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Cognitive Science

Wayne D Gray, John K Lindstedt
The framework of plateaus, dips, and leaps shines light on periods when individuals may be inventing new methods of skilled performance. We begin with a review of the role performance plateaus have played in (a) experimental psychology, (b) human-computer interaction, and (c) cognitive science. We then reanalyze two classic studies of individual performance to show plateaus and dips which resulted in performance leaps. For a third study, we show how the statistical methods of Changepoint Analysis plus a few simple heuristics may direct our focus to periods of performance change for individuals...
October 20, 2016: Cognitive Science
Laura M Hiatt, J Gregory Trafton
We present a novel way of accounting for similarity judgments. Our approach posits that similarity stems from three main sources-familiarity, priming, and inherent perceptual likeness. Here, we explore each of these constructs and demonstrate their individual and combined effectiveness in explaining similarity judgments. Using these three measures, our account of similarity explains ratings of simple, color-based perceptual stimuli that display asymmetry effects, as well as more complicated perceptual stimuli with structural properties; more traditional approaches to similarity solve one or the other and have difficulty accounting for both...
October 20, 2016: Cognitive Science
Minna Kirjavainen, Elena V M Lieven, Anna L Theakston
An experimental study was conducted on children aged 2;6-3;0 and 3;6-4;0 investigating the priming effect of two WANT-constructions to establish whether constructional competition contributes to English-speaking children's infinitival to omission errors (e.g., *I want ___ jump now). In two between-participant groups, children either just heard or heard and repeated WANT-to, WANT-X, and control prime sentences after which to-infinitival constructions were elicited. We found that both age groups were primed, but in different ways...
October 20, 2016: Cognitive Science
David M Sidhu, Penny M Pexman
Certain nonwords, like maluma and takete, are associated with roundness and sharpness, respectively. However, this has typically been demonstrated using explicit tasks. We investigated whether this association would be detectable using a more implicit measure-a sequential priming task. We began with a replication of the standard Maluma/Takete effect (Experiments 1a and 1b) before examining whether round and sharp nonword primes facilitated the categorization of congruent shapes (Experiment 2). We found modest evidence of a priming effect in response accuracy...
October 20, 2016: Cognitive Science
Percival G Matthews, Mark R Lewis
Although many researchers theorize that primitive numerosity processing abilities may lay the foundation for whole number concepts, other classes of numbers, like fractions, are sometimes assumed to be inaccessible to primitive architectures. This research presents evidence that the automatic processing of nonsymbolic magnitudes affects processing of symbolic fractions. Participants completed modified Stroop tasks in which they selected the larger of two symbolic fractions while the ratios of the fonts in which the fractions were printed and the overall sizes of the compared fractions were manipulated as irrelevant dimensions...
October 20, 2016: Cognitive Science
Albert Costa, Mario Pannunzi, Gustavo Deco, Martin J Pickering
Most models of lexical access assume that bilingual speakers activate their two languages even when they are in a context in which only one language is used. A critical piece of evidence used to support this notion is the observation that a given word automatically activates its translation equivalent in the other language. Here, we argue that these findings are compatible with a different account, in which bilinguals "carry over" the structure of their native language to the non-native language during learning, and where there is no activation of translation equivalents...
October 20, 2016: Cognitive Science
Jey Han Lau, Alexander Clark, Shalom Lappin
The question of whether humans represent grammatical knowledge as a binary condition on membership in a set of well-formed sentences, or as a probabilistic property has been the subject of debate among linguists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists for many decades. Acceptability judgments present a serious problem for both classical binary and probabilistic theories of grammaticality. These judgements are gradient in nature, and so cannot be directly accommodated in a binary formal grammar. However, it is also not possible to simply reduce acceptability to probability...
October 12, 2016: Cognitive Science
Anthony F Morse, Angelo Cangelosi
Most theories of learning would predict a gradual acquisition and refinement of skills as learning progresses, and while some highlight exponential growth, this fails to explain why natural cognitive development typically progresses in stages. Models that do span multiple developmental stages typically have parameters to "switch" between stages. We argue that by taking an embodied view, the interaction between learning mechanisms, the resulting behavior of the agent, and the opportunities for learning that the environment provides can account for the stage-wise development of cognitive abilities...
September 28, 2016: Cognitive Science
Chi-Hsin Chen, Lisa Gershkoff-Stowe, Chih-Yi Wu, Hintat Cheung, Chen Yu
Two experiments were conducted to examine adult learners' ability to extract multiple statistics in simultaneously presented visual and auditory input. Experiment 1 used a cross-situational learning paradigm to test whether English speakers were able to use co-occurrences to learn word-to-object mappings and concurrently form object categories based on the commonalities across training stimuli. Experiment 2 replicated the first experiment and further examined whether speakers of Mandarin, a language in which final syllables of object names are more predictive of category membership than English, were able to learn words and form object categories when trained with the same type of structures...
September 26, 2016: Cognitive Science
Jon Scott Stevens, Lila R Gleitman, John C Trueswell, Charles Yang
We evaluate here the performance of four models of cross-situational word learning: two global models, which extract and retain multiple referential alternatives from each word occurrence; and two local models, which extract just a single referent from each occurrence. One of these local models, dubbed Pursuit, uses an associative learning mechanism to estimate word-referent probability but pursues and tests the best referent-meaning at any given time. Pursuit is found to perform as well as global models under many conditions extracted from naturalistic corpora of parent-child interactions, even though the model maintains far less information than global models...
