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Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3162 journals]
  • The roles of action selection and actor selection in joint task settings
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Motonori Yamaguchi, Helen J. Wall, Bernhard Hommel Studies on joint task performance have proposed that co-acting individuals co-represent the shared task context, which implies that actors integrate their co-actor’s task components into their own task representation as if they were all their own task. This proposal has been supported by results of joint tasks in which each actor is assigned a single response where selecting a response is equivalent to selecting an actor. The present study used joint task switching, which has previously shown switch costs on trials following the actor’s own trial (intrapersonal switch costs) but not on trials that followed the co-actor’s trial (interpersonal switch costs), suggesting that there is no task co-representation. We examined whether interpersonal switch costs can be obtained when action selection and actor selection are confounded as in previous joint task studies. The present results confirmed this prediction, demonstrating that switch costs can occur within a single actor as well as between co-actors when there is only a single response per actor, but not when there are two responses per actor. These results indicate that task co-representation is not necessarily implied even when effects occur across co-acting individuals and that how the task is divided between co-actors plays an important role in determining whether effects occur between co-actors.
  • Metaphors we learn by: Directed motor action improves word learning
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Daniel Casasanto, Angela de Bruin Can performing simple motor actions help people learn the meanings of words' Here we show that placing vocabulary flashcards in particular locations after studying them helps students learn the definitions of novel words with positive or negative emotional valence. After studying each card, participants placed it on one of two shelves (top or bottom), according to its valence. Participants who were instructed to place positive cards on the top shelf and negative cards on the bottom shelf, consistent with metaphors that link “good” with “up,” remembered the words’ definitions better than participants who followed the opposite spatial mapping, and better than control participants who placed all of the cards on the desktop. Saying “up” and “down” after studying the cards was ineffective, suggesting a privileged role for motor action in activating space-valence associations that partly constitute the meanings of emotionally charged words. These results provide a first demonstration that mental metaphors can be activated strategically to improve (or impair) word learning: We call this the strategic use of mental metaphor (SUMM) effect. Even when multiple factors known to enhance encoding of verbal materials into long-term memory were matched across conditions (e.g., study time, repetition, distinctiveness, depth of processing), metaphor-congruent motor actions led to better elaborated, more durable memories.
  • Revealing abstract semantic mechanisms through priming: The
           distributive/collective contrast
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Mora Maldonado, Emmanuel Chemla, Benjamin Spector Sentences such as The bags are light allow both collective (they are light together) and distributive interpretations (each bag is light). We report the results of two experiments showing that this collective/distributive contrast gives rise to priming effects. These findings suggest that collective and distributive readings involve different interpretative mechanisms, which are at play during real comprehension and can be targeted by priming, independently of the specific verification strategy associated with each interpretation.
  • Being fast or slow at naming depends on recency of experience
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Tao Wei, Tatiana T. Schnur The speed with which we produce words (e.g., dog) changes depending on whether a word named in the past is from the same semantic category (e.g., cat) or not (e.g., vase). Strikingly, whereas earlier studies find that producing semantically related words speeds up subsequent naming, recent studies report that it slows down future naming. It is unclear why the same experience results in opposite effects and whether both effects originate within the language system. Using the same picture naming paradigm and materials, we manipulated the interval between two naming events, while reducing the influence of expectation. We observed facilitation when semantically related pictures were presented adjacently. By contrast, when semantically related pictures were separated by two unrelated pictures, interference was observed. The results suggest that both facilitation and interference effects emerge within the language system where changes are critically based on the interval between naming, rather than solely due to peripheral processes associated with task demands.
  • Sensitivity to pain expectations: A Bayesian model of individual
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): R. Hoskin, C. Berzuini, D. Acosta-Kane, W. El-Deredy, H. Guo, D. Talmi The thoughts and feelings people have about pain (referred to as ‘pain expectations’) are known to alter the perception of pain. However little is known about the cognitive processes that underpin pain expectations, or what drives the differing effect that pain expectations have between individuals. This paper details the testing of a model of pain perception which formalises the response to pain in terms of a Bayesian prior-to-posterior updating process. Using data acquired from a short and deception-free predictive cue task, it was found that this Bayesian model predicted ratings of pain better than other, simpler models. At the group level, the results confirmed two core predictions of predictive coding; that expectation alters perception, and that increased uncertainty in the expectation reduces its impact on perception. The addition of parameters relating to trait differences in pain expectation improved the fit of the model, suggesting that such traits play a significant role in perception above and beyond the influence of expectations triggered by predictive cues. When the model parameters were allowed to vary by participant, the model’s fit improved further. This final model produced a characterisation of each individual's sensitivity to pain expectations. This model is relevant for the understanding of the cognitive basis of pain expectations and could potentially act as a useful tool for guiding patient stratification and clinical experimentation.
