Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 6852
  • Cos, F., Bujok, R., & Bosker, H. R. (in press). Test-retest reliability of audiovisual lexical stress perception after >1.5 years. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Speech Prosody.

    Abstract

    In natural communication, we typically both see and hear our conversation partner. Speech comprehension thus requires the integration of auditory and visual information from the speech signal. This is for instance evidenced by the Manual McGurk effect, where the perception of lexical stress is biased towards the syllable that has a beat gesture aligned to it. However, there is considerable individual variation in how heavily gestural timing is weighed as a cue to stress. To assess within-individualconsistency, this study investigated the test-retest reliability of the Manual McGurk effect. We reran an earlier Manual McGurk experiment with the same participants, over 1.5 years later. At the group level, we successfully replicated the Manual McGurk effect with a similar effect size. However, a correlation of the by-participant effect sizes in the two identical experiments indicated that there was only a weak correlation between both tests, suggesting that the weighing of gestural information in the perception of lexical stress is stable at the group level, but less so in individuals. Findings are discussed in comparison to other measures of audiovisual integration in speech perception. Index Terms: Audiovisual integration, beat gestures, lexical stress, test-retest reliability
  • Defina, R. (in press). Tense, aspect, and mood in Avatime. Afrika und Übersee.

    Abstract

    The Ghana-Togo Mountain languages are a typologically distinct group of languages within the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Until recently, they have received very little documentary attention, and are still greatly under-described. Where there is information regarding the tense, aspect, and mood system, Ghana-Togo Mountain languages are described as tense and aspect prominent. In contrast, Kwa languages are typically aspect and mood prominent, with little to no grammatical tense marking. Is the apparent greater emphasis on tense one of the typological features that separates the Ghana- Togo Mountain languages from the other Kwa languages? Or has tense been overrepresented due to the lack of description? In the case of Avatime, it is the latter. Previous accounts have described Avatime with a strong focus on tense. However, when the semantics are considered in more detail, we see that none of the forms contains an inherent specification for tense. While there is often a default interpretation in the past, present or future, this default can easily be overridden. Thus, Avatime has a typical Kwa system with a focus on aspect and mood and no grammatical tense.
  • Engelen, M. M., Franken, M.-C.-J., Stipdonk, L. W., Horton, S. E., Jackson, V. E., Reilly, S., Morgan, A. T., Fisher, S. E., Van Dulmen, S., & Eising, E. (in press). The association between stuttering burden and psychosocial aspects of life in adults. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.
  • Fitz, H., Hagoort, P., & Petersson, K. M. (in press). Neurobiological causal models of language processing. Neurobiology of Language.
  • Ghaleb, E., Burenko, I., Rasenberg, M., Pouw, W., Uhrig, P., Holler, J., Toni, I., Ozyurek, A., & Fernandez, R. (in press). Cospeech gesture detection through multi-phase sequence labeling. In IEEE/CVF Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV).
  • Hammarström, H., & Parkvall, M. (in press). Basic Constituent Order in Pidgin and Creole Languages: Inheritance or Universals? Journal of Language Contact.
  • Karadöller, D. Z., Peeters, D., Manhardt, F., Özyürek, A., & Ortega, G. (in press). Iconicity and gesture jointly facilitate learning of L2 signs at first exposure in hearing non-signers. Language Learning.

    Abstract

    When learning a spoken second language (L2), words overlapping in form and meaning with one’s native language (L1) help break into the new language. When non-signing speakers learn a sign language as L2, such forms are absent because of the modality differences (L1:speech, L2:sign). In such cases, non-signing speakers might use iconic form-meaning mappings in signs or their own gestural experience as gateways into the to-be-acquired sign language. Here, we investigated how both these factors may contribute jointly to the acquisition of sign language vocabulary by hearing non-signers. Participants were presented with three types of sign in NGT (Sign Language of the Netherlands): arbitrary signs, iconic signs with high or low gesture overlap. Signs that were both iconic and highly overlapping with gestures boosted learning most at first exposure, and this effect remained the day after. Findings highlight the influence of modality-specific factors supporting the acquisition of a signed lexicon.
  • Matteo, M., & Bosker, H. R. (in press). How to test gesture-speech integration in ten minutes. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Speech Prosody.
  • O’Meara, C., Kung, S. S., & Majid, A. (in press). The challenge of olfactory ideophones: Reconsidering ineffability from the Totonac-Tepehua perspective. International Journal of American Linguistics.
  • Rohrer, P. L., Hong, Y., & Bosker, H. R. (in press). Gestures time to vowel onset and change the acoustics of the word in Mandarin. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Speech Prosody.
  • Rohrer, P. L., Bujok, R., Van Maastricht, L., & Bosker, H. R. (in press). The timing of beat gestures affects lexical stress perception in Spanish. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Speech Prosody.
  • Tamaoka, K., Yu, S., Zhang, J., Otsuka, Y., Lim, H., Koizumi, M., & Verdonschot, R. G. (in press). Syntactic structures in motion: Investigating word order variations in verb-final (Korean) and verb-initial (Tongan) languages. Frontiers in Psychology. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1360191.

    Abstract

    This study explored sentence processing in two typologically distinct languages: Korean, a verb-final language, and Tongan, a verb-initial language. The first experiment revealed that in Korean, sentences arranged in the scrambled OSV (Object, Subject, Verb) order were processed more slowly than those in the canonical SOV order, highlighting a scrambling effect. It also found that sentences with subject topicalization in the SOV order were processed as swiftly as those in the canonical form, whereas sentences with object topicalization in the OSV order were processed with speeds and accuracy comparable to scrambled sentences. However, since topicalization and scrambling in Korean use the same OSV order, independently distinguishing the effects of topicalization is challenging. In contrast, Tongan allows for a clear separation of word orders for topicalization and scrambling, facilitating an independent evaluation of topicalization effects. The second experiment, employing a maze task, confirmed that Tongan’s canonical VSO order was processed more efficiently than the VOS scrambled order, thereby verifying a scrambling effect. The third experiment investigated the effects of both scrambling and topicalization in Tongan, finding that the canonical VSO order was processed most efficiently in terms of speed and accuracy, unlike the VOS scrambled and SVO topicalized orders. Notably, the OVS object-topicalized order was processed as efficiently as the VSO canonical order, while the SVO subject-topicalized order was slower than VSO but faster than VOS. By independently assessing the effects of topicalization apart from scrambling, this study demonstrates that both subject and object topicalization in Tongan facilitate sentence processing, contradicting the predictions based on movement-based anticipation.
  • Uluşahin, O., Bosker, H. R., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (in press). Knowledge of a talker’s f0 affects subsequent perception of voiceless fricatives. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Speech Prosody.

    Abstract

    The human brain deals with the infinite variability of speech through multiple mechanisms. Some of them rely solely on information in the speech input (i.e., signal-driven) whereas some rely on linguistic or real-world knowledge (i.e., knowledge-driven). Many signal-driven perceptual processes rely on the enhancement of acoustic differences between incoming speech sounds, producing contrastive adjustments. For instance, when an ambiguous voiceless fricative is preceded by a high fundamental frequency (f0) sentence, the fricative is perceived as having lower a spectral center of gravity (CoG). However, it is not clear whether knowledge of a talker’s typical f0 can lead to similar contrastive effects. This study investigated a possible talker f0 effect on fricative CoG perception. In the exposure phase, two groups of participants (N=16 each) heard the same talker at high or low f0 for 20 minutes. Later, in the test phase, participants rated fixed-f0 /?ɔk/ tokens as being /sɔk/ (i.e., high CoG) or /ʃɔk/ (i.e., low CoG), where /?/ represents a fricative from a 5-step /s/-/ʃ/ continuum. Surprisingly, the data revealed the opposite of our contrastive hypothesis, whereby hearing high f0 instead biased perception towards high CoG. Thus, we demonstrated that talker f0 information affects fricative CoG perception.
  • Zettersten, M., Cox, C., Bergmann, C., Tsui, A. S. M., Soderstrom, M., Mayor, J., Lundwall, R. A., Lewis, M., Kosie, J. E., Kartushina, N., Fusaroli, R., Frank, M. C., Byers-Heinlein, K., Black, A. K., & Mathur, M. B. (in press). Evidence for infant-directed speech preference is consistent across large-scale, multi-site replication and meta-analysis. Open Mind: Discoveries in Cognitive Science.
  • Ahn, D., & Ferreira, V. S. (2024). Shared vs separate structural representations: Evidence from cumulative cross-language structural priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 77(1), 174-190. doi:10.1177/17470218231160942.

    Abstract

    How do bilingual speakers represent the information that guides the assembly of words into sentences for their two languages? The shared-syntax account argues that bilinguals have a single, shared representation of the sentence structures that exist in both languages. Structural priming has been shown to be equal within and across languages, providing support for the shared-syntax account. However, equivalent levels of structural priming within and across languages could be observed even if structural representations are separate and connected, due to frequent switches between languages, which is a property of standard structural priming paradigms. Here, we investigated whether cumulative structural priming (i.e., structural priming across blocks rather than trial-by-trial), which does not involve frequent switches between languages, also shows equivalent levels of structural priming within- and cross-languages. Mixed results point towards a possibility that cumulative structural priming can be more persistent within- compared to cross-languages, suggesting a separate-and-connected account of bilingual structural representations. We discuss these results in terms of the current literature on bilingual structural representations and highlight the value of diversity in paradigms and less-studied languages.
  • Ahn, D., Ferreira, V. S., & Gollan, T. H. (2024). Structural representation in the native language after extended second-language immersion: Evidence from acceptability judgment and memory-recall. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1017/S1366728923000950.

    Abstract

    Knowing the sentence structures (i.e., information that guides the assembly of words into sentences) is crucial in language knowledge. This knowledge must be stable for successful communication, but when learning another language that uses different structures, speakers must adjust their structural knowledge. Here, we examine how newly acquired second language (L2) knowledge influences first language (L1) structure knowledge. We compared two groups of Korean speakers: Korean-immersed speakers living in Korea (with little English exposure) versus English-immersed speakers who acquired English late and were living in the US (with more English exposure). We used acceptability judgment and sentence production tasks on Korean sentences in English and Korean word orders. Results suggest that acceptability and structural usage in L1 change after exposure to L2, but not in a way that matches L2 structures. Instead, L2 exposure might lead to increased difficulties in the selection and retrieval of word orders while using L1.
  • Bayram, F., Kubota, M., & Soares, S. M. P. (2024). Editorial: The next phase in heritage language studies: methodological considerations and advancements. Frontiers in Psychology, 15: 1392474. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1392474.
  • Bazzi, L., Brouwer, S., Khan, Z. N., Verdonschot, R. G., & Foucart, A. (2024). War feels less horrid in a foreign accent: Exploring the impact of the foreign accent on emotionality. Frontiers in Language Sciences, 3: 1357828. doi:10.3389/flang.2024.1357828.

    Abstract

    Introduction: The processing of a foreign accent is known to increase cognitive load for the native listener, establish psychological distance with the foreign-accented speaker, and even influence decision-making. Similarly, research in the field of emotional processing indicates that a foreign accent may impact the native listener's emotionality. Taking these aspects into consideration, the current study aimed to confirm the hypothesis that a foreign accent, compared to a native accent, significantly affects the processing of affective-laden words.

    Methods: In order to test this hypothesis, native Spanish speakers participated in an online experiment in which they rated on a Likert scale the valence and arousal of positive, neutral and negative words presented in native and foreign accents.

    Results: Results confirm a foreign accent effect on emotional processing whereby positively valenced words are perceived as less positive and negatively valenced words as less negative when processed in a foreign accent compared to a native accent. Moreover, the arousal provoked by emotion words is lesser when words are processed in a foreign than a native accent.

    Discussion: We propose possible, not mutually exclusive, explanations for the effect based on linguistic fluency, language attitudes and the linguistic context of language acquisition. Although further research is needed to confirm them, these explanations may be relevant for models of language comprehension and language learning. The observation of a reduction in emotionality resulting from a foreign accent is important for society as important decisions are made by representatives with diverse language and accent backgrounds. Our findings demonstrate that the choice of the language, which entails speaking in a native or a foreign accent, can be crucial when discussing topics such as the consequences of wars, pandemics, or natural disasters on human beings.

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  • Bianco, R., Zuk, N. J., Bigand, F., Quarta, E., Grasso, S., Arnese, F., Ravignani, A., Battaglia-Mayer, A., & Novembre, G. (2024). Neural encoding of musical expectations in a non-human primate. Current Biology, 34(2), 444-450. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2023.12.019.

    Abstract

    The appreciation of music is a universal trait of humankind.1,2,3 Evidence supporting this notion includes the ubiquity of music across cultures4,5,6,7 and the natural predisposition toward music that humans display early in development.8,9,10 Are we musical animals because of species-specific predispositions? This question cannot be answered by relying on cross-cultural or developmental studies alone, as these cannot rule out enculturation.11 Instead, it calls for cross-species experiments testing whether homologous neural mechanisms underlying music perception are present in non-human primates. We present music to two rhesus monkeys, reared without musical exposure, while recording electroencephalography (EEG) and pupillometry. Monkeys exhibit higher engagement and neural encoding of expectations based on the previously seeded musical context when passively listening to real music as opposed to shuffled controls. We then compare human and monkey neural responses to the same stimuli and find a species-dependent contribution of two fundamental musical features—pitch and timing12—in generating expectations: while timing- and pitch-based expectations13 are similarly weighted in humans, monkeys rely on timing rather than pitch. Together, these results shed light on the phylogeny of music perception. They highlight monkeys’ capacity for processing temporal structures beyond plain acoustic processing, and they identify a species-dependent contribution of time- and pitch-related features to the neural encoding of musical expectations.
  • Bignardi, G., Smit, D. J. A., Vessel, E. A., Trupp, M. D., Ticini, L. F., Fisher, S. E., & Polderman, T. J. C. (2024). Genetic effects on variability in visual aesthetic evaluations are partially shared across visual domains. Communications Biology, 7: 55. doi:10.1038/s42003-023-05710-4.

