Category: Journal of Memory and Language

Does syntax bias serial order reconstruction of verbal short-term memory?

Does syntax bias serial order reconstruction of verbal short-term memory?

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 98-122

Abstract
“Existing models of short-term sequence memory can account for effects of long-term knowledge on the recall of individual items, but have rarely addressed the effects of long-term sequential constraints on recall. We examine syntactic constraints on the ordering of words in verbal short-term memory in four experiments. People were found to have better memory for sequences that more strongly conform to English syntax, and that errors in recall tended to make output sequences more syntactic (i.e., a syntactic bias). Model simulations suggest that the syntactic biasing in verbal short-term recall was more likely to be accounted for by a redintegration mechanism acting over multiple items in the sequence. The data were less well predicted by a model in which syntactic constraints operate via the chunking of sequences at encoding. The results highlight that models of short-term memory should be extended to include syntactic constraints from long-term representations—most likely via redintegration mechanisms acting over multiple items—but we also note the challenge of incorporating such constraints into most existing models.”

Written by: Timothy Jones, Simon Farrell
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2018.02.001

Evidence for the use of three-way binding structures in associative and source recognition

Evidence for the use of three-way binding structures in associative and source recognition

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 89-97

Abstract
“Avoiding interference among similar memory traces may be helped by forming complex memory structures that include multiple components of the event. In a laboratory setting, these structures have been studied through list learning paradigms, where the pairs in one list are swapped in another list (i.e., ABABr condition), and one has to form a memory structure that includes items and context together (i.e., three-way binding). However, despite the long history of the theoretical concept, and its importance, three-way bindings have only been examined in recall paradigms. Moreover, not all memory models consider the ability to form three-way binding structures as a default. The current study, therefore, examined the use of three-way binding structures in associative and source recognition. Results indicate that three-way binding structures are used during recognition, thus challenging memory models that are not capable of representing such structures.”

Written by: Hyungwook Yim, Adam F. Osth, Vladimir M. Sloutsky, Simon J. Dennis
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2018.02.002

The phonetic specificity of contrastive hyperarticulation in natural speech

The phonetic specificity of contrastive hyperarticulation in natural speech

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 61-88

Abstract
“Evidence suggests that speakers hyperarticulate phonetic cues to word identity in a way that increases phonetic distance to similar competitors. However, the degree and type of phonetic similarity between competitors which induces hyperarticulation remains unclear. Here, we compared neighborhood density (as a representative of a phonetically-general type of similarity) to the existence of a phonetic cue-specific lexical minimal pair in terms of their ability to predict hyperarticulation of two different cue-types in a corpus of natural English speech. For all phonetic cues that we investigated – word-initial voiceless stop VOT, word-initial voiced stop VOT, and vowel-vowel Euclidean formant distance – cue-specific minimal pair existence significantly predicted cue hyperarticulation, while neighborhood density did not. Further, the direction of change in a phonetic cue was found not to be consistent within a given cue-type, but instead varied as a function of the phonetic relationship, creating greater phonetic distance to the competitor. For tokens of word-initial voiceless stops, existence of a voiced-stop minimal pair predicted significantly longer VOT, while for word-initial voiced stops, existence of a voiceless-stop minimal pair predicted a shorter VOT. For tokens of vowels, existence of a minimal pair defined by a nearby vowel predicted greater Euclidean distance in formant space from that vowel, rather than greater expansion of the vowel space per se. For example, lax vowels in words with a more peripheral vowel minimal pair competitor (e.g., ship ∼ sheep) were relatively centralized, while tense vowels in words with a more interior vowel minimal pair competitor (e.g., date ∼ debt) were relatively peripheralized.”

