Van Hall, J. G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 27(7), 1286-1297. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00801.

    Abstract

    The complementary learning systems account of word learning states that novel words, like other types of memories, undergo an offline consolidation process during which they are gradually integrated into the neocortical memory network. A fundamental change in the neural representation of a novel word should therefore occur in the hours after learning. The present EEG study tested this hypothesis by investigating whether novel words learned before a 24-hr consolidation period elicited more word-like oscillatory responses than novel words learned immediately before testing. In line with previous studies indicating that theta synchronization reflects lexical access, unfamiliar novel words elicited lower power in the theta band (4–8 Hz) than existing words. Recently learned words still showed a marginally lower theta increase than existing words, but theta responses to novel words that had been acquired 24 hr earlier were indistinguishable from responses to existing words. Consistent with evidence that beta desynchronization (16–21 Hz) is related to lexical-semantic processing, we found that both unfamiliar and recently learned novel words elicited less beta desynchronization than existing words. In contrast, no difference was found between novel words learned 24 hr earlier and existing words. These data therefore suggest that an offline consolidation period enables novel words to acquire lexically integrated, word-like neural representations.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Tracking lexical consolidation with ERPs: Lexical and semantic-priming effects on N400 and LPC responses to newly-learned words. Neuropsychologia, 79, 33-41. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.10.020.
  • Bank, R., Crasborn, O., & Van Hout, R. (2015). Alignment of two languages: The spreading of mouthings in Sign Language of the Netherlands. International Journal of Bilingualism, 19, 40-55. doi:10.1177/1367006913484991.

    Abstract

    Mouthings and mouth gestures are omnipresent in Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). Mouthings in NGT are mouth actions that have their origin in spoken Dutch, and are usually time aligned with the signs they co-occur with. Frequently, however, they spread over one or more adjacent signs, so that one mouthing co-occurs with multiple manual signs. We conducted a corpus study to explore how frequently this occurs in NGT and whether there is any sociolinguistic variation in the use of spreading. Further, we looked at the circumstances under which spreading occurs. Answers to these questions may give us insight into the prosodic structure of sign languages. We investigated a sample of the Corpus NGT containing 5929 mouthings by 46 participants. We found that spreading over an adjacent sign is independent of social factors. Further, mouthings that spread are longer than non-spreading mouthings, whether measured in syllables or in milliseconds. By using a relatively large amount of natural data, we succeeded in gaining more insight into the way mouth actions are utilised in sign languages
  • Baranova, J. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Russian. Open linguistics, 1(1), 555-577. doi:10.1515/opli-2015-0019.

    Abstract

    This article describes the interactional patterns and linguistic structures associated with otherinitiated repair, as observed in a corpus of video-recorded conversations in Russian. In the discussion of various repair cases special attention is given to the modifications that the trouble source turn undergoes in response to an open versus a restricted repair initiation. Speakers often modify their problematic turn in multiple ways at ones when responding to an open repair initiation. They can alter the word order of the problematic turn, change prosodic contour of the utterance, omit redundant elements and add more specific ones. By contrast, restricted repair initiations usually receive specific repair solutions that target only one problem at a time
  • Barendse, M. T., Oort, F. J., Jak, S., & Timmerman, M. E. (2013). Multilevel exploratory factor analysis of discrete data. Netherlands Journal of Psychology, 67(4), 114-121.
  • Barendse, M. T., Oort, F. J., & Timmerman, M. E. (2015). Using exploratory factor analysis to determine the dimensionality of discrete responses. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 22(1), 87-101. doi:10.1080/10705511.2014.934850.

    Abstract

    Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is commonly used to determine the dimensionality of continuous data. In a simulation study we investigate its usefulness with discrete data. We vary response scales (continuous, dichotomous, polytomous), factor loadings (medium, high), sample size (small, large), and factor structure (simple, complex). For each condition, we generate 1,000 data sets and apply EFA with 5 estimation methods (maximum likelihood [ML] of covariances, ML of polychoric correlations, robust ML, weighted least squares [WLS], and robust WLS) and 3 fit criteria (chi-square test, root mean square error of approximation, and root mean square residual). The various EFA procedures recover more factors when sample size is large, factor loadings are high, factor structure is simple, and response scales have more options. Robust WLS of polychoric correlations is the preferred method, as it is theoretically justified and shows fewer convergence problems than the other estimation methods.
  • Baron-Cohen, S., Johnson, D., Asher, J. E., Wheelwright, S., Fisher, S. E., Gregersen, P. K., & Allison, C. (2013). Is synaesthesia more common in autism? Molecular Autism, 4(1): 40. doi:10.1186/2040-2392-4-40.

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Synaesthesia is a neurodevelopmental condition in which a sensation in one modality triggers a perception in a second modality. Autism (shorthand for Autism Spectrum Conditions) is a neurodevelopmental condition involving social-communication disability alongside resistance to change and unusually narrow interests or activities. Whilst on the surface they appear distinct, they have been suggested to share common atypical neural connectivity. METHODS: In the present study, we carried out the first prevalence study of synaesthesia in autism to formally test whether these conditions are independent. After exclusions, 164 adults with autism and 97 controls completed a synaesthesia questionnaire, autism spectrum quotient, and test of genuineness-revised (ToG-R) online. RESULTS: The rate of synaesthesia in adults with autism was 18.9% (31 out of 164), almost three times greater than in controls (7.22%, 7 out of 97, P <0.05). ToG-R proved unsuitable for synaesthetes with autism. CONCLUSIONS: The significant increase in synaesthesia prevalence in autism suggests that the two conditions may share some common underlying mechanisms. Future research is needed to develop more feasible validation methods of synaesthesia in autism.

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  • Bašnákova, J., Van Berkum, J. J. A., Weber, K., & Hagoort, P. (2015). A job interview in the MRI scanner: How does indirectness affect addressees and overhearers? Neuropsychologia, 76, 79-91. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.03.030.

    Abstract

    In using language, people not only exchange information, but also navigate their social world – for example, they can express themselves indirectly to avoid losing face. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we investigated the neural correlates of interpreting face-saving indirect replies, in a situation where participants only overheard the replies as part of a conversation between two other people, as well as in a situation where the participants were directly addressed themselves. We created a fictional job interview context where indirect replies serve as a natural communicative strategy to attenuate one’s shortcomings, and asked fMRI participants to either pose scripted questions and receive answers from three putative job candidates (addressee condition) or to listen to someone else interview the same candidates (overhearer condition). In both cases, the need to evaluate the candidate ensured that participants had an active interest in comprehending the replies. Relative to direct replies, face-saving indirect replies increased activation in medial prefrontal cortex, bilateral temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and bilateral middle temporal gyrus, in active overhearers and active addressees alike, with similar effect size, and comparable to findings obtained in an earlier passive listening study (Bašnáková et al., 2013). In contrast, indirectness effects in bilateral anterior insula and pregenual ACC, two regions implicated in emotional salience and empathy, were reliably stronger in addressees than in active overhearers. Our findings indicate that understanding face-saving indirect language requires additional cognitive perspective-taking and other discourse-relevant cognitive processing, to a comparable extent in active overhearers and addressees. Furthermore, they indicate that face-saving indirect language draws upon affective systems more in addressees than in overhearers, presumably because the addressee is the one being managed by a face-saving reply. In all, face-saving indirectness provides a window on the cognitive as well as affect-related neural systems involved in human communication.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., & Hagoort, P. (2015). Frequency-based segregation of syntactic and semantic unification during online sentence level language comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(11), 2095-2107. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00829.

    Abstract

    During sentence level language comprehension, semantic and syntactic unification are functionally distinct operations. Nevertheless, both recruit roughly the same brain areas (spatially overlapping networks in the left frontotemporal cortex) and happen at the same time (in the first few hundred milliseconds after word onset). We tested the hypothesis that semantic and syntactic unification are segregated by means of neuronal synchronization of the functionally relevant networks in different frequency ranges: gamma (40 Hz and up) for semantic unification and lower beta (10–20 Hz) for syntactic unification. EEG power changes were quantified as participants read either correct sentences, syntactically correct though meaningless sentences (syntactic prose), or sentences that did not contain any syntactic structure (random word lists). Other sentences contained either a semantic anomaly or a syntactic violation at a critical word in the sentence. Larger EEG gamma-band power was observed for semantically coherent than for semantically anomalous sentences. Similarly, beta-band power was larger for syntactically correct sentences than for incorrect ones. These results confirm the existence of a functional dissociation in EEG oscillatory dynamics during sentence level language comprehension that is compatible with the notion of a frequency-based segregation of syntactic and semantic unification.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., & Knösche, T. R. (2000). MEG tangential derivative mapping applied to Event-Related Desynchronization (ERD) research. Clinical Neurophysiology, 111, 1300-1305.

