Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 399
  • Abdel Rahman, R., Sommer, W., & Schweinberger, S. R. (2002). Brain potential evidence for the time course of access to biographical facts and names of familiar persons. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28(2), 366-373. doi:10.1037//0278-7393.28.2.366.

    Abstract

    On seeing familiar persons, biographical (semantic) information is typically retrieved faster and more accurately than name information. Serial stage models explain this pattern by suggesting that access to the name follows the retrieval of semantic information. In contrast, interactive activation and competition (IAC) models hold that both processes start together but name retrieval is slower because of structural peculiarities. With a 2-choice go/no-go procedure based on a semantic and a name-related classification, the authors tested differential predictions of the 2 alternative models for reaction times (RTs) and lateralized readiness potentials (LRP). Both LRP (Experiment 1) and RT (Experiment 2) results are in line with IAC models of face identification and naming.
  • Alday, P. M. (2019). How much baseline correction do we need in ERP research? Extended GLM model can replace baseline correction while lifting its limits. Psychophysiology, 56(12): e13451. doi:10.1111/psyp.13451.

    Abstract

    Baseline correction plays an important role in past and current methodological debates in ERP research (e.g., the Tanner vs. Maess debate in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods), serving as a potential alternative to strong high‐pass filtering. However, the very assumptions that underlie traditional baseline also undermine it, implying a reduction in the signal‐to‐noise ratio. In other words, traditional baseline correction is statistically unnecessary and even undesirable. Including the baseline interval as a predictor in a GLM‐based statistical approach allows the data to determine how much baseline correction is needed, including both full traditional and no baseline correction as special cases. This reduces the amount of variance in the residual error term and thus has the potential to increase statistical power.
  • Alday, P. M. (2019). M/EEG analysis of naturalistic stories: a review from speech to language processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(4), 457-473. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1546882.

    Abstract

    M/EEG research using naturally spoken stories as stimuli has focused largely on speech and not language processing. The temporal resolution of M/EEG is a two-edged sword, allowing for the study of the fine acoustic structure of speech, yet easily overwhelmed by the temporal noise of variation in constituent length. Recent theories on the neural encoding of linguistic structure require the temporal resolution of M/EEG, yet suffer from confounds when studied on traditional, heavily controlled stimuli. Recent methodological advances allow for synthesising naturalistic designs and traditional, controlled designs into effective M/EEG research on naturalistic language. In this review, we highlight common threads throughout the at-times distinct research traditions of speech and language processing. We conclude by examining the tradeoffs and successes of three M/EEG studies on fully naturalistic language paradigms and the future directions they suggest.
  • Alday, P. M., & Kretzschmar, F. (2019). Speed-accuracy tradeoffs in brain and behavior: Testing the independence of P300 and N400 related processes in behavioral responses to sentence categorization. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13: 285. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00285.

    Abstract

    Although the N400 was originally discovered in a paradigm designed to elicit a P300 (Kutas and Hillyard, 1980), its relationship with the P300 and how both overlapping event-related potentials (ERPs) determine behavioral profiles is still elusive. Here we conducted an ERP (N = 20) and a multiple-response speed-accuracy tradeoff (SAT) experiment (N = 16) on distinct participant samples using an antonym paradigm (The opposite of black is white/nice/yellow with acceptability judgment). We hypothesized that SAT profiles incorporate processes of task-related decision-making (P300) and stimulus-related expectation violation (N400). We replicated previous ERP results (Roehm et al., 2007): in the correct condition (white), the expected target elicits a P300, while both expectation violations engender an N400 [reduced for related (yellow) vs. unrelated targets (nice)]. Using multivariate Bayesian mixed-effects models, we modeled the P300 and N400 responses simultaneously and found that correlation between residuals and subject-level random effects of each response window was minimal, suggesting that the components are largely independent. For the SAT data, we found that antonyms and unrelated targets had a similar slope (rate of increase in accuracy over time) and an asymptote at ceiling, while related targets showed both a lower slope and a lower asymptote, reaching only approximately 80% accuracy. Using a GLMM-based approach (Davidson and Martin, 2013), we modeled these dynamics using response time and condition as predictors. Replacing the predictor for condition with the averaged P300 and N400 amplitudes from the ERP experiment, we achieved identical model performance. We then examined the piecewise contribution of the P300 and N400 amplitudes with partial effects (see Hohenstein and Kliegl, 2015). Unsurprisingly, the P300 amplitude was the strongest contributor to the SAT-curve in the antonym condition and the N400 was the strongest contributor in the unrelated condition. In brief, this is the first demonstration of how overlapping ERP responses in one sample of participants predict behavioral SAT profiles of another sample. The P300 and N400 reflect two independent but interacting processes and the competition between these processes is reflected differently in behavioral parameters of speed and accuracy.

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  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2019). A review of computational models of basic rule learning: The neural-symbolic debate and beyond. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26(4), 1174-1194. doi:10.3758/s13423-019-01602-z.

    Abstract

    We present a critical review of computational models of generalization of simple grammar-like rules, such as ABA and ABB. In particular, we focus on models attempting to account for the empirical results of Marcus et al. (Science, 283(5398), 77–80 1999). In that study, evidence is reported of generalization behavior by 7-month-old infants, using an Artificial Language Learning paradigm. The authors fail to replicate this behavior in neural network simulations, and claim that this failure reveals inherent limitations of a whole class of neural networks: those that do not incorporate symbolic operations. A great number of computational models were proposed in follow-up studies, fuelling a heated debate about what is required for a model to generalize. Twenty years later, this debate is still not settled. In this paper, we review a large number of the proposed models. We present a critical analysis of those models, in terms of how they contribute to answer the most relevant questions raised by the experiment. After identifying which aspects require further research, we propose a list of desiderata for advancing our understanding on generalization.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2002). Cultural scripting of body parts for emotions: On 'jealousy' and related emotions in Ewe. Pragmatics and Cognition, 10(1-2), 27-55. doi:10.1075/pc.10.12.03ame.

    Abstract

    Different languages present a variety of ways of talking about emotional experience. Very commonly, feelings are described through the use of ‘body image constructions’ in which they are associated with processes in, or states of, specific body parts. The emotions and the body parts that are thought to be their locus and the kind of activity associated with these body parts vary cross-culturally. This study focuses on the meaning of three ‘body image constructions’ used to describe feelings similar to, but also different from, English ‘jealousy’, ‘envy’, and ‘covetousness’ in the West African language Ewe. It is demonstrated that a ‘moving body’, a pychologised eye, and red eyes are scripted for these feelings. It is argued that the expressions are not figurative and that their semantics provide good clues to understanding the cultural construction of emotions both emotions and the body.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1992). Interjections: The universal yet neglected part of speech. Journal of Pragmatics, 18(2/3), 101-118. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(92)90048-G.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1992). The meaning of phatic and conative interjections. Journal of Pragmatics, 18(2/3), 245-271. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(92)90054-F.

    Abstract

    The purpose of this paper is to investigate the meanings of the members of two subclasses of interjections in Ewe: the conative/volitive which are directed at an auditor, and the phatic which are used in the maintenance of social and communicative contact. It is demonstrated that interjections like other linguistic signs have meanings which can be rigorously stated. In addition, the paper explores the differences and similarities between the semantic structures of interjections on one hand and formulaic words on the other. This is done through a comparison of the semantics and pragmatics of an interjection and a formulaic word which are used for welcoming people in Ewe. It is contended that formulaic words are speech acts qua speech acts while interjections are not fully fledged speech acts because they lack illocutionary dictum in their semantic structure.
  • Araújo, S., Fernandes, T., & Huettig, F. (2019). Learning to read facilitates retrieval of phonological representations in rapid automatized naming: Evidence from unschooled illiterate, ex-illiterate, and schooled literate adults. Developmental Science, 22(4): e12783. doi:10.1111/desc.12783.

    Abstract

    Rapid automatized naming (RAN) of visual items is a powerful predictor of reading skills. However, the direction and locus of the association between RAN and reading is still largely unclear. Here we investigated whether literacy acquisition directly bolsters RAN efficiency for objects, adopting a strong methodological design, by testing three groups of adults matched in age and socioeconomic variables, who differed only in literacy/schooling: unschooled illiterate and ex-illiterate, and schooled literate adults. To investigate in a fine-grained manner whether and how literacy facilitates lexical retrieval, we orthogonally manipulated the word-form frequency (high vs. low) and phonological neighborhood density (dense vs. spare) of the objects’ names. We observed that literacy experience enhances the automaticity with which visual stimuli (e.g., objects) can be retrieved and named: relative to readers (ex-illiterate and literate), illiterate adults performed worse on RAN. Crucially, the group difference was exacerbated and significant only for those items that were of low frequency and from sparse neighborhoods. These results thus suggest that, regardless of schooling and age at which literacy was acquired, learning to read facilitates the access to and retrieval of phonological representations, especially of difficult lexical items.
  • Armeni, K., Willems, R. M., Van den Bosch, A., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2019). Frequency-specific brain dynamics related to prediction during language comprehension. NeuroImage, 198, 283-295. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.04.083.

    Abstract

    The brain's remarkable capacity to process spoken language virtually in real time requires fast and efficient information processing machinery. In this study, we investigated how frequency-specific brain dynamics relate to models of probabilistic language prediction during auditory narrative comprehension. We recorded MEG activity while participants were listening to auditory stories in Dutch. Using trigram statistical language models, we estimated for every word in a story its conditional probability of occurrence. On the basis of word probabilities, we computed how unexpected the current word is given its context (word perplexity) and how (un)predictable the current linguistic context is (word entropy). We then evaluated whether source-reconstructed MEG oscillations at different frequency bands are modulated as a function of these language processing metrics. We show that theta-band source dynamics are increased in high relative to low entropy states, likely reflecting lexical computations. Beta-band dynamics are increased in situations of low word entropy and perplexity possibly reflecting maintenance of ongoing cognitive context. These findings lend support to the idea that the brain engages in the active generation and evaluation of predicted language based on the statistical properties of the input signal.

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  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2019). General and language specific factors influence reference tracking in speech and gesture in discourse. Discourse Processes, 56(7), 553-574. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2018.1519368.

    Abstract

    Referent accessibility influences expressions in speech and gestures in similar ways. Speakers mostly use richer forms as noun phrases (NPs) in speech and gesture more when referents have low accessibility, whereas they use reduced forms such as pronouns more often and gesture less when referents have high accessibility. We investigated the relationships between speech and gesture during reference tracking in a pro-drop language—Turkish. Overt pronouns were not strongly associated with accessibility but with pragmatic context (i.e., marking similarity, contrast). Nevertheless, speakers gestured more when referents were re-introduced versus maintained and when referents were expressed with NPs versus pronouns. Pragmatic context did not influence gestures. Further, pronouns in low-accessibility contexts were accompanied with gestures—possibly for reference disambiguation—more often than previously found for non-pro-drop languages in such contexts. These findings enhance our understanding of the relationships between speech and gesture at the discourse level.
  • Balakrishnan, B., Verheijen, J., Lupo, A., Raymond, K., Turgeon, C., Yang, Y., Carter, K. L., Whitehead, K. J., Kozicz, T., Morava, E., & Lai, K. (2019). A novel phosphoglucomutase-deficient mouse model reveals aberrant glycosylation and early embryonic lethality. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease, 42(5), 998-1007. doi:10.1002/jimd.12110.

    Abstract

    Patients with phosphoglucomutase (PGM1) deficiency, a congenital disorder of glycosylation (CDG) suffer from multiple disease phenotypes. Midline cleft defects are present at birth. Overtime, additional clinical phenotypes, which include severe hypoglycemia, hepatopathy, growth retardation, hormonal deficiencies, hemostatic anomalies, frequently lethal, early-onset of dilated cardiomyopathy and myopathy emerge, reflecting the central roles of the enzyme in (glycogen) metabolism and glycosylation. To delineate the pathophysiology of the tissue-specific disease phenotypes, we constructed a constitutive Pgm2 (mouse ortholog of human PGM1)-knockout (KO) mouse model using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. After multiple crosses between heterozygous parents, we were unable to identify homozygous life births in 78 newborn pups (P = 1.59897E-06), suggesting an embryonic lethality phenotype in the homozygotes. Ultrasound studies of the course of pregnancy confirmed Pgm2-deficient pups succumb before E9.5. Oral galactose supplementation (9 mg/mL drinking water) did not rescue the lethality. Biochemical studies of tissues and skin fibroblasts harvested from heterozygous animals confirmed reduced Pgm2 enzyme activity and abundance, but no change in glycogen content. However, glycomics analyses in serum revealed an abnormal glycosylation pattern in the Pgm2(+/-) animals, similar to that seen in PGM1-CDG.
  • Barthel, M., & Sauppe, S. (2019). Speech planning at turn transitions in dialogue is associated with increased processing load. Cognitive Science, 43(7): e12768. doi:10.1111/cogs.12768.

    Abstract

    Speech planning is a sophisticated process. In dialog, it regularly starts in overlap with an incoming turn by a conversation partner. We show that planning spoken responses in overlap with incoming turns is associated with higher processing load than planning in silence. In a dialogic experiment, participants took turns with a confederate describing lists of objects. The confederate’s utterances (to which participants responded) were pre‐recorded and varied in whether they ended in a verb or an object noun and whether this ending was predictable or not. We found that response planning in overlap with sentence‐final verbs evokes larger task‐evoked pupillary responses, while end predictability had no effect. This finding indicates that planning in overlap leads to higher processing load for next speakers in dialog and that next speakers do not proactively modulate the time course of their response planning based on their predictions of turn endings. The turn‐taking system exerts pressure on the language processing system by pushing speakers to plan in overlap despite the ensuing increase in processing load.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Posthuma, D., Groot, P. F. C., & De Geus, E. J. C. (2002). Event-related alpha and theta responses in a visuo-spatial working memory task. Clinical Neurophysiology, 113(12), 1882-1893. doi:10.1016/S1388-2457(02)00303-6.