    Abstract

    The aesthetic values that individuals place on visual images are formed and shaped over a lifetime. However, whether the formation of visual aesthetic value is solely influenced by environmental exposure is still a matter of debate. Here, we considered differences in aesthetic value emerging across three visual domains: abstract images, scenes, and faces. We examined variability in two major dimensions of ordinary aesthetic experiences: taste-typicality and evaluation-bias. We build on two samples from the Australian Twin Registry where 1547 and 1231 monozygotic and dizygotic twins originally rated visual images belonging to the three domains. Genetic influences explained 26% to 41% of the variance in taste-typicality and evaluation-bias. Multivariate analyses showed that genetic effects were partially shared across visual domains. Results indicate that the heritability of major dimensions of aesthetic evaluations is comparable to that of other complex social traits, albeit lower than for other complex cognitive traits. The exception was taste-typicality for abstract images, for which we found only shared and unique environmental influences. Our study reveals that diverse sources of genetic and environmental variation influence the formation of aesthetic value across distinct visual domains and provides improved metrics to assess inter-individual differences in aesthetic value.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Boen, R., Kaufmann, T., Van der Meer, D., Frei, O., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Artiges, E., Atkins, J. R., Bauer, J., Benedetti, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brosch, K., Buckner, R. L., Cairns, M. J., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cichon, S. and 96 moreBoen, R., Kaufmann, T., Van der Meer, D., Frei, O., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Artiges, E., Atkins, J. R., Bauer, J., Benedetti, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brosch, K., Buckner, R. L., Cairns, M. J., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cichon, S., Corvin, A. P., Crespo Facorro, B., Dannlowski, U., David, F. S., De Geus, E. J., De Zubicaray, G. I., Desrivières, S., Doherty, J. L., Donohoe, G., Ehrlich, S., Eising, E., Espeseth, T., Fisher, S. E., Forstner, A. J., Fortaner Uyà, L., Frouin, V., Fukunaga, M., Ge, T., Glahn, D. C., Goltermann, J., Grabe, H. J., Green, M. J., Groenewold, N. A., Grotegerd, D., Hahn, T., Hashimoto, R., Hehir-Kwa, J. Y., Henskens, F. A., Holmes, A. J., Haberg, A. K., Haavik, J., Jacquemont, S., Jansen, A., Jockwitz, C., Jonsson, E. G., Kikuchi, M., Kircher, T., Kumar, K., Le Hellard, S., Leu, C., Linden, D. E., Liu, J., Loughnan, R., Mather, K. A., McMahon, K. L., McRae, A. F., Medland, S. E., Meinert, S., Moreau, C. A., Morris, D. W., Mowry, B. J., Muhleisen, T. W., Nenadić, I., Nöthen, M. M., Nyberg, L., Owen, M. J., Paolini, M., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Persson, K., Quidé, Y., Reis Marques, T., Sachdev, P. S., Sando, S. B., Schall, U., Scott, R. J., Selbæk, G., Shumskaya, E., Silva, A. I., Sisodiya, S. M., Stein, F., Stein, D. J., Straube, B., Streit, F., Strike, L. T., Teumer, A., Teutenberg, L., Thalamuthu, A., Tooney, P. A., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Trollor, J. N., Van 't Ent, D., Van den Bree, M. B. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Vazquez-Bourgon, J., Volzke, H., Wen, W., Wittfeld, K., Ching, C. R., Westlye, L. T., Thompson, P. M., Bearden, C. E., Selmer, K. K., Alnæs, D., Andreassen, O. A., & Sonderby, I. E. (2024). Beyond the global brain differences: Intra-individual variability differences in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers. Biological Psychiatry, 95(2), 147-160. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.08.018.

    Abstract

    Background

    The 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs exhibit regional and global brain differences compared to non-carriers. However, interpreting regional differences is challenging if a global difference drives the regional brain differences. Intra-individual variability measures can be used to test for regional differences beyond global differences in brain structure.

    Methods

    Magnetic resonance imaging data were used to obtain regional brain values for 1q21.1 distal deletion (n=30) and duplication (n=27), and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion (n=170) and duplication (n=243) carriers and matched non-carriers (n=2,350). Regional intra-deviation (RID) scores i.e., the standardized difference between an individual’s regional difference and global difference, were used to test for regional differences that diverge from the global difference.

    Results

    For the 1q21.1 distal deletion carriers, cortical surface area for regions in the medial visual cortex, posterior cingulate and temporal pole differed less, and regions in the prefrontal and superior temporal cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical surface area. For the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers, cortical thickness in regions in the medial visual cortex, auditory cortex and temporal pole differed less, and the prefrontal and somatosensory cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical thickness.

    Conclusion

    We find evidence for regional effects beyond differences in global brain measures in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs. The results provide new insight into brain profiling of the 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs, with the potential to increase our understanding of mechanisms involved in altered neurodevelopment.

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  • Casillas, M., Foushee, R., Méndez Girón, J., Polian, G., & Brown, P. (2024). Little evidence for a noun bias in Tseltal spontaneous speech. First Language. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/01427237231216571.

    Abstract

    This study examines whether children acquiring Tseltal (Mayan) demonstrate a noun bias – an overrepresentation of nouns in their early vocabularies. Nouns, specifically concrete and animate nouns, are argued to universally predominate in children’s early vocabularies because their referents are naturally available as bounded concepts to which linguistic labels can be mapped. This early advantage for noun learning has been documented using multiple methods and across a diverse collection of language populations. However, past evidence bearing on a noun bias in Tseltal learners has been mixed. Tseltal grammatical features and child–caregiver interactional patterns dampen the salience of nouns and heighten the salience of verbs, leading to the prediction of a diminished noun bias and perhaps even an early predominance of verbs. We here analyze the use of noun and verb stems in children’s spontaneous speech from egocentric daylong recordings of 29 Tseltal learners between 0;9 and 4;4. We find weak to no evidence for a noun bias using two separate analytical approaches on the same data; one analysis yields a preliminary suggestion of a flipped outcome (i.e. a verb bias). We discuss the implications of these findings for broader theories of learning bias in early lexical development.
  • Çetinçelik, M., Rowland, C. F., & Snijders, T. M. (2024). Does the speaker’s eye gaze facilitate infants’ word segmentation from continuous speech? An ERP study. Developmental Science, 27(2): e13436. doi:10.1111/desc.13436.

    Abstract

    The environment in which infants learn language is multimodal and rich with social cues. Yet, the effects of such cues, such as eye contact, on early speech perception have not been closely examined. This study assessed the role of ostensive speech, signalled through the speaker's eye gaze direction, on infants’ word segmentation abilities. A familiarisation-then-test paradigm was used while electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded. Ten-month-old Dutch-learning infants were familiarised with audio-visual stories in which a speaker recited four sentences with one repeated target word. The speaker addressed them either with direct or with averted gaze while speaking. In the test phase following each story, infants heard familiar and novel words presented via audio-only. Infants’ familiarity with the words was assessed using event-related potentials (ERPs). As predicted, infants showed a negative-going ERP familiarity effect to the isolated familiarised words relative to the novel words over the left-frontal region of interest during the test phase. While the word familiarity effect did not differ as a function of the speaker's gaze over the left-frontal region of interest, there was also a (not predicted) positive-going early ERP familiarity effect over right fronto-central and central electrodes in the direct gaze condition only. This study provides electrophysiological evidence that infants can segment words from audio-visual speech, regardless of the ostensiveness of the speaker's communication. However, the speaker's gaze direction seems to influence the processing of familiar words.
  • Dalla Bella, S., Janaqi, S., Benoit, C.-E., Farrugia, N., Bégel, V., Verga, L., Harding, E. E., & Kotz, S. A. (2024). Unravelling individual rhythmic abilities using machine learning. Scientific Reports, 14(1): 1135. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-51257-7.

    Abstract

    Humans can easily extract the rhythm of a complex sound, like music, and move to its regular beat, like in dance. These abilities are modulated by musical training and vary significantly in untrained individuals. The causes of this variability are multidimensional and typically hard to grasp in single tasks. To date we lack a comprehensive model capturing the rhythmic fingerprints of both musicians and non-musicians. Here we harnessed machine learning to extract a parsimonious model of rhythmic abilities, based on behavioral testing (with perceptual and motor tasks) of individuals with and without formal musical training (n = 79). We demonstrate that variability in rhythmic abilities and their link with formal and informal music experience can be successfully captured by profiles including a minimal set of behavioral measures. These findings highlight that machine learning techniques can be employed successfully to distill profiles of rhythmic abilities, and ultimately shed light on individual variability and its relationship with both formal musical training and informal musical experiences.

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    supplementary materials
  • Dikshit, A. P., Das, D., Samal, R. R., Parashar, K., Mishra, C., & Parashar, S. (2024). Optimization of (Ba1-xCax)(Ti0.9Sn0.1)O3 ceramics in X-band using Machine Learning. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 982: 173797. doi:10.1016/j.jallcom.2024.173797.

    Abstract

    Developing efficient electromagnetic interference shielding materials has become significantly important in present times. This paper reports a series of (Ba1-xCax)(Ti0.9Sn0.1)O3 (BCTS) ((x =0, 0.01, 0.05, & 0.1)ceramics synthesized by conventional method which were studied for electromagnetic interference shielding (EMI) applications in X-band (8-12.4 GHz). EMI shielding properties and all S parameters (S11 & S12) of BCTS ceramic pellets were measured in the frequency range (8-12.4 GHz) using a Vector Network Analyser (VNA). The BCTS ceramic pellets for x = 0.05 showed maximum total effective shielding of 46 dB indicating good shielding behaviour for high-frequency applications. However, the development of lead-free ceramics with different concentrations usually requires iterative experiments resulting in, longer development cycles and higher costs. To address this, we used a machine learning (ML) strategy to predict the EMI shielding for different concentrations and experimentally verify the concentration predicted to give the best EMI shielding. The ML model predicted BCTS ceramics with concentration (x = 0.06, 0.07, 0.08, and 0.09) to have higher shielding values. On experimental verification, a shielding value of 58 dB was obtained for x = 0.08, which was significantly higher than what was obtained experimentally before applying the ML approach. Our results show the potential of using ML in accelerating the process of optimal material development, reducing the need for repeated experimental measures significantly.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Enfield, N. J. (2024). Interactive repair and the foundations of language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 28(1), 30-42. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2023.09.003.

    Abstract

    The robustness and flexibility of human language is underpinned by a machinery of interactive repair. Repair is deeply intertwined with two core properties of human language: reflexivity (it can communicate about itself) and accountability (it is used to publicly enforce social norms). We review empirical and theoretical advances from across the cognitive sciences that mark interactive repair as a domain of pragmatic universals, a key place to study metacognition in interaction, and a system that enables collective computation. This provides novel insights on the role of repair in comparative cognition, language development and human-computer interaction. As an always-available fallback option and an infrastructure for negotiating social commitments, interactive repair is foundational to the resilience, complexity, and flexibility of human language.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2024). Interjections at the heart of language. Annual Review of Linguistics, 10, 257-277. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-031422-124743.
  • Eekhof, L. S., & Mar, R. A. (2024). Does reading about fictional minds make us more curious about real ones? Language and Cognition, 16(1), 176-196. doi:10.1017/langcog.2023.30.

    Abstract

    Although there is a large body of research assessing whether exposure to narratives boosts social cognition immediately afterward, not much research has investigated the underlying mechanism of this putative effect. This experiment investigates the possibility that reading a narrative increases social curiosity directly afterward, which might explain the short-term boosts in social cognition reported by some others. We developed a novel measure of state social curiosity and collected data from participants (N = 222) who were randomly assigned to read an excerpt of narrative fiction or expository nonfiction. Contrary to our expectations, we found that those who read a narrative exhibited less social curiosity afterward than those who read an expository text. This result was not moderated by trait social curiosity. An exploratory analysis uncovered that the degree to which texts present readers with social targets predicted less social curiosity. Our experiment demonstrates that reading narratives, or possibly texts with social content in general, may engage and fatigue social-cognitive abilities, causing a temporary decrease in social curiosity. Such texts might also temporarily satisfy the need for social connection, temporarily reducing social curiosity. Both accounts are in line with theories describing how narratives result in better social cognition over the long term.
  • Eising, E., Vino, A., Mabie, H. L., Campbell, T. F., Shriberg, L. D., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Genome sequencing of idiopathic speech delay. Human Mutation, 2024: 9692863. doi:10.1155/2024/9692863.

    Abstract

    Genetic investigations of people with speech and language disorders can provide windows into key aspects of human biology. Most genomic research into impaired speech development has so far focused on childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with coordinating rapid fine motor sequences that underlie proficient speech. In 2001, pathogenic variants of FOXP2 provided the first molecular genetic accounts of CAS aetiology. Since then, disruptions in several other genes have been implicated in CAS, with a substantial proportion of cases being explained by high-penetrance variants. However, the genetic architecture underlying other speech-related disorders remains less well understood. Thus, in the present study, we used systematic DNA sequencing methods to investigate idiopathic speech delay, as characterized by delayed speech development in the absence of a motor speech diagnosis (such as CAS), a language/reading disorder, or intellectual disability. We performed genome sequencing in a cohort of 23 children with a rigorous diagnosis of idiopathic speech delay. For roughly half of the sample (ten probands), sufficient DNA was also available for genome sequencing in both parents, allowing discovery of de novo variants. In the thirteen singleton probands, we focused on identifying loss-of-function and likely damaging missense variants in genes intolerant to such mutations. We found that one speech delay proband carried a pathogenic frameshift deletion in SETD1A, a gene previously implicated in a broader variable monogenic syndrome characterized by global developmental problems including delayed speech and/or language development, mild intellectual disability, facial dysmorphisms, and behavioural and psychiatric symptoms. Of note, pathogenic SETD1A variants have been independently reported in children with CAS in two separate studies. In other probands in our speech delay cohort, likely pathogenic missense variants were identified affecting highly conserved amino acids in key functional domains of SPTBN1 and ARF3. Overall, this study expands the phenotype spectrum associated with pathogenic SETD1A variants, to also include idiopathic speech delay without CAS or intellectual disability, and suggests additional novel potential candidate genes that may harbour high-penetrance variants that can disrupt speech development.

