6,532 research outputs found


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    Local labor market characteristics are theoretically relevant to the determination of off-farm earnings of farm operators, but the empirical analysis of these effects has been hindered by a lack of appropriate data. This study employs the new census public use micro-data sample, PUMS-D, to investigate the effect of local labor market characteristics on off-farm earnings of farm operators. The PUMS-D data allow local characteristics to be defined on a labor market area basis, rather than on a political boundary basis. For a sample of Georgia farm operators, local labor market size, unemployment rates, and industrial structure were found to have significant impacts on off-farm employment and earnings.Labor and Human Capital,

    Role of soft-iron impellers on the mode selection in the VKS dynamo experiment

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    A crucial point for the understanding of the von-K\'arm\'an-Sodium (VKS) dynamo experiment is the influence of soft-iron impellers. We present numerical simulations of a VKS-like dynamo with a localized permeability distribution that resembles the shape of the flow driving impellers. It is shown that the presence of soft-iron material essentially determines the dynamo process in the VKS experiment. % An axisymmetric magnetic field mode can be explained by the combined action of the soft-iron disk and a rather small α\alpha-effect parametrizing the induction effects of unresolved small scale flow fluctuations

    Communicative predictions can overrule linguistic priors

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    Predictions allow for efficient human communication. To be efficient, listeners’ predictions need to be adapted to the communicative context. Here we show that during speech processing this adaptation is a highly flexible and selective process that is able to fine-tune itself to individual language styles of specific interlocutors. In a newly developed paradigm, speakers differed in the probabilities by which they used particular sentence structures. Probe trials were applied to infer participants’ syntactic expectations for a given speaker and to track changes of these expectations over time. The results show that listeners fine-tune their linguistic expectations according to the individual language style of a speaker. Strikingly, nine months after the initial experiment these highly specific expectations could be rapidly reactivated when confronted with the particular language style of a speaker but not merely on the basis of an association with speaker identity per se. These findings highlight that communicative interaction fine-tunes and consolidates interlocutor specific communicative predictions which can overrule strong linguistic priors

    Bach speaks: A cortical "language-network" serves the processing of music

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    The aim of the present study was the investigation of neural correlates of music processing with fMRI. Chord sequences were presented to the participants, infrequently containing unexpected musical events. These events activated the areas of Broca and Wernicke, the superior temporal sulcus, Heschl's gyrus, both planum polare and planum temporale, as well as the anterior superior insular cortices. Some of these brain structures have previously been shown to be involved in music processing, but the cortical network comprising all these structures has up to now been thought to be domain-specific for language processing. To what extent this network might also be activated by the processing of non-linguistic information has remained unknown. The present fMRI-data reveal that the human brain employs this neuronal network also for the processing of musical information, suggesting that the cortical network known to support language processing is less domain-specific than previously believed

    Dynamic formation of syntactic predictions based on speaker identity

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    Predictions allow for an efficient processing in communicative situations. In order to be efficient, predictions need to be adapted to characteristics of the environment. In a communicative situation, speaker-specific language use might shape a listener’s predictions about upcoming language stimuli. In the present experiment we asked whether listeners use speaker characteristics to generate predictions about syntactic structure and how these predictions might change over time. Twenty participants were presented with sentences which were spoken by two different speakers. Sentences had either a Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) structure or an Object- Subject-Verb (OSV) structure. Crucially, the two speakers differed with regards to the frequency by which they produced a particular syntactic structure. One of the speakers had a high probability to produce a SOV structure and a low probability to produce an OSV structure, and vice versa for the other speaker. Additionally, speakers produced sentences which were ambiguous towards their syntactic structure. For the ambiguous sentences, participants had to identify the subject or the object of the sentence. This allowed us to infer participants’ predictions regarding the syntactic sentence structure. Furthermore, in order to assess the significance of speaker-specific predictions, participants were invited to a follow-up study eight months after the initial exposure to the speakers. The data show that participants started with a strong bias towards the SOV structure, which is the canonical sentence structure in German. With increasing exposure to the speakers, however, participants developed predictions regarding the particular syntactic structure based on speaker identity. These predictions were still coupled to the speakers eight months after the initial exposure. This demonstrates that listeners are sensitive to speaker-specific syntactic preferences and use this information to generate predictions

    Working memory and lexical ambiguity resolution as revealed by ERPs: A difficult case for activation theories

