Language processing has been suggested to be partially automatic, with some studies suggesting full automaticity and attention independence of at least early neural stages of language comprehension, in particular, lexical access. Existing neurophysiological evidence has demonstrated early lexically specific brain responses (enhanced activation for real words) to orthographic stimuli presented parafoveally even under the condition of withdrawn attention. These studies, however, did not control participants’ eye movements leaving a possibility that they may have foveated the stimuli, leading to overt processing. To address this caveat, we recorded eye movements to words, pseudowords, and non-words presented parafoveally for a short duration while participants performed a dual non-linguistic feature detection task (color combination) foveally, in the focus of their visual attention. Our results revealed very few saccades to the orthographic stimuli or even to their previous locations. However, analysis of post-experimental recall and recognition performance showed above-chance memory performance for the linguistic stimuli. These results suggest that partial lexical access may indeed take place in the presence of an unrelated demanding task and in the absence of overt attention to the linguistic stimuli. As such, our data further inform automatic and largely attention-independent theories of lexical access.
Previous research documents that men and women can accurately judge male physical strength from gait, but also that the sexes differ in attractiveness judgments of strong and weak male walkers. Women’s (but not men’s) attractiveness assessments of strong male walkers are higher than for weak male walkers. Here, we extend this research to assessments of strong and weak male walkers in Chile, Germany, and Russia. Men and women judged videos of virtual characters, animated with the walk movements of motion-captured men, on strength and attractiveness. In two countries (Germany and Russia), these videos were additionally presented at 70% (slower) and 130% (faster) of their original speed. Stronger walkers were judged to be stronger and more attractive than weak walkers, and this effect was independent of country (but not sex). Women tended to provide higher attractiveness judgments to strong walkers, and men tended to provide higher attractiveness judgments to weak walkers. In addition, German and Russian participants rated strong walkers most attractive at slow and fast speed. Thus, across countries men and women can assess male strength from gait, although they tended to differ in attractiveness assessments of strong and weak male walkers. Attractiveness assessments of male gait may be influenced by society-specific emphasis on male physical strength.
A crucial question facing cognitive science concerns the nature of conceptual representations as well as the constraints on the interactions between them. One specific question we address in this paper is what makes cross-representational interplay possible? We offer two distinct theoretical scenarios: according to the first scenario, co-activated knowledge representations interact with the help of an interface established between them via congruent activation in a mediating third-party general cognitive mechanism, e.g., attention. According to the second scenario, co-activated knowledge representations interact due to an overlap between their features, for example when they share a magnitude component. First, we make a case for cross-representational interplay based on grounded and situated theories of cognition. Second, we discuss interface-based interactions between distinct (i.e., non-overlapping) knowledge representations. Third, we discuss how co-activated representations may share their architecture via partial overlap. Finally, we outline constraints regarding the flexibility of these proposed mechanisms.
Recent years of research have shown that the complex temporal structure of ongoing oscillations is scale-free and characterized by long-range temporal correlations. Detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) has proven particularly useful, revealing that genetic variation, normal development, or disease can lead to differences in the scale-free amplitude modulation of oscillations. Furthermore, amplitude dynamics is remarkably independent of the time-averaged oscillation power, indicating that the DFA provides unique insights into the functional organization of neuronal systems. To facilitate understanding and encourage wider use of scaling analysis of neuronal oscillations, we provide a pedagogical explanation of the DFA algorithm and its underlying theory. Practical advice on applying DFA to oscillations is supported by MATLAB scripts from the Neurophysiological Biomarker Toolbox (NBT) and links to the NBT tutorial website http://www.nbtwiki.net/. Finally, we provide a brief overview of insights derived from the application of DFA to ongoing oscillations in health and disease, and discuss the putative relevance of criticality for understanding the mechanism underlying scale-free modulation of oscillations.
There is a lack of modern quantitative language assessment tests in Russian, integrating neuropsychological and psychometric traditions, and allowing to specify the type and severity of linguistic deficits in individuals with different aphasia profiles. In response to these clinical and research needs, a novel standardized aphasia test – the Russian Aphasia Test (RAT) – is currently being developed.