    Additional information

    supplemental table
  • Ge, R., Yu, Y., Qi, Y. X., Fan, Y.-n., Chen, S., Gao, C., Haas, S. S., New, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buckner, R., Caseras, X., Crivello, F., Crone, E. A., Erk, S., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Glahn, D. C., Dannlowski, U. Ge, R., Yu, Y., Qi, Y. X., Fan, Y.-n., Chen, S., Gao, C., Haas, S. S., New, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buckner, R., Caseras, X., Crivello, F., Crone, E. A., Erk, S., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Glahn, D. C., Dannlowski, U., Grotegerd, D., Gruber, O., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Schumann, G., Tamnes, C. K., Walter, H., Wierenga, L. M., Jahanshad, N., Thompson, P. M., Frangou, S., & ENIGMA Lifespan Working Group (2024). Normative modelling of brain morphometry across the lifespan with CentileBrain: Algorithm benchmarking and model optimisation. The Lancet Digital Health, 6(3), e211-e221. doi:10.1016/S2589-7500(23)00250-9.

    Abstract

    The value of normative models in research and clinical practice relies on their robustness and a systematic comparison of different modelling algorithms and parameters; however, this has not been done to date. We aimed to identify the optimal approach for normative modelling of brain morphometric data through systematic empirical benchmarking, by quantifying the accuracy of different algorithms and identifying parameters that optimised model performance. We developed this framework with regional morphometric data from 37 407 healthy individuals (53% female and 47% male; aged 3–90 years) from 87 datasets from Europe, Australia, the USA, South Africa, and east Asia following a comparative evaluation of eight algorithms and multiple covariate combinations pertaining to image acquisition and quality, parcellation software versions, global neuroimaging measures, and longitudinal stability. The multivariate fractional polynomial regression (MFPR) emerged as the preferred algorithm, optimised with non-linear polynomials for age and linear effects of global measures as covariates. The MFPR models showed excellent accuracy across the lifespan and within distinct age-bins and longitudinal stability over a 2-year period. The performance of all MFPR models plateaued at sample sizes exceeding 3000 study participants. This model can inform about the biological and behavioural implications of deviations from typical age-related neuroanatomical changes and support future study designs. The model and scripts described here are freely available through CentileBrain.
  • He, J., Frances, C., Creemers, A., & Brehm, L. (2024). Effects of irrelevant unintelligible and intelligible background speech on spoken language production. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/17470218231219971.

    Abstract

    Earlier work has explored spoken word production during irrelevant background speech such as intelligible and unintelligible word lists. The present study compared how different types of irrelevant background speech (word lists vs. sentences) influenced spoken word production relative to a quiet control condition, and whether the influence depended on the intelligibility of the background speech. Experiment 1 presented native Dutch speakers with Chinese word lists and sentences. Experiment 2 presented a similar group with Dutch word lists and sentences. In both experiments, the lexical selection demands in speech production were manipulated by varying name agreement (high vs. low) of the to-be-named pictures. Results showed that background speech, regardless of its intelligibility, disrupted spoken word production relative to a quiet condition, but no effects of word lists versus sentences in either language were found. Moreover, the disruption by intelligible background speech compared with the quiet condition was eliminated when planning low name agreement pictures. These findings suggest that any speech, even unintelligible speech, interferes with production, which implies that the disruption of spoken word production is mainly phonological in nature. The disruption by intelligible background speech can be reduced or eliminated via top–down attentional engagement.
  • Frances, C. (2024). Good enough processing: What have we learned in the 20 years since Ferreira et al. (2002)? Frontiers in Psychology, 15: 1323700. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1323700.

    Abstract

    Traditionally, language processing has been thought of in terms of complete processing of the input. In contrast to this, Ferreira and colleagues put forth the idea of good enough processing. The proposal was that during everyday processing, ambiguities remain unresolved, we rely on heuristics instead of full analyses, and we carry out deep processing only if we need to for the task at hand. This idea has gathered substantial traction since its conception. In the current work, I review the papers that have tested the three key claims of good enough processing: ambiguities remain unresolved and underspecified, we use heuristics to parse sentences, and deep processing is only carried out if required by the task. I find mixed evidence for these claims and conclude with an appeal to further refinement of the claims and predictions of the theory.
  • Giglio, L., Ostarek, M., Sharoh, D., & Hagoort, P. (2024). Diverging neural dynamics for syntactic structure building in naturalistic speaking and listening. PNAS, 121(11): e2310766121. doi:10.1073/pnas.2310766121.

    Abstract

    The neural correlates of sentence production have been mostly studied with constraining task paradigms that introduce artificial task effects. In this study, we aimed to gain a better understanding of syntactic processing in spontaneous production vs. naturalistic comprehension. We extracted word-by-word metrics of phrase-structure building with top-down and bottom-up parsers that make different hypotheses about the timing of structure building. In comprehension, structure building proceeded in an integratory fashion and led to an increase in activity in posterior temporal and inferior frontal areas. In production, structure building was anticipatory and predicted an increase in activity in the inferior frontal gyrus. Newly developed production-specific parsers highlighted the anticipatory and incremental nature of structure building in production, which was confirmed by a converging analysis of the pausing patterns in speech. Overall, the results showed that the unfolding of syntactic processing diverges between speaking and listening.
  • Goltermann*, O., Alagöz*, G., Molz, B., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Neuroimaging genomics as a window into the evolution of human sulcal organization. Cerebral Cortex, 34(3): bhae078. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhae078.

    Abstract

    * Ole Goltermann and Gökberk Alagöz contributed equally.
    Primate brain evolution has involved prominent expansions of the cerebral cortex, with largest effects observed in the human lineage. Such expansions were accompanied by fine-grained anatomical alterations, including increased cortical folding. However, the molecular bases of evolutionary alterations in human sulcal organization are not yet well understood. Here, we integrated data from recently completed large-scale neuroimaging genetic analyses with annotations of the human genome relevant to various periods and events in our evolutionary history. These analyses identified single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) heritability enrichments in fetal brain human-gained enhancer (HGE) elements for a number of sulcal structures, including the central sulcus, which is implicated in human hand dexterity. We zeroed in on a genomic region that harbors DNA variants associated with left central sulcus shape, an HGE element, and genetic loci involved in neurogenesis including ZIC4, to illustrate the value of this approach for probing the complex factors contributing to human sulcal evolution.

    Additional information

    supplementary data link to preprint
  • González-Peñas, J., Alloza, C., Brouwer, R., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Costas, J., González-Lois, N., Gallego, A. G., De Hoyos, L., Gurriarán, X., Andreu-Bernabeu, Á., Romero-García, R., Fañanas, L., Bobes, J., Pinto, A. G., Crespo-Facorro, B., Martorell, L., Arrojo, M., Vilella, E., Guitiérrez-Zotes, A., Perez-Rando, M. González-Peñas, J., Alloza, C., Brouwer, R., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Costas, J., González-Lois, N., Gallego, A. G., De Hoyos, L., Gurriarán, X., Andreu-Bernabeu, Á., Romero-García, R., Fañanas, L., Bobes, J., Pinto, A. G., Crespo-Facorro, B., Martorell, L., Arrojo, M., Vilella, E., Guitiérrez-Zotes, A., Perez-Rando, M., Moltó, M. D., CIBERSAM group, Buimer, E., Van Haren, N., Cahn, W., O’Donovan, M., Kahn, R. S., Arango, C., Hulshoff Pol, H., Janssen, J., & Schnack, H. (2024). Accelerated cortical thinning in schizophrenia is associated with rare and common predisposing variation to schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders. Biological Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2024.03.011.

    Abstract

    Background

    Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder characterized by increased cortical thinning throughout the lifespan. Studies have reported a shared genetic basis between schizophrenia and cortical thickness. However, no genes whose expression is related to abnormal cortical thinning in schizophrenia have been identified.

    Methods

    We conducted linear mixed models to estimate the rates of accelerated cortical thinning across 68 regions from the Desikan-Killiany atlas in individuals with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls from a large longitudinal sample (NCases = 169 and NControls = 298, aged 16-70 years). We studied the correlation between gene expression data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas and accelerated thinning estimates across cortical regions. We finally explored the functional and genetic underpinnings of the genes most contributing to accelerated thinning.

    Results

    We described a global pattern of accelerated cortical thinning in individuals with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls. Genes underexpressed in cortical regions exhibiting this accelerated thinning were downregulated in several psychiatric disorders and were enriched for both common and rare disrupting variation for schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders. In contrast, none of these enrichments were observed for baseline cross-sectional cortical thickness differences.

    Conclusions

    Our findings suggest that accelerated cortical thinning, rather than cortical thickness alone, serves as an informative phenotype for neurodevelopmental disruptions in schizophrenia. We highlight the genetic and transcriptomic correlates of this accelerated cortical thinning, emphasizing the need for future longitudinal studies to elucidate the role of genetic variation and the temporal-spatial dynamics of gene expression in brain development and aging in schizophrenia.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Goral, M., Antolovic, K., Hejazi, Z., & Schulz, F. M. (2024). Using a translanguaging framework to examine language production in a trilingual person with aphasia. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/02699206.2024.2328240.

    Abstract

    When language abilities in aphasia are assessed in clinical and research settings, the standard practice is to examine each language of a multilingual person separately. But many multilingual individuals, with and without aphasia, mix their languages regularly when they communicate with other speakers who share their languages. We applied a novel approach to scoring language production of a multilingual person with aphasia. Our aim was to discover whether the assessment outcome would differ meaningfully when we count accurate responses in only the target language of the assessment session versus when we apply a translanguaging framework, that is, count all accurate responses, regardless of the language in which they were produced. The participant is a Farsi-German-English speaking woman with chronic moderate aphasia. We examined the participant’s performance on two picture-naming tasks, an answering wh-question task, and an elicited narrative task. The results demonstrated that scores in English, the participant’s third-learned and least-impaired language did not differ between the two scoring methods. Performance in German, the participant’s moderately impaired second language benefited from translanguaging-based scoring across the board. In Farsi, her weakest language post-CVA, the participant’s scores were higher under the translanguaging-based scoring approach in some but not all of the tasks. Our findings suggest that whether a translanguaging-based scoring makes a difference in the results obtained depends on relative language abilities and on pragmatic constraints, with additional influence of the linguistic distances between the languages in question.
  • Guzmán Chacón, E., Ovando-Tellez, M., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., & Forkel, S. J. (2024). Embracing digital innovation in neuroscience: 2023 in review at NEUROCCINO. Brain Structure & Function, 229, 251-255. doi:10.1007/s00429-024-02768-6.
  • Hagoort, P., & Özyürek, A. (2024). Extending the architecture of language from a multimodal perspective. Topics in Cognitive Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/tops.12728.

    Abstract

    Language is inherently multimodal. In spoken languages, combined spoken and visual signals (e.g., co-speech gestures) are an integral part of linguistic structure and language representation. This requires an extension of the parallel architecture, which needs to include the visual signals concomitant to speech. We present the evidence for the multimodality of language. In addition, we propose that distributional semantics might provide a format for integrating speech and co-speech gestures in a common semantic representation.
  • Hintz, F., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2024). Using psychometric network analysis to examine the components of spoken word recognition. Journal of Cognition, 7(1): 10. doi:10.5334/joc.340.

    Abstract

    Using language requires access to domain-specific linguistic representations, but also draws on domain-general cognitive skills. A key issue in current psycholinguistics is to situate linguistic processing in the network of human cognitive abilities. Here, we focused on spoken word recognition and used an individual differences approach to examine the links of scores in word recognition tasks with scores on tasks capturing effects of linguistic experience, general processing speed, working memory, and non-verbal reasoning. 281 young native speakers of Dutch completed an extensive test battery assessing these cognitive skills. We used psychometric network analysis to map out the direct links between the scores, that is, the unique variance between pairs of scores, controlling for variance shared with the other scores. The analysis revealed direct links between word recognition skills and processing speed. We discuss the implications of these results and the potential of psychometric network analysis for studying language processing and its embedding in the broader cognitive system.

    Additional information

    network analysis of dataset A and B
  • Hintz, F., & Meyer, A. S. (Eds.). (2024). Individual differences in language skills [Special Issue]. Journal of Cognition, 7(1).
  • Hope, T. M. H., Neville, D., Talozzi, L., Foulon, C., Forkel, S. J., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., & Price, C. J. (2024). Testing the disconnectome symptom discoverer model on out-of-sample post-stroke language outcomes. Brain, 147(2), e11-e13. doi:10.1093/brain/awad352.

    Abstract

    Stroke is common, and its consequent brain damage can cause various cognitive impairments. Associations between where and how much brain lesion damage a patient has suffered, and the particular impairments that injury has caused (lesion-symptom associations) offer potentially compelling insights into how the brain implements cognition.1 A better understanding of those associations can also fill a gap in current stroke medicine by helping us to predict how individual patients might recover from post-stroke impairments.2 Most recent work in this area employs machine learning models trained with data from stroke patients whose mid-to-long-term outcomes are known.2-4 These machine learning models are tested by predicting new outcomes—typically scores on standardized tests of post-stroke impairment—for patients whose data were not used to train the model. Traditionally, these validation results have been shared in peer-reviewed publications describing the model and its training. But recently, and for the first time in this field (as far as we know), one of these pre-trained models has been made public—The Disconnectome Symptom Discoverer model (DSD) which draws its predictors from structural disconnection information inferred from stroke patients’ brain MRI.5

    Here, we test the DSD model on wholly independent data, never seen by the model authors, before they published it. Specifically, we test whether its predictive performance is just as accurate as (i.e. not significantly worse than) that reported in the original (Washington University) dataset, when predicting new patients’ outcomes at a similar time post-stroke (∼1 year post-stroke) and also in another independent sample tested later (5+ years) post-stroke. A failure to generalize the DSD model occurs if it performs significantly better in the Washington data than in our data from patients tested at a similar time point (∼1 year post-stroke). In addition, a significant decrease in predictive performance for the more chronic sample would be evidence that lesion-symptom associations differ at ∼1 year post-stroke and >5 years post-stroke.
  • De Hoyos, L., Barendse, M. T., Schlag, F., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Klassmann, A., Buitelaar, J., Verhulst, B., Fisher, S. E., Rai, D., & St Pourcain, B. (2024). Structural models of genome-wide covariance identify multiple common dimensions in autism. Nature Communications, 15: 1770. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-46128-8.

