Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 296
  • Alcock, K., Meints, K., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). The UK communicative development inventories: Words and gestures. Guilford, UK: J&R Press Ltd.
  • Alhama, R. G., Rowland, C. F., & Kidd, E. (2020). Evaluating word embeddings for language acquisition. In E. Chersoni, C. Jacobs, Y. Oseki, L. Prévot, & E. Santus (Eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics (pp. 38-42). Stroudsburg, PA, USA: Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).

    Abstract

    Continuous vector word representations (or word embeddings) have shown success in cap-turing semantic relations between words, as evidenced by evaluation against behavioral data of adult performance on semantic tasks (Pereira et al., 2016). Adult semantic knowl-edge is the endpoint of a language acquisition process; thus, a relevant question is whether these models can also capture emerging word representations of young language learners. However, the data for children’s semantic knowledge across development is scarce. In this paper, we propose to bridge this gap by using Age of Acquisition norms to evaluate word embeddings learnt from child-directed input. We present two methods that evaluate word embeddings in terms of (a) the semantic neighbourhood density of learnt words, and (b) con- vergence to adult word associations. We apply our methods to bag-of-words models, and find that (1) children acquire words with fewer semantic neighbours earlier, and (2) young learners only attend to very local context. These findings provide converging evidence for validity of our methods in understanding the prerequisite features for a distributional model of word learning.
  • Ambridge, B., Rowland, C. F., & Gummery, A. (2020). Teaching the unlearnable: A training study of complex yes/no questions. Language and Cognition, 12(2), 385-410. doi:10.1017/langcog.2020.5.

    Abstract

    A central question in language acquisition is how children master sentence types that they have seldom, if ever, heard. Here we report the findings of a pre-registered, randomised, single-blind intervention study designed to test the prediction that, for one such sentence type, complex questions (e.g., Is the crocodile who’s hot eating?), children could combine schemas learned, on the basis of the input, for complex noun phrases (the [THING] who’s [PROPERTY]) and simple questions (Is [THING] [ACTION]ing?) to yield a complex-question schema (Is [the [THING] who’s [PROPERTY]] ACTIONing?). Children aged 4;2 to 6;8 (M = 5;6, SD = 7.7 months) were trained on simple questions (e.g., Is the bird cleaning?) and either (Experimental group, N = 61) complex noun phrases (e.g., the bird who’s sad) or (Control group, N = 61) matched simple noun phrases (e.g., the sad bird). In general, the two groups did not differ on their ability to produce novel complex questions at test. However, the Experimental group did show (a) some evidence of generalising a particular complex NP schema (the [THING] who’s [PROPERTY] as opposed to the [THING] that’s [PROPERTY]) from training to test, (b) a lower rate of auxiliary-doubling errors (e.g., *Is the crocodile who’s hot is eating?), and (c) a greater ability to produce complex questions on the first test trial. We end by suggesting some different methods – specifically artificial language learning and syntactic priming – that could potentially be used to better test the present account.
  • Ambridge, B., Rowland, C. F., Theakston, A. L., & Twomey, K. E. (2020). Introduction. In C. F. Rowland, A. L. Theakston, B. Ambridge, & K. E. Twomey (Eds.), Current Perspectives on Child Language Acquisition: How children use their environment to learn (pp. 1-7). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:10.1075/tilar.27.int.
  • Amora, K. K., Garcia, R., & Gagarina, N. (2020). Tagalog adaptation of the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives: History, process and preliminary results. In N. Gagarina, & J. Lindgren (Eds.), New language versions of MAIN: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives – Revised (pp. 221-233).

    Abstract

    This paper briefly presents the current situation of bilingualism in the Philippines, specifically that of Tagalog-English bilingualism. More importantly, it describes the process of adapting the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (LITMUS-MAIN) to Tagalog, the basis of Filipino, which is the country’s national language. Finally, the results of a pilot study conducted on Tagalog-English bilingual children and adults (N=27) are presented. The results showed that Story Structure is similar across the two languages and that it develops significantly with age.
  • Anichini, M., De Heer Kloots, M., & Ravignani, A. (2020). Interactive rhythms in the wild, in the brain, and in silico. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74(3), 170-175. doi:10.1037/cep0000224.

    Abstract

    There are some historical divisions in methods, rationales, and purposes between studies on comparative cognition and behavioural ecology. In turn, the interaction between these two branches and studies from mathematics, computation and neuroscience is not usual. In this short piece, we attempt to build bridges among these disciplines. We present a series of interconnected vignettes meant to illustrate how a more interdisciplinary approach looks like when successful, and its advantages. Concretely, we focus on a recent topic, namely animal rhythms in interaction, studied under different approaches. We showcase 5 research efforts, which we believe successfully link 5 particular Scientific areas of rhythm research conceptualized as: Social neuroscience, Detailed rhythmic quantification, Ontogeny, Computational approaches and Spontaneous interactions. Our suggestions will hopefully spur a ‘Comparative rhythms in interaction’ field, which can integrate and capitalize on knowledge from zoology, comparative psychology, neuroscience, and computation.
  • Arana, S., Marquand, A., Hulten, A., Hagoort, P., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2020). Sensory modality-independent activation of the brain network for language. The Journal of Neuroscience, 40(14), 2914-2924. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2271-19.2020.

    Abstract

    The meaning of a sentence can be understood, whether presented in written or spoken form. Therefore it is highly probable that brain processes supporting language comprehension are at least partly independent of sensory modality. To identify where and when in the brain language processing is independent of sensory modality, we directly compared neuromagnetic brain signals of 200 human subjects (102 males) either reading or listening to sentences. We used multiset canonical correlation analysis to align individual subject data in a way that boosts those aspects of the signal that are common to all, allowing us to capture word-by-word signal variations, consistent across subjects and at a fine temporal scale. Quantifying this consistency in activation across both reading and listening tasks revealed a mostly left hemispheric cortical network. Areas showing consistent activity patterns include not only areas previously implicated in higher-level language processing, such as left prefrontal, superior & middle temporal areas and anterior temporal lobe, but also parts of the control-network as well as subcentral and more posterior temporal-parietal areas. Activity in this supramodal sentence processing network starts in temporal areas and rapidly spreads to the other regions involved. The findings do not only indicate the involvement of a large network of brain areas in supramodal language processing, but also indicate that the linguistic information contained in the unfolding sentences modulates brain activity in a word-specific manner across subjects.
  • Arshamian, A., Manko, P., & Majid, A. (2020). Limitations in odour simulation may originate from differential sensory embodiment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 375: 20190273. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0273.

    Abstract

    Across diverse lineages, animals communicate using chemosignals, but only humans communicate about chemical signals. Many studies have observed that compared with other sensory modalities, communication about smells is relatively rare and not always reliable. Recent cross-cultural studies, on the other hand, suggest some communities are more olfactorily oriented than previously supposed. Nevertheless, across the globe a general trend emerges where olfactory communication is relatively hard. We suggest here that this is in part because olfactory representations are different in kind: they have a low degree of embodiment, and are not easily expressed as primitives, thereby limiting the mental manipulations that can be performed with them. New exploratory data from Dutch children (9–12 year-olds) and adults support that mental imagery from olfaction is weak in comparison with vision and audition, and critically this is not affected by language development. Specifically, while visual and auditory imagery becomes more vivid with age, olfactory imagery shows no such development. This is consistent with the idea that olfactory representations are different in kind from representations from the other senses.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary material
  • Asano, Y., Yuan, C., Grohe, A.-K., Weber, A., Antoniou, M., & Cutler, A. (2020). Uptalk interpretation as a function of listening experience. In N. Minematsu, M. Kondo, T. Arai, & R. Hayashi (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2020 (pp. 735-739). Tokyo: ISCA. doi:10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-150.

    Abstract

    The term “uptalk” describes utterance-final pitch rises that carry no sentence-structural information. Uptalk is usually dialectal or sociolectal, and Australian English (AusEng) is particularly known for this attribute. We ask here whether experience with an uptalk variety affects listeners’ ability to categorise rising pitch contours on the basis of the timing and height of their onset and offset. Listeners were two groups of English-speakers (AusEng, and American English), and three groups of listeners with L2 English: one group with Mandarin as L1 and experience of listening to AusEng, one with German as L1 and experience of listening to AusEng, and one with German as L1 but no AusEng experience. They heard nouns (e.g. flower, piano) in the framework “Got a NOUN”, each ending with a pitch rise artificially manipulated on three contrasts: low vs. high rise onset, low vs. high rise offset and early vs. late rise onset. Their task was to categorise the tokens as “question” or “statement”, and we analysed the effect of the pitch contrasts on their judgements. Only the native AusEng listeners were able to use the pitch contrasts systematically in making these categorisations.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Language contact does not drive gesture transfer: Heritage speakers maintain language specific gesture patterns in each language. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(2), 414-428. doi:10.1017/S136672891900018X.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates whether there are changes in gesture rate when speakers of two languages with different gesture rates (Turkish-high gesture; Dutch-low gesture) come into daily contact. We analyzed gestures produced by second-generation heritage speakers of Turkish in the Netherlands in each language, comparing them to monolingual baselines. We did not find differences between bilingual and monolingual speakers, possibly because bilinguals were proficient in both languages and used them frequently – in line with a usage-based approach to language. However, bilinguals produced more deictic gestures than monolinguals in both Turkish and Dutch, which we interpret as a bilingual strategy. Deictic gestures may help organize discourse by placing entities in gesture space and help reduce the cognitive load associated with being bilingual, e.g., inhibition cost. Therefore, gesture rate does not necessarily change in contact situations but might be modulated by frequency of language use, proficiency, and cognitive factors related to being bilingual.
  • Azar, Z., Ozyurek, A., & Backus, A. (2020). Turkish-Dutch bilinguals maintain language-specific reference tracking strategies in elicited narratives. International Journal of Bilingualism, 24(2), 376-409. doi:10.1177/1367006919838375.

    Abstract

    Aim: This paper examines whether second-generation Turkish heritage speakers in the Netherlands follow language-specific patterns of reference tracking in Turkish and Dutch, focusing on discourse status and pragmatic contexts as factors that may modulate the choice of referring expressions (REs), that is, the noun phrase (NP), overt pronoun and null pronoun. Methodology: Two short silent videos were used to elicit narratives from 20 heritage speakers of Turkish, both in Turkish and in Dutch. Monolingual baseline data were collected from 20 monolingually raised speakers of Turkish in Turkey and 20 monolingually raised speakers of Dutch in the Netherlands. We also collected language background data from bilinguals with an extensive survey. Data and analysis: Using generalised logistic mixed-effect regression, we analysed the influence of discourse status and pragmatic context on the choice of subject REs in Turkish and Dutch, comparing bilingual data to the monolingual baseline in each language. Findings: Heritage speakers used overt versus null pronouns in Turkish and stressed versus reduced pronouns in Dutch in pragmatically appropriate contexts. There was, however, a slight increase in the proportions of overt pronouns as opposed to NPs in Turkish and as opposed to null pronouns in Dutch. We suggest an explanation based on the degree of entrenchment of differential RE types in relation to discourse status as the possible source of the increase. Originality: This paper provides data from an understudied language pair in the domain of reference tracking in language contact situations. Unlike several studies of pronouns in language contact, we do not find differences across monolingual and bilingual speakers with regard to pragmatic constraints on overt pronouns in the minority pro-drop language. Significance: Our findings highlight the importance of taking language proficiency and use into account while studying bilingualism and combining formal approaches to language use with usage-based approaches for a more complete understanding of bilingual language production.
  • Azar, Z. (2020). Effect of language contact on speech and gesture: The case of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals in the Netherlands. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Baranova, J. (2020). Reasons for every-day activities. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Barendse, M. T., & Rosseel, Y. (2020). Multilevel modeling in the ‘wide format’ approach with discrete data: A solution for small cluster sizes. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 27(5), 696-721. doi:10.1080/10705511.2019.1689366.

    Abstract

    In multilevel data, units at level 1 are nested in clusters at level 2, which in turn may be nested in even larger clusters at level 3, and so on. For continuous data, several authors have shown how to model multilevel data in a ‘wide’ or ‘multivariate’ format approach. We provide a general framework to analyze random intercept multilevel SEM in the ‘wide format’ (WF) and extend this approach for discrete data. In a simulation study, we vary response scale (binary, four response options), covariate presence (no, between-level, within-level), design (balanced, unbalanced), model misspecification (present, not present), and the number of clusters (small, large) to determine accuracy and efficiency of the estimated model parameters. With a small number of observations in a cluster, results indicate that the WF approach is a preferable approach to estimate multilevel data with discrete response options.
  • Barthel, M. (2020). Speech planning in dialogue: Psycholinguistic studies of the timing of turn taking. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Barthel, M., & Levinson, S. C. (2020). Next speakers plan word forms in overlap with the incoming turn: Evidence from gaze-contingent switch task performance. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(9), 1183-1202. doi:10.1080/23273798.2020.1716030.

    Abstract

    To ensure short gaps between turns in conversation, next speakers regularly start planning their utterance in overlap with the incoming turn. Three experiments investigate which stages of utterance planning are executed in overlap. E1 establishes effects of associative and phonological relatedness of pictures and words in a switch-task from picture naming to lexical decision. E2 focuses on effects of phonological relatedness and investigates potential shifts in the time-course of production planning during background speech. E3 required participants to verbally answer questions as a base task. In critical trials, however, participants switched to visual lexical decision just after they began planning their answer. The task-switch was time-locked to participants' gaze for response planning. Results show that word form encoding is done as early as possible and not postponed until the end of the incoming turn. Hence, planning a response during the incoming turn is executed at least until word form activation.

    Supplementary material

    Supplemental material
  • Bartolozzi, F., Jongman, S. R., & Meyer, A. S. (2020). Concurrent speech planning does not eliminate repetition priming from spoken words: Evidence from linguistic dual-tasking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/xlm0000944.

    Abstract

    In conversation, production and comprehension processes may overlap, causing interference. In 3 experiments, we investigated whether repetition priming can work as a supporting device, reducing costs associated with linguistic dual-tasking. Experiment 1 established the rate of decay of repetition priming from spoken words to picture naming for primes embedded in sentences. Experiments 2 and 3 investigated whether the rate of decay was faster when participants comprehended the prime while planning to name unrelated pictures. In all experiments, the primed picture followed the sentences featuring the prime on the same trial, or 10 or 50 trials later. The results of the 3 experiments were strikingly similar: robust repetition priming was observed when the primed picture followed the prime sentence. Thus, repetition priming was observed even when the primes were processed while the participants prepared an unrelated spoken utterance. Priming might, therefore, support utterance planning in conversation, where speakers routinely listen while planning their utterances.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2020). Appositive compounds in dialectal and sociolinguistic varieties of French. In M. Maiden, & S. Wolfe (Eds.), Variation and change in Gallo-Romance (pp. 326-346). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2020). Language sources and the reconstruction of early languages: Sociolinguistic discrepancies and evolution in Old French grammar. Diachronica, 37(3), 273-317. doi:10.1075/dia.18026.bau.