  • Temporal expectancies and rhythmic cueing in touch: The influence of
           spatial attention
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Alexander Jones Attention resources can be allocated in both space and time. Exogenous temporal attention can be driven by rhythmic events in our environment which automatically entrain periods of attention. Temporal expectancies can also be generated by the elapse of time, leading to foreperiod effects (the longer between a cue and imperative target, the faster the response). This study investigates temporal attention in touch and the influence of spatial orienting. In experiment 1, participants used bilateral tactile cues to orient endogenous spatial attention to the left or right hand where a unilateral tactile target was presented. This facilitated response times for attended over unattended targets. In experiment 2, the cue was unilateral and non-predictive of the target location resulting in inhibition of return. Importantly, the cue was rhythmic and targets were presented early, in synchrony or late in relation to the rhythmic cue. A foreperiod effect was observed in experiment 1 that was independent from any spatial attention effects. In experiment 2, in synchrony were slower compared to out of synchrony targets but only for cued and not uncued targets, suggesting the rhythm generates periods of exogenous inhibition. Taken together, temporal and spatial attention interact in touch, but only when both types of attention are exogenous. If the task requires endogenous spatial orienting, space and time are independent.
  • Weighing outcome vs. intent across societies: How cultural models of mind
           shape moral reasoning
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Rita Anne McNamara, Aiyana K. Willard, Ara Norenzayan, Joseph Henrich Mental state reasoning has been theorized as a core feature of how we navigate our social worlds, and as especially vital to moral reasoning. Judgments of moral wrong-doing and punish-worthiness often hinge upon evaluations of the perpetrator’s mental states. In two studies, we examine how differences in cultural conceptions about how one should think about others’ minds influence the relative importance of intent vs. outcome in moral judgments. We recruit participation from three societies, differing in emphasis on mental state reasoning: Indigenous iTaukei Fijians from Yasawa Island (Yasawans) who normatively avoid mental state inference in favor of focus on relationships and consequences of actions; Indo-Fijians who normatively emphasize relationships but do not avoid mental state inference; and North Americans who emphasize individual autonomy and interpreting others’ behaviors as the direct result of mental states. In study 1, Yasawan participants placed more emphasis on outcome than Indo-Fijians or North Americans by judging accidents more harshly than failed attempts. Study 2 tested whether underlying differences in the salience of mental states drives study 1 effects by inducing Yasawan and North American participants to think about thoughts vs. actions before making moral judgments. When induced to think about thoughts, Yasawan participants shifted to judge failed attempts more harshly than accidents. Results suggest that culturally-transmitted concepts about how to interpret the social world shape patterns of moral judgments, possibly via mental state inference.
  • Are visual processes causally involved in “perceptual simulation”
           effects in the sentence-picture verification task'
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Markus Ostarek, Dennis Joosen, Adil Ishag, Monique de Nijs, Falk Huettig Many studies have shown that sentences implying an object to have a certain shape produce a robust reaction time advantage for shape-matching pictures in the sentence-picture verification task. Typically, this finding has been interpreted as evidence for perceptual simulation, i.e., that access to implicit shape information involves the activation of modality-specific visual processes. It follows from this proposal that disrupting visual processing during sentence comprehension should interfere with perceptual simulation and obliterate the match effect. Here we directly test this hypothesis. Participants listened to sentences while seeing either visual noise that was previously shown to strongly interfere with basic visual processing or a blank screen. Experiments 1 and 2 replicated the match effect but crucially visual noise did not modulate it. When an interference technique was used that targeted high-level semantic processing (Experiment 3) however the match effect vanished. Visual noise specifically targeting high-level visual processes (Experiment 4) only had a minimal effect on the match effect. We conclude that the shape match effect in the sentence-picture verification paradigm is unlikely to rely on perceptual simulation.
