Psychonomic Society Collaborative Symposium
Linking Language Perception and Production: Latest Insights and Future Directions
Efthymia Kapnoula and Arthur Samuel – Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language – Spain
Perceiving and producing language are closely linked, but the exact nature of their relationship remains unclear. For example, while earlier views argued for a key role of the motor system in speech perception (Liberman & Mattingly, 1985), recent views point to a reverse pattern, where speech production depends heavily on perceptual processes (Scott, 2016). Moreover, it is reasonable to assume that production and perception rely on shared representations (Pulvermüller & Fadiga, 2010); however, recent evidence suggests that the corresponding representations may be in competition with each other (Baese-Berk, 2019). Finally, indirect links have also been proposed, like the idea that the production system supports language comprehension via the generation of predictions (Garrod et al., 2013; Martin et al., 2018). This symposium will bring together state-of-the-art research on different aspects of this relationship and foster the exchange of ideas on how different patterns may be explained under a common framework.
Cognitive processes in children’s drawings
Sergio MORRA – Università di Genova (Italy)
Cognitive research on children’s drawings flourished in the Eighties and Nineties, but currently seems out of fashion. Nevertheless, we believe that much cognitive activity goes on in children’s drawing, and there is still ample space for new discoveries. Issues of (mental) representation are essential. In this symposium, we consider emergence and early development of representational drawing (Morra), combined-expression symbols that represent mixed emotions (Adi-Japha), representation of the coronavirus (Brechet), and self-representation (Di Norcia). We examine the relations between drawing and another representational system – language (Morra, Di Norcia, Adi-Japha). We also consider contextual constraints (Adi-Japha) and adaptation to random machine behavior in a coloring game (Lange-Küttner). Finally, we consider general cognitive processes that affect drawing: the field factor (Lange-Küttner), learning (Adi-Japha), working memory and executive function (Morra). Through a set of five diverse papers, we offer different perspectives and glimpses of cognitive research on children’s drawing and its development.
New insights into social attention
Matthias S GOBEL – University of Exeter (United Kingdom)
Social attention can be a powerful tool for interpersonal communication, successful cooperation, and human interdependence. Basic attentional mechanisms often underpin social attention, and social goals often guide basic visual attention. Thus, the study of social attention provides important insights into how visual attention and social cognition influence each other. This symposium brings together cutting-edge research from developmental psychology, cognitive-neuroscience, social psychology and social robotics. Across five talks, we will 1) examine the brain regions involved in perceiving social interactions and how they change across development, 2) examine the perceptual bias for socially relevant spatial configurations of interacting people, 3) examine the effects of shared attention in gaze leading, 4) examine the effects of offloading visual information onto interaction partners, and 5) examine the role of intentionality for using visual attention during human-robot interactions. Taken together, this symposium contributes an interdisciplinary perspective describing how cognition occurs in social contexts and facilitates interpersonal interactions.
Social Sense of Agency
Bert TIMMERMANS – University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom)
Sense of Agency, the subjective experience of causing one’s own actions and corresponding effects, is a cornerstone of human experience, usually addressed by paradigms in which simple actions cause a simple effect such as a tone or a visual change. However, how this pans out in social contexts remains relatively under-researched. Social Sense of Agency can be defined as the Sense of Agency experienced in any situation in which the effects of our actions are related to another individual. This can be the other’s reactions being caused by our action, joint action modulating our Sense of Agency, or the other’s mere social presence influencing our Sense of Agency. How should such Social Sense of Agency be conceptualised? How does it relate to its non-social variant? This symposium presents very recent advances into Sense of Agency as we experience it in social contexts, including in atypical populations and with artificial systems.
Windows into the Mind: The Interplay of Affect and Cognition for Gaze and Face Processing
Robrecht VAN DER WEL – Rutgers University (United States)
Facial expressions and eye gaze provide important non-verbal information during social interactions. Recognizing a person’s attentional, emotional, or intentional states based on their facial expression and their gaze behavior helps the observer to plan how to act or to adapt their response to the other person. Doing so may foster interpersonal relationships, efficient communication, and successful interaction. Many studies indicate that both facial emotion expressions and direct eye contact are particularly relevant signals that capture and guide attention and broadly shape social interactions. The observer’s own social behavior may also impact processing of social signals and their effects. Aiming to better understand the intricate interaction and context-dependency of social signal processing and their role in social behavior, this symposium will bring together recent work on the interplay between emotion expression/recognition and gaze/face processing on a range of variables.
Rhythm and cognition: theoretical challenges and rehabilitation perspectives
Anahita BASIRAT – SCALab, University of Lille (France)
In recent years, there has been growing evidence of the link between rhythm perception and production and various aspects of cognition. It has received increasing attention in the speech and language domain as well as in sensorimotor research, leading to the development of rehabilitation strategies. However, many questions regarding the neurocognitive mechanisms by which rhythm perception and production contribute to these functions remain elusive. This symposium brings together insights from five distinct research programs aiming at bridging this gap. We will provide an overview of recent theoretical and experimental advances to better understand the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms, and give new insights into clinical applications. Discussion will help clarify the contribution of domain-general rhythm mechanisms and those specific to speech, language and movement sciences.