    Abstract

    This article argues that with the original emphasis on dialectal variation, using primarily literary texts from various regions, analysis of Old French has routinely neglected social variation, providing an incomplete picture of its grammar. Accordingly, Old French has been identified as typically featuring e.g. “pro-drop”, brace constructions, and single negation. Yet examination of these features in informal texts, as opposed to the formal texts typically dealt with, demonstrates that these documents do not corroborate the picture of Old French that is commonly presented in the linguistic literature. Our reconstruction of Old French grammar therefore needs adjustment and further refinement, in particular by implementing sociolinguistic data. With a broader scope, the call for inclusion of sociolinguistic variation may resonate in the investigation of other early languages, resulting in the reassessment of the sources used, and reopening the debate about social variation in dead languages and its role in language evolution.

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  • Bidgood, A., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., & Ambridge, B. (2020). Syntactic representations are both abstract and semantically constrained: Evidence from children’s and adults’ comprehension and production/priming of the English passive. Cognitive Science, 44(9): e12892. doi:10.1111/cogs.12892.

    Abstract

    All accounts of language acquisition agree that, by around age 4, children’s knowledge of grammatical constructions is abstract, rather than tied solely to individual lexical items. The aim of the present research was to investigate, focusing on the passive, whether children’s and adults’ performance is additionally semantically constrained, varying according to the distance between the semantics of the verb and those of the construction. In a forced‐choice pointing study (Experiment 1), both 4‐ to 6‐year olds (N = 60) and adults (N = 60) showed support for the prediction of this semantic construction prototype account of an interaction such that the observed disadvantage for passives as compared to actives (i.e., fewer correct points/longer reaction time) was greater for experiencer‐theme verbs than for agent‐patient and theme‐experiencer verbs (e.g., Bob was seen/hit/frightened by Wendy). Similarly, in a production/priming study (Experiment 2), both 4‐ to 6‐year olds (N = 60) and adults (N = 60) produced fewer passives for experiencer‐theme verbs than for agent‐patient/theme‐experiencer verbs. We conclude that these findings are difficult to explain under accounts based on the notion of A(rgument) movement or of a monostratal, semantics‐free, level of syntax, and instead necessitate some form of semantic construction prototype account.

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  • De Boer, B., Thompson, B., Ravignani, A., & Boeckx, C. (2020). Evolutionary dynamics do not motivate a single-mutant theory of human language. Scientific Reports, 10: 451. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-57235-8.

    Abstract

    One of the most controversial hypotheses in cognitive science is the Chomskyan evolutionary conjecture that language arose instantaneously in humans through a single mutation. Here we analyze the evolutionary dynamics implied by this hypothesis, which has never been formalized before. The hypothesis supposes the emergence and fixation of a single mutant (capable of the syntactic operation Merge) during a narrow historical window as a result of frequency-independent selection under a huge fitness advantage in a population of an effective size no larger than ~15 000 individuals. We examine this proposal by combining diffusion analysis and extreme value theory to derive a probabilistic formulation of its dynamics. We find that although a macro-mutation is much more likely to go to fixation if it occurs, it is much more unlikely a priori than multiple mutations with smaller fitness effects. The most likely scenario is therefore one where a medium number of mutations with medium fitness effects accumulate. This precise analysis of the probability of mutations occurring and going to fixation has not been done previously in the context of the evolution of language. Our results cast doubt on any suggestion that evolutionary reasoning provides an independent rationale for a single-mutant theory of language.

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  • De Boer, B., Thompson, B., Ravignani, A., & Boeckx, C. (2020). Analysis of mutation and fixation for language. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 56-58). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Bögels, S. (2020). Neural correlates of turn-taking in the wild: Response planning starts early in free interviews. Cognition, 203: 104347. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104347.

    Abstract

    Conversation is generally characterized by smooth transitions between turns, with only very short gaps. This entails that responders often begin planning their response before the ongoing turn is finished. However, controversy exists about whether they start planning as early as they can, to make sure they respond on time, or as late as possible, to minimize the overlap between comprehension and production planning. Two earlier EEG studies have found neural correlates of response planning (positive ERP and alpha decrease) as soon as listeners could start planning their response, already midway through the current turn. However, in these studies, the questions asked were highly controlled with respect to the position where planning could start (e.g., very early) and required short and easy responses. The present study measured participants' EEG while an experimenter interviewed them in a spontaneous interaction. Coding the questions in the interviews showed that, under these natural circumstances, listeners can, in principle, start planning a response relatively early, on average after only about one third of the question has passed. Furthermore, ERP results showed a large positivity, interpreted before as an early neural signature of response planning, starting about half a second after the start of the word that allowed listeners to start planning a response. A second neural signature of response planning, an alpha decrease, was not replicated as reliably. In conclusion, listeners appear to start planning their response early during the ongoing turn, also under natural circumstances, presumably in order to keep the gap between turns short and respond on time. These results have several important implications for turn-taking theories, which need to explain how interlocutors deal with the overlap between comprehension and production, how they manage to come in on time, and the sources that lead to variability between conversationalists in the start of planning.

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  • Bögels, S., Kendrick, K. H., & Levinson, S. C. (2020). Conversational expectations get revised as response latencies unfold. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(6), 766-779. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1590609.

    Abstract

    The present study extends neuro-imaging into conversation through studying dialogue comprehension. Conversation entails rapid responses, with negative semiotics for delay. We explored how expectations about the valence of the forthcoming response develop during the silence before the response and whether negative responses have mainly cognitive or social-emotional consequences. EEG-participants listened to questions from a spontaneous spoken corpus, cross-spliced with short/long gaps and “yes”/“no” responses. Preceding contexts biased listeners to expect the eventual response, which was hypothesised to translate to expectations for a shorter or longer gap. “No” responses showed a trend towards an early positivity, suggesting socio-emotional consequences. Within the long gap, expecting a “yes” response led to an earlier negativity, as well as a trend towards stronger theta-oscillations, after 300 milliseconds. This suggests that listeners anticipate/predict “yes” responses to come earlier than “no” responses, showing strong sensitivities to timing, which presumably promote hastening the pace of verbal interaction.

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    plcp_a_1590609_sm4630.docx
  • Bosker, H. R., & Cooke, M. (2020). Enhanced amplitude modulations contribute to the Lombard intelligibility benefit: Evidence from the Nijmegen Corpus of Lombard Speech. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147: 721. doi:10.1121/10.0000646.

    Abstract

    Speakers adjust their voice when talking in noise, which is known as Lombard speech. These acoustic adjustments facilitate speech comprehension in noise relative to plain speech (i.e., speech produced in quiet). However, exactly which characteristics of Lombard speech drive this intelligibility benefit in noise remains unclear. This study assessed the contribution of enhanced amplitude modulations to the Lombard speech intelligibility benefit by demonstrating that (1) native speakers of Dutch in the Nijmegen Corpus of Lombard Speech (NiCLS) produce more pronounced amplitude modulations in noise vs. in quiet; (2) more enhanced amplitude modulations correlate positively with intelligibility in a speech-in-noise perception experiment; (3) transplanting the amplitude modulations from Lombard speech onto plain speech leads to an intelligibility improvement, suggesting that enhanced amplitude modulations in Lombard speech contribute towards intelligibility in noise. Results are discussed in light of recent neurobiological models of speech perception with reference to neural oscillators phase-locking to the amplitude modulations in speech, guiding the processing of speech.
  • Bosker, H. R., Sjerps, M. J., & Reinisch, E. (2020). Spectral contrast effects are modulated by selective attention in ‘cocktail party’ settings. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 82, 1318-1332. doi:10.3758/s13414-019-01824-2.

    Abstract

    Speech sounds are perceived relative to spectral properties of surrounding speech. For instance, target words ambiguous between /bɪt/ (with low F1) and /bɛt/ (with high F1) are more likely to be perceived as “bet” after a ‘low F1’ sentence, but as “bit” after a ‘high F1’ sentence. However, it is unclear how these spectral contrast effects (SCEs) operate in multi-talker listening conditions. Recently, Feng and Oxenham [(2018b). J.Exp.Psychol.-Hum.Percept.Perform. 44(9), 1447–1457] reported that selective attention affected SCEs to a small degree, using two simultaneously presented sentences produced by a single talker. The present study assessed the role of selective attention in more naturalistic ‘cocktail party’ settings, with 200 lexically unique sentences, 20 target words, and different talkers. Results indicate that selective attention to one talker in one ear (while ignoring another talker in the other ear) modulates SCEs in such a way that only the spectral properties of the attended talker influences target perception. However, SCEs were much smaller in multi-talker settings (Experiment 2) than those in single-talker settings (Experiment 1). Therefore, the influence of SCEs on speech comprehension in more naturalistic settings (i.e., with competing talkers) may be smaller than estimated based on studies without competing talkers.

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    13414_2019_1824_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Bosker, H. R., Peeters, D., & Holler, J. (2020). How visual cues to speech rate influence speech perception. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73(10), 1523-1536. doi:10.1177/1747021820914564.

    Abstract

    Spoken words are highly variable and therefore listeners interpret speech sounds relative to the surrounding acoustic context, such as the speech rate of a preceding sentence. For instance, a vowel midway between short /ɑ/ and long /a:/ in Dutch is perceived as short /ɑ/ in the context of preceding slow speech, but as long /a:/ if preceded by a fast context. Despite the well-established influence of visual articulatory cues on speech comprehension, it remains unclear whether visual cues to speech rate also influence subsequent spoken word recognition. In two ‘Go Fish’-like experiments, participants were presented with audio-only (auditory speech + fixation cross), visual-only (mute videos of talking head), and audiovisual (speech + videos) context sentences, followed by ambiguous target words containing vowels midway between short /ɑ/ and long /a:/. In Experiment 1, target words were always presented auditorily, without visual articulatory cues. Although the audio-only and audiovisual contexts induced a rate effect (i.e., more long /a:/ responses after fast contexts), the visual-only condition did not. When, in Experiment 2, target words were presented audiovisually, rate effects were observed in all three conditions, including visual-only. This suggests that visual cues to speech rate in a context sentence influence the perception of following visual target cues (e.g., duration of lip aperture), which at an audiovisual integration stage bias participants’ target categorization responses. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how what we see influences what we hear.
  • Bosker, H. R., Sjerps, M. J., & Reinisch, E. (2020). Temporal contrast effects in human speech perception are immune to selective attention. Scientific Reports, 10: 5607. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-62613-8.

    Abstract

    Two fundamental properties of perception are selective attention and perceptual contrast, but how these two processes interact remains unknown. Does an attended stimulus history exert a larger contrastive influence on the perception of a following target than unattended stimuli? Dutch listeners categorized target sounds with a reduced prefix “ge-” marking tense (e.g., ambiguous between gegaan-gaan “gone-go”). In ‘single talker’ Experiments 1–2, participants perceived the reduced syllable (reporting gegaan) when the target was heard after a fast sentence, but not after a slow sentence (reporting gaan). In ‘selective attention’ Experiments 3–5, participants listened to two simultaneous sentences from two different talkers, followed by the same target sounds, with instructions to attend only one of the two talkers. Critically, the speech rates of attended and unattended talkers were found to equally influence target perception – even when participants could watch the attended talker speak. In fact, participants’ target perception in ‘selective attention’ Experiments 3–5 did not differ from participants who were explicitly instructed to divide their attention equally across the two talkers (Experiment 6). This suggests that contrast effects of speech rate are immune to selective attention, largely operating prior to attentional stream segregation in the auditory processing hierarchy.

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    Supplementary information
  • Bosma, E., & Nota, N. (2020). Cognate facilitation in Frisian-Dutch bilingual children’s sentence reading: An eye-tracking study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 189: 104699. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104699.
  • Botvinik-Nezer, R., Holzmeister, F., Camerer, C. F., Dreber, A., Huber, J., Johannesson, M., Kirchler, M., Iwanir, R., Mumford, J. A., Adcock, R. A., Avesani, P., Baczkowski, B., Bajracharya, A., Bakst, L., Ball, S., Barilari, M., Bault, N., Beaton, D., Beitner, J., Benoit, R. G. and 177 moreBotvinik-Nezer, R., Holzmeister, F., Camerer, C. F., Dreber, A., Huber, J., Johannesson, M., Kirchler, M., Iwanir, R., Mumford, J. A., Adcock, R. A., Avesani, P., Baczkowski, B., Bajracharya, A., Bakst, L., Ball, S., Barilari, M., Bault, N., Beaton, D., Beitner, J., Benoit, R. G., Berkers, R., Bhanji, J. P., Biswal, B. B., Bobadilla-Suarez, S., Bortolini, T., Bottenhorn, K. L., Bowring, A., Braem, S., Brooks, H. R., Brudner, E. G., Calderon, C. B., Camilleri, J. A., Castrellon, J. J., Cecchetti, L., Cieslik, E. C., Cole, Z. J., Collignon, O., Cox, R. W., Cunningham, W. A., Czoschke, S., Dadi, K., Davis, C. P., De Luca, A., Delgado, M. R., Demetriou, L., Dennison, J. B., Di, X., Dickie, E. W., Dobryakova, E., Donnat, C. L., Dukart, J., Duncan, N. W., Durnez, J., Eed, A., Eickhoff, S. B., Erhart, A., Fontanesi, L., Fricke, G. M., Fu, S., Galván, A., Gau, R., Genon, S., Glatard, T., Glerean, E., Goeman, J. J., Golowin, S. A. E., González-García, C., Gorgolewski, K. J., Grady, C. L., Green, M. A., Guassi Moreira, J. F., Guest, O., Hakimi, S., Hamilton, J. P., Hancock, R., Handjaras, G., Harry, B. B., Hawco, C., Herholz, P., Herman, G., Heunis, S., Hoffstaedter, F., Hogeveen, J., Holmes, S., Hu, C.-P., Huettel, S. A., Hughes, M. E., Iacovella, V., Iordan, A. D., Isager, P. M., Isik, A. I., Jahn, A., Johnson, M. R., Johnstone, T., Joseph, M. J. E., Juliano, A. C., Kable, J. W., Kassinopoulos, M., Koba, C., Kong, X., Koscik, T. R., Kucukboyaci, N. E., Kuhl, B. A., Kupek, S., Laird, A. R., Lamm, C., Langner, R., Lauharatanahirun, N., Lee, H., Lee, S., Leemans, A., Leo, A., Lesage, E., Li, F., Li, M. Y. C., Lim, P. C., Lintz, E. N., Liphardt, S. W., Losecaat Vermeer, A. B., Love, B. C., Mack, M. L., Malpica, N., Marins, T., Maumet, C., McDonald, K., McGuire, J. T., Melero, H., Méndez Leal, A. S., Meyer, B., Meyer, K. N., Mihai, P. G., Mitsis, G. D., Moll, J., Nielson, D. M., Nilsonne, G., Notter, M. P., Olivetti, E., Onicas, A. I., Papale, P., Patil, K. R., Peelle, J. E., Pérez, A., Pischedda, D., Poline, J.-B., Prystauka, Y., Ray, S., Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., Reynolds, R. C., Ricciardi, E., Rieck, J. R., Rodriguez-Thompson, A. M., Romyn, A., Salo, T., Samanez-Larkin, G. R., Sanz-Morales, E., Schlichting, M. L., Schultz, D. H., Shen, Q., Sheridan, M. A., Silvers, J. A., Skagerlund, K., Smith, A., Smith, D. V., Sokol-Hessner, P., Steinkamp, S. R., Tashjian, S. M., Thirion, B., Thorp, J. N., Tinghög, G., Tisdall, L., Tompson, S. H., Toro-Serey, C., Torre Tresols, J. J., Tozzi, L., Truong, V., Turella, L., van 't Veer, A. E., Verguts, T., Vettel, J. M., Vijayarajah, S., Vo, K., Wall, M. B., Weeda, W. D., Weis, S., White, D. J., Wisniewski, D., Xifra-Porxas, A., Yearling, E. A., Yoon, S., Yuan, R., Yuen, K. S. L., Zhang, L., Zhang, X., Zosky, J. E., Nichols, T. E., Poldrack, R. A., & Schonberg, T. (2020). Variability in the analysis of a single neuroimaging dataset by many teams. Nature, 582, 84-88. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2314-9.

