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Language learning

Benjamin L Cook, Ana M Progovac, Pei Chen, Brian Mullin, Sherry Hou, Enrique Baca-Garcia
Natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning were used to predict suicidal ideation and heightened psychiatric symptoms among adults recently discharged from psychiatric inpatient or emergency room settings in Madrid, Spain. Participants responded to structured mental and physical health instruments at multiple follow-up points. Outcome variables of interest were suicidal ideation and psychiatric symptoms (GHQ-12). Predictor variables included structured items (e.g., relating to sleep and well-being) and responses to one unstructured question, "how do you feel today?" We compared NLP-based models using the unstructured question with logistic regression prediction models using structured data...
2016: Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Steve Majerus, Nelson Cowan
Verbal short-term memory (STM) impairment is one of the most consistent associated deficits observed in developmental reading disorders such as dyslexia. Few studies have addressed the nature of this STM impairment, especially as regards the ability to temporarily store serial order information. This question is important as studies in typically developing children have shown that serial order STM abilities are predictors of oral and written language development. Associated serial order STM deficits in dyslexia may therefore further increase the learning difficulties in these populations...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Anna-Lisa Vollmer, Britta Wrede, Katharina J Rohlfing, Pierre-Yves Oudeyer
One of the big challenges in robotics today is to learn from human users that are inexperienced in interacting with robots but yet are often used to teach skills flexibly to other humans and to children in particular. A potential route toward natural and efficient learning and teaching in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) is to leverage the social competences of humans and the underlying interactional mechanisms. In this perspective, this article discusses the importance of pragmatic frames as flexible interaction protocols that provide important contextual cues to enable learners to infer new action or language skills and teachers to convey these cues...
2016: Frontiers in Neurorobotics
Kristina Kasparian, Karsten Steinhauer
First language (L1) attrition is a socio-linguistic circumstance where second language (L2) learning coincides with changes in exposure and use of the native-L1. Attriters often report experiencing a decline in automaticity or proficiency in their L1 after a prolonged period in the L2 environment, while their L2 proficiency continues to strengthen. Investigating the neurocognitive correlates of attrition alongside those of late L2 acquisition addresses the question of whether the brain mechanisms underlying both L1 and L2 processing are strongly determined by proficiency, irrespective of whether the language was acquired from birth or in adulthood...
October 14, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Sari Ylinen, Alexis Bosseler, Katja Junttila, Minna Huotilainen
The ability to predict future events in the environment and learn from them is a fundamental component of adaptive behavior across species. Here we propose that inferring predictions facilitates speech processing and word learning in the early stages of language development. Twelve- and 24-month olds' electrophysiological brain responses to heard syllables are faster and more robust when the preceding word context predicts the ending of a familiar word. For unfamiliar, novel word forms, however, word-expectancy violation generates a prediction error response, the strength of which significantly correlates with children's vocabulary scores at 12 months...
October 16, 2016: Developmental Science
G Iakimova, S Dimitrova, T Burté
OBJECTIVES: Computer-delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (C-CBT) are emerging as therapeutic techniques which contribute to overcome the barriers of health care access in adult populations with depression. The C-CBTs provide CBT techniques in a highly structured format comprising a number of educational lessons, homework, multimedia illustrations and supplementary materials via interactive computer interfaces. Programs are often administrated with a minimal or regular support provided by a clinician or a technician via email, telephone, online forums, or during face-to-face consultations...
October 10, 2016: L'Encéphale
Chiara Gambi, Martin J Pickering, Hugh Rabagliati
One influential view of language acquisition is that children master structural generalizations by making and learning from structure-informed predictions. Previous work has shown that from 3 years of age children can use semantic associations to generate predictions. However, it is unknown whether they can generate predictions by combining these associations with knowledge of linguistic structure. We recorded the eye movements of pre-schoolers while they listened to sentences such as Pingu will ride the horse...
October 11, 2016: Cognition
Jingyang Jiang, Jinghui Ouyang, Haitao Liu
Language is not only the representation of thinking, but also shapes thinking. Studies on bilinguals suggest that a foreign language plays an important and unconscious role in thinking. In this study, a software-Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count 2007-was used to investigate whether the learning of English as a foreign language (EFL) can foster Chinese high school students' English analytic thinking (EAT) through the analysis of their English writings with our self-built corpus. It was found that: (1) learning English can foster Chinese learners' EAT...
2016: PloS One
Fabricio Ferreira de Oliveira, Sheilla de Medeiros Correia Marin, Paulo Henrique Ferreira Bertolucci
BACKGROUND: More than 95% of right-handed individuals, as well as almost 80% of left-handed individuals, have left hemisphere dominance for language. The perisylvian networks of the dominant hemisphere tend to be the most important language systems in human brains, usually connected by bidirectional fibres originated from the superior longitudinal fascicle/arcuate fascicle system and potentially modifiable by learning. Neuroplasticity mechanisms take place to preserve neural functions after brain injuries...
October 14, 2016: Brain Injury: [BI]
Haitham Taha
The current research examined how Arabic diglossia affects verbal learning memory. Thirty native Arab college students were tested using auditory verbal memory test that was adapted according to the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and developed in three versions: Pure spoken language version (SL), pure standard language version (SA), and phonologically similar version (PS). The result showed that for immediate free-recall, the performances were better for the SL and the PS conditions compared to the SA one...