Crowding and focal attention in the visual recognition of words, faces and objects
Marialuisa MARTELLI – Psychology Department, University of Rome La Sapienza (Italy)
Visual recognition of words, faces and common objects is a complex task that involves multiple cognitive resources ranging from visual crowding to visual attention. Severe impairments in the holistic identification can rise from specific damage to low- or high-level mechanisms, which have been studied in isolation. Nevertheless, there are few attempts to integrate the approaches and little literature on the integrated contribution of such mechanisms. This symposium brings together five international experts who have tried to establish such a link, approaching this topic from a different angle. Their results will provide reference points for a broader discussion and for the development of more integrated and unified studying paradigm and theory of visual recognition.
Embodied emotions: the multifaceted relationship between the body, felt emotions, and how they influence our behaviour
Elena NAVA – University of Milano-Bicocca & Luigi TAME – University of Kent (Italy/UK)
Theories of embodied cognition suggest that emotion processing is a perceptual, somatosensory and motor experience that one re-enacts in order to understand one’s own emotional states. In this symposium, we aim at digging into the relationship between the body and emotions, and how the bodily nature of emotions influences perception, action and our social world. Giraud and Tamè will show, respectively, that we are not only literally ‘touched’ by our emotions, as evidenced by activity in the somatosensory cortex during emotional recall, but that the somatosensory cortex has a causal role in the generation of emotions. Palermo and Ackerley will shed light, respectively, on the consequences of such embodied emotions in the construction of a healthy body schema, and in how emotional states influence and prepare the body for motor behaviour. Kirsch will conclude on the role of affective touch in communicating and regulating emotions in our social world.
Embodied cognition of aging: The sensorimotor and social contribution to cognition
Stephen RAMANOEL – University of Côte d’Azur, LAMHESS, Nice (France)
Embodied and situated cognition sets sensorimotor processing at the core of cognition (embodied) and states a dynamic emergence of cognition according to the current context (situated). As a consequence, any sensorimotor change should have a direct repercussion on cognitive processing, making of aging a particularly relevant population to consider. Indeed, healthy aging is associated with both sensorimotor and cognitive alterations. Aging is also marked by social and contextual transition highlighting how the social context (representations, retirement) may also contribute to cognition. This symposium will explore how social and sensorimotor changes occurring in aging may contribute to the cognitive functioning of older adults, including memory, spatial navigation and cognitive reserve. The presentations will feature new behavioral and neuroimaging data as well as more theoretical considerations that open new research perspectives and clinical intervention avenues.
Numerical cognition: comparative, developmental and neurobiological perspective on spatial numerical association
Silvia BENAVIDES-VARELA & Rosa RUGANI – University of Padua (Italy)
Despite the ability to represent abstract numbers and to operate on numerical concepts is only mastered by a subset of human beings who have received specific mathematical instruction, basic numerical skills are widespread throughout the animal kingdom. A common peculiarity of numerical representation concerns the spatial coding of numbers along a left-right oriented continuum: the mental number line. Traditionally, such a spatial-numerical association has been considered a result of writing and reading habits. More recently though, a very similar organization of numbers onto space has been described in infants, newborns and on naïve animals. This evidence has literally unleashed the scientific debate about the origin of the number space association. This symposium aims at presenting an updated and comprehensive overview on systematic viewpoints in spatial numerical association, unveiling the development, the neural basis, and the future perspective of this fascinating numerical representation.
Numerical cognition: Evolution, Embodiment and Environment
Arianna FELISATTI – Potsdam Embodied Cognition Group, Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam (Germany)
Numbers are the abstract concepts par excellence. Nevertheless, sensory-motor activity influences number representation and processing. Embracing the embodied cognition perspective, a hierarchical view on numerical cognition is useful, according to which, the mental representation of numbers is influenced by the organism-environment interaction at three different levels: Grounded level, reflecting universal properties of the world and the body; Embodied level, representing individual sensory-motor experiences associated with learning; Situated level, consisting of transient properties of the context and the body. This symposium presents an up-to-date, comprehensive overview on systematic developments in numerical cognition. Influences of evolutionary, body- and culture-related factors on number processing will be discussed by five leading researchers. Unveiling how the mental representation of numbers develops and adapts is necessary to form efficient mathematical minds, achieve economic productivity, technological progress, and life quality.
The visual perception system and math learning
Michal WOLK – University of Haifa (Israel)
The symposium discusses the intact and deficient visual perceptual processes and their implications on numerical abilities. Agrillo (University of Padova) suggests that fish, as primates, seem to be equipped with multiple mechanisms to make numerical judgments based on visual perceptual cues. Maldonado and colleagues (University of Florence) will further our understanding of the process of perceptual “groupitizing” in numerosity. Wolk and college will discuss perceptual part-whole thinking among adults with math difficulties and focus on part-whole relationships via Gestalt grouping principles. Next, Levy and Goldfarb (University of Haifa) will present their study about cognitive instabilities among adults with math difficulties. Gori and colleagues (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) will provide an insight into impaired visual processing and math learning. The efficacy of math games in a group of low vision and blind children will be discussed. Overall, such a symposium highlights the importance of fundamental perceptual skills to numerical cognition.
