Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 1229
  • Abbot-Smith, K., & Kidd, E. (2012). Exemplar learning and schematization in language development. In N. M. Seel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning (2nd. ed., pp. 1200-1202). Berlin: Springer.
  • Acheson, D. J., Ganushchak, L. Y., Christoffels, I. K., & Hagoort, P. (2012). Conflict monitoring in speech production: Physiological evidence from bilingual picture naming. Brain and Language, 123, 131 -136. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2012.08.008.

    Abstract

    Self-monitoring in production is critical to correct performance, and recent accounts suggest that such monitoring may occur via the detection of response conflict. The error-related negativity (ERN) is a response-locked event-related potential (ERP) that is sensitive to response conflict. The present study examines whether response conflict is detected in production by exploring a situation where multiple outputs are activated: the bilingual naming of form-related equivalents (i.e. cognates). ERPs were recorded while German-Dutch bilinguals named pictures in their first and second languages. Although cognates were named faster than non-cognates, response conflict was evident in the form of a larger ERN-like response for cognates and adaptation effects on naming, as the magnitude of cognate facilitation was smaller following the naming of cognates. Given that signals of response conflict are present during correct naming, the present results suggest that such conflict may serve as a reliable signal for monitoring in speech production.
  • 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.
  • Acheson, D. J., & Hagoort, P. (2014). Twisting tongues to test for conflict monitoring in speech production. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8: 206. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00206.

    Abstract

    A number of recent studies have hypothesized that monitoring in speech production may occur via domain-general mechanisms responsible for the detection of response conflict. Outside of language, two ERP components have consistently been elicited in conflict-inducing tasks (e.g., the flanker task): the stimulus-locked N2 on correct trials, and the response-locked error-related negativity (ERN). The present investigation used these electrophysiological markers to test whether a common response conflict monitor is responsible for monitoring in speech and non-speech tasks. Electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded while participants performed a tongue twister (TT) task and a manual version of the flanker task. In the TT task, people rapidly read sequences of four nonwords arranged in TT and non-TT patterns three times. In the flanker task, people responded with a left/right button press to a center-facing arrow, and conflict was manipulated by the congruency of the flanking arrows. Behavioral results showed typical effects of both tasks, with increased error rates and slower speech onset times for TT relative to non-TT trials and for incongruent relative to congruent flanker trials. In the flanker task, stimulus-locked EEG analyses replicated previous results, with a larger N2 for incongruent relative to congruent trials, and a response-locked ERN. In the TT task, stimulus-locked analyses revealed broad, frontally-distributed differences beginning around 50 ms and lasting until just before speech initiation, with TT trials more negative than non-TT trials; response-locked analyses revealed an ERN. Correlation across these measures showed some correlations within a task, but little evidence of systematic cross-task correlation. Although the present results do not speak against conflict signals from the production system serving as cues to self-monitoring, they are not consistent with signatures of response conflict being mediated by a single, domain-general conflict monitor
  • Adank, P., Davis, M. H., & Hagoort, P. (2012). Neural dissociation in processing noise and accent in spoken language comprehension. Neuropsychologia, 50, 77-84. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.10.024.

    Abstract

    We investigated how two distortions of the speech signal–added background noise and speech in an unfamiliar accent - affect comprehension of speech using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Listeners performed a speeded sentence verification task for speech in quiet in Standard Dutch, in Standard Dutch with added background noise, and for speech in an unfamiliar accent of Dutch. The behavioural results showed slower responses for both types of distortion compared to clear speech, and no difference between the two distortions. The neuroimaging results showed that, compared to clear speech, processing noise resulted in more activity bilaterally in Inferior Frontal Gyrus, Frontal Operculum, while processing accented speech recruited an area in left Superior Temporal Gyrus/Sulcus. It is concluded that the neural bases for processing different distortions of the speech signal dissociate. It is suggested that current models of the cortical organisation of speech are updated to specifically associate bilateral inferior frontal areas with processing external distortions (e.g., background noise) and left temporal areas with speaker-related distortions (e.g., accents).

    Additional information

    Adank_2012_Suppl_Info.doc
  • Adank, P., Noordzij, M. L., & Hagoort, P. (2012). The role of planum temporale in processing accent variation in spoken language comprehension. Human Brain Mapping, 33, 360-372. doi:10.1002/hbm.21218.

    Abstract

    A repetition-suppression functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm was used to explore the neuroanatomical substrates of processing two types of acoustic variation—speaker and accent—during spoken sentence comprehension. Recordings were made for two speakers and two accents: Standard Dutch and a novel accent of Dutch. Each speaker produced sentences in both accents. Participants listened to two sentences presented in quick succession while their haemodynamic responses were recorded in an MR scanner. The first sentence was spoken in Standard Dutch; the second was spoken by the same or a different speaker and produced in Standard Dutch or in the artificial accent. This design made it possible to identify neural responses to a switch in speaker and accent independently. A switch in accent was associated with activations in predominantly left-lateralized areas including posterior temporal regions, including superior temporal gyrus, planum temporale (PT), and supramarginal gyrus, as well as in frontal regions, including left pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). A switch in speaker recruited a predominantly right-lateralized network, including middle frontal gyrus and prenuneus. It is concluded that posterior temporal areas, including PT, and frontal areas, including IFG, are involved in processing accent variation in spoken sentence comprehension
  • Agus, T., Carrion Castillo, A., Pressnitzer, D., & Ramus, F. (2014). Perceptual learning of acoustic noise by individuals with dyslexia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research., 57, 1069-1077. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/13-0020).

    Abstract

    Purpose: A phonological deficit is thought to affect most individuals with developmental dyslexia. The present study addresses whether the phonological deficit is caused by difficulties with perceptual learning of fine acoustic details. Method: A demanding test of nonverbal auditory memory, “noise learning,” was administered to both adults with dyslexia and control adult participants. On each trial, listeners had to decide whether a stimulus was a 1-s noise token or 2 abutting presentations of the same 0.5-s noise token (repeated noise). Without the listener’s knowledge, the exact same noise tokens were presented over many trials. An improved ability to perform the task for such “reference” noises reflects learning of their acoustic details. Results: Listeners with dyslexia did not differ from controls in any aspect of the task, qualitatively or quantitatively. They required the same amount of training to achieve discrimination of repeated from nonrepeated noises, and they learned the reference noises as often and as rapidly as the control group. However, they did show all the hallmarks of dyslexia, including a well-characterized phonological deficit. Conclusion: The data did not support the hypothesis that deficits in basic auditory processing or nonverbal learning and memory are the cause of the phonological deficit in dyslexia
  • Ahlenius, H., Devaraju, K., Monni, E., Oki, K., Wattananit, S., Darsalia, V., Iosif, R. E., Torper, O., Wood, J. C., Braun, S., Jagemann, L., Nuber, U. A., Englund, E., Jacobsen, S.-E.-W., Lindvall, O., & Kokaia, Z. (2012). Adaptor Protein LNK Is a Negative Regulator of Brain Neural Stem Cell Proliferation after Stroke. The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(15), 5151-5164. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0474-12.2012.

    Abstract

    Ischemic stroke causes transient increase of neural stem and progenitor cell (NSPC) proliferation in the subventricular zone (SVZ), and migration of newly formed neuroblasts toward the damaged area where they mature to striatal neurons. The molecular mechanisms regulating this plastic response, probably involved in structural reorganization and functional recovery, are poorly understood. The adaptor protein LNK suppresses hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal, but its presence and role in the brain are poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that LNK is expressed in NSPCs in the adult mouse and human SVZ. Lnk−/− mice exhibited increased NSPC proliferation after stroke, but not in intact brain or following status epilepticus. Deletion of Lnk caused increased NSPC proliferation while overexpression decreased mitotic activity of these cells in vitro. We found that Lnk expression after stroke increased in SVZ through the transcription factors STAT1/3. LNK attenuated insulin-like growth factor 1 signaling by inhibition of AKT phosphorylation, resulting in reduced NSPC proliferation. Our findings identify LNK as a stroke-specific, endogenous negative regulator of NSPC proliferation, and suggest that LNK signaling is a novel mechanism influencing plastic responses in postischemic brain.
  • El Aissati, A., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2012). Finding words in a language that allows words without vowels. Cognition, 124, 79-84. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.03.006.

    Abstract

    Across many languages from unrelated families, spoken-word recognition is subject to a constraint whereby potential word candidates must contain a vowel. This constraint minimizes competition from embedded words (e.g., in English, disfavoring win in twin because t cannot be a word). However, the constraint would be counter-productive in certain languages that allow stand-alone vowelless open-class words. One such language is Berber (where t is indeed a word). Berber listeners here detected words affixed to nonsense contexts with or without vowels. Length effects seen in other languages replicated in Berber, but in contrast to prior findings, word detection was not hindered by vowelless contexts. When words can be vowelless, otherwise universal constraints disfavoring vowelless words do not feature in spoken-word recognition.

    Additional information

    mmc1.pdf
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2014). Towards a Computational Model of Actor-Based Language Comprehension. Neuroinformatics, 12(1), 143-179. doi:10.1007/s12021-013-9198-x.

