10 research outputs found

    Cumulative semantic inhibition in Spanish verb production

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    This paper reports an experiment designed to assess the occurrence of lexical interference in verb production in Spanish. Using the semantic competitors paradigm (Howard et al., 2006), we show that the higher the number of verbs of the same category produced, the longer it takes to retrieve another verb of the same category in a picture naming task. According to our data, the production of a related verb delays the naming of a new member of the category by 20 ms., which means that, as is the case with nouns, semantically related verbs compete for selection. These results support the statement that, regardless their differences with respect to semantic representation and organization, verb and noun selection are guided by the same principles. Methodologically, our findings confirm that the paradigm is highly sensitive to semantic proximity effects, in terms of either categories or features. In light of these findings, we discuss the reasons why previous studies exploring semantic relatedness effects in verb production, most of them using the picture-word interference paradigm, have led to inconclusive and sometimes contradictory results.Fil: Sevilla, Yamila Alejandra. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Filosofía y Letras. Instituto de Lingüística; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; ArgentinaFil: Shalóm, Diego Edgar. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Departamento de Física. Laboratorio de Neurociencia Integrativa; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; ArgentinaFil: Runnqvist, Elin. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; EspañaFil: Costa, Albert. Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avancats; Españ

    The Spatial and Temporal Signatures of Word Production Components: A Critical Update

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    In the first decade of neurocognitive word production research the predominant approach was brain mapping, i.e., investigating the regional cerebral brain activation patterns correlated with word production tasks, such as picture naming and word generation. Indefrey and Levelt (2004) conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis of word production studies that used this approach and combined the resulting spatial information on neural correlates of component processes of word production with information on the time course of word production provided by behavioral and electromagnetic studies. In recent years, neurocognitive word production research has seen a major change toward a hypothesis-testing approach. This approach is characterized by the design of experimental variables modulating single component processes of word production and testing for predicted effects on spatial or temporal neurocognitive signatures of these components. This change was accompanied by the development of a broader spectrum of measurement and analysis techniques. The article reviews the findings of recent studies using the new approach. The time course assumptions of Indefrey and Levelt (2004) have largely been confirmed requiring only minor adaptations. Adaptations of the brain structure/function relationships proposed by Indefrey and Levelt (2004) include the precise role of subregions of the left inferior frontal gyrus as well as a probable, yet to date unclear role of the inferior parietal cortex in word production

    Lexico-syntactic features are activated but not selected in bare noun production: Electrophysiological evidence from overt picture naming

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    To produce a word, speakers need to retrieve the lexico-syntactic representation of the word and encode the phonological form for articulation. It is not precisely known yet if a word's syntactic features (e.g., number, gender, etc.) are automatically activated and selected in bare noun production. Cubelli, Lotto, Paolieri, Girelli, and Job (2005) proposed that only in languages that have a complex morphological structure (e.g., Italian), the selection of grammatical gender is required. In languages with a relatively simpler morphological structure, the selection of grammatical gender is by-passed. Here, we investigated this issue further by employing a language with an extremely simple morphological structure, i.e., Mandarin Chinese. Using the picture-word interference paradigm, we manipulated the congruency of the lexico-syntactic classifier feature (comparable to grammatical gender) between the target picture and the superimposed distractor word. We measured participants' naming latencies and their electroencephalogram (EEG). As a result, relative to the classifier-congruent condition, classifier incongruency elicited a stronger N400 effect in the ERP analyses, suggesting the automatic activation of lexico-syntactic features in bare noun production. However, classifier congruency did not affect naming latencies, suggesting that the lexico-syntactic feature is not selected in bare noun naming when it is irrelevant for production.Theoretical and Experimental Linguistic

    Linking language and emotion: how emotion is understood in language comprehension, production and prediction using psycholinguistic methods

