Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 290
  • Ahlsson, F., Åkerud, H., Schijven, D., Olivier, J., & Sundström-Poromaa, I. (2015). Gene expression in placentas from nondiabetic women giving birth to large for gestational age infants. Reproductive Sciences, 22(10), 1281-1288. doi:10.1177/1933719115578928.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    It has been suggested that, during real time language comprehension, the human language processing system attempts to identify the argument primarily responsible for the state of affairs (the “actor”) as quickly and unambiguously as possible. However, previous work on a prominence (e.g. animacy, definiteness, case marking) based heuristic for actor identification has suffered from underspecification of the relationship between different cue hierarchies. Qualitative work has yielded a partial ordering of many features (e.g. MacWhinney et al. 1984), but a precise quantification has remained elusive due to difficulties in exploring the full feature space in a particular language. Feature pairs tend to correlate strongly in individual languages for semantic-pragmatic reasons (e.g., animate arguments tend to be actors and actors tend to be morphosyntactically privileged), and it is thus difficult to create acceptable stimuli for a fully factorial design even for binary features. Moreover, the exponential function grows extremely rapidly and a fully crossed factorial design covering the entire feature space would be prohibitively long for a purely within-subjects design. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of parameter estimation in a short experiment. We are able to estimate parameters at a single subject level for the parameters animacy, case and number. This opens the door for research into individual differences and population variation. Moreover, the framework we introduce here can be used in the field to measure more “exotic” languages and populations, even with small sample sizes. Finally, pooled single-subject results are used to reduce the number of free parameters in previous work based on the extended Argument Dependency Model (Bornkessel-Schlesewsky and Schlesewsky 2006, 2009, 2013, in press; Alday et al. 2014).
  • Ambridge, B., Kidd, E., Rowland, C. F., & Theakston, A. L. (2015). Authors' response [The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition]. Journal of Child Language, 42(2), 316-322. doi:10.1017/S0305000914000841.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    Target paper
  • Ambridge, B., Bidgood, A., Twomey, K. E., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., & Freudenthal, D. (2015). Preemption versus Entrenchment: Towards a Construction-General Solution to the Problem of the Retreat from Verb Argument Structure Overgeneralization. PLoS One, 10(4): e0123723. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123723.

    Abstract

    Participants aged 5;2-6;8, 9;2-10;6 and 18;1-22;2 (72 at each age) rated verb argument structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., *Daddy giggled the baby) using a five-point scale. The study was designed to investigate the feasibility of two proposed construction-general solutions to the question of how children retreat from, or avoid, such errors. No support was found for the prediction of the preemption hypothesis that the greater the frequency of the verb in the single most nearly synonymous construction (for this example, the periphrastic causative; e.g., Daddy made the baby giggle), the lower the acceptability of the error. Support was found, however, for the prediction of the entrenchment hypothesis that the greater the overall frequency of the verb, regardless of construction, the lower the acceptability of the error, at least for the two older groups. Thus while entrenchment appears to be a robust solution to the problem of the retreat from error, and one that generalizes across different error types, we did not find evidence that this is the case for preemption. The implication is that the solution to the retreat from error lies not with specialized mechanisms, but rather in a probabilistic process of construction competition.
  • Ambridge, B., Kidd, E., Rowland, C. F., & Theakston, A. L. (2015). The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 42(2), 239-273. doi:10.1017/S030500091400049X.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    Author's response
  • Araújo, S., Faísca, L., Bramão, I., Reis, A., & Petersson, K. M. (2015). Lexical and sublexical orthographic processing: An ERP study with skilled and dyslexic adult readers. Brain and Language, 141, 16-27. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2014.11.007.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    Data Availability
  • Athanasopoulos, P., Bylund, E., Montero-Melis, G., Damjanovic, L., Schartner, A., Kibbe, A., Riches, N., & Thierry, G. (2015). Two languages, two minds: Flexible cognitive processing driven by language of operation. Psychological Science, 26(4), 518-526. doi:10.1177/0956797614567509.

    Abstract

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

    Files private

    Request files
  • Azar, Z., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). Discourse Management: Reference tracking in speech and gesture in Turkish narratives. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(2), 222-240. doi:10.1075/dujal.4.2.06aza.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is commonly used to determine the dimensionality of continuous data. In a simulation study we investigate its usefulness with discrete data. We vary response scales (continuous, dichotomous, polytomous), factor loadings (medium, high), sample size (small, large), and factor structure (simple, complex). For each condition, we generate 1,000 data sets and apply EFA with 5 estimation methods (maximum likelihood [ML] of covariances, ML of polychoric correlations, robust ML, weighted least squares [WLS], and robust WLS) and 3 fit criteria (chi-square test, root mean square error of approximation, and root mean square residual). The various EFA procedures recover more factors when sample size is large, factor loadings are high, factor structure is simple, and response scales have more options. Robust WLS of polychoric correlations is the preferred method, as it is theoretically justified and shows fewer convergence problems than the other estimation methods.
  • Bašnákova, J., Van Berkum, J. J. A., Weber, K., & Hagoort, P. (2015). A job interview in the MRI scanner: How does indirectness affect addressees and overhearers? Neuropsychologia, 76, 79-91. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.03.030.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    During sentence level language comprehension, semantic and syntactic unification are functionally distinct operations. Nevertheless, both recruit roughly the same brain areas (spatially overlapping networks in the left frontotemporal cortex) and happen at the same time (in the first few hundred milliseconds after word onset). We tested the hypothesis that semantic and syntactic unification are segregated by means of neuronal synchronization of the functionally relevant networks in different frequency ranges: gamma (40 Hz and up) for semantic unification and lower beta (10–20 Hz) for syntactic unification. EEG power changes were quantified as participants read either correct sentences, syntactically correct though meaningless sentences (syntactic prose), or sentences that did not contain any syntactic structure (random word lists). Other sentences contained either a semantic anomaly or a syntactic violation at a critical word in the sentence. Larger EEG gamma-band power was observed for semantically coherent than for semantically anomalous sentences. Similarly, beta-band power was larger for syntactically correct sentences than for incorrect ones. These results confirm the existence of a functional dissociation in EEG oscillatory dynamics during sentence level language comprehension that is compatible with the notion of a frequency-based segregation of syntactic and semantic unification.
  • Bastos, A. M., Vezoli, J., Bosman, C. A., Schoffelen, J.-M., Oostenveld, R., Dowdall, J. R., De Weerd, P., Kennedy, H., & Fries, P. (2015). Visual areas exert feedforward and feedback influences through distinct frequency channels. Neuron, 85(2), 390-401. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.12.018.

    Abstract

    Visual cortical areas subserve cognitive functions by interacting in both feedforward and feedback directions. While feedforward influences convey sensory signals, feedback influences modulate feedforward signaling according to the current behavioral context. We investigated whether these interareal influences are subserved differentially by rhythmic synchronization. We correlated frequency-specific directed influences among 28 pairs of visual areas with anatomical metrics of the feedforward or feedback character of the respective interareal projections. This revealed that in the primate visual system, feedforward influences are carried by theta-band ( approximately 4 Hz) and gamma-band ( approximately 60-80 Hz) synchronization, and feedback influences by beta-band ( approximately 14-18 Hz) synchronization. The functional directed influences constrain a functional hierarchy similar to the anatomical hierarchy, but exhibiting task-dependent dynamic changes in particular with regard to the hierarchical positions of frontal areas. Our results demonstrate that feedforward and feedback signaling use distinct frequency channels, suggesting that they subserve differential communication requirements.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2015). Origins of grammatical forms and evidence from Latin. Journal of Indo-European studies, 43, 201-235.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Mutations of FOXP2 in 7q31 cause a rare disorder involving speech apraxia, accompanied by expressive and receptive language impairments. A recent report described a child with speech and language deficits, and a genomic rearrangement affecting chromosomes 7 and 11. One breakpoint mapped to 7q31 and, although outside its coding region, was hypothesised to disrupt FOXP2 expression. We identified an element 2 kb downstream of this breakpoint with epigenetic characteristics of an enhancer. We show that this element drives reporter gene expression in human cell-lines. Thus, displacement of this element by translocation may disturb gene expression, contributing to the observed language phenotype.
  • Berghuis, B., De Kovel, C. G. F., van Iterson, L., Lamberts, R. J., Sander, J. W., Lindhout, D., & Koeleman, B. P. C. (2015). Complex SCN8A DNA-abnormalities in an individual with therapy resistant absence epilepsy. Epilepsy Research, 115, 141-144. doi:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2015.06.007.

    Abstract

    Background De novo SCN8A missense mutations have been identified as a rare dominant cause of epileptic encephalopathy. We described a person with epileptic encephalopathy associated with a mosaic deletion of the SCN8A gene. Methods Array comparative genome hybridization was used to identify chromosomal abnormalities. Next Generation Sequencing was used to screen for variants in known and candidate epilepsy genes. A single nucleotide polymorphism array was used to test whether the SCN8A variants were in cis or in trans. Results We identified a de novo mosaic deletion of exons 2–14 of SCN8A, and a rare maternally inherited missense variant on the other allele in a woman presenting with absence seizures, challenging behavior, intellectual disability and QRS-fragmentation on the ECG. We also found a variant in SCN5A. Conclusions The combination of a rare missense variant with a de novo mosaic deletion of a large part of the SCN8A gene suggests that other possible mechanisms for SCN8A mutations may cause epilepsy; loss of function, genetic modifiers and cellular interference may play a role. This case expands the phenotype associated with SCN8A mutations, with absence epilepsy and regression in language and memory skills.
  • Bergmann, C., Bosch, L. t., Fikkert, P., & Boves, L. (2015). Modelling the Noise-Robustness of Infants’ Word Representations: The Impact of Previous Experience. PLoS One, 10(7): e0132245. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132245.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Quotations are a means to report a broad range of events in addition to speech, and often involve both vocal and bodily demonstration. The present study examined the use of quotation to report a variety of multisensory events (i.e., containing salient visible and audible elements) as participants watched and then described a set of video clips including human speech and animal vocalizations. We examined the relationship between demonstrations conveyed through the vocal versus bodily modality, comparing them across four common quotation devices (be like, go, say, and zero quotatives), as well as across direct and non-direct quotations and retellings. We found that direct quotations involved high levels of both vocal and bodily demonstration, while non-direct quotations involved lower levels in both these channels. In addition, there was a strong positive correlation between vocal and bodily demonstration for direct quotation. This result supports a Multimodal Hypothesis where information from the two channels arises from one central concept.
  • Blythe, J. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Murrinh-Patha. Open Linguistics, 1, 283-308. doi:10.1515/opli-2015-0003.

    Abstract

    The range of linguistic structures and interactional practices associated with other-initiated repair (OIR) is surveyed for the Northern Australian language Murrinh-Patha. By drawing on a video corpus of informal Murrinh- Patha conversation, the OIR formats are compared in terms of their utility and versatility. Certain “restricted” formats have semantic properties that point to prior trouble source items. While these make the restricted repair initiators more specialised, the “open” formats are less well resourced semantically, which makes them more versatile. They tend to be used when the prior talk is potentially problematic in more ways than one. The open formats (especially thangku, “what?”) tend to solicit repair operations on each potential source of trouble, such that the resultant repair solution improves upon the troublesource turn in several ways
  • Bögels, S., Barr, D., Garrod, S., & Kessler, K. (2015). Conversational interaction in the scanner: Mentalizing during language processing as revealed by MEG. Cerebral Cortex, 25(9), 3219-3234. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu116.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    In conversation, turn transitions between speakers often occur smoothly, usually within a time window of a few hundred milliseconds. It has been argued, on the basis of a button-press experiment [De Ruiter, J. P., Mitterer, H., & Enfield, N. J. (2006). Projecting the end of a speaker's turn: A cognitive cornerstone of conversation. Language, 82(3):515–535], that participants in conversation rely mainly on lexico-syntactic information when timing and producing their turns, and that they do not need to make use of intonational cues to achieve smooth transitions and avoid overlaps. In contrast to this view, but in line with previous observational studies, our results from a dialogue task and a button-press task involving questions and answers indicate that the identification of the end of intonational phrases is necessary for smooth turn-taking. In both tasks, participants never responded to questions (i.e., gave an answer or pressed a button to indicate a turn end) at turn-internal points of syntactic completion in the absence of an intonational phrase boundary. Moreover, in the button-press task, they often pressed the button at the same point of syntactic completion when the final word of an intonational phrase was cross-spliced at that location. Furthermore, truncated stimuli ending in a syntactic completion point but lacking an intonational phrase boundary led to significantly delayed button presses. In light of these results, we argue that earlier claims that intonation is not necessary for correct turn-end projection are misguided, and that research on turn-taking should continue to consider intonation as a source of turn-end cues along with other linguistic and communicative phenomena.
  • Bögels, S., Magyari, L., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). Neural signatures of response planning occur midway through an incoming question in conversation. Scientific Reports, 5: 12881. doi:10.1038/srep12881.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    Data availability
  • Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., Alday, P. M., Kretzschmar, F., Grewe, T., Gumpert, M., Schumacher, P. B., & Schlesewsky, M. (2015). Age-related changes in predictive capacity versus internal model adaptability: Electrophysiological evidence that individual differences outweigh effects of age. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7: 217. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00217.