Are visuomotor compatibility effects a support for visuomotor representations?
Lionel BRUNEL – Laboratoire Epsylon, Paul Valery Montpellier University (France)
The visuomotor compatibility effects (e.g., Tucker & Ellis, 1998, 2001) is originally conceived as evidence of a direct link between perceptual and motor systems (i.e., affordances, Gibson, 1979). In this paradigm, the participants are faster and more accurate to categorize graspable objects when the action used to respond and the one needed to grasp the presented objects matches rather than mismatches. This effect would occur because the visual configuration of an object automatically affords a particular action. Since these primary considerations, a wide variety of visuomotor compatibility protocols have been used to better understand these effects. Accordingly, this symposium will gather researchers from several universities to establish the state of the art of current research on this topic. The works presented will focus on the visuomotor compatibility effect as a support of visuomotor representations and the main question will be on the exact nature of these representations.
Studying cognition through musical ensembles
Francesca CIARDO – Italian Institute of Technology, Aarhus University & Western Sydney University (Italy) & Prof. Peter Keller – University of Aarhus, Denmark
The study of cognitive processes has moved its focus from the study of how an individual perceives and acts through and with the environment to the study of cognition during realistic interpersonal interaction. According to the socio-cultural approach, through social interactions, humans acquire complex cognitive skills, such as the ability to dynamically coordinate their actions with those of others in time and space. A musical ensemble is a unique form of social interaction in which co-performers can synchronize their actions within several tens of milliseconds. Several features make music paradigms a valuable model to investigate the complex cognitive mechanisms during social interactions. Musical ensembles are a socially-relevant interaction, which ensures high ecological validity. At the same time, they ensure experimental control thanks to their complex but formalized constraints. The speakers will cover a broad spectrum of topics in cognitive psychology during social interaction ranging from motor control to shared agency.
Human actions and their effects: from motor predictions to the sense of agency.
Claudia GIANELLI – University of Messina (Italy) & Marta GHIO – Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf (Germany)
The control of voluntary actions and their consequences represents a core feature of our interactions with other humans and the environment. This Symposium focuses on the role of action intention-based predictions in shaping the sense of agency and driving our interactions. In the first part, Reznik reviews the potential mechanisms by which voluntary actions modulate sensory processing. By assuming a bi-directional perspective in investigating the motor-sensory relationship, Korka demonstrates how intentional actions and sensory predictions mutually shape each other, while Ghio addresses the question of whether the observation of voluntary actions modulates sensory processing in the observer. In the second part of the Symposium, Zapparoli discusses how the comparison of motor predictions and their sensory effects contribute to the sense of agency by presenting neuroimaging evidence on neurological patients. Finally, Zaadnoordijk presents evidence on the processing of sensorimotor contingencies and their contribution to the sense of agency in infants.
Recent developments linked to the focus of attention in working memory
Caro HAUTEKIET – University of Geneva (Switzerland)
Working memory is a limited-capacity system responsible for processing and keeping information available for a short period. Within working memory, we can focus our attention on a subset of representations, and these items are then said to reside in our internal focus of attention. The current symposium brings together a set of researchers using a variety of approaches and techniques to address questions related to the nature and operation of the internal focus of attention and its role in human cognition. In particular, the proposed set of talks will give an overview of recent developments concerning (1) the role of the internal focus of attention in prioritizing information or processes within working memory, (2) the consequences of this type of prioritization, and (3) the role of the internal focus of attention in higher-level cognition, across different populations and memory materials.
Object Memory: Which factors contribute to differences in the fidelity of recognition and retrieval?
Claire LANCASTER – University of Sussex (United Kingdom)
Adaptive everyday behaviour relies on our ability to recall specific objects and differentiate them from similar representations in memory, for example, identifying which coat is yours at a party. This ability, known as mnemonic discrimination, is supported by processes of pattern separation in the hippocampus. However, questions remain about which factors contribute to and support the retrieval of distinct information from overlapping traces in memory. This symposium explores how both the features of the to-be remembered item, learning and retrieval context contribute to successful object mnemonic discrimination, and whether executive and perceptual processes differentially feed into memory performance dependent on task demand. In addition, presented work will consider how and why mnemonic discrimination changes with increasing age, including in individuals at-risk of neurodegenerative disease. This research is critical for informing the use of these tasks for the early detection of memory decline.
The interplay of episodic memory and dynamic prior knowledge structures
Sophie NOLDEN – Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
Semantic memory and episodic memory are often investigated separately from each. Importantly, however, in order to behave adaptively in our changing environment, it is crucial for our mind and brain to efficiently process and integrate incoming information and to dynamically update internal models. The relation of knowledge structures and memory of new episodes is considered in a bidirectional way, that is, new episodes are encoded and retrieved depending on pre-existing knowledge structures, and new episodes may in turn adjust internal models (e.g., when the new episode suggests that the internal models may be incorrect). The goal of the current symposium is to bring together scientists approaching the topic from different theoretical and empirical perspectives and to discuss the dynamic interactions of episodic memory and prior knowledge structures.
