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Daniel Casasanto, Angela de Bruin
Can performing simple motor actions help people learn the meanings of words? Here we show that placing vocabulary flashcards in particular locations after studying them helps students learn the definitions of novel words with positive or negative emotional valence. After studying each card, participants placed it on one of two shelves (top or bottom), according to its valence. Participants who were instructed to place positive cards on the top shelf and negative cards on the bottom shelf, consistent with metaphors that link "good" with "up," remembered the words' definitions better than participants who followed the opposite spatial mapping, and better than control participants who placed all of the cards on the desktop...
October 5, 2018: Cognition
Mora Maldonado, Emmanuel Chemla, Benjamin Spector
Sentences such as The bags are light allow both collective (they are light together) and distributive interpretations (each bag is light). We report the results of two experiments showing that this collective/distributive contrast gives rise to priming effects. These findings suggest that collective and distributive readings involve different interpretative mechanisms, which are at play during real comprehension and can be targeted by priming, independently of the specific verification strategy associated with each interpretation...
September 27, 2018: Cognition
Tao Wei, Tatiana T Schnur
The speed with which we produce words (e.g., dog) changes depending on whether a word named in the past is from the same semantic category (e.g., cat) or not (e.g., vase). Strikingly, whereas earlier studies find that producing semantically related words speeds up subsequent naming, recent studies report that it slows down future naming. It is unclear why the same experience results in opposite effects and whether both effects originate within the language system. Using the same picture naming paradigm and materials, we manipulated the interval between two naming events, while reducing the influence of expectation...
September 26, 2018: Cognition
Limor Raviv, Antje Meyer, Shiri Lev-Ari
Experimental work in the field of language evolution has shown that novel signal systems become more structured over time. In a recent paper, Kirby, Tamariz, Cornish, and Smith (2015) argued that compositional languages can emerge only when languages are transmitted across multiple generations. In the current paper, we show that compositional languages can emerge in a closed community within a single generation. We conducted a communication experiment in which we tested the emergence of linguistic structure in different micro-societies of four participants, who interacted in alternating dyads using an artificial language to refer to novel meanings...
September 26, 2018: Cognition
Alexander Jones
Attention resources can be allocated in both space and time. Exogenous temporal attention can be driven by rhythmic events in our environment which automatically entrain periods of attention. Temporal expectancies can also be generated by the elapse of time, leading to foreperiod effects (the longer between a cue and imperative target, the faster the response). This study investigates temporal attention in touch and the influence of spatial orienting. In experiment 1, participants used bilateral tactile cues to orient endogenous spatial attention to the left or right hand where a unilateral tactile target was presented...
September 21, 2018: Cognition
R Hoskin, C Berzuini, D Acosta-Kane, W El-Deredy, H Guo, D Talmi
The thoughts and feelings people have about pain (referred to as 'pain expectations') are known to alter the perception of pain. However little is known about the cognitive processes that underpin pain expectations, or what drives the differing effect that pain expectations have between individuals. This paper details the testing of a model of pain perception which formalises the response to pain in terms of a Bayesian prior-to-posterior updating process. Using data acquired from a short and deception-free predictive cue task, it was found that this Bayesian model predicted ratings of pain better than other, simpler models...
September 19, 2018: Cognition
Rita Anne McNamara, Aiyana K Willard, Ara Norenzayan, Joseph Henrich
Mental state reasoning has been theorized as a core feature of how we navigate our social worlds, and as especially vital to moral reasoning. Judgments of moral wrong-doing and punish-worthiness often hinge upon evaluations of the perpetrator's mental states. In two studies, we examine how differences in cultural conceptions about how one should think about others' minds influence the relative importance of intent vs. outcome in moral judgments. We recruit participation from three societies, differing in emphasis on mental state reasoning: Indigenous iTaukei Fijians from Yasawa Island (Yasawans) who normatively avoid mental state inference in favor of focus on relationships and consequences of actions; Indo-Fijians who normatively emphasize relationships but do not avoid mental state inference; and North Americans who emphasize individual autonomy and interpreting others' behaviors as the direct result of mental states...
September 15, 2018: Cognition
M Gareth Gaskell, Scott A Cairney, Jennifer M Rodd
Evidence is growing for the involvement of consolidation processes in the learning and retention of language, largely based on instances of new linguistic components (e.g., new words). Here, we assessed whether consolidation effects extend to the semantic processing of highly familiar words. The experiments were based on the word-meaning priming paradigm in which a homophone is encountered in a context that biases interpretation towards the subordinate meaning. The homophone is subsequently used in a word-association test to determine whether the priming encounter facilitates the retrieval of the primed meaning...
September 15, 2018: Cognition
Markus Ostarek, Dennis Joosen, Adil Ishag, Monique de Nijs, Falk Huettig
Many studies have shown that sentences implying an object to have a certain shape produce a robust reaction time advantage for shape-matching pictures in the sentence-picture verification task. Typically, this finding has been interpreted as evidence for perceptual simulation, i.e., that access to implicit shape information involves the activation of modality-specific visual processes. It follows from this proposal that disrupting visual processing during sentence comprehension should interfere with perceptual simulation and obliterate the match effect...
September 13, 2018: Cognition
Naphtali Abudarham, Lior Shkiller, Galit Yovel
Face recognition is a computationally challenging task that humans perform effortlessly. Nonetheless, this remarkable ability is better for familiar faces than unfamiliar faces. To account for humans' superior ability to recognize familiar faces, current theories suggest that different features are used for the representation of familiar and unfamiliar faces. In the current study, we applied a reverse engineering approach to reveal which facial features are critical for familiar face recognition. In contrast to current views, we discovered that the same subset of features that are used for matching unfamiliar faces, are also used for matching as well as recognition of familiar faces...