    Abstract

    Common genetic variation has been associated with multiple symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, our knowledge of shared genetic factor structures contributing to this highly heterogeneous neurodevelopmental condition is limited. Here, we developed a structural equation modelling framework to directly model genome-wide covariance across core and non-core ASD phenotypes, studying autistic individuals of European descent using a case-only design. We identified three independent genetic factors most strongly linked to language/cognition, behaviour and motor development, respectively, when studying a population-representative sample (N=5,331). These analyses revealed novel associations. For example, developmental delay in acquiring personal-social skills was inversely related to language, while developmental motor delay was linked to self-injurious behaviour. We largely confirmed the three-factorial structure in independent ASD-simplex families (N=1,946), but uncovered simplex-specific genetic overlap between behaviour and language phenotypes. Thus, the common genetic architecture in ASD is multi-dimensional and contributes, in combination with ascertainment-specific patterns, to phenotypic heterogeneity.
  • Huettig, F., & Hulstijn, J. (2024). The Enhanced Literate Mind Hypothesis. Topics in Cognitive Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/tops.12731.

    Abstract

    In the present paper we describe the Enhanced Literate Mind (ELM) hypothesis. As individuals learn to read and write, they are, from then on, exposed to extensive written-language input and become literate. We propose that acquisition and proficient processing of written language (‘literacy’) leads to, both, increased language knowledge as well as enhanced language and non-language (perceptual and cognitive) skills. We also suggest that all neurotypical native language users, including illiterate, low literate, and high literate individuals, share a Basic Language Cognition (BLC) in the domain of oral informal language. Finally, we discuss the possibility that the acquisition of ELM leads to some degree of ‘knowledge parallelism’ between BLC and ELM in literate language users, which has implications for empirical research on individual and situational differences in spoken language processing.
  • Kakimoto, N., Wongratwanich, P., Shimamoto, H., Kitisubkanchana, J., Tsujimoto, T., Shimabukuro, K., Verdonschot, R. G., Hasegawa, Y., & Murakami, S. (2024). Comparison of T2 values of the displaced unilateral disc and retrodiscal tissue of temporomandibular joints and their implications. Scientific Reports, 14: 1705. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-52092-6.

    Abstract

    Unilateral anterior disc displacement (uADD) has been shown to affect the contralateral joints qualitatively. This study aims to assess the quantitative T2 values of the articular disc and retrodiscal tissue of patients with uADD at 1.5 Tesla (T). The study included 65 uADD patients and 17 volunteers. The regions of interest on T2 maps were evaluated. The affected joints demonstrated significantly higher articular disc T2 values (31.5 ± 3.8 ms) than those of the unaffected joints (28.9 ± 4.5 ms) (P < 0.001). For retrodiscal tissue, T2 values of the unaffected (37.8 ± 5.8 ms) and affected joints (41.6 ± 7.1 ms) were significantly longer than those of normal volunteers (34.4 ± 3.2 ms) (P < 0.001). Furthermore, uADD without reduction (WOR) joints (43.3 ± 6.8 ms) showed statistically higher T2 values than the unaffected joints of both uADD with reduction (WR) (33.9 ± 3.8 ms) and uADDWOR (38.9 ± 5.8 ms), and the affected joints of uADDWR (35.8 ± 4.4 ms). The mean T2 value of the unaffected joints of uADDWOR was significantly longer than that of healthy volunteers (P < 0.001). These results provided quantitative evidence for the influence of the affected joints on the contralateral joints.
  • Karaca, F., Brouwer, S., Unsworth, S., & Huettig, F. (2024). Morphosyntactic predictive processing in adult heritage speakers: Effects of cue availability and spoken and written language experience. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 39(1), 118-135. doi:10.1080/23273798.2023.2254424.

    Abstract

    We investigated prediction skills of adult heritage speakers and the role of written and spoken language experience on predictive processing. Using visual world eye-tracking, we focused on predictive use of case-marking cues in verb-medial and verb-final sentences in Turkish with adult Turkish heritage speakers (N = 25) and Turkish monolingual speakers (N = 24). Heritage speakers predicted in verb-medial sentences (when verb-semantic and case-marking cues were available), but not in verb-final sentences (when only case-marking cues were available) while monolinguals predicted in both. Prediction skills of heritage speakers were modulated by their spoken language experience in Turkish and written language experience in both languages. Overall, these results strongly suggest that verb-semantic information is needed to scaffold the use of morphosyntactic cues for prediction in heritage speakers. The findings also support the notion that both spoken and written language experience play an important role in predictive spoken language processing.
  • Kimmel, M., Schneider, S. M., & Fisher, V. J. (2024). "Introjecting" imagery: A process model of how minds and bodies are co-enacted. Language Sciences, 102: 101602. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2023.101602.

    Abstract

    Somatic practices frequently use imagery, typically via verbal instructions, to scaffold sensorimotor organization and experience, a phenomenon we term “introjection”. We argue that introjection is an imagery practice in which sensorimotor and conceptual aspects are co-orchestrated, suggesting the necessity of crosstalk between somatics, phenomenology, psychology, embodied-enactive cognition, and linguistic research on embodied simulation. We presently focus on the scarcely addressed details of the process necessary to enact instructions of a literal or metaphoric nature through the body. Based on vignettes from dance, Feldenkrais, and Taichi practice, we describe introjection as a complex form of processual sense-making, in which context-interpretive, mental, attentional and physical sub-processes recursively braid. Our analysis focuses on how mental and body-related processes progressively align, inform and augment each other. This dialectic requires emphasis on the active body, which implies that uni-directional models (concept ⇒ body) are inadequate and should be replaced by interactionist alternatives (concept ⇔ body). Furthermore, we emphasize that both the source image itself and the body are specifically conceptualized for the context through constructive operations, and both evolve through their interplay. At this level introjection employs representational operations that are embedded in enactive dynamics of a fully situated person.
  • Kocsis, K., Düngen, D., Jadoul, Y., & Ravignani, A. (2024). Harbour seals use rhythmic percussive signalling in interaction and display. Animal Behaviour, 207, 223-234. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2023.09.014.

    Abstract

    Multimodal rhythmic signalling abounds across animal taxa. Studying its mechanisms and functions can highlight adaptive components in highly complex rhythmic behaviours, like dance and music. Pinnipeds, such as the harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, are excellent comparative models to assess rhythmic capacities. Harbour seals engage in rhythmic percussive behaviours which, until now, have not been described in detail. In our study, eight zoo-housed harbour seals (two pups, two juveniles and four adults) were passively monitored by audio and video during their pupping/breeding season. All juvenile and adult animals performed percussive signalling with their fore flippers in agonistic conditions, both on land and in water. Flipper slap sequences produced on the ground or on the seals' bodies were often highly regular in their interval duration, that is, were quasi-isochronous, at a 200–600 beats/min pace. Three animals also showed significant lateralization in slapping. In contrast to slapping on land, display slapping in water, performed only by adult males, showed slower tempo by one order of magnitude, and a rather motivic temporal structure. Our work highlights that percussive communication is a significant part of harbour seals' behavioural repertoire. We hypothesize that its forms of rhythm production may reflect adaptive functions such as regulating internal states and advertising individual traits.
  • Kram, L., Ohlerth, A.-K., Ille, S., Meyer, B., & Krieg, S. M. (2024). CompreTAP: Feasibility and reliability of a new language comprehension mapping task via preoperative navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cortex, 171, 347-369. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2023.09.023.

    Abstract

    Objective: Stimulation-based language mapping approaches that are used pre- and intra-operatively employ predominantly overt language tasks requiring sufficient language pro-duction abilities. Yet, these production-based setups are often not feasible in brain tumor patients with severe expressive aphasia. This pilot study evaluated the feasibility and reliability of a newly developed language comprehension task with preoperative navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS).
    Methods: Fifteen healthy subjects and six brain tumor patients with severe expressiven aphasia unable to perform classic overt naming tasks underwent preoperative nTMS language mapping based on an auditory single-word Comprehension TAsk for Perioperative mapping (CompreTAP). Comprehension was probed by button-press responses to auditory stimuli, hence not requiring overt language responses. Positive comprehension areas were identified when stimulation elicited an incorrect or delayed button press. Error categories,case-wise cortical error rate distribution and inter-rater reliability between two experienced specialists were examined.
    Results: Overall, the new setup showed to be feasible. Comprehension-disruptions induced by nTMS manifested in no responses, delayed or hesitant responses, searching behavior or selection of wrong target items across all patients and controls and could be performed even in patients with severe expressive aphasia. The analysis agreement between both specialists was substantial for classifying comprehension-positive and -negative sites. Extensive left-hemispheric individual cortical comprehension sites were identified for all patients. Apart from one case presenting with transient worsening of aphasic symptoms.
  • Lameira, A. R., Hardus, M. E., Ravignani, A., Raimondi, T., & Gamba, M. (2024). Recursive self-embedded vocal motifs in wild orangutans. eLife, 12: RP88348. doi:10.7554/eLife.88348.3.

    Abstract

    Recursive procedures that allow placing a vocal signal inside another of a similar kind provide a neuro-computational blueprint for syntax and phonology in spoken language and human song. There are, however, no known vocal sequences among nonhuman primates arranged in self-embedded patterns that evince vocal recursion or potential incipient or evolutionary transitional forms thereof, suggesting a neuro-cognitive transformation exclusive to humans. Here, we uncover that wild flanged male orangutan long calls feature rhythmically isochronous call sequences nested within isochronous call sequences, consistent with two hierarchical strata. Remarkably, three temporally and acoustically distinct call rhythms in the lower stratum were not related to the overarching rhythm at the higher stratum by any low multiples, which suggests that these recursive structures were neither the result of parallel non-hierarchical procedures nor anatomical artifacts of bodily constraints or resonances. Findings represent a case of temporally recursive hominid vocal combinatorics in the absence of syntax, semantics, phonology, or music. Second-order combinatorics, ‘sequences within sequences’, involving hierarchically organized and cyclically structured vocal sounds in ancient hominids may have preluded the evolution of recursion in modern language-able humans.
  • Leonetti, S., Cimarelli, G., Hersh, T. A., & Ravignani, A. (2024). Why do dogs wag their tails? Biology Letters, 20(1): 20230407. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2023.0407.

    Abstract

    Tail wagging is a conspicuous behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Despite how much meaning humans attribute to this display, its quantitative description and evolutionary history are rarely studied. We summarize what is known about the mechanism, ontogeny, function and evolution of this behaviour. We suggest two hypotheses to explain its increased occurrence and frequency in dogs compared to other canids. During the domestication process, enhanced rhythmic tail wagging behaviour could have (i) arisen as a by-product of selection for other traits, such as docility and tameness, or (ii) been directly selected by humans, due to our proclivity for rhythmic stimuli. We invite testing of these hypotheses through neurobiological and ethological experiments, which will shed light on one of the most readily observed yet understudied animal behaviours. Targeted tail wagging research can be a window into both canine ethology and the evolutionary history of characteristic human traits, such as our ability to perceive and produce rhythmic behaviours.
  • Loke*, J., Seijdel*, N., Snoek, L., Sorensen, L., Van de Klundert, R., Van der Meer, M., Quispel, E., Cappaert, N., & Scholte, H. S. (2024). Human visual cortex and deep convolutional neural network care deeply about object background. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(3), 551-566. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02098.

    Abstract

    * These authors contributed equally/shared first author
    Deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) are able to partially predict brain activity during object categorization tasks, but factors contributing to this predictive power are not fully understood. Our study aimed to investigate the factors contributing to the predictive power of DCNNs in object categorization tasks. We compared the activity of four DCNN architectures with EEG recordings obtained from 62 human participants during an object categorization task. Previous physiological studies on object categorization have highlighted the importance of figure-ground segregation—the ability to distinguish objects from their backgrounds. Therefore, we investigated whether figure-ground segregation could explain the predictive power of DCNNs. Using a stimulus set consisting of identical target objects embedded in different backgrounds, we examined the influence of object background versus object category within both EEG and DCNN activity. Crucially, the recombination of naturalistic objects and experimentally controlled backgrounds creates a challenging and naturalistic task, while retaining experimental control. Our results showed that early EEG activity (< 100 msec) and early DCNN layers represent object background rather than object category. We also found that the ability of DCNNs to predict EEG activity is primarily influenced by how both systems process object backgrounds, rather than object categories. We demonstrated the role of figure-ground segregation as a potential prerequisite for recognition of object features, by contrasting the activations of trained and untrained (i.e., random weights) DCNNs. These findings suggest that both human visual cortex and DCNNs prioritize the segregation of object backgrounds and target objects to perform object categorization. Altogether, our study provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying object categorization as we demonstrated that both human visual cortex and DCNNs care deeply about object background.

    Additional information

    link to preprint
  • Lutzenberger, H., Casillas, M., Fikkert, P., Crasborn, O., & De Vos, C. (2024). More than looks: Exploring methods to test phonological discrimination in the sign language Kata Kolok. Language Learning and Development. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/15475441.2023.2277472.

    Abstract

    The lack of diversity in the language sciences has increasingly been criticized as it holds the potential for producing flawed theories. Research on (i) geographically diverse language communities and (ii) on sign languages is necessary to corroborate, sharpen, and extend existing theories. This study contributes a case study of adapting a well-established paradigm to study the acquisition of sign phonology in Kata Kolok, a sign language of rural Bali, Indonesia. We conducted an experiment modeled after the familiarization paradigm with child signers of Kata Kolok. Traditional analyses of looking time did not yield significant differences between signing and non-signing children. Yet, additional behavioral analyses (attention, eye contact, hand behavior) suggest that children who are signers and those who are non-signers, as well as those who are hearing and those who are deaf, interact differently with the task. This study suggests limitations of the paradigm due to the ecology of sign languages and the sociocultural characteristics of the sample, calling for a mixed-methods approach. Ultimately, this paper aims to elucidate the diversity of adaptations necessary for experimental design, procedure, and analysis, and to offer a critical reflection on the contribution of similar efforts and the diversification of the field.
  • Mai, A., Riès, S., Ben-Haim, S., Shih, J. J., & Gentner, T. Q. (2024). Acoustic and language-specific sources for phonemic abstraction from speech. Nature Communications, 15: 677. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-44844-9.