New insights on prospective remembering: How motivational, social and emotional variables affect intention completion in young and older adults.
Katharina SCHNITZSPAHN – University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom)
Prospective memory (PM) describes the ability to remember and perform delayed intentions. While past research almost exclusively focused on cognitive correlates of PM, this symposium addresses a new question: How performance is influenced by motivational, social and emotional variables. Importantly, all papers agree that non-cognitive variables have the potential to improve PM in young and older adults. The first paper suggests age-differential effects of rewards and losses on PM. The second paper contrasts monetary rewards and social importance manipulations concluding that both enhance PM through heightened attention allocation. The third paper examines if emotional valence and importance not only impact PM, but also metacognitive evaluations in young and older adults. The fourth paper demonstrates that efficient emotion regulation in older adults can protect PM from impairing mood effects. The final paper adds an applied perspective by contrasting PM for social vs non-social, leisure vs work-related intentions using a diary approach.
The determinants of working memory development: past proposals and new findings
Beatrice VALENTINI – University of Geneva (Switzerland)
Working memory is the limited-capacity cognitive system in charge of maintaining information in the short-term. A number of promising explanations have been proposed to justify the drastic increase in working memory performance throughout childhood, such as a pure increase in storage capacity, or the strategic use of maintenance mechanisms. However, one may wonder whether these determinants are still of interest. This symposium aims at highlighting the most recent work of five different developmental labs and their most recent findings on working memory development. The symposium will shed light on the role of attentional control and goal maintenance in children’s working memory development, and will show the latest findings about the development of interrogative susceptibility in relation to working memory, the spontaneous use of attentional refreshing, and the developmental trajectories of memory for multi-feature objects. The symposium is supported by the EWOMS.
Toward an integrated approach of future-oriented cognition
Pascale PIOLINO – University of Paris, Laboratoire Mémoire, Cerveau et Cognition, LMC2 UR 7536 (France)
Prospection is a broad concept that has been used to characterize a wide variety of future-oriented cognitions, including affective forecasting, goal-directed behaviour, prospective memory, temporal discounting and episodic future thinking. The daily implications of altered prospection are striking when one considers many everyday activities that invariably depend on the ability to anticipate and consider future outcomes. This symposium proposes an integrated approach to investigate different aspects of episodic prospection and its relation with episodic memory by purposing different talks tapping various aspects of future thoughts: from the cognitive mechanisms involved in future events, mostly the basis of belief and the spatio-temporal dynamics of future thoughts in young subjects as well as in cognitive aging, through neuropsychological studies in neurogenerative diseases to the social dimension of prospection.
Bodily and interoceptive dynamics and their roles in affective, linguistic and conscious processes
Laura BARCA – Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, National Research Council (ISTC-CNR) (Italy)
Interoception is the sense of the physiological condition of the body. The aim of this symposium is to discuss recent evidence on the multifunctional roles of interoception, which go beyond the regulation of drive states and the anticipation of future needs, extending to higher order cognitive, affective and social processes. The five talks will tackle different facets of interoception and the challenges of studying it experimentally. We will discuss how interoception affects linguistic and conceptual representations (Borghi), perceptual and affective processes (Barca). Going beyond cardioception and related tasks, we will delve into skin-mediated interoceptive signals of touch and temperature (Crucianelli), affective touch, the sense of self and depersonalisation experiences (Ciaunica). Dysfunctional interoception is often reported across clinical conditions. Immersive Virtual Reality will be tested to modify the sense of self and body dissatisfaction in Anorexia Nervosa, modulating the multisensory integration of interoceptive and exteroceptive signals (Bufalari).
L1/L2 novel word learning: investigating methodological issues and orthographic and semantic aspects.
Séverine CASALIS – SCALAB, Université de Lille & CNRS (France)
Learning new words has long been considered in different terms in the mother tongue (L1) and in the second language (L2). Indeed, while learning words in L1 requires learning semantic, phonological and orthographic forms, learning words in L2 most often consists in adding new formal representations -phonological and orthographic- to an already existing semantic representation. Yet beyond these differences, the question of learning methods is increasingly shared. Finally, the question of the extent to which these learning processes are based on similar or different mechanisms becomes central. The purpose of this symposium is to review the current research on these issues. We will consider how the two domains (lexical learning in L1 and L2) share learning investigation method (implicit, explicit), and mechanisms concerning the role of the factors involved (orthography, semantics). Finally, the way in which the lexical learning processes in L1 and L2 are similar or not is discussed.
Disentangling the role of morpho-syntactic competence in reading. Evidence from different languages and populations.