We examined the applicability of the hybrid model of creativity, which specifies distinct domains that all express an underlying general creativity factor, in data from representative samples from Central Russia and the North Caucasus (N = 2,046). Using multigroup confirmatory analysis, Study 1 supported the invariance of a model with the six unifactorial domains (i.e., crafts, visual arts, performance, theater, products for work, and machine graphics) at the first level and a general creativity factor at the second level. Study 2 examined socio-demographic characteristics and 19 basic values that might be associated with creative activity. The more modern Central Russian region scored higher on global creativity and on all 6 domains. Of the 4 higher order values in the Schwartz model, Openness to Change values correlated positively and Conservation values correlated negatively with global creativity and with creativity in most domains. Variation across domains in the specific values that predicted creativity revealed that creativity in each domain had some unique motivators. We draw on culture and social structure to explain differences between regions in the value motivators of creativity
Behaviour, language, and reasoning are expressions of brain functions par excellence; yet the brain can only draw on sensory modalities to gather information on the rest of the body and on the outer world. Traditionally, cortical areas processing the identity and location of sensory inputs were thought to be organised hierarchically, with certain branches processing basic features and other branches processing complex features. Thus, for example, visual inputs would initially go through lower-level visual areas and then through higher-level visual areas. Only at later stages does multisensory integration take place in the association zones, eventually ensuring conscious perception and recruitment of relevant muscles to execute complex motor plans.
Yet, this picture of brain functioning began to fade as evidence accumulated highlighting widespread ‘multisensory’ processing, with inputs from different senses becoming integrated prior to conscious perception. Current studies in multimodal emotion integration (e.g., face and voice) revealed synergistic effects at early sensory cortices as well as at higher-level association areas, which are responsible for cognitive evaluation of affective information. Similarly, perceptual learning in temporal discrimination was shown to readily transfer from one sensory modality to another. Further behavioural evidence suggests that complex events are interpreted via a continuous loop between intentions and sensory input such that, on the one hand, observers use sensory inputs to segment an event sequence into units, which in time become tied to knowledge about agents’ intentions and, on the other hand, hierarchical event schemas facilitate the perception of event structure, helping observers segment and organize their experiences.
A less hierarchical functional architecture of the brain has emerged such that, irrespective of sensory modality, inputs are allocated to the best suited cortical substrate. For example, predictions of the so-called ‘neural exploitation hypothesis’ that neural circuits initially used for a specific purpose (e.g., motor control) are being re-used for other purposes (e.g., language) have recently been confirmed with a twist. In particular, behavioural studies have provided evidence that language reflects specific characteristics of action organization in the perceptual and motor systems (e.g., chained organization) and that, in turn, language can modify these characteristics in important ways. Activation of grasp-related affordances, for instance, as when attention targets graspable parts of a perceived object, is amplified when following visual cues but not when following linguistic cues.
Our Research Topic welcomes contributions on multisensory integration and sensory adaptation encompassing all aspects of cognition, motion, and emotion.
Existing research shows that distribution of the speaker’s attention among event’s protagonists affects syntactic choice during sentence production. One of the debated issues concerns the extent of the attentional contribution to syntactic choice in languages that put stronger emphasis on word order arrangement rather than the choice of the overall syntactic frame. To address this, the current study used a sentence production task, in which Russian native speakers were asked to verbally describe visually perceived transitive events. Prior to describing the target event, a visual cue directed the participants’ attention to the location of either the agent or the patient of the subsequently presented visual event. In addition, we also manipulated event orientation (agent-left vs. agent-right) as another potential contributor to syntactic choice. The number of patient-initial sentences was the dependent variable compared between conditions. First, the obtained results replicated the effect of visual cueing on the word order in Russian language: more patient-initial sentences in patient cued condition. Second, we registered a novel effect of event orientation: Russian native speakers produced more patient-initial sentences after seeing events developing from right to left as opposed to left-to-right events. Our study provides new evidence about the role of the speaker’s attention and event orientation in syntactic choice in language with flexible word order.