    Abstract

    Spoken language comprehension requires abstraction of linguistic information from speech, but the interaction between auditory and linguistic processing of speech remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the nature of this abstraction using neural responses recorded intracranially while participants listened to conversational English speech. Capitalizing on multiple, language-specific patterns where phonological and acoustic information diverge, we demonstrate the causal efficacy of the phoneme as a unit of analysis and dissociate the unique contributions of phonemic and spectrographic information to neural responses. Quantitive higher-order response models also reveal that unique contributions of phonological information are carried in the covariance structure of the stimulus-response relationship. This suggests that linguistic abstraction is shaped by neurobiological mechanisms that involve integration across multiple spectro-temporal features and prior phonological information. These results link speech acoustics to phonology and morphosyntax, substantiating predictions about abstractness in linguistic theory and providing evidence for the acoustic features that support that abstraction.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Mazzini, S., Yadnik, S., Timmers, I., Rubio-Gozalbo, E., & Jansma, B. M. (2024). Altered neural oscillations in classical galactosaemia during sentence production. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/jimd.12740.

    Abstract

    Classical galactosaemia (CG) is a hereditary disease in galactose metabolism that despite dietary treatment is characterized by a wide range of cognitive deficits, among which is language production. CG brain functioning has been studied with several neuroimaging techniques, which revealed both structural and functional atypicalities. In the present study, for the first time, we compared the oscillatory dynamics, especially the power spectrum and time–frequency representations (TFR), in the electroencephalography (EEG) of CG patients and healthy controls while they were performing a language production task. Twenty-one CG patients and 19 healthy controls described animated scenes, either in full sentences or in words, indicating two levels of complexity in syntactic planning. Based on previous work on the P300 event related potential (ERP) and its relation with theta frequency, we hypothesized that the oscillatory activity of patients and controls would differ in theta power and TFR. With regard to behavior, reaction times showed that patients are slower, reflecting the language deficit. In the power spectrum, we observed significant higher power in patients in delta (1–3 Hz), theta (4–7 Hz), beta (15–30 Hz) and gamma (30–70 Hz) frequencies, but not in alpha (8–12 Hz), suggesting an atypical oscillatory profile. The time-frequency analysis revealed significantly weaker event-related theta synchronization (ERS) and alpha desynchronization (ERD) in patients in the sentence condition. The data support the hypothesis that CG language difficulties relate to theta–alpha brain oscillations.

    Additional information

    table S1 and S2
  • Meinhardt, E., Mai, A., Baković, E., & McCollum, A. (2024). Weak determinism and the computational consequences of interaction. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s11049-023-09578-1.

    Abstract

    Recent work has claimed that (non-tonal) phonological patterns are subregular (Heinz 2011a,b, 2018; Heinz and Idsardi 2013), occupying a delimited proper subregion of the regular functions—the weakly deterministic (WD) functions (Heinz and Lai 2013; Jardine 2016). Whether or not it is correct (McCollum et al. 2020a), this claim can only be properly assessed given a complete and accurate definition of WD functions. We propose such a definition in this article, patching unintended holes in Heinz and Lai’s (2013) original definition that we argue have led to the incorrect classification of some phonological patterns as WD. We start from the observation that WD patterns share a property that we call unbounded semiambience, modeled after the analogous observation by Jardine (2016) about non-deterministic (ND) patterns and their unbounded circumambience. Both ND and WD functions can be broken down into compositions of deterministic (subsequential) functions (Elgot and Mezei 1965; Heinz and Lai 2013) that read an input string from opposite directions; we show that WD functions are those for which these deterministic composands do not interact in a way that is familiar from the theoretical phonology literature. To underscore how this concept of interaction neatly separates the WD class of functions from the strictly more expressive ND class, we provide analyses of the vowel harmony patterns of two Eastern Nilotic languages, Maasai and Turkana, using bimachines, an automaton type that represents unbounded bidirectional dependencies explicitly. These analyses make clear that there is interaction between deterministic composands when (and only when) the output of a given input element of a string is simultaneously dependent on information from both the left and the right: ND functions are those that involve interaction, while WD functions are those that do not.
  • Menks, W. M., Ekerdt, C., Lemhöfer, K., Kidd, E., Fernández, G., McQueen, J. M., & Janzen, G. (2024). Developmental changes in brain activation during novel grammar learning in 8-25-year-olds. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 66: 101347. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2024.101347.

    Abstract

    While it is well established that grammar learning success varies with age, the cause of this developmental change is largely unknown. This study examined functional MRI activation across a broad developmental sample of 165 Dutch-speaking individuals (8-25 years) as they were implicitly learning a new grammatical system. This approach allowed us to assess the direct effects of age on grammar learning ability while exploring its neural correlates. In contrast to the alleged advantage of children language learners over adults, we found that adults outperformed children. Moreover, our behavioral data showed a sharp discontinuity in the relationship between age and grammar learning performance: there was a strong positive linear correlation between 8 and 15.4 years of age, after which age had no further effect. Neurally, our data indicate two important findings: (i) during grammar learning, adults and children activate similar brain regions, suggesting continuity in the neural networks that support initial grammar learning; and (ii) activation level is age-dependent, with children showing less activation than older participants. We suggest that these age-dependent processes may constrain developmental effects in grammar learning. The present study provides new insights into the neural basis of age-related differences in grammar learning in second language acquisition.

    Additional information

    supplement
  • Mickan, A., Slesareva, E., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2024). New in, old out: Does learning a new language make you forget previously learned foreign languages? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 77(3), 530-550. doi:10.1177/17470218231181380.

    Abstract

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that learning a new foreign language (FL) makes you forget previously learned FLs. To seek empirical evidence for this claim, we tested whether learning words in a previously unknown L3 hampers subsequent retrieval of their L2 translation equivalents. In two experiments, Dutch native speakers with knowledge of English (L2), but not Spanish (L3), first completed an English vocabulary test, based on which 46 participant-specific, known English words were chosen. Half of those were then learned in Spanish. Finally, participants’ memory for all 46 English words was probed again in a picture naming task. In Experiment 1, all tests took place within one session. In Experiment 2, we separated the English pre-test from Spanish learning by a day and manipulated the timing of the English post-test (immediately after learning vs. 1 day later). By separating the post-test from Spanish learning, we asked whether consolidation of the new Spanish words would increase their interference strength. We found significant main effects of interference in naming latencies and accuracy: Participants speeded up less and were less accurate to recall words in English for which they had learned Spanish translations, compared with words for which they had not. Consolidation time did not significantly affect these interference effects. Thus, learning a new language indeed comes at the cost of subsequent retrieval ability in other FLs. Such interference effects set in immediately after learning and do not need time to emerge, even when the other FL has been known for a long time.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Mishra, C., Nandanwar, A., & Mishra, S. (2024). HRI in Indian education: Challenges opportunities. In H. Admoni, D. Szafir, W. Johal, & A. Sandygulova (Eds.), Designing an introductory HRI course (workshop at HRI 2024). ArXiv. doi:10.48550/arXiv.2403.12223.

    Abstract

    With the recent advancements in the field of robotics and the increased focus on having general-purpose robots widely available to the general public, it has become increasingly necessary to pursue research into Human-robot interaction (HRI). While there have been a lot of works discussing frameworks for teaching HRI in educational institutions with a few institutions already offering courses to students, a consensus on the course content still eludes the field. In this work, we highlight a few challenges and opportunities while designing an HRI course from an Indian perspective. These topics warrant further deliberations as they have a direct impact on the design of HRI courses and wider implications for the entire field.
  • Oblong, L. M., Soheili-Nezhad, S., Trevisan, N., Shi, Y., Beckmann, C. F., & Sprooten, E. (2024). Principal and independent genomic components of brain structure and function. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 23(1): e12876. doi:10.1111/gbb.12876.

    Abstract

    The highly polygenic and pleiotropic nature of behavioural traits, psychiatric disorders and structural and functional brain phenotypes complicate mechanistic interpretation of related genome-wide association study (GWAS) signals, thereby obscuring underlying causal biological processes. We propose genomic principal and independent component analysis (PCA, ICA) to decompose a large set of univariate GWAS statistics of multimodal brain traits into more interpretable latent genomic components. Here we introduce and evaluate this novel methods various analytic parameters and reproducibility across independent samples. Two UK Biobank GWAS summary statistic releases of 2240 imaging-derived phenotypes (IDPs) were retrieved. Genome-wide beta-values and their corresponding standard-error scaled z-values were decomposed using genomic PCA/ICA. We evaluated variance explained at multiple dimensions up to 200. We tested the inter-sample reproducibility of output of dimensions 5, 10, 25 and 50. Reproducibility statistics of the respective univariate GWAS served as benchmarks. Reproducibility of 10-dimensional PCs and ICs showed the best trade-off between model complexity and robustness and variance explained (PCs: |rz − max| = 0.33, |rraw − max| = 0.30; ICs: |rz − max| = 0.23, |rraw − max| = 0.19). Genomic PC and IC reproducibility improved substantially relative to mean univariate GWAS reproducibility up to dimension 10. Genomic components clustered along neuroimaging modalities. Our results indicate that genomic PCA and ICA decompose genetic effects on IDPs from GWAS statistics with high reproducibility by taking advantage of the inherent pleiotropic patterns. These findings encourage further applications of genomic PCA and ICA as fully data-driven methods to effectively reduce the dimensionality, enhance the signal to noise ratio and improve interpretability of high-dimensional multitrait genome-wide analyses.
  • Osiecka, A. N., Fearey, J., Ravignani, A., & Burchardt, L. (2024). Isochrony in barks of Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) pups and adults. Ecology and Evolution, 14(3): e11085. doi:10.1002/ece3.11085.

    Abstract

    Animal vocal communication often relies on call sequences. The temporal patterns of such sequences can be adjusted to other callers, follow complex rhythmic structures or exhibit a metronome-like pattern (i.e., isochronous). How regular are the temporal patterns in animal signals, and what influences their precision? If present, are rhythms already there early in ontogeny? Here, we describe an exploratory study of Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) barks—a vocalisation type produced across many pinniped species in rhythmic, percussive bouts. This study is the first quantitative description of barking in Cape fur seal pups. We analysed the rhythmic structures of spontaneous barking bouts of pups and adult females from the breeding colony in Cape Cross, Namibia. Barks of adult females exhibited isochrony, that is they were produced at fairly regular points in time. Instead, intervals between pup barks were more variable, that is skipping a bark in the isochronous series occasionally. In both age classes, beat precision, that is how well the barks followed a perfect template, was worse when barking at higher rates. Differences could be explained by physiological factors, such as respiration or arousal. Whether, and how, isochrony develops in this species remains an open question. This study provides evidence towards a rhythmic production of barks in Cape fur seal pups and lays the groundwork for future studies to investigate the development of rhythm using multidimensional metrics.
  • Ozker, M., Yu, L., Dugan, P., Doyle, W., Friedman, D., Devinsky, O., & Flinker, A. (2024). Speech-induced suppression and vocal feedback sensitivity in human cortex. eLife. Advance online publication. doi:10.7554/eLife.94198.1.

    Abstract

    Across the animal kingdom, neural responses in the auditory cortex are suppressed during vocalization, and humans are no exception. A common hypothesis is that suppression increases sensitivity to auditory feedback, enabling the detection of vocalization errors. This hypothesis has been previously confirmed in non-human primates, however a direct link between auditory suppression and sensitivity in human speech monitoring remains elusive. To address this issue, we obtained intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) recordings from 35 neurosurgical participants during speech production. We first characterized the detailed topography of auditory suppression, which varied across superior temporal gyrus (STG). Next, we performed a delayed auditory feedback (DAF) task to determine whether the suppressed sites were also sensitive to auditory feedback alterations. Indeed, overlapping sites showed enhanced responses to feedback, indicating sensitivity. Importantly, there was a strong correlation between the degree of auditory suppression and feedback sensitivity, suggesting suppression might be a key mechanism that underlies speech monitoring. Further, we found that when participants produced speech with simultaneous auditory feedback, posterior STG was selectively activated if participants were engaged in a DAF paradigm, suggesting that increased attentional load can modulate auditory feedback sensitivity.
  • Picciulin, M., Bolgan, M., & Burchardt, L. (2024). Rhythmic properties of Sciaena umbra calls across space and time in the Mediterranean Sea. PLOS ONE, 19(2): e0295589. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0295589.

    Abstract

    In animals, the rhythmical properties of calls are known to be shaped by physical constraints and the necessity of conveying information. As a consequence, investigating rhythmical properties in relation to different environmental conditions can help to shed light on the relationship between environment and species behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Sciaena umbra (fam. Sciaenidae) male fish emit reproductive calls characterized by a simple isochronous, i.e., metronome-like rhythm (the so-called R-pattern). Here, S. umbra R-pattern rhythm properties were assessed and compared between four different sites located along the Mediterranean basin (Mallorca, Venice, Trieste, Crete); furthermore, for one location, two datasets collected 10 years apart were available. Recording sites differed in habitat types, vessel density and acoustic richness; despite this, S. umbra R-calls were isochronous across all locations. A degree of variability was found only when considering the beat frequency, which was temporally stable, but spatially variable, with the beat frequency being faster in one of the sites (Venice). Statistically, the beat frequency was found to be dependent on the season (i.e. month of recording) and potentially influenced by the presence of soniferous competitors and human-generated underwater noise. Overall, the general consistency in the measured rhythmical properties (isochrony and beat frequency) suggests their nature as a fitness-related trait in the context of the S. umbra reproductive behavior and calls for further evaluation as a communicative cue.
  • Di Pisa, G., Pereira Soares, S. M., Rothman, J., & Marinis, T. (2024). Being a heritage speaker matters: the role of markedness in subject-verb person agreement in Italian. Frontiers in Psychology, 15: 1321614. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1321614.