    Abstract

    Objective: To explore the reactivity of the theta and alpha rhythms during visuo-spatial working memory. Methods: One hundred and seventy-four subjects performed a delayed response task. They had to remember the spatial location of a target stimulus on a computer screen for a 1 or a 4 s retention interval. The target either remained visible throughout the entire interval (sensory trials) or disappeared after 150 ms (memory trials). Changes in induced band power (IBP) in the electroencephalogram (EEG) were analyzed in 4 narrow, individually adjusted frequency bands between 4 and 12 Hz. Results: After presentation of the target stimulus, a phasic power increase was found, irrespective of condition and delay interval, in the lower (roughly, 4–8 Hz) frequency bands, with a posterior maximum. During the retention interval, sustained occipital–parietal alpha power increase and frontal theta power decrease were found. Most importantly, the memory trials showed larger IBP decreases in the theta band over frontal electrodes than the sensory trials. Conclusions: The phasic power increase following target onset is interpreted to reflect encoding of the target location. The sustained theta decrease, which is larger for memory trials, is tentatively interpreted to reflect visuo-spatial working memory processes.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Van Berkum, J. J. A., & Hagoort, P. (2002). Event-related theta power increases in the human EEG during online sentence processing. Neuroscience Letters, 323(1), 13-16. doi:10.1016/S0304-3940(01)02535-6.

    Abstract

    By analyzing event-related changes in induced band power in narrow frequency bands of the human electroencephalograph, the present paper explores a possible functional role of the alpha and theta rhythms during the processing of words and of sentences. The results show a phasic power increase in the theta frequency range, together with a phasic power decrease in the alpha frequency range, following the presentation of words in a sentence. These effects may be related to word processing, either lexical or in relation to sentence context. Most importantly, there is a slow and highly frequency-specific increase in theta power as a sentence unfolds, possibly related to the formation of an episodic memory trace, or to incremental verbal working memory load.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Böcker, K. B. E., & Brunia, C. H. M. (2002). ERD as an index of anticipatory attention? Effects of stimulus degradation. Psychophysiology, 39(1), 16-28. doi:10.1111/1469-8986.3910016.

    Abstract

    Previous research has suggested that the stimulus-preceding negativity (SPN) is largely independent of stimulus modality. In contrast, the scalp topography of the event related desynchronization (ERD) related to the anticipation of stimuli providing knowledge of results (KR) is modality dependent. These findings, combined with functional SPN research, lead to the hypothesis that anticipatory ERD reflects anticipatory attention, whereas the SPN mainly depends on the affective-motivational properties of the anticipated stimulus. To further investigate the prestimulus ERD, and compare this measure with the SPN, 12 participants performed a time-estimation task, and were informed about the quality of their time estimation by an auditory or a visual stimulus providing KR. The KR stimuli could be either intact or degraded. Auditory degraded KR stimuli were less effective than other KR stimuli in guiding subsequent behavior, and were preceded by a larger SPN. There were no effects of degradation on the SPN in the visual modality. Preceding auditory KR stimuli no ERD was present, whereas preceding visual stimuli an occipital ERD was found. However, contrary to expectation, the latter was larger preceding intact than preceding degraded stimuli. It is concluded that the data largely agree with an interpretation of the pre-KR SPN as a reflection of the anticipation of the affective-motivational value of KR stimuli, and of the prestimulus ERD as a perceptual anticipatory attention process.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Van Berkum, J. J. A., & Hagoort, P. (2002). Syntactic processing modulates the θ rhythm of the human EEG. NeuroImage, 17, 1479-1492. doi:10.1006/nimg.2002.1275.

    Abstract

    Changes in oscillatory brain dynamics can be studied by means of induced band power (IBP) analyses, which quantify event-related changes in amplitude of frequency-specific EEG rhythms. Such analyses capture EEG phenomena that are not part of traditional event-related potential measures. The present study investigated whether IBP changes in the δ, θ, and α frequency ranges are sensitive to syntactic violations in sentences. Subjects read sentences that either were correct or contained a syntactic violation. The violations were either grammatical gender agreement violations, where a prenominal adjective was not appropriately inflected for the head noun's gender, or number agreement violations, in which a plural quantifier was combined with a singular head noun. IBP changes of the concurrently measured EEG were computed in five frequency bands of 2-Hz width, individually adjusted on the basis of subjects' α peak, ranging approximately from 2 to 12 Hz. Words constituting a syntactic violation elicited larger increases in θ power than the same words in a correct sentence context, in an interval of 300–500 ms after word onset. Of all the frequency bands studied, this was true for the θ frequency band only. The scalp topography of this effect was different for different violations: following number violations a left-hemispheric dominance was found, whereas gender violations elicited a right-hemisphere dominance of the θ power increase. Possible interpretations of this effect are considered in closing.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2019). Language contact and language borrowing? Compound verb forms in the Old French translation of the Gospel of St. Mark. Belgian Journal of Linguistics, 33, 210-250. doi:10.1075/bjl.00028.bau.

    Abstract

    This study investigates the potential influence of Latin syntax on the development of analytic verb forms in a well-defined and concrete instance of language contact, the Old French translation of a Latin Gospel. The data show that the formation of verb forms in the Old French was remarkably independent from the Latin original. While the Old French text closely follows the narrative of the Latin Gospel, its usage of compound verb forms is not dictated by the source text, as reflected e.g. in the quasi-omnipresence of the relative sequence finite verb + pp, which – with a few exceptions – all trace back to a different structure in the Latin text. Engels (VerenigdeStaten) Another important innovative difference in the Old French is the widespread use of aveir ‘have’ as an auxiliary, unknown in Latin. The article examines in detail the relation between the verbal forms in the two texts, showing that the translation is in line with of grammar. The usage of compound verb forms in the Old French Gospel is therefore autonomous rather than contact stimulated, let alone contact induced. The results challenge Blatt’s (1957) assumption identifying compound verb forms as a shared feature in European languages that should be ascribed to Latin influence.

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  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2002). Variability in word order: Adjectives and comparatives in Latin, Romance, and Germanic. Southwest Journal of Linguistics, 20, 19-50.
  • Beattie, G. W., Cutler, A., & Pearson, M. (1982). Why is Mrs Thatcher interrupted so often? [Letters to Nature]. Nature, 300, 744-747. doi:10.1038/300744a0.

    Abstract

    If a conversation is to proceed smoothly, the participants have to take turns to speak. Studies of conversation have shown that there are signals which speakers give to inform listeners that they are willing to hand over the conversational turn1−4. Some of these signals are part of the text (for example, completion of syntactic segments), some are non-verbal (such as completion of a gesture), but most are carried by the pitch, timing and intensity pattern of the speech; for example, both pitch and loudness tend to drop particularly low at the end of a speaker's turn. When one speaker interrupts another, the two can be said to be disputing who has the turn. Interruptions can occur because one participant tries to dominate or disrupt the conversation. But it could also be the case that mistakes occur in the way these subtle turn-yielding signals are transmitted and received. We demonstrate here that many interruptions in an interview with Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, occur at points where independent judges agree that her turn appears to have finished. It is suggested that she is unconsciously displaying turn-yielding cues at certain inappropriate points. The turn-yielding cues responsible are identified.
  • Bekemeier, N., Brenner, D., Klepp, A., Biermann-Ruben, K., & Indefrey, P. (2019). Electrophysiological correlates of concept type shifts. PLoS One, 14(3): e0212624. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0212624.

    Abstract

    A recent semantic theory of nominal concepts by Löbner [1] posits that–due to their inherent uniqueness and relationality properties–noun concepts can be classified into four concept types (CTs): sortal, individual, relational, functional. For sortal nouns the default determination is indefinite (a stone), for individual nouns it is definite (the sun), for relational and functional nouns it is possessive (his ear, his father). Incongruent determination leads to a concept type shift: his father (functional concept: unique, relational)–a father (sortal concept: non-unique, non-relational). Behavioral studies on CT shifts have demonstrated a CT congruence effect, with congruent determiners triggering faster lexical decision times on the subsequent noun than incongruent ones [2, 3]. The present ERP study investigated electrophysiological correlates of congruent and incongruent determination in German noun phrases, and specifically, whether the CT congruence effect could be indexed by such classic ERP components as N400, LAN or P600. If incongruent determination affects the lexical retrieval or semantic integration of the noun, it should be reflected in the amplitude of the N400 component. If, however, CT congruence is processed by the same neuronal mechanisms that underlie morphosyntactic processing, incongruent determination should trigger LAN or/and P600. These predictions were tested in two ERP studies. In Experiment 1, participants just listened to noun phrases. In Experiment 2, they performed a wellformedness judgment task. The processing of (in)congruent CTs (his sun vs. the sun) was compared to the processing of morphosyntactic and semantic violations in control conditions. Whereas the control conditions elicited classic electrophysiological violation responses (N400, LAN, & P600), CT-incongruences did not. Instead they showed novel concept-type specific response patterns. The absence of the classic ERP components suggests that CT-incongruent determination is not perceived as a violation of the semantic or morphosyntactic structure of the noun phrase.

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  • Belke, E., & Meyer, A. S. (2002). Tracking the time course of multidimensional stimulus discrimination: Analyses of viewing patterns and processing times during "same''-"different'' decisions. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 14(2), 237-266. doi:10.1080/09541440143000050.

    Abstract

    We investigated the time course of conjunctive ''same''-''different'' judgements for visually presented object pairs by means of combined reaction time and on-line eye movement measurements. The analyses of viewing patterns, viewing times, and reaction times showed that participants engaged in a parallel self-terminating search for differences. In addition, the results obtained for objects differing in only one dimension suggest that processing times may depend on the relative codability of the stimulus dimensions. The results are reviewed in a broader framework in view of higher-order processes. We propose that overspecifications of colour, often found in object descriptions, may have an ''early'' visual rather than a ''late'' linguistic origin. In a parallel assessment of the detection materials, participants overspecified the objects' colour substantially more often than their size. We argue that referential overspecifications of colour are largely attributable to mechanisms of visual discrimination.
  • Bentum, M., Ten Bosch, L., Van den Bosch, A., & Ernestus, M. (2019). Do speech registers differ in the predictability of words? International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 24(1), 98-130. doi:10.1075/ijcl.17062.ben.

    Abstract

    Previous research has demonstrated that language use can vary depending on the context of situation. The present paper extends this finding by comparing word predictability differences between 14 speech registers ranging from highly informal conversations to read-aloud books. We trained 14 statistical language models to compute register-specific word predictability and trained a register classifier on the perplexity score vector of the language models. The classifier distinguishes perfectly between samples from all speech registers and this result generalizes to unseen materials. We show that differences in vocabulary and sentence length cannot explain the speech register classifier’s performance. The combined results show that speech registers differ in word predictability.
  • Bergelson*, E., Casillas*, M., Soderstrom, M., Seidl, A., Warlaumont, A. S., & Amatuni, A. (2019). What Do North American Babies Hear? A large-scale cross-corpus analysis. Developmental Science, 22(1): e12724. doi:10.1111/desc.12724.

    Abstract

    - * indicates joint first authorship - Abstract: A range of demographic variables influence how much speech young children hear. However, because studies have used vastly different sampling methods, quantitative comparison of interlocking demographic effects has been nearly impossible, across or within studies. We harnessed a unique collection of existing naturalistic, day-long recordings from 61 homes across four North American cities to examine language input as a function of age, gender, and maternal education. We analyzed adult speech heard by 3- to 20-month-olds who wore audio recorders for an entire day. We annotated speaker gender and speech register (child-directed or adult-directed) for 10,861 utterances from female and male adults in these recordings. Examining age, gender, and maternal education collectively in this ecologically-valid dataset, we find several key results. First, the speaker gender imbalance in the input is striking: children heard 2--3x more speech from females than males. Second, children in higher-maternal-education homes heard more child-directed speech than those in lower-maternal education homes. Finally, our analyses revealed a previously unreported effect: the proportion of child-directed speech in the input increases with age, due to a decrease in adult-directed speech with age. This large-scale analysis is an important step forward in collectively examining demographic variables that influence early development, made possible by pooled, comparable, day-long recordings of children's language environments. The audio recordings, annotations, and annotation software are readily available for re-use and re-analysis by other researchers.

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  • Bertamini, M., Rampone, G., Makin, A. D. J., & Jessop, A. (2019). Symmetry preference in shapes, faces, flowers and landscapes. PeerJ, 7: e7078. doi:10.7717/peerj.7078.

    Abstract

    Most people like symmetry, and symmetry has been extensively used in visual art and architecture. In this study, we compared preference for images of abstract and familiar objects in the original format or when containing perfect bilateral symmetry. We created pairs of images for different categories: male faces, female faces, polygons, smoothed version of the polygons, flowers, and landscapes. This design allows us to compare symmetry preference in different domains. Each observer saw all categories randomly interleaved but saw only one of the two images in a pair. After recording preference, we recorded a rating of how salient the symmetry was for each image, and measured how quickly observers could decide which of the two images in a pair was symmetrical. Results reveal a general preference for symmetry in the case of shapes and faces. For landscapes, natural (no perfect symmetry) images were preferred. Correlations with judgments of saliency were present but generally low, and for landscapes the salience of symmetry was negatively related to preference. However, even within the category where symmetry was not liked (landscapes), the separate analysis of original and modified stimuli showed an interesting pattern: Salience of symmetry was correlated positively (artificial) or negatively (original) with preference, suggesting different effects of symmetry within the same class of stimuli based on context and categorization.

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  • Blasi, D. E., Moran, S., Moisik, S. R., Widmer, P., Dediu, D., & Bickel, B. (2019). Human sound systems are shaped by post-Neolithic changes in bite configuration. Science, 363(6432): eaav3218. doi:10.1126/science.aav3218.