  • Contextual priming of word meanings is stabilized over sleep
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): M. Gareth Gaskell, Scott A. Cairney, Jennifer M. Rodd Evidence is growing for the involvement of consolidation processes in the learning and retention of language, largely based on instances of new linguistic components (e.g., new words). Here, we assessed whether consolidation effects extend to the semantic processing of highly familiar words. The experiments were based on the word-meaning priming paradigm in which a homophone is encountered in a context that biases interpretation towards the subordinate meaning. The homophone is subsequently used in a word-association test to determine whether the priming encounter facilitates the retrieval of the primed meaning. In Experiment 1 (N = 74), we tested the resilience of priming over periods of 2 and 12 h that were spent awake or asleep, and found that sleep periods were associated with stronger subsequent priming effects. In Experiment 2 (N = 55) we tested whether the sleep benefit could be explained in terms of a lack of retroactive interference by testing participants 24 h after priming. Participants who had the priming encounter in the evening showed stronger priming effects after 24 h than participants primed in the morning, suggesting that sleep makes priming resistant to interference during the following day awake. The results suggest that consolidation effects can be found even for highly familiar linguistic materials. We interpret these findings in terms of a contextual binding account in which all language perception provides a learning opportunity, with sleep and consolidation contributing to the updating of our expectations, ready for the next day.
  • Revisiting the bilingual lexical deficit: The impact of age of acquisition
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Emanuel Bylund, Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam, Gunnar Norrman Whereas the cognitive advantages brought about by bilingualism have recently been called into question, the so-called ‘lexical deficit’ in bilinguals is still largely taken for granted. Here, we argue that, in analogy with cognitive advantages, the lexical deficit does not apply across the board of bilinguals, but varies as a function of acquisition trajectory. To test this, we implement a novel methodological design, where the variables of bilingualism and first/second language status have been fully crossed in four different groups. While the results confirm effects of bilingualism on lexical proficiency and processing, they show more robust effects of age of acquisition. We conclude that the traditional view of the linguistic costs of bilingualism need to give way to a new understanding of lexical development in which age of acquisition is seen as a major determinant.
  • Critical features for face recognition
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Naphtali Abudarham, Lior Shkiller, Galit Yovel Face recognition is a computationally challenging task that humans perform effortlessly. Nonetheless, this remarkable ability is better for familiar faces than unfamiliar faces. To account for humans’ superior ability to recognize familiar faces, current theories suggest that different features are used for the representation of familiar and unfamiliar faces. In the current study, we applied a reverse engineering approach to reveal which facial features are critical for familiar face recognition. In contrast to current views, we discovered that the same subset of features that are used for matching unfamiliar faces, are also used for matching as well as recognition of familiar faces. We further show that these features are also used by a deep neural network face recognition algorithm. We therefore propose a new framework that assumes similar perceptual representation for all faces and integrates cognition and perception to account for humans’ superior recognition of familiar faces.
  • Working memory training and perceptual discrimination training impact
           overlapping and distinct neurocognitive processes: Evidence from
           event-related potentials and transfer of training gains
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Thomas J. Covey, Janet L. Shucard, David W. Shucard There is emerging evidence that working memory (WM) can potentially be enhanced via targeted training protocols. However, the differential effects of targeted training of WM vs. training of general attentional processes on distinct neurocognitive mechanisms is not well understood. In the present study, we compared adaptive n-back WM training to an adaptive visual search training task that targeted perceptual discrimination, in the absence of demands on WM. The search task was closely matched to the n-back task on difficulty and participant engagement. The training duration for both protocols was 20 sessions over approximately 4 weeks. Before and after training, young adult participants were tested on a battery of cognitive tasks to examine transfer of training gains to untrained tests of WM, processing speed, cognitive control, and fluid intelligence. Event-related brain potential (ERP) measures obtained during a Letter 3-Back task and a Search task were examined to determine the neural processes that were affected by each training protocol. Both groups improved on measures of cognitive control and fluid intelligence at post- compared to pretest. However, n-back training resulted in more pronounced transfer effects to tasks involving WM compared to search training. With respect to ERPs, both groups exhibited enhancement of P3 amplitude following training, but distinct changes in neural responses were also observed for the two training protocols. The search training group exhibited earlier ERP latencies at post- compared to pretest on the Search task, indicating generalized improvement in processing speed. The n-back group exhibited a pronounced enhancement and earlier latency of the N2 ERP component on the Letter 3-back task, following training. Given the theoretical underpinnings of the N2, this finding was interpreted as an enhancement of conflict monitoring and sequential mismatch identification. The findings provide evidence that n-back training enhances distinct neural processes underlying executive aspects of WM.