    Abstract

    Neurophysiological data from a range of typologically diverse languages provide evidence for a cross-linguistically valid, actor-based strategy of understanding sentence-level meaning. This strategy seeks to identify the participant primarily responsible for the state of affairs (the actor) as quickly and unambiguously as possible, thus resulting in competition for the actor role when there are multiple candidates. Due to its applicability across languages with vastly different characteristics, we have proposed that the actor strategy may derive from more basic cognitive or neurobiological organizational principles, though it is also shaped by distributional properties of the linguistic input (e.g. the morphosyntactic coding strategies for actors in a given language). Here, we describe an initial computational model of the actor strategy and how it interacts with language-specific properties. Specifically, we contrast two distance metrics derived from the output of the computational model (one weighted and one unweighted) as potential measures of the degree of competition for actorhood by testing how well they predict modulations of electrophysiological activity engendered by language processing. To this end, we present an EEG study on word order processing in German and use linear mixed-effects models to assess the effect of the various distance metrics. Our results show that a weighted metric, which takes into account the weighting of an actor-identifying feature in the language under consideration outperforms an unweighted distance measure. We conclude that actor competition effects cannot be reduced to feature overlap between multiple sentence participants and thereby to the notion of similarity-based interference, which is prominent in current memory-based models of language processing. Finally, we argue that, in addition to illuminating the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of actor competition, the present model can form the basis for a more comprehensive, neurobiologically plausible computational model of constructing sentence-level meaning.
  • Alferink, I., & Gullberg, M. (2014). French-Dutch bilinguals do not maintain obligatory semantic distinctions: Evidence from placement verbs. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17, 22-37. doi:10.1017/S136672891300028X.

    Abstract

    It is often said that bilinguals are not the sum of two monolinguals but that bilingual systems represent a third pattern. This study explores the exact nature of this pattern. We ask whether there is evidence of a merged system when one language makes an obligatory distinction that the other one does not, namely in the case of placement verbs in French and Dutch, and whether such a merged system is realised as a more general or a more specific system. The results show that in elicited descriptions Belgian French-Dutch bilinguals drop one of the categories in one of the languages, resulting in a more general semantic system in comparison with the non-contact variety. They do not uphold the obligatory distinction in the verb nor elsewhere despite its communicative relevance. This raises important questions regarding how widespread these differences are and what drives these patterns
  • Alhama, R. G., Scha, R., & Zuidema, W. (2014). Rule learning in humans and animals. In E. A. Cartmill, S. Roberts, H. Lyn, & H. Cornish (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (EVOLANG 10) (pp. 371-372). Singapore: World Scientific.
  • Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., Freudenthal, D., & Chang, F. (2014). Avoiding dative overgeneralisation errors: semantics, statistics or both? Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 29(2), 218-243. doi:10.1080/01690965.2012.738300.

    Abstract

    How do children eventually come to avoid the production of overgeneralisation errors, in particular, those involving the dative (e.g., *I said her “no”)? The present study addressed this question by obtaining from adults and children (5–6, 9–10 years) judgements of well-formed and over-general datives with 301 different verbs (44 for children). A significant effect of pre-emption—whereby the use of a verb in the prepositional-object (PO)-dative construction constitutes evidence that double-object (DO)-dative uses are not permitted—was observed for every age group. A significant effect of entrenchment—whereby the use of a verb in any construction constitutes evidence that unattested dative uses are not permitted—was also observed for every age group, with both predictors also accounting for developmental change between ages 5–6 and 9–10 years. Adults demonstrated knowledge of a morphophonological constraint that prohibits Latinate verbs from appearing in the DO-dative construction (e.g., *I suggested her the trip). Verbs’ semantic properties (supplied by independent adult raters) explained additional variance for all groups and developmentally, with the relative influence of narrow- vs broad-range semantic properties increasing with age. We conclude by outlining an account of the formation and restriction of argument-structure generalisations designed to accommodate these findings.
  • 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., Pine, J. M., & Rowland, C. F. (2012). Semantics versus statistics in the retreat from locative overgeneralization errors. Cognition, 123(2), 260-279. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.01.002.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated how children learn that some verbs may appear in the figure-locative but not the ground-locative construction (e.g., Lisa poured water into the cup; *Lisa poured the cup with water), with some showing the opposite pattern (e.g., *Bart filled water into the cup; Bart filled the cup with water), and others appearing in both (Lisa sprayed water onto the flowers; Lisa sprayed the flowers with water). Grammatical acceptability judgments were obtained for the use of each of 142 locative verbs (60 for children) in each sentence type. Overall, and for each age group individually, the judgment data were best explained by a model that included ratings of the extent to which each verb exhibits both the broad- and narrow-range semantic properties of the figure- and ground-locative constructions (relating mainly to manner and end-state respectively; Pinker, 1989) and the statistical-learning measure of overall verb frequency (entrenchment; Braine & Brooks, 1995). A second statistical-learning measure, frequency in each of the two locative constructions (pre-emption; Goldberg, 1995), was found to have no additional dissociable effect. We conclude by drawing together various theoretical proposals to arrive at a possible account of how semantics and statistics interact in the retreat from overgeneralization.
  • Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., & Chang, F. (2012). The roles of verb semantics, entrenchment, and morphophonology in the retreat from dative argument-structure overgeneralization errors. Language, 88(1), 45-81. doi:10.1353/lan.2012.0000.

    Abstract

    Children (aged five-to-six and nine-to-ten years) and adults rated the acceptability of well-formed sentences and argument-structure overgeneralization errors involving the prepositional-object and double-object dative constructions (e.g. Marge pulled the box to Homer/*Marge pulled Homer the box). In support of the entrenchment hypothesis, a negative correlation was observed between verb frequency and the acceptability of errors, across all age groups. Adults additionally displayed sensitivity to narrow-range semantic constraints on the alternation, rejecting double-object dative uses of novel verbs consistent with prepositional-dative-only classes and vice versa. Adults also provided evidence for the psychological validity of a proposed morphophonological constraint prohibiting Latinate verbs from appearing in the double-object dative. These findings are interpreted in the light of a recent account of argument-structure acquisition, under which children retreat from error by incrementally learning the semantic, phonological, and pragmatic properties associated with particular verbs and particular construction slots.*
  • 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.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2012). Ewe: Its grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices. München: LINCOM EUROPA.

    Abstract

    his work offers a modern description of Ewe(GBE), a Kwa (Niger-Congo) language of West Africa. It assumes that the “essence of linguistics is the quest for meaning” (Whorf) and investigates the meanings of grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices representing them in Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) style explications. The explications account for the range of use of the constructions suggested by data from diversified mediated discourse: television and radio interviews and drama, written plays and fiction as well as insider knowledge of and observed behaviour both as participant and observer in Ewe communities of practice. The author draws ecumenically on insights from functional and formal linguistic approaches. The work opens with an overview of Ewe structural grammar. The rest of the work is divided into three parts. Part II concentrates on property denoting expressions, imperfective aspect constructions and possession. Part III examines the grammatical resources available to the Ewe speaker for packaging information in a clause: scene-setting constructions, a “capability passive” construction and experiential constructions. In Part IV illocutionary devices such as formulaic and routine expressions, address terms and interjections are described paying attention to their socio-cultural dimensions of use. This work is of interest to Africanists and linguists interested in grammatical description, typology, semantics and pragmatics as well as anthropologists interested in ethnography of communication and the relation between language and culture.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2013). Possessive constructions in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé). In A. Aikhenvald, & R. Dixon (Eds.), Possession and ownership: A crosslinguistic typology (pp. 224-242). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 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.
  • Andics, A. (2012). The semantic role of agentive control in Hungarian placement events. In A. Kopecka, & B. Narasimhan (Eds.), Events of putting and taking: A crosslinguistic perspective (pp. 183-200). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    This paper explores the role of various types of location control in descriptions of placement events in Hungarian. It will be shown that general verb choices cannot be explained in terms of spatial relations (such as containment and support) or spatial relational changes (such as joining and separation). On the contrary, all main verb distinctions within the placement domain can be described in terms of agentive control settings between the Figure and agentive entities (e.g., the Agent, other persons). In Hungarian, only events with continuous agentive control along the motion trajectory are described as either ‘putting’ or ‘taking’, and only events where the Figure is furthermore controlled by a non-agentive entity at the Goal are described as ‘putting’.
  • Andics, A. (2013). Who is talking? Behavioural and neural evidence for norm-based coding in voice identity learning. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Araújo, S., Bramão, I., Faísca, L., Petersson, K. M., & Reis, A. (2012). Electrophysiological correlates of impaired reading in dyslexic pre-adolescent children. Brain and Cognition, 79, 79-88. doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2012.02.010.

