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Cognitive Science

Eric Schulz, Charley M Wu, Quentin J M Huys, Andreas Krause, Maarten Speekenbrink
How do people pursue rewards in risky environments, where some outcomes should be avoided at all costs? We investigate how participant search for spatially correlated rewards in scenarios where one must avoid sampling rewards below a given threshold. This requires not only the balancing of exploration and exploitation, but also reasoning about how to avoid potentially risky areas of the search space. Within risky versions of the spatially correlated multi-armed bandit task, we show that participants' behavior is aligned well with a Gaussian process function learning algorithm, which chooses points based on a safe optimization routine...
November 2, 2018: Cognitive Science
Dale J Cohen, Daryn Blanc-Goldhammer, Philip T Quinlan
Current understanding of the development of quantity representations is based primarily on performance in the number-line task. We posit that the data from number-line tasks reflect the observer's underlying representation of quantity, together with the cognitive strategies and skills required to equate line length and quantity. Here, we specify a unified theory linking the underlying psychological representation of quantity and the associated strategies in four variations of the number-line task: the production and estimation variations of the bounded and unbounded number-line tasks...
October 29, 2018: Cognitive Science
I Nyoman Aryawibawa, Ben Ambridge
A central debate in the cognitive sciences surrounds the nature of adult speakers' linguistic representations: Are they purely syntactic (a traditional and widely held view; e.g., Branigan & Pickering, ), or are they semantically structured? A recent study (Ambridge, Bidgood, Pine, Rowland, & Freudenthal, ) found support for the latter view, showing that adults' acceptability judgments of passive sentences were significantly predicted by independent semantic "affectedness" ratings designed to capture the putative semantics of the construction (e...
October 29, 2018: Cognitive Science
Yuki Kamide, Anuenue Kukona
We investigated the influence of globally ungrammatical local syntactic constraints on sentence comprehension, as well as the corresponding activation of global and local representations. In Experiment 1, participants viewed visual scenes with objects like a carousel and motorbike while hearing sentences with noun phrase (NP) or verb phrase (VP) modifiers like "The girl who likes the man (from London/very much) will ride the carousel." In both cases, "girl" and "ride" predicted carousel as the direct object; however, the locally coherent combination "the man from London will ride…" in NP cases alternatively predicted motorbike...
October 20, 2018: Cognitive Science
Rose K Hendricks, Benjamin K Bergen, Tyler Marghetis
Languages around the world use a recurring strategy to discuss abstract concepts: describe them metaphorically, borrowing language from more concrete domains. We "plan ahead" to the future, "count up" to higher numbers, and "warm" to new friends. Past work has found that these ways of talking have implications for how we think, so that shared systems of linguistic metaphors can produce shared conceptualizations. On the other hand, these systematic linguistic metaphors might not just be the cause but also the effect of shared, non-linguistic ways of thinking...
October 17, 2018: Cognitive Science
Mark Atkinson, Kenny Smith, Simon Kirby
Languages spoken in larger populations are relatively simple. A possible explanation for this is that languages with a greater number of speakers tend to also be those with higher proportions of non-native speakers, who may simplify language during learning. We assess this explanation for the negative correlation between population size and linguistic complexity in three experiments, using artificial language learning techniques to investigate both the simplifications made by individual adult learners and the potential for such simplifications to influence group-level language characteristics...
October 15, 2018: Cognitive Science
Beatrice Giustolisi, Karen Emmorey
This study investigated visual statistical learning (VSL) in 24 deaf signers and 24 hearing non-signers. Previous research with hearing individuals suggests that SL mechanisms support literacy. Our first goal was to assess whether VSL was associated with reading ability in deaf individuals, and whether this relation was sustained by a link between VSL and sign language skill. Our second goal was to test the Auditory Scaffolding Hypothesis, which makes the prediction that deaf people should be impaired in sequential processing tasks...
October 15, 2018: Cognitive Science
Unni Sulutvedt, Thea K Mannix, Bruno Laeng
Pupillary responses and associated vergence eye movements were monitored during imagery of objects of differing sizes ("large" or "small") from varying distances ("near" or "far"). Objects' imagined size and distance affected oculomotor behavior. Objects visualized as "far" resulted in the larger pupil dilations and smaller visual angle, while small objects imagined "near" were associated with smaller pupils in contrast to relatively larger pupils when imagined as "far" away...
October 9, 2018: Cognitive Science
Armand S Rotaru, Gabriella Vigliocco, Stefan L Frank
The contents and structure of semantic memory have been the focus of much recent research, with major advances in the development of distributional models, which use word co-occurrence information as a window into the semantics of language. In parallel, connectionist modeling has extended our knowledge of the processes engaged in semantic activation. However, these two lines of investigation have rarely been brought together. Here, we describe a processing model based on distributional semantics in which activation spreads throughout a semantic network, as dictated by the patterns of semantic similarity between words...
October 7, 2018: Cognitive Science
Kyle Mahowald, Isabelle Dautriche, Edward Gibson, Steven T Piantadosi
Zipf famously stated that, if natural language lexicons are structured for efficient communication, the words that are used the most frequently should require the least effort. This observation explains the famous finding that the most frequent words in a language tend to be short. A related prediction is that, even within words of the same length, the most frequent word forms should be the ones that are easiest to produce and understand. Using orthographics as a proxy for phonetics, we test this hypothesis using corpora of 96 languages from Wikipedia...
