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Cognitive Science

Shaun Nichols, Jerry Gaus
When people learn normative systems, they do so based on limited evidence. Many of the possible actions that are available to an agent have never been explicitly permitted or prohibited. But people will often need to figure out whether those unspecified actions are permitted or prohibited. How does a learner resolve this incompleteness? The learner might assume if an action-type is not expressly forbidden, then acts of that type are permitted. This closure principle is one of Liberty. Alternatively, the learner might assume that if an action-type is not expressly permitted, then acts of that type are prohibited...
September 3, 2018: Cognitive Science
Shirlene Wade, Celeste Kidd
Certain social context features (e.g., maternal presence) are known to increase young children's exploration, a key process by which they learn. Yet limited research investigates the role of social context, especially peer presence, in exploration across development. We investigate whether the effect of peer presence on exploration is mediated by age or cultural-specific experiences. We test its impact on exploration across development (2-11 years) and across cultures (United States and the Tsimane', indigenous farmer-foragers in Bolivia)...
September 3, 2018: Cognitive Science
Joshua C Peterson, Joshua T Abbott, Thomas L Griffiths
Decades of psychological research have been aimed at modeling how people learn features and categories. The empirical validation of these theories is often based on artificial stimuli with simple representations. Recently, deep neural networks have reached or surpassed human accuracy on tasks such as identifying objects in natural images. These networks learn representations of real-world stimuli that can potentially be leveraged to capture psychological representations. We find that state-of-the-art object classification networks provide surprisingly accurate predictions of human similarity judgments for natural images, but they fail to capture some of the structure represented by people...
September 3, 2018: Cognitive Science
Geoffrey P Goodwin, P N Johnson-Laird
Given a basic conditional of the form, If A then C, individuals usually list three cases as possible: A and C, not-A and not-C, not-A and C. This result corroborates the theory of mental models. By contrast, individuals often judge that the conditional is true only in the case of A and C, and that cases of not-A are irrelevant to its truth or falsity. This result corroborates other theories of conditionals. To resolve the discrepancy, we devised two new tasks: the "collective" truth task, in which participants judged whether sets of assertions about a specific individual, such as: If A then C, not-A, C, could all be true at the same time; and one in which participants judged the truth of conditional predictions about specific future events...
August 30, 2018: Cognitive Science
Steven Samuel, Karen Roehr-Brackin, Hyensou Pak, Hyunji Kim
The bilingual advantage hypothesis contends that the management of two languages in the brain is carried out through domain-general mechanisms, and that bilinguals possess a performance advantage over monolinguals on (nonlinguistic) tasks that tap these processes. Presently, there is evidence both for and against such an advantage. Interestingly, the evidence in favor has been thought strongest in children and older adults, leading some researchers to argue that young adults might be at peak performance levels, and therefore bilingualism is unable to confer an improvement...
August 22, 2018: Cognitive Science
Amber Shoaib, Tianlin Wang, Jessica F Hay, Jill Lany
Infants are sensitive to statistical regularities (i.e., transitional probabilities, or TPs) relevant to segmenting words in fluent speech. However, there is debate about whether tracking TPs results in representations of possible words. Infants show preferential learning of sequences with high TPs (HTPs) as object labels relative to those with low TPs (LTPs). Such findings could mean that only the HTP sequences have a word-like status, and they are more readily mapped to a referent for that reason. But these findings could also suggest that HTP sequences are easier to encode, just like any other predictable sequence...
August 22, 2018: Cognitive Science
Judith E Fan, Daniel L K Yamins, Nicholas B Turk-Browne
Production and comprehension have long been viewed as inseparable components of language. The study of vision, by contrast, has centered almost exclusively on comprehension. Here we investigate drawing-the most basic form of visual production. How do we convey concepts in visual form, and how does refining this skill, in turn, affect recognition? We developed an online platform for collecting large amounts of drawing and recognition data, and applied a deep convolutional neural network model of visual cortex trained only on natural images to explore the hypothesis that drawing recruits the same abstract feature representations that support natural visual object recognition...
August 20, 2018: Cognitive Science
Kevin J Holmes, Stephen J Flusberg, Paul H Thibodeau
Parts of the body are often embedded in the structure of compound words, such as heartbreak and brainchild. We explored the relationships between the semantics of compounds and their constituent body parts, asking whether these relationships are largely arbitrary or instead reflect deeper metaphorical mappings shared across languages and cultures. In three studies, we found that U.S. English speakers associated the English translation equivalents of Chinese compounds with their constituent body parts at rates well above chance, even for compounds with highly abstract meanings and even when accounting for the semantic relatedness of the compounds and body parts...
August 14, 2018: Cognitive Science
Emilia Castaño, Elizabeth Gilboy, Sara Feijóo, Elisabet Serrat, Carles Rostan, Joseph Hilferty, Toni Cunillera
Conceptual metaphor is ubiquitous in language and thought, as we usually reason and talk about abstract concepts in terms of more concrete ones via metaphorical mappings that are hypothesized to arise from our embodied experience. One pervasive example is the conceptual projection of valence onto space, which flexibly recruits the vertical and lateral spatial frames to gain structure (e.g., good is up-bad is down and good is right-bad is left). In the current study, we used a valence judgment task to explore the role that exogenous bodily cues (namely response hand positions) play in the allocation of spatial attention and the modulation of conceptual congruency effects...
August 12, 2018: Cognitive Science
Daichi Shimizu, Takeshi Okada
How do expert performers practice as they develop creatively? This study investigated the processes involved in the practice of new skills by expert breakdancers. A great deal of evidence supports the theory of "deliberate practice" (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993, Psychological Review, 100, 363) in skill acquisition; however, expert creative performers may emphasize other forms of practice for skill development. Four case studies collected through fieldwork and laboratory observation were analyzed to evaluate expert dancers' practice processes as they developed proficiency in new, specific skills...