    Abstract

    Objectives: A problem with the topographic mapping of MEG data recorded with axial gradiometers is that field extrema are measured at sensors located at either side of a neuronal generator instead of at sensors directly above the source. This is problematic for the computation of event-related desynchronization (ERD) on MEG data, since ERD relies on a correspondence between the signal maximum and the location of the neuronal generator. Methods: We present a new method based on computing spatial derivatives of the MEG data. The limitations of this method were investigated by means of forward simulations, and the method was applied to a 150-channel MEG dataset. Results: The simulations showed that the method has some limitations. (1) Fewer channels reduce accuracy and amplitude. (2) It is less suitable for deep or very extended sources. (3) Multiple sources can only be distinguished if they are not too close to each other. Applying the method in the calculation of ERD on experimental data led to a considerable improvement of the ERD maps. Conclusions: The proposed method offers a significant advantage over raw MEG signals, both for the topographic mapping of MEG and for the analysis of rhythmic MEG activity by means of ERD.
  • Bastos, A. M., Vezoli, J., Bosman, C. A., Schoffelen, J.-M., Oostenveld, R., Dowdall, J. R., De Weerd, P., Kennedy, H., & Fries, P. (2015). Visual areas exert feedforward and feedback influences through distinct frequency channels. Neuron, 85(2), 390-401. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.12.018.

    Abstract

    Visual cortical areas subserve cognitive functions by interacting in both feedforward and feedback directions. While feedforward influences convey sensory signals, feedback influences modulate feedforward signaling according to the current behavioral context. We investigated whether these interareal influences are subserved differentially by rhythmic synchronization. We correlated frequency-specific directed influences among 28 pairs of visual areas with anatomical metrics of the feedforward or feedback character of the respective interareal projections. This revealed that in the primate visual system, feedforward influences are carried by theta-band ( approximately 4 Hz) and gamma-band ( approximately 60-80 Hz) synchronization, and feedback influences by beta-band ( approximately 14-18 Hz) synchronization. The functional directed influences constrain a functional hierarchy similar to the anatomical hierarchy, but exhibiting task-dependent dynamic changes in particular with regard to the hierarchical positions of frontal areas. Our results demonstrate that feedforward and feedback signaling use distinct frequency channels, suggesting that they subserve differential communication requirements.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2000). Archaic syntax in Indo-European: The spread of transitivity in Latin and French. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Abstract

    Several grammatical features in early Indo-European traditionally have not been understood. Although Latin, for example, was a nominative language, a number of its inherited characteristics do not fit that typology and are difficult to account for, such as stative mihi est constructions to express possession, impersonal verbs, or absolute constructions. With time these archaic features have been replaced by transitive structures (e.g. possessive ‘have’). This book presents an extensive comparative and historical analysis of archaic features in early Indo-European languages and their gradual replacement in the history of Latin and early Romance, showing that the new structures feature transitive syntax and fit the patterns of a nominative language.
  • 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.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2015). Origins of grammatical forms and evidence from Latin. Journal of Indo-European studies, 43, 201-235.

    Abstract

    This article submits that the instances of incipient grammaticalization that are found in the later stages of Latin and that resulted in new grammatical forms in Romance, reflect a major linguistic innovation. While the new grammatical forms are created out of lexical or mildly grammatical autonomous elements, earlier processes seem to primarily involve particles with a certain semantic value and freezing. This fundamental difference explains why the attempts of early Indo-Europeanists such as Franz Bopp at tracing the lexical origins of Indo-European inflected forms were unsuccessful and strongly criticized by the Neo-Grammarians.
  • Becker, M., Devanna, P., Fisher, S. E., & Vernes, S. C. (2015). A chromosomal rearrangement in a child with severe speech and language disorder separates FOXP2 from a functional enhancer. Molecular Cytogenetics, 8: 69. doi:10.1186/s13039-015-0173-0.

    Abstract

    Mutations of FOXP2 in 7q31 cause a rare disorder involving speech apraxia, accompanied by expressive and receptive language impairments. A recent report described a child with speech and language deficits, and a genomic rearrangement affecting chromosomes 7 and 11. One breakpoint mapped to 7q31 and, although outside its coding region, was hypothesised to disrupt FOXP2 expression. We identified an element 2 kb downstream of this breakpoint with epigenetic characteristics of an enhancer. We show that this element drives reporter gene expression in human cell-lines. Thus, displacement of this element by translocation may disturb gene expression, contributing to the observed language phenotype.
  • Becker, R., Pefkou, M., Michel, C. M., & Hervais-Adelman, A. (2013). Left temporal alpha-band activity reflects single word intelligibility. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 7: 121. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2013.00121.

    Abstract

    The electroencephalographic (EEG) correlates of degraded speech perception have been explored in a number of recent studies. However, such investigations have often been inconclusive as to whether observed differences in brain responses between conditions result from different acoustic properties of more or less intelligible stimuli or whether they relate to cognitive processes implicated in comprehending challenging stimuli. In this study we used noise vocoding to spectrally degrade monosyllabic words in order to manipulate their intelligibility. We used spectral rotation to generate incomprehensible control conditions matched in terms of spectral detail. We recorded EEG from 14 volunteers who listened to a series of noise vocoded (NV) and noise-vocoded spectrally-rotated (rNV) words, while they carried out a detection task. We specifically sought components of the EEG response that showed an interaction between spectral rotation and spectral degradation. This reflects those aspects of the brain electrical response that are related to the intelligibility of acoustically degraded monosyllabic words, while controlling for spectral detail. An interaction between spectral complexity and rotation was apparent in both evoked and induced activity. Analyses of event-related potentials showed an interaction effect for a P300-like component at several centro-parietal electrodes. Time-frequency analysis of the EEG signal in the alpha-band revealed a monotonic increase in event-related desynchronization (ERD) for the NV but not the rNV stimuli in the alpha band at a left temporo-central electrode cluster from 420-560 ms reflecting a direct relationship between the strength of alpha-band ERD and intelligibility. By matching NV words with their incomprehensible rNV homologues, we reveal the spatiotemporal pattern of evoked and induced processes involved in degraded speech perception, largely uncontaminated by purely acoustic effects.
  • Behrens, B., Flecken, M., & Carroll, M. (2013). Progressive Attraction: On the Use and Grammaticalization of Progressive Aspect in Dutch, Norwegian, and German. Journal of Germanic linguistics, 25(2), 95-136. doi:10.1017/S1470542713000020.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates the use of aspectual constructions in Dutch, Norwegian, and German, languages in which aspect marking that presents events explicitly as ongoing, is optional. Data were elicited under similar conditions with native speakers in the three countries. We show that while German speakers make insignificant use of aspectual constructions, usage patterns in Norwegian and Dutch present an interesting case of overlap, as well as differences, with respect to a set of factors that attract or constrain the use of different constructions. The results indicate that aspect marking is grammaticalizing in Dutch, but there are no clear signs of a similar process in Norwegian.*
  • Berghuis, B., De Kovel, C. G. F., van Iterson, L., Lamberts, R. J., Sander, J. W., Lindhout, D., & Koeleman, B. P. C. (2015). Complex SCN8A DNA-abnormalities in an individual with therapy resistant absence epilepsy. Epilepsy Research, 115, 141-144. doi:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2015.06.007.

    Abstract

    Background De novo SCN8A missense mutations have been identified as a rare dominant cause of epileptic encephalopathy. We described a person with epileptic encephalopathy associated with a mosaic deletion of the SCN8A gene. Methods Array comparative genome hybridization was used to identify chromosomal abnormalities. Next Generation Sequencing was used to screen for variants in known and candidate epilepsy genes. A single nucleotide polymorphism array was used to test whether the SCN8A variants were in cis or in trans. Results We identified a de novo mosaic deletion of exons 2–14 of SCN8A, and a rare maternally inherited missense variant on the other allele in a woman presenting with absence seizures, challenging behavior, intellectual disability and QRS-fragmentation on the ECG. We also found a variant in SCN5A. Conclusions The combination of a rare missense variant with a de novo mosaic deletion of a large part of the SCN8A gene suggests that other possible mechanisms for SCN8A mutations may cause epilepsy; loss of function, genetic modifiers and cellular interference may play a role. This case expands the phenotype associated with SCN8A mutations, with absence epilepsy and regression in language and memory skills.
  • Bergmann, C., Ten Bosch, L., Fikkert, P., & Boves, L. (2013). A computational model to investigate assumptions in the headturn preference procedure. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 676. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00676.

    Abstract

    In this paper we use a computational model to investigate four assumptions that are tacitly present in interpreting the results of studies on infants' speech processing abilities using the Headturn Preference Procedure (HPP): (1) behavioral differences originate in different processing; (2) processing involves some form of recognition; (3) words are segmented from connected speech; and (4) differences between infants should not affect overall results. In addition, we investigate the impact of two potentially important aspects in the design and execution of the experiments: (a) the specific voices used in the two parts on HPP experiments (familiarization and test) and (b) the experimenter's criterion for what is a sufficient headturn angle. The model is designed to be maximize cognitive plausibility. It takes real speech as input, and it contains a module that converts the output of internal speech processing and recognition into headturns that can yield real-time listening preference measurements. Internal processing is based on distributed episodic representations in combination with a matching procedure based on the assumptions that complex episodes can be decomposed as positive weighted sums of simpler constituents. Model simulations show that the first assumptions hold under two different definitions of recognition. However, explicit segmentation is not necessary to simulate the behaviors observed in infant studies. Differences in attention span between infants can affect the outcomes of an experiment. The same holds for the experimenter's decision criterion. The speakers used in experiments affect outcomes in complex ways that require further investigation. The paper ends with recommendations for future studies using the HPP. - See more at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00676/full#sthash.TUEwObRb.dpuf
  • Bergmann, C., Bosch, L. t., Fikkert, P., & Boves, L. (2015). Modelling the Noise-Robustness of Infants’ Word Representations: The Impact of Previous Experience. PLoS One, 10(7): e0132245. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132245.