  • Attention rapidly reorganizes to naturally occurring structure in a novel
           activity sequence
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Jessica E. Kosie, Dare Baldwin Fluent event processing involves selectively attending to information-rich regions within dynamically unfolding sensory streams (e.g., Newtson, 1973). What counts as information-rich likely depends on numerous factors, however, including overall event novelty and local opportunity for repeated viewing. Using Hard, Recchia, and Tversky’s (2011) method, we investigated the extent to which these two variables affected viewers’ attentional patterns as events unfolded. Specifically, we recorded viewers’ “dwell times” as they advanced through two slideshows depicting distinct methods of shoelace tying varying in novelty but equated on other dimensions. Across two experiments, novelty sparked increased dwelling overall, and viewers’ dwelling patterns displayed rapid and systematic reorganization to structure within the activity stream after just one viewing of distinctively novel content. As well, increased dwelling positively predicted memory performance. These findings newly illuminate reorganization in attention as relevant information within novel activity sequences is quickly incorporated to guide event processing and support event memory.
  • Non-linguistic effects of language switching training
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Kalinka Timmer, Marco Calabria, Albert Costa What is the relationship between bilingual language control (BLC) mechanisms and domain-general executive control (EC) processes' Do these two domains share some of their mechanisms' Here, we take a novel approach to this question, investigating whether short-term language switching training improves non-linguistic task switching performance. Two groups of bilinguals were assigned to two different protocols; one group was trained in language switching (switching-task training group) another group was trained in blocked language picture naming (single-block training group). Both groups performed a non-linguistic and linguistic switching task before (pre-training) and after training (post-training). Non-linguistic and linguistic switch costs decreased to a greater extent for the switching-task training than for the single-block training group from pre- to post-training. In contrast, mixing costs showed similar reductions for both groups. This suggests short-term language switching training can transfer to the non-linguistic domain for certain sub-mechanisms (i.e., switch cost). Thus, there is some overlap of the control mechanisms across domains.
  • Gestalt similarity groupings are not constructed in parallel
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Dian Yu, Derek Tam, Steven L. Franconeri Our visual system organizes spatially distinct areas with similar features into perceptual groups. To better understand the underlying mechanism of grouping, one route is to study its capacity and temporal progression. Intuitively, that capacity seems unlimited, and the temporal progression feels immediate. In contrast, here we show that in a visual search task that requires similarity grouping, search performance is consistent with serial processing of those groups. This was true across several experiments, for seeking a single ungrouped pair among grouped pairs, vice versa, and for displays with tiny spacings between the grouped items. In a control condition that ruled out display complexity confounds, when the small inter-object spacing was removed so that that pairs touched, removing the need to group by similarity, search became parallel. Why is similarity grouping so slow to develop' We argue that similarity grouping is 'just' feature selection - seeing a red, bright, or square group is global selection of those features. This account predicts serial processing of one feature group at a time, and makes new falsifiable predictions about how properties of feature-based selection should be reflected in similarity grouping.
  • Systematicity, but not compositionality: Examining the emergence of
           linguistic structure in children and adults using iterated learning
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Limor Raviv, Inbal Arnon Recent work suggests that cultural transmission can lead to the emergence of linguistic structure as speakers’ weak individual biases become amplified through iterated learning. However, to date no published study has demonstrated a similar emergence of linguistic structure in children. The lack of evidence from child learners constitutes a problematic gap in the literature: if such learning biases impact the emergence of linguistic structure, they should also be found in children, who are the primary learners in real-life language transmission. However, children may differ from adults in their biases given age-related differences in general cognitive skills. Moreover, adults’ performance on iterated learning tasks may reflect existing (and explicit) linguistic biases, partially undermining the generality of the results. Examining children’s performance can also help evaluate contrasting predictions about their role in emerging languages: do children play a larger or smaller role than adults in the creation of structure' Here, we report a series of four iterated artificial language learning studies (based on Kirby, Cornish & Smith, 2008) with both children and adults, using a novel child-friendly paradigm. Our results show that linguistic structure does not emerge more readily in children compared to adults, and that adults are overall better in both language learning and in creating linguistic structure. When languages could become underspecified (by allowing homonyms), children and adults were similar in developing consistent mappings between meanings and signals in the form of structured ambiguities. However, when homonimity was not allowed, only adults created compositional structure. This study is a first step in using iterated language learning paradigms to explore child-adult differences. It provides the first demonstration that cultural transmission has a different effect on the languages produced by children and adults: While children were able to develop systematicity, their languages did not show compositionality. We focus on the relation between learning and structure creation as a possible explanation for our findings and discuss implications for children’s role in the emergence of linguistic structure.
