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Apoorva Bhandari, David Badre
knowledge about the tasks we encounter enables us to rapidly and flexibly adapt to novel task contexts. Previous research has focused primarily on abstract rules that leverage shared structure in stimulus-response (S-R) mappings as the basis of such task knowledge. Here we provide evidence that working memory (WM) gating policies - a type of control policy required for internal control of WM during a task - constitute a form of abstract task knowledge that can be transferred across contexts. In two experiments, we report specific evidence for the transfer of selective WM gating policies across changes of task context...
December 12, 2017: Cognition
Alissa Melinger
Linguists have been working to develop objective criteria for distinguishing languages from dialects for well over half a century. The prevailing view amongst sociolinguists is that no objective criteria can be formulated. The aim of this study is to examine whether language processing can provide insights into this problem by comparing bidialectal behavioural effects to bilingual effects reported in the literature. Previous research has demonstrated that when bilinguals name an object in Lx while simultaneously processing a translation equivalent distractor word in Ly, naming times are sped up relative to an unrelated condition (Costa, Miozzo, & Caramazza, 1999)...
December 9, 2017: Cognition
Ardi Roelofs
Computational models of lexical selection in spoken word production have been applied to semantic interference effects in picture naming response times obtained with continuous naming, blocked-cyclic naming, and picture-word interference paradigms. However, a unified computational account of the effects in the three paradigms is lacking. Here, I show that the inclusion of conceptual bias in the WEAVER++ model (Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer, 1999) explains cumulative semantic and semantic blocking effects while preserving the model's account of semantic distractor effects...
December 9, 2017: Cognition
Robin S S Kramer, Andrew W Young, A Mike Burton
It has been known for many years that identifying familiar faces is much easier than identifying unfamiliar faces, and that this familiar face advantage persists across a range of tasks. However, attempts to understand face familiarity have mostly used a binary contrast between 'familiar' and 'unfamiliar' faces, with no attempt to incorporate the vast range of familiarity we all experience. From family members to casual acquaintances and from personal to media exposure, familiarity is a more complex categorisation than is usually acknowledged...
December 9, 2017: Cognition
Rebecca M Foerster, Werner X Schneider
Many everyday tasks involve successive visual-search episodes with changing targets. Converging evidence suggests that these targets are retained in visual working memory (VWM) and bias attention from there. It is unknown whether all or only search-relevant features of a VWM template bias attention during search. Bias signals might be configured exclusively to task-relevant features so that only search-relevant features bias attention. Alternatively, VWM might maintain objects in the form of bound features...
December 7, 2017: Cognition
Calum Hartley, Sophie Fisher
Ownership has a unique and privileged influence on human psychology. Typically developing (TD) children judge their objects to be more desirable and valuable than similar objects belonging to others. This 'ownership effect' is due to processing one's property in relation to 'the self'. Here we explore whether children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - a population with impaired self-understanding - prefer and over-value property due to ownership. In Experiment 1, we discovered that children with ASD did not favour a randomly endowed toy and frequently traded for a different object...
December 4, 2017: Cognition
Stian Reimers, Chris Donkin, Mike E Le Pelley
When people consider a series of random binary events, such as tossing an unbiased coin and recording the sequence of heads (H) and tails (T), they tend to erroneously rate sequences with less internal structure or order (such as HTTHT) as more probable than sequences containing more structure or order (such as HHHHH). This is traditionally explained as a local representativeness effect: Participants assume that the properties of long sequences of random outcomes-such as an equal proportion of heads and tails, and little internal structure-should also apply to short sequences...
December 1, 2017: Cognition
Laura E de Ruiter, Anna L Theakston, Silke Brandt, Elena V M Lieven
Complex sentences involving adverbial clauses appear in children's speech at about three years of age yet children have difficulty comprehending these sentences well into the school years. To date, the reasons for these difficulties are unclear, largely because previous studies have tended to focus on only sub-types of adverbial clauses, or have tested only limited theoretical models. In this paper, we provide the most comprehensive experimental study to date. We tested four-year-olds, five-year-olds and adults on four different adverbial clauses (before, after, because, if) to evaluate four different theoretical models (semantic, syntactic, frequency-based and capacity-constrained)...
November 29, 2017: Cognition
Cornelius Maurer, Valerian Chambon, Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde, Marion Leboyer, Tiziana Zalla
The present study was designed to investigate the effects of reputational priors and direct reciprocity on the dynamics of trust building in adults with (N = 17) and without (N = 25) autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using a multi-round Trust Game (MTG). On each round, participants, who played as investors, were required to maximize their benefits by updating their prior expectations (the partner's positive or negative reputation), based on the partner's directed reciprocity, and adjusting their own investment decisions accordingly...
November 29, 2017: Cognition
Gareth Roberts, Maryia Fedzechkina
According to the competitive exclusion principle (Gause, 1934), competition for the same niche must eventually lead one competitor to extinction or the occupation of a new niche. This principle applies in both biology and the cultural evolution of language, where different words and structures compete for the same function or meaning (Aronoff, 2016). Across languages, for example, word order trades off with case marking as a means of indicating who did what to whom in a sentence. Previous experimental work has shed light on how such trade-offs come about as languages adapt to human biases through learning and production, with biases becoming amplified through iterated learning over generations...