    Abstract

    In this study, event related potentials (ERPs) were used to investigate the extent to which dyslexics (aged 9–13 years) differ from normally reading controls in early ERPs, which reflect prelexical orthographic processing, and in late ERPs, which reflect implicit phonological processing. The participants performed an implicit reading task, which was manipulated in terms of letter-specific processing, orthographic familiarity, and phonological structure. Comparing consonant- and symbol sequences, the results showed significant differences in the P1 and N1 waveforms in the control but not in the dyslexic group. The reduced P1 and N1 effects in pre-adolescent children with dyslexia suggest a lack of visual specialization for letter-processing. The P1 and N1 components were not sensitive to the familiar vs. less familiar orthographic sequence contrast. The amplitude of the later N320 component was larger for phonologically legal (pseudowords) compared to illegal (consonant sequences) items in both controls and dyslexics. However, the topographic differences showed that the controls were more left-lateralized than the dyslexics. We suggest that the development of the mechanisms that support literacy skills in dyslexics is both delayed and follows a non-normal developmental path. This contributes to the hemispheric differences observed and might reflect a compensatory mechanism in dyslexics.
  • Araújo, S., Faísca, L., Bramão, I., Petersson, K. M., & Reis, A. (2014). Lexical and phonological processes in dyslexic readers: Evidences from a visual lexical decision task. Dyslexia, 20, 38-53. doi:10.1002/dys.1461.

    Abstract

    The aim of the present study was to investigate whether reading failure in the context of an orthography of intermediate consistency is linked to inefficient use of the lexical orthographic reading procedure. The performance of typically developing and dyslexic Portuguese-speaking children was examined in a lexical decision task, where the stimulus lexicality, word frequency and length were manipulated. Both lexicality and length effects were larger in the dyslexic group than in controls, although the interaction between group and frequency disappeared when the data were transformed to control for general performance factors. Children with dyslexia were influenced in lexical decision making by the stimulus length of words and pseudowords, whereas age-matched controls were influenced by the length of pseudowords only. These findings suggest that non-impaired readers rely mainly on lexical orthographic information, but children with dyslexia preferentially use the phonological decoding procedure—albeit poorly—most likely because they struggle to process orthographic inputs as a whole such as controls do. Accordingly, dyslexic children showed significantly poorer performance than controls for all types of stimuli, including words that could be considered over-learned, such as high-frequency words. This suggests that their orthographic lexical entries are less established in the orthographic lexicon
  • Aristar-Dry, H., Drude, S., Windhouwer, M., Gippert, J., & Nevskaya, I. (2012). „Rendering Endangered Lexicons Interoperable through Standards Harmonization”: The RELISH Project. In N. Calzolari (Ed.), Proceedings of LREC 2012: 8th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (pp. 766-770). European Language Resources Association (ELRA).

    Abstract

    The RELISH project promotes language-oriented research by addressing a two-pronged problem: (1) the lack of harmonization between digital standards for lexical information in Europe and America, and (2) the lack of interoperability among existing lexicons of endangered languages, in particular those created with the Shoebox/Toolbox lexicon building software. The cooperation partners in the RELISH project are the University of Frankfurt (FRA), the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (MPI Nijmegen), and Eastern Michigan University, the host of the Linguist List (ILIT). The project aims at harmonizing key European and American digital standards whose divergence has hitherto impeded international collaboration on language technology for resource creation and analysis, as well as web services for archive access. Focusing on several lexicons of endangered languages, the project will establish a unified way of referencing lexicon structure and linguistic concepts, and develop a procedure for migrating these heterogeneous lexicons to a standards-compliant format. Once developed, the procedure will be generalizable to the large store of lexical resources involved in the LEGO and DoBeS projects.
  • Arnon, I., Casillas, M., Kurumada, C., & Estigarribia, B. (Eds.). (2014). Language in interaction: Studies in honor of Eve V. Clark. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Understanding how communicative goals impact and drive the learning process has been a long-standing issue in the field of language acquisition. Recent years have seen renewed interest in the social and pragmatic aspects of language learning: the way interaction shapes what and how children learn. In this volume, we bring together researchers working on interaction in different domains to present a cohesive overview of ongoing interactional research. The studies address the diversity of the environments children learn in; the role of para-linguistic information; the pragmatic forces driving language learning; and the way communicative pressures impact language use and change. Using observational, empirical and computational findings, this volume highlights the effect of interpersonal communication on what children hear and what they learn. This anthology is inspired by and dedicated to Prof. Eve V. Clark – a pioneer in all matters related to language acquisition – and a major force in establishing interaction and communication as crucial aspects of language learning.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Baayen, R. H. (2014). Productivity in language production. In D. Sandra, & M. Taft (Eds.), Morphological Structure, Lexical Representation and Lexical Access: A Special Issue of Language and Cognitive Processes (pp. 447-469). London: Routledge.

    Abstract

    Lexical statistics and a production experiment are used to gauge the extent to which the linguistic notion of morphological productivity is relevant for psycholinguistic theories of speech production in languages such as Dutch and English. Lexical statistics of productivity show that despite the relatively poor morphology of Dutch, new words are created often enough for the marginalisation of word formation in theories of speech production to be theoretically unattractive. This conclusion is supported by the results of a production experiment in which subjects freely created hundreds of productive, but only a handful of unproductive, neologisms. A tentative solution is proposed as to why the opposite pattern has been observed in the speech of jargonaphasics.
  • Baggio, G., & Fonseca, A. (2012). Complex dynamics of semantic memory access in reading. Interface: Journal of the Royal Society, 9, 328-338. doi:10.1098/rsif.2011.0289.

    Abstract

    Understanding a word in context relies on a cascade of perceptual and conceptual processes, starting with modality-specific input decoding, and leading to the unification of the word's meaning into a discourse model. One critical cognitive event, turning a sensory stimulus into a meaningful linguistic sign, is the access of a semantic representation from memory. Little is known about the changes that activating a word's meaning brings about in cortical dynamics. We recorded the electroencephalogram (EEG) while participants read sentences that could contain a contextually unexpected word, such as ‘cold’ in ‘In July it is very cold outside’. We reconstructed trajectories in phase space from single-trial EEG time series, and we applied three nonlinear measures of predictability and complexity to each side of the semantic access boundary, estimated as the onset time of the N400 effect evoked by critical words. Relative to controls, unexpected words were associated with larger prediction errors preceding the onset of the N400. Accessing the meaning of such words produced a phase transition to lower entropy states, in which cortical processing becomes more predictable and more regular. Our study sheds new light on the dynamics of information flow through interfaces between sensory and memory systems during language processing.
  • Baggio, G. (2012). Selective alignment of brain responses by task demands during semantic processing. Neuropsychologia, 50, 655-665. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.01.002.

    Abstract

    The way the brain binds together words to form sentences may depend on whether and how the arising cognitive representation is to be used in behavior. The amplitude of the N400 effect in event-related brain potentials is inversely correlated with the degree of fit of a word's meaning into a semantic representation of the preceding discourse. This study reports a double dissociation in the latency characteristics of the N400 effect depending on task demands. When participants silently read words in a sentence context, without issuing a relevant overt response, greater temporal alignment over recording sites occurs for N400 onsets than peaks. If however a behavior is produced – here pressing a button in a binary probe selection task – exactly the opposite pattern is observed, with stronger alignment of N400 peaks than onsets. The peak amplitude of the N400 effect correlates best with the latency characteristic showing less temporal dispersion. These findings suggest that meaning construction in the brain is subtly affected by task demands, and that there is complex functional integration between semantic combinatorics and control systems handling behavioral goals.
  • Baggio, G., Van Lambalgen, M., & Hagoort, P. (2012). Language, linguistics and cognition. In R. Kempson, T. Fernando, & N. Asher (Eds.), Philosophy of linguistics (pp. 325-356). Amsterdam: North Holland.

    Abstract

    This chapter provides a partial overview of some currently debated issues in the cognitive science of language. We distinguish two families of problems, which we refer to as ‘language and cognition’ and ‘linguistics and cognition’. Under the first heading we present and discuss the hypothesis that language, in particular the semantics of tense and aspect, is grounded in the planning system. We emphasize the role of non-monotonic inference during language comprehension. We look at the converse issue of the role of linguistic interpretation in reasoning tasks. Under the second heading we investigate the two foremost assumptions of current linguistic methodology, namely intuitions as the only adequate empirical basis of theories of meaning and grammar and the competence-performance distinction, arguing that these are among the heaviest burdens for a truly comprehensive approach to language. Marr’s three-level scheme is proposed as an alternative methodological framework, which we apply in a review of two ERP studies on semantic processing, to the ‘binding problem’ for language, and in a conclusive set of remarks on relating theories in the cognitive science of language.
  • Baggio, G., Van Lambalgen, M., & Hagoort, P. (2012). The processing consequences of compositionality. In M. Werning, W. Hinzen, & E. Machery (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of compositionality (pp. 655-672). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Competition from unseen or unheard novel words: Lexical consolidation across modalities. Journal of Memory and Language, 73, 116-139. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2014.03.002.