  • Formation of abstract task representations: Exploring dosage and
           mechanisms of working memory training effects
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Nitzan Shahar, Maayan Pereg, Andrei R. Teodorescu, Rani Moran, Anat Karmon-Presser, Nachshon Meiran Working memory is strongly involved in human reasoning, abstract thinking and decision making. Past studies have shown that working memory training generalizes to untrained working memory tasks with similar structure (near-transfer effect). Here, we focused on two questions: First, we ask how much training might be required in order to find a reliable near-transfer effect' Second, we ask which choice- mechanism might underlie training benefits' Participants were allocated to one of three groups: working-memory training (combined set-shifting and N-back task), active-control (visual search) and no-contact control. During pre/post testing, all participants completed tests tapping procedural and declarative working memory as well as reasoning. We found improved performance only in the procedural working-memory transfer tasks, a transfer task that shared a similar structure to that of the training task. Intermediate testing throughout the training period suggest that this effect emerged as soon as after 2 training sessions. We applied evidence accumulation modeling to investigate the choice process responsible for this near-transfer effect and found that trained participants, compared with active-controls had quicker retrieval of the action rules, and more efficient classification of the target. We conclude that participants were able to form abstract representations of the task procedure (i.e., stimulus-response rules) that was then ~applied to novel stimuli and responses.
  • Statistical learning and spelling: Evidence from Brazilian prephonological
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Cognition, Volume 182Author(s): Rebecca Treiman, Cláudia Cardoso-Martins, Tatiana Cury Pollo, Brett Kessler We analyzed the spelling attempts of Brazilian children (age 3 years, 3 months to 6 years, 0 months) who were prephonological spellers, in that they wrote using letters that did not reflect the phonemes in the words they were asked to spell. We tested the hypothesis that children use their statistical-learning skills to learn about the appearance of writing and that older prephonological spellers, who have had on average more exposure to writing, produce more wordlike spellings than younger prephonological spellers. We found that older prephonological spellers produced longer spellings and were more likely to use letters and digrams in proportion to their frequency of occurrence in Portuguese. There were also some age-related differences in children’s tendency to use letters from their own names when writing other words. The results extend previous findings with learners of English to children who are learning a more transparent orthography.
  • Implicit updating of object representation via temporal associations
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Ru Qi Yu, Jiaying Zhao The cognitive system can flexibly update the representations of objects upon changes in the physical properties of the objects. Can the changes ripple to the representations of other associated objects that are not directly observable' We propose that statistical learning allows changes in one object to be automatically transferred to related objects. Observers viewed a temporal sequence with pairs of colored circles where the first circle always preceded the second. When the first circle increased or decreased in size, the second circle was judged to be larger (or smaller), suggesting that changes were automatically transferred to the second object (Experiment 1). When the second circle changed in size, the first circle was unaffected (Experiment 2). The strength of transfer seemed to depend on the conditional probability between objects (Experiment 3). The findings were replicated using pairs of faces that changed in expressions (Experiments 4&5). Importantly, no observer was explicitly aware of the pairs. Thus, statistical learning enables automatic and implicit updating of object representations upon changes to temporally associated objects.
  • Comprehenders model the nature of noise in the environment
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Rachel Ryskin, Richard Futrell, Swathi Kiran, Edward Gibson In everyday communication, speakers make errors and produce language in a noisy environment. Recent work suggests that comprehenders possess cognitive mechanisms for dealing with noise in the linguistic signal: a noisy-channel model. A key parameter of these models is the noise model: the comprehender’s implicit model of how noise affects utterances before they are perceived. Here we examine this noise model in detail, asking whether comprehension behavior reflects a noise model that is adapted to context. We asked readers to correct sentences if they noticed errors, and manipulated context by including exposure sentences containing obvious deletions (A bystander was rescued by the fireman in the nick time.), insertions, exchanges, mixed errors, or no errors. On test sentences (The bat swung the player.), participants’ corrections differed depending on the exposure condition. The results demonstrate that participants model specific types of errors and make inferences about the intentions of the speaker accordingly.
  • Probing the mental representation of quantifiers
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Sandro Pezzelle, Raffaella Bernardi, Manuela Piazza In this study, we investigate the mental representation of non-numerical quantifiers (“some”, “many”, “all”, etc.) by comparing their use in abstract and in grounded perceptual contexts. Using an approach similar to that used in the number domain, we test whether (and to what extent) such representation is constrained by the way we perceive the world through our senses. In two experiments, subjects either judged the similarity of quantifier pairs (presented as written words) or chose among a predetermined list of quantifiers the one that best described a visual image depicting a variable number of target and non-target items. The results were rather consistent across experiments, and indicated that quantifiers are mentally organized on an ordered but non-linear compressed scale where the quantifiers that imply small quantities appear more precisely differentiated across each other compared to those implying large quantities. This fits nicely with the idea that we construct our representations of such symbols mainly by mapping them to the representations of quantities that we derive from perception.