    Abstract

    Hierarchical predictive coding has been identified as a possible unifying principle of brain function, and recent work in cognitive neuroscience has examined how it may be affected by age–related changes. Using language comprehension as a test case, the present study aimed to dissociate age-related changes in prediction generation versus internal model adaptation following a prediction error. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were measured in a group of older adults (60–81 years; n = 40) as they read sentences of the form “The opposite of black is white/yellow/nice.” Replicating previous work in young adults, results showed a target-related P300 for the expected antonym (“white”; an effect assumed to reflect a prediction match), and a graded N400 effect for the two incongruous conditions (i.e. a larger N400 amplitude for the incongruous continuation not related to the expected antonym, “nice,” versus the incongruous associated condition, “yellow”). These effects were followed by a late positivity, again with a larger amplitude in the incongruous non-associated versus incongruous associated condition. Analyses using linear mixed-effects models showed that the target-related P300 effect and the N400 effect for the incongruous non-associated condition were both modulated by age, thus suggesting that age-related changes affect both prediction generation and model adaptation. However, effects of age were outweighed by the interindividual variability of ERP responses, as reflected in the high proportion of variance captured by the inclusion of by-condition random slopes for participants and items. We thus argue that – at both a neurophysiological and a functional level – the notion of general differences between language processing in young and older adults may only be of limited use, and that future research should seek to better understand the causes of interindividual variability in the ERP responses of older adults and its relation to cognitive performance.
  • Brascamp, J., Klink, P., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2015). The ‘laws’ of binocular rivalry: 50 years of Levelt’s propositions. Vision Research, 109, 20-37. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2015.02.019.

    Abstract

    It has been fifty years since Levelt’s monograph On Binocular Rivalry (1965) was published, but its four propositions that describe the relation between stimulus strength and the phenomenology of binocular rivalry remain a benchmark for theorists and experimentalists even today. In this review, we will revisit the original conception of the four propositions and the scientific landscape in which this happened. We will also provide a brief update concerning distributions of dominance durations, another aspect of Levelt’s monograph that has maintained a prominent presence in the field. In a critical evaluation of Levelt’s propositions against current knowledge of binocular rivalry we will then demonstrate that the original propositions are not completely compatible with what is known today, but that they can, in a straightforward way, be modified to encapsulate the progress that has been made over the past fifty years. The resulting modified, propositions are shown to apply to a broad range of bistable perceptual phenomena, not just binocular rivalry, and they allow important inferences about the underlying neural systems. We argue that these inferences reflect canonical neural properties that play a role in visual perception in general, and we discuss ways in which future research can build on the work reviewed here to attain a better understanding of these properties
  • Brouwer, S., & Bradlow, A. R. (2015). The temporal dynamics of spoken word recognition in adverse listening conditions. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1007/s10936-015-9396-9.

    Abstract

    This study examined the temporal dynamics of spoken word recognition in noise and background speech. In two visual-world experiments, English participants listened to target words while looking at four pictures on the screen: a target (e.g. candle), an onset competitor (e.g. candy), a rhyme competitor (e.g. sandal), and an unrelated distractor (e.g. lemon). Target words were presented in quiet, mixed with broadband noise, or mixed with background speech. Results showed that lexical competition changes throughout the observation window as a function of what is presented in the background. These findings suggest that, rather than being strictly sequential, stream segregation and lexical competition interact during spoken word recognition
  • Brown-Schmidt, S., & Konopka, A. E. (2015). Processes of incremental message planning during conversation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 833-843. doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0714-2.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    Genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) have recently been shown to have neuronal functions in the thalamus and hippocampus. Common genetic variants in the Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) region, human homologue of the MHC locus, are associated with small effects on susceptibility to schizophrenia, while volumetric changes of the thalamus and hippocampus have also been linked to schizophrenia. We therefore investigated whether common variants of the HLA would affect volumetric variation of the thalamus and hippocampus. We analyzed thalamus and hippocampus volumes, as measured using structural magnetic resonance imaging, in 1.265 healthy participants. These participants had also been genotyped using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. We imputed genotypes for single nucleotide polymorphisms at high density across the HLA locus, as well as HLA allotypes and HLA amino acids, by use of a reference population dataset that was specifically targeted to the HLA region. We detected a significant association of the SNP rs17194174 with thalamus volume (nominal P=0.0000017, corrected P=0.0039), as well as additional SNPs within the same region of linkage disequilibrium. This effect was largely lateralized to the left thalamus and is localized within a genomic region previously associated with schizophrenia. The associated SNPs are also clustered within a potential regulatory element, and a region of linkage disequilibrium that spans genes expressed in the thalamus, including HLA-A. Our data indicate that genetic variation within the HLA region influences the volume and asymmetry of the human thalamus. The molecular mechanisms underlying this association may relate to HLA influences on susceptibility to schizophrenia
  • Bull, L. E., Oliver, C., Callaghan, E., & Woodcock, K. A. (2015). Increased Exposure to Rigid Routines can Lead to Increased Challenging Behavior Following Changes to Those Routines. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(6), 1569-1578. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2308-2.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    10803_2014_2308_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Caldwell-Harris, C. L., Lancaster, A., Ladd, D. R., Dediu, D., & Christiansen, M. H. (2015). Factors influencing sensitivity to lexical tone in an artificial language: Implications for second language learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 37(2), 335-357. doi:10.1017/S0272263114000849.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    An aberrant interaction between hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stromal cells has been linked to disease and shown to contribute to the pathophysiology of hematologic malignancies in murine models. Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia is an aggressive malignant disease affecting young infants. Here we investigated the impact of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia on mesenchymal stromal cells. Mesenchymal stromal cells were expanded from bone marrow samples of patients at diagnosis (n=9) and after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (n=7; from 5 patients) and from healthy children (n=10). Cells were characterized by phenotyping, differentiation, gene expression analysis (of controls and samples obtained at diagnosis) and in vitro functional studies assessing immunomodulation and hematopoietic support. Mesenchymal stromal cells from patients did not differ from controls in differentiation capacity nor did they differ in their capacity to support in vitro hematopoiesis. Deep-SAGE sequencing revealed differential mRNA expression in patient-derived samples, including genes encoding proteins involved in immunomodulation and cell-cell interaction. Selected gene expression normalized during remission after successful hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Whereas natural killer cell activation and peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation were not differentially affected, the suppressive effect on monocyte to dendritic cell differentiation was increased by mesenchymal stromal cells obtained at diagnosis, but not at time of remission. This study shows that active juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia affects the immune response-related gene expression and function of mesenchymal stromal cells. In contrast, the differential gene expression of hematopoiesis-related genes could not be supported by functional data. Decreased immune surveillance might contribute to the therapy resistance and progression in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.
  • Ceroni, F., Simpson, N. H., Francks, C., Baird, G., Conti-Ramsden, G., Clark, A., Bolton, P. F., Hennessy, E. R., Donnelly, P., Bentley, D. R., Martin, H., IMGSAC, SLI Consortium, WGS500 Consortium, Parr, J., Pagnamenta, A. T., Maestrini, E., Bacchelli, E., Fisher, S. E., & Newbury, D. F. (2015). Reply to Pembrey et al: ‘ZNF277 microdeletions, specific language impairment and the meiotic mismatch methylation (3M) hypothesis’. European Journal of Human Genetics, 23, 1113-1115. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.275.
  • Chang, F., Bauman, M., Pappert, S., & Fitz, H. (2015). Do lemmas speak German?: A verb position effect in German structural priming. Cognitive Science, 39(5), 1113-1130. doi:10.1111/cogs.12184.

    Abstract

    Lexicalized theories of syntax often assume that verb-structure regularities are mediated by lemmas, which abstract over variation in verb tense and aspect. German syntax seems to challenge this assumption, because verb position depends on tense and aspect. To examine how German speakers link these elements, a structural priming study was performed which varied syntactic structure, verb position (encoded by tense and aspect), and verb overlap. Abstract structural priming was found, both within and across verb position, but priming was larger when the verb position was the same between prime and target. Priming was boosted by verb overlap, but there was no interaction with verb position. The results can be explained by a lemma model where tense and aspect are linked to structural choices in German. Since the architecture of this lemma model is not consistent with results from English, a connectionist model was developed which could explain the cross-linguistic variation in the production system. Together, these findings support the view that language learning plays an important role in determining the nature of structural priming in different languages
  • Chen, J., Calhoun, V. D., Arias-Vasquez, A., Zwiers, M. P., Van Hulzen, K., Fernández, G., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Turner, J. A., & Liu, J. (2015). G-Protein genomic association with normal variation in gray matter density. Human Brain Mapping, 36(11), 4272-4286. doi:10.1002/hbm.22916.

    Abstract

    While detecting genetic variations underlying brain structures helps reveal mechanisms of neural disorders, high data dimensionality poses a major challenge for imaging genomic association studies. In this work, we present the application of a recently proposed approach, parallel independent component analysis with reference (pICA-R), to investigate genomic factors potentially regulating gray matter variation in a healthy population. This approach simultaneously assesses many variables for an aggregate effect and helps to elicit particular features in the data. We applied pICA-R to analyze gray matter density (GMD) images (274,131 voxels) in conjunction with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data (666,019 markers) collected from 1,256 healthy individuals of the Brain Imaging Genetics (BIG) study. Guided by a genetic reference derived from the gene GNA14, pICA-R identified a significant SNP-GMD association (r = −0.16, P = 2.34 × 10−8), implying that subjects with specific genotypes have lower localized GMD. The identified components were then projected to an independent dataset from the Mind Clinical Imaging Consortium (MCIC) including 89 healthy individuals, and the obtained loadings again yielded a significant SNP-GMD association (r = −0.25, P = 0.02). The imaging component reflected GMD variations in frontal, precuneus, and cingulate regions. The SNP component was enriched in genes with neuronal functions, including synaptic plasticity, axon guidance, molecular signal transduction via PKA and CREB, highlighting the GRM1, PRKCH, GNA12, and CAMK2B genes. Collectively, our findings suggest that GNA12 and GNA14 play a key role in the genetic architecture underlying normal GMD variation in frontal and parietal regions
  • Cooper, A., Brouwer, S., & Bradlow, A. R. (2015). Interdependent processing and encoding of speech and concurrent background noise. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 77(4), 1342-1357. doi:10.3758/s13414-015-0855-z.