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    Emotions are an integral part of why and how we use language in everyday life. We communicate our concerns, express our woes, and share our joy through the use of non-verbal and verbal language. Yet there is a limited understanding of when and how emotional language is processed differently to neutral language, or of how emotional information facilitates or inhibits language processing. Indeed, various efforts have been made to bring back emotions into the discipline of psycholinguistics in the last decade. This can be seen in many interdisciplinary models focusing on the role played by emotion in each aspect of linguistic experience. In this thesis, I answer this call and pursue questions that remain unanswered in psycholinguistics regarding its interaction with emotion. The general trend that I am using to bring emotion into psycholinguistic research is straightforward. Where applicable and relevant, I use well-established tasks or paradigms to investigate the effects of emotional content in language processing. Hence, I focused on three main areas of language processing: comprehension, production and prediction. The first experimental chapter includes a series of experiments utilising the Modality Switching Paradigm to investigate whether sentences describing emotional states are processed differently from sentences describing cognitive states. No switching effects were found consistently in my 3 experiments. My results suggest that these distinct classes of interoceptive concepts, such as ‘thinking’ or ‘being happy’, are not processed differently from each other, suggesting that people do not switch attention between different interoceptive systems when comprehending emotional or cognitive sentences. I discuss the implications for grounded cognition theory in the embodiment literature. In my second experimental chapter, I used the Cumulative Semantic Interference Paradigm to investigate these two questions: (1) whether emotion concepts interfere with one another when repeatedly retrieved (emotion label objects), and (2) whether similar interference occurs for concrete objects that share similar valence association (emotion-laden objects). This could indicate that people use information such as valence and arousal to group objects in semantic memory. I found that interference occurs when people retrieve direct emotion labels repeatedly (e.g., “happy” and “sad”) but not when they retrieve the names of concrete objects that have similar emotion connotations (e.g., “puppy” and “rainbow”). I discuss my findings in terms of the different types of information that support representation of abstract vs. concrete concepts. In my final experimental chapter, I used the Visual World Paradigm to investigate whether the emotional state of an agent is used to inform predictions during sentence processing. I found that people do use the description of emotional state of an agent (e.g., “The boy is happy”) to predict the cause of that affective state during sentence processing (e.g., “because he was given an ice-cream”). A key result here is that people were more likely to fixate on the emotionally congruent objects (e.g., ice-cream) compared to incongruent objects (e.g., broccoli). This suggests that people rapidly and automatically inform predictions about upcoming sentence information based on the emotional state of the agent. I discuss our findings as a novel contribution to the Visual World literature. I conducted a diverse set of experiments using a range of established psycholinguistic methods to investigate the roles of emotional information in language processing. I found clear results in the eye-tracking study but inconsistent effects in both switching and interference studies. I interpret these mixed findings in the following way: emotional content does not always have effects in language processing and that effect are most likely in tasks that explicitly require participants to simulate emotion states in some way. Regardless, not only was I successful in finding some novel results by extending previous tasks, but I was also able to show that this is an avenue that can be explored more to advance the affective psycholinguistic field

    Behavioural and electrophysiological evidences for the effect of bilingualism on speakers’ cognitive control ability

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    Bilingualism means more than speaking two languages, it also has cognitive consequences. Recently, the question whether bilingualism affects cognitive control abilities or not has raised a fierce debate. In this thesis, the effect of bilingualism on executive control was tested in different domains. First, bilingual speakers showed enhanced attentional control abilities while performing non-verbal executive control tasks. This was evident in terms of their response distribution profiles, which showed less extreme distribution tails than those of monolinguals, suggesting less frequent lapses of attention. Second, bilingual speakers resolved intra-language lexical competition differently from monolingual speakers. Their response distribution profiles as well as their brain activities were differentially affected in a picture naming task that manipulated the level of lexical competition. These results were best explained by bilingual speakers having enhanced engagement of executive control while resolving lexical competition within a single language, even though this might not be reflected at behavioural level. Third, bilingual speakers demonstrated enhanced task shifting abilities at a latent factor level, while they did not differ from monolinguals with regard to inhibition and updating abilities. Results also suggested a more correlated network of executive control for bilingual speakers than for monolingual speakers. Therefore, this thesis has obtained converging evidence that bilingualism benefits executive control. Reasons for inconsistencies in the literature and absence of the bilingualism effects are discussed

    The role of over and under activation in the emergence of spoken language deficits