    Abstract

    During language acquisition, infants frequently encounter ambient noise. We present a computational model to address whether specific acoustic processing abilities are necessary to detect known words in moderate noise—an ability attested experimentally in infants. The model implements a general purpose speech encoding and word detection procedure. Importantly, the model contains no dedicated processes for removing or cancelling out ambient noise, and it can replicate the patterns of results obtained in several infant experiments. In addition to noise, we also addressed the role of previous experience with particular target words: does the frequency of a word matter, and does it play a role whether that word has been spoken by one or multiple speakers? The simulation results show that both factors affect noise robustness. We also investigated how robust word detection is to changes in speaker identity by comparing words spoken by known versus unknown speakers during the simulated test. This factor interacted with both noise level and past experience, showing that an increase in exposure is only helpful when a familiar speaker provides the test material. Added variability proved helpful only when encountering an unknown speaker. Finally, we addressed whether infants need to recognise specific words, or whether a more parsimonious explanation of infant behaviour, which we refer to as matching, is sufficient. Recognition involves a focus of attention on a specific target word, while matching only requires finding the best correspondence of acoustic input to a known pattern in the memory. Attending to a specific target word proves to be more noise robust, but a general word matching procedure can be sufficient to simulate experimental data stemming from young infants. A change from acoustic matching to targeted recognition provides an explanation of the improvements observed in infants around their first birthday. In summary, we present a computational model incorporating only the processes infants might employ when hearing words in noise. Our findings show that a parsimonious interpretation of behaviour is sufficient and we offer a formal account of emerging abilities.
  • Blackwell, N. L., Perlman, M., & Fox Tree, J. E. (2015). Quotation as a multimodal construction. Journal of Pragmatics, 81, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2015.03.004.

    Abstract

    Quotations are a means to report a broad range of events in addition to speech, and often involve both vocal and bodily demonstration. The present study examined the use of quotation to report a variety of multisensory events (i.e., containing salient visible and audible elements) as participants watched and then described a set of video clips including human speech and animal vocalizations. We examined the relationship between demonstrations conveyed through the vocal versus bodily modality, comparing them across four common quotation devices (be like, go, say, and zero quotatives), as well as across direct and non-direct quotations and retellings. We found that direct quotations involved high levels of both vocal and bodily demonstration, while non-direct quotations involved lower levels in both these channels. In addition, there was a strong positive correlation between vocal and bodily demonstration for direct quotation. This result supports a Multimodal Hypothesis where information from the two channels arises from one central concept.
  • Blythe, J. (2013). Preference organization driving structuration: Evidence from Australian Aboriginal interaction for pragmatically motivated grammaticalization. Language, 89(4), 883-919.

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  • Blythe, J. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Murrinh-Patha. Open Linguistics, 1, 283-308. doi:10.1515/opli-2015-0003.

    Abstract

    The range of linguistic structures and interactional practices associated with other-initiated repair (OIR) is surveyed for the Northern Australian language Murrinh-Patha. By drawing on a video corpus of informal Murrinh- Patha conversation, the OIR formats are compared in terms of their utility and versatility. Certain “restricted” formats have semantic properties that point to prior trouble source items. While these make the restricted repair initiators more specialised, the “open” formats are less well resourced semantically, which makes them more versatile. They tend to be used when the prior talk is potentially problematic in more ways than one. The open formats (especially thangku, “what?”) tend to solicit repair operations on each potential source of trouble, such that the resultant repair solution improves upon the troublesource turn in several ways
  • De Boer, M., Toni, I., & Willems, R. M. (2013). What drives successful verbal communication? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7: 622. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00622.

    Abstract

    There is a vast amount of potential mappings between behaviors and intentions in communication: a behavior can indicate a multitude of different intentions, and the same intention can be communicated with a variety of behaviors. Humans routinely solve these many-to-many referential problems when producing utterances for an Addressee. This ability might rely on social cognitive skills, for instance, the ability to manipulate unobservable summary variables to disambiguate ambiguous behavior of other agents (“mentalizing”) and the drive to invest resources into changing and understanding the mental state of other agents (“communicative motivation”). Alternatively, the ambiguities of verbal communicative interactions might be solved by general-purpose cognitive abilities that process cues that are incidentally associated with the communicative interaction. In this study, we assess these possibilities by testing which cognitive traits account for communicative success during a verbal referential task. Cognitive traits were assessed with psychometric scores quantifying motivation, mentalizing abilities, and general-purpose cognitive abilities, taxing abstract visuo-spatial abilities. Communicative abilities of participants were assessed by using an on-line interactive task that required a speaker to verbally convey a concept to an Addressee. The communicative success of the utterances was quantified by measuring how frequently a number of Evaluators would infer the correct concept. Speakers with high motivational and general-purpose cognitive abilities generated utterances that were more easily interpreted. These findings extend to the domain of verbal communication the notion that motivational and cognitive factors influence the human ability to rapidly converge on shared communicative innovations.
  • Boersma, M., Kemner, C., de Reus, M. A., Collin, G., Snijders, T. M., Hofman, D., Buitelaar, J. K., Stam, C. J., & van den Heuvel, M. P. (2013). Disrupted functional brain networks in autistic toddlers. Brain Connectivity, 3(1), 41-49. doi:10.1089/brain.2012.0127.

    Abstract

    Communication and integration of information between brain regions plays a key role in healthy brain function. Conversely, disruption in brain communication may lead to cognitive and behavioral problems. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by impaired social interactions and aberrant basic information processing. Aberrant brain connectivity patterns have indeed been hypothesized to be a key neural underpinning of autism. In this study, graph analytical tools are used to explore the possible deviant functional brain network organization in autism at a very early stage of brain development. Electroencephalography (EEG) recordings in 12 toddlers with autism (mean age 3.5 years) and 19 control subjects were used to assess interregional functional brain connectivity, with functional brain networks constructed at the level of temporal synchronization between brain regions underlying the EEG electrodes. Children with autism showed a significantly increased normalized path length and reduced normalized clustering, suggesting a reduced global communication capacity already during early brain development. In addition, whole brain connectivity was found to be significantly reduced in these young patients suggesting an overall under-connectivity of functional brain networks in autism. Our findings support the hypothesis of abnormal neural communication in autism, with deviating effects already present at the early stages of brain development
  • Bögels, S., Barr, D., Garrod, S., & Kessler, K. (2015). Conversational interaction in the scanner: Mentalizing during language processing as revealed by MEG. Cerebral Cortex, 25(9), 3219-3234. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu116.

    Abstract

    Humans are especially good at taking another’s perspective — representing what others might be thinking or experiencing. This “mentalizing” capacity is apparent in everyday human interactions and conversations. We investigated its neural basis using magnetoencephalography. We focused on whether mentalizing was engaged spontaneously and routinely to understand an utterance’s meaning or largely on-demand, to restore "common ground" when expectations were violated. Participants conversed with 1 of 2 confederate speakers and established tacit agreements about objects’ names. In a subsequent “test” phase, some of these agreements were violated by either the same or a different speaker. Our analysis of the neural processing of test phase utterances revealed recruitment of neural circuits associated with language (temporal cortex), episodic memory (e.g., medial temporal lobe), and mentalizing (temporo-parietal junction and ventro-medial prefrontal cortex). Theta oscillations (3 - 7 Hz) were modulated most prominently, and we observed phase coupling between functionally distinct neural circuits. The episodic memory and language circuits were recruited in anticipation of upcoming referring expressions, suggesting that context-sensitive predictions were spontaneously generated. In contrast, the mentalizing areas were recruited on-demand, as a means for detecting and resolving perceived pragmatic anomalies, with little evidence they were activated to make partner-specific predictions about upcoming linguistic utterances.
  • Bögels, S., & Torreira, F. (2015). Listeners use intonational phrase boundaries to project turn ends in spoken interaction. Journal of phonetics, 52, 46-57. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2015.04.004.