    Abstract

    Speech processing can often take place in adverse listening conditions that involve the mixing of speech and background noise. In this study, we investigated processing dependencies between background noise and indexical speech features, using a speeded classification paradigm (Garner, 1974; Exp. 1), and whether background noise is encoded and represented in memory for spoken words in a continuous recognition memory paradigm (Exp. 2). Whether or not the noise spectrally overlapped with the speech signal was also manipulated. The results of Experiment 1 indicated that background noise and indexical features of speech (gender, talker identity) cannot be completely segregated during processing, even when the two auditory streams are spectrally nonoverlapping. Perceptual interference was asymmetric, whereby irrelevant indexical feature variation in the speech signal slowed noise classification to a greater extent than irrelevant noise variation slowed speech classification. This asymmetry may stem from the fact that speech features have greater functional relevance to listeners, and are thus more difficult to selectively ignore than background noise. Experiment 2 revealed that a recognition cost for words embedded in different types of background noise on the first and second occurrences only emerged when the noise and the speech signal were spectrally overlapping. Together, these data suggest integral processing of speech and background noise, modulated by the level of processing and the spectral separation of the speech and noise.
  • Cronin, K. A., De Groot, E., & Stevens, J. M. G. (2015). Bonobos show limited social tolerance in a group setting: A comparison with chimpanzees and a test of the Relational Model. Folia primatologica, 86, 164-177. doi:10.1159/000373886.

    Abstract

    Social tolerance is a core aspect of primate social relationships with implications for the evolution of cooperation, prosociality and social learning. We measured the social tolerance of bonobos in an experiment recently validated with chimpanzees to allow for a comparative assessment of group-level tolerance, and found that the bonobo group studied here exhibited lower social tolerance on average than chimpanzees. Furthermore, following the Relational Model [de Waal, 1996], we investigated whether bonobos responded to an increased potential for social conflict with tolerance, conflict avoidance or conflict escalation, and found that only behaviours indicative of conflict escalation differed across conditions. Taken together, these findings contribute to the current debate over the level of social tolerance of bonobos and lend support to the position that the social tolerance of bonobos may not be notably high compared with other primates.
  • Cronin, K. A., Acheson, D. J., Hernández, P., & Sánchez, A. (2015). Hierarchy is Detrimental for Human Cooperation. Scientific Reports, 5: 18634. doi:10.1038/srep18634.

    Abstract

    Studies of animal behavior consistently demonstrate that the social environment impacts cooperation, yet the effect of social dynamics has been largely excluded from studies of human cooperation. Here, we introduce a novel approach inspired by nonhuman primate research to address how social hierarchies impact human cooperation. Participants competed to earn hierarchy positions and then could cooperate with another individual in the hierarchy by investing in a common effort. Cooperation was achieved if the combined investments exceeded a threshold, and the higher ranked individual distributed the spoils unless control was contested by the partner. Compared to a condition lacking hierarchy, cooperation declined in the presence of a hierarchy due to a decrease in investment by lower ranked individuals. Furthermore, hierarchy was detrimental to cooperation regardless of whether it was earned or arbitrary. These findings mirror results from nonhuman primates and demonstrate that hierarchies are detrimental to cooperation. However, these results deviate from nonhuman primate findings by demonstrating that human behavior is responsive to changing hierarchical structures and suggests partnership dynamics that may improve cooperation. This work introduces a controlled way to investigate the social influences on human behavior, and demonstrates the evolutionary continuity of human behavior with other primate species.
  • Cutler, A. (2015). Representation of second language phonology. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36(1), 115-128. doi:10.1017/S0142716414000459.

    Abstract

    Orthographies encode phonological information only at the level of words (chiefly, the information encoded concerns phonetic segments; in some cases, tonal information or default stress may be encoded). Of primary interest to second language (L2) learners is whether orthography can assist in clarifying L2 phonological distinctions that are particularly difficult to perceive (e.g., where one native-language phonemic category captures two L2 categories). A review of spoken-word recognition evidence suggests that orthographic information can install knowledge of such a distinction in lexical representations but that this does not affect learners’ ability to perceive the phonemic distinction in speech. Words containing the difficult phonemes become even harder for L2 listeners to recognize, because perception maps less accurately to lexical content.
  • Dietrich, W., & Drude, S. (2015). Variation in Tupi languages: Genealogy, language change, and typology: Introduction. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi:Ciencias Humanas, 10, 213-215. doi:10.1590/1981-81222015000200002.
  • Dimitrova, D. V., Stowe, L. A., & Hoeks, J. C. (2015). When correction turns positive: Processing corrective prosody in Dutch. PLoS One, 10(5): e0126299. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126299.

    Abstract

    Current research on spoken language does not provide a consistent picture as to whether prosody, the melody and rhythm of speech, conveys a specific meaning. Perception studies show that English listeners assign meaning to prosodic patterns, and, for instance, associate some accents with contrast, whereas Dutch listeners behave more controversially. In two ERP studies we tested how Dutch listeners process words carrying two types of accents, which either provided new information (new information accents) or corrected information (corrective accents), both in single sentences (experiment 1) and after corrective and new information questions (experiment 2). In both experiments corrective accents elicited a sustained positivity as compared to new information accents, which started earlier in context than in single sentences. The positivity was not modulated by the nature of the preceding question, suggesting that the underlying neural mechanism likely reflects the construction of an interpretation to the accented word, either by identifying an alternative in context or by inferring it when no context is present. Our experimental results provide strong evidence for inferential processes related to prosodic contours in Dutch
  • Dingemanse, M., Blasi, D. E., Lupyan, G., Christiansen, M. H., & Monaghan, P. (2015). Arbitrariness, iconicity and systematicity in language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(10), 603-615. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2015.07.013.

    Abstract

    The notion that the form of a word bears an arbitrary relation to its meaning accounts only partly for the attested form to meaning correspondences in the world’s languages. Recent research suggests a more textured view of vocabulary structure, in which arbitrariness is complemented by iconicity (aspects of form resemble aspects of meaning) and systematicity (statistical regularities in forms predict function). Experimental evidence suggests these form to meaning correspondences serve different functions in language processing, development and communication: systematicity facilities category learning by means of phonological cues, iconicity facilitates word learning and communication by means of perceptuomotor analogies, and arbitrariness facilitates meaning individuation through distinctive forms. Processes of cultural evolution help explain how these competing motivations shape vocabulary structure.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Van Leeuwen, T. (2015). Boekoeboekoe is mollig: Taal als samenspel van de zintuigen. Onze Taal, (12), 344-345.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2015). Ideophones and Reduplication: Depiction, Description, and the Interpretation of Repeated Talk in Discourse. Studies in Language, 39(4), 946-970. doi:10.1075/sl.39.4.05din.

    Abstract

    Repetition is one of the most basic operations on talk, often discussed for its iconic meanings. Ideophones are marked words that depict sensory imagery, often identified by their reduplicated forms. Yet not all reduplication is iconic, and not all ideophones are reduplicated. This paper discusses the semantics and pragmatics of repeated talk (repetition as well as reduplication), with special focus on the intersection of reduplicative processes and ideophonic words. Various formal features of ideophones suggest that it is fruitful to distinguish two modes of representation in language —description and depiction— along with cues like prosodic foregrounding that can steer listeners’ interpretation from one to the other. What is special about reduplication is that it can naturally partake in both of these modes of representation, which is why it is so common in ideophones as well as in other areas of grammar. Using evidence from Siwu, Korean, Semai and a range of other languages, this paper shows how the study of ideophones sheds light on the interpretation of repeated talk and can lead to a more holistic understanding of reduplicative phenomena in language.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Enfield, N. J. (2015). Other-initiated repair across languages: Towards a typology of conversational structures. Open Linguistics, 1, 98-118. doi:10.2478/opli-2014-0007.

    Abstract

    This special issue reports on a cross-linguistic study of other-initiated repair, a domain at the crossroads of language, mind, and social life. Other-initiated repair is part of a system of practices that people use to deal with problems of speaking, hearing and understanding. The contributions in this special issue describe the linguistic resources and interactional practices associated with other-initiated repair in ten different languages. Here we provide an overview of the research methods and the conceptual framework. The empirical base for the project consists of corpora of naturally occurring conversations, collected in fieldsites around the world. Methodologically, we combine qualitative analysis with a comparative-typological perspective, and we formulate principles for the cross-linguistic comparison of conversational structures. A key move, of broad relevance to pragmatic typology, is the recognition that formats for repair initiation form paradigm-like systems that are ultimately language-specific, and that comparison is best done at the level of the constitutive properties of these formats. These properties can be functional (concerning aspects of linguistic formatting) as well as sequential (concerning aspects of the interactional environment). We show how functional and sequential aspects of conversational structure can capture patterns of commonality and diversity in conversational structures within and across languages
  • Dingemanse, M. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Siwu. Open Linguistics, 1, 232-255. doi:10.1515/opli-2015-0001.

    Abstract

    This article describes the interactional patterns and linguistic structures associated with other-initiated repair in Siwu, a Kwa language spoken in eastern Ghana. Other-initiated repair is the set of techniques used by people to deal with problems in speaking, hearing and understanding. Formats for repair initiation in Siwu exploit language-specific resources like question words and noun class morphology. At the same time, the basic structure of the system bears a strong similarity other-initiated repair in other languages. Practices described for Siwu thus are potentially of broader relevance to the study of other-initiated repair. This article documents how different prosodic realisations of repair initiators may index social actions and features of the speech event; how two distinct roles of repetition in repair initiators are kept apart by features of turn design; and what kinds of items can be treated as ‘dispensable’ in resayings. By charting how other-initiated repair uses local linguistic resources and yet is shaped by interactional needs that transcend particular languages, this study contributes to the growing field of pragmatic typology: the study of systems of language use and the principles that shape them
  • Dingemanse, M., & Enfield, N. J. (2015). Ungeschriebene Gesetze. Gehirn und Geist, 8, 34-39.
  • Dingemanse, M., Roberts, S. G., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Drew, P., Floyd, S., Gisladottir, R. S., Kendrick, K. H., Levinson, S. C., Manrique, E., Rossi, G., & Enfield, N. J. (2015). Universal Principles in the Repair of Communication Problems. PLoS One, 10(9): e0136100. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0136100.

    Abstract

    There would be little adaptive value in a complex communication system like human language if there were no ways to detect and correct problems. A systematic comparison of conversation in a broad sample of the world’s languages reveals a universal system for the real-time resolution of frequent breakdowns in communication. In a sample of 12 languages of 8 language families of varied typological profiles we find a system of ‘other-initiated repair’, where the recipient of an unclear message can signal trouble and the sender can repair the original message. We find that this system is frequently used (on average about once per 1.4 minutes in any language), and that it has detailed common properties, contrary to assumptions of radical cultural variation. Unrelated languages share the same three functionally distinct types of repair initiator for signalling problems and use them in the same kinds of contexts. People prefer to choose the type that is the most specific possible, a principle that minimizes cost both for the sender being asked to fix the problem and for the dyad as a social unit. Disruption to the conversation is kept to a minimum, with the two-utterance repair sequence being on average no longer that the single utterance which is being fixed. The findings, controlled for historical relationships, situation types and other dependencies, reveal the fundamentally cooperative nature of human communication and offer support for the pragmatic universals hypothesis: while languages may vary in the organization of grammar and meaning, key systems of language use may be largely similar across cultural groups. They also provide a fresh perspective on controversies about the core properties of language, by revealing a common infrastructure for social interaction which may be the universal bedrock upon which linguistic diversity rests.
  • Duarri, A., Meng-Chin, A. L., Fokkens, M. R., Meijer, M., Smeets, C. J. L. M., Nibbeling, E. A. R., Boddeke, E., Sinke, R. J., Kampinga, H. H., Papazian, D. M., & Verbeek, D. S. (2015). Spinocerebellar ataxia type 19/22 mutations alter heterocomplex Kv4.3 channel function and gating in a dominant manner. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 72(17), 3387-3399. doi:10.1007/s00018-015-1894-2.

    Abstract

    The dominantly inherited cerebellar ataxias are a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders caused by Purkinje cell loss in the cerebellum. Recently, we identified loss-of-function mutations in the KCND3 gene as the cause of spinocerebellar ataxia type 19/22 (SCA19/22), revealing a previously unknown role for the voltage-gated potassium channel, Kv4.3, in Purkinje cell survival. However, how mutant Kv4.3 affects wild-type Kv4.3 channel functioning remains unknown. We provide evidence that SCA19/22-mutant Kv4.3 exerts a dominant negative effect on the trafficking and surface expression of wild-type Kv4.3 in the absence of its regulatory subunit, KChIP2. Notably, this dominant negative effect can be rescued by the presence of KChIP2. We also found that all SCA19/22-mutant subunits either suppress wild-type Kv4.3 current amplitude or alter channel gating in a dominant manner. Our findings suggest that altered Kv4.3 channel localization and/or functioning resulting from SCA19/22 mutations may lead to Purkinje cell loss, neurodegeneration and ataxia.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2015). Linguistic relativity from reference to agency. Annual Review of Anthropology, 44, 207-224. doi:10.1146/annurev-anthro-102214-014053.

