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Cognitive Science

Elise Stickles, Tasha N Lewis
Experimental work has shown that spatial experiences influence spatiotemporal metaphor use. In these studies, participants are asked a question that yields different responses depending on the metaphor participants use. It has been claimed that English speakers are equally likely to respond with either variant in the absence of priming. Related studies testing non-spatial experiences demonstrate varied results with a wide range of primes. Here, the effects of eye movement and stimuli presentation modality on comprehension of this question are investigated in different formats...
October 13, 2017: Cognitive Science
Rosa Rugani, Giorgio Vallortigara, Konstantinos Priftis, Lucia Regolin
Núñez and Fias raised concerns on whether our results demonstrate a linear number-space mapping. Patro and Nuerk urge caution on the use of animal models to understand the origin (cultural vs. biological) of the orientation of spatial-numerical association. Here, we discuss why both objections are unfounded.
October 11, 2017: Cognitive Science
Berenice Valdés-Conroy, José A Hinojosa, Francisco J Román, Verónica Romero-Ferreiro
Building on evidence for embodied representations, we investigated whether Spanish spatial terms map onto the NEAR/FAR perceptual division of space. Using a long horizontal display, we measured congruency effects during the processing of spatial terms presented in NEAR or FAR space. Across three experiments, we manipulated the task demands in order to investigate the role of endogenous attention in linguistic and perceptual space mapping. We predicted congruency effects only when spatial properties were relevant for the task (reaching estimation task, Experiment 1) but not when attention was allocated to other features (lexical decision, Experiment 2; and color, Experiment 3)...
October 10, 2017: Cognitive Science
Olivier Morin
Cultural forms are constrained by cognitive biases, and writing is thought to have evolved to fit basic visual preferences, but little is known about the history and mechanisms of that evolution. Cognitive constraints have been documented for the topology of script features, but not for their orientation. Orientation anisotropy in human vision, as revealed by the oblique effect, suggests that cardinal (vertical and horizontal) orientations, being easier to process, should be overrepresented in letters. As this study of 116 scripts shows, the orientation of strokes inside written characters massively favors cardinal directions, and it is organized in such a way as to make letter recognition easier: Cardinal and oblique strokes tend not to mix, and mirror symmetry is anisotropic, favoring vertical over horizontal symmetry...
October 10, 2017: Cognitive Science
Tomoko Tatsumi, Ben Ambridge, Julian M Pine
This study aims to disentangle the often-confounded effects of input frequency and morphophonological complexity in the acquisition of inflection, by focusing on simple and complex verb forms in Japanese. Study 1 tested 28 children aged 3;3-4;3 on stative (complex) and simple past forms, and Study 2 tested 30 children aged 3;5-5;3 on completive (complex) and simple past forms, with both studies using a production priming paradigm. Mixed effects models for children's responses were built to test the prediction that children's verb use is explained by the relative bias in input frequency between the two inflectional forms...
October 10, 2017: Cognitive Science
Fuyun Wu, Elsi Kaiser, Shravan Vasishth
We used Chinese prenominal relative clauses (RCs) to test the predictions of two competing accounts of sentence comprehension difficulty: the experience-based account of Levy () and the Dependency Locality Theory (DLT; Gibson, ). Given that in Chinese RCs, a classifier and/or a passive marker BEI can be added to the sentence-initial position, we manipulated the presence/absence of classifiers and the presence/absence of BEI, such that BEI sentences were passivized subject-extracted RCs, and no-BEI sentences were standard object-extracted RCs...
October 10, 2017: Cognitive Science
Noam Siegelman, Louisa Bogaerts, Ofer Kronenfeld, Ram Frost
From a theoretical perspective, most discussions of statistical learning (SL) have focused on the possible "statistical" properties that are the object of learning. Much less attention has been given to defining what "learning" is in the context of "statistical learning." One major difficulty is that SL research has been monitoring participants' performance in laboratory settings with a strikingly narrow set of tasks, where learning is typically assessed offline, through a set of two-alternative-forced-choice questions, which follow a brief visual or auditory familiarization stream...