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    In the current thesis, I advance the idea that semantic interference and semantic errors are bound to occur in healthy individual as an effect of experimental conditions and especially when language areas of the brain are compromised following a brain injury. My thesis program can be described as a series of steps, in which I tested different models of lexical retrieval by means of specific methods on both healthy and aphasic population.The first step investigated the extent to which the amount of semantic interference may be modulated by individual predisposition towards the perception of part of a context a sdiscrete from the surrounding field: field dependent and field independent cognitive styles.I found a relationship between semantic interference in naming and cognitive styles.The second step aimed to gather evidence about the long-lasting effect of cumulative semantic interference. By providing two alternative versions of the continuous picture naming task, I explored, respectively: a) the extent to which the increasing of semantic interference accrues over the ordinal positions described in the literature; b) whether semantic interference decayed after an amount of time. I found that the activation of a target representation dissipates after an unfilled delay and that the strength of interference tapers off after presentation of distractors.The third step aimed to disentangle the contribution of bottom-up and top-down mechanisms in the emergence of lexical deficits in a population of aphasic patients. I compared the performance of aphasic patients and healthy individuals in naming tasks inducing semantic interference, in a short-term memory task and, finally, in a Stroop task.Our patients showed two distinct patterns consistent with a damage to activation vs inhibition mechanisms. In conclusion, semantic interference and semantic errors offer an important view to a better understanding of the cognitive mechanisms underpin normal and pathological word retrieval

    A psycholinguistic investigation of speech production in Mandarin Chinese

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    This thesis tapped into the details of speech production in Mandarin Chinese in the framework of current psycholinguistic models of speech production. The findings in this thesis not only contribute to the understanding of the underlying neuropsychological mechanisms of speech production in Mandarin Chinese, but also provides insights into the understanding of the accountability of current models of speech production that are mostly based on evidence from West Germanic languages.China Scholarship Council (CSC)Theoretical and Experimental Linguistic

    Single-word predictions of upcoming language during comprehension: Evidence from the cumulative semantic interference task

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    International audienceComprehenders predict upcoming speech and text on the basis of linguistic input. How many predictions do comprehenders make for an upcoming word? If a listener strongly expects to hear the word ``sock'', is the word ``shirt'' partially expected as well, is it actively inhibited, or is it ignored? The present research addressed these questions by measuring the ``downstream'' effects of prediction on the processing of subsequently presented stimuli using the cumulative semantic interference paradigm. In three experiments, subjects named pictures (sock) that were presented either in isolation or after strongly constraining sentence frames (''After doing his laundry, Mark always seemed to be missing one...''). Naming sock slowed the subsequent naming of the picture shirt - the standard cumulative semantic interference effect. However, although picture naming was much faster after sentence frames, the interference effect was not modulated by the context (bare vs. sentence) in which either picture was presented. According to the only model of cumulative semantic interference that can account for such a pattern of data, this indicates that comprehenders pre-activated and maintained the pre-activation of best sentence completions (sock) but did not maintain the pre-activation of less likely completions (shirt). Thus, comprehenders predicted only the most probable completion for each sentence. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

    The future is now : : effects of planning ahead in word production and comprehension

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    This dissertation consists of three studies that investigate the extent to which speakers and listeners can and do plan ahead during production and comprehension. Study 1 investigates the attentional requirements of word selection. In two dual-task experiments, subjects categorized tones and then named pictures while word selection difficulty was manipulated using the picture- word interference and cumulative semantic interference paradigms. Results show that word selection requires domain-general attentional resources and that a difference in automaticity between word selection and another process (here, word reading) can affect performance in dual-task as compared with single-task settings. Study 2 investigates whether a difference in automaticity between stages of word production can affect the words that speakers say when they plan their speech in advance. Specifically, if selecting a word from the lexicon requires more attention than activating it as a potential candidate, planning ahead should allow words more time to accrue activation prior to selection, asymmetrically facilitating the production of weakly active words. In two experiments, subjects named pictures that had multiple acceptable names under conditions that manipulated how soon subjects' attentional resources would be available to engage in word selection. Results show that speakers are more likely to use uncommon labels when word selection is delayed by another task, indicating that the attentional requirements of language production processes affect their outcome. Study 3 investigates the predictions that comprehenders make about upcoming words, specifically focusing on whether words that are semantically related to a best sentence completion are pre-activated or inhibited (or neither). In three experiments that used the cumulative semantic interference paradigm, subjects named pictures that were presented either in isolation or after a strongly constraining sentence fragment. Equal interference effects across conditions indicate that words semantically related to the best completion of a sentence are unaffected by the processing of that sentence, and thus suggest that comprehenders only predict best sentence completions. Together, these studies suggest that the manner in which speakers and comprehenders divide their attention between current and upcoming words affects the identity and processing of those upcoming word
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