    Abstract

    How are language, thought, and reality related? Interdisciplinary research on this question over the past two decades has made significant progress. Most of the work has been Neo-Whorfian in two senses: One, it has been driven by research questions that were articulated most explicitly and most famously by the linguistic anthropologist Benjamin Lee Whorf, and two, it has limited the scope of inquiry to Whorf's narrow interpretations of the key terms “language,” “thought,” and “reality.” This article first reviews some of the ideas and results of Neo-Whorfian work, concentrating on the special role of linguistic categorization in heuristic decision making. It then considers new and potential directions in work on linguistic relativity, taken broadly to mean the ways in which the perspective offered by a given language can affect thought (or mind) and reality. New lines of work must reconsider the idea of linguistic relativity by exploring the range of available interpretations of the key terms: in particular, “language” beyond reference, “thought” beyond nonsocial processing, and “reality” beyond brute, nonsocial facts.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Lao. Open linguistics, 1(1), 119-144. doi:10.2478/opli-2014-0006.

    Abstract

    This article describes the interactional patterns and linguistic structures associated with otherinitiated repair, as observed in a corpus of video-recorded conversation in the Lao language (a Southwestern Tai language spoken in Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia). The article reports findings specific to the Lao language from the comparative project that is the topic of this special issue. While the scope is general to the overall pattern of other-initiated repair as a set of practices and a system of semiotic resources, special attention is given to (1) the range of repair operations that are elicited by open other-initiators of repair in Lao, especially the subtle changes made when problem turns are repeated, and (2) the use of phrase-final particles—a characteristic feature of Lao grammar—in the marking of both other-initiations of repair and repair solution turns
  • Erard, M. (2015). What's in a name? Science, 347(6225), 941-943. doi:10.1126/science.347.6225.941.

    Files private

    Request files
  • Ernestus, M., & Cutler, A. (2015). BALDEY: A database of auditory lexical decisions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68, 1469-1488. doi:10.1080/17470218.2014.984730.

    Abstract

    In an auditory lexical decision experiment, 5,541 spoken content words and pseudo-words were presented to 20 native speakers of Dutch. The words vary in phonological makeup and in number of syllables and stress pattern, and are further representative of the native Dutch vocabulary in that most are morphologically complex, comprising two stems or one stem plus derivational and inflectional suffixes, with inflections representing both regular and irregular paradigms; the pseudo-words were matched in these respects to the real words. The BALDEY data file includes response times and accuracy rates, with for each item morphological information plus phonological and acoustic information derived from automatic phonemic segmentation of the stimuli. Two initial analyses illustrate how this data set can be used. First, we discuss several measures of the point at which a word has no further neighbors, and compare the degree to which each measure predicts our lexical decision response outcomes. Second, we investigate how well four different measures of frequency of occurrence (from written corpora, spoken corpora, subtitles and frequency ratings by 70 participants) predict the same outcomes. These analyses motivate general conclusions about the auditory lexical decision task. The (publicly available) BALDEY database lends itself to many further analyses.
  • Ernestus, M., Hanique, I., & Verboom, E. (2015). The effect of speech situation on the occurrence of reduced word pronunciation variants. Journal of Phonetics, 48, 60-75. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.08.001.

    Abstract

    This article presents two studies investigating how the situation in which speech is uttered affects the frequency with which words are reduced. Study 1 is based on the Spoken Dutch Corpus, which consists of 15 components, nearly all representing a different speech situation. This study shows that the components differ in how often ten semantically weak words are highly reduced. The differences are especially large between the components with scripted and unscripted speech. Within the component group of unscripted speech, the formality of the situation shows an effect. Study 2 investigated segment reduction in a shadowing experiment in which participants repeated Dutch carefully and casually articulated sentences. Prefixal schwa and suffixal /t/ were absent in participants' responses to both sentences types as often as in formal interviews. If a segment was absent, this appeared to be mostly due to extreme co-articulation, unlike in speech produced in less formal situations. Speakers thus adapted more to the formal situation of the experiment than to the stimuli to be shadowed. We conclude that speech situation affects the occurrence of reduced word pronunciation variants, which should be accounted for by psycholinguistic models of speech production and comprehension
  • Everett, C., Blasi, D. E., & Roberts, S. G. (2015). Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, 1322-1327. doi:10.1073/pnas.1417413112.

    Abstract

    We summarize a number of findings in laryngology demonstrating that perturbations of phonation, including increased jitter and shimmer, are associated with desiccated ambient air. We predict that, given the relative imprecision of vocal fold vibration in desiccated versus humid contexts, arid and cold ecologies should be less amenable, when contrasted to warm and humid ecologies, to the development of languages with phonemic tone, especially complex tone. This prediction is supported by data from two large independently coded databases representing 3,700+ languages. Languages with complex tonality have generally not developed in very cold or otherwise desiccated climates, in accordance with the physiologically based predictions. The predicted global geographic–linguistic association is shown to operate within continents, within major language families, and across language isolates. Our results offer evidence that human sound systems are influenced by environmental factors.
  • Fisher, S. E., & Vernes, S. C. (2015). Genetics and the Language Sciences. Annual Review of Linguistics, 1, 289-310. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguist-030514-125024.

    Abstract

    Theories addressing the biological basis of language must be built on an appreciation of the ways that molecular and neurobiological substrates can contribute to aspects of human cognition. Here, we lay out the principles by which a genome could potentially encode the necessary information to produce a language-ready brain. We describe what genes are; how they are regulated; and how they affect the formation, function, and plasticity of neuronal circuits. At each step, we give examples of molecules implicated in pathways that are important for speech and language. Finally, we discuss technological advances in genomics that are revealing considerable genotypic variation in the human population, from rare mutations to common polymorphisms, with the potential to relate this variation to natural variability in speech and language skills. Moving forward, an interdisciplinary approach to the language sciences, integrating genetics, neurobiology, psychology, and linguistics, will be essential for a complete understanding of our unique human capacities.
  • Flecken, M., Walbert, K., & Dijkstra, T. (2015). ‘Right now, Sophie ∗swims in the pool?!’: Brain potentials of grammatical aspect processing. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1764. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01764.

    Abstract

    We investigated whether brain potentials of grammatical aspect processing resemble semantic or morpho-syntactic processing, or whether they instead are characterized by an entirely distinct pattern in the same individuals. We studied aspect from the perspective of agreement between the temporal information in the context (temporal adverbials, e.g., Right now) and a morpho-syntactic marker of grammatical aspect (e.g., progressive is swimming). Participants read questions providing a temporal context that was progressive (What is Sophie doing in the pool right now?) or habitual (What does Sophie do in the pool every Monday?). Following a lead-in sentence context such as Right now, Sophie…, we measured event-related brain potentials (ERPs) time-locked to verb phrases in four different conditions, e.g., (a) is swimming (control); (b) ∗is cooking (semantic violation); (c) ∗are swimming (morpho-syntactic violation); or (d)?swims (aspect mismatch); …in the pool.” The collected ERPs show typical N400 and P600 effects for semantics and morpho-syntax, while aspect processing elicited an Early Negativity (250–350 ms). The aspect-related Negativity was short-lived and had a central scalp distribution with an anterior onset. This differentiates it not only from the semantic N400 effect, but also from the typical LAN (Left Anterior Negativity), that is frequently reported for various types of agreement processing. Moreover, aspect processing did not show a clear P600 modulation. We argue that the specific context for each item in this experiment provided a trigger for agreement checking with temporal information encoded on the verb, i.e., morphological aspect marking. The aspect-related Negativity obtained for aspect agreement mismatches reflects a violated expectation concerning verbal inflection (in the example above, the expected verb phrase was Sophie is X-ing rather than Sophie X-s in condition d). The absence of an additional P600 for aspect processing suggests that the mismatch did not require additional reintegration or processing costs. This is consistent with participants’ post hoc grammaticality judgements of the same sentences, which overall show a high acceptability of aspect mismatch sentences.

    Additional information

    data sheet 1.docx
  • Flecken, M., Gerwien, J., Carroll, M., & von Stutterheim, C. (2015). Analyzing gaze allocation during language planning: A cross-linguistic study on dynamic events. Language and Cognition, 7(1), 138-166. doi:10.1017/langcog.2014.20.

    Abstract

    Studies on gaze allocation during sentence production have recently begun to implement cross-linguistic analyses in the investigation of visual and linguistic processing. The underlying assumption is that the aspects of a scene that attract attention prior to articulation are, in part, linked to the specifi c linguistic system and means used for expression. The present study concerns naturalistic, dynamic scenes (video clips) showing causative events (agent acting on an object) and exploits grammatical diff erences in the domain of verbal aspect, and the way in which the status of an event (a specifi c vs. habitual instance of an event) is encoded in English and German. Fixations in agent and action areas of interest were timelocked to utterance onset, and we focused on the pre-articulatory time span to shed light on sentence planning processes, involving message generation and scene conceptualization.
  • Flecken, M., Carroll, M., Weimar, K., & Von Stutterheim, C. (2015). Driving along the road or heading for the village? Conceptual differences underlying motion event encoding in French, German, and French-German L2 users. Modern Language Journal, 99(S1), 100-122. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4781.2015.12181.x.

    Abstract

    The typological contrast between verb- and satellite-framed languages (Talmy, 1985) has set the basis for many empirical studies on L2 acquisition. The current analysis goes beyond this typology by looking in detail at the conceptualization of the path of motion in a motion event. We take as a starting point the cognitive salience of specific elements of motion events that are relevant when conceptualizing space. When expressing direction in French, specific spatial relations involving the entity in motion (its alignment and its distance toward a [potential] endpoint) are relevant, given a variety of path verbs in the lexicon expressing this information (e.g., se diriger vers, avancer to direct oneself toward,' to advance'). This is not the case in German (manner verbs in the lexicon mainly). In German, spatial information is packaged in adjuncts and particles and the path of motion is typically structured via features of the ground (entlanglaufen/fahren to walk/drive along') or endpoints (to walk/drive to/toward'). We investigate those fundamental differences in spatial conceptualization in French and German, as reflected in pre-articulatory patterns of attention allocation (measured with eye tracking) to moving entities and endpoints in motion scenes in an event description task. Our focus is on spatial conceptualization in an L2 (French L2 users of German), analyzing the extent to which these L2 users display target-like patterns or traces of L1 conceptualization transfer. Findings show that, in line with directional concepts expressed in verbs, L1 French speakers allocate more attention to entities in motion and endpoints, before utterance onset, than L1 German speakers do. The L2 German speakers pattern with L1 German speakers in the use of manner verbs, but they have not fully acquired the spatial concepts and means that structure the path of motion in the L2. This is reflected in pre-articulatory attention allocation patterns, according to which the L2 speakers pattern with native speakers of their L1 (French). The findings show a continued deep entrenchment of L1-based processing patterns and spatial frames of reference when speakers prepare for speech in an L2
  • Flecken, M., Athanasopoulos, P., Kuipers, J. R., & Thierry, G. (2015). On the road to somewhere: Brain potentials reflect language effects on motion event perception. Cognition, 141, 41-51. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2015.04.006.