In a monetarily incentivized Dictator Game, we expected Dictators’ empathy toward the Recipients to cause more pro-social allocations. Empathy was experimentally induced via a commonly used perspective taking task. Dictators (N = 474) were instructed to split an endowment of 10€ between themselves and an unknown Recipient. They could split the money 8/2 (8€ for Dictator, 2€ for Recipient) or 5/5 (5€ each). Although the empathy manipulation successfully increased Dictators’ feelings of empathy toward the Recipients, Dictators’ decisions on how to split the money were not affected. We had ample statistical power (above 0.99) to detect a typical social psychology effect (corresponding to r around 0.20). Other possible determinants of generosity in the Dictator Game should be investigated.
Oscillatory neuronal activities are commonly observed in response to sensory stimulation. However, their functional roles are still the subject of debate. One-way to probe the roles of oscillatory neural activities is to deliver alternating current to the cortex at biologically relevant frequencies and examine whether such stimulation influences perception and cognition. In this study, we tested whether transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) over the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) could elicit tactile sensations in humans in a frequency-dependent manner. We tested the effectiveness of tACS over SI at frequency bands ranging from 2 to 70 Hz. Our results show that stimulation in alpha (10-14 Hz) and high gamma (52-70 Hz) frequency range produces a tactile sensation in the contralateral hand. A weaker effect was also observed for beta (16-20 Hz) stimulation. These findings highlight the frequency dependency of effective tACS over SI with the effective frequencies corresponding to those observed in previous electroencephalography/magnetoencephalography studies of tactile perception. Our present study suggests that tACS could be used as a powerful online stimulation technique to reveal the causal roles of oscillatory brain activities.
The study is aimed at investigating the connection between the friendliness of the home environment and the moral motives’ level. The friendliness of the home environment includes two aspects: the number of functions provided by home (functionality) and the congruence of these functions with inhabitants’ needs (relevance). The theoretical framework of the study was formed by research and ideas emphasizing the interplay between people and their environments. We hypothesized that the friendliness of the home environment and inhabitants’ moral motives would have a reciprocal relationship: the friendlier the home the higher the inhabitants’ moral motives’ level, and, vice versa, the higher the person’s moral motives’ level the more positive home image. The respondents were 550 students (25% male). The Home Environment Functionality Questionnaire, the Home Environment Relevance Questionnaire, and the Moral Motivation Model Scale were used. As expected, it was found that the friendliness of the home environment and the inhabitants’ moral motives are in reciprocal synergetic relationships. Relevance formed more nuanced correlation patterns with moral motives than functionality did. Functionality predicted moral motives poorly whereas moral motives predicted functionality strongly. Finally, relevance and moral motives were found to be in mutual relationships whereas the perceived functionality was predicted by moral motives only.
Agreement attraction errors (such as the number error in the example “The key to the cabinets are rusty”) have been the object of many studies in the last twenty years. So far, almost all production experiments and all comprehension experiments looked at binary features (primarily at number in Germanic, Romance and some other languages, in several cases at gender in Romance languages). Among other things, it was noted that both in production and in comprehension, attraction effects are much stronger for some feature combinations than for the others: they can be observed in the sentences with singular heads and plural dependent nouns (e.g. “The key to the cabinets...”), but not in the sentences with plural heads and singular dependent nouns (e.g. “The keys to the cabinet...”). Almost all proposed explanations of this asymmetry appeal to feature markedness, but existing findings do not allow teasing different approaches to markedness apart.
We report the results of four experiments (one on production and three on comprehension) studying subject-verb gender agreement in Russian, a language with three genders. Firstly, we found attraction effects both in production and in comprehension, but, unlike in the case of number agreement, they were not parallel (in production, feminine gender triggered strongest effects, while neuter triggered weakest effects, while in comprehension, masculine triggered weakest effects). Secondly, in the comprehension experiments attraction was observed for all dependent noun genders, but only for a subset of head noun genders. This goes against the traditional assumption that the features of the dependent noun are crucial for attraction, showing the features of the head are more important. We demonstrate that this approach can be extended to previous findings on attraction and that there exists other evidence for it. In total, these findings let us reconsider the question which properties of features are crucial for agreement attraction in production and in comprehension.
