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 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.
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.
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.
Observers are able to extract summary statistical properties, such as numerosity or the average, from spatially overlapping subsets of visuals objects. However, this ability is limited to about two subsets at a time, which may be primarily caused by the limited capacity of parallel representation of those subsets. In our study, we addressed several issues regarding subset representation. In four experiments, we presented observers with arrays of dots of one to six colors and instructed them to judge the number of colors. We measured both speed and accuracy of those judgments. Following standard criteria used for the interpretation of object enumeration data, we recognized two modes of subset representation: a) parallel, effortless and strategy-independent representation of no more than two subsets, and b) serial representation modulated by different attentional strategies and a working memory template. We also found an advantage of large sets over small ones, demonstrating that subset representation can be formed based on some statistical accumulation of information from individual objects.
Studies with an ecological approach have shown that during the perception of an object, motor programs relevant to that object become activated and reflect possible actions the object allows for, or affordances. Furthermore, there appears to be a compatibility effect in some experimental tasks. When objects are sorted by a feature that is irrelevant for the motor action related to the object, responses made by the hand possibly involved in the action with the object were faster than responses made by other hand. It is unclear whether the object’s category membership (typical or border member of the category) has an impact on the compatibility effect. In this study, a stimulus–response compatibility (SRC) task was preceded by a category learning task. In the experimental condition, pictures of pans were shown to the participants, who had to assign the pictures to one of two artificial categories. The objects differed in side height (a feature relevant for categorization but irrelevant for motor actions with the object) and by handle orientation (a feature irrelevant for categorization but relevant for motor actions with the object). In the control condition, no category learning task was performed. In both conditions, participants performed the SRC task (immediately after the category learning task in the experimental condition): they divided the pictures of pans by handle color, using the right or the left hand when responding. The handle’s orientation (to the left or to the right) could match to the hand required for the answer (matching trials), or not match to it (mismatching trials). The side height also varied: it could correspond to typical members of the artificial category (easily learnable) or to the category’s border members (not easily learnable). No categorical membership impact on the compatibility effect was found. These results are discussed considering the role of learning processes in motor activation and the affordances of object.
Nameability (ease of naming an object or a feature) is one of the factors supporting new category formation. The effect of a part’s nameability (Zettersten and Lupyan, 2018) depends on the greater success of defining a visual categorical feature of an object part, such as color or shape, among different features with basic names (e.g.,“red”) than among the features with less basic names (e.g, “mustard”). In this study we replicated this effect, and additionally we showed that it is restricted by the type of category rule: the nameability of features did not improve the accuracy of learning in the condition with probabilistic rules. But the nameability of features improved the accuracy of learning in the condition with rules based on one categorical feature. In the second experiment we showed that a verbal interference task eliminates this effect in learning the rules based on one categorical feature. In summary, our results explain how verbal processes (availability of names in long- term memory and verbalization) help us to learn new categories.We discuss the possible sources of the effects of nameability on category learning in the course of ontogenetic development.
An international conference organized biannually by the Interregional Association for Cognitive Studies (IACS) brings together scholars from all over Russia as well as their international colleagues. The present review covers the 8th International Conference on Cognitive Science that was held in October 2018 in Svetlogorsk, Russia. We provide an overview of the plenary talks and highlight the main topics of oral and poster presentations, as well as talks from interdisciplinary workshops that took place during the final two days of the conference. The special focus of this review is neurocognitive research. Noteably, both the talks and poster presentations featured many studies in neurolinguistics and psycholinguistics, as well as research in cognitive development and animal cognition, further developing cultural and evolutionary perspectives on cognition.
This article analyzes the similarities between the scientific biographies of Benjamin Lee Whorf, one of the authors of the hypothesis of linguistic relativity, and Daniel Everett, who described the Pirahã language. It discusses their roles in contemporary scientific communities and society in general, as well as their views and achievements. The analysis examines the similarity of their scientific destinies, the tremendous success of their theoretical constructions, outstepping the boundaries of linguistics, and the associated critical impact on their reputations. However questionable might be the accuracy of specific observations, it does not change the value of the discussions they provoked. The role of the hypothesis of linguistic relativity in science is determined not by its verity, but by the array of studies for which it has become both a methodology and an incentive. Everett participates in the construction of its new version, that is a complex and interdisciplinary study of language and culture in correlation with the norms of behavior and thinking.