    Abstract

    Recent studies have identified neural correlates of language effects on perception in static domains of experience such as colour and objects. The generalization of such effects to dynamic domains like motion events remains elusive. Here, we focus on grammatical differences between languages relevant for the description of motion events and their impact on visual scene perception. Two groups of native speakers of German or English were presented with animated videos featuring a dot travelling along a trajectory towards a geometrical shape (endpoint). English is a language with grammatical aspect in which attention is drawn to trajectory and endpoint of motion events equally. German, in contrast, is a non-aspect language which highlights endpoints. We tested the comparative perceptual saliency of trajectory and endpoint of motion events by presenting motion event animations (primes) followed by a picture symbolising the event (target): In 75% of trials, the animation was followed by a mismatching picture (both trajectory and endpoint were different); in 10% of trials, only the trajectory depicted in the picture matched the prime; in 10% of trials, only the endpoint matched the prime; and in 5% of trials both trajectory and endpoint were matching, which was the condition requiring a response from the participant. In Experiment 1 we recorded event-related brain potentials elicited by the picture in native speakers of German and native speakers of English. German participants exhibited a larger P3 wave in the endpoint match than the trajectory match condition, whereas English speakers showed no P3 amplitude difference between conditions. In Experiment 2 participants performed a behavioural motion matching task using the same stimuli as those used in Experiment 1. German and English participants did not differ in response times showing that motion event verbalisation cannot readily account for the difference in P3 amplitude found in the first experiment. We argue that, even in a non-verbal context, the grammatical properties of the native language and associated sentence-level patterns of event encoding influence motion event perception, such that attention is automatically drawn towards aspects highlighted by the grammar.
  • Floyd, S. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Cha’palaa. Open linguistics, 1(1), 467-489. doi:10.1515/opli-2015-0014.

    Abstract

    This article describes the interactional patterns and linguistic structures associated with otherinitiated repair, as observed in a corpus of video-recorded conversation in the Cha’palaa (a Barbacoan language spoken in north-western Ecuador). Special attention is given to the relation of repair formats to the morphosyntactic and intonational systems of the language. It examines the distinctive falling intonation observed with interjections and content question formats and the pattern of a held mid-high tone observed in polarity questions, as well as the function of Cha’palaa grammatical features such as the case marking system, the nominal classifiers and the verb classification system as formats for repair initiation. It considers a selection of examples from a video corpus to illustrate a broad range of sequence types of opened and restricted other-initiated repair, noting that Cha’palaa had the highest relative rate of open repair in the cross-linguistic sample. It also considers the extension of OIR to other practices such as news uptake and disagreement in the Cha’palaa corpus.
  • Floyd, S. (2015). Transparência semântica e o ‘calque’ cultural no noroeste amazônico [Portuguese transl. of Semantic transparency and cultural calquing in the Northwest Amazon, 2013]. Wamon: Revista dos alunos do PpGas/UFAM, 1(1), 95-117. Retrieved from http://www.periodicos.ufam.edu.br/index.php/wamon/article/view/946.

    Abstract

    The ethnographic literature has described the northwest Amazon as an area of shared culture across linguistic groups. This paper illustrates how a principle of semantic transparency across languages is a key means of establishing elements of a common regional culture through practices like the calquing of ethnonyms and toponyms so that they are semantically, but not phonologically, equivalent across languages. It places the northwest Amazon in a general discussion of cross-linguistic naming practices in South America and considers the extent to which a preference for semantic transparency can be linked to cases of widespread cultural “calquing”. It also addresses the principle of semantic transparency beyond specific referential phrases and into larger discourse structures. It concludes that an attention to semiotic practices in multilingual settings can provide new and more complex ways of thinking about the idea of shared culture
  • Francken, J. C., Meijs, E. L., Hagoort, P., van Gaal, S., & de Lange, F. P. (2015). Exploring the automaticity of language-perception interactions: Effects of attention and awareness. Scientific Reports, 5: 17725. doi:10.1038/srep17725.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have shown that language can modulate visual perception, by biasing and/ or enhancing perceptual performance. However, it is still debated where in the brain visual and linguistic information are integrated, and whether the effects of language on perception are automatic and persist even in the absence of awareness of the linguistic material. Here, we aimed to explore the automaticity of language-perception interactions and the neural loci of these interactions in an fMRI study. Participants engaged in a visual motion discrimination task (upward or downward moving dots). Before each trial, a word prime was briefly presented that implied upward or downward motion (e.g., “rise”, “fall”). These word primes strongly influenced behavior: congruent motion words sped up reaction times and improved performance relative to incongruent motion words. Neural congruency effects were only observed in the left middle temporal gyrus, showing higher activity for congruent compared to incongruent conditions. This suggests that higherlevel conceptual areas rather than sensory areas are the locus of language-perception interactions. When motion words were rendered unaware by means of masking, they still affected visual motion perception, suggesting that language-perception interactions may rely on automatic feed-forward integration of perceptual and semantic material in language areas of the brain.
  • Francken, J. C., Meijs, E. L., Ridderinkhof, O. M., Hagoort, P., de Lange, F. P., & van Gaal, S. (2015). Manipulating word awareness dissociates feed-forward from feedback models of language-perception interactions. Neuroscience of consciousness, 1. doi:10.1093/nc/niv003.

    Abstract

    Previous studies suggest that linguistic material can modulate visual perception, but it is unclear at which level of processing these interactions occur. Here we aim to dissociate between two competing models of language–perception interactions: a feed-forward and a feedback model. We capitalized on the fact that the models make different predictions on the role of feedback. We presented unmasked (aware) or masked (unaware) words implying motion (e.g. “rise,” “fall”), directly preceding an upward or downward visual motion stimulus. Crucially, masking leaves intact feed-forward information processing from low- to high-level regions, whereas it abolishes subsequent feedback. Under this condition, participants remained faster and more accurate when the direction implied by the motion word was congruent with the direction of the visual motion stimulus. This suggests that language–perception interactions are driven by the feed-forward convergence of linguistic and perceptual information at higher-level conceptual and decision stages.
  • Francken, J. C., Kok, P., Hagoort, P., & De Lange, F. P. (2015). The behavioral and neural effects of language on motion perception. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(1), 175-184. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00682.

    Abstract

    Perception does not function as an isolated module but is tightly linked with other cognitive functions. Several studies have demonstrated an influence of language on motion perception, but it remains debated at which level of processing this modulation takes place. Some studies argue for an interaction in perceptual areas, but it is also possible that the interaction is mediated by "language areas" that integrate linguistic and visual information. Here, we investigated whether language-perception interactions were specific to the language-dominant left hemisphere by comparing the effects of language on visual material presented in the right (RVF) and left visual fields (LVF). Furthermore, we determined the neural locus of the interaction using fMRI. Participants performed a visual motion detection task. On each trial, the visual motion stimulus was presented in either the LVF or in the RVF, preceded by a centrally presented word (e.g., "rise"). The word could be congruent, incongruent, or neutral with regard to the direction of the visual motion stimulus that was presented subsequently. Participants were faster and more accurate when the direction implied by the motion word was congruent with the direction of the visual motion stimulus. Interestingly, the speed benefit was present only for motion stimuli that were presented in the RVF. We observed a neural counterpart of the behavioral facilitation effects in the left middle temporal gyrus, an area involved in semantic processing of verbal material. Together, our results suggest that semantic information about motion retrieved in language regions may automatically modulate perceptual decisions about motion.
  • Francks, C. (2015). Exploring human brain lateralization with molecular genetics and genomics. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1359, 1-13. doi:10.1111/nyas.12770.

    Abstract

    Lateralizations of brain structure and motor behavior have been observed in humans as early as the first trimester of gestation, and are likely to arise from asymmetrical genetic–developmental programs, as in other animals. Studies of gene expression levels in postmortem tissue samples, comparing the left and right sides of the human cerebral cortex, have generally not revealed striking transcriptional differences between the hemispheres. This is likely due to lateralization of gene expression being subtle and quantitative. However, a recent re-analysis and meta-analysis of gene expression data from the adult superior temporal and auditory cortex found lateralization of transcription of genes involved in synaptic transmission and neuronal electrophysiology. Meanwhile, human subcortical mid- and hindbrain structures have not been well studied in relation to lateralization of gene activity, despite being potentially important developmental origins of asymmetry. Genetic polymorphisms with small effects on adult brain and behavioral asymmetries are beginning to be identified through studies of large datasets, but the core genetic mechanisms of lateralized human brain development remain unknown. Identifying subtly lateralized genetic networks in the brain will lead to a new understanding of how neuronal circuits on the left and right are differently fine-tuned to preferentially support particular cognitive and behavioral functions.
  • Franken, M. K., Hagoort, P., & Acheson, D. J. (2015). Modulations of the auditory M100 in an Imitation Task. Brain and Language, 142, 18-23. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2015.01.001.

    Abstract

    Models of speech production explain event-related suppression of the auditory cortical response as reflecting a comparison between auditory predictions and feedback. The present MEG study was designed to test two predictions from this framework: 1) whether the reduced auditory response varies as a function of the mismatch between prediction and feedback; 2) whether individual variation in this response is predictive of speech-motor adaptation. Participants alternated between online imitation and listening tasks. In the imitation task, participants began each trial producing the same vowel (/e/) and subsequently listened to and imitated auditorilypresented vowels varying in acoustic distance from /e/. Results replicated suppression, with a smaller M100 during speaking than listening. Although we did not find unequivocal support for the first prediction, participants with less M100 suppression were better at the imitation task. These results are consistent with the enhancement of M100 serving as an error signal to drive subsequent speech-motor adaptation.
  • Frazier, T., Embacher, R., Tilot, A. K., Koenig, K., Mester, J., & Eng, C. (2015). Molecular and phenotypic abnormalities in individuals with germline heterozygous PTEN mutations and autism. Molecular Psychiatry., 20, 1132-1138. doi:10.1038/mp.2014.125.

    Abstract

    PTEN is a tumor suppressor associated with an inherited cancer syndrome and an important regulator of ongoing neural connectivity and plasticity. The present study examined molecular and phenotypic characteristics of individuals with germline heterozygous PTEN mutations and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (PTEN-ASD), with the aim of identifying pathophysiologic markers that specifically associate with PTEN-ASD and that may serve as targets for future treatment trials. PTEN-ASD patients (n=17) were compared with idiopathic (non-PTEN) ASD patients with (macro-ASD, n=16) and without macrocephaly (normo-ASD, n=38) and healthy controls (n=14). Group differences were evaluated for PTEN pathway protein expression levels, global and regional structural brain volumes and cortical thickness measures, neurocognition and adaptive behavior. RNA expression patterns and brain characteristics of a murine model of Pten mislocalization were used to further evaluate abnormalities observed in human PTEN-ASD patients. PTEN-ASD had a high proportion of missense mutations and showed reduced PTEN protein levels. Compared with the other groups, prominent white-matter and cognitive abnormalities were specifically associated with PTEN-ASD patients, with strong reductions in processing speed and working memory. White-matter abnormalities mediated the relationship between PTEN protein reductions and reduced cognitive ability. The Ptenm3m4 murine model had differential expression of genes related to myelination and increased corpus callosum. Processing speed and working memory deficits and white-matter abnormalities may serve as useful features that signal clinicians that PTEN is etiologic and prompting referral to genetic professionals for gene testing, genetic counseling and cancer risk management; and could reveal treatment targets in trials of treatments for PTEN-ASD.
  • Fusaroli, R., Perlman, M., Mislove, A., Paxton, A., Matlock, T., & Dale, R. (2015). Timescales of massive human entrainment. PLoS One, 10: e0122742. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122742.

