RFCS Paper of the Month

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The Paper of the Month gives a special stage to current cognitive science research from the Research Focus Cognitive Sciences (UFSKW). The Paper of the Month is selected by the Board of Directors on a monthly basis from all submissions.

All members of the Research Focus can propose their own papers at any time. It is mandatory that at least one of the (co-)authors is a member of the UFSKW.

To propose a paper members need to send an email to the scientific coordinator, Dr. Michaela Raboldt. 

Your email should include the following information:  
(1) the DOI and (2) a link to the published paper OR to the preprint of the paper (for non-open access articles) and (3) a short comment on what makes your paper special.

Submit a paper for the Paper of the Month

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Paper of the Month, November

PoM November

Communicating the diagnosis of cancer or depression: Results of a randomized controlled online study using video vignettes

Autors: Franziska Kühne, Henriette Fauth, Destina S. Ay-Bryson, Leonie N.C. Visser, & Florian Weck

Comment: What makes the work special is that both physically ill patients (diagnosed with cancer) and mentally ill patients (diagnosed with depression) put themselves in video scenarios and reproduced their experience. The treatment providers seen in the videos shared the respective diagnosis either empathically or unsympathetically. To our knowledge, this is the first empirical study to directly compare the communication of a physical vs. mental health diagnosis, identifying commonalities (such as the role of the handler's interactional behavior) and differences (e.g., affective reactions). The study was published in an high-impact journal (Cancer Medicine, IF 4.452, worth noting in the Clinical Psychology field).

Link: https://doi.org/10.1002/cam4.4396

PoM November

Paper of the Month, October

Paper of the Month, October
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Variability in sentence comprehension in aphasia in German

Autoren: Dorothea Pregla, Paula Lissón, Shravan Vasishth, Frank Burchert, & Nicole Stadie

Kommentar: Investigations of sentence comprehension in language-impaired and unimpaired adults have revealed intra- and interindividual variability in the occurrence of syntactic effects that have an impact on the performance profile. The effect of syntactic complexity is one example. This behavioral variability is particularly pronounced in individuals with aphasia and thus hinders diagnostics and treatment. The paper provides the first systematic and comprehensive investigation of variability in sentence comprehension in German. Specifically, four different sentence constructions and three different sentence comprehension tasks at two test points were used. Accuracy and reaction time data were collected as dependent variables. Results indicate that for individuals with aphasia variability in the occurrence of syntactic effects persists regardless of sentence construction, task, and test point. In contrast, systematic changes in the occurrence of these effects were observed in language unimpaired control participants. The results of this study provide an important contribution to the hypothesis that impairments in sentence comprehension are caused by a processing deficit and that variable performance patterns in individuals with aphasia can be explained by a highly fluctuating availability of cognitive resources necessary for sentence comprehension. The results, furthermore, contribute to a refinement of diagnostic and treatment protocols.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2021.105008

Paper of the Month, October
Photo: M. Raboldt

Paper of the Month, September

PoM September
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Kinematic boundary cues modulate 12-month-old infants’ segmentation of action sequences: An ERP study

Autors: Matt Hilton, Birgit Elsner & Isabell Wartenburger

Comment: In an interdisciplinary DFG project, UFSKW members examine parallels in early development of cognition (M. Hilton, B. Elsner) and language (I. Wartenburger). This paper is the first to show that an ERP positivity found in infants' speech segmentation (i.e., Closure Positive Shift, CPS) can also be found when 12-month-olds observe sequences of simple actions performed by an animated figure. In particular, the ERP positivity is triggered by infants' perception of kinematic cues that signal a boundary between action units (e.g., lenghtening of the pre-boundary action, a motionless pause). The first important finding is that already 12-month-olds are sensitive to low-level perceptual kinematic cues that are crucial for adults' action segmentation. Second, pre-boundary lenghtening and a silent pause also are typical prosodic boundary cues signalling phrase boundaries in speech segmentation. Therefore, the presented findings support the notion that the cognitive processes driving the electrophysiological correlate of speech segmentation (i.e., the CPS) are not language-specific but rather domain-general.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107916  | https://www.matthilton.de/papers/HiltonEtAl2021_AcceptedManuscript.pdf

PoM September
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Paper of the Month, July & August

