Society for the Neurobiology of Language, Québec City, August 2018

This summer, our lab member Alex Emmendorfer presented the results of her first PhD experiment at the 2018 meeting of the Society of the Neurobiology of Language in Québec City, Canada.

In this EEG study, Alex used Dutch pseudowords varying in their phonotactic probability and syllable stress pattern to examine the processing of formal and temporal prediction in speech perception in an oddball paradigm. She showed that both formal and temporal predictability modulate processing of speech stimuli. High predictability in both formal and temporal domains facilitates processing compared to low predictability, indexed by greater MMN amplitudes for first syllable stress and shorter latencies for high phonotactic probability.

Poster_Photo

Additionally, we are excited to announce that Lab Director Sonja Kotz will be joining the society’s board as Chair-Elect for the upcoming year! Congratulations Sonja!

Schultz MIDI Benchmarking Toolbox now available!

Ever wanted to test the timing of your MIDI  percussion pads, sound modules, and instrument patches? Well now you can! The SMIDIBT is available and the scripts are free to download:

https://rdcu.be/LQJQ

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact Ben Schultz: ben.schultz@maastrichtuniversity.nl

 

Reference

Schultz, B. G. (2018). The Schultz MIDI Benchmarking Toolbox for MIDI interfaces, percussion pads, and sound cards, Behavior Research Methods.

Beat Gestures and Syntactic Parsing: An ERP Study

The second part of a project investigating the relationship between prosody and speaker’s gestures, in collaboration with Lauren Fromont (Montreal) and Salvador Soto-Faraco (Barcelona), has been published now. If you want to read the whole story, check this out:

Fromont L.A., Soto-Faraco S., and Biau E. (2017) Searching High and Low: Prosodic Breaks Disambiguate Relative Clauses. Front. Psychol. 8:96.

Biau, E., Fromont, L. A. and Soto-Faraco, S. (2017), Beat Gestures and Syntactic Parsing: An ERP Study. Language Learning. doi:10.1111/lang.12257

Blind people learn metrical and nonmetrical rhythms differently than the sighted

The article can be read here for free (for a limited time): http://rdcu.be/vTrT

When learning rhythms, sighted people tend to learn rhythms better when they induce a sense of beat (i.e., metrical rhythms) compared to when they don’t (i.e., nonmetrical rhythms). This experiment shows that blind people demonstrated the reverse trend; they learned nonmetrical rhythms better than metrical rhythms. These results suggest that the blind might be more sensitive to rhythms that are irregular, perhaps as a survival mechanism to detect changes in the environment that signal danger.

Breaking Research: How the vocal tract changes when speaking and singing

Benjamin Schultz, Joao Correia, and Michel Belyk have been examining changes in the vocal tract while speaking, whistling, and singing. Here, one of our singers aims to sing with as clear a tone as possible. Notice how the throat is nice and open:

 

Here, the same singer aims to mimic Louis Armstrong’s raspy vocal style. The throat pathway is considerably smaller and tense:

 

 

More videos will arrive soon – watch this space!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Searching high and low: Prosodic breaks disambiguate relative clauses

New published article:

In this paper, we investigated how some modulations in the speaker’s voice may impact the interpretation of ambiguous sentences on the listener’s side. We showed that the simple placement of prosodic breaks (i.e. short silences) at different key anchors in auditory sentences was enough to flip listeners’ preference toward an interpretation or the other. So be careful, silences speak your mind!

Fromont L.A., Soto-Faraco S., and Biau E. (2017) Searching High and Low: Prosodic Breaks Disambiguate Relative Clauses. Front. Psychol. 8:96. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00096

Check this out: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00096/full

Mutual coordination strengthens the sense of joint agency in cooperative joint action

New article published in Consciousness & Cognition.

Free download here (Until December 6, 2016):
http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Tuop3lcz3hh5M

 

Nicole K. Bolt, Evan M. Poncelet, Benjamin G. Schultz, & Janeen D. Loehr
Mutual coordination strengthens the sense of joint agency in cooperative joint action, Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 46, November 2016, Pages 173-187, ISSN 1053-8100, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2016.10.001.

 

Abstract: Abstract
Philosophers have proposed that when people coordinate their actions with others they may experience a sense of joint agency, or shared control over actions and their effects. However, little empirical work has investigated the sense of joint agency. In the current study, pairs coordinated their actions to produce tone sequences and then rated their sense of joint agency on a scale ranging from shared to independent control. People felt more shared than independent control overall, confirming that people experience joint agency during joint action. Furthermore, people felt stronger joint agency when they (a) produced sequences that required mutual coordination compared to sequences in which only one partner had to coordinate with the other, (b) held the role of follower compared to leader, and (c) were better coordinated with their partner. Thus, the strength of joint agency is influenced by the degree to which people mutually coordinate with each other’s actions.
Keywords: Agency; Joint action; Joint agency; Shared control; Interpersonal coordination