    Abstract

    Linguistic diversity, now and in the past, is widely regarded to be independent of biological changes that took place after the emergence of Homo sapiens. We show converging evidence from paleoanthropology, speech biomechanics, ethnography, and historical linguistics that labiodental sounds (such as “f” and “v”) were innovated after the Neolithic. Changes in diet attributable to food-processing technologies modified the human bite from an edge-to-edge configuration to one that preserves adolescent overbite and overjet into adulthood. This change favored the emergence and maintenance of labiodentals. Our findings suggest that language is shaped not only by the contingencies of its history, but also by culturally induced changes in human biology.

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  • Bocanegra, B. R., Poletiek, F. H., Ftitache, B., & Clark, A. (2019). Intelligent problem-solvers externalize cognitive operations. Nature Human Behaviour, 3, 136-142. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0509-y.

    Abstract

    Humans are nature’s most intelligent and prolific users of external props and aids (such as written texts, slide-rules and software packages). Here we introduce a method for investigating how people make active use of their task environment during problem-solving and apply this approach to the non-verbal Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices test for fluid intelligence. We designed a click-and-drag version of the Raven test in which participants could create different external spatial configurations while solving the puzzles. In our first study, we observed that the click-and-drag test was better than the conventional static test at predicting academic achievement of university students. This pattern of results was partially replicated in a novel sample. Importantly, environment-altering actions were clustered in between periods of apparent inactivity, suggesting that problem-solvers were delicately balancing the execution of internal and external cognitive operations. We observed a systematic relationship between this critical phasic temporal signature and improved test performance. Our approach is widely applicable and offers an opportunity to quantitatively assess a powerful, although understudied, feature of human intelligence: our ability to use external objects, props and aids to solve complex problems.
  • Bode, S., Feuerriegel, D., Bennett, D., & Alday, P. M. (2019). The Decision Decoding ToolBOX (DDTBOX) -- A Multivariate Pattern Analysis Toolbox for Event-Related Potentials. Neuroinformatics, 17(1), 27-42. doi:10.1007/s12021-018-9375-z.

    Abstract

    In recent years, neuroimaging research in cognitive neuroscience has increasingly used multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) to investigate higher cognitive functions. Here we present DDTBOX, an open-source MVPA toolbox for electroencephalography (EEG) data. DDTBOX runs under MATLAB and is well integrated with the EEGLAB/ERPLAB and Fieldtrip toolboxes (Delorme and Makeig 2004; Lopez-Calderon and Luck 2014; Oostenveld et al. 2011). It trains support vector machines (SVMs) on patterns of event-related potential (ERP) amplitude data, following or preceding an event of interest, for classification or regression of experimental variables. These amplitude patterns can be extracted across space/electrodes (spatial decoding), time (temporal decoding), or both (spatiotemporal decoding). DDTBOX can also extract SVM feature weights, generate empirical chance distributions based on shuffled-labels decoding for group-level statistical testing, provide estimates of the prevalence of decodable information in the population, and perform a variety of corrections for multiple comparisons. It also includes plotting functions for single subject and group results. DDTBOX complements conventional analyses of ERP components, as subtle multivariate patterns can be detected that would be overlooked in standard analyses. It further allows for a more explorative search for information when no ERP component is known to be specifically linked to a cognitive process of interest. In summary, DDTBOX is an easy-to-use and open-source toolbox that allows for characterising the time-course of information related to various perceptual and cognitive processes. It can be applied to data from a large number of experimental paradigms and could therefore be a valuable tool for the neuroimaging community.
  • Bohnemeyer, J. (2002). [Review of the book Explorations in linguistic relativity ed. by Martin Pütz and Marjolijn H. Verspoor]. Language in Society, 31(3), 452-456. doi:DOI: 10.1017.S004740502020316502020316.
  • Bosker, H. R., Van Os, M., Does, R., & Van Bergen, G. (2019). Counting 'uhm's: how tracking the distribution of native and non-native disfluencies influences online language comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 106, 189-202. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2019.02.006.

    Abstract

    Disfluencies, like 'uh', have been shown to help listeners anticipate reference to low-frequency words. The associative account of this 'disfluency bias' proposes that listeners learn to associate disfluency with low-frequency referents based on prior exposure to non-arbitrary disfluency distributions (i.e., greater probability of low-frequency words after disfluencies). However, there is limited evidence for listeners actually tracking disfluency distributions online. The present experiments are the first to show that adult listeners, exposed to a typical or more atypical disfluency distribution (i.e., hearing a talker unexpectedly say uh before high-frequency words), flexibly adjust their predictive strategies to the disfluency distribution at hand (e.g., learn to predict high-frequency referents after disfluency). However, when listeners were presented with the same atypical disfluency distribution but produced by a non-native speaker, no adjustment was observed. This suggests pragmatic inferences can modulate distributional learning, revealing the flexibility of, and constraints on, distributional learning in incremental language comprehension.
  • Bowerman, M. (1982). Evaluating competing linguistic models with language acquisition data: Implications of developmental errors with causative verbs. Quaderni di semantica, 3, 5-66.
  • Brehm, L., Taschenberger, L., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Mental representations of partner task cause interference in picture naming. Acta Psychologica, 199: 102888. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2019.102888.

    Abstract

    Interference in picture naming occurs from representing a partner's preparations to speak (Gambi, van de Cavey, & Pickering, 2015). We tested the origins of this interference using a simple non-communicative joint naming task based on Gambi et al. (2015), where response latencies indexed interference from partner task and partner speech content, and eye fixations to partner objects indexed overt attention. Experiment 1 contrasted a partner-present condition with a control partner-absent condition to establish the role of the partner in eliciting interference. For latencies, we observed interference from the partner's task and speech content, with interference increasing due to partner task in the partner-present condition. Eye-tracking measures showed that interference in naming was not due to overt attention to partner stimuli but to broad expectations about likely utterances. Experiment 2 examined whether an equivalent non-verbal task also elicited interference, as predicted from a language as joint action framework. We replicated the finding of interference due to partner task and again found no relationship between overt attention and interference. These results support Gambi et al. (2015). Individuals co-represent a partner's task while speaking, and doing so does not require overt attention to partner stimuli.
  • Brehm, L., Jackson, C. N., & Miller, K. L. (2019). Speaker-specific processing of anomalous utterances. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(4), 764-778. doi:10.1177/1747021818765547.

    Abstract

    Existing work shows that readers often interpret grammatical errors (e.g., The key to the cabinets *were shiny) and sentence-level blends (“without-blend”: Claudia left without her headphones *off) in a non-literal fashion, inferring that a more frequent or more canonical utterance was intended instead. This work examines how interlocutor identity affects the processing and interpretation of anomalous sentences. We presented anomalies in the context of “emails” attributed to various writers in a self-paced reading paradigm and used comprehension questions to probe how sentence interpretation changed based upon properties of the item and properties of the “speaker.” Experiment 1 compared standardised American English speakers to L2 English speakers; Experiment 2 compared the same standardised English speakers to speakers of a non-Standardised American English dialect. Agreement errors and without-blends both led to more non-literal responses than comparable canonical items. For agreement errors, more non-literal interpretations also occurred when sentences were attributed to speakers of Standardised American English than either non-Standardised group. These data suggest that understanding sentences relies on expectations and heuristics about which utterances are likely. These are based upon experience with language, with speaker-specific differences, and upon more general cognitive biases.

    Additional information

    Supplementary material
  • Brennan, J. R., & Martin, A. E. (2019). Phase synchronization varies systematically with linguistic structure composition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 375(1791): 20190305. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0305.

    Abstract

    Computation in neuronal assemblies is putatively reflected in the excitatory and inhibitory cycles of activation distributed throughout the brain. In speech and language processing, coordination of these cycles resulting in phase synchronization has been argued to reflect the integration of information on different timescales (e.g. segmenting acoustics signals to phonemic and syllabic representations; (Giraud and Poeppel 2012 Nat. Neurosci.15, 511 (doi:10.1038/nn.3063)). A natural extension of this claim is that phase synchronization functions similarly to support the inference of more abstract higher-level linguistic structures (Martin 2016 Front. Psychol.7, 120; Martin and Doumas 2017 PLoS Biol. 15, e2000663 (doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2000663); Martin and Doumas. 2019 Curr. Opin. Behav. Sci.29, 77–83 (doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.04.008)). Hale et al. (Hale et al. 2018 Finding syntax in human encephalography with beam search. arXiv 1806.04127 (http://arxiv.org/abs/1806.04127)) showed that syntactically driven parsing decisions predict electroencephalography (EEG) responses in the time domain; here we ask whether phase synchronization in the form of either inter-trial phrase coherence or cross-frequency coupling (CFC) between high-frequency (i.e. gamma) bursts and lower-frequency carrier signals (i.e. delta, theta), changes as the linguistic structures of compositional meaning (viz., bracket completions, as denoted by the onset of words that complete phrases) accrue. We use a naturalistic story-listening EEG dataset from Hale et al. to assess the relationship between linguistic structure and phase alignment. We observe increased phase synchronization as a function of phrase counts in the delta, theta, and gamma bands, especially for function words. A more complex pattern emerged for CFC as phrase count changed, possibly related to the lack of a one-to-one mapping between ‘size’ of linguistic structure and frequency band—an assumption that is tacit in recent frameworks. These results emphasize the important role that phase synchronization, desynchronization, and thus, inhibition, play in the construction of compositional meaning by distributed neural networks in the brain.
  • Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1992). 'Left' and 'right' in Tenejapa: Investigating a linguistic and conceptual gap. Zeitschrift für Phonetik, Sprachwissenschaft und Kommunikationsforschung, 45(6), 590-611.

    Abstract

    From the perspective of a Kantian belief in the fundamental human tendency to cleave space along the three planes of the human body, Tenejapan Tzeltal exhibits a linguistic gap: there are no linguistic expressions that designate regions (as in English to my left) or describe the visual field (as in to the left of the tree) on the basis of a plane bisecting the body into a left and right side. Tenejapans have expressions for left and right hands (xin k'ab and wa'el k'ab), but these are basically body-part terms, they are not generalized to form a division of space. This paper describes the results of various elicited producton tasks in which concepts of left and right would provide a simple solution, showing that Tenejapan consultants use other notions even when the relevant linguistic distinctions could be made in Tzeltal (e.g. describing the position of one's limbs, or describing rotation of one's body). Instead of using the left-hand/right-hand distinction to construct a division of space, Tenejapans utilize a number of other systems: (i) an absolute, 'cardinal direction' system, supplemented by reference to other geographic or landmark directions, (ii) a generative segmentation of objects and places into analogic body-parts or other kinds of parts, and (iii) a rich system of positional adjectives to describe the exact disposition of things. These systems work conjointly to specify locations with precision and elegance. The overall system is not primarily egocentric, and it makes no essential reference to planes through the human body.
  • Burra, N., Hervais-Adelman, A., Celeghin, A., de Gelder, B., & Pegna, A. J. (2019). Affective blindsight relies on low spatial frequencies. Neuropsychologia, 128, 44-49. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.10.009.

    Abstract

    The human brain can process facial expressions of emotions rapidly and without awareness. Several studies in patients with damage to their primary visual cortices have shown that they may be able to guess the emotional expression on a face despite their cortical blindness. This non-conscious processing, called affective blindsight, may arise through an intact subcortical visual route that leads from the superior colliculus to the pulvinar, and thence to the amygdala. This pathway is thought to process the crude visual information conveyed by the low spatial frequencies of the stimuli. In order to investigate whether this is the case, we studied a patient (TN) with bilateral cortical blindness and affective blindsight. An fMRI paradigm was performed in which fearful and neutral expressions were presented using faces that were either unfiltered, or filtered to remove high or low spatial frequencies. Unfiltered fearful faces produced right amygdala activation although the patient was unaware of the presence of the stimuli. More importantly, the low spatial frequency components of fearful faces continued to produce right amygdala activity while the high spatial frequency components did not. Our findings thus confirm that the visual information present in the low spatial frequencies is sufficient to produce affective blindsight, further suggesting that its existence could rely on the subcortical colliculo-pulvino-amygdalar pathway.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Van der Haegen, L., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Kavaklioglu, T., Badillo, S., Chavent, M., Saracco, J., Brysbaert, M., Fisher, S. E., Mazoyer, B., & Francks, C. (2019). Genome sequencing for rightward hemispheric language dominance. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 18(5): e12572. doi:10.1111/gbb.12572.

    Abstract

    Most people have left‐hemisphere dominance for various aspects of language processing, but only roughly 1% of the adult population has atypically reversed, rightward hemispheric language dominance (RHLD). The genetic‐developmental program that underlies leftward language laterality is unknown, as are the causes of atypical variation. We performed an exploratory whole‐genome‐sequencing study, with the hypothesis that strongly penetrant, rare genetic mutations might sometimes be involved in RHLD. This was by analogy with situs inversus of the visceral organs (left‐right mirror reversal of the heart, lungs and so on), which is sometimes due to monogenic mutations. The genomes of 33 subjects with RHLD were sequenced and analyzed with reference to large population‐genetic data sets, as well as 34 subjects (14 left‐handed) with typical language laterality. The sample was powered to detect rare, highly penetrant, monogenic effects if they would be present in at least 10 of the 33 RHLD cases and no controls, but no individual genes had mutations in more than five RHLD cases while being un‐mutated in controls. A hypothesis derived from invertebrate mechanisms of left‐right axis formation led to the detection of an increased mutation load, in RHLD subjects, within genes involved with the actin cytoskeleton. The latter finding offers a first, tentative insight into molecular genetic influences on hemispheric language dominance.

    Additional information

    gbb12572-sup-0001-AppendixS1.docx
  • Casillas, M., & Cristia, A. (2019). A step-by-step guide to collecting and analyzing long-format speech environment (LFSE) recordings. Collabra, 5(1): 24. doi:10.1525/collabra.209.