September 25, 2016: Cognitive Science
Matthew Lehet, Lori L Holt
Multiple acoustic dimensions signal speech categories. However, dimensions vary in their informativeness; some are more diagnostic of category membership than others. Speech categorization reflects these dimensional regularities such that diagnostic dimensions carry more "perceptual weight" and more effectively signal category membership to native listeners. Yet perceptual weights are malleable. When short-term experience deviates from long-term language norms, such as in a foreign accent, the perceptual weight of acoustic dimensions in signaling speech category membership rapidly adjusts...
September 25, 2016: Cognitive Science
Aniruddh D Patel, Emily Morgan
The online processing of both music and language involves making predictions about upcoming material, but the relationship between prediction in these two domains is not well understood. Electrophysiological methods for studying individual differences in prediction in language processing have opened the door to new questions. Specifically, we ask whether individuals with musical training predict upcoming linguistic material more strongly and/or more accurately than non-musicians. We propose two reasons why prediction in these two domains might be linked: (a) Musicians may have greater verbal short-term/working memory; (b) music may specifically reward predictions based on hierarchical structure...
September 25, 2016: Cognitive Science
Barbara Landau
In this article, I revisit Landau and Jackendoff's () paper, "What and where in spatial language and spatial cognition," proposing a friendly amendment and reformulation. The original paper emphasized the distinct geometries that are engaged when objects are represented as members of object kinds (named by count nouns), versus when they are represented as figure and ground in spatial expressions (i.e., play the role of arguments of spatial prepositions). We provided empirical and theoretical arguments for the link between these distinct representations in spatial language and their accompanying nonlinguistic neural representations, emphasizing the "what" and "where" systems of the visual system...
September 16, 2016: Cognitive Science
Joseph M Burling, Hanako Yoshida
The literature on human and animal learning suggests that individuals attend to and act on cues differently based on the order in which they were learned. Recent studies have proposed that one specific type of learning outcome, the highlighting effect, can serve as a framework for understanding a number of early cognitive milestones. However, little is known how this learning effect itself emerges among children, whose memory and attention are much more limited compared to adults. Two experiments were conducted using different versions of the general highlighting paradigm: Experiment 1 tested 3 to 6 year olds with a newly developed image-based version of the paradigm, which was designed specifically to test young children...
September 16, 2016: Cognitive Science
Juanma de la Fuente, Daniel Casasanto, Jose Isidro Martínez-Cascales, Julio Santiago
The concepts of "good" and "bad" are associated with right and left space. Individuals tend to associate good things with the side of their dominant hand, where they experience greater motor fluency, and bad things with their nondominant side. This mapping has been shown to be flexible: Changing the relative fluency of the hands, or even observing a change in someone else's motor fluency, results in a reversal of the conceptual mapping, such that good things become associated with the side of the nondominant hand...
August 26, 2016: Cognitive Science
Seth Chin-Parker, Julie Cantelon
This paper provides evidence for a contrastive account of explanation that is motivated by pragmatic theories that recognize the contribution that context makes to the interpretation of a prompt for explanation. This study replicates the primary findings of previous work in explanation-based category learning (Williams & Lombrozo, 2010), extending that work by illustrating the critical role of the context in this type of learning. Participants interacted with items from two categories either by describing the items or explaining their category membership...
August 26, 2016: Cognitive Science
David Vinson, Pamela Perniss, Neil Fox, Gabriella Vigliocco
Previous studies show that reading sentences about actions leads to specific motor activity associated with actually performing those actions. We investigate how sign language input may modulate motor activation, using British Sign Language (BSL) sentences, some of which explicitly encode direction of motion, versus written English, where motion is only implied. We find no evidence of action simulation in BSL comprehension (Experiments 1-3), but we find effects of action simulation in comprehension of written English sentences by deaf native BSL signers (Experiment 4)...
August 3, 2016: Cognitive Science
Amaç Herdağdelen, Marco Marelli
Corpus-based word frequencies are one of the most important predictors in language processing tasks. Frequencies based on conversational corpora (such as movie subtitles) are shown to better capture the variance in lexical decision tasks compared to traditional corpora. In this study, we show that frequencies computed from social media are currently the best frequency-based estimators of lexical decision reaction times (up to 3.6% increase in explained variance). The results are robust (observed for Twitter- and Facebook-based frequencies on American English and British English datasets) and are still substantial when we control for corpus size...
August 1, 2016: Cognitive Science
Zoe Liberman, Amanda L Woodward, Katherine D Kinzler
Language provides rich social information about its speakers. For instance, adults and children make inferences about a speaker's social identity, geographic origins, and group membership based on her language and accent. Although infants prefer speakers of familiar languages (Kinzler, Dupoux, & Spelke, 2007), little is known about the developmental origins of humans' sensitivity to language as marker of social identity. We investigated whether 9-month-olds use the language a person speaks as an indicator of that person's likely social relationships...
July 29, 2016: Cognitive Science
Leon Li, L Robert Slevc
Every word signifies multiple senses. Many studies using comprehension-based measures suggest that polysemes' senses (e.g., paper as in printer paper or term paper) share lexical representations, whereas homophones' meanings (e.g., pen as in ballpoint pen or pig pen) correspond to distinct lexical representations. Less is known about the lexical representations of polysemes compared to homophones in language production. In this study, speakers named pictures after reading sentence fragments that primed polysemes and homophones either as direct competitors to pictures (i...
July 29, 2016: Cognitive Science
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