  • The emergence of systematicity: How environmental and communicative
           factors shape a novel communication system
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Jonas Nölle, Marlene Staib, Riccardo Fusaroli, Kristian Tylén Where does linguistic structure come from' We suggest that systematicity in language evolves adaptively in response to environmental and contextual affordances associated with the practice of communication itself. In two experiments, we used a silent gesture referential game paradigm to investigate environmental and social factors promoting the propagation of systematicity in a novel communication system. We found that structure in the emerging communication systems evolve contingent on structural properties of the environment. More specifically, interlocutors spontaneously relied on structural features of the referent stimuli they communicated about to motivate systematic aspects of the evolving communication system even when idiosyncratic iconic strategies were equally afforded. Furthermore, we found systematicity to be promoted by the nature of the referent environment. When the referent environment was open and unstable, analytic systematic strategies were more likely to emerge compared to stimulus environments with a closed set of referents. Lastly, we found that displacement of communication promoted systematicity. That is, when interlocutors had to communicate about items not immediately present in the moment of communication, they were more likely to evolve systematic solutions, supposedly due to working memory advantages. Together, our findings provide experimental evidence for the idea that linguistic structure evolves adaptively from contextually situated language use.
  • Lexical stress constrains English-learning infants’ segmentation in
           a non-native language
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Megha Sundara, Victoria E. Mateu Infants’ ability to segment words in fluent speech is affected by their language experience. In this study we investigated the conditions under which infants can segment words in a non-native language. Using the Head-turn Preference Procedure, we found that monolingual English-learning 8-month-olds can segment bisyllabic words in Spanish (trochees and iambs) but not French (iambs). Our results are incompatible with accounts that rely on distributional learning, language rhythm similarity, or target word prosodic shape alone. Instead, we show that monolingual English-learning infants are able to segment words in a non-native language as long as words have stress, as is the case in English. More specifically, we show that even in a rhythmically different non-native language, English-learning infants can find words by detecting stressed syllables and treating them as word onsets or offsets.
  • Sins of omission are more likely to be forgiven in non-native speakers
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Sarah Fairchild, Anna Papafragou Utterances produced by foreign-accented speakers are often judged as less credible, more vague, and more difficult to understand compared to those produced by native speakers. Some theoretical accounts argue that listeners have different expectations about the speech of non-native speakers. Other accounts argue that non-native speech is processed differently to the extent that a foreign accent taxes intelligibility and introduces additional processing load. Here we test the role of expectations for the processing of native vs. non-native speech in written texts where accents cannot be directly perceived (and thus affect processing load). In Experiment 1, native comprehenders gave higher ratings to the meaning of under-informative sentences (“Some people have noses with two nostrils”) when they believed that the sentences were produced by non-native compared to native speakers. This difference was larger the more likely individual participants were to interpret under-informative sentences pragmatically (as opposed to logically). In Experiment 2, the tendency to forgive sins of information omission was shown to depend on the presumed L2 proficiency of non-native speakers. Experiment 3 replicated and extended the major finding. Since intelligibility of the sentences was identical across types of speakers, these findings provide support for the role of expectations for non-native speech comprehension, as well as for broader models of language processing that argue for a role of speaker identity.
  • Co-actors represent the order of each other’s actions
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Laura Schmitz, Cordula Vesper, Natalie Sebanz, Günther Knoblich Previous research has shown that people represent each other’s tasks and actions when acting together. However, less is known about how co-actors represent each other’s action sequences. Here, we asked whether co-actors represent the order of each other’s actions within an action sequence, or whether they merely represent the intended end state of a joint action together with their own contribution. In the present study, two co-actors concurrently performed action sequences composed of two actions. We predicted that if co-actors represent the order of each other’s actions, they should experience interference when the order of their actions differs. Supporting this prediction, the results of six experiments consistently showed that co-actors moved more slowly when performing the same actions in a different order compared to performing the same actions in the same order. In line with findings from bimanual movement tasks, our results indicate that interference can arise due to differences in movement parameters and due to differences in the perceptual characteristics of movement goals. The present findings extend previous research on co-representation, providing evidence that people represent not only the elements of another’s task, but also their temporal structure.