    Abstract

    Recent years have seen rapid technological development of devices that can record communicative behavior as participants go about daily life. This paper is intended as an end-to-end methodological guidebook for potential users of these technologies, including researchers who want to study children’s or adults’ communicative behavior in everyday contexts. We explain how long-format speech environment (LFSE) recordings provide a unique view on language use and how they can be used to complement other measures at the individual and group level. We aim to help potential users of these technologies make informed decisions regarding research design, hardware, software, and archiving. We also provide information regarding ethics and implementation, issues that are difficult to navigate for those new to this technology, and on which little or no resources are available. This guidebook offers a concise summary of information for new users and points to sources of more detailed information for more advanced users. Links to discussion groups and community-augmented databases are also provided to help readers stay up-to-date on the latest developments.
  • Casillas, M., Rafiee, A., & Majid, A. (2019). Iranian herbalists, but not cooks, are better at naming odors than laypeople. Cognitive Science, 43(6): e12763. doi:10.1111/cogs.12763.

    Abstract

    Odor naming is enhanced in communities where communication about odors is a central part of daily life (e.g., wine experts, flavorists, and some hunter‐gatherer groups). In this study, we investigated how expert knowledge and daily experience affect the ability to name odors in a group of experts that has not previously been investigated in this context—Iranian herbalists; also called attars—as well as cooks and laypeople. We assessed naming accuracy and consistency for 16 herb and spice odors, collected judgments of odor perception, and evaluated participants' odor meta‐awareness. Participants' responses were overall more consistent and accurate for more frequent and familiar odors. Moreover, attars were more accurate than both cooks and laypeople at naming odors, although cooks did not perform significantly better than laypeople. Attars' perceptual ratings of odors and their overall odor meta‐awareness suggest they are also more attuned to odors than the other two groups. To conclude, Iranian attars—but not cooks—are better odor namers than laypeople. They also have greater meta‐awareness and differential perceptual responses to odors. These findings further highlight the critical role that expertise and type of experience have on olfactory functions.

    Additional information

    Supplementary Materials
  • Castells-Nobau, A., Eidhof, I., Fenckova, M., Brenman-Suttner, D. B., Scheffer-de Gooyert, J. M., Christine, S., Schellevis, R. L., Van der Laan, K., Quentin, C., Van Ninhuijs, L., Hofmann, F., Ejsmont, R., Fisher, S. E., Kramer, J. M., Sigrist, S. J., Simon, A. F., & Schenck, A. (2019). Conserved regulation of neurodevelopmental processes and behavior by FoxP in Drosophila. PLoS One, 14(2): e211652. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0211652.

    Abstract

    FOXP proteins form a subfamily of evolutionarily conserved transcription factors involved in the development and functioning of several tissues, including the central nervous system. In humans, mutations in FOXP1 and FOXP2 have been implicated in cognitive deficits including intellectual disability and speech disorders. Drosophila exhibits a single ortholog, called FoxP, but due to a lack of characterized mutants, our understanding of the gene remains poor. Here we show that the dimerization property required for mammalian FOXP function is conserved in Drosophila. In flies, FoxP is enriched in the adult brain, showing strong expression in ~1000 neurons of cholinergic, glutamatergic and GABAergic nature. We generate Drosophila loss-of-function mutants and UAS-FoxP transgenic lines for ectopic expression, and use them to characterize FoxP function in the nervous system. At the cellular level, we demonstrate that Drosophila FoxP is required in larvae for synaptic morphogenesis at axonal terminals of the neuromuscular junction and for dendrite development of dorsal multidendritic sensory neurons. In the developing brain, we find that FoxP plays important roles in α-lobe mushroom body formation. Finally, at a behavioral level, we show that Drosophila FoxP is important for locomotion, habituation learning and social space behavior of adult flies. Our work shows that Drosophila FoxP is important for regulating several neurodevelopmental processes and behaviors that are related to human disease or vertebrate disease model phenotypes. This suggests a high degree of functional conservation with vertebrate FOXP orthologues and established flies as a model system for understanding FOXP related pathologies.
  • Cattani, A., Floccia, C., Kidd, E., Pettenati, P., Onofrio, D., & Volterra, V. (2019). Gestures and words in naming: Evidence from crosslinguistic and crosscultural comparison. Language Learning, 69(3), 709-746. doi:10.1111/lang.12346.

    Abstract

    We report on an analysis of spontaneous gesture production in 2‐year‐old children who come from three countries (Italy, United Kingdom, Australia) and who speak two languages (Italian, English), in an attempt to tease apart the influence of language and culture when comparing children from different cultural and linguistic environments. Eighty‐seven monolingual children aged 24–30 months completed an experimental task measuring their comprehension and production of nouns and predicates. The Italian children scored significantly higher than the other groups on all lexical measures. With regard to gestures, British children produced significantly fewer pointing and speech combinations compared to Italian and Australian children, who did not differ from each other. In contrast, Italian children produced significantly more representational gestures than the other two groups. We conclude that spoken language development is primarily influenced by the input language over gesture production, whereas the combination of cultural and language environments affects gesture production.
  • Chang, Y.-N., Monaghan, P., & Welbourne, S. (2019). A computational model of reading across development: Effects of literacy onset on language processing. Journal of Memory and Language, 108: 104025. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2019.05.003.

    Abstract

    Cognitive development is shaped by interactions between cognitive architecture and environmental experiences of the growing brain. We examined the extent to which this interaction during development could be observed in language processing. We focused on age of acquisition (AoA) effects in reading, where early-learned words tend to be processed more quickly and accurately relative to later-learned words. We implemented a computational model including representations of print, sound and meaning of words, with training based on children’s gradual exposure to language. The model produced AoA effects in reading and lexical decision, replicating the larger effects of AoA when semantic representations are involved. Further, the model predicted that AoA would relate to differing use of the reading system, with words acquired before versus after literacy onset with distinctive accessing of meaning and sound representations. An analysis of behaviour from the English Lexicon project was consistent with the predictions: Words acquired before literacy are more likely to access meaning via sound, showing a suppressed AoA effect, whereas words acquired after literacy rely more on direct print to meaning mappings, showing an exaggerated AoA effect. The reading system reveals vestigial traces of acquisition reflected in differing use of word representations during reading.
  • Chang, Y.-N., & Monaghan, P. (2019). Quantity and diversity of preliteracy language exposure both affect literacy development: Evidence from a computational model of reading. Scientific Studies of Reading, 23(3), 235-253. doi:10.1080/10888438.2018.1529177.

    Abstract

    Diversity of vocabulary knowledge and quantity of language exposure prior to literacy are key predictors of reading development. However, diversity and quantity of exposure are difficult to distinguish in behavioural studies, and so the causal relations with literacy are not well known. We tested these relations by training a connectionist triangle model of reading that learned to map between semantic; phonological; and, later, orthographic forms of words. The model first learned to map between phonology and semantics, where we manipulated the quantity and diversity of this preliterate language experience. Then the model learned to read. Both diversity and quantity of exposure had unique effects on reading performance, with larger effects for written word comprehension than for reading fluency. The results further showed that quantity of preliteracy language exposure was beneficial only when this was to a varied vocabulary and could be an impediment when exposed to a limited vocabulary.
  • Cho, T., Jun, S.-A., & Ladefoged, P. (2002). Acoustic and aerodynamic correlates of Korean stops and fricatives. Journal of Phonetics, 30(2), 193-228. doi:10.1006/jpho.2001.0153.

    Abstract

    This study examines acoustic and aerodynamic characteristics of consonants in standard Korean and in Cheju, an endangered Korean language. The focus is on the well-known three-way distinction among voiceless stops (i.e., lenis, fortis, aspirated) and the two-way distinction between the voiceless fricatives /s/ and /s*/. While such a typologically unusual contrast among voiceless stops has long drawn the attention of phoneticians and phonologists, there is no single work in the literature that discusses a body of data representing a relatively large number of speakers. This study reports a variety of acoustic and aerodynamic measures obtained from 12 Korean speakers (four speakers of Seoul Korean and eight speakers of Cheju). Results show that, in addition to findings similar to those reported by others, there are three crucial points worth noting. Firstly, lenis, fortis, and aspirated stops are systematically differentiated from each other by the voice quality of the following vowel. Secondly, these stops are also differentiated by aerodynamic mechanisms. The aspirated and fortis stops are similar in supralaryngeal articulation, but employ a different relation between intraoral pressure and flow. Thirdly, our study suggests that the fricative /s/ is better categorized as “lenis” rather than “aspirated”. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of Korean data for theories of the voicing contrast and their phonological representations.
  • Comasco, E., Schijven, D., de Maeyer, H., Vrettou, M., Nylander, I., Sundström-Poromaa, I., & Olivier, J. D. A. (2019). Constitutive serotonin transporter reduction resembles maternal separation with regard to stress-related gene expression. ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 10, 3132-3142. doi:10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00595.

    Abstract

    Interactive effects between allelic variants of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) promoter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) and stressors on depression symptoms have been documented, as well as questioned, by meta-analyses. Translational models of constitutive 5-htt reduction and experimentally controlled stressors often led to inconsistent behavioral and molecular findings and often did not include females. The present study sought to investigate the effect of 5-htt genotype, maternal separation, and sex on the expression of stress-related candidate genes in the rat hippocampus and frontal cortex. The mRNA expression levels of Avp, Pomc, Crh, Crhbp, Crhr1, Bdnf, Ntrk2, Maoa, Maob, and Comt were assessed in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of 5-htt ± and 5-htt +/+ male and female adult rats exposed, or not, to daily maternal separation for 180 min during the first 2 postnatal weeks. Gene- and brain region-dependent, but sex-independent, interactions between 5-htt genotype and maternal separation were found. Gene expression levels were higher in 5-htt +/+ rats not exposed to maternal separation compared with the other experimental groups. Maternal separation and 5-htt +/− genotype did not yield additive effects on gene expression. Correlative relationships, mainly positive, were observed within, but not across, brain regions in all groups except in non-maternally separated 5-htt +/+ rats. Gene expression patterns in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of rats exposed to maternal separation resembled the ones observed in rats with reduced 5-htt expression regardless of sex. These results suggest that floor effects of 5-htt reduction and maternal separation might explain inconsistent findings in humans and rodents
  • Cooper, N., Cutler, A., & Wales, R. (2002). Constraints of lexical stress on lexical access in English: Evidence from native and non-native listeners. Language and Speech, 45(3), 207-228.

    Abstract

    Four cross-modal priming experiments and two forced-choice identification experiments investigated the use of suprasegmental cues to stress in the recognition of spoken English words, by native (English-speaking) and non- native (Dutch) listeners. Previous results had indicated that suprasegmental information was exploited in lexical access by Dutch but not by English listeners. For both listener groups, recognition of visually presented target words was faster, in comparison to a control condition, after stress-matching spoken primes, either monosyllabic (mus- from MUsic /muSEum) or bisyl labic (admi- from ADmiral/admiRAtion). For native listeners, the effect of stress-mismatching bisyllabic primes was not different from that of control primes, but mismatching monosyllabic primes produced partial facilitation. For non-native listeners, both bisyllabic and monosyllabic stress-mismatching primes produced partial facilitation. Native English listeners thus can exploit suprasegmental information in spoken-word recognition, but information from two syllables is used more effectively than information from one syllable. Dutch listeners are less proficient at using suprasegmental information in English than in their native language, but, as in their native language, use mono- and bisyllabic information to an equal extent. In forced-choice identification, Dutch listeners outperformed native listeners at correctly assigning a monosyllabic fragment (e.g., mus-) to one of two words differing in stress.
  • Corps, R. E., Pickering, M. J., & Gambi, C. (2019). Predicting turn-ends in discourse context. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(5), 615-627. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1552008.

    Abstract

    Research suggests that during conversation, interlocutors coordinate their utterances by predicting the speaker’s forthcoming utterance and its end. In two experiments, we used a button-pressing task, in which participants pressed a button when they thought a speaker reached the end of their utterance, to investigate what role the wider discourse plays in turn-end prediction. Participants heard two-utterance sequences, in which the content of the second utterance was or was not constrained by the content of the first. In both experiments, participants responded earlier, but not more precisely, when the first utterance was constraining rather than unconstraining. Response times and precision were unaffected by whether they listened to dialogues or monologues (Experiment 1) and by whether they read the first utterance out loud or silently (Experiment 2), providing no indication that activation of production mechanisms facilitates prediction. We suggest that content predictions aid comprehension but not turn-end prediction.

    Additional information

    plcp_a_1552008_sm1646.pdf
  • Croijmans, I., Speed, L., Arshamian, A., & Majid, A. (2019). Measuring the multisensory imagery of wine: The Vividness of Wine Imagery Questionnaire. Multisensory Research, 32(3), 179-195. doi:10.1163/22134808-20191340.

    Abstract

    When we imagine objects or events, we often engage in multisensory mental imagery. Yet, investigations of mental imagery have typically focused on only one sensory modality — vision. One reason for this is that the most common tool for the measurement of imagery, the questionnaire, has been restricted to unimodal ratings of the object. We present a new mental imagery questionnaire that measures multisensory imagery. Specifically, the newly developed Vividness of Wine Imagery Questionnaire (VWIQ) measures mental imagery of wine in the visual, olfactory, and gustatory modalities. Wine is an ideal domain to explore multisensory imagery because wine drinking is a multisensory experience, it involves the neglected chemical senses (smell and taste), and provides the opportunity to explore the effect of experience and expertise on imagery (from wine novices to experts). The VWIQ questionnaire showed high internal consistency and reliability, and correlated with other validated measures of imagery. Overall, the VWIQ may serve as a useful tool to explore mental imagery for researchers, as well as individuals in the wine industry during sommelier training and evaluation of wine professionals.
  • Cuskley, C., Dingemanse, M., Kirby, S., & Van Leeuwen, T. M. (2019). Cross-modal associations and synesthesia: Categorical perception and structure in vowel–color mappings in a large online sample. Behavior Research Methods, 51, 1651-1675. doi:10.3758/s13428-019-01203-7.