    Abstract

    Data analysis workflows in many scientific domains have become increasingly complex and flexible. Here we assess the effect of this flexibility on the results of functional magnetic resonance imaging by asking 70 independent teams to analyse the same dataset, testing the same 9 ex-ante hypotheses1. The flexibility of analytical approaches is exemplified by the fact that no two teams chose identical workflows to analyse the data. This flexibility resulted in sizeable variation in the results of hypothesis tests, even for teams whose statistical maps were highly correlated at intermediate stages of the analysis pipeline. Variation in reported results was related to several aspects of analysis methodology. Notably, a meta-analytical approach that aggregated information across teams yielded a significant consensus in activated regions. Furthermore, prediction markets of researchers in the field revealed an overestimation of the likelihood of significant findings, even by researchers with direct knowledge of the dataset2,3,4,5. Our findings show that analytical flexibility can have substantial effects on scientific conclusions, and identify factors that may be related to variability in the analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging. The results emphasize the importance of validating and sharing complex analysis workflows, and demonstrate the need for performing and reporting multiple analyses of the same data. Potential approaches that could be used to mitigate issues related to analytical variability are discussed.
  • Bouhali, F., Mongelli, V., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., & Cohen, L. (2020). Reading music and words: The anatomical connectivity of musicians’ visual cortex. NeuroImage, 212: 116666. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116666.

    Abstract

    Musical score reading and word reading have much in common, from their historical origins to their cognitive foundations and neural correlates. In the ventral occipitotemporal cortex (VOT), the specialization of the so-called Visual Word Form Area for word reading has been linked to its privileged structural connectivity to distant language regions. Here we investigated how anatomical connectivity relates to the segregation of regions specialized for musical notation or words in the VOT. In a cohort of professional musicians and non-musicians, we used probabilistic tractography combined with task-related functional MRI to identify the connections of individually defined word- and music-selective left VOT regions. Despite their close proximity, these regions differed significantly in their structural connectivity, irrespective of musical expertise. The music-selective region was significantly more connected to posterior lateral temporal regions than the word-selective region, which, conversely, was significantly more connected to anterior ventral temporal cortex. Furthermore, musical expertise had a double impact on the connectivity of the music region. First, music tracts were significantly larger in musicians than in non-musicians, associated with marginally higher connectivity to perisylvian music-related areas. Second, the spatial similarity between music and word tracts was significantly increased in musicians, consistently with the increased overlap of language and music functional activations in musicians, as compared to non-musicians. These results support the view that, for music as for words, very specific anatomical connections influence the specialization of distinct VOT areas, and that reciprocally those connections are selectively enhanced by the expertise for word or music reading.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary data
  • Brehm, L., Hussey, E., & Christianson, K. (2020). The role of word frequency and morpho-orthography in agreement processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(1), 58-77. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1631456.

    Abstract

    Agreement attraction in comprehension (when an ungrammatical verb is read quickly if preceded by a feature-matching local noun) is well described by a cue-based retrieval framework. This suggests a role for lexical retrieval in attraction. To examine this, we manipulated two probabilistic factors known to affect lexical retrieval: local noun word frequency and morpho-orthography (agreement morphology realised with or without –s endings) in a self-paced reading study. Noun number and word frequency affected noun and verb region reading times, with higher-frequency words not eliciting attraction. Morpho-orthography impacted verb processing but not attraction: atypical plurals led to slower verb reading times regardless of verb number. Exploratory individual difference analyses further underscore the importance of lexical retrieval dynamics in sentence processing. This provides evidence that agreement operates via a cue-based retrieval mechanism over lexical representations that vary in their strength and association to number features.

    Supplementary material

    Supplemental material
  • Broersma, M., Carter, D., Donnelly, K., & Konopka, A. E. (2020). Triggered codeswitching: Lexical processing and conversational dynamics. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(2), 295-308. doi:10.1017/S1366728919000014.

    Abstract

    This study investigates the psycholinguistic process underlying triggered codeswitching – codeswitching facilitated by the occurrence of cognates – within the context of conversational dynamics. It confirms that, in natural bilingual speech, lexical selection of cognates can facilitate codeswitching by enhancing the activation of the non-selected language. Analyses of a large-scale corpus of Welsh–English conversational speech showed that 1) producing cognates facilitated codeswitching, 2) speakers who generally produced more cognates generally codeswitched more, even in clauses that did not contain cognates, 3) larger numbers of cognates in a clause increased the likelihood of codeswitching, 4) codeswitching temporarily remained facilitated after the production of cognates, and 5) hearing rather than producing cognates did not facilitate codeswitching. The findings confirm the validity of the proposed cognitive account of triggered codeswitching, and clarify the relation between the lexical activation of cognates and consecutive language choice, in accord with current insights in lexical processing.
  • Bruggeman, L., & Cutler, A. (2020). No L1 privilege in talker adaptation. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(3), 681-693. doi:10.1017/S1366728919000646.

    Abstract

    As a rule, listening is easier in first (L1) than second languages (L2); difficult L2 listening can challenge even highly proficient users. We here examine one particular listening function, adaptation to novel talkers, in such a high-proficiency population: Dutch emigrants to Australia, predominantly using English outside the family, but all also retaining L1 proficiency. Using lexically-guided perceptual learning (Norris, McQueen & Cutler, 2003), we investigated these listeners’ adaptation to an ambiguous speech sound, in parallel experiments in both their L1 and their L2. A control study established that perceptual learning outcomes were unaffected by the procedural measures required for this double comparison. The emigrants showed equivalent proficiency in tests in both languages, robust perceptual adaptation in their L2, English, but no adaptation in L1. We propose that adaptation to novel talkers is a language-specific skill requiring regular novel practice; a limited set of known (family) interlocutors cannot meet this requirement.
  • Brysbaert, M., Sui, L., Dirix, N., & Hintz, F. (2020). Dutch Author Recognition Test. Journal of Cognition, 3(1): 6. doi:10.5334/joc.95.

    Abstract

    Book reading shows large individual variability and correlates with better language ability and more empathy. This makes reading exposure an interesting variable to study. Research in English suggests that an author recognition test is the most reliable objective assessment of reading frequency. In this article, we describe the efforts we made to build and test a Dutch author recognition test (DART for older participants and DART_R for younger participants). Our data show that the test is reliable and valid, both in the Netherlands and in Belgium (split-half reliability over .9 with university students, significant correlations with language abilities) and can be used with a young, non-university population. The test is free to use for research purposes.

    Supplementary material

    Additional Files Additional Files
  • Burgers, N., Ettema, D. F., Hooimeijer, P., & Barendse, M. T. (2020). The effects of neighbours on sport club membership. European Journal for Sport and Society. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/16138171.2020.1840710.

    Abstract

    Neighbours have been found to influence each other’s behaviour (contagion effect). However, little is known about the influence on sport club membership. This while increasing interest has risen for the social role of sport clubs. Sport clubs could bring people from different backgrounds together. A mixed composition is a key element in this social role. Individual characteristics are strong predictors of sport club membership. Western high educated men are more likely to be members. In contrast to people with a non-Western migration background. The neighbourhood is a more fixed meeting place, which provides unique opportunities for people from different backgrounds to interact. This study aims to gain more insight into the influence of neighbours on sport club membership. This research looks especially at the composition of neighbour’s migration background, since they tend to be more or less likely to be members and therefore could encourage of inhibit each other. A population database including the only registry data of all Dutch inhabitants was merged with data of 11 sport unions. The results show a cross-level effect of neighbours on sport club membership. We find a contagion effect of neighbours’ migration background; having a larger proportion of neighbours with a migration background from a non-Western country reduces the odds, as expected. However, this contagion effect was not found for people with a Moroccan or Turkish background.
  • Burghoorn, F., Dingemanse, M., Van Lier, R., & Van Leeuwen, T. M. (2020). The relation between the degree of synaesthesia, autistic traits, and local/global visual perception. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50, 12-29. doi:10.1007/s10803-019-04222-7.

    Abstract

    In individuals with synaesthesia specific sensory stimulation leads to unusual concurrent perceptions in the same or a different modality. Recent studies have demonstrated a high co-occurrence between synaesthesia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a condition also characterized by altered perception. A potentially shared characteristic of synaesthesia and ASD is a bias towards local (detail-focussed) perception. We investigated whether a bias towards local perception is indeed shared between synaesthesia and ASD. In a neurotypical population, we studied the relation between the degree of autistic traits (measured by the AQ) and the degree of grapheme-colour synaesthesia (measured by a consistency task), as well as whether both are related to a local bias in tasks assessing local/global visual perception. A positive correlation between total AQ scores and the degree of synaesthesia was found. Our study extends previous studies that found a high ASD-synaesthesia co-occurrence in clinical populations. Consistent with the hypothesized local perceptual bias in ASD, scores on the AQ-attention to detail subscale were related to increased performance on an Embedded Figures Task (EFT), and we found evidence for a relation to reduced susceptibility to visual illusions. We found no relation between autistic traits and local visual perception in a motion coherence task (MCT). Also, no relation between synaesthesia and local visual perception was found, although a reduced susceptibility to visual illusions resembled the results obtained for AQ-atttention to detail subscale. A suggested explanation for the absence of a relationship between the degree of synaesthesia and a local bias is that a possible local bias might be more pronounced in supra-threshold synaesthetes (compared to neurotypicals).
  • Byers-Heinlein, K., Bergmann, C., Davies, C., Frank, M., Hamlin, J. K., Kline, M., Kominsky, J., Kosie, J., Lew-Williams, C., Liu, L., Mastroberardino, M., Singh, L., Waddell, C. P. G., Zettersten, M., & Soderstrom, M. (2020). Building a collaborative psychological science: Lessons learned from ManyBabies 1. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/cap0000216.

    Abstract

    The field of infancy research faces a difficult challenge: some questions require samples that are simply too large for any one lab to recruit and test. ManyBabies aims to address this problem by forming large-scale collaborations on key theoretical questions in developmental science, while promoting the uptake of Open Science practices. Here, we look back on the first project completed under the ManyBabies umbrella – ManyBabies 1 – which tested the development of infant-directed speech preference. Our goal is to share the lessons learned over the course of the project and to articulate our vision for the role of large-scale collaborations in the field. First, we consider the decisions made in scaling up experimental research for a collaboration involving 100+ researchers and 70+ labs. Next, we discuss successes and challenges over the course of the project, including: protocol design and implementation, data analysis, organizational structures and collaborative workflows, securing funding, and encouraging broad participation in the project. Finally, we discuss the benefits we see both in ongoing ManyBabies projects and in future large-scale collaborations in general, with a particular eye towards developing best practices and increasing growth and diversity in infancy research and psychological science in general. Throughout the paper, we include first-hand narrative experiences, in order to illustrate the perspectives of researchers playing different roles within the project. While this project focused on the unique challenges of infant research, many of the insights we gained can be applied to large-scale collaborations across the broader field of psychology.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Pepe, A., Kong, X., Fisher, S. E., Mazoyer, B., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Crivello, F., & Francks, C. (2020). Genetic effects on planum temporale asymmetry and their limited relevance to neurodevelopmental disorders, intelligence or educational attainment. Cortex, 124, 137-153. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2019.11.006.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have suggested that altered asymmetry of the planum temporale (PT) is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, including dyslexia, schizophrenia, and autism. Shared genetic factors have been suggested to link PT asymmetry to these disorders. In a dataset of unrelated subjects from the general population (UK Biobank, N= 18,057), we found that PT volume asymmetry had a significant heritability of roughly 14%. In genome-wide association analysis, two loci were significantly associated with PT asymmetry, including a coding polymorphism within the gene ITIH5 that is predicted to affect the protein’s function and to be deleterious (rs41298373, P=2.01×10−15), and a locus that affects the expression of the genes BOK and DTYMK (rs7420166, P=7.54×10-10). DTYMK showed left-right asymmetry of mRNA expression in post mortem PT tissue. Cortex-wide mapping of these SNP effects revealed influences on asymmetry that went somewhat beyond the PT. Using publicly available genome-wide association statistics from large-scale studies, we saw no significant genetic correlations of PT asymmetry with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, educational attainment or intelligence. Of the top two individual loci associated with PT asymmetry, rs41298373 showed a tentative association with intelligence (unadjusted P=0.025), while the locus at BOK/DTYMK showed tentative association with educational attainment (unadjusted Ps<0.05). These findings provide novel insights into the genetic contributions to human brain asymmetry, but do not support a substantial polygenic association of PT asymmetry with cognitive variation and mental disorders, as far as can be discerned with current sample sizes.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary data
  • Carrol, G., & Conklin, K. (2020). Is all formulaic language created equal? Unpacking the processing advantage for different types of formulaic sequences. Language and Speech, 63(1), 95-122. doi:10.1177/0023830918823230.

    Abstract

    Research into recurrent, highly conventionalized “formulaic” sequences has shown a processing advantage compared to “novel” (non-formulaic) language. Studies of individual types of formulaic sequence often acknowledge the contribution of specific factors, but little work exists to compare the processing of different types of phrases with fundamentally different properties. We use eye-tracking to compare the processing of three types of formulaic phrases—idioms, binomials, and collocations—and consider whether overall frequency can explain the advantage for all three, relative to control phrases. Results show an advantage, as evidenced through shorter reading times, for all three types. While overall phrase frequency contributes much of the processing advantage, different types of phrase do show additional effects according to the specific properties that are relevant to each type: frequency, familiarity, and decomposability for idioms; predictability and semantic association for binomials; and mutual information for collocations. We discuss how the results contribute to our understanding of the representation and processing of multiword lexical units more broadly.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary materials
  • Casasanto, D., Casasanto, L. S., Gijssels, T., & Hagoort, P. (2020). The Reverse Chameleon Effect: Negative social consequences of anatomical mimicry. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 1876. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01876.