October 13, 2016: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research
Zhenghan Qi, Sara D Beach, Amy S Finn, Jennifer Minas, Calvin Goetz, Brian Chan, John D E Gabrieli
Language learning aptitude during adulthood varies markedly across individuals. An individual's native-language ability has been associated with success in learning a new language as an adult. However, little is known about how native-language processing affects learning success and what neural markers of native-language processing, if any, are related to success in learning. We therefore related variation in electrophysiology during native-language processing to success in learning a novel artificial language...
October 11, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Valeria Peviani, Pina Scarpa, Alessio Toraldo, Gabriella Bottini
Neuropsychological assessment is critical in both diagnosis and prognosis of patients with epilepsy. Beyond electrophysiological and anatomical alterations, other factors including different ethnic-cultural and linguistic backgrounds might affect neuropsychological performance. Only a few studies considered migration and acculturation effects and they typically concerned nonclinical samples. The current study aimed at investigating the influence of ethnic background and time spent in Italy on a full neuropsychological battery administered to both Italian and foreign-born patients and at providing a brief interview for obtaining relevant information on each patient's transcultural and language-related history...
October 10, 2016: Epilepsy & Behavior: E&B
Katherine S White, Kyle E Chambers, Zachary Miller, Vibhuti Jethava
Language learners are sensitive to phonotactic patterns from an early age, and can acquire both simple and 2(nd)-order positional restrictions contingent on segment identity (e.g., /f/ is an onset with /æ/ but a coda with /ɪ/). The present study explored the learning of phonototactic patterns conditioned on a suprasegmental cue: lexical stress. Adults listened to non-words in which trochaic and iambic items had different consonant restrictions. In addition, across subjects, the consonants constrained to a given position were either unrelated or from the same natural class...
October 13, 2016: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: QJEP
Piera Filippi
Across a wide range of animal taxa, prosodic modulation of the voice can express emotional information and is used to coordinate vocal interactions between multiple individuals. Within a comparative approach to animal communication systems, I hypothesize that the ability for emotional and interactional prosody (EIP) paved the way for the evolution of linguistic prosody - and perhaps also of music, continuing to play a vital role in the acquisition of language. In support of this hypothesis, I review three research fields: (i) empirical studies on the adaptive value of EIP in non-human primates, mammals, songbirds, anurans, and insects; (ii) the beneficial effects of EIP in scaffolding language learning and social development in human infants; (iii) the cognitive relationship between linguistic prosody and the ability for music, which has often been identified as the evolutionary precursor of language...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Clément François, Toni Cunillera, Enara Garcia, Matti Laine, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells
Learning a new language requires the identification of word units from continuous speech (the speech segmentation problem) and mapping them onto conceptual representation (the word to world mapping problem). Recent behavioral studies have revealed that the statistical properties found within and across modalities can serve as cues for both processes. However, segmentation and mapping have been largely studied separately, and thus it remains unclear whether both processes can be accomplished at the same time and if they share common neurophysiological features...
October 9, 2016: Neuropsychologia
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
Alex Graves, Greg Wayne, Malcolm Reynolds, Tim Harley, Ivo Danihelka, Agnieszka Grabska-Barwińska, Sergio Gómez Colmenarejo, Edward Grefenstette, Tiago Ramalho, John Agapiou, Adrià Puigdomènech Badia, Karl Moritz Hermann, Yori Zwols, Georg Ostrovski, Adam Cain, Helen King, Christopher Summerfield, Phil Blunsom, Koray Kavukcuoglu, Demis Hassabis
Artificial neural networks are remarkably adept at sensory processing, sequence learning and reinforcement learning, but are limited in their ability to represent variables and data structures and to store data over long timescales, owing to the lack of an external memory. Here we introduce a machine learning model called a differentiable neural computer (DNC), which consists of a neural network that can read from and write to an external memory matrix, analogous to the random-access memory in a conventional computer...
October 12, 2016: Nature
Rhonda B Friedman, Kelli L Sullivan, Sarah F Snider, George Luta, Kevin T Jones
Objective: An important aspect of the rehabilitation of cognitive and linguistic function subsequent to brain injury is the maintenance of learning beyond the time of initial treatment. Such maintenance is often not satisfactorily achieved. Additional practice, or overtraining, may play a key role in long-term maintenance. In particular, the literature on learning in cognitively intact persons has suggested that it is testing, and not studying, that contributes to maintenance of learning. The present study investigates the hypothesis that continuing to test relearned words in persons with anomia will lead to significantly greater maintenance compared with continuing to study relearned words...
October 10, 2016: Neuropsychology
R Liang, B Meiser, S Smith, N A Kasparian, C R Lewis, M Chin, G V Long, R Ward, A M Menzies, J N Harris-Wai, R Kaur
Somatic mutations in key oncogenes in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and melanoma are important determinants of tumour sensitivity to targeted therapies. Molecular screening for these predictive biomarkers is routinely used to inform treatment decisions; however, little is known about how best to communicate testing and results to patients. This qualitative study aimed to explore advanced cancer patients' attitudes and experiences regarding somatic tumour screening to identify their information and support needs...
October 11, 2016: European Journal of Cancer Care
Lindsey Edwards, Lynne Aitkenhead, Dawn Langdon
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to establish the relationship between short-term memory capacity and reading skills in adolescents with cochlear implants. METHODS AND MATERIALS: A between-groups design compared a group of young people with cochlear implants with a group of hearing peers on measures of reading, and auditory and visual short-term memory capacity. The groups were matched for non-verbal IQ and age. The adolescents with cochlear implants were recruited from the Cochlear Implant Programme at a specialist children's hospital...
November 2016: International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
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