    Abstract

    In conversation, turn transitions between speakers often occur smoothly, usually within a time window of a few hundred milliseconds. It has been argued, on the basis of a button-press experiment [De Ruiter, J. P., Mitterer, H., & Enfield, N. J. (2006). Projecting the end of a speaker's turn: A cognitive cornerstone of conversation. Language, 82(3):515–535], that participants in conversation rely mainly on lexico-syntactic information when timing and producing their turns, and that they do not need to make use of intonational cues to achieve smooth transitions and avoid overlaps. In contrast to this view, but in line with previous observational studies, our results from a dialogue task and a button-press task involving questions and answers indicate that the identification of the end of intonational phrases is necessary for smooth turn-taking. In both tasks, participants never responded to questions (i.e., gave an answer or pressed a button to indicate a turn end) at turn-internal points of syntactic completion in the absence of an intonational phrase boundary. Moreover, in the button-press task, they often pressed the button at the same point of syntactic completion when the final word of an intonational phrase was cross-spliced at that location. Furthermore, truncated stimuli ending in a syntactic completion point but lacking an intonational phrase boundary led to significantly delayed button presses. In light of these results, we argue that earlier claims that intonation is not necessary for correct turn-end projection are misguided, and that research on turn-taking should continue to consider intonation as a source of turn-end cues along with other linguistic and communicative phenomena.
  • 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. doi:10.1038/srep12881.

    Abstract

    A striking puzzle about language use in everyday conversation is that turn-taking latencies are usually very short, whereas planning language production takes much longer. This implies overlap between language comprehension and production processes, but the nature and extent of such overlap has never been studied directly. Combining an interactive quiz paradigm with EEG measurements in an innovative way, we show that production planning processes start as soon as possible, that is, within half a second after the answer to a question can be retrieved (up to several seconds before the end of the question). Localization of ERP data shows early activation even of brain areas related to late stages of production planning (e.g., syllabification). Finally, oscillation results suggest an attention switch from comprehension to production around the same time frame. This perspective from interactive language use throws new light on the performance characteristics that language competence involves.
  • Bögels, S., Kendrick, K. H., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). Never say no… How the brain interprets the pregnant pause in conversation. PLoS One, 10(12): e0145474. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145474.

    Abstract

    In conversation, negative responses to invitations, requests, offers, and the like are more likely to occur with a delay – conversation analysts talk of them as dispreferred. Here we examine the contrastive cognitive load ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses make, either when relatively fast (300 ms after question offset) or delayed (1000 ms). Participants heard short dialogues contrasting in speed and valence of response while having their EEG recorded. We found that a fast ‘no’ evokes an N400-effect relative to a fast ‘yes’; however this contrast disappeared in the delayed responses. 'No' responses however elicited a late frontal positivity both if they were fast and if they were delayed. We interpret these results as follows: a fast ‘no’ evoked an N400 because an immediate response is expected to be positive – this effect disappears as the response time lengthens because now in ordinary conversation the probability of a ‘no’ has increased. However, regardless of the latency of response, a ‘no’ response is associated with a late positivity, since a negative response is always dispreferred. Together these results show that negative responses to social actions exact a higher cognitive load, but especially when least expected, in immediate response.

    Additional information

    Data availability
  • Bögels, S., Schriefers, H., Vonk, W., Chwilla, D., & Kerkhofs, R. (2013). Processing consequences of superfluous and missing prosodic breaks in auditory sentence comprehension. Neuropsychologia, 51, 2715-2728. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.09.008.

    Abstract

    This ERP study investigates whether a superfluous prosodic break (i.e., a prosodic break that does not coincide with a syntactic break) has more severe processing consequences during auditory sentence comprehension than a missing prosodic break (i.e., the absence of a prosodic break at the position of a syntactic break). Participants listened to temporarily ambiguous sentences involving a prosody-syntax match or mismatch. The disambiguation of these sentences was always lexical in nature in the present experiment. This contrasts with a related study by Pauker, Itzhak, Baum, and Steinhauer (2011), where the disambiguation was of a lexical type for missing PBs and of a prosodic type for superfluous PBs. Our results converge with those of Pauker et al.: superfluous prosodic breaks lead to more severe processing problems than missing prosodic breaks. Importantly, the present results extend those of Pauker et al. showing that this holds when the disambiguation is always lexical in nature. Furthermore, our results show that the way listeners use prosody can change over the course of the experiment which bears consequences for future studies.
  • Bohnemeyer, J. (2000). Event order in language and cognition. Linguistics in the Netherlands, 17(1), 1-16. doi:10.1075/avt.17.04boh.
  • Bønnelykke, K., Matheson, M. C., Pers, T. H., Granell, R., Strachan, D. P., Alves, A. C., Linneberg, A., Curtin, J. A., Warrington, N. M., Standl, M., Kerkhof, M., Jonsdottir, I., Bukvic, B. K., Kaakinen, M., Sleimann, P., Thorleifsson, G., Thorsteinsdottir, U., Schramm, K., Baltic, S., Kreiner-Møller, E. and 47 moreBønnelykke, K., Matheson, M. C., Pers, T. H., Granell, R., Strachan, D. P., Alves, A. C., Linneberg, A., Curtin, J. A., Warrington, N. M., Standl, M., Kerkhof, M., Jonsdottir, I., Bukvic, B. K., Kaakinen, M., Sleimann, P., Thorleifsson, G., Thorsteinsdottir, U., Schramm, K., Baltic, S., Kreiner-Møller, E., Simpson, A., St Pourcain, B., Coin, L., Hui, J., Walters, E. H., Tiesler, C. M. T., Duffy, D. L., Jones, G., Ring, S. M., McArdle, W. L., Price, L., Robertson, C. F., Pekkanen, J., Tang, C. S., Thiering, E., Montgomery, G. W., Hartikainen, A.-L., Dharmage, S. C., Husemoen, L. L., Herder, C., Kemp, J. P., Elliot, P., James, A., Waldenberger, M., Abramson, M. J., Fairfax, B. P., Knight, J. C., Gupta, R., Thompson, P. J., Holt, P., Sly, P., Hirschhorn, J. N., Blekic, M., Weidinger, S., Hakonarsson, H., Stefansson, K., Heinrich, J., Postma, D. S., Custovic, A., Pennell, C. E., Jarvelin, M.-R., Koppelman, G. H., Timpson, N., Ferreira, M. A., Bisgaard, H., Henderson, A. J., Australian Asthma Genetics Consortium (AAGC), & EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) Consortium (2013). Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies ten loci influencing allergic sensitization. Nature Genetics, 45(8), 902-906. doi:10.1038/ng.2694.

    Abstract

    Allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (present in allergic sensitization) has a central role in the pathogenesis of allergic disease. We performed the first large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) of allergic sensitization in 5,789 affected individuals and 10,056 controls and followed up the top SNP at each of 26 loci in 6,114 affected individuals and 9,920 controls. We increased the number of susceptibility loci with genome-wide significant association with allergic sensitization from three to ten, including SNPs in or near TLR6, C11orf30, STAT6, SLC25A46, HLA-DQB1, IL1RL1, LPP, MYC, IL2 and HLA-B. All the top SNPs were associated with allergic symptoms in an independent study. Risk-associated variants at these ten loci were estimated to account for at least 25% of allergic sensitization and allergic rhinitis. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations may provide new insights into the etiology of allergic disease.
  • Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., Alday, P. M., Kretzschmar, F., Grewe, T., Gumpert, M., Schumacher, P. B., & Schlesewsky, M. (2015). Age-related changes in predictive capacity versus internal model adaptability: Electrophysiological evidence that individual differences outweigh effects of age. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7: 217. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00217.

    Abstract

    Hierarchical predictive coding has been identified as a possible unifying principle of brain function, and recent work in cognitive neuroscience has examined how it may be affected by age–related changes. Using language comprehension as a test case, the present study aimed to dissociate age-related changes in prediction generation versus internal model adaptation following a prediction error. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were measured in a group of older adults (60–81 years; n = 40) as they read sentences of the form “The opposite of black is white/yellow/nice.” Replicating previous work in young adults, results showed a target-related P300 for the expected antonym (“white”; an effect assumed to reflect a prediction match), and a graded N400 effect for the two incongruous conditions (i.e. a larger N400 amplitude for the incongruous continuation not related to the expected antonym, “nice,” versus the incongruous associated condition, “yellow”). These effects were followed by a late positivity, again with a larger amplitude in the incongruous non-associated versus incongruous associated condition. Analyses using linear mixed-effects models showed that the target-related P300 effect and the N400 effect for the incongruous non-associated condition were both modulated by age, thus suggesting that age-related changes affect both prediction generation and model adaptation. However, effects of age were outweighed by the interindividual variability of ERP responses, as reflected in the high proportion of variance captured by the inclusion of by-condition random slopes for participants and items. We thus argue that – at both a neurophysiological and a functional level – the notion of general differences between language processing in young and older adults may only be of limited use, and that future research should seek to better understand the causes of interindividual variability in the ERP responses of older adults and its relation to cognitive performance.
  • Bosker, H. R., Pinget, A.-F., Quené, H., Sanders, T., & De Jong, N. H. (2013). What makes speech sound fluent? The contributions of pauses, speed and repairs. Language testing, 30(2), 159-175. doi:10.1177/0265532212455394.