November 25, 2017: Cognition
Brendan Gaesser, Kerri Keeler, Liane Young
How we imagine and subjectively experience the future can inform how we make decisions in the present. Here, we examined a prosocial effect of imagining future episodes in motivating moral decisions about helping others in need, as well as the underlying cognitive mechanisms. Across three experiments we found that people are more willing to help others in specific situations after imagining helping them in those situations. Manipulating the spatial representation of imagined future episodes in particular was effective at increasing intentions to help others, suggesting that scene imagery plays an important role in the prosocial effect of episodic simulation...
November 24, 2017: Cognition
Tally McCormick Miller, Timo Torsten Schmidt, Felix Blankenburg, Friedemann Pulvermüller
One of the key statements of linguistic relativity is that language has a causal effect on perception. Although much previous research has addressed such putative language perception causality, no firm proof is available thus far which demonstrates that verbal labels help or otherwise influence perceptual processes. Here, we tested the hypothesis of language perception causality by using novel, minimally-different tactile-patterned stimuli applied to the finger, which initially could not be discriminated by our participants...
November 23, 2017: Cognition
Alexandra S Dylman, Christopher Barry
We report five experiments using the picture-word task to examine lexical selection by comparing the effects of translation distractors in bilinguals and synonym distractors in monolinguals. Three groups of bilinguals named objects in their L1 or L2, and English monolinguals named objects using common names (e.g., DOG="dog") or, in a novel manipulation, using synonymous alternative names (e.g., DOG="hound", GLASSES="spectacles"). All studies produced strikingly similar results. When bilinguals named in L1, there was a small facilitation effect from translation distractors, but larger facilitation when they named in L2...
November 21, 2017: Cognition
Okko Räsänen, Gabriel Doyle, Michael C Frank
Syllables are often considered to be central to infant and adult speech perception. Many theories and behavioral studies on early language acquisition are also based on syllable-level representations of spoken language. There is little clarity, however, on what sort of pre-linguistic "syllable" would actually be accessible to an infant with no phonological or lexical knowledge. Anchored by the notion that syllables are organized around particularly sonorous (audible) speech sounds, the present study investigates the feasibility of speech segmentation into syllable-like chunks without any a priori linguistic knowledge...
November 17, 2017: Cognition
Michael Huemer, Josef Perner, Brian Leahy
Mental files theory explains why children pass many perspective taking tasks like the false belief test around age 4 (Perner & Leahy, 2016). It also explains why older children struggle to understand that beliefs about an object depend on how one is acquainted with it (intensionality or aspectuality). If Heinz looks at an object that is both a die and an eraser, but cannot tell by looking that it is an eraser, he will not reach for it if he needs an eraser. Four- to 6-year olds find this difficult (Apperly & Robinson, 1998)...
November 16, 2017: Cognition
Dror Dotan, Florent Meyniel, Stanislas Dehaene
Humans can readily assess their degree of confidence in their decisions. Two models of confidence computation have been proposed: post hoc computation using post-decision variables and heuristics, versus online computation using continuous assessment of evidence throughout the decision-making process. Here, we arbitrate between these theories by continuously monitoring finger movements during a manual sequential decision-making task. Analysis of finger kinematics indicated that subjects kept separate online records of evidence and confidence: finger deviation continuously reflected the ongoing accumulation of evidence, whereas finger speed continuously reflected the momentary degree of confidence...
November 9, 2017: Cognition
Jincai Li, Longgen Liu, Elizabeth Chalmers, Jesse Snedeker
Past work has shown systematic differences between Easterners' and Westerners' intuitions about the reference of proper names. Understanding when these differences emerge in development will help us understand their origins. In the present study, we investigate the referential intuitions of English- and Chinese-speaking children and adults in the U.S. and China. Using a truth-value judgment task modeled on Kripke's classic Gödel case, we find that the cross-cultural differences are already in place at age seven...
November 8, 2017: Cognition
Toben H Mintz, Rachel L Walker, Ashlee Welday, Celeste Kidd
A critical part of infants' ability to acquire any language involves segmenting continuous speech input into discrete word forms. Certain properties of words could provide infants with reliable cues to word boundaries. Here we investigate the potential utility of vowel harmony (VH), a phonological property whereby vowels within a word systematically exhibit similarity ("harmony") for some aspect of the way they are pronounced. We present evidence that infants with no experience of VH in their native language nevertheless actively use these patterns to generate hypotheses about where words begin and end in the speech stream...
November 6, 2017: Cognition
Qi-Yang Nie, Xiaowei Ding, Jianyong Chen, Markus Conci
Visual working memory (vWM) performance is enhanced when a memorized object is cued after encoding. This so-called retro-cue effect is typically observed with a predictive (80% valid), retrospective cue. The current study examined whether a nonpredictive (50% valid) retro-cue can similarly enhance internal memory representations in cases where the cue conveys social signals. To this end, gaze cues were presented during the retention interval of a change-detection task, which are capable to engender a mutual attentional focus of two individuals towards one location...
November 6, 2017: Cognition
Betsy Sneller, Gareth Roberts
The question of how behavioral variants compete and propagate is of primary importance to the study of cultural evolution; with respect to language, it is also an important focus of the field of sociolinguistics. Variant propagation can occur by neutral means-akin to drift in biological evolution-or through selection, whereby individuals are biased in what variants they adopt. An important bias concerns social meaning, and sociolinguistic theory distinguishes between variants that are primarily associated with a particular social group (such as working-class people or Texans) and variants primarily associated with a perceived trait of the group (such as toughness)...
November 5, 2017: Cognition
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