Emanuele CASANI – Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy)
Cross-language evidence shows that adult skilled readers use morphological patterns to process written complex words (Beyersmann et al., 2012; Quémart et al., 2011). Nevertheless, morphology has been relatively neglected in reading acquisition theories (Rastle, 2019). In particular, we need to disentangle the constraints imposed by the language morphological richness and orthographic depth (Verhoeven & Perfetti, 2011) to morpho-orthographic/morpho-semantic parsing in different populations of readers. This symposium brings together a panel of psychologists and linguists to address this issue from an interdisciplinary perspective. We show cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence that morphology and its interface with syntax affect reading in different populations of primary-school children (monolinguals and bilinguals with typical/atypical development and L2 speakers) acquiring literacy in languages with different grammars and orthographic depth (Norwegian, Italian, French, and German). The results confirm a cross-linguistic influence of morphological/morphosyntactic competence on reading in every sample examined, with diverse developmental trajectories due to the intrinsic properties of different languages.
Emotions in native and foreign languages
Simone SULPIZIO – University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy) & Nicola DEL MASCHIO – Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (Italy)
Research to date is inconclusive as to whether bilinguals systematically display emotion effects in both of their languages and whether these effects are of the same magnitude in the native (L1) and second language (L2). The aim of this symposium is to tackle the issue of emotion effects in L1 and L2 from different perspectives, by drawing together expert scholars from different fields of cognitive psychology. The symposium will address: 1) The role of the affective component in the organization of bilingual mental lexicon; 2) The contribution of emotional engagement during the processing of figurative expressions in L1 vs. L2; 3) The brain dynamics of emotional speech production in L1 and L2; 4) The interplay between language, negative emotions and episodic memory; 5) The putative role of experiential and pragmatic factors in modulating the so called “foreign language effect” in decision-making.
The impact foreign-accented speech on language processing and social behaviour.
Alice FOUCART – Nebrija University (Spain)
In our multilingual world, it is more and more common that conversations involve native and non-native speakers of a language. These situations imply that communication requires processing both native and foreign accents, which is not without consequences. For example, recent studies have shown that foreign-accented speech affects semantic and syntactic processing, reduces speaker’s credibility, and modulates our moral judgements. In the recent years, the interest for the topic has increased but the impact foreign-accented speech has on language processing and social behaviour is still not clear. The symposium brings some new information presenting studies that further examined how foreign accent affects sentence processing, the speaker’s perception, and native speakers’ behaviour.
From segmentals to suprasegmentals in reading and writing
Jana HASENÄCKER and Frank DOMAHS – Universität Erfurt (Germany)
Research on reading and writing words has been dominated by a segmental perspective, focusing on the processing of single graphemes and phonemes in monosyllabic words. However, the role of suprasegmental features such as syllable structure and word stress, which are particularly relevant for realizing polysyllabic words, is poorly understood. Although polysyllabic words constitute the majority of words in most languages, they still remain understudied and neglected in models of written word processing. This symposium brings together five talks exploring different aspects of the processing of suprasegmental information – from diacritical letters, over CV structure and syllable segmentation to stress assignment – across several European languages to broaden our understanding of the cognitive mechanisms involved in reading and writing words.
To role of visual attention in reading acquisition: Insights from multiple methodological perspectives
Marie LALLIER – Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science (Spain)
Learning to read is critical in the path to success in life. Whereas the role of language and phonological abilities in this acquisition have been extensively studied, the contribution of visual attention has received much less attention despite reading being a visual activity. This symposium aims at gathering evidence that specific visual attention skills are critical to support the adequate development of orthographic and reading skills. A number of questions related to the nature of the visual attentional mechanisms important for reading acquisition will be addressed through complementary perspectives including computational modelling, single-patient, cross-sectional and longitudinal training studies. Altogether, these studies support the possible causal role of visual attention deficits in some forms of developmental dyslexia. Overall, we suggest that the study of visual attention in relation to reading should not be overlooked as it gives theoretical and educational/clinical insights on our understanding of how humans become expert readers.
Variability in embodied cognition: Individual differences and context effects in sensorimotor and semantic processing
Penny PEXMAN – University of Calgary (Canada)
A common theme amongst embodied theories of concept representation is that concepts are stored and processed in a flexible manner which reflects our sensory, motor, and affective experiences in interaction with the processing context. Individual experience, such as different stages of motor development or sensory impairments, can shape the nature of our conceptual representations and the mechanisms that support modal simulation. Contextual differences can influence the top-down selection and recruitment of relevant conceptual information depending on the context or environment within which processing occurs. Tests of embodied cognition hypotheses often seek to control variability in individual differences and context, rather than to systematically address these important factors. In this symposium, our speakers will present findings that illuminate how variability in individual experiences and processing contexts influence semantic processing, and will consider the implications of these differences for embodied cognition theories.