    Abstract

    The oral fluency level of an L2 speaker is often used as a measure in assessing language proficiency. The present study reports on four experiments investigating the contributions of three fluency aspects (pauses, speed and repairs) to perceived fluency. In Experiment 1 untrained raters evaluated the oral fluency of L2 Dutch speakers. Using specific acoustic measures of pause, speed and repair phenomena, linear regression analyses revealed that pause and speed measures best predicted the subjective fluency ratings, and that repair measures contributed only very little. A second research question sought to account for these results by investigating perceptual sensitivity to acoustic pause, speed and repair phenomena, possibly accounting for the results from Experiment 1. In Experiments 2–4 three new groups of untrained raters rated the same L2 speech materials from Experiment 1 on the use of pauses, speed and repairs. A comparison of the results from perceptual sensitivity (Experiments 2–4) with fluency perception (Experiment 1) showed that perceptual sensitivity alone could not account for the contributions of the three aspects to perceived fluency. We conclude that listeners weigh the importance of the perceived aspects of fluency to come to an overall judgment.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Boyle, W., Lindell, A. K., & Kidd, E. (2013). Investigating the role of verbal working memory in young children's sentence comprehension. Language Learning, 63(2), 211-242. doi:10.1111/lang.12003.

    Abstract

    This study considers the role of verbal working memory in sentence comprehension in typically developing English-speaking children. Fifty-six (N = 56) children aged 4;0–6;6 completed a test of language comprehension that contained sentences which varied in complexity, standardized tests of vocabulary and nonverbal intelligence, and three tests of memory that measured the three verbal components of Baddeley's model of Working Memory (WM): the phonological loop, the episodic buffer, and the central executive. The results showed that children experienced most difficulty comprehending sentences that contained noncanonical word order (passives and object relative clauses). A series of linear mixed effects models were run to analyze the contribution of each component of WM to sentence comprehension. In contrast to most previous studies, the measure of the central executive did not predict comprehension accuracy. A canonicity by episodic buffer interaction showed that the episodic buffer measure was positively associated with better performance on the noncanonical sentences. The results are discussed with reference to capacity-limit and experience-dependent approaches to language comprehension.
  • Brandler, W. M., Morris, A. P., Evans, D. M., Scerri, T. S., Kemp, J. P., Timpson, N. J., St Pourcain, B., Davey Smith, G., Ring, S. M., Stein, J., Monaco, A. P., Talcott, J. B., Fisher, S. E., Webber, C., & Paracchini, S. (2013). Common variants in left/right asymmetry genes and pathways are associated with relative hand skill. PLoS Genetics, 9(9): e1003751. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003751.

    Abstract

    Humans display structural and functional asymmetries in brain organization, strikingly with respect to language and handedness. The molecular basis of these asymmetries is unknown. We report a genome-wide association study meta-analysis for a quantitative measure of relative hand skill in individuals with dyslexia [reading disability (RD)] (n = 728). The most strongly associated variant, rs7182874 (P = 8.68×10−9), is located in PCSK6, further supporting an association we previously reported. We also confirmed the specificity of this association in individuals with RD; the same locus was not associated with relative hand skill in a general population cohort (n = 2,666). As PCSK6 is known to regulate NODAL in the development of left/right (LR) asymmetry in mice, we developed a novel approach to GWAS pathway analysis, using gene-set enrichment to test for an over-representation of highly associated variants within the orthologs of genes whose disruption in mice yields LR asymmetry phenotypes. Four out of 15 LR asymmetry phenotypes showed an over-representation (FDR≤5%). We replicated three of these phenotypes; situs inversus, heterotaxia, and double outlet right ventricle, in the general population cohort (FDR≤5%). Our findings lead us to propose that handedness is a polygenic trait controlled in part by the molecular mechanisms that establish LR body asymmetry early in development.
  • Brandmeyer, A., Sadakata, M., Spyrou, L., McQueen, J. M., & Desain, P. (2013). Decoding of single-trial auditory mismatch responses for online perceptual monitoring and neurofeedback. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7: 265. doi:10.3389/fnins.2013.00265.

    Abstract

    Multivariate pattern classification methods are increasingly applied to neuroimaging data in the context of both fundamental research and in brain-computer interfacing approaches. Such methods provide a framework for interpreting measurements made at the single-trial level with respect to a set of two or more distinct mental states. Here, we define an approach in which the output of a binary classifier trained on data from an auditory mismatch paradigm can be used for online tracking of perception and as a neurofeedback signal. The auditory mismatch paradigm is known to induce distinct perceptual states related to the presentation of high- and low-probability stimuli, which are reflected in event-related potential (ERP) components such as the mismatch negativity (MMN). The first part of this paper illustrates how pattern classification methods can be applied to data collected in an MMN paradigm, including discussion of the optimization of preprocessing steps, the interpretation of features and how the performance of these methods generalizes across individual participants and measurement sessions. We then go on to show that the output of these decoding methods can be used in online settings as a continuous index of single-trial brain activation underlying perceptual discrimination. We conclude by discussing several potential domains of application, including neurofeedback, cognitive monitoring and passive brain-computer interfaces

    Additional information

    Brandmeyer_etal_2013a.pdf
  • Brandmeyer, A., Farquhar, J., McQueen, J. M., & Desain, P. (2013). Decoding speech perception by native and non-native speakers using single-trial electrophysiological data. PLoS One, 8: e68261. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068261.

    Abstract

    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are systems that use real-time analysis of neuroimaging data to determine the mental state of their user for purposes such as providing neurofeedback. Here, we investigate the feasibility of a BCI based on speech perception. Multivariate pattern classification methods were applied to single-trial EEG data collected during speech perception by native and non-native speakers. Two principal questions were asked: 1) Can differences in the perceived categories of pairs of phonemes be decoded at the single-trial level? 2) Can these same categorical differences be decoded across participants, within or between native-language groups? Results indicated that classification performance progressively increased with respect to the categorical status (within, boundary or across) of the stimulus contrast, and was also influenced by the native language of individual participants. Classifier performance showed strong relationships with traditional event-related potential measures and behavioral responses. The results of the cross-participant analysis indicated an overall increase in average classifier performance when trained on data from all participants (native and non-native). A second cross-participant classifier trained only on data from native speakers led to an overall improvement in performance for native speakers, but a reduction in performance for non-native speakers. We also found that the native language of a given participant could be decoded on the basis of EEG data with accuracy above 80%. These results indicate that electrophysiological responses underlying speech perception can be decoded at the single-trial level, and that decoding performance systematically reflects graded changes in the responses related to the phonological status of the stimuli. This approach could be used in extensions of the BCI paradigm to support perceptual learning during second language acquisition
  • Brascamp, J., Klink, P., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2015). The ‘laws’ of binocular rivalry: 50 years of Levelt’s propositions. Vision Research, 109, 20-37. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2015.02.019.

    Abstract

    It has been fifty years since Levelt’s monograph On Binocular Rivalry (1965) was published, but its four propositions that describe the relation between stimulus strength and the phenomenology of binocular rivalry remain a benchmark for theorists and experimentalists even today. In this review, we will revisit the original conception of the four propositions and the scientific landscape in which this happened. We will also provide a brief update concerning distributions of dominance durations, another aspect of Levelt’s monograph that has maintained a prominent presence in the field. In a critical evaluation of Levelt’s propositions against current knowledge of binocular rivalry we will then demonstrate that the original propositions are not completely compatible with what is known today, but that they can, in a straightforward way, be modified to encapsulate the progress that has been made over the past fifty years. The resulting modified, propositions are shown to apply to a broad range of bistable perceptual phenomena, not just binocular rivalry, and they allow important inferences about the underlying neural systems. We argue that these inferences reflect canonical neural properties that play a role in visual perception in general, and we discuss ways in which future research can build on the work reviewed here to attain a better understanding of these properties
  • Brehm, L., & Bock, K. (2013). What counts in grammatical number agreement? Cognition, 128(2), 149-169. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2013.03.009.

    Abstract

    Both notional and grammatical number affect agreement during language production. To explore their workings, we investigated how semantic integration, a type of conceptual relatedness, produces variations in agreement (Solomon & Pearlmutter, 2004). These agreement variations are open to competing notional and lexical–grammatical number accounts. The notional hypothesis is that changes in number agreement reflect differences in referential coherence: More coherence yields more singularity. The lexical–grammatical hypothesis is that changes in agreement arise from competition between nouns differing in grammatical number: More competition yields more plurality. These hypotheses make opposing predictions about semantic integration. On the notional hypothesis, semantic integration promotes singular agreement. On the lexical–grammatical hypothesis, semantic integration promotes plural agreement. We tested these hypotheses with agreement elicitation tasks in two experiments. Both experiments supported the notional hypothesis, with semantic integration creating faster and more frequent singular agreement. This implies that referential coherence mediates the effect of semantic integration on number agreement.
  • Brouwer, S. (2013). Continuous recognition memory for spoken words in noise. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, 19: 060117. doi:10.1121/1.4798781.