    Abstract

    Bodily mimicry often makes the mimickee have more positive feelings about the mimicker. Yet, little is known about the causes of mimicry’s social effects. When people mimic each other’s bodily movements face to face, they can either adopt a mirrorwise perspective (moving in the same absolute direction) or an anatomical perspective (moving in the same direction relative to their own bodies). Mirrorwise mimicry maximizes visuo-spatial similarity between the mimicker and mimickee, whereas anatomical mimicry maximizes the similarity in the states of their motor systems. To compare the social consequences of visuo-spatial and motoric similarity, we asked participants to converse with an embodied virtual agent (VIRTUO), who mimicked their head movements either mirrorwise, anatomically, or not at all. Compared to participants who were not mimicked, those who were mimicked mirrorwise tended to rate VIRTUO more positively, but those who were mimicked anatomically rated him more negatively. During face-to-face conversation, mirrorwise and anatomical mimicry have opposite social consequences. Results suggest that visuo-spatial similarity between mimicker and mimickee, not similarity in motor system activity, gives rise to the positive social effects of bodily mimicry.
  • Casillas, M., Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (2020). Early language experience in a Tseltal Mayan village. Child Development, 91(5), 1819-1835. doi:10.1111/cdev.13349.

    Abstract

    Daylong at-home audio recordings from 10 Tseltal Mayan children (0;2–3;0; Southern Mexico) were analyzed for how often children engaged in verbal interaction with others and whether their speech environment changed with age, time of day, household size, and number of speakers present. Children were infrequently directly spoken to, with most directed speech coming from adults, and no increase with age. Most directed speech came in the mornings, and interactional peaks contained nearly four times the baseline rate of directed speech. Coarse indicators of children's language development (babbling, first words, first word combinations) suggest that Tseltal children manage to extract the linguistic information they need despite minimal directed speech. Multiple proposals for how they might do so are discussed.

    Supplementary material

    Tseltal-CLE-SuppMat.pdf
  • Chan, R. W., Alday, P. M., Zou-Williams, L., Lushington, K., Schlesewsky, M., Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., & Immink, M. A. (2020). Focused-attention meditation increases cognitive control during motor sequence performance: Evidence from the N2 cortical evoked potential. Behavioural Brain Research, 384: 112536. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112536.

    Abstract

    Previous work found that single-session focused attention meditation (FAM) enhanced motor sequence learning through increased cognitive control as a mechanistic action, although electrophysiological correlates of sequence learning performance following FAM were not investigated. We measured the persistent frontal N2 event-related potential (ERP) that is closely related to cognitive control processes and its ability to predict behavioural measures. Twenty-nine participants were randomised to one of three conditions reflecting the level of FAM experienced prior to a serial reaction time task (SRTT): 21 sessions of FAM (FAM21, N = 12), a single FAM session (FAM1, N = 9) or no preceding FAM control (Control, N = 8). Continuous 64-channel EEG were recorded during SRTT and N2 amplitudes for correct trials were extracted. Component amplitude, regions of interests, and behavioural outcomes were compared using mixed effects regression models between groups. FAM21 exhibited faster reaction time performances in majority of the learning blocks compared to FAM1 and Control. FAM21 also demonstrated a significantly more pronounced N2 over majority of anterior and central regions of interests during SRTT compared to the other groups. When N2 amplitudes were modelled against general learning performance, FAM21 showed the greatest rate of amplitude decline over anterior and central regions. The combined results suggest that FAM training provided greater cognitive control enhancement for improved general performance, and less pronounced effects for sequence-specific learning performance compared to the other groups. Importantly, FAM training facilitates dynamic modulation of cognitive control: lower levels of general learning performance was supported by greater levels of activation, whilst higher levels of general learning exhibited less activation.
  • Connaughton, D. M., Dai, R., Owen, D. J., Marquez, J., Mann, N., Graham-Paquin, A. L., Nakayama, M., Coyaud, E., Laurent, E. M. N., St-Germain, J. R., Snijders Blok, L., Vino, A., Klämbt, V., Deutsch, K., Wu, C.-H.-W., Kolvenbach, C. M., Kause, F., Ottlewski, I., Schneider, R., Kitzler, T. M. and 79 moreConnaughton, D. M., Dai, R., Owen, D. J., Marquez, J., Mann, N., Graham-Paquin, A. L., Nakayama, M., Coyaud, E., Laurent, E. M. N., St-Germain, J. R., Snijders Blok, L., Vino, A., Klämbt, V., Deutsch, K., Wu, C.-H.-W., Kolvenbach, C. M., Kause, F., Ottlewski, I., Schneider, R., Kitzler, T. M., Majmundar, A. J., Buerger, F., Onuchic-Whitford, A. C., Youying, M., Kolb, A., Salmanullah, D., Chen, E., Van der Ven, A. T., Rao, J., Ityel, H., Seltzsam, S., Rieke, J. M., Chen, J., Vivante, A., Hwang, D.-Y., Kohl, S., Dworschak, G. C., Hermle, T., Alders, M., Bartolomaeus, T., Bauer, S. B., Baum, M. A., Brilstra, E. H., Challman, T. D., Zyskind, J., Costin, C. E., Dipple, K. M., Duijkers, F. A., Ferguson, M., Fitzpatrick, D. R., Fick, R., Glass, I. A., Hulick, P. J., Kline, A. D., Krey, I., Kumar, S., Lu, W., Marco, E. J., Wentzensen, I. M., Mefford, H. C., Platzer, K., Povolotskaya, I. S., Savatt, J. M., Shcherbakova, N. V., Senguttuvan, P., Squire, A. E., Stein, D. R., Thiffault, I., Voinova, V. Y., Somers, M. J. G., Ferguson, M. A., Traum, A. Z., Daouk, G. H., Daga, A., Rodig, N. M., Terhal, P. A., Van Binsbergen, E., Eid, L. A., Tasic, V., Rasouly, H. M., Lim, T. Y., Ahram, D. F., Gharavi, A. G., Reutter, H. M., Rehm, H. L., MacArthur, D. G., Lek, M., Laricchia, K. M., Lifton, R. P., Xu, H., Mane, S. M., Sanna-Cherchi, S., Sharrocks, A. D., Raught, B., Fisher, S. E., Bouchard, M., Khokha, M. K., Shril, S., & Hildebrandt, F. (2020). Mutations of the transcriptional corepressor ZMYM2 cause syndromic urinary tract malformations. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 107(4), 727-742. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.08.013.

    Abstract

    Congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) constitute one of the most frequent birth defects and represent the most common cause of chronic kidney disease in the first three decades of life. Despite the discovery of dozens of monogenic causes of CAKUT, most pathogenic pathways remain elusive. We performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) in 551 individuals with CAKUT and identified a heterozygous de novo stop-gain variant in ZMYM2 in two different families with CAKUT. Through collaboration, we identified in total 14 different heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in ZMYM2 in 15 unrelated families. Most mutations occurred de novo, indicating possible interference with reproductive function. Human disease features are replicated in X. tropicalis larvae with morpholino knockdowns, in which expression of truncated ZMYM2 proteins, based on individual mutations, failed to rescue renal and craniofacial defects. Moreover, heterozygous Zmym2-deficient mice recapitulated features of CAKUT with high penetrance. The ZMYM2 protein is a component of a transcriptional corepressor complex recently linked to the silencing of developmentally regulated endogenous retrovirus elements. Using protein-protein interaction assays, we show that ZMYM2 interacts with additional epigenetic silencing complexes, as well as confirming that it binds to FOXP1, a transcription factor that has also been linked to CAKUT. In summary, our findings establish that loss-of-function mutations of ZMYM2, and potentially that of other proteins in its interactome, as causes of human CAKUT, offering new routes for studying the pathogenesis of the disorder.
  • Coopmans, C. W., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2020). Dissociating activation and integration of discourse referents: Evidence from ERPs and oscillations. Cortex, 126, 83-106. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2019.12.028.

    Abstract

    A key challenge in understanding stories and conversations is the comprehension of ‘anaphora’, words that refer back to previously mentioned words or concepts (‘antecedents’). In psycholinguistic theories, anaphor comprehension involves the initial activation of the antecedent and its subsequent integration into the unfolding representation of the narrated event. A recent proposal suggests that these processes draw upon the brain’s recognition memory and language networks, respectively, and may be dissociable in patterns of neural oscillatory synchronization (Nieuwland & Martin, 2017). We addressed this proposal in an electroencephalogram (EEG) study with pre-registered data acquisition and analyses, using event-related potentials (ERPs) and neural oscillations. Dutch participants read two-sentence mini stories containing proper names, which were repeated or new (ease of activation) and semantically coherent or incoherent with the preceding discourse (ease of integration). Repeated names elicited lower N400 and Late Positive Component amplitude than new names, and also an increase in theta-band (4-7 Hz) synchronization, which was largest around 240-450 ms after name onset. Discourse-coherent names elicited an increase in gamma-band (60-80 Hz) synchronization compared to discourse-incoherent names. This effect was largest around 690-1000 ms after name onset and exploratory beamformer analysis suggested a left frontal source. We argue that the initial activation and subsequent discourse-level integration of referents can be dissociated with event-related EEG activity, and are associated with respectively theta- and gamma-band activity. These findings further establish the link between memory and language through neural oscillations.

    Supplementary material

    materials, data, and analysis scripts
  • Coopmans, C. W., & Schoenmakers, G.-J. (2020). Incremental structure building of preverbal PPs in Dutch. Linguistics in the Netherlands, 37(1), 38-52. doi:10.1075/avt.00036.coo.

    Abstract

    Incremental comprehension of head-final constructions can reveal structural attachment preferences for ambiguous phrases. This study investigates how temporarily ambiguous PPs are processed in Dutch verb-final constructions. In De aannemer heeft op het dakterras bespaard/gewerkt ‘The contractor has on the roof terrace saved/worked’, the PP is locally ambiguous between attachment as argument and as adjunct. This ambiguity is resolved by the sentence-final verb. In a self-paced reading task, we manipulated the argument/adjunct status of the PP, and its position relative to the verb. While we found no reading-time differences between argument and adjunct PPs, we did find that transitive verbs, for which the PP is an argument, were read more slowly than intransitive verbs, for which the PP is an adjunct. We suggest that Dutch parsers have a preference for adjunct attachment of preverbal PPs, and discuss our findings in terms of incremental parsing models that aim to minimize costly reanalysis.
  • Corps, R. E., Gambi, C., & Pickering, M. J. (2020). How do listeners time response articulation when answering questions? The role of speech rate. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(4), 781-802. doi:10.1037/xlm0000759.

    Abstract

    During conversation, interlocutors often produce their utterances with little overlap or gap between their turns. But what mechanism underlies this striking ability to time articulation appropriately? In 2 verbal yes/no question-answering experiments, we investigated whether listeners use the speech rate of questions to time articulation of their answers. In Experiment 1, we orthogonally manipulated the speech rate of the context (e.g., Do you have a . . .) and final word (e.g., dog?) of questions using time-compression, so that each component was spoken at the natural rate or twice as a fast. Listeners responded earlier when the context was speeded rather than natural, suggesting they used the speaker’s context rate to time answer articulation. Additionally, listeners responded earlier when the speaker’s final syllable was speeded than natural, regardless of context rate, suggesting they adjusted the timing of articulation after listening to a single syllable produced at a different rate. We replicated this final word effect in Experiment 2, which also showed that our speech rate manipulation did not influence the timing of response preparation. Together, these findings suggest listeners use speech rate information to time articulation when answering questions
  • Corps, R. E., & Rabagliati, H. (2020). How top-down processing enhances comprehension of noise-vocoded speech: Predictions about meaning are more important than predictions about form. Journal of Memory and Language, 113: 104114. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2020.104114.

    Abstract

    Listeners quickly learn to understand speech that has been distorted, and this process is enhanced when comprehension is constrained by higher-level knowledge. In three experiments, we investigated whether this knowledge enhances comprehension of distorted speech because it allows listeners to predict (1) the meaning of the distorted utterance, or (2) the lower-level wordforms. Participants listened to question-answer sequences, in which questions were clearly-spoken but answers were noise-vocoded. Comprehension (Experiment 1) and learning (Experiment 2) were enhanced when listeners could use the question to predict the semantics of the distorted answer, but were not enhanced by predictions of answer form. Form predictions enhanced comprehension only when questions and answers were significantly separated by time and intervening linguistic material (Experiment 3). Together, these results suggest that high-level semantic predictions enhance comprehension and learning, with form predictions playing only a minimal role.
  • Creemers, A., Goodwin Davies, A., Wilder, R. J., Tamminga, M., & Embick, D. (2020). Opacity, transparency, and morphological priming: A study of prefixed verbs in Dutch. Journal of Memory and Language, 110: 104055. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2019.104055.

    Abstract

    A basic question for the study of the mental lexicon is whether there are morphological representations and processes that are independent of phonology and semantics. According to a prominent tradition, morphological relatedness requires semantic transparency: semantically transparent words are related in meaning to their stems, while semantically opaque words are not. This study examines the question of morphological relatedness using intra-modal auditory priming by Dutch prefixed verbs. The key conditions involve semantically transparent prefixed primes (e.g., aanbieden ‘offer’, with the stem bieden, also ‘offer’) and opaque primes (e.g., verbieden ‘forbid’). Results show robust facilitation for both transparent and opaque pairs; phonological (Experiment 1) and semantic (Experiment 2) controls rule out the possibility that these other types of relatedness are responsible for the observed priming effects. The finding of facilitation with opaque primes suggests that morphological processing is independent of semantic and phonological representations. Accordingly, the results are incompatible with theories that make semantic overlap a necessary condition for relatedness, and favor theories in which words may be related in ways that do not require shared meaning. The general discussion considers several specific proposals along these lines, and compares and contrasts questions about morphological relatedness of the type found here with the different but related question of whether there is morphological decomposition of complex forms or not.
  • Cristia, A., Lavechin, M., Scaff, C., Soderstrom, M., Rowland, C. F., Räsänen, O., Bunce, J., & Bergelson, E. (2020). A thorough evaluation of the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) system. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01393-5.

    Abstract

    In the previous decade, dozens of studies involving thousands of children across several research disciplines have made use of a combined daylong audio-recorder and automated algorithmic analysis called the LENAⓇ system, which aims to assess children’s language environment. While the system’s prevalence in the language acquisition domain is steadily growing, there are only scattered validation efforts on only some of its key characteristics. Here, we assess the LENAⓇ system’s accuracy across all of its key measures: speaker classification, Child Vocalization Counts (CVC), Conversational Turn Counts (CTC), and Adult Word Counts (AWC). Our assessment is based on manual annotation of clips that have been randomly or periodically sampled out of daylong recordings, collected from (a) populations similar to the system’s original training data (North American English-learning children aged 3-36 months), (b) children learning another dialect of English (UK), and (c) slightly older children growing up in a different linguistic and socio-cultural setting (Tsimane’ learners in rural Bolivia). We find reasonably high accuracy in some measures (AWC, CVC), with more problematic levels of performance in others (CTC, precision of male adults and other children). Statistical analyses do not support the view that performance is worse for children who are dissimilar from the LENAⓇ original training set. Whether LENAⓇ results are accurate enough for a given research, educational, or clinical application depends largely on the specifics at hand. We therefore conclude with a set of recommendations to help researchers make this determination for their goals.
  • Croijmans, I., Hendrickx, I., Lefever, E., Majid, A., & Van den Bosch, A. (2020). Uncovering the language of wine experts. Natural Language Engineering, 26(5), 511-530. doi:10.1017/S1351324919000500.