    Abstract

    The past two decades have seen an upsurge of interest in the collective behaviors of complex systems composed of many agents entrained to each other and to external events. In this paper, we extend the concept of entrainment to the dynamics of human collective attention. We conducted a detailed investigation of the unfolding of human entrainment—as expressed by the content and patterns of hundreds of thousands of messages on Twitter—during the 2012 US presidential debates. By time-locking these data sources, we quantify the impact of the unfolding debate on human attention at three time scales. We show that collective social behavior covaries second-by-second to the interactional dynamics of the debates: A candidate speaking induces rapid increases in mentions of his name on social media and decreases in mentions of the other candidate. Moreover, interruptions by an interlocutor increase the attention received. We also highlight a distinct time scale for the impact of salient content during the debates: Across well-known remarks in each debate, mentions in social media start within 5–10 seconds after it occurs; peak at approximately one minute; and slowly decay in a consistent fashion across well-known events during the debates. Finally, we show that public attention after an initial burst slowly decays through the course of the debates. Thus we demonstrate that large-scale human entrainment may hold across a number of distinct scales, in an exquisitely time-locked fashion. The methods and results pave the way for careful study of the dynamics and mechanisms of large-scale human entrainment.
  • Galizia, E. C., Myers, C. T., Leu, C., De Kovel, C. G. F., Afrikanova, T., Cordero-Maldonado, M. L., Martins, T. G., Jacmin, M., Drury, S., Chinthapalli, V. K., Muhle, H., Pendziwiat, M., Sander, T., Ruppert, A. K., Moller, R. S., Thiele, H., Krause, R., Schubert, J., Lehesjoki, A. E., Nurnberg, P. and 28 moreGalizia, E. C., Myers, C. T., Leu, C., De Kovel, C. G. F., Afrikanova, T., Cordero-Maldonado, M. L., Martins, T. G., Jacmin, M., Drury, S., Chinthapalli, V. K., Muhle, H., Pendziwiat, M., Sander, T., Ruppert, A. K., Moller, R. S., Thiele, H., Krause, R., Schubert, J., Lehesjoki, A. E., Nurnberg, P., Lerche, H., Palotie, A., Coppola, A., Striano, S., Del Gaudio, L., Boustred, C., Schneider, A. L., Lench, N., Jocic-Jakubi, B., Covanis, A., Capovilla, G., Veggiotti, P., Piccioli, M., Parisi, P., Cantonetti, L., Sadleir, L. G., Mullen, S. A., Berkovic, S. F., Stephani, U., Helbig, I., Crawford, A. D., Esguerra, C. V., Trenite, D., Koeleman, B. P. C., Mefford, H. C., Scheffer, I. E., Sisodiya, S. M., & EURO Epinomics CoGIE Consortium (2015). CHD2 variants are a risk factor for photosensitivity in epilepsy. Brain, 138(5), 1198-1207. doi:10.1093%2Fbrain%2Fawv052.

    Abstract

    Photosensitivity is a heritable abnormal cortical response to flickering light, manifesting as particular electroencephalographic changes, with or without seizures. Photosensitivity is prominent in a very rare epileptic encephalopathy due to de novo CHD2 mutations, but is also seen in epileptic encephalopathies due to other gene mutations. We determined whether CHD2 variation underlies photosensitivity in common epilepsies, specific photosensitive epilepsies and individuals with photosensitivity without seizures. We studied 580 individuals with epilepsy and either photosensitive seizures or abnormal photoparoxysmal response on electroencephalography, or both, and 55 individuals with photoparoxysmal response but no seizures. We compared CHD2 sequence data to publicly available data from 34 427 individuals, not enriched for epilepsy. We investigated the role of unique variants seen only once in the entire data set. We sought CHD2 variants in 238 exomes from familial genetic generalized epilepsies, and in other public exome data sets. We identified 11 unique variants in the 580 individuals with photosensitive epilepsies and 128 unique variants in the 34 427 controls: unique CHD2 variation is over-represented in cases overall (P = 2·17 × 10−5). Among epilepsy syndromes, there was over-representation of unique CHD2 variants (3/36 cases) in the archetypal photosensitive epilepsy syndrome, eyelid myoclonia with absences (P = 3·50 × 10−4). CHD2 variation was not over-represented in photoparoxysmal response without seizures. Zebrafish larvae with chd2 knockdown were tested for photosensitivity. Chd2 knockdown markedly enhanced mild innate zebrafish larval photosensitivity. CHD2 mutation is the first identified cause of the archetypal generalized photosensitive epilepsy syndrome, eyelid myoclonia with absences. Unique CHD2 variants are also associated with photosensitivity in common epilepsies. CHD2 does not encode an ion channel, opening new avenues for research into human cortical excitability.
  • Galucio, A. V., Meira, S., Birchall, J., Moore, D., Gabas Junior, N., Drude, S., Storto, L., Picanço, G., & Rodrigues, C. R. (2015). Genealogical relations and lexical distances within the Tupian linguistic family. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi:Ciencias Humanas, 10, 229-274. doi:10.1590/1981-81222015000200004.

    Abstract

    In this paper we present the first results of the application of computational methods, inspired by the ideas in McMahon & McMahon (2005), to a dataset collected from languages of every branch of the Tupian family (including all living non-Tupí-Guaraní languages) in order to produce a classification of the family based on lexical distance. We used both a Swadesh list (with historically stabler terms) and a list of animal and plant names for results comparison. In addition, we also selected more (HiHi) and less (LoLo) stable terms from the Swadesh list to form sublists for indepedent treatment. We compared the resulting NeighborNet networks and neighbor-joining cladograms and drew conclusions about their significance for the current understanding of the classification of Tupian languages. One important result is the lack of support for the currently discussed idea of an Eastern-Western division within Tupí
  • Gascoyne, D. M., Spearman, H., Lyne, L., Puliyadi, R., Perez-Alcantara, M., Coulton, L., Fisher, S. E., Croucher, P. I., & Banham, A. H. (2015). The forkhead transcription factor FOXP2 is required for regulation of p21 WAF1/CIP1 in 143B osteosarcoma cell growth arrest. PLoS One, 10(6): e0128513. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128513.

    Abstract

    Mutations of the forkhead transcription factor FOXP2 gene have been implicated in inherited speech-and-language disorders, and specific Foxp2 expression patterns in neuronal populations and neuronal phenotypes arising from Foxp2 disruption have been described. However, molecular functions of FOXP2 are not completely understood. Here we report a requirement for FOXP2 in growth arrest of the osteosarcoma cell line 143B. We observed endogenous expression of this transcription factor both transiently in normally developing murine osteoblasts and constitutively in human SAOS-2 osteosarcoma cells blocked in early osteoblast development. Critically, we demonstrate that in 143B osteosarcoma cells with minimal endogenous expression, FOXP2 induced by growth arrest is required for up-regulation of p21WAF1/CIP1. Upon growth factor withdrawal, FOXP2 induction occurs rapidly and precedes p21WAF1/CIP1 activation. Additionally, FOXP2 expression could be induced by MAPK pathway inhibition in growth-arrested 143B cells, but not in traditional cell line models of osteoblast differentiation (MG-63, C2C12, MC3T3-E1). Our data are consistent with a model in which transient upregulation of Foxp2 in pre-osteoblast mesenchymal cells regulates a p21-dependent growth arrest checkpoint, which may have implications for normal mesenchymal and osteosarcoma biology
  • Genetics of Personality Consortium (2015). Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for neuroticism, and the polygenic association with major depressive disorder. JAMA Psychiatry, 72(7), 642-650. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0554.

    Abstract

    Importance  Neuroticism is a pervasive risk factor for psychiatric conditions. It genetically overlaps with major depressive disorder (MDD) and is therefore an important phenotype for psychiatric genetics. The Genetics of Personality Consortium has created a resource for genome-wide association analyses of personality traits in more than 63 000 participants (including MDD cases).Objectives To identify genetic variants associated with neuroticism by performing a meta-analysis of genome-wide association results based on 1000 Genomes imputation; to evaluate whether common genetic variants as assessed by single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) explain variation in neuroticism by estimating SNP-based heritability; and to examine whether SNPs that predict neuroticism also predict MDD.Design, Setting, and Participants Genome-wide association meta-analysis of 30 cohorts with genome-wide genotype, personality, and MDD data from the Genetics of Personality Consortium. The study included 63 661 participants from 29 discovery cohorts and 9786 participants from a replication cohort. Participants came from Europe, the United States, or Australia. Analyses were conducted between 2012 and 2014.Main Outcomes and Measures Neuroticism scores harmonized across all 29 discovery cohorts by item response theory analysis, and clinical MDD case-control status in 2 of the cohorts.Results A genome-wide significant SNP was found on 3p14 in MAGI1 (rs35855737; P = 9.26 × 10−9 in the discovery meta-analysis). This association was not replicated (P = .32), but the SNP was still genome-wide significant in the meta-analysis of all 30 cohorts (P = 2.38 × 10−8). Common genetic variants explain 15% of the variance in neuroticism. Polygenic scores based on the meta-analysis of neuroticism in 27 cohorts significantly predicted neuroticism (1.09 × 10−12 <} P {<} .05) and MDD (4.02 × 10−9 {<} P {< .05) in the 2 other cohorts.Conclusions and Relevance This study identifies a novel locus for neuroticism. The variant is located in a known gene that has been associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in previous studies. In addition, the study shows that neuroticism is influenced by many genetic variants of small effect that are either common or tagged by common variants. These genetic variants also influence MDD. Future studies should confirm the role of the MAGI1 locus for neuroticism and further investigate the association of MAGI1 and the polygenic association to a range of other psychiatric disorders that are phenotypically correlated with neuroticism.

    Files private

    Request files
  • Gerwien, J., & Flecken, M. (2015). There is no prime for time: the missing link between form and concept of progressive aspect in L2 production. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 18(5), 561-587. doi:10.1080/13670050.2015.1027144.

    Abstract

    The acquisition of linguistic structures that require perspective-taking at the level of message generation is challenging. We investigate use of progressive aspect in L2 event encoding, using a sentence priming paradigm. We focus on Dutch, in which use of progressive aspect is optional. The progressive consists of a prepositional phrase (‘aan het,’ at-the), plus a verbal infinitive. We ask, to what extent L2 speakers, in comparison to native speakers, show priming effects in relation to form (prepositional phrase) or conceptual (progressive aspect) prime sentences. In native Dutch speakers we find a priming effect for the ‘progressive prime,’ compared to a ‘neutral prime’ (aspectually neutral event description). In L2 speakers this effect was absent. For the form prime, no priming effects were obtained in native speakers, rather, we find evidence for a partial blocking effect in L2 speakers. Results suggest that the strength of the link between concept and form of progressive aspect differs in native and L2 speakers. Specific factors contributed to the L2 findings, e.g., level of L2 proficiency and degree of L2 exposure. We conclude that (1) the conceptual basis of grammatical aspect can be primed in native speakers, and (2) in L2 speakers, access to conceptual information is less automatized.

    Files private

    Request files
  • Gilbers, S., Fuller, C., Gilbers, D., Broersma, M., Goudbeek, M., Free, R., & Başkent, D. (2015). Normal-hearing listeners' and cochlear implant users' perception of pitch cues in emotional speech. i-Perception, 6(5), 1-19. doi:0.1177/0301006615599139.

    Abstract

    In cochlear implants (CIs), acoustic speech cues, especially for pitch, are delivered in a degraded form. This study's aim is to assess whether due to degraded pitch cues, normal-hearing listeners and CI users employ different perceptual strategies to recognize vocal emotions, and, if so, how these differ. Voice actors were recorded pronouncing a nonce word in four different emotions: anger, sadness, joy, and relief. These recordings' pitch cues were phonetically analyzed. The recordings were used to test 20 normal-hearing listeners' and 20 CI users' emotion recognition. In congruence with previous studies, high-arousal emotions had a higher mean pitch, wider pitch range, and more dominant pitches than low-arousal emotions. Regarding pitch, speakers did not differentiate emotions based on valence but on arousal. Normal-hearing listeners outperformed CI users in emotion recognition, even when presented with CI simulated stimuli. However, only normal-hearing listeners recognized one particular actor's emotions worse than the other actors'. The groups behaved differently when presented with similar input, showing that they had to employ differing strategies. Considering the respective speaker's deviating pronunciation, it appears that for normal-hearing listeners, mean pitch is a more salient cue than pitch range, whereas CI users are biased toward pitch range cues
  • Gingras, B., Honing, H., Peretz, I., Trainor, L. J., & Fisher, S. E. (2015). Defining the biological bases of individual differences in musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 370: 20140092. doi:10.1098/rstb.2014.0092.