September 12, 2018: Cognition
Thomas J Covey, Janet L Shucard, David W Shucard
There is emerging evidence that working memory (WM) can potentially be enhanced via targeted training protocols. However, the differential effects of targeted training of WM vs. training of general attentional processes on distinct neurocognitive mechanisms is not well understood. In the present study, we compared adaptive n-back WM training to an adaptive visual search training task that targeted perceptual discrimination, in the absence of demands on WM. The search task was closely matched to the n-back task on difficulty and participant engagement...
September 12, 2018: Cognition
Emanuel Bylund, Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam, Gunnar Norrman
Whereas the cognitive advantages brought about by bilingualism have recently been called into question, the so-called 'lexical deficit' in bilinguals is still largely taken for granted. Here, we argue that, in analogy with cognitive advantages, the lexical deficit does not apply across the board of bilinguals, but varies as a function of acquisition trajectory. To test this, we implement a novel methodological design, where the variables of bilingualism and first/second language status have been fully crossed in four different groups...
September 11, 2018: Cognition
Jessica E Kosie, Dare Baldwin
Fluent event processing involves selectively attending to information-rich regions within dynamically unfolding sensory streams (e.g., Newtson, 1973). What counts as information-rich likely depends on numerous factors, however, including overall event novelty and local opportunity for repeated viewing. Using Hard, Recchia, and Tversky's (2011) method, we investigated the extent to which these two variables affected viewers' attentional patterns as events unfolded. Specifically, we recorded viewers' "dwell times" as they advanced through two slideshows depicting distinct methods of shoelace tying varying in novelty but equated on other dimensions...
September 11, 2018: Cognition
Anna Samara, Daniela Singh, Elizabeth Wonnacott
Statistical learning processes-akin to those seen in spoken language acquisition (Saffran et al., 1996)-may be important for the development of literacy, particularly spelling development. One previous study provides direct evidence for this process: Samara and Caravolas (2014) demonstrated that 7-year-olds generalize over permissible letter contexts (graphotactics) in novel word-like stimuli under incidental learning conditions. However, unlike in actual orthography, conditioning contexts in Samara and Caravolas' (2014) stimuli comprised perfectly correlated, redundant cues in both word-initial and word-final positions...
September 11, 2018: Cognition
Dian Yu, Derek Tam, Steven L Franconeri
Our visual system organizes spatially distinct areas with similar features into perceptual groups. To better understand the underlying mechanism of grouping, one route is to study its capacity and temporal progression. Intuitively, that capacity seems unlimited, and the temporal progression feels immediate. In contrast, here we show that in a visual search task that requires similarity grouping, search performance is consistent with serial processing of those groups. This was true across several experiments, for seeking a single ungrouped pair among grouped pairs, vice versa, and for displays with tiny spacings between the grouped items...
September 10, 2018: Cognition
Kalinka Timmer, Marco Calabria, Albert Costa
What is the relationship between bilingual language control (BLC) mechanisms and domain-general executive control (EC) processes? Do these two domains share some of their mechanisms? Here, we take a novel approach to this question, investigating whether short-term language switching training improves non-linguistic task switching performance. Two groups of bilinguals were assigned to two different protocols; one group was trained in language switching (switching-task training group) another group was trained in blocked language picture naming (single-block training group)...
September 10, 2018: Cognition
Rebecca Treiman, Cláudia Cardoso-Martins, Tatiana Cury Pollo, Brett Kessler
We analyzed the spelling attempts of Brazilian children (age 3 years, 3 months to 6 years, 0 months) who were prephonological spellers, in that they wrote using letters that did not reflect the phonemes in the words they were asked to spell. We tested the hypothesis that children use their statistical-learning skills to learn about the appearance of writing and that older prephonological spellers, who have had on average more exposure to writing, produce more wordlike spellings than younger prephonological spellers...
September 7, 2018: Cognition
Limor Raviv, Inbal Arnon
Recent work suggests that cultural transmission can lead to the emergence of linguistic structure as speakers' weak individual biases become amplified through iterated learning. However, to date no published study has demonstrated a similar emergence of linguistic structure in children. The lack of evidence from child learners constitutes a problematic gap in the literature: if such learning biases impact the emergence of linguistic structure, they should also be found in children, who are the primary learners in real-life language transmission...
December 2018: Cognition
Nitzan Shahar, Maayan Pereg, Andrei R Teodorescu, Rani Moran, Anat Karmon-Presser, Nachshon Meiran
Working memory is strongly involved in human reasoning, abstract thinking and decision making. Past studies have shown that working memory training generalizes to untrained working memory tasks with similar structure (near-transfer effect). Here, we focused on two questions: First, we ask how much training might be required in order to find a reliable near-transfer effect? Second, we ask which choice- mechanism might underlie training benefits? Participants were allocated to one of three groups: working-memory training (combined set-shifting and N-back task), active-control (visual search) and no-contact control...
December 2018: Cognition
Rachel Ryskin, Richard Futrell, Swathi Kiran, Edward Gibson
In everyday communication, speakers make errors and produce language in a noisy environment. Recent work suggests that comprehenders possess cognitive mechanisms for dealing with noise in the linguistic signal: a noisy-channel model. A key parameter of these models is the noise model: the comprehender's implicit model of how noise affects utterances before they are perceived. Here we examine this noise model in detail, asking whether comprehension behavior reflects a noise model that is adapted to context. We asked readers to correct sentences if they noticed errors, and manipulated context by including exposure sentences containing obvious deletions (A bystander was rescued by the fireman in the nick time...
December 2018: Cognition
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