October 7, 2018: Cognitive Science
Mirjana Sekicki, Maria Staudte
Referential gaze has been shown to benefit language processing in situated communication in terms of shifting visual attention and leading to shorter reaction times on subsequent tasks. The present study simultaneously assessed both visual attention and, importantly, the immediate cognitive load induced at different stages of sentence processing. We aimed to examine the dynamics of combining visual and linguistic information in creating anticipation for a specific object and the effect this has on language processing...
October 7, 2018: Cognitive Science
Jayden Ziegler, Jesse Snedeker, Eva Wittenberg
What are the semantic representations that underlie language production? We use structural priming to distinguish between two competing theories. Thematic roles define semantic structure in terms of atomic units that specify event participants and are ordered with respect to each other through a hierarchy of roles. Event structures instead instantiate semantic structure as embedded sub-predicates that impose an order on verbal arguments based on their relative positioning in these embeddings. Across two experiments, we found that priming for datives depended on the degree of overlap in event structures...
October 7, 2018: Cognitive Science
Thomas Brochhagen, Michael Franke, Robert van Rooij
According to standard linguistic theory, the meaning of an utterance is the product of conventional semantic meaning and general pragmatic rules on language use. We investigate how such a division of labor between semantics and pragmatics could evolve under general processes of selection and learning. We present a game-theoretic model of the competition between types of language users, each endowed with certain lexical representations and a particular pragmatic disposition to act on them. Our model traces two evolutionary forces and their interaction: (i) pressure toward communicative efficiency and (ii) transmission perturbations during the acquisition of linguistic knowledge...
October 7, 2018: Cognitive Science
Nathaniel Haines, Jasmin Vassileva, Woo-Young Ahn
The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) is widely used to study decision-making within healthy and psychiatric populations. However, the complexity of the IGT makes it difficult to attribute variation in performance to specific cognitive processes. Several cognitive models have been proposed for the IGT in an effort to address this problem, but currently no single model shows optimal performance for both short- and long-term prediction accuracy and parameter recovery. Here, we propose the Outcome-Representation Learning (ORL) model, a novel model that provides the best compromise between competing models...
October 5, 2018: Cognitive Science
Amir Shufaniya, Inbal Arnon
Humans are capable of extracting recurring patterns from their environment via statistical learning (SL), an ability thought to play an important role in language learning and learning more generally. While much work has examined statistical learning in infants and adults, less work has looked at the developmental trajectory of SL during childhood to see whether it is fully developed in infancy or improves with age, like many other cognitive abilities. A recent study showed modality-based differences in the effect of age during childhood: While visual SL improved with age, auditory SL did not...
October 1, 2018: Cognitive Science
Johannes Leder, Jan A Häusser, Stefan Krumm, Markus Germar, Alexander Schlemmer, Stefan Kaiser, Annemarie Kalis, Andreas Mojzisch
The ability to generate options for action is crucial for everyday life decision-making. In this article, we propose and test a model of the cognitive underpinnings of option generation in everyday life situations. We carried out a laboratory study using measures of a wide range of cognitive functions and asked participants (N = 157) to generate options for actions for different everyday life decision-making scenarios. The results of a latent variable analysis show that the cognitive underpinnings of option generation are consistent across different everyday life situations and, hence, option generation can be conceptualized as a general construct...
September 27, 2018: Cognitive Science
Fenna H Poletiek, Christopher M Conway, Michelle R Ellefson, Jun Lai, Bruno R Bocanegra, Morten H Christiansen
It has been suggested that external and/or internal limitations paradoxically may lead to superior learning, that is, the concepts of starting small and less is more (Elman, ; Newport, ). In this paper, we explore the type of incremental ordering during training that might help learning, and what mechanism explains this facilitation. We report four artificial grammar learning experiments with human participants. In Experiments 1a and 1b we found a beneficial effect of starting small using two types of simple recursive grammars: right-branching and center-embedding, with recursive embedded clauses in fixed positions and fixed length...
September 27, 2018: Cognitive Science
Matthew Lou-Magnuson, Luca Onnis
Natural languages vary widely in the degree to which they make use of nested compositional structure in their grammars. It has long been noted by linguists that the languages historically spoken in small communities develop much deeper levels of compositional embedding than those spoken by larger groups. Recently, this observation has been confirmed by a robust statistical analysis of the World Atlas of Language Structures. In order to examine this connection mechanistically, we propose an agent-based model that accounts for key cultural evolutionary features of language transfer and language change...
September 27, 2018: Cognitive Science
Iris Monster, Shiri Lev-Ari
Propagation of novel linguistic terms is an important aspect of language use and language change. Here, we test how social network size influences people's likelihood of adopting novel labels by examining hashtag use on Twitter. Specifically, we test whether following fewer Twitter users leads to more varied and malleable hashtag use on Twitter, because each followed user is ascribed greater weight and thus exerts greater influence on the following user. Focusing on Dutch users tweeting about the terrorist attack in Brussels in 2016, we show that people who follow fewer other users use a larger number of unique hashtags to refer to the event, reflecting greater malleability and variability in use...
September 21, 2018: Cognitive Science
Orlando Espino, Ruth M J Byrne
When people understand a counterfactual such as "if the flowers had been roses, the trees would have been orange trees," they think about the conjecture, "there were roses and orange trees," and they also think about its opposite, the presupposed facts. We test whether people think about the opposite by representing alternates, for example, "poppies and apple trees," or whether models can contain symbols, for example, "no roses and no orange trees." We report the discovery of an inference-to-alternates effect-a tendency to make an affirmative inference that refers to an alternate even from a negative minor premise, for example, "there were no orange trees, therefore there were poppies...
September 21, 2018: Cognitive Science
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