PoM July August
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Establishment of emotional memories is mediated by vagal nerve activation: Evidence from non-invasive taVNS

Autoren: Carlos Ventura-Bort, Janine Wirkner, Julia Wendt, Alfons O. Hamm, & Mathias Weymar

Kommentar: Emotionally relevant information elicits stronger and more enduring memories than non-relevant information. Animal research has shown that this memory enhancing effect of emotion is related to the noradrenergic activation in the brain, which is triggered by afferent fibers of the vagus nerve (VN). In the current study, we show that non-invasive transcutaneous auricular VN stimulation enhances recollection-based memory formation specifically for emotionally relevant information as indicated by behavioral and electrophysiological indices. These human findings give novel insights into the mechanisms underlying the establishment of emotional episodic memories by confirming the causal link between the VN and memory formation which may help understand the neural mechanisms underlying disorders associated with altered memory functions and develop treatment options.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2329-20.2021

PoM July August
Photo: M.Schinkoeth
PoM July August
Photo: M.Schinkoeth

A Bayesian approach to dynamical modeling of eye-movement control in reading of normal, mirrored, and scrambled texts

Autoren: Maximilian M. Rabe, Johan Chandra, André Krügel, Stefan A. Seelig, Shravan Vasishth,  & Ralf Engbert

Kommentar: 

The manuscript in Psychological Review can be considered a breakthrough in modeling eye movements in reading, as it is the first time that Bayesian inference has been investigated for a gaze control model in reading to examine interindividual differences across different reading tasks. This has not existed before for process-based ("dynamic") mathematical models. The paper including source code and data is published in OSF: https://osf.io/t9sbf/

Link: https://doi.org/10.1037/rev0000268

PoM July August
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Paper of the Month, June

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Quantifying the role of rhythm in infants' language discrimination abilities: A meta-analysis

Autors: Loretta Gasparini, Alan Langus, Sho Tsuji & Natalie Boll-Avetisyan

Comment: A central question in language development research is from which age on and how infants recognize their mother tongue. The rhythm of speech plays an important role: Even newborns differentiate between different languages if they differ strongly rhythmically from each other (Nazzi et al., 1998). Infants from four months of age distinguish rhythmically similar languages (Bosch & Sebastián-Gallés, 2001). These findings provide evidence for prenatal learning as well as a development of better discrimination abilities with age. However, on the basis of which acoustic features infants discriminate speech rhythms remains largely unexplored. Our study uses the method of meta-analysis to answer this question. Our study demonstrates for the first time that infants discriminate languages based on specific acoustic rhythm metrics. It further challenges a central aspect of the research narrative, as the assumption that infants rely less on rhythmic cues as they grow older cannot be supported. The paper thus makes a significant theoretical contribution to the language acquisition literature.

PS: With this study, which is her master's thesis, Loretta Gasparini won third place (= third best master's thesis) in the selection process for the Graduate Award 2021 of the University of Potsdam.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104757

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Paper of the Month, May

UFSKW Paper of the Month
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Semantic richness and density effects on language production: Electrophysiological and behavioral evidence

Authors: Milena Rabovsky, Daniel Schad, & Rasha Abdel Rahman

Comment: This study investigates influences of meaning related variables on language production. Specifically, we study the impact of the richness of semantic representations (measured as the number of semantic features according to semantic feature production norms) and intercorrelational feature density (measured as the degree of intercorrelation of a concept’s features) on behavioral and electrophysiological indicators of object naming. We find that semantic richness facilitates object naming while intercorrelational feature density has an inhibitory influence. Both effects are reflected in an increased posterior positivity in event related brain potentials starting at about 250 ms. The results follow naturally from the assumption of conceptual facilitation and simultaneous lexical competition, and are difficult to explain by language production theories dismissing lexical competition, thus contributing to an active debate concerning the mechanisms involved in language production.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000940
Preprint: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/509000v2

UFSKW Paper of the Month
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Paper of the Month, April 2021

PoM April 2021
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Home-based exercise programmes improve physical fitness of healthy older adults: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis with relevance for COVID-19

Authors: H. Chaabene, O. Prieske, M. Herz, J. Moran, J. Höhne, R. Kliegl, R. Ramirez-Campillo, D.G. Behm, T. Hortobágyi, & U. Granacher 