    Abstract

    In four experiments we investigated the formation of novel word memories across modalities, using competition between novel words and their existing phonological/orthographic neighbours as a test of lexical integration. Auditorily acquired novel words entered into competition both in the spoken modality (Experiment 1) and in the written modality (Experiment 4) after a consolidation period of 24 h. Words acquired from print, on the other hand, showed competition effects after 24 h in a visual word recognition task (Experiment 3) but required additional training and a consolidation period of a week before entering into spoken-word competition (Experiment 2). These cross-modal effects support the hypothesis that lexicalised rather than episodic representations underlie post-consolidation competition effects. We suggest that sublexical phoneme–grapheme conversion during novel word encoding and/or offline consolidation enables the formation of modality-specific lexemes in the untrained modality, which subsequently undergo the same cortical integration process as explicitly perceived word forms in the trained modality. Although conversion takes place in both directions, speech input showed an advantage over print both in terms of lexicalisation and explicit memory performance. In conclusion, the brain is able to integrate and consolidate internally generated lexical information as well as external perceptual input.
  • 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., Albers, C. J., Oort, F. J., & Timmerman, M. E. (2014). Measurement bias detection through Bayesian factor analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 1087. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01087.

    Abstract

    Measurement bias has been defined as a violation of measurement invariance. Potential violators—variables that possibly violate measurement invariance—can be investigated through restricted factor analysis (RFA). The purpose of the present paper is to investigate a Bayesian approach to estimate RFA models with interaction effects, in order to detect uniform and nonuniform measurement bias. Because modeling nonuniform bias requires an interaction term, it is more complicated than modeling uniform bias. The Bayesian approach seems especially suited for such complex models. In a simulation study we vary the type of bias (uniform, nonuniform), the type of violator (observed continuous, observed dichotomous, latent continuous), and the correlation between the trait and the violator (0.0, 0.5). For each condition, 100 sets of data are generated and analyzed. We examine the accuracy of the parameter estimates and the performance of two bias detection procedures, based on the DIC fit statistic, in Bayesian RFA. Results show that the accuracy of the estimated parameters is satisfactory. Bias detection rates are high in all conditions with an observed violator, and still satisfactory in all other conditions.
  • Barendse, M. T., Oort, F. J., Werner, C. S., Ligtvoet, R., & Schermelleh-Engel, K. (2012). Measurement bias detection through factor analysis. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 19(4), 561-579. doi:10.1080/10705511.2012.713261.

    Abstract

    Measurement bias is defined as a violation of measurement invariance, which can be investigated through multigroup factor analysis (MGFA), by testing across-group differences in intercepts (uniform bias) and factor loadings (nonuniform bias). Restricted factor analysis (RFA) can also be used to detect measurement bias. To also enable nonuniform bias detection, we extend RFA with latent moderated structures (LMS) or use a random slope parameterization (RSP). In a simulation study we compare the MGFA, RFA/LMS, and RFA/RSP methods in detecting measurement bias, varying type of bias (uniform, nonuniform), type of the variable that violates measurement invariance (dichotomous, continuous), and its relationship with the trait that we want to measure (independent, dependent). For each condition, 500 sets of data are generated and analyzed with each of the three detection methods, in single run and in an iterative procedure. The RFA methods outperform MGFA when the violating variable is continuous.
  • Baron-Cohen, S., Murphy, L., Chakrabarti, B., Craig, I., Mallya, U., Lakatosova, S., Rehnstrom, K., Peltonen, L., Wheelwright, S., Allison, C., Fisher, S. E., & Warrier, V. (2014). A genome wide association study of mathematical ability reveals an association at chromosome 3q29, a locus associated with autism and learning difficulties: A preliminary study. PLoS One, 9(5): e96374. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096374.

    Abstract

    Mathematical ability is heritable, but few studies have directly investigated its molecular genetic basis. Here we aimed to identify specific genetic contributions to variation in mathematical ability. We carried out a genome wide association scan using pooled DNA in two groups of U.K. samples, based on end of secondary/high school national academic exam achievement: high (n = 419) versus low (n = 183) mathematical ability while controlling for their verbal ability. Significant differences in allele frequencies between these groups were searched for in 906,600 SNPs using the Affymetrix GeneChip Human Mapping version 6.0 array. After meeting a threshold of p<1.5×10−5, 12 SNPs from the pooled association analysis were individually genotyped in 542 of the participants and analyzed to validate the initial associations (lowest p-value 1.14 ×10−6). In this analysis, one of the SNPs (rs789859) showed significant association after Bonferroni correction, and four (rs10873824, rs4144887, rs12130910 rs2809115) were nominally significant (lowest p-value 3.278 × 10−4). Three of the SNPs of interest are located within, or near to, known genes (FAM43A, SFT2D1, C14orf64). The SNP that showed the strongest association, rs789859, is located in a region on chromosome 3q29 that has been previously linked to learning difficulties and autism. rs789859 lies 1.3 kbp downstream of LSG1, and 700 bp upstream of FAM43A, mapping within the potential promoter/regulatory region of the latter. To our knowledge, this is only the second study to investigate the association of genetic variants with mathematical ability, and it highlights a number of interesting markers for future study.
  • 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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  • Basnakova, J., Weber, K., Petersson, K. M., Van Berkum, J. J. A., & Hagoort, P. (2014). Beyond the language given: The neural correlates of inferring speaker meaning. Cerebral Cortex, 24(10), 2572-2578. doi:10.1093/cercor/bht112.

    Abstract

    Even though language allows us to say exactly what we mean, we often use language to say things indirectly, in a way that depends on the specific communicative context. For example, we can use an apparently straightforward sentence like "It is hard to give a good presentation" to convey deeper meanings, like "Your talk was a mess!" One of the big puzzles in language science is how listeners work out what speakers really mean, which is a skill absolutely central to communication. However, most neuroimaging studies of language comprehension have focused on the arguably much simpler, context-independent process of understanding direct utterances. To examine the neural systems involved in getting at contextually constrained indirect meaning, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging as people listened to indirect replies in spoken dialog. Relative to direct control utterances, indirect replies engaged dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, right temporo-parietal junction and insula, as well as bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and right medial temporal gyrus. This suggests that listeners take the speaker's perspective on both cognitive (theory of mind) and affective (empathy-like) levels. In line with classic pragmatic theories, our results also indicate that currently popular "simulationist" accounts of language comprehension fail to explain how listeners understand the speaker's intended message.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Mazaheri, A., & Jensen, O. (2012). Beyond ERPs: Oscillatory neuronal dynamics. In S. J. Luck, & E. S. Kappenman (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of event-related potential components (pp. 31-50). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2012). Chronologie et rythme du changement linguistique: Syntaxe vs. morphologie. In O. Spevak, & A. Christol (Eds.), Les évolutions du latin (pp. 45-65). Paris: L’Harmattan.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2012). Functions of nominal apposition in Vulgar and Late Latin: Change in progress? In F. Biville, M.-K. Lhommé, & D. Vallat (Eds.), Latin vulgaire – latin tardif IX (pp. 207-220). Lyon: Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranné.

    Abstract

    Analysis of the functions of nominal apposition in a number of Latin authors representing different periods, genres, and linguistic registers shows (1) that nominal apposition in Latin had a wide variety of functions; (2) that genre had some effect on functional use; (3) that change did not affect semantic fields as such; and (4) that with time the occurrence of apposition increasingly came to depend on the semantic field and within the semantic field on the individual lexical items. The ‘per-word’ treatment –also attested for the structural development of nominal apposition– underscores the specific characteristics of nominal apposition as a phenomenon at the cross-roads of syntax and derivational morphology
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2014). Indefinite HOMO in the Gospels of the Vulgata. In P. Molinell, P. Cuzzoli, & C. Fedriani (Eds.), Latin vulgaire – latin tardif X (pp. 415-435). Bergamo: Bergamo University Press.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2013). Impersonal verbs. In G. K. Giannakis (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics Online (pp. 197-198). Leiden: Brill. doi:10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000481.

    Abstract

    Impersonal verbs in Greek ‒ as in the other Indo-European languages ‒ exclusively feature 3rd person singular finite forms and convey one of three types of meaning: (a) meteorological conditions; (b) emotional and physical state/experience; (c) modality. In Greek, impersonal verbs predominantly convey meteorological conditions and modality. Impersonal verbs in Greek, as in the other Indo-European languages, exclusively feature 3rd person singular finite forms and convey one of three types of me…

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  • Bavin, E. L., Kidd, E., Prendergast, L., Baker, E., Dissanayake, C., & Prior, M. (2014). Severity of autism is related to children's language processing. Autism Research, 7(6), 687-694. doi:10.1002/aur.1410.