Uncovering the Meanings of Ambiguous Words: New Thinking from Corpus, Computational, and Behavioural Perspectives
Kathleen RASTLE – Royal Holloway, University of London, (United Kingdom)
Theories of language comprehension are typically based on the notion that the forms of words map on to a single, stable meaning. Yet, most words have more than one meaning. These multiple meanings can be very different (as in ‘tree bark’ vs ‘dog bark’) or can be related (as in ‘a shade of blue’ vs ‘a shade of difference’). Likewise, the ambiguity status of words in one language may differ across languages. This symposium brings together corpus, computational, and behavioural perspectives to consider how we learn, represent, and process the meanings of ambiguous words, and how we construct meanings in online natural language contexts. These perspectives challenge classical understanding of the problem of lexical ambiguity and suggest fascinating new avenues for research in this domain.
The Impact of the Procedural Memory System on Disorders of Language Development
Yafit GABAY – University of Haifa
The procedural memory system has been traditionally associated with the learning and formation of motor procedures. However, an accumulating body of evidence indicates its role in the learning of cognitive and linguistic functions, including the computation of sequences, extraction of environmental regularities, probabilistic category learning and acquisition of rule-governed aspects of grammar, syntax, morphology, and phonology. Based on the involvement of procedural learning in different aspects of language, there is a growing interest in how the procedural memory system is affected in developmental language disorders. In the presented symposium, we will propose a framework that postulates a key deficit in procedural learning processes in the context of developmental language disorders that challenge the acquisition of different procedural-memory dependent skills. Using diverse techniques and approaches, the presenting research group will show findings that test the plausibility of this hypothesis.
Individual differences in native and foreign language skills—New perspectives and methodologies
Florian HINTZ – Max Planc Institute for Psycholinguistics (Netherlands)
Language is a highly trained skill that we apply every day in native- and foreign-language contexts. Yet, there exist vast individual differences (IDs) in speaking and listening, and in reading. How do these IDs come about? The present symposium addresses this question from a variety of angles. Talk 1 is concerned with IDs in reading comprehension (in the native language), presenting a comparison of different analysis techniques. Reporting on a research program on native language IDs, Talk 2 maps out the principal dimensions of speaking and listening skills in younger healthy adults. Complementing this work, Talk 3 presents analyses of neurobiological data from a large subset of the same participants, relating variability in the brain to variability in behaviour. Talk 4 presents a comparison of behavioural predictors of grammatical comprehension affecting native language learning. Finally, Talk 5 discusses the role of neurocognitive factors in foreign language acquisition.
Statistical learning and reading research: a novel perspective
Ferenc KEMENY – Institute of Psychology, University of Graz (Austria)
Reading ability is the most critical building block of educational breadth and accumulation of knowledge and has been the focus of extensive research for decades. However, recent advances in the fields of statistical learning (SL), predictive processing, and computational linguistics offer novel perspectives and insights regarding what underlies reading acquisition and reading expertise. The symposium will provide a state-of-the-art overview of these advances, focusing on mechanisms of letter and word predictions, and the acquisition of morphological structure. A particular emphasis is given to developmental and cross-linguistics perspectives. The empirical work includes a wide range of methodologies such as reaction-time measurements, eye-tracking, computational modeling, and non-invasive brain stimulation. Because virtually every aspect of the world around us is characterized by regularities, clarifying the connection between reading and statistical learning might serve as a template for all other cognitive domains.
Mechanisms of Sound Symbolism
Gabriella VIGLIOCCO – University College London (United Kingdom)
Sound symbolism refers to an association between spoken language sounds and particular semantic and/or perceptual properties. This contradicts the dictum that language is arbitrary (Saussure, 1916). These five talks will report recent work aimed at understanding the cognitive processes underlying sound symbolism. Winter will present work suggesting the phenomenon is due to the acoustic, rather than the articulatory, features of phonemes. Fort will discuss results that serve to pinpoint the exact acoustic locus of the effect. Sidhu and Vigliocco present work suggesting that sound symbolism does not result from the visual appearance of phonemes’ articulations. Margiotoudi will discuss the insights that can be gained from comparing sound symbolism in humans and nonhuman great apes. Lastly, Aryani and Vigliocco present work on how the emotion conjured by sounds contributes to sound symbolism. Together, these various talks contribute a deeper understanding of the phoneme properties that contribute to this century-old phenomenon.
Higher Cognitive Functions
Recent advances in understanding the evaluation and the allocation of cognitive effort
Nicoleta PRUTEAN & Joshua EAYRS – Ghent University (Belgium)
Cognitive effort refers to (strategic) allocation of cognitive resources to overcome obstacles in goal pursuit. Despite its positive impact on performance and goal achievement, we typically evaluate cognitive effort as costly when deciding to engage in effortful behavior, and we do so only if prospected benefits (e.g., rewards) outweigh the cost (i.e., cost-benefit analysis). In this symposium, we bring together different speakers who provide a diverse overview of the processes underlying the evaluation of cognitive effort in the decision-making process (Shenhav; Inzlicht; Dreisbach & Jurczyk), as well as the actual allocation and adaptation of resources over time, under normal and stressful conditions (Kukkonen and colleagues; Vassena). In doing so, we aim to provide new insights into the underlying neurocognitive and computational mechanisms of the evaluation and allocation of cognitive effort.