Comment: This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the effects of home-based training on physical fitness parameters in healthy older adults. The results show that home-based training can effectively improve both health-related (muscle strength and strength endurance) and ability-related (muscle power and balance) components of physical fitness. Therefore, in times of restricted physical activity due to pandemics, home-based exercises constitute an alternative to counteract physical inactivity and preserve/improve the health and fitness of healthy older adults.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2021.101265

PoM April 2021
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Paper of the Month, March 2021

Paper of the Month March 2021
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Production of prosodic cues in coordinate name sequences addressing varying interlocutors

Autors: Clara Huttenlauch, Carola de Beer, Sandra Hanne, & Isabell Wartenburger 

Comment: The study addresses inter- and intra-speaker variability in the use of durational and f0-related cues in the production of coordinated name sequences with differing internal constituent groupings in German addressed to varying interlocutors, and finds stable prosodic patterns for constituent grouping and only slight interlocutor-induced adaptations, but inter-speaker variability in how the prosodic boundaries were phonetically realized. By exploring differences and commonalities within and across speakers rather than focussing on the "average" speaker the study accounts for the fascinating fact that we are able to communicate successfully despite our individualities.

An Open Science Framework project page (https://osf.io/rnxej/) has been created to store the data and code.

Link: http://doi.org/10.5334/labphon.221

Paper of the Month March 2021
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Paper of the Month, February 2021

PoM February 2021
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Human vs computer: What effect does the source of information have on cognitive performance and achievement goal orientation?

Autoren: Nicolas Spatola, Johann Chevalère und Rebecca Lazarides

Kommentar: This study investigated the influence of the assumed source of specific feedback information (human vs. computer) for the change of cognitive and motivational processes. In doing so, the study contributes to a better understanding of the different socio-cognitive processes that shape both human interactions and human-machine interactions.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1515/pjbr-2021-0012

PoM February 2021
Photo: M. Schinköth
PoM February 2021
Photo: M. Schinköth

Semantic preview benefit and cost: Evidence from parafoveal fast-priming paradigm

Autoren: Jinger Pan, Ming Yan, Jochen Laubrock

Kommentar: In language processing, priming (single word presentation) or preview benefit (natural reading) are used to study the "mental lexicon". A related prime activates the target word. However, non-matching candidates must be deactivated at some point if the prime is not identical to the target word. From corpus analyses, correlative evidence has been obtained that the time course of preview benefit effects is biphasic: first an entry is primed and later inhibited. Here we present the first experimental evidence for such a biphasic course. Therefore, the time for which a preview was visible was manipulated in a gaze-contingent manner. 

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104452

PoM February 2021
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Paper of the Month, January 2021

Paper of the Month, January (I)
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Modeling the effects of perisaccadic attention on gaze statistics during scene viewing

Autors: Lisa Schwetlick, Lars Oliver Martin Rothkegel, Hans Arne Trukenbrod, & Ralf Engbert

Comment: The paper combines two research traditions on eye movements.On the one hand, attentional processes just before, during, and immediately after saccades have been studied for >30 years ("microscopic"); on the other hand, eye movements as a consequence of selective attention in natural scenes have been studied ("macroscopic"). In the paper, we have shown that we can integrate knowledge from both domains and even improve the predictive power of the model. The paper has been prepared in an extremely appealing way for Open Science: http://lisaschwetlick.de/SceneWalk_Model/

 

Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01429-8

Paper of the Month, January (I)
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Paper of the Month, January (II)
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Bimodal familiarization re-sensitizes 12-month-old infants to other-race faces

Autors: Anna Krasotkina, Antonia Götz, Barbara Höhle, & Gudrun Schwarzer

Comment: The paper is part of a project of the DFG research group 2253 "Crossing the Borders", and is published jointly by colleagues from Potsdam and Giessen. In this work, it is shown for the first time that a learning mechanism that uses statistical information from input to form categories is also effective in the recognition of faces. The effectiveness of this type of learning is well established by prior research in the formation of linguistic categories in infants. In this study, we found that in 12-month-old infants, this type of statistical learning also affects their ability to discriminate faces of other ethnicities. This study is one component of our project investigating parallels and connections between the development of language and face recognition in early infancy.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2020.101502

 

Paper of the Month, January (II)
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