    Abstract

    Problems in language processing have been associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with some research attributing the problems to overall language skills rather than a diagnosis of ASD. Lexical access was assessed in a looking-while-listening task in three groups of 5- to 7-year-old children; two had high-functioning ASD (HFA), an ASD severe (ASD-S) group (n = 16) and an ASD moderate (ASD-M) group (n = 21). The third group were typically developing (TD) (n = 48). Participants heard sentences of the form “Where's the x?” and their eye movements to targets (e.g., train), phonological competitors (e.g., tree), and distractors were recorded. Proportions of looking time at target were analyzed within 200 ms intervals. Significant group differences were found between the ASD-S and TD groups only, at time intervals 1000–1200 and 1200–1400 ms postonset. The TD group was more likely to be fixated on target. These differences were maintained after adjusting for language, verbal and nonverbal IQ, and attention scores. An analysis using parent report of autistic-like behaviors showed higher scores to be associated with lower proportions of looking time at target, regardless of group. Further analysis showed fixation for the TD group to be significantly faster than for the ASD-S. In addition, incremental processing was found for all groups. The study findings suggest that severity of autistic behaviors will impact significantly on children's language processing in real life situations when exposed to syntactically complex material. They also show the value of using online methods for understanding how young children with ASD process language. Autism Res 2014, 7: 687–694.
  • 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.
  • Behne, T., Liszkowski, U., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (2012). Twelve-month-olds’ comprehension and production of pointing. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30, 359-375. doi:10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.02043.x.

    Abstract

    This study explored whether infants aged 12 months already recognize the communicative function of pointing gestures. Infants participated in a task requiring them to comprehend an adult’s informative pointing gesture to the location of a hidden toy. They mostly succeeded in this task, which required them to infer that the adult was attempting to direct their attention to a location for a reason – because she wanted them to know that a toy was hidden there. Many of the infants also reversed roles and produced appropriate pointing gestures for the adult in this same game, and indeed there was a correlation such that comprehenders were for the most part producers. These findings indicate that by 12 months of age infants are beginning to show a bidirectional understanding of communicative pointing.
  • 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.*
  • Benazzo, S., Flecken, M., & Soroli, E. (Eds.). (2012). Typological perspectives on language and thought: Thinking for speaking in L2. [Special Issue]. Language, Interaction and Acquisition, 3(2).
  • Benazzo, S., Flecken, M., & Soroli, E. (2012). Typological perspectives on second language acquisition: ‘Thinking for Speaking’ in L2. Language Interaction and Acquisition, 3(2), 163-172.
  • Benders, T., Escudero, P., & Sjerps, M. J. (2012). The interrelation between acoustic context effects and available response categories in speech sound categorization. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131, 3079-3087. doi:10.1121/1.3688512.

    Abstract

    In an investigation of contextual influences on sound categorization, 64 Peruvian Spanish listeners categorized vowels on an /i/ to /e/ continuum. First, to measure the influence of the stimulus range (broad acoustic context) and the preceding stimuli (local acoustic context), listeners were presented with different subsets of the Spanish /i/-/e/ continuum in separate blocks. Second, the influence of the number of response categories was measured by presenting half of the participants with /i/ and /e/ as responses, and the other half with /i/, /e/, /a/, /o/, and /u/. The results showed that the perceptual category boundary between /i/ and /e/ shifted depending on the stimulus range and that the formant values of locally preceding items had a contrastive influence. Categorization was less susceptible to broad and local acoustic context effects, however, when listeners were presented with five rather than two response options. Vowel categorization depends not only on the acoustic properties of the target stimulus, but also on its broad and local acoustic context. The influence of such context is in turn affected by the number of internal referents that are available to the listener in a task.
  • Benyamin, B., St Pourcain, B., Davis, O. S., Davies, G., Hansell, N. K., Brion, M.-J., Kirkpatrick, R. M., Cents, R. A. M., Franić, S., Miller, M. B., Haworth, C. M. A., Meaburn, E., Price, T. S., Evans, D. M., Timpson, N., Kemp, J., Ring, S., McArdle, W., Medland, S. E., Yang, J. and 23 moreBenyamin, B., St Pourcain, B., Davis, O. S., Davies, G., Hansell, N. K., Brion, M.-J., Kirkpatrick, R. M., Cents, R. A. M., Franić, S., Miller, M. B., Haworth, C. M. A., Meaburn, E., Price, T. S., Evans, D. M., Timpson, N., Kemp, J., Ring, S., McArdle, W., Medland, S. E., Yang, J., Harris, S. E., Liewald, D. C., Scheet, P., Xiao, X., Hudziak, J. J., de Geus, E. J. C., Jaddoe, V. W. V., Starr, J. M., Verhulst, F. C., Pennell, C., Tiemeier, H., Iacono, W. G., Palmer, L. J., Montgomery, G. W., Martin, N. G., Boomsma, D. I., Posthuma, D., McGue, M., Wright, M. J., Davey Smith, G., Deary, I. J., Plomin, R., & Visscher, P. M. (2014). Childhood intelligence is heritable, highly polygenic and associated with FNBP1L. Molecular Psychiatry, 19(2), 253-258. doi:10.1038/mp.2012.184.

    Abstract

    Intelligence in childhood, as measured by psychometric cognitive tests, is a strong predictor of many important life outcomes, including educational attainment, income, health and lifespan. Results from twin, family and adoption studies are consistent with general intelligence being highly heritable and genetically stable throughout the life course. No robustly associated genetic loci or variants for childhood intelligence have been reported. Here, we report the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) on childhood intelligence (age range 6–18 years) from 17 989 individuals in six discovery and three replication samples. Although no individual single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected with genome-wide significance, we show that the aggregate effects of common SNPs explain 22–46% of phenotypic variation in childhood intelligence in the three largest cohorts (P=3.9 × 10−15, 0.014 and 0.028). FNBP1L, previously reported to be the most significantly associated gene for adult intelligence, was also significantly associated with childhood intelligence (P=0.003). Polygenic prediction analyses resulted in a significant correlation between predictor and outcome in all replication cohorts. The proportion of childhood intelligence explained by the predictor reached 1.2% (P=6 × 10−5), 3.5% (P=10−3) and 0.5% (P=6 × 10−5) in three independent validation cohorts. Given the sample sizes, these genetic prediction results are consistent with expectations if the genetic architecture of childhood intelligence is like that of body mass index or height. Our study provides molecular support for the heritability and polygenic nature of childhood intelligence. Larger sample sizes will be required to detect individual variants with genome-wide significance.
  • Bergmann, C., Boves, L., & Ten Bosch, L. (2012). A model of the Headturn Preference Procedure: Linking cognitive processes to overt behaviour. In Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE Conference on Development and Learning and Epigenetic Robotics (IEEE ICDL-EpiRob 2012), San Diego, CA.

    Abstract

    The study of first language acquisition still strongly relies on behavioural methods to measure underlying linguistic abilities. In the present paper, we closely examine and model one such method, the headturn preference procedure (HPP), which is widely used to measure infant speech segmentation and word recognition abilities Our model takes real speech as input, and only uses basic sensory processing and cognitive capabilities to simulate observable behaviour.We show that the familiarity effect found in many HPP experiments can be simulated without using the phonetic and phonological skills necessary for segmenting test sentences into words. The explicit modelling of the process that converts the result of the cognitive processing of the test sentences into observable behaviour uncovered two issues that can lead to null-results in HPP studies. Our simulations show that caution is needed in making inferences about underlying language skills from behaviour in HPP experiments. The simulations also generated questions that must be addressed in future HPP studies.
  • Bergmann, C., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2014). A computational model of the headturn preference procedure: Design, challenges, and insights. In J. Mayor, & P. Gomez (Eds.), Computational Models of Cognitive Processes (pp. 125-136). World Scientific. doi:10.1142/9789814458849_0010.

    Abstract

    The Headturn Preference Procedure (HPP) is a frequently used method (e.g., Jusczyk & Aslin; and subsequent studies) to investigate linguistic abilities in infants. In this paradigm infants are usually first familiarised with words and then tested for a listening preference for passages containing those words in comparison to unrelated passages. Listening preference is defined as the time an infant spends attending to those passages with his or her head turned towards a flashing light and the speech stimuli. The knowledge and abilities inferred from the results of HPP studies have been used to reason about and formally model early linguistic skills and language acquisition. However, the actual cause of infants' behaviour in HPP experiments has been subject to numerous assumptions as there are no means to directly tap into cognitive processes. To make these assumptions explicit, and more crucially, to understand how infants' behaviour emerges if only general learning mechanisms are assumed, we introduce a computational model of the HPP. Simulations with the computational HPP model show that the difference in infant behaviour between familiarised and unfamiliar words in passages can be explained by a general learning mechanism and that many assumptions underlying the HPP are not necessarily warranted. We discuss the implications for conventional interpretations of the outcomes of HPP experiments.
  • 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. (2014). Computational models of early language acquisition and the role of different voices. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bergmann, C., Paulus, M., & Fikkert, P. (2012). Preschoolers’ comprehension of pronouns and reflexives: The impact of the task. Journal of Child Language, 39, 777-803. doi:10.1017/S0305000911000298.