Beyond the switch – using (voluntary) task switching to investigate psychological questions other than task switching per se
Kerstin FRöBER – University of Regensburg (Germany)
In this symposium we gathered researchers who are using task switching, and the immense knowledge about its effects and indices, as a tool to investigate other psychological phenomena beyond task switching per se; processes such as goal-directed action, affect and motivation, memory, attention, and trust. The first two talks focus on voluntary task switching, and find that flexible behavior can serve persistent goal pursuit (talk #1), and that conflict in task switching is aversive with consequences for effort-based decision making (talk #2). Talks # 3 demonstrates that different types of cognitive control demands – switching vs. congruency – differentially influence memory by reducing and enhancing top-down attention, respectively. Relying on indices within task switching paradigms such as the switch cost asymmetry, talk #4 shows that shielding attention for internal representations from external intrusions is more efficient than the other way around, and talk #5 demonstrates that trust is a more dominant response tendency than mistrust.
On the origins of abstract concepts
Jean-Remy HOCHMANN – Institut des sciences cognitives Marc Jeannerod, CNRS UMR5229 (France)
Human cognition certainly differs from other animals’ cognition: only humans build huge towers, invent sophisticated tools like smart phones, communication systems like the Morse code, or external memories like books and the internet. These achievements result (in part) from our ability to represent abstract concepts (freedom, electron). But non-human animals also are able to represent abstract concepts such as same, different, numbers, bigger. In this symposium, we investigate the representation of abstract concepts, including abstract relations and numbers. How do young infants and non-human animals such as bees represent these concepts? Do these representations apply across modalities? Across conceptual domains? How does abstraction relate to language acquisition? Are words necessary for full abstraction? And what would be incomplete abstraction? Addressing these issues, the five contributions of this symposium aim at characterizing different types of abstraction and progressing in identifying how human cognition differs from other cognitive systems.
Videogames and cognitive enhancements: mechanisms and applications
Eric LAMBERT – Université de Poitiers (France) & Sandro FRANCESCHINI – University of Insubria, Varese (Italy)
In the last twenty years, multiple studies investigated the effects of videogames on cognitive skills. Some of them have shown that video games can have a benefit on learning and on specific cognitive functions. The aim of this symposium is to illustrate and specify some of the mechanisms that could explain the observed cognitive effect, and to show possible future applications. Three communications present data that highlight the importance, independently from game characteristics, of emotional engagement -both positive and negative- during play as a possible mediator between playful practices and cognitive enhancement. The role of specific game characteristics will be illustrated in two interventions, showing the effects of an action video games training on visuo-attentional abilities that could be compromised in presence of autism spectrum disorder, and the effects of a training with serious video games specifically built to train reading abilities of children with and without learning disabilities.
Rules & behavior: Emerging views on the cognitive foundations of rule representation and retrieval
Roland PFISTER – University of Wuerzburg (Germany)
Rules and norms are ubiquitous. Their impact on human (inter-)actions ranges from explicit instructions on how to act in specific situations, to societal norms and linguistic rules that guide our everyday behavior. The symposium showcases exciting theoretical advances that shed light on the cognitive mechanisms underlying this ubiquitous impact, from basic accounts on rule learning and rule representation to social implications of rule-following and rule-violation behavior. Specifically we explore three main questions: (1) How does the mere knowledge of a rule shape cognition and behavior? (2) How flexibly can agents switch between either specific tasks or between complex sets of rules? (3) Is there a fundamental difference between rules that either prescribe or prohibit certain behaviors? Answers to these questions arise from converging approaches that capture automatic retrieval of rule-based action tendencies in diverse experimental scenarios.
Unfolding the reliability paradox in attentional-control research
Alodie REY-MERMET – UniDistance Suisse (Switzerland) & Anna-Lena SCHUBERT – University of Mainz (Germany)
Attentional control – also called executive functions or cognitive control – is our ability to maintain a goal and goal-relevant information in the face of distraction. Typically, attentional control is assessed as the performance decrement occurring in the condition inducing attentional control compared to a baseline condition. Hundreds of studies have found a robust performance difference between these conditions. In contrast, in most – but not all – studies, the reliability estimates for these difference scores were reported to be low, leading to the claim that attentional-control measures are unreliable. In our symposium, we aim to discuss and question this claim by examining the different ways of assessing attentional control and reliability. Contributors are invited to present their cutting-edge work and open up the discussion to related questions, such as the validity and precision of the measures or the impact of qualitative individual differences.
Embodied cognition: A psychophysiological perspective
Guillaume VALLET – Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, LAPSCO (France)
Embodied cognition highlights the role of the body in cognitive processing. Yet, very few studies within the field of embodiment have explored more specifically how physiological parameters impact cognition on the contrary to research conducted in the psychophysiology field. This symposium proposes to connect these two fields by introducing new psychophysiological data with more theoretical accounts at the crossroad of psychology, neuroscience, sport, physiology, and artificial intelligence. Notably, some presentations will focus on how the heart rate variability contributes to memory, decision-making or perception, others on interoception or on the importance of embodied simuation for biological systems.