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    This series of three event-related potential experiments explored the issue of whether the underlying mechanism of working memory (WM) supporting language processing is inhibitory or activational in nature. These different cognitive mechanisms have been proposed to explain the more efficient processing of subjects with a high WM span compared to those with a low WM span. Participants with high and low WM span were presented with sentences containing a homonym followed three words later by a nominal disambiguation cue and a final disambiguation using a verb. At the position of the disambiguation cue, inhibitory or activational WM mechanisms predict contrasting results. When activation is the underlying mechanism for efficient processing, the prediction is that high memory span persons activate both meanings of the homonym equally in WM, whereas low memory span persons only have one meaning present. When inhibition is the underlying mechanism, the predictions are the reverse. The ERP data, in particular, the variations of the meaning related N400 component, showed clear evidence for inhibition as the underlying cognitive mechanism in high-span readers. For low-span participants the cueing towards the dominant or the subordinate meaning elicited an equivalently large N400 component suggesting that both meanings are active in WM. In high-span subjects, the dominant disambiguation cue elicited a smaller N400 than the subordinate one, indicating that for these subjects particularly the dominant meaning is active. The experiments showed that inhibitory processes are probably underlying WM used during language comprehension in high-span subjects. Moreover, they demonstrate that these subjects can use their inhibition in a more flexible manner than low-span subjects. The effects that these processing differences have on the efficiency of language parsing are discussed

    Music matters: Preattentive musicality of the human brain

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    During listening to a musical piece, unexpected harmonies may evoke brain responses that are reflected electrically as an early right anterior negativity (ERAN) and a late frontal negativity (N5). In the present study we demonstrate that these components of the event-related potential can be evoked preattentively, that is, even when a musical stimulus is ignored. Both ERAN and N5 differed in amplitude as a function of music-theoretical principles. Participants had no special musical expertise; results thus provide evidence for an automatic processing of musical information in onmusicians.

    Let's face the music: A behavioral and electrophysiological exploration of score reading

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    This experiment was carried out to determine whether reading diatonic violations in a musical score elicits similar endogenous ERP components when hearing such violations in the auditory modality. In the behavioral study, musicians were visually presented with 120 scores of familiar musical pieces, half of which contained a diatonic violation. The score was presented in a measure-by-measure manner. Self-paced reading was significantly delayed for measures containing a violation, indicating that sight reading a violation requires additional effort. In the ERP study, the musical phrases were presented in a “RSVP”-like manner. We predicted that diatonic violations would elicit a late positive component. However, the ERP associated with the measure where a violation was presented showed a negativity instead. The negativity started around 100 ms and lasted for the entire recording period. This long-lasting negativity encompassed at least three distinct effects that were possibly related to violation detection, working memory processing, and a further integration/interpretation process

    Hierarchical and linear sequence processing: An electrophysiological exploration of two different grammar types

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    The present study investigated the processing of two types of artificial grammars by means of event-related brain potentials. Two categories of meaningless CV syllables were applied in each grammar type. The two grammars differed with regard to the type of the underlying rule. The finite-state grammar (FSG) followed the rule (AB)n, thereby generating local transitions between As and Bs (e.g., n=2, ABAB). The phrase structure grammar (PSG) followed the rule AnBn, thereby generating center-embedded structures in which the first A and the last B embed the middle elements (e.g., n=2, [A[AB]B]). Two sequence lengths (n=2, n=4) were used. Violations of the structures were introduced at different positions of the syllable sequences. Early violations were situated at the beginning of a sequence, and late violations were placed at the end of a sequence. A posteriorly distributed early negativity elicited by violations was present only in FSG. This effect was interpreted as the possible reflection of a violated local expectancy. Moreover, both grammar-type violations elicited a late positivity. This positivity varied as a function of the violation position in PSG, but not in FSG. These findings suggest that the late positivity could reflect difficulty of integration in PSG sequences

    Prosody-assisted head-driven access to spoken German compounds

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    Auditory processing of German 2-noun compound words was investigated with 328 participants in 4 experiments by monitoring semantic priming effects of the left constituents of the compound words. The authors demonstrated that there is no primacy of the left constituents in accessing auditorily presented German compound words in the mental lexicon. A clear priming effect of left constituents occurred only for compound words with a transparent right constituent that is the head of compound words in Germanic languages. The data suggest that the access to German compounds in the auditory domain involves 2 temporally overlapping routes: direct and decompositional. The prosodic structure (i.e., the duration) of the first morphemes of compound words appears to be a determining factor for activation of the decompositional route
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