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Language, Cognition and Neuroscience

Kevin Schluter, Stephen Politzer-Ahles, Diogo Almeida
The representational format of speech units in long-term memory is a topic of debate. We present novel event-related brain potential evidence from the Mismatch Negativity (MMN) paradigm that is compatible with abstract, non-redundant feature-based models like the Featurally Underspecified Lexicon (FUL). First, we show that the fricatives /s/ and /f/ display an asymmetric pattern of MMN responses, which is predicted if /f/ has a fully specified place of articulation ([Labial]) but /s/ does not ([Coronal], which is lexically underspecified)...
July 2, 2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Ingrid Masson-Carro, Martijn Goudbeek, Emiel Krahmer
Hand gestures are tightly coupled with speech and with action. Hence, recent accounts have emphasised the idea that simulations of spatio-motoric imagery underlie the production of co-speech gestures. In this study, we suggest that action simulations directly influence the iconic strategies used by speakers to translate aspects of their mental representations into gesture. Using a classic referential paradigm, we investigate how speakers respond gesturally to the affordances of objects, by comparing the effects of describing objects that afford action performance (such as tools) and those that do not, on gesture production...
March 15, 2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Dennis Norris, James M McQueen, Anne Cutler
Speech perception involves prediction, but how is that prediction implemented? In cognitive models prediction has often been taken to imply that there is feedback of activation from lexical to pre-lexical processes as implemented in interactive-activation models (IAMs). We show that simple activation feedback does not actually improve speech recognition. However, other forms of feedback can be beneficial. In particular, feedback can enable the listener to adapt to changing input, and can potentially help the listener to recognise unusual input, or recognise speech in the presence of competing sounds...
January 2, 2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
David W Gow, Bruna B Olson
Sentential context influences the way that listeners identify phonetically ambiguous or perceptual degraded speech sounds. Unfortunately, inherent inferential limitations on the interpretation of behavioral or BOLD imaging results make it unclear whether context influences perceptual processing directly, or acts at a post-perceptual decision stage. In this paper, we use Kalman-filter enabled Granger causation analysis of MR-constrained MEG/EEG data to distinguish between these possibilities. Using a retrospective probe verification task, we found that sentential context strongly affected the interpretation of words with ambiguous initial voicing (e...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Gina R Kuperberg
Since the early 2000s, several ERP studies have challenged the assumption that we always use syntactic contextual information to influence semantic processing of incoming words, as reflected by the N400 component. One approach for explaining these findings is to posit distinct semantic and syntactic processing mechanisms, each with distinct time courses. While this approach can explain specific datasets, it cannot account for the wider body of findings. I propose an alternative explanation: a dynamic generative framework in which our goal is to infer the underlying event that best explains the set of inputs encountered at any given time...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Alexa Bautista, Stephen M Wilson
Linguistic stimuli that are degraded in various ways have been used in neuroimaging studies to uncover distinct roles for different brain regions involved in processing language. In order to identify brain regions differentially involved in grammatical and lexical processing, we spectrally rotated specific morphemes and manipulated morpheme order to create speech stimuli that were degraded either grammatically or lexically, yet were matched in intelligibility. Twelve healthy participants were scanned with functional MRI as they listened to the grammatically and lexically degraded stimuli, interspersed with clear stimuli in the context of a familiar narrative...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Melinda Fricke, Melissa M Baese-Berk, Matthew Goldrick
During language production planning, multiple candidate representations are implicitly activated prior to articulation. Lexical representations that are phonologically related to the target (phonological neighbors) are known to influence phonetic properties of the target word. However, the question of which dimensions of phonological similarity contribute to such lexical-phonetic effects remains unanswered. In the present study, we reanalyze phonetic data from a previous study, examining the contrasting predictions of different definitions of phonological similarity...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Matthew A Johnson, Nicholas B Turk-Browne, Adele E Goldberg
In language, abstract phrasal patterns provide an important source of meaning, but little is known about whether or how such constructions are used to predict upcoming visual scenes. Findings from two fMRI studies indicate that initial exposure to a novel construction allows its semantics to be used for such predictions. Specifically, greater activity in the ventral striatum, a region sensitive to prediction errors, was linked to worse overall comprehension of a novel construction. Moreover, activity in occipital cortex was attenuated when a visual event could be inferred from a learned construction, which may reflect predictive coding of the event...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Esteban Buz, T Florian Jaeger
The number of phonological neighbors to a word (PND) can affect its lexical planning and pronunciation. Similar parallel effects on planning and articulation have been observed for other lexical variables, such as a word's contextual predictability. Such parallelism is frequently taken to indicate that effects on articulation are mediated by effects on the time course of lexical planning. We test this mediation assumption for PND and find it unsupported. In a picture naming experiment, we measure speech onset latencies (planning), word durations, and vowel dispersion (articulation)...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Ariane E Rhone, Kirill V Nourski, Hiroyuki Oya, Hiroto Kawasaki, Matthew A Howard, Bob McMurray
In everyday conversation, viewing a talker's face can provide information about the timing and content of an upcoming speech signal, resulting in improved intelligibility. Using electrocorticography, we tested whether human auditory cortex in Heschl's gyrus (HG) and on superior temporal gyrus (STG) and motor cortex on precentral gyrus (PreC) were responsive to visual/gestural information prior to the onset of sound and whether early stages of auditory processing were sensitive to the visual content (speech syllable versus non-speech motion)...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Evelyn Milburn, Tessa Warren, Michael Walsh Dickey