    Abstract

    Previous research has shown that talker variability affects recognition memory for spoken words (Palmeri et al., 1993). This study examines whether additive noise is similarly retained in memory for spoken words. In a continuous recognition memory task, participants listened to a list of spoken words mixed with noise consisting of a pure tone or of high-pass filtered white noise. The noise and speech were in non-overlapping frequency bands. In Experiment 1, listeners indicated whether each spoken word in the list was OLD (heard before in the list) or NEW. Results showed that listeners were as accurate and as fast at recognizing a word as old if it was repeated with the same or different noise. In Experiment 2, listeners also indicated whether words judged as OLD were repeated with the same or with a different type of noise. Results showed that listeners benefitted from hearing words presented with the same versus different noise. These data suggest that spoken words and temporally-overlapping but spectrally non-overlapping noise are retained or reconstructed together for explicit, but not for implicit recognition memory. This indicates that the extent to which noise variability is retained seems to depend on the depth of processing
  • Brouwer, S., Mitterer, H., & Huettig, F. (2013). Discourse context and the recognition of reduced and canonical spoken words. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34, 519-539. doi:10.1017/S0142716411000853.

    Abstract

    In two eye-tracking experiments we examined whether wider discourse information helps the recognition of reduced pronunciations (e.g., 'puter') more than the recognition of canonical pronunciations of spoken words (e.g., 'computer'). Dutch participants listened to sentences from a casual speech corpus containing canonical and reduced target words. Target word recognition was assessed by measuring eye fixation proportions to four printed words on a visual display: the target, a "reduced form" competitor, a "canonical form" competitor and an unrelated distractor. Target sentences were presented in isolation or with a wider discourse context. Experiment 1 revealed that target recognition was facilitated by wider discourse information. Importantly, the recognition of reduced forms improved significantly when preceded by strongly rather than by weakly supportive discourse contexts. This was not the case for canonical forms: listeners' target word recognition was not dependent on the degree of supportive context. Experiment 2 showed that the differential context effects in Experiment 1 were not due to an additional amount of speaker information. Thus, these data suggest that in natural settings a strongly supportive discourse context is more important for the recognition of reduced forms than the recognition of canonical forms.
  • Brouwer, S., & Bradlow, A. R. (2015). The temporal dynamics of spoken word recognition in adverse listening conditions. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1007/s10936-015-9396-9.

    Abstract

    This study examined the temporal dynamics of spoken word recognition in noise and background speech. In two visual-world experiments, English participants listened to target words while looking at four pictures on the screen: a target (e.g. candle), an onset competitor (e.g. candy), a rhyme competitor (e.g. sandal), and an unrelated distractor (e.g. lemon). Target words were presented in quiet, mixed with broadband noise, or mixed with background speech. Results showed that lexical competition changes throughout the observation window as a function of what is presented in the background. These findings suggest that, rather than being strictly sequential, stream segregation and lexical competition interact during spoken word recognition
  • 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, C. M., Hagoort, P., & Chwilla, D. J. (2000). An event-related brain potential analysis of visual word priming effects. Brain and Language, 72, 158-190. doi:10.1006/brln.1999.2284.

    Abstract

    Two experiments are reported that provide evidence on task-induced effects during visual lexical processing in a primetarget semantic priming paradigm. The research focuses on target expectancy effects by manipulating the proportion of semantically related and unrelated word pairs. In Experiment 1, a lexical decision task was used and reaction times (RTs) and event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were obtained. In Experiment 2, subjects silently read the stimuli, without any additional task demands, and ERPs were recorded. The RT and ERP results of Experiment 1 demonstrate that an expectancy mechanism contributed to the priming effect when a high proportion of related word pairs was presented. The ERP results of Experiment 2 show that in the absence of extraneous task requirements, an expectancy mechanism is not active. However, a standard ERP semantic priming effect was obtained in Experiment 2. The combined results show that priming effects due to relatedness proportion are induced by task demands and are not a standard aspect of online lexical processing.
  • 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, C. M., Van Berkum, J. J. A., & Hagoort, P. (2000). Discourse before gender: An event-related brain potential study on the interplay of semantic and syntactic information during spoken language understanding. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 29(1), 53-68. doi:10.1023/A:1005172406969.

    Abstract

    A study is presented on the effects of discourse–semantic and lexical–syntactic information during spoken sentence processing. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were registered while subjects listened to discourses that ended in a sentence with a temporary syntactic ambiguity. The prior discourse–semantic information biased toward one analysis of the temporary ambiguity, whereas the lexical-syntactic information allowed only for the alternative analysis. The ERP results show that discourse–semantic information can momentarily take precedence over syntactic information, even if this violates grammatical gender agreement rules.
  • Brown, A., & Gullberg, M. (2013). L1–L2 convergence in clausal packaging in Japanese and English. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16, 477-494. doi:10.1017/S1366728912000491.

    Abstract

    This research received technical and financial support from Syracuse University, the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO; MPI 56-384, The Dynamics of Multilingual Processing, awarded to Marianne Gullberg and Peter Indefrey).
  • 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-Schmidt, S., & Konopka, A. E. (2015). Processes of incremental message planning during conversation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 833-843. doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0714-2.

    Abstract

    Speaking begins with the formulation of an intended preverbal message and linguistic encoding of this information. The transition from thought to speech occurs incrementally, with cascading planning at subsequent levels of production. In this article, we aim to specify the mechanisms that support incremental message preparation. We contrast two hypotheses about the mechanisms responsible for incorporating message-level information into a linguistic plan. According to the Initial Preparation view, messages can be encoded as fluent utterances if all information is ready before speaking begins. By contrast, on the Continuous Incrementality view, messages can be continually prepared and updated throughout the production process, allowing for fluent production even if new information is added to the message while speaking is underway. Testing these hypotheses, eye-tracked speakers in two experiments produced unscripted, conjoined noun phrases with modifiers. Both experiments showed that new message elements can be incrementally incorporated into the utterance even after articulation begins, consistent with a Continuous Incrementality view of message planning, in which messages percolate to linguistic encoding immediately as that information becomes available in the mind of the speaker. We conclude by discussing the functional role of incremental message planning in conversational speech and the situations in which this continuous incremental planning would be most likely to be observed
  • Brucato, N., Guadalupe, T., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2015). A schizophrenia-associated HLA locus affects thalamus volume and asymmetry. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 46, 311-318. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2015.02.021.

    Abstract

    Genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) have recently been shown to have neuronal functions in the thalamus and hippocampus. Common genetic variants in the Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) region, human homologue of the MHC locus, are associated with small effects on susceptibility to schizophrenia, while volumetric changes of the thalamus and hippocampus have also been linked to schizophrenia. We therefore investigated whether common variants of the HLA would affect volumetric variation of the thalamus and hippocampus. We analyzed thalamus and hippocampus volumes, as measured using structural magnetic resonance imaging, in 1.265 healthy participants. These participants had also been genotyped using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. We imputed genotypes for single nucleotide polymorphisms at high density across the HLA locus, as well as HLA allotypes and HLA amino acids, by use of a reference population dataset that was specifically targeted to the HLA region. We detected a significant association of the SNP rs17194174 with thalamus volume (nominal P=0.0000017, corrected P=0.0039), as well as additional SNPs within the same region of linkage disequilibrium. This effect was largely lateralized to the left thalamus and is localized within a genomic region previously associated with schizophrenia. The associated SNPs are also clustered within a potential regulatory element, and a region of linkage disequilibrium that spans genes expressed in the thalamus, including HLA-A. Our data indicate that genetic variation within the HLA region influences the volume and asymmetry of the human thalamus. The molecular mechanisms underlying this association may relate to HLA influences on susceptibility to schizophrenia
  • Buetti, S., Tamietto, M., Hervais-Adelman, A., Kerzel, D., de Gelder, B., & Pegna, A. J. (2013). Dissociation between goal-directed and discrete response localization in a patient with bilateral cortical blindness. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(10), 1769-1775. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00404.

    Abstract

    We investigated localization performance of simple targets in patient TN, who suffered bilateral damage of his primary visual cortex and shows complete cortical blindness. Using a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm, TN was asked to guess the position of left-right targets with goal-directed and discrete manual responses. The results indicate a clear dissociation between goal-directed and discrete responses. TN pointed toward the correct target location in approximately 75% of the trials but was at chance level with discrete responses. This indicates that the residual ability to localize an unseen stimulus depends critically on the possibility to translate a visual signal into a goal-directed motor output at least in certain forms of blindsight.
  • Bull, L. E., Oliver, C., Callaghan, E., & Woodcock, K. A. (2015). Increased Exposure to Rigid Routines can Lead to Increased Challenging Behavior Following Changes to Those Routines. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(6), 1569-1578. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2308-2.