    Abstract

    Talking about odors and flavors is difficult for most people, yet experts appear to be able to convey critical information about wines in their reviews. This seems to be a contradiction, and wine expert descriptions are frequently received with criticism. Here, we propose a method for probing the language of wine reviews, and thus offer a means to enhance current vocabularies, and as a by-product question the general assumption that wine reviews are gibberish. By means of two different quantitative analyses—support vector machines for classification and Termhood analysis—on a corpus of online wine reviews, we tested whether wine reviews are written in a consistent manner, and thus may be considered informative; and whether reviews feature domain-specific language. First, a classification paradigm was trained on wine reviews from one set of authors for which the color, grape variety, and origin of a wine were known, and subsequently tested on data from a new author. This analysis revealed that, regardless of individual differences in vocabulary preferences, color and grape variety were predicted with high accuracy. Second, using Termhood as a measure of how words are used in wine reviews in a domain-specific manner compared to other genres in English, a list of 146 wine-specific terms was uncovered. These words were compared to existing lists of wine vocabulary that are currently used to train experts. Some overlap was observed, but there were also gaps revealed in the extant lists, suggesting these lists could be improved by our automatic analysis.
  • Cross, Z. R., Santamaria, A., Corcoran, A. W., Chatburn, A., Alday, P. M., Coussens, S., & Kohler, M. J. (2020). Individual alpha frequency modulates sleep-related emotional memory consolidation. Neuropsychologia, 148: 107660. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107660.

    Abstract

    Alpha-band oscillatory activity is involved in modulating memory and attention. However, few studies have investigated individual differences in oscillatory activity during the encoding of emotional memory, particularly in sleep paradigms where sleep is thought to play an active role in memory consolidation. The current study aimed to address the question of whether individual alpha frequency (IAF) modulates the consolidation of declarative memory across periods of sleep and wake. 22 participants aged 18 – 41 years (mean age = 25.77) viewed 120 emotionally valenced images (positive, negative, neutral) and completed a baseline memory task before a 2hr afternoon sleep opportunity and an equivalent period of wake. Following the sleep and wake conditions, participants were required to distinguish between 120 learned (target) images and 120 new (distractor) images. This method allowed us to delineate the role of different oscillatory components of sleep and wake states in the emotional modulation of memory. Linear mixed-effects models revealed interactions between IAF, rapid eye movement sleep theta power, and slow-wave sleep slow oscillatory density on memory outcomes. These results highlight the importance of individual factors in the EEG in modulating oscillatory-related memory consolidation and subsequent behavioural outcomes and test predictions proposed by models of sleep-based memory consolidation.

    Supplementary material

    supplementary data
  • Cuellar-Partida, G., Tung, J. Y., Eriksson, N., Albrecht, E., Aliev, F., Andreassen, O. A., Barroso, I., Beckmann, J. S., Boks, M. P., Boomsma, D. I., Boyd, H. A., Breteler, M. M. B., Campbell, H., Chasman, D. I., Cherkas, L. F., Davies, G., De Geus, E. J. C., Deary, I. J., Deloukas, P., Dick, D. M. and 98 moreCuellar-Partida, G., Tung, J. Y., Eriksson, N., Albrecht, E., Aliev, F., Andreassen, O. A., Barroso, I., Beckmann, J. S., Boks, M. P., Boomsma, D. I., Boyd, H. A., Breteler, M. M. B., Campbell, H., Chasman, D. I., Cherkas, L. F., Davies, G., De Geus, E. J. C., Deary, I. J., Deloukas, P., Dick, D. M., Duffy, D. L., Eriksson, J. G., Esko, T., Feenstra, B., Geller, F., Gieger, C., Giegling, I., Gordon, S. D., Han, J., Hansen, T. F., Hartmann, A. M., Hayward, C., Heikkilä, K., Hicks, A. A., Hirschhorn, J. N., Hottenga, J.-J., Huffman, J. E., Hwang, L.-D., Ikram, M. A., Kaprio, J., Kemp, J. P., Khaw, K.-T., Klopp, N., Konte, B., Kutalik, Z., Lahti, J., Li, X., Loos, R. J. F., Luciano, M., Magnusson, S. H., Mangino, M., Marques-Vidal, P., Martin, N. G., McArdle, W. L., McCarthy, M. I., Medina-Gomez, C., Melbye, M., Melville, S. A., Metspalu, A., Milani, L., Mooser, V., Nelis, M., Nyholt, D. R., O'Connell, K. S., Ophoff, R. A., Palmer, C., Palotie, A., Palviainen, T., Pare, G., Paternoster, L., Peltonen, L., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Polasek, O., Pramstaller, P. P., Prokopenko, I., Raikkonen, K., Ripatti, S., Rivadeneira, F., Rudan, I., Rujescu, D., Smit, J. H., Smith, G. D., Smoller, J. W., Soranzo, N., Spector, T. D., St Pourcain, B., Starr, J. M., Stefánsson, H., Steinberg, S., Teder-Laving, M., Thorleifsson, G., Stefansson, K., Timpson, N. J., Uitterlinden, A. G., Van Duijn, C. M., Van Rooij, F. J. A., Vink, J. M., Vollenweider, P., Vuoksimaa, E., Waeber, G., Wareham, N. J., Warrington, N., Waterworth, D., Werge, T., Wichmann, H.-E., Widen, E., Willemsen, G., Wright, A. F., Wright, M. J., Xu, M., Zhao, J. H., Kraft, P., Hinds, D. A., Lindgren, C. M., Magi, R., Neale, B. M., Evans, D. M., & Medland, S. E. (2020). Genome-wide association study identifies 48 common genetic variants associated with handedness. Nature Human Behaviour. Advance online publication. doi:10.1038/s41562-020-00956-y.

    Abstract

    Handedness has been extensively studied because of its relationship with language and the over-representation of left-handers in some neurodevelopmental disorders. Using data from the UK Biobank, 23andMe and the International Handedness Consortium, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of handedness (N = 1,766,671). We found 41 loci associated (P < 5 × 10−8) with left-handedness and 7 associated with ambidexterity. Tissue-enrichment analysis implicated the CNS in the aetiology of handedness. Pathways including regulation of microtubules and brain morphology were also highlighted. We found suggestive positive genetic correlations between left-handedness and neuropsychiatric traits, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, the genetic correlation between left-handedness and ambidexterity is low (rG = 0.26), which implies that these traits are largely influenced by different genetic mechanisms. Our findings suggest that handedness is highly polygenic and that the genetic variants that predispose to left-handedness may underlie part of the association with some psychiatric disorders.

    Supplementary material

    supplementary tables
  • Ip, M. H. K., & Cutler, A. (2020). Universals of listening: Equivalent prosodic entrainment in tone and non-tone languages. Cognition, 202: 104311. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104311.

    Abstract

    In English and Dutch, listeners entrain to prosodic contours to predict where focus will fall in an utterance. Here, we ask whether this strategy is universally available, even in languages with very different phonological systems (e.g., tone versus non-tone languages). In a phoneme detection experiment, we examined whether prosodic entrainment also occurs in Mandarin Chinese, a tone language, where the use of various suprasegmental cues to lexical identity may take precedence over their use in salience. Consistent with the results from Germanic languages, response times were facilitated when preceding intonation predicted high stress on the target-bearing word, and the lexical tone of the target word (i.e., rising versus falling) did not affect the Mandarin listeners' response. Further, the extent to which prosodic entrainment was used to detect the target phoneme was the same in both English and Mandarin listeners. Nevertheless, native Mandarin speakers did not adopt an entrainment strategy when the sentences were presented in English, consistent with the suggestion that L2 listening may be strained by additional functional load from prosodic processing. These findings have implications for how universal and language-specific mechanisms interact in the perception of focus structure in everyday discourse.

    Supplementary material

    supplementary data
  • Cutter, M. G., Martin, A. E., & Sturt, P. (2020). Capitalization interacts with syntactic complexity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(6), 1146-1164. doi:10.1037/xlm0000780.

    Abstract

    We investigated whether readers use the low-level cue of proper noun capitalization in the parafovea to infer syntactic category, and whether this results in an early update of the representation of a sentence’s syntactic structure. Participants read sentences containing either a subject relative or object relative clause, in which the relative clause’s overt argument was a proper noun (e.g., The tall lanky guard who alerted Charlie/Charlie alerted to the danger was young) across three experiments. In Experiment 1 these sentences were presented in normal sentence casing or entirely in upper case. In Experiment 2 participants received either valid or invalid parafoveal previews of the relative clause. In Experiment 3 participants viewed relative clauses in only normal conditions. We hypothesized that we would observe relative clause effects (i.e., inflated fixation times for object relative clauses) while readers were still fixated on the word who, if readers use capitalization to infer a parafoveal word’s syntactic class. This would constitute a syntactic parafoveal-on-foveal effect. Furthermore, we hypothesised that this effect should be influenced by sentence casing in Experiment 1 (with no cue for syntactic category being available in upper case sentences) but not by parafoveal preview validity of the target words. We observed syntactic parafoveal-on-foveal effects in Experiment 1 and 3, and a Bayesian analysis of the combined data from all three experiments. These effects seemed to be influenced more by noun capitalization than lexical processing. We discuss our findings in relation to models of eye movement control and sentence processing theories.
  • Cutter, M. G., Martin, A. E., & Sturt, P. (2020). Readers detect an low-level phonological violation between two parafoveal words. Cognition, 204: 104395. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104395.

    Abstract

    In two eye-tracking studies we investigated whether readers can detect a violation of the phonological-grammatical convention for the indefinite article an to be followed by a word beginning with a vowel when these two words appear in the parafovea. Across two experiments participants read sentences in which the word an was followed by a parafoveal preview that was either correct (e.g. Icelandic), incorrect and represented a phonological violation (e.g. Mongolian), or incorrect without representing a phonological violation (e.g. Ethiopian), with this parafoveal preview changing to the target word as participants made a saccade into the space preceding an. Our data suggests that participants detected the phonological violation while the target word was still two words to the right of fixation, with participants making more regressions from the previewed word and having longer go-past times on this word when they received a violation preview as opposed to a non-violation preview. We argue that participants were attempting to perform aspects of sentence integration on the basis of low-level orthographic information from the previewed word.

    Supplementary material

    Data files and R Scripts
  • Cutter, M. G., Martin, A. E., & Sturt, P. (2020). The activation of contextually predictable words in syntactically illegal positions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73(9), 1423-1430. doi:10.1177/1747021820911021.

    Abstract

    We present an eye-tracking study testing a hypothesis emerging from several theories of prediction during language processing, whereby predictable words should be skipped more than unpredictable words even in syntactically illegal positions. Participants read sentences in which a target word became predictable by a certain point (e.g., “bone” is 92% predictable given, “The dog buried his. . .”), with the next word actually being an intensifier (e.g., “really”), which a noun cannot follow. The target noun remained predictable to appear later in the sentence. We used the boundary paradigm to present the predictable noun or an alternative unpredictable noun (e.g., “food”) directly after the intensifier, until participants moved beyond the intensifier, at which point the noun changed to a syntactically legal word. Participants also read sentences in which predictable or unpredictable nouns appeared in syntactically legal positions. A Bayesian linear-mixed model suggested a 5.7% predictability effect on skipping of nouns in syntactically legal positions, and a 3.1% predictability effect on skipping of nouns in illegal positions. We discuss our findings in relation to theories of lexical prediction during reading.

    Supplementary material

    OSF data
  • Cychosz, M., Romeo, R., Soderstrom, M., Scaff, C., Ganek, H., Cristia, A., Casillas, M., De Barbaro, K., Bang, J. Y., & Weisleder, A. (2020). Longform recordings of everyday life: Ethics for best practices. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 1951-1969. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01365-9.

    Abstract

    Recent advances in large-scale data storage and processing offer unprecedented opportunities for behavioral scientists to collect and analyze naturalistic data, including from under-represented groups. Audio data, particularly real-world audio recordings, are of particular interest to behavioral scientists because they provide high-fidelity access to subtle aspects of daily life and social interactions. However, these methodological advances pose novel risks to research participants and communities. In this article, we outline the benefits and challenges associated with collecting, analyzing, and sharing multi-hour audio recording data. Guided by the principles of autonomy, privacy, beneficence, and justice, we propose a set of ethical guidelines for the use of longform audio recordings in behavioral research. This article is also accompanied by an Open Science Framework Ethics Repository that includes informed consent resources such as frequent participant concerns and sample consent forms.
  • Davies, C., McGillion, M., Rowland, C. F., & Matthews, D. (2020). Can inferencing be trained in preschoolers using shared book-reading? A randomised controlled trial of parents’ inference-eliciting questions on oral inferencing ability. Journal of Child Language, 47(3), 655-679. doi:10.1017/S0305000919000801.

    Abstract

    The ability to make inferences is essential for effective language comprehension. While inferencing training benefits reading comprehension in school-aged children (see Elleman, 2017, for a review), we do not yet know whether it is beneficial to support the development of these skills prior to school entry. In a pre-registered randomised controlled trial, we evaluated the efficacy of a parent-delivered intervention intended to promote four-year-olds’ oral inferencing skills during shared book-reading. One hundred children from socioeconomically diverse backgrounds were randomly assigned to inferencing training or an active control condition of daily maths activities. The training was found to have no effect on inferencing. However, inferencing measures were highly correlated with children's baseline language ability. This suggests that a more effective approach to scaffolding inferencing in the preschool years might be to focus on promoting vocabulary to develop richer and stronger semantic networks.
  • Dempsey, J., & Brehm, L. (2020). Can propositional biases modulate syntactic repair processes? Insights from preceding comprehension questions. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 32(5-6), 543-552. doi:10.1080/20445911.2020.1803884.

    Abstract

    There is an ongoing debate about whether discourse biases can constrain sentence processing. Previous work has shown comprehension question accuracy to decrease for temporarily ambiguous sentences preceded by a context biasing towards an initial misinterpretation, suggesting a role of context for modulating comprehension. However, this creates limited modulation of reading times at the disambiguating word, suggesting initial syntactic processing may be unaffected by context [Christianson & Luke, 2011. Context strengthens initial misinterpretations of text. Scientific Studies of Reading, 15(2), 136–166]. The current experiments examine whether propositional and structural content from preceding comprehension questions can cue readers to expect certain structures in temporarily ambiguous garden-path sentences. The central finding is that syntactic repair processes remain unaffected while reading times in other regions are modulated by preceding questions. This suggests that reading strategies can be superficially influenced by preceding comprehension questions without impacting the fidelity of ultimate (mis)representations.

    Supplementary material

    pecp_a_1803884_sm1217.zip
  • Den Hoed, J., & Fisher, S. E. (2020). Genetic pathways involved in human speech disorders. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development, 65, 103-111. doi:10.1016/j.gde.2020.05.012.
  • Dingemanse, M., Perlman, M., & Perniss, P. (2020). Construals of iconicity: Experimental approaches to form-meaning resemblances in language. Language and Cognition, 12(1), 1-14. doi:10.1017/langcog.2019.48.