Confidence and overconfidence are essential aspects of human nature, but measuring (over)confidence is not easy. Our approach is to consider students' forecasts of their exam grades. Part of a student's grade expectation is based on the student's previous academic achievements; what remains can be interpreted as (over)confidence. Our results are based on a sample of about five hundred second-year undergraduate students enrolled in a statistics course in Moscow. The course contains three exams and each student produces a forecast for each of the three exams. Our models allow us to estimate overconfidence quantitatively. Using these models we find that students' expectations are not rational and that most students are overconfident, in agreement with the general literature. Less obvious is that overconfidence helps: given the same academic achievement students with larger confidence obtain higher exam grades. Female students are less overconfident than male students, their forecasts are more rational, and they are also faster learners in the sense that they adjust their expectations more rapidly.
The precise nature of the relationship between language and thought is an intriguing and challenging area of inquiry for scientists across many disciplines. In the realm of neuropsychology, research has investigated the inter-dependence of language and thought by testing individuals with compromised language abilities and observing whether performance in other cognitive domains is diminished. One group of such individuals is patients with aphasia who have an impairment in speech and language arising from a brain injury, such as a stroke. Our previous research has shown that the degree of language impairment in these individuals is strongly associated with the degree of impairment on complex reasoning tasks, such as the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST) and Raven’s Matrices. In the current study, we present new data from a large group of individuals with aphasia that show a dissociation in performance between putatively non-verbal tasks on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) that require differing degrees of reasoning (Picture Completion vs. Picture Arrangement tasks). We also present an update and replication of our previous findings with the WCST showing that individuals with the most profound core language deficits (i.e., impaired comprehension and disordered language output) are particularly impaired on problem-solving tasks. In the second part of the paper, we present findings from a neurologically intact individual known as “Chelsea” who was not exposed to language due to an unaddressed hearing loss that was present since birth. At the age of 32, she was fitted with hearing aids and exposed to spoken and signed language for the first time, but she was only able to acquire a limited language capacity. Chelsea was tested on a series of standardized neuropsychological measures, including reasoning and problem-solving tasks. She was able to perform well on a number of visuospatial tasks but was disproportionately impaired on tasks that required reasoning, such as Raven’s Matrices and the WAIS Picture Arrangement task. Together, these findings suggest that language supports complex reasoning, possibly due to the facilitative role of verbal working memory and inner speech in higher mental processes.
One of the most intriguing and challenging questions in the interdisciplinary study of mental processes and underlying brain mechanisms is how language is related to thought. The question is by no means new. Scholars have attempted to unravel the relationship between language and thought since the early days of Western philosophy. Recent theories range from strictly modular accounts of linguistic processing to fully integrated theories, according to which linguistic processes strongly interact with more general cognitive mechanisms such as attention, memory, and action control. Unfortunately, theoretical exchange between proponents of these different views is often lacking. In part, this is due to the interdisciplinary nature of the question itself. As a result, researchers representing various disciplines often fail to engage in an exchange of theoretical views, research ideas, and methodological expertise. The present Frontiers' Special Topic provides a platform for such dialogue. It features contributions discussing the latest advances and challenges in the frontline research on language and cognition and attempts to provide a joint discussion forum for a wide range of researchers from the domains of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and psycholinguistics, among others. These researchers follow different theoretical approaches and use different experimental methodologies. What unites them is their goal to understand the mechanisms underlying the interplay between linguistic and general cognitive processes. General cognitive mechanisms in linguistic communication do not only include retrieval and processing of linguistic information; they also rely upon constant updating and organizing of this linguistic information in relation with other, more general representations. Some existing theoretical models assume a tight interactive coupling between domain-general and domain-specific sources of information in the cognitive organization of the linguistic faculty. Domain-specific constraints may include, for example, grammatical as well as lexical and pragmatic knowledge. Domain-general constraints comprise processing limitations imposed by the cognitive mechanisms of memory, attention, learning, and social interaction. However, much of the existing research tends to focus on one or the other of the aforementioned areas, while integrative accounts are still rather sparse at present. The aim of this Special