    Abstract

    Several neurodevelopmental disorders are associated with preference for routine and challenging behavior following changes to routines. We examine individuals with Prader–Willi syndrome, who show elevated levels of this behavior, to better understand how previous experience of a routine can affect challenging behavior elicited by disruption to that routine. Play based challenges exposed 16 participants to routines, which were either adhered to or changed. Temper outburst behaviors, heart rate and movement were measured. As participants were exposed to routines for longer before a change (between 10 and 80 min; within participants), more temper outburst behaviors were elicited by changes. Increased emotional arousal was also elicited, which was indexed by heart rate increases not driven by movement. Further study will be important to understand whether current intervention approaches that limit exposure to changes, may benefit from the structured integration of flexibility to ensure that the opportunity for routine establishment is also limited.

    Additional information

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  • Burra, N., Hervais-Adelman, A., Kerzel, D., Tamietto, M., de Gelder, B., & Pegna, A. J. (2013). Amygdala Activation for Eye Contact Despite Complete Cortical Blindness. The Journal of Neuroscience, 33(25), 10483-10489. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.3994-12.2013.

    Abstract

    Cortical blindness refers to the loss of vision that occurs after destruction of the primary visual cortex. Although there is no sensory cortex and hence no conscious vision, some cortically blind patients show amygdala activation in response to facial or bodily expressions of emotion. Here we investigated whether direction of gaze could also be processed in the absence of any functional visual cortex. A well-known patient with bilateral destruction of his visual cortex and subsequent cortical blindness was investigated in an fMRI paradigm during which blocks of faces were presented either with their gaze directed toward or away from the viewer. Increased right amygdala activation was found in response to directed compared with averted gaze. Activity in this region was further found to be functionally connected to a larger network associated with face and gaze processing. The present study demonstrates that, in human subjects, the amygdala response to eye contact does not require an intact primary visual cortex.
  • Byun, K.-S., & Byun, E.-J. (2015). Becoming Friends with International Sign. Seoul: Sign Language Dandelion.
  • Cai, Z. G., Conell, L., & Holler, J. (2013). Time does not flow without language: Spatial distance affects temporal duration regardless of movement or direction. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20(5), 973-980. doi:10.3758/s13423-013-0414-3.

    Abstract

    Much evidence has suggested that people conceive of time as flowing directionally in transverse space (e.g., from left to right for English speakers). However, this phenomenon has never been tested in a fully nonlinguistic paradigm where neither stimuli nor task use linguistic labels, which raises the possibility that time is directional only when reading/writing direction has been evoked. In the present study, English-speaking participants viewed a video where an actor sang a note while gesturing and reproduced the duration of the sung note by pressing a button. Results showed that the perceived duration of the note was increased by a long-distance gesture, relative to a short-distance gesture. This effect was equally strong for gestures moving from left to right and from right to left and was not dependent on gestures depicting movement through space; a weaker version of the effect emerged with static gestures depicting spatial distance. Since both our gesture stimuli and temporal reproduction task were nonlinguistic, we conclude that the spatial representation of time is nondirectional: Movement contributes, but is not necessary, to the representation of temporal information in a transverse timeline.
  • Calandruccio, L., Brouwer, S., Van Engen, K. J., Dhar, S., & Bradlow, A. R. (2013). Masking release due to linguistic and phonetic dissimilarity between the target and masker speech. American Journal of Audiology, 22, 157-164. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/12-0072.

    Abstract

    Purpose: To investigate masking release for speech maskers for linguistically and phonetically close (English and Dutch) and distant (English and Mandarin) language pairs. Method: Thirty-two monolingual speakers of English with normal audiometric thresholds participated in the study. Data are reported for an English sentence recognition task in English and for Dutch and Mandarin competing speech maskers (Experiment 1) and noise maskers (Experiment 2) that were matched either to the long-term average speech spectra or to the temporal modulations of the speech maskers from Experiment 1. Results: Listener performance increased as the target-tomasker linguistic distance increased (English-in-English < English-in-Dutch < English-in-Mandarin). Conclusion: Spectral differences between maskers can account for some, but not all, of the variation in performance between maskers; however, temporal differences did not seem to play a significant role.
  • Caldwell-Harris, C. L., Lancaster, A., Ladd, D. R., Dediu, D., & Christiansen, M. H. (2015). Factors influencing sensitivity to lexical tone in an artificial language: Implications for second language learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 37(2), 335-357. doi:10.1017/S0272263114000849.

    Abstract

    This study examined whether musical training, ethnicity, and experience with a natural tone language influenced sensitivity to tone while listening to an artificial tone language. The language was designed with three tones, modeled after level-tone African languages. Participants listened to a 15-min random concatenation of six 3-syllable words. Sensitivity to tone was assessed using minimal pairs differing only in one syllable (nonword task: e.g., to-kà-su compared to ca-fí-to) or only in tone (tone task: e.g., to-kà-su compared to to-ká-su). Proficiency in an East Asian heritage language was the strongest predictor of success on the tone task. Asians without tone language experience were no better than other ethnic groups. We conclude by considering implications for research on second language learning, especially as approached through artificial language learning.
  • Calkoen, F., Vervat, C., van Pel, M., de Haas, V., Vijfhuizen, L., Eising, E., Kroes, W., Hoen, P., van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M., Egeler, R., Van Tol, M., & Ball, L. (2015). Despite differential gene expression profiles pediatric MDS derived mesenchymal stromal cells display functionality in vitro. Stem Cell Research, 14(2), 198-210. doi:10.1016/j.scr.2015.01.006.

    Abstract

    Pediatric myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a heterogeneous disease covering a spectrum ranging from aplasia (RCC) to myeloproliferation (RAEB(t)). In adult-type MDS there is increasing evidence for abnormal function of the bone-marrow microenvironment. Here, we extensively studied the mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) derived from children with MDS. MSCs were expanded from the bone-marrow of 17 MDS patients (RCC: n = 10 and advanced MDS: n = 7) and pediatric controls (n = 10). No differences were observed with respect to phenotype, differentiation capacity, immunomodulatory capacity or hematopoietic support. mRNA expression analysis by Deep-SAGE revealed increased IL-6 expression in RCC- and RAEB(t)-MDS. RCC-MDS MSC expressed increased levels of DKK3, a protein associated with decreased apoptosis. RAEB(t)-MDS revealed increased CRLF1 and decreased DAPK1 expressions. This pattern has been associated with transformation in hematopoietic malignancies. Genes reported to be differentially expressed in adult MDS-MSC did not differ between MSC of pediatric MDS and controls. An altered mRNA expression profile, associated with cell survival and malignant transformation, of MSC derived from children with MDS strengthens the hypothesis that the micro-environment is of importance in this disease. Our data support the understanding that pediatric and adult MDS are two different diseases. Further evaluation of the pathways involved might reveal additional therapy targets.
  • Calkoen, F. G., Vervat, C., Eising, E., Vijfhuizen, L. S., 't Hoen, P.-B.-A., van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M. M., & Egeler, R. M. (2015). Gene-expression and in vitro function of mesenchymal stromal cells are affected in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. Haematologica, 100(11), 1434-1441. doi:10.3324/haematol.2015.126938.

    Abstract

    An aberrant interaction between hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stromal cells has been linked to disease and shown to contribute to the pathophysiology of hematologic malignancies in murine models. Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia is an aggressive malignant disease affecting young infants. Here we investigated the impact of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia on mesenchymal stromal cells. Mesenchymal stromal cells were expanded from bone marrow samples of patients at diagnosis (n=9) and after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (n=7; from 5 patients) and from healthy children (n=10). Cells were characterized by phenotyping, differentiation, gene expression analysis (of controls and samples obtained at diagnosis) and in vitro functional studies assessing immunomodulation and hematopoietic support. Mesenchymal stromal cells from patients did not differ from controls in differentiation capacity nor did they differ in their capacity to support in vitro hematopoiesis. Deep-SAGE sequencing revealed differential mRNA expression in patient-derived samples, including genes encoding proteins involved in immunomodulation and cell-cell interaction. Selected gene expression normalized during remission after successful hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Whereas natural killer cell activation and peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation were not differentially affected, the suppressive effect on monocyte to dendritic cell differentiation was increased by mesenchymal stromal cells obtained at diagnosis, but not at time of remission. This study shows that active juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia affects the immune response-related gene expression and function of mesenchymal stromal cells. In contrast, the differential gene expression of hematopoiesis-related genes could not be supported by functional data. Decreased immune surveillance might contribute to the therapy resistance and progression in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.
  • Campisi, E., & Ozyurek, A. (2013). Iconicity as a communicative strategy: Recipient design in multimodal demonstrations for adults and children. Journal of Pragmatics, 47, 14-27. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2012.12.007.