    Abstract

    Advances in molecular technologies make it possible to pinpoint genomic factors associated with complex human traits. For cognition and behaviour, identification of underlying genes provides new entry points for deciphering the key neurobiological pathways. In the past decade, the search for genetic correlates of musicality has gained traction. Reports have documented familial clustering for different extremes of ability, including amusia and absolute pitch (AP), with twin studies demonstrating high heritability for some music-related skills, such as pitch perception. Certain chromosomal regions have been linked to AP and musical aptitude, while individual candidate genes have been investigated in relation to aptitude and creativity. Most recently, researchers in this field started performing genome-wide association scans. Thus far, studies have been hampered by relatively small sample sizes and limitations in defining components of musicality, including an emphasis on skills that can only be assessed in trained musicians. With opportunities to administer standardized aptitude tests online, systematic large-scale assessment of musical abilities is now feasible, an important step towards high-powered genome-wide screens. Here, we offer a synthesis of existing literatures and outline concrete suggestions for the development of comprehensive operational tools for the analysis of musical phenotypes.
  • Gisladottir, R. S., Chwilla, D., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). Conversation electrified: ERP correlates of speech act recognition in underspecified utterances. PLoS One, 10(3): e0120068. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120068.

    Abstract

    The ability to recognize speech acts (verbal actions) in conversation is critical for everyday interaction. However, utterances are often underspecified for the speech act they perform, requiring listeners to rely on the context to recognize the action. The goal of this study was to investigate the time-course of auditory speech act recognition in action-underspecified utterances and explore how sequential context (the prior action) impacts this process. We hypothesized that speech acts are recognized early in the utterance to allow for quick transitions between turns in conversation. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants listened to spoken dialogues and performed an action categorization task. The dialogues contained target utterances that each of which could deliver three distinct speech acts depending on the prior turn. The targets were identical across conditions, but differed in the type of speech act performed and how it fit into the larger action sequence. The ERP results show an early effect of action type, reflected by frontal positivities as early as 200 ms after target utterance onset. This indicates that speech act recognition begins early in the turn when the utterance has only been partially processed. Providing further support for early speech act recognition, actions in highly constraining contexts did not elicit an ERP effect to the utterance-final word. We take this to show that listeners can recognize the action before the final word through predictions at the speech act level. However, additional processing based on the complete utterance is required in more complex actions, as reflected by a posterior negativity at the final word when the speech act is in a less constraining context and a new action sequence is initiated. These findings demonstrate that sentence comprehension in conversational contexts crucially involves recognition of verbal action which begins as soon as it can.
  • Gisladottir, R. S. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Icelandic. Open Linguistics, 1(1), 309-328. doi:10.1515/opli-2015-0004.

    Abstract

    The ability to repair problems with hearing or understanding in conversation is critical for successful communication. This article describes the linguistic practices of other-initiated repair (OIR) in Icelandic through quantitative and qualitative analysis of a corpus of video-recorded conversations. The study draws on the conceptual distinctions developed in the comparative project on repair described in the introduction to this issue. The main aim is to give an overview of the formats for OIR in Icelandic and the type of repair practices engendered by them. The use of repair initiations in social actions not aimed at solving comprehension problems is also briefly discussed. In particular, the interjection ha has a rich usage extending beyond open other-initiation of repair. By describing the linguistic machinery for other-initiated repair in Icelandic, this study contributes to the typology of conversational structure and to the still nascent field of Icelandic social interaction studies.
  • Goldin-Meadow, S., Namboodiripad, S., Mylander, C., Ozyurek, A., & Sancar, B. (2015). The resilience of structure built around the predicate: Homesign gesture systems in Turkish and American deaf children. Journal of Cognition and Development, 16, 55-80. doi:10.1080/15248372.2013.803970.

    Abstract

    Deaf children whose hearing losses prevent them from accessing spoken language and whose hearing parents have not exposed them to sign language develop gesture systems, called homesigns, which have many of the properties of natural language—the so-called resilient properties of language. We explored the resilience of structure built around the predicate—in particular, how manner and path are mapped onto the verb—in homesign systems developed by deaf children in Turkey and the United States. We also asked whether the Turkish homesigners exhibit sentence-level structures previously identified as resilient in American and Chinese homesigners. We found that the Turkish and American deaf children used not only the same production probability and ordering patterns to indicate who does what to whom, but also used the same segmentation and conflation patterns to package manner and path. The gestures that the hearing parents produced did not, for the most part, display the patterns found in the children's gestures. Although cospeech gesture may provide the building blocks for homesign, it does not provide the blueprint for these resilient properties of language.
  • Graham, S. A., Deriziotis, P., & Fisher, S. E. (2015). Insights into the genetic foundations of human communication. Neuropsychology Review, 25(1), 3-26. doi:10.1007/s11065-014-9277-2.

    Abstract

    The human capacity to acquire sophisticated language is unmatched in the animal kingdom. Despite the discontinuity in communicative abilities between humans and other primates, language is built on ancient genetic foundations, which are being illuminated by comparative genomics. The genetic architecture of the language faculty is also being uncovered by research into neurodevelopmental disorders that disrupt the normally effortless process of language acquisition. In this article, we discuss the strategies that researchers are using to reveal genetic factors contributing to communicative abilities, and review progress in identifying the relevant genes and genetic variants. The first gene directly implicated in a speech and language disorder was FOXP2. Using this gene as a case study, we illustrate how evidence from genetics, molecular cell biology, animal models and human neuroimaging has converged to build a picture of the role of FOXP2 in neurodevelopment, providing a framework for future endeavors to bridge the gaps between genes, brains and behavior
  • Graham, S. A., & Fisher, S. E. (2015). Understanding language from a genomic perspective. Annual Review of Genetics, 49, 131-160. doi:10.1146/annurev-genet-120213-092236.

    Abstract

    Language is a defining characteristic of the human species, but its foundations remain mysterious. Heritable disorders offer a gateway into biological underpinnings, as illustrated by the discovery that FOXP2 disruptions cause a rare form of speech and language impairment. The genetic architecture underlying language-related disorders is complex, and although some progress has been made, it has proved challenging to pinpoint additional relevant genes with confidence. Next-generation sequencing and genome-wide association studies are revolutionizing understanding of the genetic bases of other neurodevelopmental disorders, like autism and schizophrenia, and providing fundamental insights into the molecular networks crucial for typical brain development. We discuss how a similar genomic perspective, brought to the investigation of language-related phenotypes, promises to yield equally informative discoveries. Moreover, we outline how follow-up studies of genetic findings using cellular systems and animal models can help to elucidate the biological mechanisms involved in the development of brain circuits supporting language.

    Files private

    Request files
  • Grünloh, T., & Liszkowski, U. (2015). Prelinguistic vocalizations distinguish pointing acts. Journal of Child Language, 42(6), 1312-1336. doi:10.1017/S0305000914000816.

    Abstract

    The current study investigated whether point-accompanying characteristics, like vocalizations and hand shape, differentiate infants' underlying motives of prelinguistic pointing. We elicited imperative (requestive) and declarative (expressive and informative) pointing acts in experimentally controlled situations, and analyzed accompanying characteristics. Experiment 1 revealed that prosodic characteristics of point-accompanying vocalizations distinguished requestive from both expressive and informative pointing acts, with little differences between the latter two. In addition, requestive points were more often realized with the whole hand than the index finger, while this was the opposite for expressive and informative acts. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1, revealing distinct prosodic characteristics for requestive pointing also when the referent was distal and when it had an index-finger shape. Findings reveal that beyond the social context, point-accompanying vocalizations give clues to infants' underlying intentions when pointing.
  • Guadalupe, T., Zwiers, M. P., Wittfeld, K., Teumer, A., Vasquez, A. A., Hoogman, M., Hagoort, P., Fernandez, G., Buitelaar, J., van Bokhoven, H., Hegenscheid, K., Völzke, H., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., Grabe, H. J., & Francks, C. (2015). Asymmetry within and around the human planum temporale is sexually dimorphic and influenced by genes involved in steroid hormone receptor activity. Cortex, 62, 41-55. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2014.07.015.

    Abstract

    The genetic determinants of cerebral asymmetries are unknown. Sex differences in asymmetry of the planum temporale, that overlaps Wernicke’s classical language area, have been inconsistently reported. Meta-analysis of previous studies has suggested that publication bias established this sex difference in the literature. Using probabilistic definitions of cortical regions we screened over the cerebral cortex for sexual dimorphisms of asymmetry in 2337 healthy subjects, and found the planum temporale to show the strongest sex-linked asymmetry of all regions, which was supported by two further datasets, and also by analysis with the Freesurfer package that performs automated parcellation of cerebral cortical regions. We performed a genome-wide association scan meta-analysis of planum temporale asymmetry in a pooled sample of 3095 subjects, followed by a candidate-driven approach which measured a significant enrichment of association in genes of the ´steroid hormone receptor activity´ and 'steroid metabolic process' pathways. Variants in the genes and pathways identified may affect the role of the planum temporale in language cognition.
  • Gubian, M., Torreira, F., & Boves, L. (2015). Using functional data analysis for investigating multidimensional dynamic phonetic contrasts. Journal of Phonetics, 49, 16-40. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.10.001.

    Abstract

    The study of phonetic contrasts and related phenomena, e.g. inter- and intra-speaker variability, often requires to analyse data in the form of measured time series, like f0 contours and formant trajectories. As a consequence, the investigator has to find suitable ways to reduce the raw and abundant numerical information contained in a bundle of time series into a small but sufficient set of numerical descriptors of their shape. This approach requires one to decide in advance which dynamic traits to include in the analysis and which not. For example, a rising pitch gesture may be represented by its duration and slope, hence reducing it to a straight segment, or by a richer coding specifying also whether (and how much) the rising contour is concave or convex, the latter being irrelevant in some context but crucial in others. Decisions become even more complex when a phenomenon is described by a multidimensional time series, e.g. by the first two formants. In this paper we introduce a methodology based on Functional Data Analysis (FDA) that allows the investigator to delegate most of the decisions involved in the quantitative description of multidimensional time series to the data themselves. FDA produces a data-driven parametrisation of the main shape traits present in the data that is visually interpretable, in the same way as slopes or peak heights are. These output parameters are numbers that are amenable to ordinary statistical analysis, e.g. linear (mixed effects) models. FDA is also able to capture correlations among different dimensions of a time series, e.g. between formants F1 and F2. We present FDA by means of an extended case study on diphthong – hiatus distinction in Spanish, a contrast that involves duration, formant trajectories and pitch contours.
  • Le Guen, O., Samland, J., Friedrich, T., Hanus, D., & Brown, P. (2015). Making sense of (exceptional) causal relations. A cross-cultural and cross-linguistic study. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1645. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01645.

    Abstract

    In order to make sense of the world, humans tend to see causation almost everywhere. Although most causal relations may seem straightforward, they are not always construed in the same way cross-culturally. In this study, we investigate concepts of ‘chance’, ‘coincidence’ or ‘randomness’ that refer to assumed relations between intention, action, and outcome in situations, and we ask how people from different cultures make sense of such non-law-like connections. Based on a framework proposed by Alicke (2000), we administered a task that aims to be a neutral tool for investigating causal construals cross-culturally and cross-linguistically. Members of four different cultural groups, rural Mayan Yucatec and Tseltal speakers from Mexico and urban students from Mexico and Germany, were presented with a set of scenarios involving various types of causal and non-causal relations and were asked to explain the described events. Three links varied as to whether they were present or not in the scenarios: Intention to Action, Action to Outcome, and Intention to Outcome. Our results show that causality is recognized in all four cultural groups. However, how causality and especially non-law-like causality are interpreted depends on the type of links, the cultural background and the language used. In all three groups, Action to Outcome is the decisive link for recognizing causality. Despite the fact that the two Mayan groups share similar cultural backgrounds, they display different ideologies regarding concepts of non-law causality. The data suggests that the concept of ‘chance’ is not universal, but seems to be an explanation that only some cultural groups draw on to make sense of specific situations. Of particular importance is the existence of linguistic concepts in each language that trigger ideas of causality in the responses from each cultural group

    Additional information

    LeGuen_etal_2015sup.docx
  • Guggenheim, J. A., St Pourcain, B., McMahon, G., Timpson, N. J., Evans, D. M., & Williams, C. (2015). Assumption-free estimation of the genetic contribution to refractive error across childhood. Molecular Vision, 21, 621-632. Retrieved from http://www.molvis.org/molvis/v21/621.