    Abstract

    Pronouns seem to be acquired in an asymmetrical way, where children confuse the meaning of pronouns with reflexives up to the age of six, but not vice versa. Children’s production of the same referential expressions is appropriate at the age of four. However, response-based tasks, the usual means to investigate child language comprehension, are very demanding given children’s limited cognitive resources. Therefore, they might affect performance. To assess the impact of the task, we investigated learners of Dutch (three- and four-year-olds) using both eye-tracking, a non-demanding on-line method, and a typical response-based task. Eye-tracking results show an emerging ability to correctly comprehend pronouns at the age of four. A response-based task fails to indicate this ability across age groups, replicating results of earlier studies. Additionally, biases seem to influence the outcome of the response-based task. These results add new evidence to the ongoing debate of the asymmetrical acquisition of pronouns and reflexives and suggest that there is less of an asymmetry than previously assumed.
  • Berthele, R. (2012). On the use of PUT Verbs by multilingual speakers of Romansh. In A. Kopecka, & B. Narasimhan (Eds.), Events of putting and taking: A crosslinguistic perspective (pp. 145-166). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    In this chapter, the multilingual systems of bilingual speakers of Sursilvan Romansh and German are analyzed. The Romansh and the German systems show important differences in the domain of placement. Romansh has a fairly general verb metter ‘to put’ whereas German uses different verbs (e.g., setzen ‘to set’, legen ‘to lay’, stellen ‘to stand’). Whereas there are almost no traces of German in the Romansh data elicited from the German-Romansh bilinguals, it appears that their production of German yields uses of the verbs which differ from the typical German system. Although the forms of the German verbs have been acquired by the bilingual speakers, their distribution in the data arguably reflects traces of the Romansh category of metter ‘to put’.
  • Bidgood, A., Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., & Rowland, C. F. (2014). The retreat from locative overgeneralisation errors: A novel verb grammaticality judgment study. PLoS One, 9(5): e97634. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097634.

    Abstract

    Whilst some locative verbs alternate between the ground- and figure-locative constructions (e.g. Lisa sprayed the flowers with water/Lisa sprayed water onto the flowers), others are restricted to one construction or the other (e.g. *Lisa filled water into the cup/*Lisa poured the cup with water). The present study investigated two proposals for how learners (aged 5–6, 9–10 and adults) acquire this restriction, using a novel-verb-learning grammaticality-judgment paradigm. In support of the semantic verb class hypothesis, participants in all age groups used the semantic properties of novel verbs to determine the locative constructions (ground/figure/both) in which they could and could not appear. In support of the frequency hypothesis, participants' tolerance of overgeneralisation errors decreased with each increasing level of verb frequency (novel/low/high). These results underline the need to develop an integrated account of the roles of semantics and frequency in the retreat from argument structure overgeneralisation.
  • Bien, N., Ten Oever, S., Goebel, R., & Sack, A. T. (2012). The sound of size: Crossmodal binding in pitch-size synesthesia: A combined TMS, EEG and psychophysics study. NeuroImage, 59(1), 663-672. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.06.095.

    Abstract

    Crossmodal binding usually relies on bottom-up stimulus characteristics such as spatial and temporal correspondence. However, in case of ambiguity the brain has to decide whether to combine or segregate sensory inputs. We hypothesise that widespread, subtle forms of synesthesia provide crossmodal mapping patterns which underlie and influence multisensory perception. Our aim was to investigate if such a mechanism plays a role in the case of pitch-size stimulus combinations. Using a combination of psychophysics and ERPs, we could show that despite violations of spatial correspondence, the brain specifically integrates certain stimulus combinations which are congruent with respect to our hypothesis of pitch-size synesthesia, thereby impairing performance on an auditory spatial localisation task (Ventriloquist effect). Subsequently, we perturbed this process by functionally disrupting a brain area known for its role in multisensory processes, the right intraparietal sulcus, and observed how the Ventriloquist effect was abolished, thereby increasing behavioural performance. Correlating behavioural, TMS and ERP results, we could retrace the origin of the synesthestic pitch-size mappings to a right intraparietal involvement around 250 ms. The results of this combined psychophysics, TMS and ERP study provide evidence for shifting the current viewpoint on synesthesia more towards synesthesia being at the extremity of a spectrum of normal, adaptive perceptual processes, entailing close interplay between the different sensory systems. Our results support this spectrum view of synesthesia by demonstrating that its neural basis crucially depends on normal multisensory processes. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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    Corrigendum to the Sound of size
  • Blasi, D. E., Christiansen, M. H., Wichmann, S., Hammarström, H., & Stadler, P. F. (2014). Sound symbolism and the origins of language. In E. A. Cartmill, S. Roberts, H. Lyn, & H. Cornish (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (EVOLANG 10) (pp. 391-392). Singapore: World Scientific.
  • Blokland, A., Ten Oever, S., Van Gorp, D., Van Draanen, M., Schmidt, T., Nguyen, E., Krugliak, A., Napoletano, A., Keuter, S., & Klinkenberg, I. (2012). The use of a test battery assessing affective behavior in rats: Order effects. Behavioural Brain Research, 228(1), 16-21. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.11.042.

    Abstract

    Many studies have used test batteries for the evaluation of affective behavior in rodents. This has the advantage that treatment effects can be examined on different aspects of the affective domain. However, the behavior in one test may affect the behavior in following test. The present study examined possible order effects in rats that were tested in three different tests: Open Field (OF), Zero Maze (ZM) and Forced Swim Test (FST). The data of the present study indicated that the behavior in ZM was the least affected by the order of testing. In contrast, the behavior in the FST (and to a less extend the OF) was dependent on the order of the test in the test battery. Repeated testing in the same test did not change the behavior in the ZM. However, the behavior in the OF and FST changed with repeated testing. The present study indicates that the performance of rats in a test can be dependent on the order in a test battery. Consequently, these data caution the interpretation of treatment effects in studies in which test batteries are used. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Blythe, J. (2012). From passing-gesture to ‘true’ romance: Kin-based teasing in Murriny Patha conversation. Journal of Pragmatics, 44, 508-528. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2011.11.005.

    Abstract

    Just as interlocutors can manipulate physical objects for performing certain types of social action, they can also perform different social actions by manipulating symbolic objects. A kinship system can be thought of as an abstract collection of lexical mappings and associated cultural conventions. It is a sort of cognitive object that can be readily manipulated for special purposes. For example, the relationship between pairs of individuals can be momentarily re-construed in constructing jokes or teases. Murriny Patha speakers associate certain parts of the body with particular classes of kin. When a group of Murriny Patha women witness a cultural outsider performing a forearm-holding gesture that is characteristically associated with brothers-in-law, they re-associate the gesture to the husband–wife relationship, thus setting up an extended teasing episode. Many of these teases call on gestural resources. Although the teasing is at times repetitive, and the episode is only thinly populated with the telltale “off-record” markers that characterize teasing proposals as non-serious, the proposal is sufficiently far-fetched as to ensure that the teases come off as more bonding than biting.
  • 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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  • Bocanegra, B. R., Poletiek, F. H., & Zwaan, R. A. (2014). Asymmetrical feature binding across language and perception. In Proceedings of the 7th annual Conference on Embodied and Situated Language Processing (ESLP 2014).
  • Böckler, A., Hömke, P., & Sebanz, N. (2014). Invisible Man: Exclusion from shared attention affects gaze behavior and self-reports. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(2), 140-148. doi:10.1177/1948550613488951.

    Abstract

    Social exclusion results in lowered satisfaction of basic needs and shapes behavior in subsequent social situations. We investigated participants’ immediate behavioral response during exclusion from an interaction that consisted of establishing eye contact. A newly developed eye-tracker-based ‘‘looking game’’ was employed; participants exchanged looks with two virtual partners in an exchange where the player who had just been looked at chose whom to look at next. While some participants received as many looks as the virtual players (included), others were ignored after two initial looks (excluded). Excluded participants reported lower basic need satisfaction, lower evaluation of the interaction, and devaluated their interaction partners more than included participants, demonstrating that people are sensitive to epistemic ostracism. In line with William’s need-threat model, eye-tracking results revealed that excluded participants did not withdraw from the unfavorable interaction, but increased the number of looks to the player who could potentially reintegrate them.
  • De Boer, B., & Perlman, M. (2014). Physical mechanisms may be as important as brain mechanisms in evolution of speech [Commentary on Ackerman, Hage, & Ziegler. Brain Mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: an evolutionary perspective]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(6), 552-553. doi:10.1017/S0140525X13004007.

    Abstract

    We present two arguments why physical adaptations for vocalization may be as important as neural adaptations. First, fine control over vocalization is not easy for physical reasons, and modern humans may be exceptional. Second, we present an example of a gorilla that shows rudimentary voluntary control over vocalization, indicating that some neural control is already shared with great apes.
  • 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. (2013). "Are we still talking about the same thing?" MEG reveals perspective-taking in response to pragmatic violations, but not in anticipation. In M. Knauff, N. Pauen, I. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 215-220). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2013/papers/0066/index.html.

    Abstract

    The current study investigates whether mentalizing, or taking the perspective of your interlocutor, plays an essential role throughout a conversation or whether it is mostly used in reaction to misunderstandings. This study is the first to use a brain-imaging method, MEG, to answer this question. In a first phase of the experiment, MEG participants interacted "live" with a confederate who set naming precedents for certain pictures. In a later phase, these precedents were sometimes broken by a speaker who named the same picture in a different way. This could be done by the same speaker, who set the precedent, or by a different speaker. Source analysis of MEG data showed that in the 800 ms before the naming, when the picture was already on the screen, episodic memory and language areas were activated, but no mentalizing areas, suggesting that the speaker's naming intentions were not anticipated by the listener on the basis of shared experiences. Mentalizing areas only became activated after the same speaker had broken a precedent, which we interpret as a reaction to the violation of conversational pragmatics.
  • Bögels, S., Schriefers, H., Vonk, W., Chwilla, D., & Kerkhofs, R. (2012). Are superfluous prosodic breaks harder to process than missing ones? ERP data on auditory sentence comprehension [Abstract]. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 85(3), 352. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2012.06.167.