    Abstract

    While speculations on form–meaning resemblances in language go back millennia, the experimental study of iconicity is only about a century old. Here we take stock of experimental work on iconicity and present a double special issue with a diverse set of new contributions. We contextualise the work by introducing a typology of approaches to iconicity in language. Some approaches construe iconicity as a discrete property that is either present or absent; others treat it as involving semiotic relationships that come in kinds; and yet others see it as a gradient substance that comes in degrees. We show the benefits and limitations that come with each of these construals and stress the importance of developing accounts that can fluently switch between them. With operationalisations of iconicity that are well defined yet flexible enough to deal with differences in tasks, modalities, and levels of analysis, experimental research on iconicity is well equipped to contribute to a comprehensive science of language.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Thompson, B. (2020). Playful iconicity: Structural markedness underlies the relation between funniness and iconicity. Language and Cognition, 12(1), 203-224. doi:10.1017/langcog.2019.49.

    Abstract

    Words like ‘waddle’, ‘flop’ and ‘zigzag’ combine playful connotations with iconic form-meaning resemblances. Here we propose that structural markedness may be a common factor underlying perceptions of playfulness and iconicity. Using collected and estimated lexical ratings covering a total of over 70,000 English words, we assess the robustness of this assocation. We identify cues of phonotactic complexity that covary with funniness and iconicity ratings and that, we propose, serve as metacommunicative signals to draw attention to words as playful and performative. To assess the generalisability of the findings we develop a method to estimate lexical ratings from distributional semantics and apply it to a dataset 20 times the size of the original set of human ratings. The method can be used more generally to extend coverage of lexical ratings. We find that it reliably reproduces correlations between funniness and iconicity as well as cues of structural markedness, though it also amplifies biases present in the human ratings. Our study shows that the playful and the poetic are part of the very texture of the lexicon.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Between sound and speech: Liminal signs in interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 53(1), 188-196. doi:10.1080/08351813.2020.1712967.

    Abstract

    When people talk, they recruit a wide range of expressive devices for interactional work, from sighs, sniffs, clicks, and whistles to other conduct that borders on the linguistic. These resources represent some of the more elusive yet no less powerful aspects of the interactional machinery as they are used in the management of turn and sequence and the marking of stance and affect. Phenomena long assumed to be beyond the purview of linguistic inquiry emerge as systematically deployed practices whose ambiguous degree of control and convention allows participants to carry out subtle interactional work without committing to specific words. While these resources have been characterised as non-lexical, non-verbal, or non-conventional, I propose they are unified in their liminality: they work well precisely because they equivocate between sound and speech. The empirical study of liminal signs shows the promise of sequential analysis for building a science of language on interactional foundations.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Resource-rationality beyond individual minds: The case of interactive language use. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 43, 23-24. doi:10.1017/S0140525X19001638.

    Abstract

    Resource-rational approaches offer much promise for understanding human cognition, especially if they can reach beyond the confines of individual minds. Language allows people to transcend individual resource limitations by augmenting computation and enabling distributed cognition. Interactive language use, an environment where social rational agents routinely deal with resource constraints together, offers a natural laboratory to test resource-rationality in the wild.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Recruiting assistance and collaboration: A West-African corpus study. In S. Floyd, G. Rossi, & N. J. Enfield (Eds.), Getting others to do things: A pragmatic typology of recruitments (pp. 369-241). Berlin: Language Science Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.4018388.

    Abstract

    Doing things for and with others is one of the foundations of human social life. This chapter studies a systematic collection of 207 requests for assistance and collaboration from a video corpus of everyday conversations in Siwu, a Kwa language of Ghana. A range of social action formats and semiotic resources reveals how language is adapted to the interactional challenges posed by recruiting assistance. While many of the formats bear a language-specific signature, their sequential and interactional properties show important commonalities across languages. Two tentative findings are put forward for further cross-linguistic examination: a “rule of three” that may play a role in the organisation of successive response pursuits, and a striking commonality in animal-oriented recruitments across languages that may be explained by convergent cultural evolution. The Siwu recruitment system emerges as one instance of a sophisticated machinery for organising collaborative action that transcends language and culture.
  • Dolscheid, S., Çelik, S., Erkan, H., Küntay, A., & Majid, A. (2020). Space-pitch associations differ in their susceptibility to language. Cognition, 196: 104073. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104073.

    Abstract

    To what extent are links between musical pitch and space universal, and to what extent are they shaped by language? There is contradictory evidence in support of both universality and linguistic relativity presently, leaving the question open. To address this, speakers of Dutch who talk about pitch in terms of spatial height and speakers of Turkish who use a thickness metaphor were tested in simple nonlinguistic space-pitch association tasks. Both groups showed evidence of a thickness-pitch association, but differed significantly in their heightpitch associations, suggesting the latter may be more susceptible to language. When participants had to match pitches to spatial stimuli where height and thickness were opposed (i.e., a thick line high in space vs. a thin line low in space), Dutch and Turkish differed in their relative preferences. Whereas Turkish participants predominantly opted for a thickness-pitch interpretation—even if this meant a reversal of height-pitch mappings—Dutch participants favored a height-pitch interpretation more often. These findings provide new evidence that speakers of different languages vary in their space-pitch associations, while at the same time showing such associations are not equally susceptible to linguistic influences. Some space-pitch (i.e., heightpitch) associations are more malleable than others (i.e., thickness-pitch).
  • Donnelly, S., & Kidd, E. (2020). Individual differences in lexical processing efficiency and vocabulary in toddlers: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 192: 104781. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104781.

    Abstract

    Research on infants’ online lexical processing by Fernald, Perfors, and Marchman (2006) revealed substantial individual differences that are related to vocabulary development, such that infants with better lexical processing efficiency show greater vocabulary growth across time. Although it is clear that individual differences in lexical processing efficiency exist and are meaningful, the theoretical nature of lexical processing efficiency and its relation to vocabulary size is less clear. In the current study, we asked two questions: (a) Is lexical processing efficiency better conceptualized as a central processing capacity or as an emergent capacity reflecting a collection of word-specific capacities? and (b) Is there evidence for a causal role for lexical processing efficiency in early vocabulary development? In the study, 120 infants were tested on a measure of lexical processing at 18, 21, and 24 months, and their vocabulary was measured via parent report. Structural equation modeling of the 18-month time point data revealed that both theoretical constructs represented in the first question above (a) fit the data. A set of regression analyses on the longitudinal data revealed little evidence for a causal effect of lexical processing on vocabulary but revealed a significant effect of vocabulary size on lexical processing efficiency early in development. Overall, the results suggest that lexical processing efficiency is a stable construct in infancy that may reflect the structure of the developing lexicon.
  • Doumas, L. A. A., Martin, A. E., & Hummel, J. E. (2020). Relation learning in a neurocomputational architecture supports cross-domain transfer. In S. Denison, M. Mack, Y. Xu, & B. C. Armstrong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Virtual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2020) (pp. 932-937). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Humans readily generalize, applying prior knowledge to novel situations and stimuli. Advances in machine learning have begun to approximate and even surpass human performance, but these systems struggle to generalize what they have learned to untrained situations. We present a model based on wellestablished neurocomputational principles that demonstrates human-level generalisation. This model is trained to play one video game (Breakout) and performs one-shot generalisation to a new game (Pong) with different characteristics. The model generalizes because it learns structured representations that are functionally symbolic (viz., a role-filler binding calculus) from unstructured training data. It does so without feedback, and without requiring that structured representations are specified a priori. Specifically, the model uses neural co-activation to discover which characteristics of the input are invariant and to learn relational predicates, and oscillatory regularities in network firing to bind predicates to arguments. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of human-like generalisation in a machine system that does not assume structured representa- tions to begin with.
  • Doust, C., Gordon, S. D., Garden, N., Fisher, S. E., Martin, N. G., Bates, T. C., & Luciano, M. (2020). The association of dyslexia and developmental speech and language disorder candidate genes with reading and language abilities in adults. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 23(1), 22-32. doi:10.1017/thg.2020.7.

    Abstract

    Reading and language abilities are critical for educational achievement and success in adulthood. Variation in these traits is highly heritable, but the underlying genetic architecture is largely undiscovered. Genetic studies of reading and language skills traditionally focus on children with developmental disorders; however, much larger unselected adult samples are available, increasing power to identify associations with specific genetic variants of small effect size. We introduce an Australian adult population cohort (41.7–73.2 years of age, N = 1505) in which we obtained data using validated measures of several aspects of reading and language abilities. We performed genetic association analysis for a reading and spelling composite score, nonword reading (assessing phonological processing: a core component in learning to read), phonetic spelling, self-reported reading impairment and nonword repetition (a marker of language ability). Given the limited power in a sample of this size (~80% power to find a minimum effect size of 0.005), we focused on analyzing candidate genes that have been associated with dyslexia and developmental speech and language disorders in prior studies. In gene-based tests, FOXP2, a gene implicated in speech/language disorders, was associated with nonword repetition (p < .001), phonetic spelling (p = .002) and the reading and spelling composite score (p < .001). Gene-set analyses of candidate dyslexia and speech/language disorder genes were not significant. These findings contribute to the assessment of genetic associations in reading and language disorders, crucial for understanding their etiology and informing intervention strategies, and validate the approach of using unselected adult samples for gene discovery in language and reading.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary materials
  • Dowell, C., Hajnal, A., Pouw, W., & Wagman, J. B. (2020). Visual and haptic perception of affordances of feelies. Perception, 49(9), 905-925. doi:10.1177/0301006620946532.

    Abstract

    Most objects have well-defined affordances. Investigating perception of affordances of objects that were not created for a specific purpose would provide insight into how affordances are perceived. In addition, comparison of perception of affordances for such objects across different exploratory modalities (visual vs. haptic) would offer a strong test of the lawfulness of information about affordances (i.e., the invariance of such information over transformation). Along these lines, “feelies”— objects created by Gibson with no obvious function and unlike any common object—could shed light on the processes underlying affordance perception. This study showed that when observers reported potential uses for feelies, modality significantly influenced what kind of affordances were perceived. Specifically, visual exploration resulted in more noun labels (e.g., “toy”) than haptic exploration which resulted in more verb labels (i.e., “throw”). These results suggested that overlapping, but distinct classes of action possibilities are perceivable using vision and haptics. Semantic network analyses revealed that visual exploration resulted in object-oriented responses focused on object identification, whereas haptic exploration resulted in action-oriented responses. Cluster analyses confirmed these results. Affordance labels produced in the visual condition were more consistent, used fewer descriptors, were less diverse, but more novel than in the haptic condition.
  • Drijvers, L., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Non-native listeners benefit less from gestures and visible speech than native listeners during degraded speech comprehension. Language and Speech, 63(2), 209-220. doi:10.1177/0023830919831311.

    Abstract

    Native listeners benefit from both visible speech and iconic gestures to enhance degraded speech comprehension (Drijvers & Ozyürek, 2017). We tested how highly proficient non-native listeners benefit from these visual articulators compared to native listeners. We presented videos of an actress uttering a verb in clear, moderately, or severely degraded speech, while her lips were blurred, visible, or visible and accompanied by a gesture. Our results revealed that unlike native listeners, non-native listeners were less likely to benefit from the combined enhancement of visible speech and gestures, especially since the benefit from visible speech was minimal when the signal quality was not sufficient.
  • Drijvers, L., Jensen, O., & Spaak, E. (2020). Rapid invisible frequency tagging reveals nonlinear integration of auditory and visual information. Human Brain Mapping. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/hbm.25282.

    Abstract

    During communication in real-life settings, the brain integrates information from auditory and visual modalities to form a unified percept of our environment. In the current magnetoencephalography (MEG) study, we used rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT) to generate steady-state evoked fields and investigated the integration of audiovisual information in a semantic context. We presented participants with videos of an actress uttering action verbs (auditory; tagged at 61 Hz) accompanied by a gesture (visual; tagged at 68 Hz, using a projector with a 1440 Hz refresh rate). Integration ease was manipulated by auditory factors (clear/degraded speech) and visual factors (congruent/incongruent gesture). We identified MEG spectral peaks at the individual (61/68 Hz) tagging frequencies. We furthermore observed a peak at the intermodulation frequency of the auditory and visually tagged signals (fvisual – fauditory = 7 Hz), specifically when integration was easiest (i.e., when speech was clear and accompanied by a congruent gesture). This intermodulation peak is a signature of nonlinear audiovisual integration, and was strongest in left inferior frontal gyrus and left temporal regions; areas known to be involved in speech-gesture integration. The enhanced power at the intermodulation frequency thus reflects the ease of integration and demonstrates that speech-gesture information interacts in higher-order language areas. Furthermore, we provide a proof-of-principle of the use of RIFT to study the integration of audiovisual stimuli, in relation to, for instance, semantic context.
  • Durrant, S., Jessop, A., Chang, F., Bidgood, A., Peter, M. S., Pine, J. M., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). Does the understanding of complex dynamic events at 10 months predict vocabulary development? Language and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/langcog.2020.26.

    Abstract

    By the end of their first year, infants can interpret many different types of complex dynamic visual events, such as caused-motion, chasing, and goal-directed action. Infants of this age are also in the early stages of vocabulary development, producing their first words at around 12 months. The present work examined whether there are meaningful individual differences in infants’ ability to represent dynamic causal events in visual scenes, and whether these differences influence vocabulary development. As part of the longitudinal Language 0–5 Project, 78 10-month-old infants were tested on their ability to interpret three dynamic motion events, involving (a) caused-motion, (b) chasing behaviour, and (c) goal-directed movement. Planned analyses found that infants showed evidence of understanding the first two event types, but not the third. Looking behaviour in each task was not meaningfully related to vocabulary development, nor were there any correlations between the tasks. The results of additional exploratory analyses and simulations suggested that the infants’ understanding of each event may not be predictive of their vocabulary development, and that looking times in these tasks may not be reliably capturing any meaningful individual differences in their knowledge. This raises questions about how to convert experimental group designs to individual differences measures, and how to interpret infant looking time behaviour.
  • Egger, J., Rowland, C. F., & Bergmann, C. (2020). Improving the robustness of infant lexical processing speed measures. Behavior Research Methods, 52, 2188-2201. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01385-5.

    Abstract

    Visual reaction times to target pictures after naming events are an informative measurement in language acquisition research, because gaze shifts measured in looking-while-listening paradigms are an indicator of infants’ lexical speed of processing. This measure is very useful, as it can be applied from a young age onwards and has been linked to later language development. However, to obtain valid reaction times, the infant is required to switch the fixation of their eyes from a distractor to a target object. This means that usually at least half the trials have to be discarded—those where the participant is already fixating the target at the onset of the target word—so that no reaction time can be measured. With few trials, reliability suffers, which is especially problematic when studying individual differences. In order to solve this problem, we developed a gaze-triggered looking-while-listening paradigm. The trials do not differ from the original paradigm apart from the fact that the target object is chosen depending on the infant’s eye fixation before naming. The object the infant is looking at becomes the distractor and the other object is used as the target, requiring a fixation switch, and thus providing a reaction time. We tested our paradigm with forty-three 18-month-old infants, comparing the results to those from the original paradigm. The Gaze-triggered paradigm yielded more valid reaction time trials, as anticipated. The results of a ranked correlation between the conditions confirmed that the manipulated paradigm measures the same concept as the original paradigm.
  • Eielts, C., Pouw, W., Ouwehand, K., Van Gog, T., Zwaan, R. A., & Paas, F. (2020). Co-thought gesturing supports more complex problem solving in subjects with lower visual working-memory capacity. Psychological Research, 84, 502-513. doi:10.1007/s00426-018-1065-9.