    Abstract

    Studies in relatives have generally yielded high heritability estimates for refractive error: twins 75–90%, families 15–70%. However, because related individuals often share a common environment, these estimates are inflated (via misallocation of unique/common environment variance). We calculated a lower-bound heritability estimate for refractive error free from such bias. Between the ages 7 and 15 years, participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) underwent non-cycloplegic autorefraction at regular research clinics. At each age, an estimate of the variance in refractive error explained by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genetic variants was calculated using genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) using high-density genome-wide SNP genotype information (minimum N at each age=3,404). The variance in refractive error explained by the SNPs (“SNP heritability”) was stable over childhood: Across age 7–15 years, SNP heritability averaged 0.28 (SE=0.08, p<0.001). The genetic correlation for refractive error between visits varied from 0.77 to 1.00 (all p<0.001) demonstrating that a common set of SNPs was responsible for the genetic contribution to refractive error across this period of childhood. Simulations suggested lack of cycloplegia during autorefraction led to a small underestimation of SNP heritability (adjusted SNP heritability=0.35; SE=0.09). To put these results in context, the variance in refractive error explained (or predicted) by the time participants spent outdoors was <0.005 and by the time spent reading was <0.01, based on a parental questionnaire completed when the child was aged 8–9 years old. Genetic variation captured by common SNPs explained approximately 35% of the variation in refractive error between unrelated subjects. This value sets an upper limit for predicting refractive error using existing SNP genotyping arrays, although higher-density genotyping in larger samples and inclusion of interaction effects is expected to raise this figure toward twin- and family-based heritability estimates. The same SNPs influenced refractive error across much of childhood. Notwithstanding the strong evidence of association between time outdoors and myopia, and time reading and myopia, less than 1% of the variance in myopia at age 15 was explained by crude measures of these two risk factors, indicating that their effects may be limited, at least when averaged over the whole population.
  • Gupta, C. N., Calhoun, V. D., Rachkonda, S., Chen, J., Patel, V., Liu, J., Segall, J., Franke, B., Zwiers, M. P., Arias-Vasquez, A., Buitelaar, J., Fisher, S. E., Fernández, G., van Erp, T. G. M., Potkin, S., Ford, J., Matalon, D., McEwen, S., Lee, H. J., Mueller, B. A. and 16 moreGupta, C. N., Calhoun, V. D., Rachkonda, S., Chen, J., Patel, V., Liu, J., Segall, J., Franke, B., Zwiers, M. P., Arias-Vasquez, A., Buitelaar, J., Fisher, S. E., Fernández, G., van Erp, T. G. M., Potkin, S., Ford, J., Matalon, D., McEwen, S., Lee, H. J., Mueller, B. A., Greve, D. N., Andreassen, O., Agartz, I., Gollub, R. L., Sponheim, S. R., Ehrlich, S., Wang, L., Pearlson, G., Glahn, D. S., Sprooten, E., Mayer, A. R., Stephen, J., Jung, R. E., Canive, J., Bustillo, J., & Turner, J. A. (2015). Patterns of gray matter abnormalities in schizophrenia based on an international mega-analysis. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 41(5), 1133-1142. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbu177.

    Abstract

    Analyses of gray matter concentration (GMC) deficits in patients with schizophrenia (Sz) have identified robust changes throughout the cortex. We assessed the relationships between diagnosis, overall symptom severity, and patterns of gray matter in the largest aggregated structural imaging dataset to date. We performed both source-based morphometry (SBM) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analyses on GMC images from 784 Sz and 936 controls (Ct) across 23 scanning sites in Europe and the United States. After correcting for age, gender, site, and diagnosis by site interactions, SBM analyses showed 9 patterns of diagnostic differences. They comprised separate cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar regions. Seven patterns showed greater GMC in Ct than Sz, while 2 (brainstem and cerebellum) showed greater GMC for Sz. The greatest GMC deficit was in a single pattern comprising regions in the superior temporal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, and medial frontal cortex, which replicated over analyses of data subsets. VBM analyses identified overall cortical GMC loss and one small cluster of increased GMC in Sz, which overlapped with the SBM brainstem component. We found no significant association between the component loadings and symptom severity in either analysis. This mega-analysis confirms that the commonly found GMC loss in Sz in the anterior temporal lobe, insula, and medial frontal lobe form a single, consistent spatial pattern even in such a diverse dataset. The separation of GMC loss into robust, repeatable spatial patterns across multiple datasets paves the way for the application of these methods to identify subtle genetic and clinical cohort effects.
  • Hammarström, H. (2015). Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: A comprehensive review. Language, 91, 723-737. doi:10.1353/lan.2015.0038.

    Abstract

    Ethnologue (http://www.ethnologue.com) is the most widely consulted inventory of the world’slanguages used today. The present review article looks carefully at the goals and description of the content of the Ethnologue’s 16th, 17th, and 18th editions, and reports on a comprehensive survey of the accuracy of the inventory itself. While hundreds of spurious and missing languages can be documented for Ethnologue, it is at present still better than any other nonderivative work of the same scope, in all aspects but one. Ethnologue fails to disclose the sources for the information presented, at odds with well-established scientific principles. The classification of languages into families in Ethnologue is also evaluated, and found to be far off from that argued in the specialist literature on the classification of individual languages. Ethnologue is frequently held to be splitting: that is, it tends to recognize more languages than an application of the criterion of mutual intelligibility would yield. By means of a random sample, we find that, indeed, with confidence intervals, the number of mutually unintelligible languages is on average 85% of the number found in Ethnologue. © 2015, Linguistic Society of America. All rights reserved.
  • Hammarström, H. (2015). Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: A comprehensive review: Online appendices. Language, 91(3), s1-s188. doi:10.1353/lan.2015.0049.
  • Hanique, I., Ernestus, M., & Boves, L. (2015). Choice and pronunciation of words: Individual differences within a homogeneous group of speakers. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 11, 161-185. doi:10.1515/cllt-2014-0025.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates whether individual speakers forming a homogeneous group differ in their choice and pronunciation of words when engaged in casual conversation, and if so, how they differ. More specifically, it examines whether the Balanced Winnow classifier is able to distinguish between the twenty speakers of the Ernestus Corpus of Spontaneous Dutch, who all have the same social background. To examine differences in choice and pronunciation of words, instead of characteristics of the speech signal itself, classification was based on lexical and pronunciation features extracted from hand-made orthographic and automatically generated broad phonetic transcriptions. The lexical features consisted of words and two-word combinations. The pronunciation features represented pronunciation variations at the word and phone level that are typical for casual speech. The best classifier achieved a performance of 79.9% and was based on the lexical features and on the pronunciation features representing single phones and triphones. The speakers must thus differ from each other in these features. Inspection of the relevant features indicated that, among other things, the words relevant for classification generally do not contain much semantic content, and that speakers differ not only from each other in the use of these words but also in their pronunciation.
  • Hannerfors, A.-K., Hellgren, C., Schijven, D., Iliadis, S. I., Comasco, E., Skalkidou, A., Olivier, J. D., & Sundström-Poromaa, I. (2015). Treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy is associated with elevated corticotropin-releasing hormone levels. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 58, 104-113. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.04.009.

    Abstract

    Treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) has been associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, but causality remains unclear. While placental CRH production is correlated with gestational length and preterm birth, it has been difficult to establish if psychological stress or mental health problems are associated with increased CRH levels. This study compared second trimester CRH serum concentrations in pregnant women on SSRI treatment (n=207) with untreated depressed women (n=56) and controls (n=609). A secondary aim was to investigate the combined effect of SSRI treatment and CRH levels on gestational length and risk for preterm birth. Women on SSRI treatment had significantly higher second trimester CRH levels than controls, and untreated depressed women. CRH levels and SSRI treatment were independently associated with shorter gestational length. The combined effect of SSRI treatment and high CRH levels yielded the highest risk estimate for preterm birth. SSRI treatment during pregnancy is associated with increased CRH levels. However, the elevated risk for preterm birth in SSRI users appear not to be mediated by increased placental CRH production, instead CRH appear as an independent risk factor for shorter gestational length and preterm birth.
  • Hardies, K., De Kovel, C. G. F., Weckhuysen, S., Asselbergh, B., Geuens, T., Deconinck, T., Azmi, A., May, P., Brilstra, E., Becker, F., Barisic, N., Craiu, D., Braun, K. P. J., Lal, D., Thiele, H., Schubert, J., Weber, Y., van't Slot, R., Nurnberg, P., Balling, R. and 8 moreHardies, K., De Kovel, C. G. F., Weckhuysen, S., Asselbergh, B., Geuens, T., Deconinck, T., Azmi, A., May, P., Brilstra, E., Becker, F., Barisic, N., Craiu, D., Braun, K. P. J., Lal, D., Thiele, H., Schubert, J., Weber, Y., van't Slot, R., Nurnberg, P., Balling, R., Timmerman, V., Lerche, H., Maudsley, S., Helbig, I., Suls, A., Koeleman, B. P. C., De Jonghe, P., & Euro Res Consortium, E. (2015). Recessive mutations in SLC13A5 result in a loss of citrate transport and cause neonatal epilepsy, developmental delay and teeth hypoplasia. Brain., 138(11), 3238-3250. doi:10.1093/brain/awv263.

    Abstract

    The epileptic encephalopathies are a clinically and aetiologically heterogeneous subgroup of epilepsy syndromes. Most epileptic encephalopathies have a genetic cause and patients are often found to carry a heterozygous de novo mutation in one of the genes associated with the disease entity. Occasionally recessive mutations are identified: a recent publication described a distinct neonatal epileptic encephalopathy (MIM 615905) caused by autosomal recessive mutations in the SLC13A5 gene. Here, we report eight additional patients belonging to four different families with autosomal recessive mutations in SLC13A5. SLC13A5 encodes a high affinity sodium-dependent citrate transporter, which is expressed in the brain. Neurons are considered incapable of de novo synthesis of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates; therefore they rely on the uptake of intermediates, such as citrate, to maintain their energy status and neurotransmitter production. The effect of all seven identified mutations (two premature stops and five amino acid substitutions) was studied in vitro, using immunocytochemistry, selective western blot and mass spectrometry. We hereby demonstrate that cells expressing mutant sodium-dependent citrate transporter have a complete loss of citrate uptake due to various cellular loss-of-function mechanisms. In addition, we provide independent proof of the involvement of autosomal recessive SLC13A5 mutations in the development of neonatal epileptic encephalopathies, and highlight teeth hypoplasia as a possible indicator for SLC13A5 screening. All three patients who tried the ketogenic diet responded well to this treatment, and future studies will allow us to ascertain whether this is a recurrent feature in this severe disorder.
  • Heidlmayr, K., Hemforth, B., Moutier, S., & Isel, F. (2015). Neurodynamics of executive control processes in bilinguals: Evidence from ERP and source reconstruction analyses. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 821. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00821.

    Abstract

    The present study was designed to examine the impact of bilingualism on the neuronal activity in different executive control processes namely conflict monitoring, control implementation (i.e., interference suppression and conflict resolution) and overcoming of inhibition. Twenty-two highly proficient but non-balanced successive French–German bilingual adults and 22 monolingual adults performed a combined Stroop/Negative priming task while event-related potential (ERP) were recorded online. The data revealed that the ERP effects were reduced in bilinguals in comparison to monolinguals but only in the Stroop task and limited to the N400 and the sustained fronto-central negative-going potential time windows. This result suggests that bilingualism may impact the process of control implementation rather than the process of conflict monitoring (N200). Critically, our study revealed a differential time course of the involvement of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in conflict processing. While the ACC showed major activation in the early time windows (N200 and N400) but not in the latest time window (late sustained negative-going potential), the PFC became unilaterally active in the left hemisphere in the N400 and the late sustained negative-going potential time windows. Taken together, the present electroencephalography data lend support to a cascading neurophysiological model of executive control processes, in which ACC and PFC may play a determining role.

Share this page