August 12, 2018: Cognitive Science
Markus J Hofmann, Chris Biemann, Chris Westbury, Mariam Murusidze, Markus Conrad, Arthur M Jacobs
What determines human ratings of association? We planned this paper as a test for association strength (AS) that is derived from the log likelihood that two words co-occur significantly more often together in sentences than is expected from their single word frequencies. We also investigated the moderately correlated interactions of word frequency, emotional valence, arousal, and imageability of both words (r's ≤ .3). In three studies, linear mixed effects models revealed that AS and valence reproducibly account for variance in the human ratings...
August 11, 2018: Cognitive Science
Steven Verheyen, Paul Égré
This paper concerns an investigation of the manner in which typicality constrains graded membership in antonymous dimensional adjectives such as short/tall and cheap/expensive using the conceptual spaces framework. In this framework, items are organized in a space comprised of one or more dimensions along which they can be compared. The items' graded membership is established by their relative proximity in this space to the prototypical instances of contrasting concepts. Because dimensional adjectives can be applied to an indefinite variety of things and grammatically have no upper bound to serve as cognitive reference point, they have been argued to lack prototypes...
August 5, 2018: Cognitive Science
Barend Beekhuizen, Suzanne Stevenson
We explore the following two cognitive questions regarding crosslinguistic variation in lexical semantic systems: Why are some linguistic categories-that is, the associations between a term and a portion of the semantic space-harder to learn than others? How does learning a language-specific set of lexical categories affect processing in that semantic domain? Using a computational word-learner, and the domain of color as a testbed, we investigate these questions by modeling both child acquisition of color terms and adult behavior on a non-verbal color discrimination task...
August 5, 2018: Cognitive Science
Danielle J Navarro, Amy Perfors, Arthur Kary, Scott D Brown, Chris Donkin
How does the process of information transmission affect the cultural or linguistic products that emerge? This question is often studied experimentally and computationally via iterated learning, a procedure in which participants learn from previous participants in a chain. Iterated learning is a powerful tool because, when all participants share the same priors, the stationary distributions of the iterated learning chains reveal those priors. In many situations, however, it is unreasonable to assume that all participants share the same prior beliefs...
July 31, 2018: Cognitive Science
Sara Gottlieb, Dacher Keltner, Tania Lombrozo
Awe has traditionally been considered a religious or spiritual emotion, yet scientists often report that awe motivates them to answer questions about the natural world, and to do so in naturalistic terms. Indeed, awe may be closely related to scientific discovery and theoretical advance. Awe is typically triggered by something vast (either literally or metaphorically) and initiates processes of accommodation, in which existing mental schemas are revised to make sense of the awe-inspiring stimuli. This process of accommodation is essential for the kind of belief revision that characterizes scientific reasoning and theory change...
July 28, 2018: Cognitive Science
Nicolas Fay, Bradley Walker, Nik Swoboda, Ichiro Umata, Takugo Fukaya, Yasuhiro Katagiri, Simon Garrod
The present study points to several potentially universal principles of human communication. Pairs of participants, sampled from culturally and linguistically distinct societies (Western and Japanese, N = 108: 16 Western-Western, 15 Japanese-Japanese and 23 Western-Japanese dyads), played a dyadic communication game in which they tried to communicate a range of experimenter-specified items to a partner by drawing, but without speaking or using letters or numbers. This paradigm forced participants to create a novel communication system...
July 26, 2018: Cognitive Science
Peter Fazekas, Morten Overgaard
In this Letter to the Editor, we seize the opportunity to respond to the recent comments by Anzulewicz and Wierzchoń, and further clarify and extend the scope of our original paper. We re-emphasize that conscious experiences come in degrees, and that there are several factors that determine this degree. Endorsing the suggestions of Anzulewicz and Wierzchoń, we discuss that besides low-level attentional mechanisms, high-level attentional and non-attentional mechanisms might also modulate the quality of conscious experiences...
July 26, 2018: Cognitive Science
Mitsuhiko Ota, Nicola Davies-Jenkins, Barbora Skarabela
Across languages, lexical items specific to infant-directed speech (i.e., 'baby-talk words') are characterized by a preponderance of onomatopoeia (or highly iconic words), diminutives, and reduplication. These lexical characteristics may help infants discover the referential nature of words, identify word referents, and segment fluent speech into words. If so, the amount of lexical input containing these properties should predict infants' rate of vocabulary growth. To test this prediction, we tracked the vocabulary size in 47 English-learning infants from 9 to 21 months and examined whether the patterns of growth can be related to measures of iconicity, diminutives, and reduplication in the lexical input at 9 months...
July 11, 2018: Cognitive Science
John Turri, YeounJun Park
Evidence from life science, cognitive science, and philosophy supports the hypothesis that knowledge is a central norm of the human practice of assertion. However, to date, the experimental evidence supporting this hypothesis is limited to American anglophones. If the hypothesis is correct, then such findings will not be limited to one language or culture. Instead, we should find a strong connection between knowledge and assertability across human languages and cultures. To begin testing this prediction, we conducted three experiments on Koreans in Korean...
July 11, 2018: Cognitive Science
Ana Cristina Quelhas, Célia Rasga, P N Johnson-Laird
What is the relation between factual conditionals: If A happened then B happened, and counterfactual conditionals: If A had happened then B would have happened? Some theorists propose quite different semantics for the two. In contrast, the theory of mental models and its computer implementation interrelates them. It postulates that both can have a priori truth values, and that the semantic bases of both are possibilities: states that are possible for factual conditionals, and that were once possible but that did not happen for counterfactual conditionals...
July 11, 2018: Cognitive Science
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