New Avenues in Cognitive Aging
Eva VAN DEN BUSSCHE – KU Leuven (Belgium)
In our aging society, the increase of older adults with cognitive impairments motivates researchers to seek different ways to understand and prevent cognitive decline. In this symposium we will discuss new directions and recent findings in the field of cognitive aging. The symposium will kick off with a general view on current challenges in cognitive aging. Next, the importance of studying cognitive aging in daily life as opposed to in the lab will be addressed. Furthermore, individual differences with age will be linked to brain network connectivity, and the association between Alzheimer disease brain markers and cognition with age will be highlighted. The symposium will be concluded by highlighting the need for more sensitive neurolinguistic testing combined with neurophysiological and neuroimaging markers on an individual level. This symposium aims at introducing emerging challenges and opportunities in cognitive aging research and to provide first steps towards novel research directions.
Cognitive training and transfer: What are the mechanisms?
Claudia VON BASTIAN – University of Sheffield (United Kingdom)
The past two decades have seen intense focus on enhancing cognitive and everyday-functioning through behavioural training interventions, such as repeated practice of cognitive tasks or playing video games. However, comparatively little research has focused on the mechanisms underpinning the robust training effects typically observed that lead to transfer in some cases but not in others. Therefore, in this symposium, we aim to shift focus away from the dichotomous question of whether training works, to the more nuanced question of how it induces benefits and under what circumstances. To advance our understanding of the mechanisms of change, the five presentations of this symposium cover perspectives across cognitive domains with contributions from action video gaming, processing speed training, and working memory training.
Qualitative approaches in cognitive psychology: showcasing possibilities through the lens of creative problem-solving research
Gillian HILL – University of Buckingham (United Kingdom)
The predominant research paradigm in cognitive psychology is quantitative, taking a post-positivist approach. Whilst entry level cognitive psychology texts often talk about converging methodologies, this is almost always in the realms of a quantitative framework. This demonstrates to future cognitive psychologists, the type of research that is valued in our field and therefore sees qualitative approaches in knowledge generation often overlooked and undervalued. This symposium aims to demonstrate that qualitative methods provide an important complement in knowledge generation in cognitive psychology, in stand-alone studies and as part of a mixed methodology. It will do so by exploring contemporary research and stakeholder perspectives within one area of cognitive psychology, that of creative problem solving, discussing how different qualitative approaches are used to generate new, exciting research avenues and knowledge. These will aim to provide reference points to stimulate broader discussion with members of the audience at the end of the symposium.
Recent Findings on the Relation between Self-Regulation and Executive Functioning Across the Lifespan
Julia KARBACH & Tanja KONEN – University of Koblenz-Landau (Germany)
Self-regulation (SR) and executive functioning (EF) refer to regulatory processes, which allow us to plan, execute, and monitor complex goal-directed actions. Both demonstrate plasticity across the whole lifespan and are strongly involved in daily functioning in various domains (e.g., academic and job performance). The five presentations of this symposium cover a wide range of cognitive domains (including persistence and planning tasks as well as inhibition, working memory, flexibility, and cognitive control tasks) to investigate the relation between SR and EF from multiple perspectives. They present evidence from kindergarten to old age, analyzed with latest methodological approaches such as analyses of latent profiles, pupil dilation, and networks. Together, these new insides to the complex interplay of SR and EF allow us to better understand the factors modulating their theoretical and empirical overlap.
Interruptions in memory-based tasks
Tara RADOVIC – Technische Universitaet Berlin (Germany)
In recent years there is an increasing body of research investigating the effects of interruptions on performance in memory-based primary tasks, similar to progressing through a mental checklist. For this purpose, several experimental paradigms were developed (e.g., UNRAVEL) and adapted in different languages (e.g., WORTKLAU in German). Previous research revealed detrimental effects of interruptions on the primary task performance in terms of resumption times and error rates. In the symposium, we gather researchers using different versions of such an experimental paradigm to assess the effects of interruptions on resumption costs. Besides the replicability of the standard effects of interruptions, the symposium will examine cognitive mechanisms underlying the effects of interruptions on this type of primary task using experimental-behavioral approach, and individual-differences approach. Moreover, possibilities to reduce the interruption costs by interventions during the instruction and learning phase will be presented.
Methodological and Theoretical Advances in Disgust Research
Antonia YPSILANTI – University of Sheffield Hallam (United Kingdom)
Disgust is a basic emotion that has received increasing attention particularly in relation to a range of mental health disorders and related symptoms. In this symposium, we will present a series of studies exploring methodological and theoretical advances in disgust-related research including self-directed disgust and moral disgust. The symposium will begin with a presentation about the discriminant validity of self-reported self-disgust and shame/guilt. The second presentation will focus on eye-tracking research on self-disgust in PTSD patients. The third study of this symposium will present findings from two studies using a newly developed IAT for self-disgust. The fourth study will present novel stimuli (images/vignettes) to elicit moral disgust. Finally, we will discuss the process of habituation for positive and negative stimuli and its implication for disgust research. The symposium will present important research findings about the next frontiers in disgust-related research and related implications for clinical practice.