Topic of Frontiers in Cognition is therefore to bring together researchers who, within their respective research fields and by using different methodologies, represent integrative approaches to the study of language. Our Research Topic presents a collection of seventeen excellent articles that include original research, commentaries, opinions, and reviews. A number of papers in this Topic discuss neurophysiological and behavioral evidence about the interface between language, perception, and attention. Research discussed by Roelofs and Piai (2011)suggests that word planning does not always require full executive attention while specific attention deficits may contribute to impaired language performance. The results discussed by Roelofs and Piai (2011) demonstrate how gaze shifts can be linked to the process of phonological encoding with specific focus on word production automaticity. The article by Myachykov et al. (2012) presents evidence about the special role attention plays in determining the assignment of grammatical roles and the associated syntactic choice in visually situated sentence production. Papers by Huettig et al. (2012), Knoeferle et al. (2011), and Kaiser (2012) provide complementary evidence about the involvement of the language-cognition interface during sentence comprehension in visually situated contexts. The contribution by Shtyrov (2011) reports novel findings about rapid pre-attentive mapping of novel word forms, as evidenced by changes in the dynamics of brain responses within very short exposures. Finally, Hussey and Novick (2012) report intriguing evidence about the benefits of executive control training for grammatical processing in ambiguous contexts. The question of coordination between interlocutors during dialogue is raised in two articles. Gambi and Pickering (2011) used a novel interactive methodology in order to demonstrate that interlocutors constantly coordinate their sentences to represent their partner's knowledge. They then use these representations to build unfolding predictions, which they take into account when planning self-generated utterances. Similarly, Dale and colleagues (2011) use eye-movement synchronization between interlocutors as evidence for rapid approximation of actions in dialogue and the emergence of a single coordinated interactive system. Three papers in our Topic discuss embodied and grounded aspects of language processing. Lupyan (2012) addresses the question of the language-cognition interplay from the point of view of how language affects cognition and perception. In particular, Lupyan (2012) reviews evidence showing that performance on tasks that have been presumed to be non-verbal is rapidly modulated by language. Klemfuss et al. (2012) discuss effects of language on perception by critically reviewing evidence suggesting top-down influences of linguistic representations on visual feature detection. Their own research suggests that visual search is disrupted by the automatic activation of irrelevant linguistic representations. Another important aspect of the grounded view of language is the role played by perception and action systems in the organization of abstract knowledge. Scorolli et al. (2011) discuss the crucial role played by embodied theories of cognition in linguistic experience for abstract words. A number of papers in this Special Topic discuss architectural properties of the language-cognition interface. For example, Menenti et al. (2012) investigated how brain areas adapt to repetition of various sentence properties, thereby unraveling the neuronal infrastructure for the specific components of semantic encoding. Mashal and colleagues (2012) present a novel cortical network model for observation and imitation of speech. Their results show that the network models for observation and imitation comprise the same essential structure but differ in important features that reflect distinct connectivity patterns. Andric and Small (2012) contribute to the debate by discussing how the brain processes language and co-occurring gestures. Finally, Naylor et al. (2012) focus on cognitive and electrophysiological correlates of the bilingual Stroop effect by analysing corresponding ERP components in bilingual speakers. Their research shows, among other things that color words from both languages created response conflict and that the between-within language Stroop effect reflects complex brain activity with contributions from language both and color at different task points.
Close relationship between physical space and internal knowledge representations has received ample support in the literature. For example, location of visually perceived information in vertical space has been shown to affect different numerical judgments. In addition, physical dimensions, such as weight or font size, were shown to affect judgments of learning (JOLs, an estimation of the likelihood that an item will be remembered later, or its perceived memorability). In two experiments we tested the hypothesis that differences in positioning words in vertical space may affect their perceived memorability, i.e., JOLs. In both Experiments, the words were presented in lower or in upper screen locations. In Experiment 1, JOLs were collected in the centre of the screen following word presentation. In Experiment 2, JOLs were collected at the point of word presentation and in the same location. In both experiments participants completed a free recall test. JOLs were compared between different vertically displaced presentation locations. In general, Bayesian analyses showed evidence in support for the null effect of vertical location on JOLs. We interpret our results as indicating that the effects of physical dimensions on JOLs are mediated by subjective importance, information that vertical location alone fails to convey.