    Abstract

    We report associations between vowel sounds, graphemes, and colours collected online from over 1000 Dutch speakers. We provide open materials including a Python implementation of the structure measure, and code for a single page web application to run simple cross-modal tasks. We also provide a full dataset of colour-vowel associations from 1164 participants, including over 200 synaesthetes identified using consistency measures. Our analysis reveals salient patterns in cross-modal associations, and introduces a novel measure of isomorphism in cross-modal mappings. We find that while acoustic features of vowels significantly predict certain mappings (replicating prior work), both vowel phoneme category and grapheme category are even better predictors of colour choice. Phoneme category is the best predictor of colour choice overall, pointing to the importance of phonological representations in addition to acoustic cues. Generally, high/front vowels are lighter, more green, and more yellow than low/back vowels. Synaesthetes respond more strongly on some dimensions, choosing lighter and more yellow colours for high and mid front vowels than non-synaesthetes. We also present a novel measure of cross-modal mappings adapted from ecology, which uses a simulated distribution of mappings to measure the extent to which participants' actual mappings are structured isomorphically across modalities. Synaesthetes have mappings that tend to be more structured than non-synaesthetes, and more consistent colour choices across trials correlate with higher structure scores. Nevertheless, the large majority (~70%) of participants produce structured mappings, indicating that the capacity to make isomorphically structured mappings across distinct modalities is shared to a large extent, even if the exact nature of mappings varies across individuals. Overall, this novel structure measure suggests a distribution of structured cross-modal association in the population, with synaesthetes on one extreme and participants with unstructured associations on the other.
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Cross-linguistic differences in speech segmentation. MRC News, 56, 8-9.
  • Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (1992). Detection of vowels and consonants with minimal acoustic variation. Speech Communication, 11, 101-108. doi:10.1016/0167-6393(92)90004-Q.

    Abstract

    Previous research has shown that, in a phoneme detection task, vowels produce longer reaction times than consonants, suggesting that they are harder to perceive. One possible explanation for this difference is based upon their respective acoustic/articulatory characteristics. Another way of accounting for the findings would be to relate them to the differential functioning of vowels and consonants in the syllabic structure of words. In this experiment, we examined the second possibility. Targets were two pairs of phonemes, each containing a vowel and a consonant with similar phonetic characteristics. Subjects heard lists of English words had to press a response key upon detecting the occurrence of a pre-specified target. This time, the phonemes which functioned as vowels in syllabic structure yielded shorter reaction times than those which functioned as consonants. This rules out an explanation for response time difference between vowels and consonants in terms of function in syllable structure. Instead, we propose that consonantal and vocalic segments differ with respect to variability of tokens, both in the acoustic realisation of targets and in the representation of targets by listeners.
  • Cutler, A. (2002). Native listeners. European Review, 10(1), 27-41. doi:10.1017/S1062798702000030.

    Abstract

    Becoming a native listener is the necessary precursor to becoming a native speaker. Babies in the first year of life undertake a remarkable amount of work; by the time they begin to speak, they have perceptually mastered the phonological repertoire and phoneme co-occurrence probabilities of the native language, and they can locate familiar word-forms in novel continuous-speech contexts. The skills acquired at this early stage form a necessary part of adult listening. However, the same native listening skills also underlie problems in listening to a late-acquired non-native language, accounting for why in such a case listening (an innate ability) is sometimes paradoxically more difficult than, for instance, reading (a learned ability).
  • Cutler, A. (1992). Proceedings with confidence. New Scientist, (1825), 54.
  • Cutler, A., & Otake, T. (2002). Rhythmic categories in spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 46(2), 296-322. doi:10.1006/jmla.2001.2814.

    Abstract

    Rhythmic categories such as morae in Japanese or stress units in English play a role in the perception of spoken language. We examined this role in Japanese, since recent evidence suggests that morae may intervene as structural units in word recognition. First, we found that traditional puns more often substituted part of a mora than a whole mora. Second, when listeners reconstructed distorted words, e.g. panorama from panozema, responses were faster and more accurate when only a phoneme was distorted (panozama, panorema) than when a whole CV mora was distorted (panozema). Third, lexical decisions on the same nonwords were better predicted by duration and number of phonemes from nonword uniqueness point to word end than by number of morae. Our results indicate no role for morae in early spoken-word processing; we propose that rhythmic categories constrain not initial lexical activation but subsequent processes of speech segmentation and selection among word candidates.
  • Cutler, A., & Butterfield, S. (1992). Rhythmic cues to speech segmentation: Evidence from juncture misperception. Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 218-236. doi:10.1016/0749-596X(92)90012-M.

    Abstract

    Segmentation of continuous speech into its component words is a nontrivial task for listeners. Previous work has suggested that listeners develop heuristic segmentation procedures based on experience with the structure of their language; for English, the heuristic is that strong syllables (containing full vowels) are most likely to be the initial syllables of lexical words, whereas weak syllables (containing central, or reduced, vowels) are nonword-initial, or, if word-initial, are grammatical words. This hypothesis is here tested against natural and laboratory-induced missegmentations of continuous speech. Precisely the expected pattern is found: listeners erroneously insert boundaries before strong syllables but delete them before weak syllables; boundaries inserted before strong syllables produce lexical words, while boundaries inserted before weak syllables produce grammatical words.
  • Cutler, A. (1982). Idioms: the older the colder. Linguistic Inquiry, 13(2), 317-320. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4178278?origin=JSTOR-pdf.
  • Cutler, A., & Fay, D. A. (1982). One mental lexicon, phonologically arranged: Comments on Hurford’s comments. Linguistic Inquiry, 13, 107-113. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4178262.
  • Cutler, A., Mehler, J., Norris, D., & Segui, J. (1992). The monolingual nature of speech segmentation by bilinguals. Cognitive Psychology, 24, 381-410.

    Abstract

    Monolingual French speakers employ a syllable-based procedure in speech segmentation; monolingual English speakers use a stress-based segmentation procedure and do not use the syllable-based procedure. In the present study French-English bilinguals participated in segmentation experiments with English and French materials. Their results as a group did not simply mimic the performance of English monolinguals with English language materials and of French monolinguals with French language materials. Instead, the bilinguals formed two groups, defined by forced choice of a dominant language. Only the French-dominant group showed syllabic segmentation and only with French language materials. The English-dominant group showed no syllabic segmentation in either language. However, the English-dominant group showed stress-based segmentation with English language materials; the French-dominant group did not. We argue that rhythmically based segmentation procedures are mutually exclusive, as a consequence of which speech segmentation by bilinguals is, in one respect at least, functionally monolingual.
  • Cutler, A., Demuth, K., & McQueen, J. M. (2002). Universality versus language-specificity in listening to running speech. Psychological Science, 13(3), 258-262. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00447.

    Abstract

    Recognizing spoken language involves automatic activation of multiple candidate words. The process of selection between candidates is made more efficient by inhibition of embedded words (like egg in beg) that leave a portion of the input stranded (here, b). Results from European languages suggest that this inhibition occurs when consonants are stranded but not when syllables are stranded. The reason why leftover syllables do not lead to inhibition could be that in principle they might themselves be words; in European languages, a syllable can be a word. In Sesotho (a Bantu language), however, a single syllable cannot be a word. We report that in Sesotho, word recognition is inhibited by stranded consonants, but stranded monosyllables produce no more difficulty than stranded bisyllables (which could be Sesotho words). This finding suggests that the viability constraint which inhibits spurious embedded word candidates is not sensitive to language-specific word structure, but is universal.
  • Dahan, D., Tanenhaus, M. K., & Chambers, C. G. (2002). Accent and reference resolution in spoken-language comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 47(2), 292-314. doi:10.1016/S0749-596X(02)00001-3.

    Abstract

    The role of accent in reference resolution was investigated by monitoring eye fixations to lexical competitors (e.g., candy and candle ) as participants followed prerecorded instructions to move objects above or below fixed geometric shapes using a computer mouse. In Experiment 1, the first utterance instructed participants to move one object above or below a shape (e.g., “Put the candle/candy below the triangle”) and the second utterance contained an accented or deaccented definite noun phrase which referred to the same object or introduced a new entity (e.g., “Now put the CANDLE above the square” vs. “Now put the candle ABOVE THE SQUARE”). Fixations to the competitor (e.g., candy ) demonstrated a bias to interpret deaccented nouns as anaphoric and accented nouns as nonanaphoric. Experiment 2 used only accented nouns in the second instruction, varying whether the referent of this second instruction was the Theme of the first instruction (e.g., “Put the candle below the triangle”) or the Goal of the first instruction (e.g., “Put the necklace below the candle”). Participants preferred to interpret accented noun phrases as referring to a previously mentioned nonfocused entity (the Goal) rather than as introducing a new unmentioned entity.
  • Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. R. (2019). Pushes and pulls from below: Anatomical variation, articulation and sound change. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 4(1): 7. doi:10.5334/gjgl.646.

    Abstract

    This paper argues that inter-individual and inter-group variation in language acquisition, perception, processing and production, rooted in our biology, may play a largely neglected role in sound change. We begin by discussing the patterning of these differences, highlighting those related to vocal tract anatomy with a foundation in genetics and development. We use our ArtiVarK database, a large multi-ethnic sample comprising 3D intraoral optical scans, as well as structural, static and real-time MRI scans of vocal tract anatomy and speech articulation, to quantify the articulatory strategies used to produce the North American English /r/ and to statistically show that anatomical factors seem to influence these articulatory strategies. Building on work showing that these alternative articulatory strategies may have indirect coarticulatory effects, we propose two models for how biases due to variation in vocal tract anatomy may affect sound change. The first involves direct overt acoustic effects of such biases that are then reinterpreted by the hearers, while the second is based on indirect coarticulatory phenomena generated by acoustically covert biases that produce overt “at-a-distance” acoustic effects. This view implies that speaker communities might be “poised” for change because they always contain pools of “standing variation” of such biased speakers, and when factors such as the frequency of the biased speakers in the community, their positions in the communicative network or the topology of the network itself change, sound change may rapidly follow as a self-reinforcing network-level phenomenon, akin to a phase transition. Thus, inter-speaker variation in structured and dynamic communicative networks may couple the initiation and actuation of sound change.
  • Dediu, D., Janssen, R., & Moisik, S. R. (2019). Weak biases emerging from vocal tract anatomy shape the repeated transmission of vowels. Nature Human Behaviour, 3, 1107-1115. doi:10.1038/s41562-019-0663-x.

    Abstract

    Linguistic diversity is affected by multiple factors, but it is usually assumed that variation in the anatomy of our speech organs plays no explanatory role. Here we use realistic computer models of the human speech organs to test whether inter-individual and inter-group variation in the shape of the hard palate (the bony roof of the mouth) affects acoustics of speech sounds. Based on 107 midsagittal MRI scans of the hard palate of human participants, we modelled with high accuracy the articulation of a set of five cross-linguistically representative vowels by agents learning to produce speech sounds. We found that different hard palate shapes result in subtle differences in the acoustics and articulatory strategies of the produced vowels, and that these individual-level speech idiosyncrasies are amplified by the repeated transmission of language across generations. Therefore, we suggest that, besides culture and environment, quantitative biological variation can be amplified, also influencing language.
  • Demontis, D., Walters, R. K., Martin, J., Mattheisen, M., Als, T. D., Agerbo, E., Baldursson, G., Belliveau, R., Bybjerg-Grauholm, J., Bækvad-Hansen, M., Cerrato, F., Chambert, K., Churchhouse, C., Dumont, A., Eriksson, N., Gandal, M., Goldstein, J. I., Grasby, K. L., Grove, J., Gudmundsson, O. O. and 61 moreDemontis, D., Walters, R. K., Martin, J., Mattheisen, M., Als, T. D., Agerbo, E., Baldursson, G., Belliveau, R., Bybjerg-Grauholm, J., Bækvad-Hansen, M., Cerrato, F., Chambert, K., Churchhouse, C., Dumont, A., Eriksson, N., Gandal, M., Goldstein, J. I., Grasby, K. L., Grove, J., Gudmundsson, O. O., Hansen, C. S., Hauberg, M. E., Hollegaard, M. V., Howrigan, D. P., Huang, H., Maller, J. B., Martin, A. R., Martin, N. G., Moran, J., Pallesen, J., Palmer, D. S., Pedersen, C. B., Pedersen, M. G., Poterba, T., Poulsen, J. B., Ripke, S., Robinson, E. B., Satterstrom, F. K., Stefansson, H., Stevens, C., Turley, P., Walters, G. B., Won, H., Wright, M. J., ADHD Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC), EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) Consortium, 23andme Research Team, Andreassen, O. A., Asherson, P., Burton, C. L., Boomsma, D. I., Cormand, B., Dalsgaard, S., Franke, B., Gelernter, J., Geschwind, D., Hakonarson, H., Haavik, J., Kranzler, H. R., Kuntsi, J., Langley, K., Lesch, K.-P., Middeldorp, C., Reif, A., Rohde, L. A., Roussos, P., Schachar, R., Sklar, P., Sonuga-Barke, E. J. S., Sullivan, P. F., Thapar, A., Tung, J. Y., Waldman, I. D., Medland, S. E., Stefansson, K., Nordentoft, M., Hougaard, D. M., Werge, T., Mors, O., Mortensen, P. B., Daly, M. J., Faraone, S. V., Børglum, A. D., & Neale, B. (2019). Discovery of the first genome-wide significant risk loci for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Nature Genetics, 51, 63-75. doi:10.1038/s41588-018-0269-7.