    Abstract

    This study examines online processing and offline judgments of subject-verb person agreement with a focus on how this is impacted by markedness in heritage speakers (HSs) of Italian. To this end, 54 adult HSs living in Germany and 40 homeland Italian speakers completed a self-paced reading task (SPRT) and a grammaticality judgment task (GJT). Markedness was manipulated by probing agreement with both first-person (marked) and third-person (unmarked) subjects. Agreement was manipulated by crossing first-person marked subjects with third-person unmarked verbs and vice versa. Crucially, person violations with 1st person subjects (e.g., io *suona la chitarra “I plays-3rd-person the guitar”) yielded significantly shorter RTs in the SPRT and higher accuracy in the GJT than the opposite error type (e.g., il giornalista *esco spesso “the journalist go-1st-person out often”). This effect is consistent with the claim that when the first element in the dependency is marked (first person), the parser generates stronger predictions regarding upcoming agreeing elements. These results nicely align with work from the same populations investigating the impact of morphological markedness on grammatical gender agreement, suggesting that markedness impacts agreement similarly in two distinct grammatical domains and that sensitivity to markedness is more prevalent for HSs.

    Additional information

    di_pisa_etal_2024_sup.DOCX
  • Pizarro-Guevara, J. S., & Garcia, R. (2024). Philippine Psycholinguistics. Annual Review of Linguistics, 10, 145-167. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-031522-102844.

    Abstract

    Over the last decade, there has been a slow but steady accumulation of psycholinguistic research focusing on typologically diverse languages. In this review, we provide an overview of the psycholinguistic research on Philippine languages at the sentence level. We first discuss the grammatical features of these languages that figure prominently in existing research. We identify four linguistic domains that have received attention from language researchers and summarize the empirical terrain. We advance two claims that emerge across these different domains: (a) The agent-first pressure plays a central role in many of the findings, and (b) the generalization that the patient argument is the syntactically privileged argument cannot be reduced to frequency, but instead is an emergent phenomenon caused by the alignment of competing pressures toward an optimal candidate. We connect these language-specific claims to language-general theories of sentence processing.
  • Rubianes, M., Drijvers, L., Muñoz, F., Jiménez-Ortega, L., Almeida-Rivera, T., Sánchez-García, J., Fondevila, S., Casado, P., & Martín-Loeches, M. (2024). The self-reference effect can modulate language syntactic processing even without explicit awareness: An electroencephalography study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(3), 460-474. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02104.

    Abstract

    Although it is well established that self-related information can rapidly capture our attention and bias cognitive functioning, whether this self-bias can affect language processing remains largely unknown. In addition, there is an ongoing debate as to the functional independence of language processes, notably regarding the syntactic domain. Hence, this study investigated the influence of self-related content on syntactic speech processing. Participants listened to sentences that could contain morphosyntactic anomalies while the masked face identity (self, friend, or unknown faces) was presented for 16 msec preceding the critical word. The language-related ERP components (left anterior negativity [LAN] and P600) appeared for all identity conditions. However, the largest LAN effect followed by a reduced P600 effect was observed for self-faces, whereas a larger LAN with no reduction of the P600 was found for friend faces compared with unknown faces. These data suggest that both early and late syntactic processes can be modulated by self-related content. In addition, alpha power was more suppressed over the left inferior frontal gyrus only when self-faces appeared before the critical word. This may reflect higher semantic demands concomitant to early syntactic operations (around 150–550 msec). Our data also provide further evidence of self-specific response, as reflected by the N250 component. Collectively, our results suggest that identity-related information is rapidly decoded from facial stimuli and may impact core linguistic processes, supporting an interactive view of syntactic processing. This study provides evidence that the self-reference effect can be extended to syntactic processing.
  • Rubio-Fernández, P. (2024). Cultural evolutionary pragmatics: Investigating the codevelopment and coevolution of language and social cognition. Psychological Review, 131(1), 18-35. doi:10.1037/rev0000423.

    Abstract

    Language and social cognition come together in communication, but their relation has been intensely contested. Here, I argue that these two distinctively human abilities are connected in a positive feedback loop, whereby the development of one cognitive skill boosts the development of the other. More specifically, I hypothesize that language and social cognition codevelop in ontogeny and coevolve in diachrony through the acquisition, mature use, and cultural evolution of reference systems (e.g., demonstratives: “this” vs. “that”; articles: “a” vs. “the”; pronouns: “I” vs. “you”). I propose to study the connection between reference systems and communicative social cognition across three parallel timescales—language acquisition, language use, and language change, as a new research program for cultural evolutionary pragmatics. Within that framework, I discuss the coevolution of language and communicative social cognition as cognitive gadgets, and introduce a new methodological approach to study how universals and cross-linguistic differences in reference systems may result in different developmental pathways to human social cognition.
  • Schijven, D., Soheili-Nezhad, S., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2024). Exome-wide analysis implicates rare protein-altering variants in human handedness. Nature Communications, 15: 2632. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-46277-w.

    Abstract

    Handedness is a manifestation of brain hemispheric specialization. Left-handedness occurs at increased rates in neurodevelopmental disorders. Genome-wide association studies have identified common genetic effects on handedness or brain asymmetry, which mostly involve variants outside protein-coding regions and may affect gene expression. Implicated genes include several that encode tubulins (microtubule components) or microtubule-associated proteins. Here we examine whether left-handedness is also influenced by rare coding variants (frequencies ≤ 1%), using exome data from 38,043 left-handed and 313,271 right-handed individuals from the UK Biobank. The beta-tubulin gene TUBB4B shows exome-wide significant association, with a rate of rare coding variants 2.7 times higher in left-handers than right-handers. The TUBB4B variants are mostly heterozygous missense changes, but include two frameshifts found only in left-handers. Other TUBB4B variants have been linked to sensorineural and/or ciliopathic disorders, but not the variants found here. Among genes previously implicated in autism or schizophrenia by exome screening, DSCAM and FOXP1 show evidence for rare coding variant association with left-handedness. The exome-wide heritability of left-handedness due to rare coding variants was 0.91%. This study reveals a role for rare, protein-altering variants in left-handedness, providing further evidence for the involvement of microtubules and disorder-relevant genes.
  • Seijdel, N., Schoffelen, J.-M., Hagoort, P., & Drijvers, L. (2024). Attention drives visual processing and audiovisual integration during multimodal communication. The Journal of Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0870-23.2023.

    Abstract

    During communication in real-life settings, our brain often needs to integrate auditory and visual information, and at the same time actively focus on the relevant sources of information, while ignoring interference from irrelevant events. The interaction between integration and attention processes remains poorly understood. Here, we use rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate how attention affects auditory and visual information processing and integration, during multimodal communication. We presented human participants (male and female) with videos of an actress uttering action verbs (auditory; tagged at 58 Hz) accompanied by two movie clips of hand gestures on both sides of fixation (attended stimulus tagged at 65 Hz; unattended stimulus tagged at 63 Hz). Integration difficulty was manipulated by a lower-order auditory factor (clear/degraded speech) and a higher-order visual semantic factor (matching/mismatching gesture). We observed an enhanced neural response to the attended visual information during degraded speech compared to clear speech. For the unattended information, the neural response to mismatching gestures was enhanced compared to matching gestures. Furthermore, signal power at the intermodulation frequencies of the frequency tags, indexing non-linear signal interactions, was enhanced in left frontotemporal and frontal regions. Focusing on LIFG (Left Inferior Frontal Gyrus), this enhancement was specific for the attended information, for those trials that benefitted from integration with a matching gesture. Together, our results suggest that attention modulates audiovisual processing and interaction, depending on the congruence and quality of the sensory input.

    Additional information

    link to preprint
  • Sekine, K., & Özyürek, A. (2024). Children benefit from gestures to understand degraded speech but to a lesser extent than adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 14: 1305562. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1305562.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated to what extent children, compared to adults, benefit from gestures to disambiguate degraded speech by manipulating speech signals and manual modality. Dutch-speaking adults (N = 20) and 6- and 7-year-old children (N = 15) were presented with a series of video clips in which an actor produced a Dutch action verb with or without an accompanying iconic gesture. Participants were then asked to repeat what they had heard. The speech signal was either clear or altered into 4- or 8-band noise-vocoded speech. Children had more difficulty than adults in disambiguating degraded speech in the speech-only condition. However, when presented with both speech and gestures, children reached a comparable level of accuracy to that of adults in the degraded-speech-only condition. Furthermore, for adults, the enhancement of gestures was greater in the 4-band condition than in the 8-band condition, whereas children showed the opposite pattern. Gestures help children to disambiguate degraded speech, but children need more phonological information than adults to benefit from use of gestures. Children’s multimodal language integration needs to further develop to adapt flexibly to challenging situations such as degraded speech, as tested in our study, or instances where speech is heard with environmental noise or through a face mask.

    Additional information

    supplemental material
  • Severijnen, G. G. A., Bosker, H. R., & McQueen, J. M. (2024). Your “VOORnaam” is not my “VOORnaam”: An acoustic analysis of individual talker differences in word stress in Dutch. Journal of Phonetics, 103: 101296. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2024.101296.

    Abstract

    Different talkers speak differently, even within the same homogeneous group. These differences lead to acoustic variability in speech, causing challenges for correct perception of the intended message. Because previous descriptions of this acoustic variability have focused mostly on segments, talker variability in prosodic structures is not yet well documented. The present study therefore examined acoustic between-talker variability in word stress in Dutch. We recorded 40 native Dutch talkers from a participant sample with minimal dialectal variation and balanced gender, producing segmentally overlapping words (e.g., VOORnaam vs. voorNAAM; ‘first name’ vs. ‘respectable’, capitalization indicates lexical stress), and measured different acoustic cues to stress. Each individual participant’s acoustic measurements were analyzed using Linear Discriminant Analyses, which provide coefficients for each cue, reflecting the strength of each cue in a talker’s productions. On average, talkers primarily used mean F0, intensity, and duration. Moreover, each participant also employed a unique combination of cues, illustrating large prosodic variability between talkers. In fact, classes of cue-weighting tendencies emerged, differing in which cue was used as the main cue. These results offer the most comprehensive acoustic description, to date, of word stress in Dutch, and illustrate that large prosodic variability is present between individual talkers.
  • Silverstein, P., Bergmann, C., & Syed, M. (Eds.). (2024). Open science and metascience in developmental psychology [Special Issue]. Infant and Child Development, 33(1).
  • Silverstein, P., Bergmann, C., & Syed, M. (2024). Open science and metascience in developmental psychology: Introduction to the special issue. Infant and Child Development, 33(1): e2495. doi:10.1002/icd.2495.
  • Slonimska, A. (2024). The role of iconicity and simultaneity in efficient communication in the visual modality: Evidence from LIS (Italian Sign Language) [Dissertation Abstract]. Sign Language & Linguistics. Advance online publication. doi:10.1075/sll.00084.slo.
  • Soheili-Nezhad, S., Ibáñez-Solé, O., Izeta, A., Hoeijmakers, J. H. J., & Stoeger, T. (2024). Time is ticking faster for long genes in aging. Trends in Genetics. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2024.01.009.

    Abstract

    Recent studies of aging organisms have identified a systematic phenomenon, characterized by a negative correlation between gene length and their expression in various cell types, species, and diseases. We term this phenomenon gene-length-dependent transcription decline (GLTD) and suggest that it may represent a bottleneck in the transcription machinery and thereby significantly contribute to aging as an etiological factor. We review potential links between GLTD and key aging processes such as DNA damage and explore their potential in identifying disease modification targets. Notably, in Alzheimer’s disease, GLTD spotlights extremely long synaptic genes at chromosomal fragile sites (CFSs) and their vulnerability to postmitotic DNA damage. We suggest that GLTD is an integral element of biological aging.
  • Takashima, A., Carota, F., Schoots, V., Redmann, A., Jehee, J., & Indefrey, P. (2024). Tomatoes are red: The perception of achromatic objects elicits retrieval of associated color knowledge. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(1), 24-45. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02068.

    Abstract

    When preparing to name an object, semantic knowledge about the object and its attributes is activated, including perceptual properties. It is unclear, however, whether semantic attribute activation contributes to lexical access or is a consequence of activating a concept irrespective of whether that concept is to be named or not. In this study, we measured neural responses using fMRI while participants named objects that are typically green or red, presented in black line drawings. Furthermore, participants underwent two other tasks with the same objects, color naming and semantic judgment, to see if the activation pattern we observe during picture naming is (a) similar to that of a task that requires accessing the color attribute and (b) distinct from that of a task that requires accessing the concept but not its name or color. We used representational similarity analysis to detect brain areas that show similar patterns within the same color category, but show different patterns across the two color categories. In all three tasks, activation in the bilateral fusiform gyri (“Human V4”) correlated with a representational model encoding the red–green distinction weighted by the importance of color feature for the different objects. This result suggests that when seeing objects whose color attribute is highly diagnostic, color knowledge about the objects is retrieved irrespective of whether the color or the object itself have to be named.
  • Ten Oever, S., & Martin, A. E. (2024). Interdependence of “what” and “when” in the brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(1), 167-186. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02067.

    Abstract

    From a brain's-eye-view, when a stimulus occurs and what it is are interrelated aspects of interpreting the perceptual world. Yet in practice, the putative perceptual inferences about sensory content and timing are often dichotomized and not investigated as an integrated process. We here argue that neural temporal dynamics can influence what is perceived, and in turn, stimulus content can influence the time at which perception is achieved. This computational principle results from the highly interdependent relationship of what and when in the environment. Both brain processes and perceptual events display strong temporal variability that is not always modeled; we argue that understanding—and, minimally, modeling—this temporal variability is key for theories of how the brain generates unified and consistent neural representations and that we ignore temporal variability in our analysis practice at the peril of both data interpretation and theory-building. Here, we review what and when interactions in the brain, demonstrate via simulations how temporal variability can result in misguided interpretations and conclusions, and outline how to integrate and synthesize what and when in theories and models of brain computation.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2024). Hand gestures have predictive potential during conversation: An investigation of the timing of gestures in relation to speech. Cognitive Science, 48(1): e13407. doi:10.1111/cogs.13407.