This is the first attempt of empirical investigation of language mediated concept activation (LMCA) in bilingual memory as a cognitive mechanism facilitating divergent thinking. Russian-English bilingual and Russian monolingual college students were tested on a battery of tests including among others Abbreviated Torrance Tests for Adults assessing divergent thinking traits and translingual priming (TLP) test assessing the LMCA. The latter was designed as a lexical decision priming test, in which a prime and a target were not related in Russian (language of testing), but were related through their translation equivalents in English (spoken only by bilinguals). Bilinguals outperformed their monolingual counterparts on divergent thinking trait of cognitive flexibility, and bilinguals’ performance on this trait could be explained by their TLP effect. Age of second language acquisition and proficiency in this language were found to relate to the TLP effect, and therefore were proposed to influence the directionality and strength of connections in bilingual memory.
Workplace bullying is regarded as one of the most devastating stressors at work for those targeted, and the bullying-mental health relationship is well-documented in the literature, even under lower levels of exposure. However, less is known about when and for whom these negative behaviors have more effect. Perceived control over outcomes in life (i.e., internal locus of control) has normally been related to good health and well-being, while relying on chance and/or powerful others (i.e., external locus of control) have been related to stress and poor health. In situations with reduced individual control like bullying, however, these mechanisms may act differently. Hence, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether internal and external locus of control, respectively, moderates the bullying-mental health relationship. Data were gathered in 2014–2015 from 1474 Russian employees (44% response rate), and analyzed using Mplus and SEM modeling. Included measurement scales were the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised, the General Health Questionnaire-12, and Levenson’s Locus of Control scale. Although the prevalence of high intensity bullying was low, the results showed the expected positive relationship between exposure to bullying behaviors and psychological strain. Furthermore, this relationship was moderated by locus of control. In line with our expectations, internal locus of control did not have the generally assumed positive effect on strain when exposed to bullying behaviors. On the other hand, external locus of control seems relatively beneficial when facing bullying behaviors. The results of this study thus support that exposure to bullying and its associated behaviors are unique stressors where personal characteristics seem to play a different role than normally expected when facing other kinds of stressors.
As love seems to be universal, researchers have attempted to find its biological basis. However, no studies till date have shown its direct association with reproductive success, which is broadly known to be a good measure of fitness. Here, we show links between love, as defined by the Sternberg Triangular Theory of Love, and reproductive success among the Hadza—traditional hunter-gatherer population. We found that commitment and reproductive success were positively and consistently related in both sexes, with number of children showing negative and positive associations with intimacy and passion, respectively, only among women. Our study may shed new light on the meaning of love in humans’ evolutionary past, especially in traditional hunter-gatherer societies in which individuals, not their parents, were responsible for partner choice.We suggest that passion and commitment may be the key factors that increase fitness, and therefore, that selection promoted love in human evolution. However, further studies in this area are recommended.
The stereotype content model (SCM), originating in the United States and generalized across nearly 50 countries, has yet to address ethnic relations in one of the world’s most influential nations. Russia and the United States are somewhat alike (large, powerful, immigrant-receiving), but differ in other ways relevant to intergroup images (culture, religions, ideology, and history). Russian ethnic stereotypes are understudied, but significant for theoretical breadth and practical politics. This research tested the SCM on ethnic stereotypes in a Russian sample (N = 1115). Study 1 (N = 438) produced an SCM map of the sixty most numerous domestic ethnic groups (both ethnic minorities and immigrants). Four clusters occupied the SCM warmth-by-competence space. Study 2 (N = 677) compared approaches to ethnic stereotypes in terms of status and competition, cultural distance, perceived region, and four intergroup threats. Using the same Study 1 groups, the Russian SCM map showed correlated warmth and competence, with few ambivalent stereotypes. As the SCM predicts, status predicted competence, and competition negatively predicted warmth. Beyond the SCM, status and property threat both were robust antecedents for both competence and warmth for all groups. Besides competition, cultural distance also negatively predicted warmth for all groups. The role of the other antecedents, as expected, varied from group to group. To examine relative impact, a network analysis demonstrated that status, competition, and property threat centrally influence many other variables in the networks. The SCM, along with antecedents from other models, describes Russian ethnic-group images. This research contributes: (1) a comparison of established approaches to ethnic stereotypes (from acculturation and intergroup relations) showing the stability of the main SCM predictions; (2) network structures of the multivariate dependencies of the considered variables; (3) systematically cataloged images of ethnic groups in Russia for further comparisons, illuminating the Russian historical, societal, and interethnic context.