    Abstract

    Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly heritable childhood behavioral disorder affecting 5% of children and 2.5% of adults. Common genetic variants contribute substantially to ADHD susceptibility, but no variants have been robustly associated with ADHD. We report a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 20,183 individuals diagnosed with ADHD and 35,191 controls that identifies variants surpassing genome-wide significance in 12 independent loci, finding important new information about the underlying biology of ADHD. Associations are enriched in evolutionarily constrained genomic regions and loss-of-function intolerant genes and around brain-expressed regulatory marks. Analyses of three replication studies: a cohort of individuals diagnosed with ADHD, a self-reported ADHD sample and a meta-analysis of quantitative measures of ADHD symptoms in the population, support these findings while highlighting study-specific differences on genetic overlap with educational attainment. Strong concordance with GWAS of quantitative population measures of ADHD symptoms supports that clinical diagnosis of ADHD is an extreme expression of continuous heritable traits.
  • Den Os, E., & Boves, L. (2002). BabelWeb project develops multilingual guidelines. Multilingual Computing and Technologies, 13(1), 33-36.

    Abstract

    European cooperative effort seeks best practices architecture and procedures for international sites
  • Dimroth, C., & Lasser, I. (Eds.). (2002). Finite options: How L1 and L2 learners cope with the acquisition of finiteness [Special Issue]. Linguistics, 40(4).
  • Dimroth, C., & Lasser, I. (2002). Finite options: How L1 and L2 learners cope with the acquisition of finiteness. Linguistics, 40(4), 647-651. doi:10.1515/ling.2002.027.
  • Dimroth, C. (2002). Topics, assertions and additive words: How L2 learners get from information structure to target-language syntax. Linguistics, 40(4), 891-923. doi:10.1515/ling.2002.033.

    Abstract

    The article compares the integration of topic-related additive words at different stages of untutored L2 acquisition. Data stem from an ‘‘additive-elicitation task’’ that was designed in order to capture topic-related additive words in a context that is at the same time controlled for the underlying information structure and nondeviant from other kinds of narrative discourse. We relate the distinction between stressed and nonstressed forms of the German scope particles and adverbials auch ‘also’, noch ‘another’, wieder ‘again’, and immer noch ‘still’ to a uniform, information-structure-based principle: the stressed variants have scope over the topic information of the relevant utterances. It is then the common function of these additive words to express the additive link between the topic of the present utterance and some previous topic for which the same state of affairs is claimed to hold. This phenomenon has often been referred to as ‘‘contrastive topic,’’ but contrary to what this term suggests, these topic elements are by no means deviant from the default in coherent discourse. In the underlying information structure, the validity of some given state of affairs for the present topic must be under discussion. Topic-related additive words then express that the state of affairs indeed applies to this topic, their function therefore coming close to the function of assertion marking. While this functional correspondence goes along with the formal organization of the basic stages of untutored second-language acquisition, its expression brings linguistic constraints into conflict when the acquisition of finiteness pushes learners to reorganize their utterances according to target-language syntax.
  • Drijvers, L., Vaitonyte, J., & Ozyurek, A. (2019). Degree of language experience modulates visual attention to visible speech and iconic gestures during clear and degraded speech comprehension. Cognitive Science, 43: e12789. doi:10.1111/cogs.12789.

    Abstract

    Visual information conveyed by iconic hand gestures and visible speech can enhance speech comprehension under adverse listening conditions for both native and non‐native listeners. However, how a listener allocates visual attention to these articulators during speech comprehension is unknown. We used eye‐tracking to investigate whether and how native and highly proficient non‐native listeners of Dutch allocated overt eye gaze to visible speech and gestures during clear and degraded speech comprehension. Participants watched video clips of an actress uttering a clear or degraded (6‐band noise‐vocoded) action verb while performing a gesture or not, and were asked to indicate the word they heard in a cued‐recall task. Gestural enhancement was the largest (i.e., a relative reduction in reaction time cost) when speech was degraded for all listeners, but it was stronger for native listeners. Both native and non‐native listeners mostly gazed at the face during comprehension, but non‐native listeners gazed more often at gestures than native listeners. However, only native but not non‐native listeners' gaze allocation to gestures predicted gestural benefit during degraded speech comprehension. We conclude that non‐native listeners might gaze at gesture more as it might be more challenging for non‐native listeners to resolve the degraded auditory cues and couple those cues to phonological information that is conveyed by visible speech. This diminished phonological knowledge might hinder the use of semantic information that is conveyed by gestures for non‐native compared to native listeners. Our results demonstrate that the degree of language experience impacts overt visual attention to visual articulators, resulting in different visual benefits for native versus non‐native listeners.

    Additional information

    Supporting information
  • Drijvers, L., Van der Plas, M., Ozyurek, A., & Jensen, O. (2019). Native and non-native listeners show similar yet distinct oscillatory dynamics when using gestures to access speech in noise. NeuroImage, 194, 55-67. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.032.

    Abstract

    Listeners are often challenged by adverse listening conditions during language comprehension induced by external factors, such as noise, but also internal factors, such as being a non-native listener. Visible cues, such as semantic information conveyed by iconic gestures, can enhance language comprehension in such situations. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG) we investigated whether spatiotemporal oscillatory dynamics can predict a listener's benefit of iconic gestures during language comprehension in both internally (non-native versus native listeners) and externally (clear/degraded speech) induced adverse listening conditions. Proficient non-native speakers of Dutch were presented with videos in which an actress uttered a degraded or clear verb, accompanied by a gesture or not, and completed a cued-recall task after every video. The behavioral and oscillatory results obtained from non-native listeners were compared to an MEG study where we presented the same stimuli to native listeners (Drijvers et al., 2018a). Non-native listeners demonstrated a similar gestural enhancement effect as native listeners, but overall scored significantly slower on the cued-recall task. In both native and non-native listeners, an alpha/beta power suppression revealed engagement of the extended language network, motor and visual regions during gestural enhancement of degraded speech comprehension, suggesting similar core processes that support unification and lexical access processes. An individual's alpha/beta power modulation predicted the gestural benefit a listener experienced during degraded speech comprehension. Importantly, however, non-native listeners showed less engagement of the mouth area of the primary somatosensory cortex, left insula (beta), LIFG and ATL (alpha) than native listeners, which suggests that non-native listeners might be hindered in processing the degraded phonological cues and coupling them to the semantic information conveyed by the gesture. Native and non-native listeners thus demonstrated similar yet distinct spatiotemporal oscillatory dynamics when recruiting visual cues to disambiguate degraded speech.

    Additional information

    1-s2.0-S1053811919302216-mmc1.docx
  • Drude, S., Awete, W., & Aweti, A. (2019). A ortografia da língua Awetí. LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas, 19: e019014. doi:10.20396/liames.v19i0.8655746.

    Abstract

    Este trabalho descreve e fundamenta a ortografia da língua Awetí (Tupí, Alto Xingu/mt), com base na análise da estrutura fonológica e gramatical do Awetí. A ortografia é resultado de um longo trabalho colaborativo entre os três autores, iniciado em 1998. Ela não define apenas um alfabeto (a representação das vogais e das consoantes da língua), mas também aborda a variação interna, ressilabificação, lenição, palatalização e outros processos (morfo‑)fonológicos. Tanto a representação escrita da oclusiva glotal, quanto as consequências ortográficas da harmonia nasal receberam uma atenção especial. Apesar de o acento lexical não ser ortograficamente marcado em Awetí, a grande maioria dos afixos e partículas é abordada considerando o acento e sua interação com morfemas adjacentes, ao mesmo tempo determinando as palavras ortográficas. Finalmente foi estabelecida a ordem alfabética em que dígrafos são tratados como sequências de letras, já a oclusiva glotal ⟨ʼ⟩ é ignorada, facilitando o aprendizado do Awetí. A ortografia tal como descrita aqui tem sido usada por aproximadamente dez anos na escola para a alfabetização em Awetí, com bons resultados obtidos. Acreditamos que vários dos argumentos aqui levantados podem ser produtivamente transferidos para outras línguas com fenômenos semelhantes (a oclusiva glotal como consoante, harmonia nasal, assimilação morfo-fonológica, etc.).
  • Dunn, M., Reesink, G., & Terrill, A. (2002). The East Papuan languages: A preliminary typological appraisal. Oceanic Linguistics, 41(1), 28-62.

    Abstract

    This paper examines the Papuan languages of Island Melanesia, with a view to considering their typological similarities and differences. The East Papuan languages are thought to be the descendants of the languages spoken by the original inhabitants of Island Melanesia, who arrived in the area up to 50,000 years ago. The Oceanic Austronesian languages are thought to have come into the area with the Lapita peoples 3,500 years ago. With this historical backdrop in view, our paper seeks to investigate the linguistic relationships between the scattered Papuan languages of Island Melanesia. To do this, we survey various structural features, including syntactic patterns such as constituent order in clauses and noun phrases and other features of clause structure, paradigmatic structures of pronouns, and the structure of verbal morphology. In particular, we seek to discern similarities between the languages that might call for closer investigation, with a view to establishing genetic relatedness between some or all of the languages. In addition, in examining structural relationships between languages, we aim to discover whether it is possible to distinguish between original Papuan elements and diffused Austronesian elements of these languages. As this is a vast task, our paper aims merely to lay the groundwork for investigation into these and related questions.
  • Eising, E., Carrion Castillo, A., Vino, A., Strand, E. A., Jakielski, K. J., Scerri, T. S., Hildebrand, M. S., Webster, R., Ma, A., Mazoyer, B., Francks, C., Bahlo, M., Scheffer, I. E., Morgan, A. T., Shriberg, L. D., & Fisher, S. E. (2019). A set of regulatory genes co-expressed in embryonic human brain is implicated in disrupted speech development. Molecular Psychiatry, 24, 1065-1078. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0020-x.

    Abstract

    Genetic investigations of people with impaired development of spoken language provide windows into key aspects of human biology. Over 15 years after FOXP2 was identified, most speech and language impairments remain unexplained at the molecular level. We sequenced whole genomes of nineteen unrelated individuals diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech, a rare disorder enriched for causative mutations of large effect. Where DNA was available from unaffected parents, we discovered de novo mutations, implicating genes, including CHD3, SETD1A and WDR5. In other probands, we identified novel loss-of-function variants affecting KAT6A, SETBP1, ZFHX4, TNRC6B and MKL2, regulatory genes with links to neurodevelopment. Several of the new candidates interact with each other or with known speech-related genes. Moreover, they show significant clustering within a single co-expression module of genes highly expressed during early human brain development. This study highlights gene regulatory pathways in the developing brain that may contribute to acquisition of proficient speech.

    Additional information

    Eising_etal_2018sup.pdf
  • Enard, W., Przeworski, M., Fisher, S. E., Lai, C. S. L., Wiebe, V., Kitano, T., Pääbo, S., & Monaco, A. P. (2002). Molecular evolution of FOXP2, a gene involved in speech and language [Letters to Nature]. Nature, 418, 869-872. doi:10.1038/nature01025.

    Abstract

    Language is a uniquely human trait likely to have been a prerequisite for the development of human culture. The ability to develop articulate speech relies on capabilities, such as fine control of the larynx and mouth, that are absent in chimpanzees and other great apes. FOXP2 is the first gene relevant to the human ability to develop language. A point mutation in FOXP2 co-segregates with a disorder in a family in which half of the members have severe articulation difficulties accompanied by linguistic and grammatical impairment. This gene is disrupted by translocation in an unrelated individual who has a similar disorder. Thus, two functional copies of FOXP2 seem to be required for acquisition of normal spoken language. We sequenced the complementary DNAs that encode the FOXP2 protein in the chimpanzee, gorilla, orang-utan, rhesus macaque and mouse, and compared them with the human cDNA. We also investigated intraspecific variation of the human FOXP2 gene. Here we show that human FOXP2 contains changes in amino-acid coding and a pattern of nucleotide polymorphism, which strongly suggest that this gene has been the target of selection during recent human evolution.
  • Enfield, N. J., & Wierzbicka, A. (2002). Introduction: The body in description of emotion. Pragmatics and Cognition, 10(1), 1-24. doi:10.1075/pc.10.12.02enf.

    Abstract

    Anthropologists and linguists have long been aware that the body is explicitly referred to in conventional description of emotion in languages around the world. There is abundant linguistic data showing expression of emotions in terms of their imagined ‘locus’ in the physical body. The most important methodological issue in the study of emotions is language, for the ways people talk give us access to ‘folk descriptions’ of the emotions. ‘Technical terminology’, whether based on English or otherwise, is not excluded from this ‘folk’ status. It may appear to be safely ‘scientific’ and thus culturally neutral, but in fact it is not: technical English is a variety of English and reflects, to some extent, culture-specific ways of thinking (and categorising) associated with the English language. People — as researchers studying other people, or as people in real-life social association — cannot directly access the emotional experience of others, and language is the usual mode of ‘packaging’ one’s experience so it may be accessible to others. Careful description of linguistic data from as broad as possible a cross-linguistic base is thus an important part of emotion research. All people experience biological events and processes associated with certain thoughts (or, as psychologists say, ‘appraisals’), but there is more to ‘emotion’ than just these physiological phenomena. Speakers of some languages talk about their emotional experiences as if they are located in some internal organ such as ‘the liver’, yet they cannot localise feeling in this physical organ. This phenomenon needs to be understood better, and one of the problems is finding a method of comparison that allows us to compare descriptions from different languages which show apparently great formal and semantic variation. Some simple concepts including feel and body are universal or near-universal, and as such are good candidates for terms of description which may help to eradicate confusion and exoticism from cross-linguistic comparison and semantic typology. Semantic analysis reveals great variation in concepts of emotion across languages and cultures — but such analysis requires a sound and well-founded methodology. While leaving room for different approaches to the task, we suggest that such a methodology can be based on empirically established linguistic universal (or near-universal) concepts, and on ‘cognitive scenarios’ articulated in terms of these concepts. Also, we warn against the danger of exoticism involved in taking all body part references ‘literally’. Above all, we argue that what is needed is a combination of empirical cross-linguistic investigations and a theoretical and methodological awareness, recognising the impossibility of exploring other people’s emotions without keeping language in focus: both as an object and as a tool of study.
  • Enfield, N. J., Stivers, T., Brown, P., Englert, C., Harjunpää, K., Hayashi, M., Heinemann, T., Hoymann, G., Keisanen, T., Rauniomaa, M., Raymond, C. W., Rossano, F., Yoon, K.-E., Zwitserlood, I., & Levinson, S. C. (2019). Polar answers. Journal of Linguistics, 55(2), 277-304. doi:10.1017/S0022226718000336.