October 7, 2017: Cognitive Science
Yang Wu, Chris L Baker, Joshua B Tenenbaum, Laura E Schulz
We investigated people's ability to infer others' mental states from their emotional reactions, manipulating whether agents wanted, expected, and caused an outcome. Participants recovered agents' desires throughout. When the agent observed, but did not cause the outcome, participants' ability to recover the agent's beliefs depended on the evidence they got (i.e., her reaction only to the actual outcome or to both the expected and actual outcomes; Experiments 1 and 2). When the agent caused the event, participants' judgments also depended on the probability of the action (Experiments 3 and 4); when actions were improbable given the mental states, people failed to recover the agent's beliefs even when they saw her react to both the anticipated and actual outcomes...
October 6, 2017: Cognitive Science
Ori Lavi-Rotbain, Inbal Arnon
Recent work asked if visual cues facilitate word segmentation in adults and infants (Thiessen, 2010). While adults showed better word segmentation when presented with a regular visual cue (consistent mapping between words and objects), infants did not. This difference was attributed to infants' lack of understanding that objects have labels. Alternatively, infants' performance could reflect their difficulty with tracking and integrating multiple multimodal cues. We contrasted these two accounts by looking at the effect of visual cues on word segmentation in adults and across childhood (6-12 years)...
September 28, 2017: Cognitive Science
Chengli Xiao, Mengya Zhao, Lei Chen
Mandarin speakers, like most other language speakers around the world, use spatial terms to talk about time. However, the direction of their mental temporal representation along the front-back axis remains controversial because they use the spatial term "front" to refer to both earlier times (e.g., front-year means "the year before last") and the future (e.g., front-road means "prospect"). Although the linguistic distinction between time- and ego-reference-point spatiotemporal metaphors in Mandarin suggests a promising clarification of the above controversy, there is little empirical evidence verifying this distinction...
September 28, 2017: Cognitive Science
Katherine E Twomey, Lizhi Ma, Gert Westermann
Variability is prevalent in early language acquisition, but, whether it supports or hinders learning is unclear; while target variability has been shown to facilitate word learning, variability in competitor items has been shown to make the task harder. Here, we tested whether background variability could boost learning in a referent selection task. Two groups of 2-year-old children saw arrays of one novel and two known objects on a screen, and they heard a novel or known label. Stimuli were identical across conditions, with the exception that in the constant color condition objects appeared on a uniform white background, and in the variable color condition backgrounds were different, uniform colors...
September 23, 2017: Cognitive Science
Neon B Brooks, David Barner, Michael Frank, Susan Goldin-Meadow
People frequently gesture when problem-solving, particularly on tasks that require spatial transformation. Gesture often facilitates task performance by interacting with internal mental representations, but how this process works is not well understood. We investigated this question by exploring the case of mental abacus (MA), a technique in which users not only imagine moving beads on an abacus to compute sums, but also produce movements in gestures that accompany the calculations. Because the content of MA is transparent and readily manipulated, the task offers a unique window onto how gestures interface with mental representations...
September 11, 2017: Cognitive Science
Jeenath Rahaman, Harshit Agrawal, Nisheeth Srivastava, Sanjay Chandrasekharan
Manipulation of physical models such as tangrams and tiles is a popular approach to teaching early mathematics concepts. This pedagogical approach is extended by new computational media, where mathematical entities such as equations and vectors can be virtually manipulated. The cognitive and neural mechanisms supporting such manipulation-based learning-particularly how actions generate new internal structures that support problem-solving-are not understood. We develop a model of the way manipulations generate internal traces embedding actions, and how these action-traces recombine during problem-solving...