Written by: Andrew Wedel, Noah Nelson, Rebecca Sharp
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2018.01.001

 

Infants’ recognition of foreign-accented words: Flexible yet precise signal-to-word mapping strategies

Infants’ recognition of foreign-accented words: Flexible yet precise signal-to-word mapping strategies

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 51-60

Abstract
“To develop adult-like communication skills, children need to learn to converse not only with individuals from their local community, but also with second-language learners who might have foreign accents. Here, we ask when infants can recognize foreign-accented word forms, and what the cognitive underpinnings are that enable children to map such surface forms onto established lexical representations. In line with reports using regional accents, Canadian-English learners recognize words forms in a foreign French accent by 18 months of age, indicating that the developmental trajectory of coping with foreign accents is not always more protracted than that of regional accents. Moreover, mispronounced versions of known words appear to be treated as nonwords, suggesting that children do not accept all phonemic substitutions when listening to foreign-accented speech. Thus, infants’ word form recognition is simultaneously flexible and at least somewhat specific, allowing them to cope with accents relatively efficiently from early on.”

Written by: Marieke van Heugten, Melissa Paquete-Smith, Dena R. Krieger, Elizabeth K. Johnson
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2018.01.003

Is speech recognition automatic? Lexical competition, but not initial lexical access, requires cognitive resources

Is speech recognition automatic? Lexical competition, but not initial lexical access, requires cognitive resources

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 32-50

Abstract
“Current models of spoken word recognition suggest that multiple lexical candidates are activated in parallel upon hearing an utterance, with these lexical hypotheses competing with each other for recognition. The current project investigated the effect of cognitive load on initial lexical access and later lexical competition. In a set of priming studies, the lexicality of the primes (i.e., non-word vs. word) was manipulated to dissociate these two sub-processes. We tested performance on a semantic association task under conditions with no additional load, or with cognitive load that used cognitive resources that are either general or more specific to phonological processing. The results suggest that the initial access of lexical items is relatively automatic. In contrast, maintaining lexical candidates in competition requires cognitive resources, and these resources are specific to phonological processing. The overall result pattern provides insights into differences in the way that lexical activation and competition operate.”

Written by: Xujin Zhang, Arthur G. Samuel
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2018.01.002

Free recall dynamics in value-directed remembering

Free recall dynamics in value-directed remembering

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 18-31

Abstract
“An emerging literature on value-directed remembering has shown that people are able to encode and remember information that is more important. Researchers operationalize importance by differentially assigning value to the memoranda that participants are asked to encode and remember. In the present investigation, a slightly altered value-directed-remembering paradigm was used to investigate how value modifies the dynamics of memory organization and search in free recall. In Experiment 1, free recall dynamics were compared between a control and a value condition. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the order of presentation of the values by adding an ascending and a descending condition where values were presented congruently or incongruently with the evolution of temporal context. Experiments 3 and 4 paralleled Experiments 1 and 2 respectively, with the addition of overt rehearsal and an unexpected memory test for the numbers/values. Overall, the results indicated that value-directed encoding has an influence on measures of delayed free recall encoding, organization, and search processes.”

Written by: Aikaterini Stefanidi, Derek M. Ellis, Gene A. Brewer
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2017.11.004

Beyond cloze probability: Parafoveal processing of semantic and syntactic information during reading

Beyond cloze probability: Parafoveal processing of semantic and syntactic information during reading

Published in: Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 100, June 2018, 1-17

Abstract
“Theories of eye movement control in reading assume that early oculomotordecisions are determined by a word’s frequency and cloze probability. This assumption is challenged by evidence that readers are sensitive to the contextual plausibility of an upcoming word: First-pass fixation probability and duration are reduced when the parafoveal preview is a plausible, but unpredictable, word relative to an implausible word. The present study sought to establish whether the source of this effect is sensitivity to violations of syntactic acceptability. In two experiments, the gaze-contingent boundary paradigm was used to compare contextually plausible previews to semantically acceptable and anomalous previews that either matched or violated syntactic rules. Results showed that readers benefited from the convergence of semantic and syntactic acceptability early enough in the timecourse of reading to affect skipping. In addition, both semantic and syntactic plausibility yielded preview effects on target fixation duration measures, providing direct evidence of parafoveal syntactic processing in reading. These results highlight the limitations of relying solely on cloze probability to index contextual influences on early lexical processing. The implications of the data for models of eye movement control and language comprehension are discussed.”

Written by: Aaron Veldre, Sally Andrews
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2017.12.002

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