  • Can infants' sense of agency be found in their behavior' Insights from
           babybot simulations of the mobile-paradigm
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Lorijn Zaadnoordijk, Maria Otworowska, Johan Kwisthout, Sabine Hunnius The development of a sense of agency is essential for understanding the causal structure of the world. Previous studies have shown that infants tend to increase the frequency of an action when it is followed by an effect. This was shown, for instance, in the mobile-paradigm, in which infants were in control of moving an overhead mobile by means of a ribbon attached to one of their limbs. These findings have been interpreted as evidence for a sense of agency early in life, as infants were thought to have detected the causal action-movement relation. We argue that solely the increase in action frequency is insufficient as evidence for this claim. Computer simulations are used to demonstrate that systematic, limb-specific increase in movement frequency found in mobile-paradigm studies can be produced by an artificial agent (a ‘babybot’) implemented with a mechanism that does not represent cause-effect relations at all. Given that a sense of agency requires representing one's actions as the cause of the effect, a behavior that is reproduced with this non-representational babybot can be argued to be, in itself, insufficient as evidence for a sense of agency. However, a behavioral pattern that to date has received little attention in the context of sense of agency, namely an additional increase in movement frequency after the action-effect relation is discontinued, is not produced by the babybot. Future research could benefit from focusing on patterns whose production cannot be reproduced by our babybot as these may require the capacity for causal learning.
  • Learning to focus on number
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Manuela Piazza, Vito De Feo, Stefano Panzeri, Stanislas Dehaene With age and education, children become increasingly accurate in processing numerosity. This developmental trend is often interpreted as a progressive refinement of the mental representation of number. Here we provide empirical and theoretical support for an alternative possibility, the filtering hypothesis, which proposes that development primarily affects the ability to focus on the relevant dimension of number and to avoid interference from irrelevant but often co-varying quantitative dimensions. Data from the same numerical comparison task in adults and children of various levels of numeracy, including Mundurucú Indians and western dyscalculics, show that, as predicted by the filtering hypothesis, age and education primarily increase the ability to focus on number and filter out potentially interfering information on the non-numerical dimensions. These findings can be captured by a minimal computational model where learning consists in the training of a multivariate classifier whose discrimination boundaries get progressively aligned to the task-relevant dimension of number. This view of development has important consequences for education.
  • Examining memory for ritualized gesture in complex causal sequences
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): R. Kapitány, C. Kavanagh, H. Whitehouse, M. Nielsen Humans have created and maintained an exponentially large and sophisticated behavioral corpus over evolutionary time. In no small part this was achieved due to our tendency to imitate behaviours rather than to emulate outcomes. This tendency, however, can lead to inefficiency and redundancy in our behavioral repertoires. Drawing on evidence from multiple fields of psychology, we propose two novel competing hypotheses. The ‘catalyst hypothesis’ suggests that low (but not high) proportions of ritualized gesture in instrumental action sequences will improve subsequent recall of the entire action sequence (without itself enhancing the instrumental utility of the sequence). Conversely, the ‘cost hypothesis’ suggests that increasing proportions of ritualized gesture will impair recall, due to the introduction of cognitive load. The null hypothesis states that ritualized gestures are neither beneficial nor costly. In a pre-registered experiment, we presented participants with multiple versions of two complicated 2-min action sequences in which we varied the proportion of ritualized gesture. We then quantified the influence ritualized gesture had on recall for individuals gestures, overall outcomes, and described detail. We found clear evidence that high proportions of ritualized gestures impair recall for individual gestures and overall success, and weak evidence that low proportions increase overall success. At present, we may reject the null, but cannot rule out either of our competing hypotheses. We discuss potential implications for cultural evolution, and generate competing predictions that allow for adjudication between Ritual Modes theory (Whitehouse, 2004) and the ‘Cognitive Resource Depletion’ account of Religious Interaction (Schjoedt et al., 2013). All files (including data and syntax) are freely available at
  • People are averse to machines making moral decisions
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Yochanan E. Bigman, Kurt Gray Do people want autonomous machines making moral decisions' Nine studies suggest that that the answer is ‘no’—in part because machines lack a complete mind. Studies 1–6 find that people are averse to machines making morally-relevant driving, legal, medical, and military decisions, and that this aversion is mediated by the perception that machines can neither fully think nor feel. Studies 5–6 find that this aversion exists even when moral decisions have positive outcomes. Studies 7–9 briefly investigate three potential routes to increasing the acceptability of machine moral decision-making: limiting the machine to an advisory role (Study 7), increasing machines’ perceived experience (Study 8), and increasing machines’ perceived expertise (Study 9). Although some of these routes show promise, the aversion to machine moral decision-making is difficult to eliminate. This aversion may prove challenging for the integration of autonomous technology in moral domains including medicine, the law, the military, and self-driving vehicles.