    Abstract

    During silent problem solving, hand gestures arise that have no communicative intent. The role of such co-thought gestures in cognition has been understudied in cognitive research as compared to co-speech gestures. We investigated whether gesticulation during silent problem solving supported subsequent performance in a Tower of Hanoi problem-solving task, in relation to visual working-memory capacity and task complexity. Seventy-six participants were assigned to either an instructed gesture condition or a condition that allowed them to gesture, but without explicit instructions to do so. This resulted in three gesture groups: (1) non-gesturing; (2) spontaneous gesturing; (3) instructed gesturing. In line with the embedded/extended cognition perspective on gesture, gesturing benefited complex problem-solving performance for participants with a lower visual working-memory capacity, but not for participants with a lower spatial working-memory capacity.
  • Ergin, R., Raviv, L., Senghas, A., Padden, C., & Sandler, W. (2020). Community structure affects convergence on uniform word orders: Evidence from emerging sign languages. In A. Ravignani, C. Barbieri, M. Flaherty, Y. Jadoul, E. Lattenkamp, H. Little, M. Martins, K. Mudd, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (Evolang13) (pp. 84-86). Nijmegen: The Evolution of Language Conferences.
  • Favier, S. (2020). Individual differences in syntactic knowledge and processing: Exploring the role of literacy experience. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Fazekas, J., Jessop, A., Pine, J., & Rowland, C. F. (2020). Do children learn from their prediction mistakes? A registered report evaluating error-based theories of language acquisition. Royal Society Open Science, 7(11): 180877. doi:10.1098/rsos.180877.

    Abstract

    Error-based theories of language acquisition suggest that children, like adults, continuously make and evaluate predictions in order to reach an adult-like state of language use. However, while these theories have become extremely influential, their central claim - that unpredictable input leads to higher rates of lasting change in linguistic representations – has scarcely been tested. We designed a prime surprisal-based intervention study to assess this claim. As predicted, both 5- to 6-year-old children (n=72) and adults (n=72) showed a pre- to post-test shift towards producing the dative syntactic structure they were exposed to in surprising sentences. The effect was significant in both age groups together, and in the child group separately when participants with ceiling performance in the pre-test were excluded. Secondary predictions were not upheld: we found no verb-based learning effects and there was only reliable evidence for immediate prime surprisal effects in the adult, but not in the child group. To our knowledge this is the first published study demonstrating enhanced learning rates for the same syntactic structure when it appeared in surprising as opposed to predictable contexts, thus providing crucial support for error-based theories of language acquisition.
  • Fitz, H., Uhlmann, M., Van den Broek, D., Duarte, R., Hagoort, P., & Petersson, K. M. (2020). Neuronal spike-rate adaptation supports working memory in language processing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(34), 20881-20889. doi:10.1073/pnas.2000222117.

    Abstract

    Language processing involves the ability to store and integrate pieces of information in working memory over short periods of time. According to the dominant view, information is maintained through sustained, elevated neural activity. Other work has argued that short-term synaptic facilitation can serve as a substrate of memory. Here, we propose an account where memory is supported by intrinsic plasticity that downregulates neuronal firing rates. Single neuron responses are dependent on experience and we show through simulations that these adaptive changes in excitability pro- vide memory on timescales ranging from milliseconds to seconds. On this account, spiking activity writes information into coupled dynamic variables that control adaptation and move at slower timescales than the membrane potential. From these variables, information is continuously read back into the active membrane state for processing. This neuronal memory mech- anism does not rely on persistent activity, excitatory feedback, or synap- tic plasticity for storage. Instead, information is maintained in adaptive conductances that reduce firing rates and can be accessed directly with- out cued retrieval. Memory span is systematically related to both the time constant of adaptation and baseline levels of neuronal excitability. Inter- ference effects within memory arise when adaptation is long-lasting. We demonstrate that this mechanism is sensitive to context and serial order which makes it suitable for temporal integration in sequence processing within the language domain. We also show that it enables the binding of linguistic features over time within dynamic memory registers. This work provides a step towards a computational neurobiology of language.
  • Fleur, D. S., Flecken, M., Rommers, J., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2020). Definitely saw it coming? The dual nature of the pre-nominal prediction effect. Cognition, 204: 104335. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104335.

    Abstract

    In well-known demonstrations of lexical prediction during language comprehension, pre-nominal articles that mismatch a likely upcoming noun's gender elicit different neural activity than matching articles. However, theories differ on what this pre-nominal prediction effect means and on what is being predicted. Does it reflect mismatch with a predicted article, or ‘merely’ revision of the noun prediction? We contrasted the ‘article prediction mismatch’ hypothesis and the ‘noun prediction revision’ hypothesis in two ERP experiments on Dutch mini-story comprehension, with pre-registered data collection and analyses. We capitalized on the Dutch gender system, which marks gender on definite articles (‘de/het’) but not on indefinite articles (‘een’). If articles themselves are predicted, mismatching gender should have little effect when readers expected an indefinite article without gender marking. Participants read contexts that strongly suggested either a definite or indefinite noun phrase as its best continuation, followed by a definite noun phrase with the expected noun or an unexpected, different gender noun phrase (‘het boek/de roman’, the book/the novel). Experiment 1 (N = 48) showed a pre-nominal prediction effect, but evidence for the article prediction mismatch hypothesis was inconclusive. Informed by exploratory analyses and power analyses, direct replication Experiment 2 (N = 80) yielded evidence for article prediction mismatch at a newly pre-registered occipital region-of-interest. However, at frontal and posterior channels, unexpectedly definite articles also elicited a gender-mismatch effect, and this support for the noun prediction revision hypothesis was further strengthened by exploratory analyses: ERPs elicited by gender-mismatching articles correlated with incurred constraint towards a new noun (next-word entropy), and N400s for initially unpredictable nouns decreased when articles made them more predictable. By demonstrating its dual nature, our results reconcile two prevalent explanations of the pre-nominal prediction effect.
  • Fox, E. (2020). Literary Jerry and justice. In M. E. Poulsen (Ed.), The Jerome Bruner Library: From New York to Nijmegen. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • Fox, N. P., Leonard, M., Sjerps, M. J., & Chang, E. F. (2020). Transformation of a temporal speech cue to a spatial neural code in human auditory cortex. eLife, 9: e53051. doi:10.7554/eLife.53051.

    Abstract

    In speech, listeners extract continuously-varying spectrotemporal cues from the acoustic signal to perceive discrete phonetic categories. Spectral cues are spatially encoded in the amplitude of responses in phonetically-tuned neural populations in auditory cortex. It remains unknown whether similar neurophysiological mechanisms encode temporal cues like voice-onset time (VOT), which distinguishes sounds like /b/ and/p/. We used direct brain recordings in humans to investigate the neural encoding of temporal speech cues with a VOT continuum from /ba/ to /pa/. We found that distinct neural populations respond preferentially to VOTs from one phonetic category, and are also sensitive to sub-phonetic VOT differences within a population’s preferred category. In a simple neural network model, simulated populations tuned to detect either temporal gaps or coincidences between spectral cues captured encoding patterns observed in real neural data. These results demonstrate that a spatial/amplitude neural code underlies the cortical representation of both spectral and temporal speech cues.

    Supplementary material

    Data and code
  • Frost, R. L. A., Jessop, A., Durrant, S., Peter, M. S., Bidgood, A., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., & Monaghan, P. (2020). Non-adjacent dependency learning in infancy, and its link to language development. Cognitive Psychology, 120: 101291. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2020.101291.

    Abstract

    To acquire language, infants must learn how to identify words and linguistic structure in speech. Statistical learning has been suggested to assist both of these tasks. However, infants’ capacity to use statistics to discover words and structure together remains unclear. Further, it is not yet known how infants’ statistical learning ability relates to their language development. We trained 17-month-old infants on an artificial language comprising non-adjacent dependencies, and examined their looking times on tasks assessing sensitivity to words and structure using an eye-tracked head-turn-preference paradigm. We measured infants’ vocabulary size using a Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) concurrently and at 19, 21, 24, 25, 27, and 30 months to relate performance to language development. Infants could segment the words from speech, demonstrated by a significant difference in looking times to words versus part-words. Infants’ segmentation performance was significantly related to their vocabulary size (receptive and expressive) both currently, and over time (receptive until 24 months, expressive until 30 months), but was not related to the rate of vocabulary growth. The data also suggest infants may have developed sensitivity to generalised structure, indicating similar statistical learning mechanisms may contribute to the discovery of words and structure in speech, but this was not related to vocabulary size.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary data
  • Frost, R., & Monaghan, P. (2020). Insights from studying statistical learning. In C. F. Rowland, A. L. Theakston, B. Ambridge, & K. E. Twomey (Eds.), Current Perspectives on Child Language Acquisition: How children use their environment to learn (pp. 65-89). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:10.1075/tilar.27.03fro.

    Abstract

    Acquiring language is notoriously complex, yet for the majority of children this feat is accomplished with remarkable ease. Usage-based accounts of language acquisition suggest that this success can be largely attributed to the wealth of experience with language that children accumulate over the course of language acquisition. One field of research that is heavily underpinned by this principle of experience is statistical learning, which posits that learners can perform powerful computations over the distribution of information in a given input, which can help them to discern precisely how that input is structured, and how it operates. A growing body of work brings this notion to bear in the field of language acquisition, due to a developing understanding of the richness of the statistical information contained in speech. In this chapter we discuss the role that statistical learning plays in language acquisition, emphasising the importance of both the distribution of information within language, and the situation in which language is being learnt. First, we address the types of statistical learning that apply to a range of language learning tasks, asking whether the statistical processes purported to support language learning are the same or distinct across different tasks in language acquisition. Second, we expand the perspective on what counts as environmental input, by determining how statistical learning operates over the situated learning environment, and not just sequences of sounds in utterances. Finally, we address the role of variability in children’s input, and examine how statistical learning can accommodate (and perhaps even exploit) this during language acquisition.
  • Galbiati, A., Sforza, M., Poletti, M., Verga, L., Zucconi, M., Ferini-Strambi, L., & Castronovo, V. (2020). Insomnia patients with subjective short total sleep time have a boosted response to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia despite residual symptoms. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 18(1), 58-67. doi:10.1080/15402002.2018.1545650.

    Abstract

    Background: Two distinct insomnia disorder (ID) phenotypes have been proposed, distinguished on the basis of an objective total sleep time less or more than 6 hr. In particular, it has been recently reported that patients with objective short sleep duration have a blunted response to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). The aim of this study was to investigate the differences of CBT-I response in two groups of ID patients subdivided according to total sleep time. Methods: Two hundred forty-six ID patients were subdivided into two groups, depending on their reported total sleep time (TST) assessed by sleep diaries. Patients with a TST greater than 6 hr were classified as “normal sleepers” (NS), while those with a total sleep time less than 6 hr were classified as “short sleepers” (SS). Results: The delta between Insomnia Severity Index scores and sleep efficiency at the beginning as compared to the end of the treatment was significantly higher for SS in comparison to NS, even if they still exhibit more insomnia symptoms. No difference was found between groups in terms of remitters; however, more responders were observed in the SS group in comparison to the NS group. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that ID patients with reported short total sleep time had a beneficial response to CBT-I of greater magnitude in comparison to NS. However, these patients may still experience the presence of residual insomnia symptoms after treatment.
  • Gallotto, S., Duecker, F., Ten Oever, S., Schuhmann, T., De Graaf, T. A., & Sack, A. T. (2020). Relating alpha power modulations to competing visuospatial attention theories. NeuroImage, 207: 116429. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116429.

    Abstract

    Visuospatial attention theories often propose hemispheric asymmetries underlying the control of attention. In general support of these theories, previous EEG/MEG studies have shown that spatial attention is associated with hemispheric modulation of posterior alpha power (gating by inhibition). However, since measures of alpha power are typically expressed as lateralization scores, or collapsed across left and right attention shifts, the individual hemispheric contribution to the attentional control mechanism remains unclear. This is, however, the most crucial and decisive aspect in which the currently competing attention theories continue to disagree. To resolve this long-standing conflict, we derived predictions regarding alpha power modulations from Heilman's hemispatial theory and Kinsbourne's interhemispheric competition theory and tested them empirically in an EEG experiment. We used an attention paradigm capable of isolating alpha power modulation in two attentional states, namely attentional bias in a neutral cue condition and spatial orienting following directional cues. Differential alpha modulations were found for both hemispheres across conditions. When anticipating peripheral visual targets without preceding directional cues (neutral condition), posterior alpha power in the left hemisphere was generally lower and more strongly modulated than in the right hemisphere, in line with the interhemispheric competition theory. Intriguingly, however, while alpha power in the right hemisphere was modulated by both, cue-directed leftward and rightward attention shifts, the left hemisphere only showed modulations by rightward shifts of spatial attention, in line with the hemispatial theory. This suggests that the two theories may not be mutually exclusive, but rather apply to different attentional states.
  • Garcia, R., Roeser, J., & Höhle, B. (2020). Children’s online use of word order and morphosyntactic markers in Tagalog thematic role assignment: An eye-tracking study. Journal of Child Language, 47(3), 533-555. doi:10.1017/S0305000919000618.

    Abstract

    We investigated whether Tagalog-speaking children incrementally interpret the first noun as the agent, even if verbal and nominal markers for assigning thematic roles are given early in Tagalog sentences. We asked five- and seven-year-old children and adult controls to select which of two pictures of reversible actions matched the sentence they heard, while their looks to the pictures were tracked. Accuracy and eye-tracking data showed that agent-initial sentences were easier to comprehend than patient-initial sentences, but the effect of word order was modulated by voice. Moreover, our eyetracking data provided evidence that, by the first noun phrase, seven-year-old children looked more to the target in the agent-initial compared to the patient-initial conditions, but this word order advantage was no longer observed by the second noun phrase. The findings support language processing and acquisition models which emphasize the role of frequency in developing heuristic strategies (e.g., Chang, Dell, & Bock, 2006).
  • Garcia, M., & Ravignani, A. (2020). Acoustic allometry and vocal learning in mammals. Biology Letters, 16: 20200081. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2020.0081.

    Abstract

    Acoustic allometry is the study of how animal vocalisations reflect their body size. A key aim of this research is to identify outliers to acoustic allometry principles and pinpoint the evolutionary origins of such outliers. A parallel strand of research investigates species capable of vocal learning, the experience-driven ability to produce novel vocal signals through imitation or modification of existing vocalisations. Modification of vocalizations is a common feature found when studying both acoustic allometry and vocal learning. Yet, these two fields have only been investigated separately to date. Here, we review and connect acoustic allometry and vocal learning across mammalian clades, combining perspectives from bioacoustics, anatomy and evolutionary biology. Based on this, we hypothesize that, as a precursor to vocal learning, some species might have evolved the capacity for volitional vocal modulation via sexual selection for ‘dishonest’ signalling. We provide preliminary support for our hypothesis by showing significant associations between allometric deviation and vocal learning in a dataset of 164 mammals. Our work offers a testable framework for future empirical research linking allometric principles with the evolution of vocal learning.
  • Garcia, M., Theunissen, F., Sèbe, F., Clavel, J., Ravignani, A., Marin-Cudraz, T., Fuchs, J., & Mathevon, N. (2020). Evolution of communication signals and information during species radiation. Nature Communications, 11: 4970. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-18772-3.

