Executive functions (EF) are a set of higher order cognitive processes that are engaged in a goal directed behaviour. It has been suggested that these functions work differently depending on the type of stimuli (non-affective or affective). Although there are many studies where EF measures have been used for affective or non-affective stimuli, the obtained results do not provide the opportunity to directly compare the data from both measures. To address the problem, the present study aimed at presenting a new battery of cognitive tasks working with non-affective and affective stimuli. Thus, the n-back, Stroop and letter-number tasks were used to assess three core EF, namely updating, inhibition and shifting. New affective versions of the classical n-back, Stroop and letter-number tasks were created as well. Eighty-four participants completed a neutral version followed by the affective version of each task. The results showed a significant positive correlation between the neutral and affective versions in updating and shifting, but not inhibition. There were no significant differences in performance on the neutral and affective versions of updating, cost of inhibition and shift cost. More experiments should be conducted to further broaden the applicability of this novel approach in the assessment of EF in emotion-cognition interactions.
The Aphasia Bedside Check for Russian (ABC-Ru) is a screening test that allows the medical staff of a neurological ward to detect speech/language disorders in the first days post-stroke onset. To evaluate whether this test follows modern psychometric standards, we performed two studies. In Study 1, we reported the results of the standardization of the ABC-Ru in a clinical group of people with chronic speech/language disorders (N=80) and a cohort of neurologically healthy individuals (N=120). In Study 2, we validated the results in a group of people in the acute post-stroke period (N=20) with and without speech/language disorders. According to the results of the study, the ABC-Ru can be considered as a valid instrument and can potentially be used in neurological departments for the screening of speech and language disorders.
The paper analyses the advantages and limitations of the current technical solutions for dual eye-tracking (DUET) in relation to the research questions from educational science about joint attention in a multimodal teaching/ learning collaboration. The insufficiency of the current systems for the analysis of multimodal collaboration is stated as the reviewed systems do not allow researchers to relate a participant’s eye movements to the video from their joint performance and accompanying gestures without time consuming manual coding. We describe a system of two low-cost Pupil-Labs eyetrackers and propose an open source utility DUET for Pupil that automatically produces synchronized gaze data in the shared system of coordinates. The data are available in the form of a video from the surface that is overlaid by gaze paths with supplementary sound waveforms and as textual data with synchronized coordinates of the two gazes. Our empirical evaluation of this technological solution reports 1.27 ° of visual angle as the spatial accuracy of the system after post-hoc calibration. The advantages, limitations, and further possible enhancments of the system are discussed.
If a well-known word is a part of anagram stimulus, it may complicate the process of anagram solution. It may happens because a word inside an anagram may serve as semantic prime, or because such a word is a chunk tough to decompose. We manipulated structural features of word and nonword chunks in anagram stimuli to find out what features of a chunk, semantic or structural, are more influential for anagram solving. The results showed that not structural but semantic features of a chunk are more important for five-letter anagrams, while none of these features were crucial for solving six-letter anagrams. The authors suggest that different mechanisms underlie the solution process of shorter five-letter and longer six-letter anagrams. Limitations of the study and its implications for future research are discussed.
The present study examines whether Russian-American heritage speakers benefit from the isomorphic mapping between a syntactic structure and its corresponding motor event (motor stereotype) during the comprehension of locative and instrumental constructions in Russian, their heritage language. Participants performed a picture-sentence matching task, during which they saw pairs of images on a computer screen and were required to choose the picture that matched the sentence that they heard. The sentences included locative and instrumental constructions with isomorphic or non-isomorphic mapping between the syntactic structure (direct or inverted word order) and the corresponding motor event (isomorphic or non-isomorphic motor stereotype). The results call into question the predictions of the Isomorphic Mapping Hypothesis and reveal that heritage speakers, at least those with a lower proficiency in their heritage language, are more sensitive to syntactic cues (word order) than isomorphism. The findings are explained within the framework of language transfer
Abstract. There is currently a great need for modern, standardized neuropsychological tests for language assessment in Russian speakers with aphasia. Our group is working on the development of the Russian Aphasia Test (RAT). Within the scope of this work, two subtests for single-word comprehension of nouns and verbs were developed considering contemporary models of language processing and principles of psychometrics. The task for both subtests was spoken word-to-picture matching. The subtests were normed on individuals with aphasia (n = 45) and a control group (n = 30). This resulted in the final set of 30 diagnostic trials for nouns and verbs matched on relevant psychometric properties which are sensitive to language impairments for both fluent and non-fluent types of aphasia. This set of trials will be included in the final version of the RAT.