August 27, 2017: Cognitive Science
Dieter Thoma, Agnieszka E Tytus
According to Chen's (2013) Linguistic Savings Hypothesis (LSH), our native language affects our economic behavior. We present three studies investigating how cross-linguistic differences in the grammaticalization of future-time reference (FTR) affect intertemporal choices. In a series of decision scenarios about finance and health issues, we let speakers of altogether five languages that represent FTR with increasing strength, that is, Chinese, German, Danish, Spanish, and English, choose between hypothetical sooner-smaller and later-larger reward options...
August 22, 2017: Cognitive Science
Marit Lobben, Agata Bochynska
Grammatical categories represent implicit knowledge, and it is not known if such abstract linguistic knowledge can be continuously grounded in real-life experiences, nor is it known what types of mental states can be simulated. A former study showed that attention bias in peripersonal space (PPS) affects reaction times in grammatical congruency judgments of nominal classifiers, suggesting that simulated semantics may include reenactment of attention. In this study, we contrasted a Chinese nominal classifier used with nouns denoting pinch grip objects with a classifier for nouns with big object referents in a pupil dilation experiment...
August 1, 2017: Cognitive Science
Nathan E Rasmussen, William Schuler
This article describes a left-corner parser implemented within a cognitively and neurologically motivated distributed model of memory. This parser's approach to syntactic ambiguity points toward a tidy account both of surprisal effects and of locality effects, such as the parsing breakdowns caused by center embedding. The model provides an algorithmic-level (Marr, 1982) account of these breakdowns: The structure of the parser's memory and the nature of incremental parsing produce a smooth degradation of processing accuracy for longer center embeddings, and a steeper degradation when they are nested, in line with recall observations by Miller and Isard (2003) and speed-accuracy trade-off observations by McElree et al...
August 1, 2017: Cognitive Science
Itamar Kastner, Frans Adriaans
Statistical learning is often taken to lie at the heart of many cognitive tasks, including the acquisition of language. One particular task in which probabilistic models have achieved considerable success is the segmentation of speech into words. However, these models have mostly been tested against English data, and as a result little is known about how a statistical learning mechanism copes with input regularities that arise from the structural properties of different languages. This study focuses on statistical word segmentation in Arabic, a Semitic language in which words are built around consonantal roots...
July 26, 2017: Cognitive Science
Elizabeth K Johnson, Laurence Bruggeman, Anne Cutler
Talkers are recognized more accurately if they are speaking the listeners' native language rather than an unfamiliar language. This "language familiarity effect" has been shown not to depend upon comprehension and must instead involve language sound patterns. We further examine the level of sound-pattern processing involved, by comparing talker recognition in foreign languages versus two varieties of English, by (a) English speakers of one variety, (b) English speakers of the other variety, and (c) non-native listeners (more familiar with one of the varieties)...
July 26, 2017: Cognitive Science
Marius Janciauskas, Franklin Chang
Language learning requires linguistic input, but several studies have found that knowledge of second language (L2) rules does not seem to improve with more language exposure (e.g., Johnson & Newport, 1989). One reason for this is that previous studies did not factor out variation due to the different rules tested. To examine this issue, we reanalyzed grammaticality judgment scores in Flege, Yeni-Komshian, and Liu's (1999) study of L2 learners using rule-related predictors and found that, in addition to the overall drop in performance due to a sensitive period, L2 knowledge increased with years of input...
July 26, 2017: Cognitive Science
Takeshi Okada, Kentaro Ishibashi
To investigate the cognitive processes underlying creative inspiration, we tested the extent to which viewing or copying prior examples impacted creative output in art. In Experiment 1, undergraduates made drawings under three conditions: (a) copying an artist's drawing, then producing an original drawing; (b) producing an original drawing without having seen another's work; and (c) copying another artist's work, then reproducing that artist's style independently. We discovered that through copying unfamiliar abstract drawings, participants were able to produce creative drawings qualitatively different from the model drawings...
September 2017: Cognitive Science
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