    Abstract

    Communicating species identity is a key component of many animal signals. However, whether selection for species recognition systematically increases signal diversity during clade radiation remains debated. Here we show that in woodpecker drumming, a rhythmic signal used during mating and territorial defense, the amount of species identity information encoded remained stable during woodpeckers’ radiation. Acoustic analyses and evolutionary reconstructions show interchange among six main drumming types despite strong phylogenetic contingencies, suggesting evolutionary tinkering of drumming structure within a constrained acoustic space. Playback experiments and quantification of species discriminability demonstrate sufficient signal differentiation to support species recognition in local communities. Finally, we only find character displacement in the rare cases where sympatric species are also closely related. Overall, our results illustrate how historical contingencies and ecological interactions can promote conservatism in signals during a clade radiation without impairing the effectiveness of information transfer relevant to inter-specific discrimination.
  • Garcia, R., & Kidd, E. (2020). The acquisition of the Tagalog symmetrical voice system: Evidence from structural priming. Language Learning and Development, 16(4), 399-425. doi:10.1080/15475441.2020.1814780.

    Abstract

    We report on two experiments that investigated the acquisition of the Tagalog symmetrical voice system, a typologically rare feature of Western Austronesian languages in which there are more than one basic transitive construction and no preference for agents to be syntactic subjects. In the experiments, 3-, 5-, and 7-year-old Tagalog-speaking children and adults completed a structural priming task that manipulated voice and word order, with the uniqueness of Tagalog allowing us to tease apart priming of thematic role order from that of syntactic roles. Participants heard a description of a picture showing a transitive action, and were then asked to complete a sentence of an unrelated picture using a voice-marked verb provided by the experimenter. Our results show that children gradually acquire an agent-before-patient preference, instead of having a default mapping of the agent to the first noun position. We also found an earlier mastery of the patient voice verbal and nominal marker configuration (patient is the subject), suggesting that children do not initially map the agent to the subject. Children were primed by thematic role but not syntactic role order, suggesting that they prioritize mapping of the thematic roles to sentence positions.
  • Geambasu, A., Toron, L., Ravignani, A., & Levelt, C. C. (2020). Rhythmic recursion? Human sensitivity to a Lindenmayer grammar with self-similar structure in a musical task. Music & Science. doi:10.1177%2F2059204320946615.

    Abstract

    Processing of recursion has been proposed as the foundation of human linguistic ability. Yet this ability may be shared with other domains, such as the musical or rhythmic domain. Lindenmayer grammars (L-systems) have been proposed as a recursive grammar for use in artificial grammar experiments to test recursive processing abilities, and previous work had shown that participants are able to learn such a grammar using linguistic stimuli (syllables). In the present work, we used two experimental paradigms (a yes/no task and a two-alternative forced choice) to test whether adult participants are able to learn a recursive Lindenmayer grammar composed of drum sounds. After a brief exposure phase, we found that participants at the group level were sensitive to the exposure grammar and capable of distinguishing the grammatical and ungrammatical test strings above chance level in both tasks. While we found evidence of participants’ sensitivity to a very complex L-system grammar in a non-linguistic, potentially musical domain, the results were not robust. We discuss the discrepancy within our results and with the previous literature using L-systems in the linguistic domain. Furthermore, we propose directions for future music cognition research using L-system grammars.
  • Gerakaki, S. (2020). The moment in between: Planning speech while listening. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Gialluisi, A., Andlauer, T. F. M., Mirza-Schreiber, N., Moll, K., Becker, J., Hoffmann, P., Ludwig, K. U., Czamara, D., St Pourcain, B., Honbolygó, F., Tóth, D., Csépe, V., Huguet, H., Chaix, Y., Iannuzzi, S., Demonet, J.-F., Morris, A. P., Hulslander, J., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C. and 29 moreGialluisi, A., Andlauer, T. F. M., Mirza-Schreiber, N., Moll, K., Becker, J., Hoffmann, P., Ludwig, K. U., Czamara, D., St Pourcain, B., Honbolygó, F., Tóth, D., Csépe, V., Huguet, H., Chaix, Y., Iannuzzi, S., Demonet, J.-F., Morris, A. P., Hulslander, J., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C., Olson, R. K., Smith, S. D., Pennington, B. F., Vaessen, A., Maurer, U., Lyytinen, H., Peyrard-Janvid, M., Leppänen, P. H. T., Brandeis, D., Bonte, M., Stein, J. F., Talcott, J. B., Fauchereau, F., Wilcke, A., Kirsten, H., Müller, B., Francks, C., Bourgeron, T., Monaco, A. P., Ramus, F., Landerl, K., Kere, J., Scerri, T. S., Paracchini, S., Fisher, S. E., Schumacher, J., Nöthen, M. M., Müller-Myhsok, B., & Schulte-Körne, G. (2020). Genome-wide association study reveals new insights into the heritability and genetic correlates of developmental dyslexia. Molecular Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1038/s41380-020-00898-x.

    Abstract

    Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a learning disorder affecting the ability to read, with a heritability of 40–60%. A notable part of this heritability remains unexplained, and large genetic studies are warranted to identify new susceptibility genes and clarify the genetic bases of dyslexia. We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 2274 dyslexia cases and 6272 controls, testing associations at the single variant, gene, and pathway level, and estimating heritability using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. We also calculated polygenic scores (PGSs) based on large-scale GWAS data for different neuropsychiatric disorders and cortical brain measures, educational attainment, and fluid intelligence, testing them for association with dyslexia status in our sample. We observed statistically significant (p  < 2.8 × 10−6) enrichment of associations at the gene level, for LOC388780 (20p13; uncharacterized gene), and for VEPH1 (3q25), a gene implicated in brain development. We estimated an SNP-based heritability of 20–25% for DD, and observed significant associations of dyslexia risk with PGSs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (at pT = 0.05 in the training GWAS: OR = 1.23[1.16; 1.30] per standard deviation increase; p  = 8 × 10−13), bipolar disorder (1.53[1.44; 1.63]; p = 1 × 10−43), schizophrenia (1.36[1.28; 1.45]; p = 4 × 10−22), psychiatric cross-disorder susceptibility (1.23[1.16; 1.30]; p = 3 × 10−12), cortical thickness of the transverse temporal gyrus (0.90[0.86; 0.96]; p = 5 × 10−4), educational attainment (0.86[0.82; 0.91]; p = 2 × 10−7), and intelligence (0.72[0.68; 0.76]; p = 9 × 10−29). This study suggests an important contribution of common genetic variants to dyslexia risk, and novel genomic overlaps with psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and cross-disorder susceptibility. Moreover, it revealed the presence of shared genetic foundations with a neural correlate previously implicated in dyslexia by neuroimaging evidence.
  • Gilbers, S., Hoeksema, N., De Bot, K., & Lowie, W. (2020). Regional variation in West and East Coast African-American English prosody and rap flows. Language and Speech, 63(4), 713-745. doi:10.1177/0023830919881479.

    Abstract

    Regional variation in African-American English (AAE) is especially salient to its speakers involved with hip-hop culture, as hip-hop assigns great importance to regional identity and regional accents are a key means of expressing regional identity. However, little is known about AAE regional variation regarding prosodic rhythm and melody. In hip-hop music, regional variation can also be observed, with different regions’ rap performances being characterized by distinct “flows” (i.e., rhythmic and melodic delivery), an observation which has not been quantitatively investigated yet. This study concerns regional variation in AAE speech and rap, specifically regarding the United States’ East and West Coasts. It investigates how East Coast and West Coast AAE prosody are distinct, how East Coast and West Coast rap flows differ, and whether the two domains follow a similar pattern: more rhythmic and melodic variation on the West Coast compared to the East Coast for both speech and rap. To this end, free speech and rap recordings of 16 prominent African-American members of the East Coast and West Coast hip-hop communities were phonetically analyzed regarding rhythm (e.g., syllable isochrony and musical timing) and melody (i.e., pitch fluctuation) using a combination of existing and novel methodological approaches. The results mostly confirm the hypotheses that East Coast AAE speech and rap are less rhythmically diverse and more monotone than West Coast AAE speech and rap, respectively. They also show that regional variation in AAE prosody and rap flows pattern in similar ways, suggesting a connection between rhythm and melody in language and music.
  • Goldsborough, Z., Van Leeuwen, E. J. C., Kolff, K. W. T., De Waal, F. B. M., & Webb, C. E. (2020). Do chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) console a bereaved mother? Primates, 61: 20190695, pp. 93-102. doi:10.1007/s10329-019-00752-x.

    Abstract

    Comparative thanatology encompasses the study of death-related responses in non-human animals and aspires to elucidate the evolutionary origins of human behavior in the context of death. Many reports have revealed that humans are not the only species affected by the death of group members. Non-human primates in particular show behaviors such as congregating around the deceased, carrying the corpse for prolonged periods of time (predominantly mothers carrying dead infants), and inspecting the corpse for signs of life. Here, we extend the focus on death-related responses in non-human animals by exploring whether chimpanzees are inclined to console the bereaved: the individual(s) most closely associated with the deceased. We report a case in which a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) mother experienced the loss of her fully developed infant (presumed stillborn). Using observational data to compare the group members’ behavior before and after the death, we found that a substantial number of group members selectively increased their affiliative expressions toward the bereaved mother. Moreover, on the day of the death, we observed heightened expressions of species-typical reassurance behaviors toward the bereaved mother. After ruling out several alternative explanations, we propose that many of the chimpanzees consoled the bereaved mother by means of affiliative and selective empathetic expressions.
  • González Alonso, J., Alemán Bañón, J., DeLuca, V., Miller, D., Pereira Soares, S. M., Puig-Mayenco, E., Slaats, S., & Rothman, J. (2020). Event related potentials at initial exposure in third language acquisition: Implications from an artificial mini-grammar study. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 56: 100939. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroling.2020.100939.

    Abstract

    The present article examines the proposal that typology is a major factor guiding transfer selectivity in L3/Ln acquisition. We tested first exposure in L3/Ln using two artificial languages (ALs) lexically based in English and Spanish, focusing on gender agreement between determiners and nouns, and between nouns and adjectives. 50 L1 Spanish-L2 English speakers took part in the experiment. After receiving implicit training in one of the ALs (Mini-Spanish, N = 26; Mini-English, N = 24), gender violations elicited a fronto-lateral negativity in Mini-English in the earliest time window (200–500 ms), although this was not followed by any other differences in subsequent periods. This effect was highly localized, surfacing only in electrodes of the right-anterior region. In contrast, gender violations in Mini-Spanish elicited a broadly distributed positivity in the 300–600 ms time window. While we do not find typical indices of grammatical processing such as the P600 component, we believe that the between-groups differential appearance of the positivity for gender violations in the 300–600 ms time window reflects differential allocation of attentional resources as a function of the ALs’ lexical similarity to English or Spanish. We take these differences in attention to be precursors of the processes involved in transfer source selection in L3/Ln.
  • Goodhew, S. C., & Kidd, E. (2020). Bliss is blue and bleak is grey: Abstract word-colour associations influence objective performance even when not task relevant. Acta Psychologica, 206: 103067. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2020.103067.

    Abstract

    Humans associate abstract words with physical stimulus dimensions, such as linking upward locations with positive concepts (e.g., happy = up). These associations manifest both via subjective reports of associations and on objective performance metrics. Humans also report subjective associations between colours and abstract words (e.g., joy is linked to yellow). Here we tested whether such associations manifest on objective task performance, even when not task-relevant. Across three experiments, participants were presented with abstract words in physical colours that were either congruent with previously-reported subjective word-colour associations (e.g., victory in red and unhappy in blue), or were incongruent (e.g., victory in blue and unhappy in red). In Experiment 1, participants' task was to identify the valence of words. This congruency manipulation systematically affected objective task performance. In Experiment 2, participants completed two blocks, a valence-identification and a colour-identification task block. Both tasks produced congruency effects on performance, however, the results of the colour identification block could have reflected learning effects (i.e., associating the more common congruent colour with the word). This issue was rectified in Experiment 3, whereby participants completed the same two tasks as Experiment 2, but now matched congruent and incongruent pairs were used for both tasks. Again, both tasks produced reliable congruency effects. Item analyses in each experiment revealed that these effects demonstrated a degree of item specificity. Overall, there was clear evidence that at least some abstract word-colour pairings can systematically affect behaviour.
  • Goregliad Fjaellingsdal, T., Schwenke, D., Scherbaum, S., Kuhlen, A. K., Bögels, S., Meekes, J., & Bleichner, M. G. (2020). Expectancy effects in the EEG during joint and spontaneous word-by-word sentence production in German. Scientific Reports, 10: 5460. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-62155-z.

    Abstract

    Our aim in the present study is to measure neural correlates during spontaneous interactive sentence production. We present a novel approach using the word-by-word technique from improvisational theatre, in which two speakers jointly produce one sentence. This paradigm allows the assessment of behavioural aspects, such as turn-times, and electrophysiological responses, such as event-related-potentials (ERPs). Twenty-five participants constructed a cued but spontaneous four-word German sentence together with a confederate, taking turns for each word of the sentence. In 30% of the trials, the confederate uttered an unexpected gender-marked article. To complete the sentence in a meaningful way, the participant had to detect the violation and retrieve and utter a new fitting response. We found significant increases in response times after unexpected words and – despite allowing unscripted language production and naturally varying speech material – successfully detected significant N400 and P600 ERP effects for the unexpected word. The N400 EEG activity further significantly predicted the response time of the subsequent turn. Our results show that combining behavioural and neuroscientific measures of verbal interactions while retaining sufficient experimental control is possible, and that this combination provides promising insights into the mechanisms of spontaneous spoken dialogue.
  • Goriot, C., McQueen, J. M., Unsworth, S., & Van Hout, R. (2020). Perception of English phonetic contrasts by Dutch children: How bilingual are early-English learners? PLoS One, 15(3): e0229902. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0229902.

    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to investigate whether early-English education benefits the perception of English phonetic contrasts that are known to be perceptually confusable for Dutch native speakers, comparing Dutch pupils who were enrolled in an early-English programme at school from the age of four with pupils in a mainstream programme with English instruction from the age of 11, and English-Dutch early bilingual children. Children were 4-5-yearolds (start of primary school), 8-9-year-olds, or 11-12-year-olds (end of primary school). Children were tested on four contrasts that varied in difficulty: /b/-/s/ (easy), /k/-/ɡ/ (intermediate), /f/-/θ/ (difficult), /ε/-/æ/ (very difficult). Bilingual children outperformed the two other groups on all contrasts except /b/-/s/. Early-English pupils did not outperform mainstream pupils on any of the contrasts. This shows that early-English education as it is currently implemented is not beneficial for pupils’ perception of non-native contrasts.

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