The present research focuses on the mechanisms of facial expression recognition. We explored the relationship between eye movement strategies in face perception processes and the intensity of holistic perception effects — namely, the inversion effect. It was assumed that if holistic and feature-based mechanisms rely on certain specific image viewing strategies, the intensity of the inversion effect would be associated with certain eye movement characteristics (the number of examined facial features and the number of gaze transitions between them). The strength of the inversion effect indicated the dominance of the mechanisms of holistic perception. This was measured as a decrease in the accuracy of expression recognition of inverted images. In a facial expression recognition experiment, we analyzed responses and eye tracking data of 92 participants. Photographs of four characters from the WSEFEP database (Olszanowski et al., 2015) were used as stimuli. Each model displayed seven basic expressions. Stimuli were presented in three conditions: upright, inverted and thatcherized. A within-subjects design was used. The results showed a significant correlation between the effects of inversion and thatcherization, which argues in favor of the universality of the mechanism used by a particular person in face expression recognition. We found a high correlation between the eye movement characteristics under the three conditions of presentation, which indicates an individual-specific type of oculomotor activity. However, no correlation was found between the strength of holistic processing and certain eye movement characteristics. Most likely, oculomotor strategies for collecting information do not reflect the analytic or holistic mechanisms of its processing in facial expression recognition.
According to modern syntactic theories, sentence comprehension can rely not only on grammatically driven algorithmic parsing of grammatical structure but also on good-enough processing, according to which we establish relations between words based on their meanings and our world knowledge without building accurate syntactic relations. Therefore, a good-enough processing strategy may lead to forming incorrect syntactic representations. In a self-paced reading experiment, we investigated how Russian-speaking adolescents (13–17 years old) and adults (20–40 years old) used good-enough vs. algorithmic parsing when reading grammatically complex sentences in a no-noise condition and in the presence of auditory linguistic noise (babble of voices). We found that adolescents relied on good-enough processing less than adults did. At the same time, we found that noise had no effect on reading speed neither in adolescents nor in adults but it speeded up question response time in adolescents.
Neuroimaging research in emotion regulation reveals a decrease of amygdala response to affective stimuli when the stimuli are perceived during the performance of a cognitive task. Two types of tasks are usually used to investigate this effect: one distracts attention from the emotional content of stimuli and another directly addresses the emotional content, such as identification of the emotional facial expression. The present fMRI study tested the effect of a third type of task: a memory task that promotes attraction of one’s attention to the emotional stimuli, but does not directly address the emotional content. A total of 44 volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups. In the MRI scanner, participants in the experimental group were asked to memorize emotional and neutral images taken from the IAPS (International Affective Picture System) database. Their recognition memory was subsequently tested after the scanning. Participants in the control group passively viewed the same picture set. The ROI analysis of the BOLD signal change revealed a leftward asymmetry of amygdala activation during the passive viewing of the pictures and a rightward shift of activation induced by the memory task. Results from the control ROIs demonstrated the phenomena of “inattentional deafness” in the auditory cortex and functional asymmetry in the visual cortex. The results are discussed in terms of complex functional connections between the amygdala, sensory cortices, and frontal regions of the brain.
What is the relationship between the mental lexicon and categorization? Many studies show that the names of objects speed up category learning. Our previous experiment demonstrated that the names of an object feature’s location also help while learning rules of categorization. In the present experiment, we evaluated the manifestation of this effect in ontogenesis, having compared the process of development of new concepts in 7- and 9-year-old children. Participants were supposed to learn to distinguish between two groups of aliens by signs on the foot. We varied the location of signs on the silhouette of the foot. In the high nameability condition, signs were located in places on a foot silhouette that were more nameable (e.g., “heel”). In the low nameability condition, signs were located in places without common names (e.g., “Achilles’ tendon”). The category rule included relevant places for signs. We found that 9-year-old participants were more successful in learning new categories in the high nameability condition than in the low nameability condition. However, 7-year-old participants did not demonstrate differences in the two conditions. These results are discussed in relation to the development of the ability to form new categories in the course of ontogenesis.
Handedness is the most prominent trait of functional asymmetry in humans, associated with lateralized cognitive functions and considered in relation to mental disorders. However, the neuroanatomical correlates of handedness are still unclear. It has been hypothesized that the structural properties of sub-regions of the corpus callosum (CC) are linked to handedness. Nevertheless, tractography studies of the relation between directly measured structural properties of CC subregions and handedness are lacking. The Constrained Spherical Deconvolution (CSD) approach enables full reconstruction of the sub-regions of the CC. The current study aimed to investigate the relation between the structural properties of the CC, such as volume and the CSD metric, referred to as hindrance modulated orientational anisotropy (HMOA), and handedness. Handedness was considered in two dimensions: direction (right-handed, ambidextrous, left-handed) and degree (the absolute values of Handedness quotient). We found no association between 1) volume or HMOA as a proxy of microstructural properties, namely the axonal diameter and fiber dispersion, of each sub-region and 2) either the direction or the degree of handedness. These findings suggest the absence of a direct relation between sub-regions of the CC and handedness, demonstrating the necessity of future tractography studies.