    Abstract

    During face-to-face conversation, transitions between speaker turns are incredibly fast. These fast turn exchanges seem to involve next speakers predicting upcoming semantic information, such that next turn planning can begin before a current turn is complete. Given that face-to-face conversation also involves the use of communicative bodily signals, an important question is how bodily signals such as co-speech hand gestures play into these processes of prediction and fast responding. In this corpus study, we found that hand gestures that depict or refer to semantic information started before the corresponding information in speech, which held both for the onset of the gesture as a whole, as well as the onset of the stroke (the most meaningful part of the gesture). This early timing potentially allows listeners to use the gestural information to predict the corresponding semantic information to be conveyed in speech. Moreover, we provided further evidence that questions with gestures got faster responses than questions without gestures. However, we found no evidence for the idea that how much a gesture precedes its lexical affiliate (i.e., its predictive potential) relates to how fast responses were given. The findings presented here highlight the importance of the temporal relation between speech and gesture and help to illuminate the potential mechanisms underpinning multimodal language processing during face-to-face conversation.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2024). Gestures speed up responses to questions. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2024.2314021.

    Abstract

    Most language use occurs in face-to-face conversation, which involves rapid turn-taking. Seeing communicative bodily signals in addition to hearing speech may facilitate such fast responding. We tested whether this holds for co-speech hand gestures by investigating whether these gestures speed up button press responses to questions. Sixty native speakers of Dutch viewed videos in which an actress asked yes/no-questions, either with or without a corresponding iconic hand gesture. Participants answered the questions as quickly and accurately as possible via button press. Gestures did not impact response accuracy, but crucially, gestures sped up responses, suggesting that response planning may be finished earlier when gestures are seen. How much gestures sped up responses was not related to their timing in the question or their timing with respect to the corresponding information in speech. Overall, these results are in line with the idea that multimodality may facilitate fast responding during face-to-face conversation.
  • Terporten, R., Huizeling, E., Heidlmayr, K., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2024). The interaction of context constraints and predictive validity during sentence reading. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 36(2), 225-238. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_02082.

    Abstract

    Words are not processed in isolation; instead, they are commonly embedded in phrases and sentences. The sentential context influences the perception and processing of a word. However, how this is achieved by brain processes and whether predictive mechanisms underlie this process remain a debated topic. Here, we employed an experimental paradigm in which we orthogonalized sentence context constraints and predictive validity, which was defined as the ratio of congruent to incongruent sentence endings within the experiment. While recording electroencephalography, participants read sentences with three levels of sentential context constraints (high, medium, and low). Participants were also separated into two groups that differed in their ratio of valid congruent to incongruent target words that could be predicted from the sentential context. For both groups, we investigated modulations of alpha power before, and N400 amplitude modulations after target word onset. The results reveal that the N400 amplitude gradually decreased with higher context constraints and cloze probability. In contrast, alpha power was not significantly affected by context constraint. Neither the N400 nor alpha power were significantly affected by changes in predictive validity.
  • Thothathiri, M., Basnakova, J., Lewis, A. G., & Briand, J. M. (2024). Fractionating difficulty during sentence comprehension using functional neuroimaging. Cerebral Cortex, 34(2): bhae032. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhae032.

    Abstract

    Sentence comprehension is highly practiced and largely automatic, but this belies the complexity of the underlying processes. We used functional neuroimaging to investigate garden-path sentences that cause difficulty during comprehension, in order to unpack the different processes used to support sentence interpretation. By investigating garden-path and other types of sentences within the same individuals, we functionally profiled different regions within the temporal and frontal cortices in the left hemisphere. The results revealed that different aspects of comprehension difficulty are handled by left posterior temporal, left anterior temporal, ventral left frontal, and dorsal left frontal cortices. The functional profiles of these regions likely lie along a spectrum of specificity to generality, including language-specific processing of linguistic representations, more general conflict resolution processes operating over linguistic representations, and processes for handling difficulty in general. These findings suggest that difficulty is not unitary and that there is a role for a variety of linguistic and non-linguistic processes in supporting comprehension.

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  • Titus, A., Dijkstra, T., Willems, R. M., & Peeters, D. (2024). Beyond the tried and true: How virtual reality, dialog setups, and a focus on multimodality can take bilingual language production research forward. Neuropsychologia, 193: 108764. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2023.108764.

    Abstract

    Bilinguals possess the ability of expressing themselves in more than one language, and typically do so in contextually rich and dynamic settings. Theories and models have indeed long considered context factors to affect bilingual language production in many ways. However, most experimental studies in this domain have failed to fully incorporate linguistic, social, or physical context aspects, let alone combine them in the same study. Indeed, most experimental psycholinguistic research has taken place in isolated and constrained lab settings with carefully selected words or sentences, rather than under rich and naturalistic conditions. We argue that the most influential experimental paradigms in the psycholinguistic study of bilingual language production fall short of capturing the effects of context on language processing and control presupposed by prominent models. This paper therefore aims to enrich the methodological basis for investigating context aspects in current experimental paradigms and thereby move the field of bilingual language production research forward theoretically. After considering extensions of existing paradigms proposed to address context effects, we present three far-ranging innovative proposals, focusing on virtual reality, dialog situations, and multimodality in the context of bilingual language production.
  • Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2024). Information distribution patterns in naturalistic dialogue differ across languages. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-024-02452-0.

    Abstract

    The natural ecology of language is conversation, with individuals taking turns speaking to communicate in a back-and-forth fashion. Language in this context involves strings of words that a listener must process while simultaneously planning their own next utterance. It would thus be highly advantageous if language users distributed information within an utterance in a way that may facilitate this processing–planning dynamic. While some studies have investigated how information is distributed at the level of single words or clauses, or in written language, little is known about how information is distributed within spoken utterances produced during naturalistic conversation. It also is not known how information distribution patterns of spoken utterances may differ across languages. We used a set of matched corpora (CallHome) containing 898 telephone conversations conducted in six different languages (Arabic, English, German, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish), analyzing more than 58,000 utterances, to assess whether there is evidence of distinct patterns of information distributions at the utterance level, and whether these patterns are similar or differed across the languages. We found that English, Spanish, and Mandarin typically show a back-loaded distribution, with higher information (i.e., surprisal) in the last half of utterances compared with the first half, while Arabic, German, and Japanese showed front-loaded distributions, with higher information in the first half compared with the last half. Additional analyses suggest that these patterns may be related to word order and rate of noun and verb usage. We additionally found that back-loaded languages have longer turn transition times (i.e.,time between speaker turns)

    Additional information

    Data availability
  • Trujillo, J. P., & Holler, J. (2024). Conversational facial signals combine into compositional meanings that change the interpretation of speaker intentions. Scientific Reports, 14: 2286. doi:10.1038/s41598-024-52589-0.

    Abstract

    Human language is extremely versatile, combining a limited set of signals in an unlimited number of ways. However, it is unknown whether conversational visual signals feed into the composite utterances with which speakers communicate their intentions. We assessed whether different combinations of visual signals lead to different intent interpretations of the same spoken utterance. Participants viewed a virtual avatar uttering spoken questions while producing single visual signals (i.e., head turn, head tilt, eyebrow raise) or combinations of these signals. After each video, participants classified the communicative intention behind the question. We found that composite utterances combining several visual signals conveyed different meaning compared to utterances accompanied by the single visual signals. However, responses to combinations of signals were more similar to the responses to related, rather than unrelated, individual signals, indicating a consistent influence of the individual visual signals on the whole. This study therefore provides first evidence for compositional, non-additive (i.e., Gestalt-like) perception of multimodal language.

    Additional information

    41598_2024_52589_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Van der Werff, J., Ravignani, A., & Jadoul, Y. (2024). thebeat: A Python package for working with rhythms and other temporal sequences. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-023-02334-8.

    Abstract

    thebeat is a Python package for working with temporal sequences and rhythms in the behavioral and cognitive sciences, as well as in bioacoustics. It provides functionality for creating experimental stimuli, and for visualizing and analyzing temporal data. Sequences, sounds, and experimental trials can be generated using single lines of code. thebeat contains functions for calculating common rhythmic measures, such as interval ratios, and for producing plots, such as circular histograms. thebeat saves researchers time when creating experiments, and provides the first steps in collecting widely accepted methods for use in timing research. thebeat is an open-source, on-going, and collaborative project, and can be extended for use in specialized subfields. thebeat integrates easily with the existing Python ecosystem, allowing one to combine our tested code with custom-made scripts. The package was specifically designed to be useful for both skilled and novice programmers. thebeat provides a foundation for working with temporal sequences onto which additional functionality can be built. This combination of specificity and plasticity should facilitate research in multiple research contexts and fields of study.
  • Wesseldijk, L. W., Henechowicz, T. L., Baker, D. J., Bignardi, G., Karlsson, R., Gordon, R. L., Mosing, M. A., Ullén, F., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Notes from Beethoven’s genome. Current Biology, 34(6), R233-R234. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2024.01.025.

    Abstract

    Rapid advances over the last decade in DNA sequencing and statistical genetics enable us to investigate the genomic makeup of individuals throughout history. In a recent notable study, Begg et al.1 used Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair strands for genome sequencing and explored genetic predispositions for some of his documented medical issues. Given that it was arguably Beethoven’s skills as a musician and composer that made him an iconic figure in Western culture, we here extend the approach and apply it to musicality. We use this as an example to illustrate the broader challenges of individual-level genetic predictions.

    Additional information

    supplemental information
  • Wolna, A., Szewczyk, J., Diaz, M., Domagalik, A., Szwed, M., & Wodniecka, Z. (2024). Domain-general and language-specific contributions to speech production in a second language: An fMRI study using functional localizers. Scientific Reports, 14: 57. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-49375-9.

    Abstract

    For bilinguals, speaking in a second language (L2) compared to the native language (L1) is usually more difficult. In this study we asked whether the difficulty in L2 production reflects increased demands imposed on domain-general or core language mechanisms. We compared the brain response to speech production in L1 and L2 within two functionally-defined networks in the brain: the Multiple Demand (MD) network and the language network. We found that speech production in L2 was linked to a widespread increase of brain activity in the domain-general MD network. The language network did not show a similarly robust differences in processing speech in the two languages, however, we found increased response to L2 production in the language-specific portion of the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). To further explore our results, we have looked at domain-general and language-specific response within the brain structures postulated to form a Bilingual Language Control (BLC) network. Within this network, we found a robust increase in response to L2 in the domain-general, but also in some language-specific voxels including in the left IFG. Our findings show that L2 production strongly engages domain-general mechanisms, but only affects language sensitive portions of the left IFG. These results put constraints on the current model of bilingual language control by precisely disentangling the domain-general and language-specific contributions to the difficulty in speech production in L2.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Abbondanza, F., Dale, P. S., Wang, C. A., Hayiou‐Thomas, M. E., Toseeb, U., Koomar, T. S., Wigg, K. G., Feng, Y., Price, K. M., Kerr, E. N., Guger, S. L., Lovett, M. W., Strug, L. J., Van Bergen, E., Dolan, C. V., Tomblin, J. B., Moll, K., Schulte‐Körne, G., Neuhoff, N., Warnke, A. and 13 moreAbbondanza, F., Dale, P. S., Wang, C. A., Hayiou‐Thomas, M. E., Toseeb, U., Koomar, T. S., Wigg, K. G., Feng, Y., Price, K. M., Kerr, E. N., Guger, S. L., Lovett, M. W., Strug, L. J., Van Bergen, E., Dolan, C. V., Tomblin, J. B., Moll, K., Schulte‐Körne, G., Neuhoff, N., Warnke, A., Fisher, S. E., Barr, C. L., Michaelson, J. J., Boomsma, D. I., Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., Whitehouse, A. J. O., Pennell, C. E., Newbury, D. F., Stein, J., Talcott, J. B., Bishop, D. V. M., & Paracchini, S. (2023). Language and reading impairments are associated with increased prevalence of non‐right‐handedness. Child Development, 94(4), 970-984. doi:10.1111/cdev.13914.

    Abstract

    Handedness has been studied for association with language-related disorders because of its link with language hemispheric dominance. No clear pattern has emerged, possibly because of small samples, publication bias, and heterogeneous criteria across studies. Non-right-handedness (NRH) frequency was assessed in N = 2503 cases with reading and/or language impairment and N = 4316 sex-matched controls identified from 10 distinct cohorts (age range 6–19 years old; European ethnicity) using a priori set criteria. A meta-analysis (Ncases = 1994) showed elevated NRH % in individuals with language/reading impairment compared with controls (OR = 1.21, CI = 1.06–1.39, p = .01). The association between reading/language impairments and NRH could result from shared pathways underlying brain lateralization, handedness, and cognitive functions.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Agirrezabal, M., Paggio, P., Navarretta, C., & Jongejan, B. (2023). Multimodal detection and classification of head movements in face-to-face conversations: Exploring models, features and their interaction. In W. Pouw, J. Trujillo, H. R. Bosker, L. Drijvers, M. Hoetjes, J. Holler, S. Kadava, L. Van Maastricht, E. Mamus, & A. Ozyurek (Eds.), Gesture and Speech in Interaction (GeSpIn) Conference. doi:10.17617/2.3527200.

    Abstract

    In this work we perform multimodal detection and classification
    of head movements from face to face video conversation data.
    We have experimented with different models and feature sets
    and provided some insight on the effect of independent features,
    but also how their interaction can enhance a head movement
    classifier. Used features include nose, neck and mid hip position
    coordinates and their derivatives together with acoustic features,
    namely, intensity and pitch of the speaker on focus. Results
    show that when input features are sufficiently processed by in-
    teracting with each other, a linear classifier can reach a similar
    performance to a more complex non-linear neural model with
    several hidden layers. Our best models achieve state-of-the-art
    performance in the detection task, measured by macro-averaged
    F1 score.
  • Alhama, R. G., Rowland, C. F., & Kidd, E. (2023). How does linguistic context influence word learning? Journal of Child Language, 50(6), 1374-1393. doi:10.1017/S0305000923000302.