    Abstract

    Humans are the only species that uses communication to teach new knowledge to novices, usually to children (Tomasello, 1999 and Csibra and Gergely, 2006). This context of communication can employ “demonstrations” and it takes place with or without the help of objects (Clark, 1996). Previous research has focused on understanding the nature of demonstrations for very young children and with objects involved. However, little is known about the strategies used in demonstrating an action to an older child in comparison to another adult and without the use of objects, i.e., with gestures only. We tested if during demonstration of an action speakers use different degrees of iconicity in gestures for a child compared to an adult. 18 Italian subjects described to a camera how to make coffee imagining the listener as a 12-year-old child, a novice or an expert adult. While speech was found more informative both for the novice adult and for the child compared to the expert adult, the rate of iconic gestures increased and they were more informative and bigger only for the child compared to both of the adult conditions. Iconicity in gestures can be a powerful communicative strategy in teaching new knowledge to children in demonstrations and this is in line with claims that it can be used as a scaffolding device in grounding knowledge in experience (Perniss et al., 2010).
  • Cappuccio, M. L., Chu, M., & Kita, S. (2013). Pointing as an instrumental gesture: Gaze representation through indication. Humana.Mente: Journal of Philosophical Studies, 24, 125-149.

    Abstract

    We call those gestures “instrumental” that can enhance certain thinking processes of an agent by offering him representational models of his actions in a virtual space of imaginary performative possibilities. We argue that pointing is an instrumental gesture in that it represents geometrical information on one’s own gaze direction (i.e., a spatial model for attentional/ocular fixation/orientation), and provides a ritualized template for initiating gaze coordination and joint attention. We counter two possible objections, asserting respectively that the representational content of pointing is not constitutive, but derived from language, and that pointing directly solicits gaze coordination, without representing it. We consider two studies suggesting that attention and spatial perception are actively modified by one’s own pointing activity: the first study shows that pointing gestures help children link sets of objects to their corresponding number words; the second, that adults are faster and more accurate in counting when they point.
  • Capredon, M., Brucato, N., Tonasso, L., Choesmel-Cadamuro, V., Ricaut, F.-X., Razafindrazaka, H., Ratolojanahary, M. A., Randriamarolaza, L.-P., Champion, B., & Dugoujon, J.-M. (2013). Tracing Arab-Islamic Inheritance in Madagascar: Study of the Y-chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA in the Antemoro. PLoS One, 8(11): e80932. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080932.

    Abstract

    Madagascar is located at the crossroads of the Asian and African worlds and is therefore of particular interest for studies on human population migration. Within the large human diversity of the Great Island, we focused our study on a particular ethnic group, the Antemoro. Their culture presents an important Arab-Islamic influence, but the question of an Arab biological inheritance remains unresolved. We analyzed paternal (n=129) and maternal (n=135) lineages of this ethnic group. Although the majority of Antemoro genetic ancestry comes from sub-Saharan African and Southeast Asian gene pools, we observed in their paternal lineages two specific haplogroups (J1 and T1) linked to Middle Eastern origins. This inheritance was restricted to some Antemoro sub-groups. Statistical analyses tended to confirm significant Middle Eastern genetic contribution. This study gives a new perspective to the large human genetic diversity in Madagascar
  • Carlsson, K., Petrovic, P., Skare, S., Petersson, K. M., & Ingvar, M. (2000). Tickling expectations: Neural processing in anticipation of a sensory stimulus. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 12(4), 691-703. doi:10.1162/089892900562318.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Franke, B., & Fisher, S. E. (2013). Molecular genetics of dyslexia: An overview. Dyslexia, 19(4), 214-240. doi:10.1002/dys.1464.

    Abstract

    Dyslexia is a highly heritable learning disorder with a complex underlying genetic architecture. Over the past decade, researchers have pinpointed a number of candidate genes that may contribute to dyslexia susceptibility. Here, we provide an overview of the state of the art, describing how studies have moved from mapping potential risk loci, through identification of associated gene variants, to characterization of gene function in cellular and animal model systems. Work thus far has highlighted some intriguing mechanistic pathways, such as neuronal migration, axon guidance, and ciliary biology, but it is clear that we still have much to learn about the molecular networks that are involved. We end the review by highlighting the past, present, and future contributions of the Dutch Dyslexia Programme to studies of genetic factors. In particular, we emphasize the importance of relating genetic information to intermediate neurobiological measures, as well as the value of incorporating longitudinal and developmental data into molecular designs
  • 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.
  • Ceroni, F., Simpson, N. H., Francks, C., Baird, G., Conti-Ramsden, G., Clark, A., Bolton, P. F., Hennessy, E. R., Donnelly, P., Bentley, D. R., Martin, H., IMGSAC, SLI Consortium, WGS500 Consortium, Parr, J., Pagnamenta, A. T., Maestrini, E., Bacchelli, E., Fisher, S. E., & Newbury, D. F. (2015). Reply to Pembrey et al: ‘ZNF277 microdeletions, specific language impairment and the meiotic mismatch methylation (3M) hypothesis’. European Journal of Human Genetics, 23, 1113-1115. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.275.
  • Chang, F., Bauman, M., Pappert, S., & Fitz, H. (2015). Do lemmas speak German?: A verb position effect in German structural priming. Cognitive Science, 39(5), 1113-1130. doi:10.1111/cogs.12184.

    Abstract

    Lexicalized theories of syntax often assume that verb-structure regularities are mediated by lemmas, which abstract over variation in verb tense and aspect. German syntax seems to challenge this assumption, because verb position depends on tense and aspect. To examine how German speakers link these elements, a structural priming study was performed which varied syntactic structure, verb position (encoded by tense and aspect), and verb overlap. Abstract structural priming was found, both within and across verb position, but priming was larger when the verb position was the same between prime and target. Priming was boosted by verb overlap, but there was no interaction with verb position. The results can be explained by a lemma model where tense and aspect are linked to structural choices in German. Since the architecture of this lemma model is not consistent with results from English, a connectionist model was developed which could explain the cross-linguistic variation in the production system. Together, these findings support the view that language learning plays an important role in determining the nature of structural priming in different languages
  • Chang, F., Kidd, E., & Rowland, C. F. (2013). Prediction in processing is a by-product of language learning [Commentary on Pickering & Garrod: An integrated theory of language production and comprehension]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(4), 350-351. doi:10.1017/S0140525X12001495.

    Abstract

    Both children and adults predict the content of upcoming language, suggesting that prediction is useful for learning as well as processing. We present an alternative model which can explain prediction behaviour as a by-product of language learning. We suggest that a consideration of language acquisition places important constraints on Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) theory.
  • Chen, J., Calhoun, V. D., Arias-Vasquez, A., Zwiers, M. P., Van Hulzen, K., Fernández, G., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Turner, J. A., & Liu, J. (2015). G-Protein genomic association with normal variation in gray matter density. Human Brain Mapping, 36(11), 4272-4286. doi:10.1002/hbm.22916.

    Abstract

    While detecting genetic variations underlying brain structures helps reveal mechanisms of neural disorders, high data dimensionality poses a major challenge for imaging genomic association studies. In this work, we present the application of a recently proposed approach, parallel independent component analysis with reference (pICA-R), to investigate genomic factors potentially regulating gray matter variation in a healthy population. This approach simultaneously assesses many variables for an aggregate effect and helps to elicit particular features in the data. We applied pICA-R to analyze gray matter density (GMD) images (274,131 voxels) in conjunction with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data (666,019 markers) collected from 1,256 healthy individuals of the Brain Imaging Genetics (BIG) study. Guided by a genetic reference derived from the gene GNA14, pICA-R identified a significant SNP-GMD association (r = −0.16, P = 2.34 × 10−8), implying that subjects with specific genotypes have lower localized GMD. The identified components were then projected to an independent dataset from the Mind Clinical Imaging Consortium (MCIC) including 89 healthy individuals, and the obtained loadings again yielded a significant SNP-GMD association (r = −0.25, P = 0.02). The imaging component reflected GMD variations in frontal, precuneus, and cingulate regions. The SNP component was enriched in genes with neuronal functions, including synaptic plasticity, axon guidance, molecular signal transduction via PKA and CREB, highlighting the GRM1, PRKCH, GNA12, and CAMK2B genes. Collectively, our findings suggest that GNA12 and GNA14 play a key role in the genetic architecture underlying normal GMD variation in frontal and parietal regions
  • Christoffels, I. K., Ganushchak, L. Y., & Koester, D. (2013). Language conflict in translation; An ERP study of translation production. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25, 646-664. doi:10.1080/20445911.2013.821127.

    Abstract

    Although most bilinguals can translate with relative ease, the underlying neuro-cognitive processes are poorly understood. Using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) we investigated the temporal course of word translation. Participants translated words from and to their first (L1, Dutch) and second (L2, English) language while ERPs were recorded. Interlingual homographs (IHs) were included to introduce language conflict. IHs share orthographic form but have different meanings in L1 and L2 (e.g., room in Dutch refers to cream). Results showed that the brain distinguished between translation directions as early as 200 ms after word presentation: the P2 amplitudes were more positive in the L1L2 translation direction. The N400 was also modulated by translation direction, with more negative amplitudes in the L2L1 translation direction. Furthermore, the IHs were translated more slowly, induced more errors, and elicited more negative N400 amplitudes than control words. In a naming experiment, participants read aloud the same words in L1 or L2 while ERPs were recorded. Results showed no effect of either IHs or language, suggesting that task schemas may be crucially related to language control in translation. Furthermore, translation appears to involve conceptual processing in both translation directions, and the task goal appears to influence how words are processed.

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