    Abstract

    How do people answer polar questions? In this fourteen-language study of answers to questions in conversation, we compare the two main strategies; first, interjection-type answers such as uh-huh (or equivalents yes, mm, head nods, etc.), and second, repetition-type answers that repeat some or all of the question. We find that all languages offer both options, but that there is a strong asymmetry in their frequency of use, with a global preference for interjection-type answers. We propose that this preference is motivated by the fact that the two options are not equivalent in meaning. We argue that interjection-type answers are intrinsically suited to be the pragmatically unmarked, and thus more frequent, strategy for confirming polar questions, regardless of the language spoken. Our analysis is based on the semantic-pragmatic profile of the interjection-type and repetition-type answer strategies, in the context of certain asymmetries inherent to the dialogic speech act structure of question–answer sequences, including sequential agency and thematic agency. This allows us to see possible explanations for the outlier distributions found in ǂĀkhoe Haiǁom and Tzeltal.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2002). Semantic analysis of body parts in emotion terminology: Avoiding the exoticisms of 'obstinate monosemy' and 'online extension'. Pragmatics and Cognition, 10(1), 85-106. doi:10.1075/pc.10.12.05enf.

    Abstract

    Investigation of the emotions entails reference to words and expressions conventionally used for the description of emotion experience. Important methodological issues arise for emotion researchers, and the issues are of similarly central concern in linguistic semantics more generally. I argue that superficial and/or inconsistent description of linguistic meaning can have seriously misleading results. This paper is firstly a critique of standards in emotion research for its tendency to underrate and ill-understand linguistic semantics. It is secondly a critique of standards in some approaches to linguistic semantics itself. Two major problems occur. The first is failure to distinguish between conceptually distinct meanings of single words, neglecting the well-established fact that a single phonological string can signify more than one conceptual category (i.e., that words can be polysemous). The second error involves failure to distinguish between two kinds of secondary uses of words: (1) those which are truly active “online” extensions, and (2) those which are conventionalised secondary meanings and not active (qua “extensions”) at all. These semantic considerations are crucial to conclusions one may draw about cognition and conceptualisation based on linguistic evidence.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2002). How to define 'Lao', 'Thai', and 'Isan' language? A view from linguistic science. Tai Culture, 7(1), 62-67.

    Abstract

    This article argues that it is not possible to establish distinctions between 'Lao', 'Thai', and 'Isan' as seperate languages or dialects by appealing to objective criteria. 'Lao', 'Thai', and 'Isan' are conceived linguistics varieties, and the ground-level reality reveals a great deal of variation, much of it not coinciding with the geographical boundaries of the 'Laos', 'Isan', and 'non-Isan Thailand' areas. Those who promote 'Lao', 'Thai', and/or 'Isan' as distinct linguistic varieties have subjective (e.g. political and/or sentimental) reasons for doing so. Objective linguistic criteria are not sufficient
  • Ernestus, M., Baayen, R. H., & Schreuder, R. (2002). The recognition of reduced word forms. Brain and Language, 81(1-3), 162-173. doi:10.1006/brln.2001.2514.

    Abstract

    This article addresses the recognition of reduced word forms, which are frequent in casual speech. We describe two experiments on Dutch showing that listeners only recognize highly reduced forms well when these forms are presented in their full context and that the probability that a listener recognizes a word form in limited context is strongly correlated with the degree of reduction of the form. Moreover, we show that the effect of degree of reduction can only partly be interpreted as the effect of the intelligibility of the acoustic signal, which is negatively correlated with degree of reduction. We discuss the consequences of our findings for models of spoken word recognition and especially for the role that storage plays in these models.
  • Eysenck, M. W., & Van Berkum, J. J. A. (1992). Trait anxiety, defensiveness, and the structure of worry. Personality and Individual Differences, 13(12), 1285-1290. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science//journal/01918869.

    Abstract

    A principal components analysis of the ten scales of the Worry Questionnaire revealed the existence of major worry factors or domains of social evaluation and physical threat, and these factors were confirmed in a subsequent item analysis. Those high in trait anxiety had much higher scores on the Worry Questionnaire than those low in trait anxiety, especially on those scales relating to social evaluation. Scores on the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale were negatively related to worry frequency. However, groups of low-anxious and repressed individucores did not differ in worry. It was concluded that worry, especals formed on the basis of their trait anxiety and social desirability sially in the social evaluation domain, is of fundamental importance to trait anxiety.
  • Faller, M. (2002). The evidential and validational licensing conditions for the Cusco Quechua enclitic-mi. Belgian Journal of Linguistics, 16, 7-21. doi:10.1075/bjl.16.02fa.
  • Favier, S., Wright, A., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2019). Proficiency modulates between- but not within-language structural priming. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 3(suppl. 1), 105-124. doi:10.1007/s41809-019-00029-1.

    Abstract

    The oldest of the Celtic language family, Irish differs considerably from English, notably with respect to word order and case marking. In spite of differences in surface constituent structure, less restricted accounts of bilingual shared syntax predict that processing datives and passives in Irish should prime the production of their English equivalents. Furthermore, this cross-linguistic influence should be sensitive to L2 proficiency, if shared structural representations are assumed to develop over time. In Experiment 1, we investigated cross-linguistic structural priming from Irish to English in 47 bilingual adolescents who are educated through Irish. Testing took place in a classroom setting, using written primes and written sentence generation. We found that priming for prepositional-object (PO) datives was predicted by self-rated Irish (L2) proficiency, in line with previous studies. In Experiment 2, we presented translations of the materials to an English-educated control group (n=54). We found a within-language priming effect for PO datives, which was not modulated by English (L1) proficiency. Our findings are compatible with current theories of bilingual language processing and L2 syntactic acquisition.
  • Felker, E. R., Klockmann, H. E., & De Jong, N. H. (2019). How conceptualizing influences fluency in first and second language speech production. Applied Psycholinguistics, 40(1), 111-136. doi:10.1017/S0142716418000474.

    Abstract

    When speaking in any language, speakers must conceptualize what they want to say before they can formulate and articulate their message. We present two experiments employing a novel experimental paradigm in which the formulating and articulating stages of speech production were kept identical across conditions of differing conceptualizing difficulty. We tracked the effect of difficulty in conceptualizing during the generation of speech (Experiment 1) and during the abandonment and regeneration of speech (Experiment 2) on speaking fluency by Dutch native speakers in their first (L1) and second (L2) language (English). The results showed that abandoning and especially regenerating a speech plan taxes the speaker, leading to disfluencies. For most fluency measures, the increases in disfluency were similar across L1 and L2. However, a significant interaction revealed that abandoning and regenerating a speech plan increases the time needed to solve conceptual difficulties while speaking in the L2 to a greater degree than in the L1. This finding supports theories in which cognitive resources for conceptualizing are shared with those used for later stages of speech planning. Furthermore, a practical implication for language assessment is that increasing the conceptual difficulty of speaking tasks should be considered with caution.
  • Fields, E. C., Weber, K., Stillerman, B., Delaney-Busch, N., & Kuperberg, G. (2019). Functional MRI reveals evidence of a self-positivity bias in the medial prefrontal cortex during the comprehension of social vignettes. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 14(6), 613-621. doi:10.1093/scan/nsz035.

    Abstract

    A large literature in social neuroscience has associated the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) with the processing of self-related information. However, only recently have social neuroscience studies begun to consider the large behavioral literature showing a strong self-positivity bias, and these studies have mostly focused on its correlates during self-related judgments and decision making. We carried out a functional MRI (fMRI) study to ask whether the mPFC would show effects of the self-positivity bias in a paradigm that probed participants’ self-concept without any requirement of explicit self-judgment. We presented social vignettes that were either self-relevant or non-self-relevant with a neutral, positive, or negative outcome described in the second sentence. In previous work using event-related potentials, this paradigm has shown evidence of a self-positivity bias that influences early stages of semantically processing incoming stimuli. In the present fMRI study, we found evidence for this bias within the mPFC: an interaction between self-relevance and valence, with only positive scenarios showing a self vs other effect within the mPFC. We suggest that the mPFC may play a role in maintaining a positively-biased self-concept and discuss the implications of these findings for the social neuroscience of the self and the role of the mPFC.

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  • Fisher, S. E., Francks, C., McCracken, J. T., McGough, J. J., Marlow, A. J., MacPhie, I. L., Newbury, D. F., Crawford, L. R., Palmer, C. G. S., Woodward, J. A., Del’Homme, M., Cantwell, D. P., Nelson, S. F., Monaco, A. P., & Smalley, S. L. (2002). A genomewide scan for loci involved in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. American Journal of Human Genetics, 70(5), 1183-1196. doi:10.1086/340112.

    Abstract

    Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common heritable disorder with a childhood onset. Molecular genetic studies of ADHD have previously focused on examining the roles of specific candidate genes, primarily those involved in dopaminergic pathways. We have performed the first systematic genomewide linkage scan for loci influencing ADHD in 126 affected sib pairs, using a ∼10-cM grid of microsatellite markers. Allele-sharing linkage methods enabled us to exclude any loci with a λs of ⩾3 from 96% of the genome and those with a λs of ⩾2.5 from 91%, indicating that there is unlikely to be a major gene involved in ADHD susceptibility in our sample. Under a strict diagnostic scheme we could exclude all screened regions of the X chromosome for a locus-specific λs of ⩾2 in brother-brother pairs, demonstrating that the excess of affected males with ADHD is probably not attributable to a major X-linked effect. Qualitative trait maximum LOD score analyses pointed to a number of chromosomal sites that may contain genetic risk factors of moderate effect. None exceeded genomewide significance thresholds, but LOD scores were >1.5 for regions on 5p12, 10q26, 12q23, and 16p13. Quantitative-trait analysis of ADHD symptom counts implicated a region on 12p13 (maximum LOD 2.6) that also yielded a LOD >1 when qualitative methods were used. A survey of regions containing 36 genes that have been proposed as candidates for ADHD indicated that 29 of these genes, including DRD4 and DAT1, could be excluded for a λs of 2. Only three of the candidates—DRD5, 5HTT, and CALCYON—coincided with sites of positive linkage identified by our screen. Two of the regions highlighted in the present study, 2q24 and 16p13, coincided with the top linkage peaks reported by a recent genome-scan study of autistic sib pairs.
  • Fisher, S. E., & Tilot, A. K. (Eds.). (2019). Bridging senses: Novel insights from synaesthesia [Special Issue]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 374.
  • Fisher, S. E., & Tilot, A. K. (2019). Bridging senses: Novel insights from synaesthesia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 374: 20190022. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0022.
  • Fisher, S. E., & DeFries, J. C. (2002). Developmental dyslexia: Genetic dissection of a complex cognitive trait. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 3, 767-780. doi:10.1038/nrn936.

    Abstract

    Developmental dyslexia, a specific impairment of reading ability despite adequate intelligence and educational opportunity, is one of the most frequent childhood disorders. Since the first documented cases at the beginning of the last century, it has become increasingly apparent that the reading problems of people with dyslexia form part of a heritable neurobiological syndrome. As for most cognitive and behavioural traits, phenotypic definition is fraught with difficulties and the genetic basis is complex, making the isolation of genetic risk factors a formidable challenge. Against such a background, it is notable that several recent studies have reported the localization of genes that influence dyslexia and other language-related traits. These investigations exploit novel research approaches that are relevant to many areas of human neurogenetics.
  • Fisher, S. E., Francks, C., Marlow, A. J., MacPhie, I. L., Newbury, D. F., Cardon, L. R., Ishikawa-Brush, Y., Richardson, A. J., Talcott, J. B., Gayán, J., Olson, R. K., Pennington, B. F., Smith, S. D., DeFries, J. C., Stein, J. F., & Monaco, A. P. (2002). Independent genome-wide scans identify a chromosome 18 quantitative-trait locus influencing dyslexia. Nature Genetics, 30(1), 86-91. doi:10.1038/ng792.

    Abstract

    Developmental dyslexia is defined as a specific and significant impairment in reading ability that cannot be explained by deficits in intelligence, learning opportunity, motivation or sensory acuity. It is one of the most frequently diagnosed disorders in childhood, representing a major educational and social problem. It is well established that dyslexia is a significantly heritable trait with a neurobiological basis. The etiological mechanisms remain elusive, however, despite being the focus of intensive multidisciplinary research. All attempts to map quantitative-trait loci (QTLs) influencing dyslexia susceptibility have targeted specific chromosomal regions, so that inferences regarding genetic etiology have been made on the basis of very limited information. Here we present the first two complete QTL-based genome-wide scans for this trait, in large samples of families from the United Kingdom and United States. Using single-point analysis, linkage to marker D18S53 was independently identified as being one of the most significant results of the genome in each scan (P< or =0.0004 for single word-reading ability in each family sample). Multipoint analysis gave increased evidence of 18p11.2 linkage for single-word reading, yielding top empirical P values of 0.00001 (UK) and 0.0004 (US). Measures related to phonological and orthographic processing also showed linkage at this locus. We replicated linkage to 18p11.2 in a third independent sample of families (from the UK), in which the strongest evidence came from a phoneme-awareness measure (most significant P value=0.00004). A combined analysis of all UK families confirmed that this newly discovered 18p QTL is probably a general risk factor for dyslexia, influencing several reading-related processes. This is the first report of QTL-based genome-wide scanning for a human cognitive trait.
  • Fisher, S. E. (2019). Human genetics: The evolving story of FOXP2. Current Biology, 29(2), R65-R67. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.047.