    Abstract

    PROCEEDINGS OF THE 16TH WORLD CONGRESS OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY of the International Organization of Psychophysiology (IOP) Pisa, Italy September 13-17, 2012
  • 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.
  • Bolton, J. L., Hayward, C., Direk, N., Lewis, J. G., Hammond, G. L., Hill, L. A., Anderson, A., Huffman, J., Wilson, J. F., Campbell, H., Rudan, I., Wright, A., Hastie, N., Wild, S. H., Velders, F. P., Hofman, A., Uitterlinden, A. G., Lahti, J., Räikkönen, K., Kajantie, E. and 37 moreBolton, J. L., Hayward, C., Direk, N., Lewis, J. G., Hammond, G. L., Hill, L. A., Anderson, A., Huffman, J., Wilson, J. F., Campbell, H., Rudan, I., Wright, A., Hastie, N., Wild, S. H., Velders, F. P., Hofman, A., Uitterlinden, A. G., Lahti, J., Räikkönen, K., Kajantie, E., Widen, E., Palotie, A., Eriksson, J. G., Kaakinen, M., Järvelin, M.-R., Timpson, N. J., Davey Smith, G., Ring, S. M., Evans, D. M., St Pourcain, B., Tanaka, T., Milaneschi, Y., Bandinelli, S., Ferrucci, L., van der Harst, P., Rosmalen, J. G. M., Bakker, S. J. L., Verweij, N., Dullaart, R. P. F., Mahajan, A., Lindgren, C. M., Morris, A., Lind, L., Ingelsson, E., Anderson, L. N., Pennell, C. E., Lye, S. J., Matthews, S. G., Eriksson, J., Mellstrom, D., Ohlsson, C., Price, J. F., Strachan, M. W. J., Reynolds, R. M., Tiemeier, H., Walker, B. R., & CORtisol NETwork (CORNET) Consortium (2014). Genome Wide Association Identifies Common Variants at the SERPINA6/SERPINA1 Locus Influencing Plasma Cortisol and Corticosteroid Binding Globulin. PLoS Genetics, 10(7): e1004474. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004474.

    Abstract

    Variation in plasma levels of cortisol, an essential hormone in the stress response, is associated in population-based studies with cardio-metabolic, inflammatory and neuro-cognitive traits and diseases. Heritability of plasma cortisol is estimated at 30-60% but no common genetic contribution has been identified. The CORtisol NETwork (CORNET) consortium undertook genome wide association meta-analysis for plasma cortisol in 12,597 Caucasian participants, replicated in 2,795 participants. The results indicate that <1% of variance in plasma cortisol is accounted for by genetic variation in a single region of chromosome 14. This locus spans SERPINA6, encoding corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG, the major cortisol-binding protein in plasma), and SERPINA1, encoding α1-antitrypsin (which inhibits cleavage of the reactive centre loop that releases cortisol from CBG). Three partially independent signals were identified within the region, represented by common SNPs; detailed biochemical investigation in a nested sub-cohort showed all these SNPs were associated with variation in total cortisol binding activity in plasma, but some variants influenced total CBG concentrations while the top hit (rs12589136) influenced the immunoreactivity of the reactive centre loop of CBG. Exome chip and 1000 Genomes imputation analysis of this locus in the CROATIA-Korcula cohort identified missense mutations in SERPINA6 and SERPINA1 that did not account for the effects of common variants. These findings reveal a novel common genetic source of variation in binding of cortisol by CBG, and reinforce the key role of CBG in determining plasma cortisol levels. In turn this genetic variation may contribute to cortisol-associated degenerative diseases.
  • Bone, D., Ramanarayanan, V., Narayanan, S., Hoedemaker, R. S., & Gordon, P. C. (2013). Analyzing eye-voice coordination in rapid automatized naming. In F. Bimbot, C. Cerisara, G. Fougeron, L. Gravier, L. Lamel, F. Pelligrino, & P. Perrier (Eds.), INTERSPEECH-2013: 14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2425-2429). ISCA Archive. Retrieved from http://www.isca-speech.org/archive/interspeech_2013/i13_2425.html.

    Abstract

    Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) is a powerful tool for pre- dicting future reading skill. A person’s ability to quickly name symbols as they scan a table is related to higher-level reading proficiency in adults and is predictive of future literacy gains in children. However, noticeable differences are present in the strategies or patterns within groups having similar task comple- tion times. Thus, a further stratification of RAN dynamics may lead to better characterization and later intervention to support reading skill acquisition. In this work, we analyze the dynamics of the eyes, voice, and the coordination between the two during performance. It is shown that fast performers are more similar to each other than to slow performers in their patterns, but not vice versa. Further insights are provided about the patterns of more proficient subjects. For instance, fast performers tended to exhibit smoother behavior contours, suggesting a more sta- ble perception-production process.
  • 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.
  • Bordulk, D., Dalak, N., Tukumba, M., Bennett, L., Bordro Tingey, R., Katherine, M., Cutfield, S., Pamkal, M., & Wightman, G. (2012). Dalabon plants and animals: Aboriginal biocultural knowledge from southern Arnhem Land, north Australia. Palmerston, NT, Australia: Department of Land and Resource Management, Northern Territory Government.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2013). Juncture (prosodic). In G. Khan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics (pp. 432-434). Leiden: Brill.

    Abstract

    Prosodic juncture concerns the compartmentalization and partitioning of syntactic entities in spoken discourse by means of prosody. It has been argued that the Intonation Unit, defined by internal criteria and prosodic boundary phenomena (e.g., final lengthening, pitch reset, pauses), encapsulates the basic structural unit of spoken Modern Hebrew.
  • Bosker, H. R., Quené, H., Sanders, T. J. M., & de Jong, N. H. (2014). Native 'um's elicit prediction of low-frequency referents, but non-native 'um's do not. Journal of Memory and Language, 75, 104-116. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2014.05.004.

    Abstract

    Speech comprehension involves extensive use of prediction. Linguistic prediction may be guided by the semantics or syntax, but also by the performance characteristics of the speech signal, such as disfluency. Previous studies have shown that listeners, when presented with the filler uh, exhibit a disfluency bias for discourse-new or unknown referents, drawing inferences about the source of the disfluency. The goal of the present study is to study the contrast between native and non-native disfluencies in speech comprehension. Experiment 1 presented listeners with pictures of high-frequency (e.g., a hand) and low-frequency objects (e.g., a sewing machine) and with fluent and disfluent instructions. Listeners were found to anticipate reference to low-frequency objects when encountering disfluency, thus attributing disfluency to speaker trouble in lexical retrieval. Experiment 2 showed that, when participants listened to disfluent non-native speech, no anticipation of low-frequency referents was observed. We conclude that listeners can adapt their predictive strategies to the (non-native) speaker at hand, extending our understanding of the role of speaker identity in speech comprehension.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2013). Sibilant consonants. In G. Khan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics (pp. 557-561). Leiden: Brill.

    Abstract

    Fricative consonants in Hebrew can be divided into bgdkpt and sibilants (ז, ס, צ, שׁ, שׂ). Hebrew sibilants have been argued to stem from Proto-Semitic affricates, laterals, interdentals and /s/. In standard Israeli Hebrew the sibilants are pronounced as [s] (ס and שׂ), [ʃ] (שׁ), [z] (ז), [ʦ] (צ).
  • Bosker, H. R., Quené, H., Sanders, T. J. M., & de Jong, N. H. (2014). The perception of fluency in native and non-native speech. Language Learning, 64, 579-614. doi:10.1111/lang.12067.

    Abstract

    Where native speakers supposedly are fluent by default, non-native speakers often have to strive hard to achieve a native-like fluency level. However, disfluencies (such as pauses, fillers, repairs, etc.) occur in both native and non-native speech and it is as yet unclear ow luency raters weigh the fluency characteristics of native and non-native speech. Two rating experiments compared the way raters assess the luency of native and non-native speech. The fluency characteristics of native and non- native speech were controlled by using phonetic anipulations in pause (Experiment 1) and speed characteristics (Experiment 2). The results show that the ratings on manipulated native and on-native speech were affected in a similar fashion. This suggests that there is no difference in the way listeners weigh the fluency haracteristics of native and non-native speakers.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2014). The processing and evaluation of fluency in native and non-native speech. PhD Thesis, Utrecht University, Utrecht.