Since pre-school age, children rely on contextual information while generalizing information about new objects. It is still uncertain what underlies this inductive selectivity; whether it is associative learning, which depends on the numbers of features that an object has, or conceptual learning, which depends on the features’ content. In the first experiment, we varied the contextual information and found that 4-5-year-olds rely more on contextual features of the object (shape and colour of the background), but not on spatial ones (location). In the second experiment we varied the combination of context features and showed that, given a lack of information about an object (shape only), children rely on contextual spatial features more than on the object’s features. Moreover, they prefer not to rely on contextual information at all if the object’s information was modified (same shape but different colour). Together, these results indicate the dependence of inductive selectivity on conceptual learning, not only associative learning.
To minimize permanent postoperative deficits, functional mapping with direct electrical stimulation (DES) is becoming a gold standard when a brain tumor resection must be performed near or within eloquent areas. Due to the devastating impact of communication disabilities, language is one of the most commonly mapped functions. However, standardized linguistic protocols for intraoperative use are still scarce. Here we present the first Russian standardized naming test for mapping noun and verb production during awake neurosurgeries. Its development has been informed by modern (psycho)linguistic knowledge and DES requirements. The test was clinically piloted in a sample of 23 patients who underwent awake craniotomy, with results showing high relevance of the test in combination with DES for mapping language-relevant cortical and subcortical sites. The use of the test intraoperatively enabled extensive resection of tumor tissue while preserving language function in most of the tested patients. The test materials and protocols are freely available online.
The Attention Network Test (ANT) is a measure that allows assessment of the three different attention networks postulated by Posner and Peterson (1990): alerting, orienting, and executive control. The ANT became a popular tool for assessing the functioning of attention networks due to its simplicity, relative brevity, and accessibility for researchers. The data obtained with the ANT in a Russian sample are reported in this study. The analysis was focused on the question of independence of the attention networks. It has been shown that the orienting and executive control networks are not independent from one another since these networks scores yielded a significant correlation. Furthermore, an interaction was found between cue types and flanker types.
Many psychological theories attempt to explain the mechanisms that govern cognition in adults, and fewer theories attempt to explain also how cognitive mechanisms change across development. Even fewer theories provide a brain representation of mechanisms related to cognitive development. One such theory is the Theory of Constructive Operators. In this review, we present key components of this general theory and provide quantitative predictions for the development of core cognitive abilities such a mental-attentional capacity. Specifically, the model of endogenous mental attention presents a domain-free resource that increases in power during childhood and adolescence. Mental-attentional capacity grows concurrently with prefrontal brain regions and is a fundamental factor that contributes to individual differences in cognitive abilities. We provide examples of a sophisticated method of meta-subjective task analysis that can serve as a tool for evaluating the mental demand of a task. Overall, the theory of constructive operators and its brain representations, its theory-based tasks, and the method of meta-subjective task analysis are useful tools for psychologists, educators, and neuroscientists who investigate aspects of development.
The connectivity between perisylvian language areas is subserved by the three segments of the arcuate fasciculus (AF): long segment, connecting posterior temporal and inferior frontal areas, and anterior and posterior segments, connecting inferior frontal lobule to inferior frontal and posterior temporal areas, respectively. Disconnection of the long segment of the AF gives rise to conduction aphasia, manifesting itself in impaired repetition due to a deficit in sensorimotor integration. Systematic analyses of the specific contributions of the three segments of the AF to language processing are, however, lacking. The current study addresses the roles of these white-matter tracts in language production and comprehension at various linguistic levels. We found that lower volume of the long AF segment following neurosurgery is associated with greater deficit in language production and repetition, consistent with the tract’s well-established role in sensorimotor integration. We did not find any relation between the volumes of the anterior and posterior AF segments and language deficits during word and sentence production and comprehension. One plausible explanation is that these tracts are not critical for language processing, whereas the functions they underlie in healthy speakers demonstrate a greater capacity for reorganization during the slow growth of a brain tumor, as opposed to those carried out by the long AF segment.