    Abstract

    FOXP2 mutations cause a speech and language disorder, raising interest in potential roles of this gene in human evolution. A new study re-evaluates genomic variation at the human FOXP2 locus but finds no evidence of recent adaptive evolution.
  • Fitz, H., & Chang, F. (2019). Language ERPs reflect learning through prediction error propagation. Cognitive Psychology, 111, 15-52. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2019.03.002.

    Abstract

    Event-related potentials (ERPs) provide a window into how the brain is processing language. Here, we propose a theory that argues that ERPs such as the N400 and P600 arise as side effects of an error-based learning mechanism that explains linguistic adaptation and language learning. We instantiated this theory in a connectionist model that can simulate data from three studies on the N400 (amplitude modulation by expectancy, contextual constraint, and sentence position), five studies on the P600 (agreement, tense, word category, subcategorization and garden-path sentences), and a study on the semantic P600 in role reversal anomalies. Since ERPs are learning signals, this account explains adaptation of ERP amplitude to within-experiment frequency manipulations and the way ERP effects are shaped by word predictability in earlier sentences. Moreover, it predicts that ERPs can change over language development. The model provides an account of the sensitivity of ERPs to expectation mismatch, the relative timing of the N400 and P600, the semantic nature of the N400, the syntactic nature of the P600, and the fact that ERPs can change with experience. This approach suggests that comprehension ERPs are related to sentence production and language acquisition mechanisms
  • Francks, C., Fisher, S. E., MacPhie, I. L., Richardson, A. J., Marlow, A. J., Stein, J. F., & Monaco, A. P. (2002). A genomewide linkage screen for relative hand skill in sibling pairs. American Journal of Human Genetics, 70(3), 800-805. doi:10.1086/339249.

    Abstract

    Genomewide quantitative-trait locus (QTL) linkage analysis was performed using a continuous measure of relative hand skill (PegQ) in a sample of 195 reading-disabled sibling pairs from the United Kingdom. This was the first genomewide screen for any measure related to handedness. The mean PegQ in the sample was equivalent to that of normative data, and PegQ was not correlated with tests of reading ability (correlations between −0.13 and 0.05). Relative hand skill could therefore be considered normal within the sample. A QTL on chromosome 2p11.2-12 yielded strong evidence for linkage to PegQ (empirical P=.00007), and another suggestive QTL on 17p11-q23 was also identified (empirical P=.002). The 2p11.2-12 locus was further analyzed in an independent sample of 143 reading-disabled sibling pairs, and this analysis yielded an empirical P=.13. Relative hand skill therefore is probably a complex multifactorial phenotype with a heterogeneous background, but nevertheless is amenable to QTL-based gene-mapping approaches.
  • Francks, C., Fisher, S. E., Olson, R. K., Pennington, B. F., Smith, S. D., DeFries, J. C., & Monaco, A. P. (2002). Fine mapping of the chromosome 2p12-16 dyslexia susceptibility locus: Quantitative association analysis and positional candidate genes SEMA4F and OTX1. Psychiatric Genetics, 12(1), 35-41.

    Abstract

    A locus on chromosome 2p12-16 has been implicated in dyslexia susceptibility by two independent linkage studies, including our own study of 119 nuclear twin-based families, each with at least one reading-disabled child. Nonetheless, no variant of any gene has been reported to show association with dyslexia, and no consistent clinical evidence exists to identify candidate genes with any strong a priori logic. We used 21 microsatellite markers spanning 2p12-16 to refine our 1-LOD unit linkage support interval to 12cM between D2S337 and D2S286. Then, in quantitative association analysis, two microsatellites yielded P values<0.05 across a range of reading-related measures (D2S2378 and D2S2114). The exon/intron borders of two positional candidate genes within the region were characterized, and the exons were screened for polymorphisms. The genes were Semaphorin4F (SEMA4F), which encodes a protein involved in axonal growth cone guidance, and OTX1, encoding a homeodomain transcription factor involved in forebrain development. Two non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms were found in SEMA4F, each with a heterozygosity of 0.03. One intronic single nucleotide polymorphism between exons 12 and 13 of SEMA4F was tested for quantitative association, but no significant association was found. Only one single nucleotide polymorphism was found in OTX1, which was exonic but silent. Our data therefore suggest that linkage with reading disability at 2p12-16 is not caused by coding variants of SEMA4F or OTX1. Our study outlines the approach necessary for the identification of genetic variants causing dyslexia susceptibility in an epidemiological population of dyslexics.
  • Francks, C. (2019). In search of the biological roots of typical and atypical human brain asymmetry. Physics of Life Reviews, 30, 22-24. doi:10.1016/j.plrev.2019.07.004.
  • Francks, C., MacPhie, I. L., & Monaco, A. P. (2002). The genetic basis of dyslexia. The Lancet Neurology, 1(8), 483-490. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(02)00221-1.

    Abstract

    Dyslexia, a disorder of reading and spelling, is a heterogeneous neurological syndrome with a complex genetic and environmental aetiology. People with dyslexia differ in their individual profiles across a range of cognitive, physiological, and behavioural measures related to reading disability. Some or all of the subtypes of dyslexia might have partly or wholly distinct genetic causes. An understanding of the role of genetics in dyslexia could help to diagnose and treat susceptible children more effectively and rapidly than is currently possible and in ways that account for their individual disabilities. This knowledge will also give new insights into the neurobiology of reading and language cognition. Genetic linkage analysis has identified regions of the genome that might harbour inherited variants that cause reading disability. In particular, loci on chromosomes 6 and 18 have shown strong and replicable effects on reading abilities. These genomic regions contain tens or hundreds of candidate genes, and studies aimed at the identification of the specific causal genetic variants are underway.
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Eisner, F. (2019). Consistency influences altered auditory feedback processing. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(10), 2371-2379. doi:10.1177/1747021819838939.

    Abstract

    Previous research on the effect of perturbed auditory feedback in speech production has focused on two types of responses. In the short term, speakers generate compensatory motor commands in response to unexpected perturbations. In the longer term, speakers adapt feedforward motor programmes in response to feedback perturbations, to avoid future errors. The current study investigated the relation between these two types of responses to altered auditory feedback. Specifically, it was hypothesised that consistency in previous feedback perturbations would influence whether speakers adapt their feedforward motor programmes. In an altered auditory feedback paradigm, formant perturbations were applied either across all trials (the consistent condition) or only to some trials, whereas the others remained unperturbed (the inconsistent condition). The results showed that speakers’ responses were affected by feedback consistency, with stronger speech changes in the consistent condition compared with the inconsistent condition. Current models of speech-motor control can explain this consistency effect. However, the data also suggest that compensation and adaptation are distinct processes, which are not in line with all current models.
  • Fransson, P., Merboldt, K.-D., Petersson, K. M., Ingvar, M., & Frahm, J. (2002). On the effects of spatial filtering — A comparative fMRI study of episodic memory encoding at high and low resolution. NeuroImage, 16(4), 977-984. doi:10.1006/nimg.2002.1079.

    Abstract

    Theeffects of spatial filtering in functional magnetic resonance imaging were investigated by reevaluating the data of a previous study of episodic memory encoding at 2 × 2 × 4-mm3 resolution with use of a SPM99 analysis involving a Gaussian kernel of 8-mm full width at half maximum. In addition, a multisubject analysis of activated regions was performed by normalizing the functional images to an approximate Talairach brain atlas. In individual subjects, spatial filtering merged activations in anatomically separated brain regions. Moreover, small foci of activated pixels which originated from veins became blurred and hence indistinguishable from parenchymal responses. The multisubject analysis resulted in activation of the hippocampus proper, a finding which could not be confirmed by the activation maps obtained at high resolution. It is concluded that the validity of multisubject fMRI analyses can be considerably improved by first analyzing individual data sets at optimum resolution to assess the effects of spatial filtering and minimize the risk of signal contamination by macroscopically visible vessels.
  • French, C. A., Vinueza Veloz, M. F., Zhou, K., Peter, S., Fisher, S. E., Costa, R. M., & De Zeeuw, C. I. (2019). Differential effects of Foxp2 disruption in distinct motor circuits. Molecular Psychiatry, 24, 447-462. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0199-x.

    Abstract

    Disruptions of the FOXP2 gene cause a speech and language disorder involving difficulties in sequencing orofacial movements. FOXP2 is expressed in cortico-striatal and cortico-cerebellar circuits important for fine motor skills, and affected individuals show abnormalities in these brain regions. We selectively disrupted Foxp2 in the cerebellar Purkinje cells, striatum or cortex of mice and assessed the effects on skilled motor behaviour using an operant lever-pressing task. Foxp2 loss in each region impacted behaviour differently, with striatal and Purkinje cell disruptions affecting the variability and the speed of lever-press sequences, respectively. Mice lacking Foxp2 in Purkinje cells showed a prominent phenotype involving slowed lever pressing as well as deficits in skilled locomotion. In vivo recordings from Purkinje cells uncovered an increased simple spike firing rate and decreased modulation of firing during limb movements. This was caused by increased intrinsic excitability rather than changes in excitatory or inhibitory inputs. Our findings show that Foxp2 can modulate different aspects of motor behaviour in distinct brain regions, and uncover an unknown role for Foxp2 in the modulation of Purkinje cell activity that severely impacts skilled movements.
  • Frost, R. L. A., Monaghan, P., & Christiansen, M. H. (2019). Mark my words: High frequency marker words impact early stages of language learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45(10), 1883-1898. doi:10.1037/xlm0000683.

    Abstract

    High frequency words have been suggested to benefit both speech segmentation and grammatical categorization of the words around them. Despite utilizing similar information, these tasks are usually investigated separately in studies examining learning. We determined whether including high frequency words in continuous speech could support categorization when words are being segmented for the first time. We familiarized learners with continuous artificial speech comprising repetitions of target words, which were preceded by high-frequency marker words. Crucially, marker words distinguished targets into 2 distributionally defined categories. We measured learning with segmentation and categorization tests and compared performance against a control group that heard the artificial speech without these marker words (i.e., just the targets, with no cues for categorization). Participants segmented the target words from speech in both conditions, but critically when the marker words were present, they influenced acquisition of word-referent mappings in a subsequent transfer task, with participants demonstrating better early learning for mappings that were consistent (rather than inconsistent) with the distributional categories. We propose that high-frequency words may assist early grammatical categorization, while speech segmentation is still being learned.

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  • Galbiati, A., Verga, L., Giora, E., Zucconi, M., & Ferini-Strambi, L. (2019). The risk of neurodegeneration in REM sleep behavior disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 43, 37-46. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2018.09.008.

    Abstract

    Several studies report an association between REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) and neurodegenerative diseases, in particular synucleinopathies. Interestingly, the onset of RBD precedes the development of neurodegeneration by several years. This review and meta-analysis aims to establish the rate of conversion of RBD into neurodegenerative diseases. Longitudinal studies were searched from the PubMed, Web of Science, and SCOPUS databases. Using random-effect modeling, we performed a meta-analysis on the rate of RBD conversions into neurodegeneration. Furthermore, we fitted a Kaplan-Meier analysis and compared the differences between survival curves of different diseases with log-rank tests. The risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases was 33.5% at five years follow-up, 82.4% at 10.5 years and 96.6% at 14 years. The average conversion rate was 31.95% after a mean duration of follow-up of 4.75 ± 2.43 years. The majority of RBD patients converted to Parkinson's Disease (43%), followed by Dementia with Lewy Bodies (25%). The estimated risk for RBD patients to develop a neurodegenerative disease over a long-term follow-up is more than 90%. Future studies should include control group for the evaluation of REM sleep without atonia as marker for neurodegeneration also in non-clinical population and target RBD as precursor of neurodegeneration to develop protective trials.
  • Gao, Y., Zheng, L., Liu, X., Nichols, E. S., Zhang, M., Shang, L., Ding, G., Meng, Z., & Liu, L. (2019). First and second language reading difficulty among Chinese–English bilingual children: The prevalence and influences from demographic characteristics. Frontiers in Psychology, 10: 2544. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02544.

    Abstract

    Learning to read a second language (L2) can pose a great challenge for children who have already been struggling to read in their first language (L1). Moreover, it is not clear whether, to what extent, and under what circumstances L1 reading difficulty increases the risk of L2 reading difficulty. This study investigated Chinese (L1) and English (L2) reading skills in a large representative sample of 1,824 Chinese–English bilingual children in Grades 4 and 5 from both urban and rural schools in Beijing. We examined the prevalence of reading difficulty in Chinese only (poor Chinese readers, PC), English only (poor English readers, PE), and both Chinese and English (poor bilingual readers, PB) and calculated the co-occurrence, that is, the chances of becoming a poor reader in English given that the child was already a poor reader in Chinese. We then conducted a multinomial logistic regression analysis and compared the prevalence of PC, PE, and PB between children in Grade 4 versus Grade 5, in urban versus rural areas, and in boys versus girls. Results showed that compared to girls, boys demonstrated significantly higher risk of PC, PE, and PB. Meanwhile, compared to the 5th graders, the 4th graders demonstrated significantly higher risk of PC and PB. In addition, children enrolled in the urban schools were more likely to become better second language readers, thus leading to a concerning rural–urban gap in the prevalence of L2 reading difficulty. Finally, among these Chinese–English bilingual children, regardless of sex and school location, poor reading skill in Chinese significantly increased the risk of also being a poor English reader, with a considerable and stable co-occurrence of approximately 36%. In sum, this study suggests that despite striking differences between alphabetic and logographic writing systems, L1 reading difficulty still significantly increases the risk of L2 reading difficulty. This indicates the shared meta-linguistic skills in reading different writing systems and the importance of understanding the universality and the interdependent relationship of reading between different writing systems. Furthermore, the male disadvantage (in both L1 and L2) and the urban–rural gap (in L2) found in the prevalence of reading difficulty calls for special attention to disadvantaged populations in educational practice.

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