    Abstract

    Disfluency is a common characteristic of spontaneously produced speech. Disfluencies (e.g., silent pauses, filled pauses [uh’s and uhm’s], corrections, repetitions, etc.) occur in both native and non-native speech. There appears to be an apparent contradiction between claims from the evaluative and cognitive approach to fluency. On the one hand, the evaluative approach shows that non-native disfluencies have a negative effect on listeners’ subjective fluency impressions. On the other hand, the cognitive approach reports beneficial effects of native disfluencies on cognitive processes involved in speech comprehension, such as prediction and attention. This dissertation aims to resolve this apparent contradiction by combining the evaluative and cognitive approach. The reported studies target both the evaluation (Chapters 2 and 3) and the processing of fluency (Chapters 4 and 5) in native and non-native speech. Thus, it provides an integrative account of native and non-native fluency perception, informative to both language testing practice and cognitive psycholinguists. The proposed account of fluency perception testifies to the notion that speech performance matters: communication through spoken language does not only depend on what is said, but also on how it is said and by whom.
  • 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.
  • Bosman, C., Schoffelen, J.-M., Brunet, N., Oostenveld, R., Bastos, A., Womelsdorf, T., Rubehn, B., Stieglitz, T., De Weerd, P., & Fries, P. (2012). Attentional stimulus selection through selective synchronization between monkey visual areas. Neuron, 75(5), 875-888. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.06.037.

    Abstract

    A central motif in neuronal networks is convergence, linking several input neurons to one target neuron. In visual cortex, convergence renders target neurons responsive to complex stimuli. Yet, convergence typically sends multiple stimuli to a target, and the behaviorally relevant stimulus must be selected. We used two stimuli, activating separate electrocorticographic V1 sites, and both activating an electrocorticographic V4 site equally strongly. When one of those stimuli activated one V1 site, it gamma synchronized (60-80 Hz) to V4. When the two stimuli activated two V1 sites, primarily the relevant one gamma synchronized to V4. Frequency bands of gamma activities showed substantial overlap containing the band of interareal coherence. The relevant V1 site had its gamma peak frequency 2-3 Hz higher than the irrelevant V1 site and 4-6 Hz higher than V4. Gamma-mediated interareal influences were predominantly directed from V1 to V4. We propose that selective synchronization renders relevant input effective, thereby modulating effective connectivity.
  • Bouckaert, R., Lemey, P., Dunn, M., Greenhill, S. J., Alekseyenko, A. V., Drummond, A. J., Gray, R. D., Suchard, M. A., & Atkinson, Q. D. (2012). Mapping the origins and expansion of the Indo-European language family. Science, 337(6097), 957-960. doi:10.1126/science.1219669.

    Abstract

    There are two competing hypotheses for the origin of the Indo-European language family. The conventional view places the homeland in the Pontic steppes about 6000 years ago. An alternative hypothesis claims that the languages spread from Anatolia with the expansion of farming 8000 to 9500 years ago. We used Bayesian phylogeographic approaches, together with basic vocabulary data from 103 ancient and contemporary Indo-European languages, to explicitly model the expansion of the family and test these hypotheses. We found decisive support for an Anatolian origin over a steppe origin. Both the inferred timing and root location of the Indo-European language trees fit with an agricultural expansion from Anatolia beginning 8000 to 9500 years ago. These results highlight the critical role that phylogeographic inference can play in resolving debates about human prehistory.
  • 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.
  • Bramão, I., Francisco, A., Inácio, F., Faísca, L., Reis, A., & Petersson, K. M. (2012). Electrophysiological evidence for colour effects on the naming of colour diagnostic and noncolour diagnostic objects. Visual Cognition, 20, 1164-1185. doi:10.1080/13506285.2012.739215.

    Abstract

    In this study, we investigated the level of visual processing at which surface colour information improves the naming of colour diagnostic and noncolour diagnostic objects. Continuous electroencephalograms were recorded while participants performed a visual object naming task in which coloured and black-and-white versions of both types of objects were presented. The black-and-white and the colour presentations were compared in two groups of event-related potentials (ERPs): (1) The P1 and N1 components, indexing early visual processing; and (2) the N300 and N400 components, which index late visual processing. A colour effect was observed in the P1 and N1 components, for both colour and noncolour diagnostic objects. In addition, for colour diagnostic objects, a colour effect was observed in the N400 component. These results suggest that colour information is important for the naming of colour and noncolour diagnostic objects at different levels of visual processing. It thus appears that the visual system uses colour information, during naming of both object types, at early visual stages; however, for the colour diagnostic objects naming, colour information is also recruited during the late visual processing stages.
  • Bramão, I., Faísca, L., Petersson, K. M., & Reis, A. (2012). The contribution of color to object recognition. In I. Kypraios (Ed.), Advances in object recognition systems (pp. 73-88). Rijeka, Croatia: InTech. Retrieved from http://www.intechopen.com/books/advances-in-object-recognition-systems/the-contribution-of-color-in-object-recognition.

    Abstract

    The cognitive processes involved in object recognition remain a mystery to the cognitive sciences. We know that the visual system recognizes objects via multiple features, including shape, color, texture, and motion characteristics. However, the way these features are combined to recognize objects is still an open question. The purpose of this contribution is to review the research about the specific role of color information in object recognition. Given that the human brain incorporates specialized mechanisms to handle color perception in the visual environment, it is a fair question to ask what functional role color might play in everyday vision.
  • Bramão, I., Faísca, L., Forkstam, C., Inácio, F., Araújo, S., Petersson, K. M., & Reis, A. (2012). The interaction between surface color and color knowledge: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence. Brain and Cognition, 78, 28-37. doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2011.10.004.

    Abstract

    In this study, we used event-related potentials (ERPs) to evaluate the contribution of surface color and color knowledge information in object identification. We constructed two color-object verification tasks – a surface and a knowledge verification task – using high color diagnostic objects; both typical and atypical color versions of the same object were presented. Continuous electroencephalogram was recorded from 26 subjects. A cluster randomization procedure was used to explore the differences between typical and atypical color objects in each task. In the color knowledge task, we found two significant clusters that were consistent with the N350 and late positive complex (LPC) effects. Atypical color objects elicited more negative ERPs compared to typical color objects. The color effect found in the N350 time window suggests that surface color is an important cue that facilitates the selection of a stored object representation from long-term memory. Moreover, the observed LPC effect suggests that surface color activates associated semantic knowledge about the object, including color knowledge representations. We did not find any significant differences between typical and atypical color objects in the surface color verification task, which indicates that there is little contribution of color knowledge to resolve the surface color verification. Our main results suggest that surface color is an important visual cue that triggers color knowledge, thereby facilitating object identification.
  • 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

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  • 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
  • Brandmeyer, A., Desain, P. W., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Effects of native language on perceptual sensitivity to phonetic cues. Neuroreport, 23, 653-657. doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e32835542cd.

    Abstract

    The present study used electrophysiological and behavioral measures to investigate the perception of an English stop consonant contrast by native English listeners and by native Dutch listeners who were highly proficient in English. A /ba/-/pa/ continuum was created from a naturally produced /pa/ token by removing successive periods of aspiration, thus reducing the voice onset time. Although aspiration is a relevant cue for distinguishing voiced and unvoiced labial stop consonants (/b/ and /p/) in English, prevoicing is the primary cue used to distinguish between these categories in Dutch. In the electrophysiological experiment, participants listened to oddball sequences containing the standard /pa/ stimulus and one of three deviant stimuli while the mismatch-negativity response was measured. Participants then completed an identification task on the same stimuli. The results showed that native English participants were more sensitive to reductions in aspiration than native Dutch participants, as indicated by shifts in the category boundary, by differing within-group patterns of mismatch-negativity responses, and by larger mean evoked potential amplitudes in the native English group for two of the three deviant stimuli. This between-group difference in the sensorineural processing of aspiration cues indicates that native language experience alters the way in which the acoustic features of speech are processed in the auditory brain, even following extensive second-language training.

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  • Brandt, M., Nitschke, S., & Kidd, E. (2012). Experience and processing of relative clauses in German. In A. K. Biller, E. Y. Chung, & A. E. Kimball (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 36) (pp. 87-100). Boston, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Braun, B., & Chen, A. (2012). Now for something completely different: Anticipatory effects of intonation. In O. Niebuhr (Ed.), Understanding prosody: The role of context, function and communication (pp. 289-311). Berlin: de Gruyter.

    Abstract

    INTRODUCTION It is nowadays well established that spoken sentence processing is achieved in an incremental manner. As a sentence unfolds over time, listeners rapidly process incoming information to eliminate local ambiguity and make predictions on the most plausible interpretation of the sentence. Previous research has shown that these predictions are based on all kinds of linguistic information, explicitly or implicitly in combination with world knowledge.1 A substantial amount of evidence comes from studies on online referential processing conducted in the visual-world paradigm (Cooper 1974; Eberhard, Spivey-Knowlton, Sedivy, and Tanenhaus 1995; Tanenhaus, Sedivy- Knowlton, Eberhard, and Sedivy 1995; Sedivy, Tanenhaus, Chambers, Carlson 1999).
  • Brehm, L. (2014). Speed limits and red flags: Why number agreement accidents happen. PhD Thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, Il.
  • 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.

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