There has been considerable debate regarding the question of whether linguistic knowledge and world knowledge are separable and used differently during processing or not (Hagoort, Hald, Bastiaansen, & Petersson, 2004; Matsuki et al., 2011; Paczynski & Kuperberg, 2012; Warren & McConnell, 2007; Warren, McConnell, & Rayner, 2008). Previous investigations into this question have provided mixed evidence as to whether violations of selectional restrictions are detected earlier than violations of world knowledge...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Diogo Almeida, David Poeppel, David Corina
The human auditory system distinguishes speech-like information from general auditory signals in a remarkably fast and efficient way. Combining psychophysics and neurophysiology (MEG), we demonstrate a similar result for the processing of visual information used for language communication in users of sign languages. We demonstrate that the earliest visual cortical responses in deaf signers viewing American Sign Language (ASL) signs show specific modulations to violations of anatomic constraints that would make the sign either possible or impossible to articulate...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Gina R Kuperberg, T Florian Jaeger
We consider several key aspects of prediction in language comprehension: its computational nature, the representational level(s) at which we predict, whether we use higher level representations to predictively pre-activate lower level representations, and whether we 'commit' in any way to our predictions, beyond pre-activation. We argue that the bulk of behavioral and neural evidence suggests that we predict probabilistically and at multiple levels and grains of representation. We also argue that we can, in principle, use higher level inferences to predictively pre-activate information at multiple lower representational levels...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Lori B Astheimer, Matthias Berkes, Ellen Bialystok
Attention is required during speech perception to focus processing resources on critical information. Previous research has shown that bilingualism modifies attentional processing in nonverbal domains. The current study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to determine whether bilingualism also modifies auditory attention during speech perception. We measured attention to word onsets in spoken English for monolinguals and Chinese-English bilinguals. Auditory probes were inserted at four times in a continuous narrative: concurrent with word onset, 100 ms before or after onset, and at random control times...
2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Matthew W Lowder, Fernanda Ferreira
Imagine a speaker who says "Turn left, uh I mean…" Before hearing the repair, the listener is likely to anticipate the word "right" based on the context, including the reparandum "left." Thus, even though the reparandum is not intended as part of the utterance, the listener uses it as information to predict the repair. The issue we explore in this article is how prediction operates in disfluency contexts. We begin by describing the Overlay model of disfluency comprehension, which assumes that the listener identifies a reparandum as such only after a repair is encountered which creates a local ungrammaticality...
January 2016: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Joseph Z Stafura, Benjamin Rickles, Charles A Perfetti
During reading, word-to-text integration processes proceed quickly and incrementally through both prospective (predictive) and retrospective (memory) processes. Across a sentence boundary, where prediction may be less functional, memorial processes may be especially important. We tested predictive and memory mechanisms with event-related potentials (ERPs) recorded on the first content word across a sentence boundary by manipulating the direction of association between this word and one from the preceding sentence...
December 1, 2015: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Tessa Warren, Evelyn Milburn, Nikole D Patson, Michael Walsh Dickey
To elucidate how different kinds of knowledge are used during comprehension, readers' eye movements were monitored as they read sentences that were: plausible, impossible because of a selectional restriction violation, or impossible because of a violation of general world knowledge. Eye movements on the pre-critical, critical, and post-critical words evidenced disruption in the selectional restriction violation condition compared to the other two conditions. These findings suggest that disruption associated with reading about impossible events is not directly determined by how impossible the event seems...
October 1, 2015: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Stephen Politzer-Ahles, Laura Gwilliams
The present study investigated the neural correlates of the realisation of scalar inferences, i.e., the interpretation of some as meaning some but not all. We used magnetoencephalography, which has high temporal resolution, to measure neural activity while participants heard stories that included the scalar inference trigger some in contexts that either provide strong cues for a scalar inference or provide weaker cues. The middle portion of the lateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 46) showed an increased response to some in contexts with fewer cues to the inference, suggesting that this condition elicited greater effort...
August 9, 2015: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Sami Boudelaa, William D Marslen-Wilson
Does the organization of the mental lexicon reflect the combination of abstract underlying morphemic units or the concatenation of word-level phonological units? We address these fundamental issues in Arabic, a Semitic language where every surface form is potentially analyzable into abstract morphemic units - the word pattern and the root - and where this view contrasts with stem-based approaches, chiefly driven by linguistic considerations, in which neither roots nor word patterns play independent roles in word formation and lexical representation...
August 6, 2015: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Jennifer E Arnold, Shin-Yi C Lao
Pronoun comprehension is facilitated for referents that are focused in the discourse context. Discourse focus has been described as a function of attention, especially shared attention, but few studies have explicitly tested this idea. Two experiments used an exogenous capture cue paradigm to demonstrate that listeners' visual attention at the onset of a story influences their preferences during pronoun resolution later in the story. In both experiments trial-initial attention modulated listeners' transitory biases while considering referents for the pronoun, whether it was in response to the capture cue or not...
August 2015: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
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