  • Beyond unpleasantness. Social exclusion affects the experience of pain,
           but not of equally-unpleasant disgust
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Lia Antico, Amelie Guyon, Zainab K. Mohamed, Corrado Corradi-Dell'Acqua Seminal theories posit that social and physical suffering underlie partly-common representational code. It is unclear, however, if this shared information reflects a modality-specific component of pain, or alternatively a supramodal code for properties common to many aversive experiences (unpleasantness, salience, etc.). To address this issue, we engaged participants in a gaming experience in which they were excluded or included by virtual players. After each game session, participants were subjected to comparably-unpleasant painful or disgusting stimuli. Subjective reports and cardiac responses revealed a reduced sensitivity to pain following exclusion relative to inclusion, an effect which was more pronounced in those participants who declared to feel more affected by the gaming manipulation. Such modulation was not observed for disgust. These findings indicate that the relationship between social and physical suffering does not generalize to disgust, thus suggesting a shared representational code at the level of modality-specific components of pain.
  • Greater reliance on the eye region predicts better face recognition
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Cognition, Volume 181Author(s): Jessica Royer, Caroline Blais, Isabelle Charbonneau, Karine Déry, Jessica Tardif, Brad Duchaine, Frédéric Gosselin, Daniel Fiset Interest in using individual differences in face recognition ability to better understand the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms supporting face processing has grown substantially in recent years. The goal of this study was to determine how varying levels of face recognition ability are linked to changes in visual information extraction strategies in an identity recognition task. To address this question, fifty participants completed six tasks measuring face and object processing abilities. Using the Bubbles method (Gosselin & Schyns, 2001), we also measured each individual’s use of visual information in face recognition. At the group level, our results replicate previous findings demonstrating the importance of the eye region for face identification. More importantly, we show that face processing ability is related to a systematic increase in the use of the eye area, especially the left eye from the observer’s perspective. Indeed, our results suggest that the use of this region accounts for approximately 20% of the variance in face processing ability. These results support the idea that individual differences in face processing are at least partially related to the perceptual extraction strategy used during face identification.
  • Lazy, not biased: Susceptibility to partisan fake news is better explained
           by lack of reasoning than by motivated reasoning
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 June 2018Source: CognitionAuthor(s): Gordon Pennycook, David G. Rand Why do people believe blatantly inaccurate news headlines (“fake news”)' Do we use our reasoning abilities to convince ourselves that statements that align with our ideology are true, or does reasoning allow us to effectively differentiate fake from real regardless of political ideology' Here we test these competing accounts in two studies (total N = 3446 Mechanical Turk workers) by using the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) as a measure of the propensity to engage in analytical reasoning. We find that CRT performance is negatively correlated with the perceived accuracy of fake news, and positively correlated with the ability to discern fake news from real news – even for headlines that align with individuals’ political ideology. Moreover, overall discernment was actually better for ideologically aligned headlines than for misaligned headlines. Finally, a headline-level analysis finds that CRT is negatively correlated with perceived accuracy of relatively implausible (primarily fake) headlines, and positively correlated with perceived accuracy of relatively plausible (primarily real) headlines. In contrast, the correlation between CRT and perceived accuracy is unrelated to how closely the headline aligns with the participant’s ideology. Thus, we conclude that analytic thinking is used to assess the plausibility of headlines, regardless of whether the stories are consistent or inconsistent with one’s political ideology. Our findings therefore suggest that susceptibility to fake news is driven more by lazy thinking than it is by partisan bias per se – a finding that opens potential avenues for fighting fake news.
  • I know why you voted for Trump: (Over)inferring motives based on choice
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 May 2018Source: CognitionAuthor(s): Kate Barasz, Tami Kim, Ioannis Evangelidis People often speculate about why others make the choices they do. This paper investigates how such inferences are formed as a function of what is chosen. Specifically, when observers encounter someone else’s choice (e.g., of political candidate), they use the chosen option’s attribute values (e.g., a candidate’s specific stance on a policy issue) to infer the importance of that attribute (e.g., the policy issue) to the decision-maker. Consequently, when a chosen option has an attribute whose value is extreme (e.g., an extreme policy stance), observers infer—sometimes incorrectly—that this attribute disproportionately motivated the decision-maker’s choice. Seven studies demonstrate how observers use an attribute’s value to infer its weight—the value-weight heuristic—and identify the role of perceived diagnosticity: more extreme attribute values give observers the subjective sense that they know more about a decision-maker’s preferences, and in turn, increase the attribute’s perceived importance. The paper explores how this heuristic can produce erroneous inferences and influence broader beliefs about decision-makers.
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