    Abstract

    While there are well-known demonstrations that children can use distributional information to acquire multiple components of language, the underpinnings of these achievements are unclear. In the current paper, we investigate the potential pre-requisites for a distributional learning model that can explain how children learn their first words. We review existing literature and then present the results of a series of computational simulations with Vector Space Models, a type of distributional semantic model used in Computational Linguistics, which we evaluate against vocabulary acquisition data from children. We focus on nouns and verbs, and we find that: (i) a model with flexibility to adjust for the frequency of events provides a better fit to the human data, (ii) the influence of context words is very local, especially for nouns, and (iii) words that share more contexts with other words are harder to learn.
  • Anichini, M., de Reus, K., Hersh, T. A., Valente, D., Salazar-Casals, A., Berry, C., Keller, P. E., & Ravignani, A. (2023). Measuring rhythms of vocal interactions: A proof of principle in harbour seal pups. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 378(1875): 20210477. doi:10.1098/rstb.2021.0477.

    Abstract

    Rhythmic patterns in interactive contexts characterize human behaviours such as conversational turn-taking. These timed patterns are also present in other animals, and often described as rhythm. Understanding fine-grained temporal adjustments in interaction requires complementary quantitative methodologies. Here, we showcase how vocal interactive rhythmicity in a non-human animal can be quantified using a multi-method approach. We record vocal interactions in harbour seal pups (Phoca vitulina) under controlled conditions. We analyse these data by combining analytical approaches, namely categorical rhythm analysis, circular statistics and time series analyses. We test whether pups' vocal rhythmicity varies across behavioural contexts depending on the absence or presence of a calling partner. Four research questions illustrate which analytical approaches are complementary versus orthogonal. For our data, circular statistics and categorical rhythms suggest that a calling partner affects a pup's call timing. Granger causality suggests that pups predictively adjust their call timing when interacting with a real partner. Lastly, the ADaptation and Anticipation Model estimates statistical parameters for a potential mechanism of temporal adaptation and anticipation. Our analytical complementary approach constitutes a proof of concept; it shows feasibility in applying typically unrelated techniques to seals to quantify vocal rhythmic interactivity across behavioural contexts.

    Additional information

    supplemental information
  • Arana, S., Hagoort, P., Schoffelen, J.-M., & Rabovsky, M. (2023). Perceived similarity as a window into representations of integrated sentence meaning. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-023-02129-x.

    Abstract

    When perceiving the world around us, we are constantly integrating pieces of information. The integrated experience consists of more than just the sum of its parts. For example, visual scenes are defined by a collection of objects as well as the spatial relations amongst them and sentence meaning is computed based on individual word semantic but also syntactic configuration. Having quantitative models of such integrated representations can help evaluate cognitive models of both language and scene perception. Here, we focus on language, and use a behavioral measure of perceived similarity as an approximation of integrated meaning representations. We collected similarity judgments of 200 subjects rating nouns or transitive sentences through an online multiple arrangement task. We find that perceived similarity between sentences is most strongly modulated by the semantic action category of the main verb. In addition, we show how non-negative matrix factorization of similarity judgment data can reveal multiple underlying dimensions reflecting both semantic as well as relational role information. Finally, we provide an example of how similarity judgments on sentence stimuli can serve as a point of comparison for artificial neural networks models (ANNs) by comparing our behavioral data against sentence similarity extracted from three state-of-the-art ANNs. Overall, our method combining the multiple arrangement task on sentence stimuli with matrix factorization can capture relational information emerging from integration of multiple words in a sentence even in the presence of strong focus on the verb.
  • Arana, S., Pesnot Lerousseau, J., & Hagoort, P. (2023). Deep learning models to study sentence comprehension in the human brain. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2023.2198245.

    Abstract

    Recent artificial neural networks that process natural language achieve unprecedented performance in tasks requiring sentence-level understanding. As such, they could be interesting models of the integration of linguistic information in the human brain. We review works that compare these artificial language models with human brain activity and we assess the extent to which this approach has improved our understanding of the neural processes involved in natural language comprehension. Two main results emerge. First, the neural representation of word meaning aligns with the context-dependent, dense word vectors used by the artificial neural networks. Second, the processing hierarchy that emerges within artificial neural networks broadly matches the brain, but is surprisingly inconsistent across studies. We discuss current challenges in establishing artificial neural networks as process models of natural language comprehension. We suggest exploiting the highly structured representational geometry of artificial neural networks when mapping representations to brain data.

    Additional information

    link to preprint
  • Araujo, S., Narang, V., Misra, D., Lohagun, N., Khan, O., Singh, A., Mishra, R. K., Hervais-Adelman, A., & Huettig, F. (2023). A literacy-related color-specific deficit in rapid automatized naming: Evidence from neurotypical completely illiterate and literate adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 152(8), 2403-2409. doi:10.1037/xge0001376.

    Abstract

    There is a robust positive relationship between reading skills and the time to name aloud an array of letters, digits, objects, or colors as quickly as possible. A convincing and complete explanation for the direction and locus of this association remains, however, elusive. In this study we investigated rapid automatized naming (RAN) of every-day objects and basic color patches in neurotypical illiterate and literate adults. Literacy acquisition and education enhanced RAN performance for both conceptual categories but this advantage was much larger for (abstract) colors than every-day objects. This result suggests that (i) literacy/education may be causal for serial rapid naming ability of non-alphanumeric items, (ii) differences in the lexical quality of conceptual representations can underlie the reading-related differential RAN performance.

    Additional information

    supplementary text
  • Aravena-Bravo, P., Cristia, A., Garcia, R., Kotera, H., Nicolas, R. K., Laranjo, R., Arokoyo, B. E., Benavides-Varela, S., Benders, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Cychosz, M., Ben, R. D., Diop, Y., Durán-Urzúa, C., Havron, N., Manalili, M., Narasimhan, B., Omane, P. O., Rowland, C. F., Kolberg, L. S. Aravena-Bravo, P., Cristia, A., Garcia, R., Kotera, H., Nicolas, R. K., Laranjo, R., Arokoyo, B. E., Benavides-Varela, S., Benders, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Cychosz, M., Ben, R. D., Diop, Y., Durán-Urzúa, C., Havron, N., Manalili, M., Narasimhan, B., Omane, P. O., Rowland, C. F., Kolberg, L. S., Ssemata, A. S., Styles, S. J., Troncoso-Acosta, B., & Woon, F. T. (2023). Towards diversifying early language development research: The first truly global international summer/winter school on language acquisition (/L+/) 2021. Journal of Cognition and Development. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/15248372.2023.2231083.

    Abstract

    With a long-term aim of empowering researchers everywhere to contribute to work on language development, we organized the First Truly Global /L+/ International Summer/ Winter School on Language Acquisition, a free 5-day virtual school for early career researchers. In this paper, we describe the school, our experience organizing it, and lessons learned. The school had a diverse organizer team, composed of 26 researchers (17 from under represented areas: Subsaharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Central and South America); and a diverse volunteer team, with a total of 95 volunteers from 35 different countries, nearly half from under represented areas. This helped world-wide Page 5 of 5 promotion of the school, leading to 958 registrations from 88 different countries, with 300 registrants (based in 63 countries, 80% from under represented areas) selected to participate in the synchronous aspects of the event. The school employed asynchronous (pre-recorded lectures, which were close-captioned) and synchronous elements (e.g., discussions to place the recorded lectures into participants' context; networking events) across three time zones. A post-school questionnaire revealed that 99% of participants enjoyed taking part in the school. Not with standing these positive quantitative outcomes, qualitative comments suggested we fell short in several areas, including the geographic diversity among lecturers and greater customization of contents to the participants’ contexts. Although much remains to be done to promote inclusivity in linguistic research, we hope our school will contribute to empowering researchers to investigate and publish on language acquisition in their home languages, to eventually result in more representative theories and empirical generalizations

    Additional information

    https://osf.io/fbnda
  • Assmann, M., Büring, D., Jordanoska, I., & Prüller, M. (2023). Towards a theory of morphosyntactic focus marking. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. doi:10.1007/s11049-023-09567-4.

    Abstract

    Based on six detailed case studies of languages in which focus is marked morphosyntactically, we propose a novel formal theory of focus marking, which can capture these as well as the familiar English-type prosodic focus marking. Special attention is paid to the patterns of focus syncretism, that is, when different size and/or location of focus are indistinguishably realized by the same form.

    The key ingredients to our approach are that complex constituents (not just words) may be directly focally marked, and that the choice of focal marking is governed by blocking.
  • Barak, L., Harmon, Z., Feldman, N. H., Edwards, J., & Shafto, P. (2023). When children's production deviates from observed input: Modeling the variable production of the English past tense. Cognitive Science, 47(8): e13328. doi:10.1111/cogs.13328.

    Abstract

    As children gradually master grammatical rules, they often go through a period of producing form-meaning associations that were not observed in the input. For example, 2- to 3-year-old English-learning children use the bare form of verbs in settings that require obligatory past tense meaning while already starting to produce the grammatical –ed inflection. While many studies have focused on overgeneralization errors, fewer studies have attempted to explain the root of this earlier stage of rule acquisition. In this work, we use computational modeling to replicate children's production behavior prior to the generalization of past tense production in English. We illustrate how seemingly erroneous productions emerge in a model, without being licensed in the grammar and despite the model aiming at conforming to grammatical forms. Our results show that bare form productions stem from a tension between two factors: (1) trying to produce a less frequent meaning (the past tense) and (2) being unable to restrict the production of frequent forms (the bare form) as learning progresses. Like children, our model goes through a stage of bare form production and then converges on adult-like production of the regular past tense, showing that these different stages can be accounted for through a single learning mechanism.
  • Barendse, M. T., & Rosseel, Y. (2023). Multilevel SEM with random slopes in discrete data using the pairwise maximum likelihood. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 76(2), 327-352. doi:10.1111/bmsp.12294.

    Abstract

    Pairwise maximum likelihood (PML) estimation is a promising method for multilevel models with discrete responses. Multilevel models take into account that units within a cluster tend to be more alike than units from different clusters. The pairwise likelihood is then obtained as the product of bivariate likelihoods for all within-cluster pairs of units and items. In this study, we investigate the PML estimation method with computationally intensive multilevel random intercept and random slope structural equation models (SEM) in discrete data. In pursuing this, we first reconsidered the general ‘wide format’ (WF) approach for SEM models and then extend the WF approach with random slopes. In a small simulation study we the determine accuracy and efficiency of the PML estimation method by varying the sample size (250, 500, 1000, 2000), response scales (two-point, four-point), and data-generating model (mediation model with three random slopes, factor model with one and two random slopes). Overall, results show that the PML estimation method is capable of estimating computationally intensive random intercept and random slopes multilevel models in the SEM framework with discrete data and many (six or more) latent variables with satisfactory accuracy and efficiency. However, the condition with 250 clusters combined with a two-point response scale shows more bias.

    Additional information

    figures
  • Barrios, A., & Garcia, R. (2023). Filipino children’s acquisition of nominal and verbal markers in L1 and L2 Tagalog. Languages, 8(3): 188. doi:10.3390/languages8030188.

    Abstract

    Western Austronesian languages, like Tagalog, have unique, complex voice systems that require the correct combinations of verbal and nominal markers, raising many questions about their learnability. In this article, we review the experimental and observational studies on both the L1 and L2 acquisition of Tagalog. The reviewed studies reveal error patterns that reflect the complex nature of the Tagalog voice system. The main goal of the article is to present a full picture of commission errors in young Filipino children’s expression of causation and agency in Tagalog by describing patterns of nominal marking and voice marking in L1 Tagalog and L2 Tagalog. It also aims to provide an overview of existing research, as well as characterize research on nominal and verbal acquisition, specifically in terms of research problems, data sources, and methodology. Additionally, we discuss the research gaps in at least fifty years’ worth of studies in the area from the 1960’s to the present, as well as ideas for future research to advance the state of the art.
  • Bastiaanse, R., & Ohlerth, A.-K. (2023). Presurgical language mapping: What are we testing? Journal of Personalized Medicine, 13: 376. doi:10.3390/jpm13030376.

    Abstract

    Gliomas are brain tumors infiltrating healthy cortical and subcortical areas that may host cognitive functions, such as language. If these areas are damaged during surgery, the patient might develop word retrieval or articulation problems. For this reason, many glioma patients are operated on awake, while their language functions are tested. For this practice, quite simple tests are used, for example, picture naming. This paper describes the process and timeline of picture naming (noun retrieval) and shows the timeline and localization of the distinguished stages. This is relevant information for presurgical language testing with navigated Magnetic Stimulation (nTMS). This novel technique allows us to identify cortical involved in the language production process and, thus, guides the neurosurgeon in how to approach and remove the tumor. We argue that not only nouns, but also verbs should be tested, since sentences are built around verbs, and sentences are what we use in daily life. This approach’s relevance is illustrated by two case studies of glioma patients.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2023). Multiplication, addition, and subtraction in numerals: Formal variation in Latin’s decads+ from an Indo-European perspective. Journal of Latin Linguistics, 22(1), 1-56. doi:10.1515/joll-2023-2001.

    Abstract

    While formal variation in Latin’s numerals is generally acknowledged, little is known about (relative) incidence, distribution, context, or linguistic productivity. Addressing this lacuna, this article examines “decads+” in Latin, which convey the numbers between the full decads: the teens (‘eleven’ through ‘nineteen’) as well as the numerals between the higher decads starting at ‘twenty-one’ through ‘ninety-nine’. Latin’s decads+ are compounds and prone to variation. The data, which are drawn from a variety of sources, reveal (a) substantial formal variation in Latin, both internally and typologically; (b) co-existence of several types of formation; (c) productivity of potential borrowings; (d) resilience of early formations; (e) patterns in structure and incidence that anticipate the Romance numerals; and (f) historical trends. From a typological and general linguistic perspective as well, Latin’s decads+ are most relevant because their formal variation involves sequence, connector, and arithmetical operations and because their historical depth shows a gradual shift away from widespread formal variation, eventually resulting in the relatively rigid system found in Romance. Moreover, the combined system attested in decads+ in Latin – based on a combination of inherited, innovative and borrowed patterns and reflecting different stages of development – presents a number of typological inconsistencies that require further assessment

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