The retrieval of low frequency words is usually slower than that of high frequency words. Neuroimaging research on the role of word frequency in linguistic tasks suggests candidate brain areas for the neural substrates of this effect. The only previous fMRI study of word frequency in Russian (Malutina et al., 2012) used an action naming task and obtained data that were highly inconsistent with results for other languages, findings which were mainly obtained using noun-retrieval tasks. In order to verify whether the reasons for such inconsistency were methodological or cross-linguistic, we examined the fMRI correlates of word frequency in Russian using a covert object naming task. We found that the retrieval of low frequency and high frequency nouns activated the same general pattern of brain areas typical for object naming tasks in many languages. Several brain regions were more activated in the low frequency but not the high frequency condition, including the areas and structures usually associated with linguistic processing (the inferior frontal gyrus bilaterally, the left thalamus, the left insula), visual perception (the fusiform gyrus, the inferior occipital gyrus, the middle occipital gyrus bilaterally) and cognitive and motor control (the supplementary motor area and the right cingulate gyrus). The right cingulate gyrus was the only area that responded only to the low frequency stimuli but not the high frequency items, when compared to the baseline. At the same time, we found no brain areas that responded more to high versus low word frequency. These results are generally consistent with previous fMRI studies in English, German and Chinese and therefore suggest that the inconsistency between the previous research in Russian and other languages was due to the possible interaction of the part of speech (verb or noun) and word frequency in brain mechanisms for word retrieval, rather than cross-linguistic differences.
In the second year of life, infants are actively interested in objects used by adults, despite the number of experienced difficulties in achieving their goals while handling these objects. What causes the child attempt to handle an object for a designated purpose while watching the adult? One of the evident explanations concerns the effectiveness of the adult’s behavior and the child’s desire to achieve the same result. However, multiple studies have shown that a child is guided not exclusively by the hoped-for result, but also by the adult’s intention. In our study, we verified the reason guiding a child’s choice in an ambiguous condition modeled by situations which contrast intentional and effective adult behavior. We discovered that infants between 17 and 20 months old preferred to copy an adult’s intentional action even if this action did not result in positive outcome, but did not copy an adult’s accidental action, even if the action ended up with an attractive result. However, the child’s tendency to follow the adult’s intention develops during the process of growing, as no similar pattern is observed in children between 12 and 16 months old. Here we also discuss this phenomenon in terms of its relation to the existing data on the overimitation effect and the age range of its manifestation. The current study provides a view of social learning development which is an alternative to the traditional view which treats social learning only as an increase in the complexity of acquired actions with age. Our results suggest that what changes with development is that actions learned and demonstrated by the child become more and more relevant to planning and control of behavior.
Four experiments were conducted to assess the influence of label type (Experiments 1a and 1b) and the interference from articulation (Experiments 2a and 2b) on the learning of dense vs. sparse categories in classic category formation tasks with feedback. It was found that using pictorial labels improves dense category learning, but for sparse category learning it has no effect. Sparse category formation was more effective in conditions with easily verbalized labels (familiar color names, no verbal interference). Additionally, it was shown that verbal interference (the additional task to verbalize the labels) worsens sparse category formation, but for dense category formation it has no effect. The results of our experiments are discussed in accordance with the Competition Between Verbal and Implicit Systems (COVIS) model of multiple systems of categorization.
Discrepancies in the evidence for the influence of joint attention on lexical acquisition seem to have two causes: the variety of possible lexical acquisition outcomes (formation of an association between an object and a word, or emergence of a unit of the symbolic system) and variety in the contents of joint attention (the act of naming, the using of an object, events involving the object). In this study, we varied the moment when an object was named (familiarization with the object; using the object; removing the object). We suppose that providing children with referential intention cues, which are involved in an object’s familiarization, facilitates their discerning of the word as a sign in the symbolic system, in contrast to the joint attention without this component. Based on our results, the choice of an object as a referent of the heard label showed that children established object-label matching in all conditions. The test for the mutual exclusivity phenomenon was passed only in the familiarization condition. Thus, drawing a child’s attention to the act of naming is critical for the formation of a new unit in the symbolic system; that is, for shared knowledge acquisition.
Individual variability in imagery experiences has long attracted the interest of philosophers, educators, and psychologists. Since Aristotle’s time, it was assumed that imagery is a universal ability, so everyone possesses it. Galton first measured the vividness of subjective imagery experiences, and discovered that some individuals reported zero imagination. Recent research has coined the term “aphantasia” — an inability to form mental imagery, or having a “blind mind’s eye” (Zeman, Dewar, & Della Sala, 2015). We argue that there may be more than one type of aphantasia. Substantial behavioral and neuropsychological evidence has demonstrated a distinction between visual-object imagery (mental visualization of pictorial properties such as color, shape, brightness, and texture) and visual-spatial imagery (mental visualization of spatial locations, relations, and transformations). Notably, visual imagery is not a unitary ability, so individuals who excel in object imagery do not necessarily excel in spatial imagery, and vice versa. Here we argue that the commonly described “aphantasia” is not a general imagery deficit but rather a visual-object deficit of imagery (as aphantasic people are often identified by low scores on the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire, which assesses object imagery only). We hypothesize that “spatial aphantasia” (the inability to imagine spatial properties and relationships) can be a separate type of imagery deficit. Individuals with spatial aphantasia may not necessarily have a deficit in object imagery. We discuss future research directions examining how spatial aphantasia may manifest behaviorally and neurologically, and how object and spatial aphantasia may be related.