RFCS Paper of the Month

The Paper of the Month gives a special stage to current cognitive science research from the Research Focus Cognitive Sciences (UFSKW). Beginning in 2021, the Paper of the Month is selected by the Selection Committee 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. Melanie Schreiner. 

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


Paper of the Month, July 2022

Assessing the availability of inverse scope in German in the covered box paradigmAssessing the availability of inverse scope in German in the covered box paradigm

Authors: Gisbert Fanselow, Malte Zimmermann, & Mareike Philipp

Comment:  In this paper, we provide an experimental investigation of how speakers of German interpret doubly-quantified sentences. This type of sentences is of particular interest to the field of linguistics, as they can give rise to ambiguities. The relevance of this paper is characterized by both methodological and theoretical insights. Methodologically, the paper stands out in that it is the first experimental study on inverse scope in German employing a covered box design. Thereby it shows that this method is cross-linguistically suitable for examining scope ambiguities. Results from more direct surveys (yes/no answers to direct content questions) could be replicated here with a more indirect method. Since indirect methods are preferable to more direct ones in studies with naive speakers, these results make a relevant contribution to future experimental research in this area. Furthermore, the experimental results are relevant for theory building, as they underpin (i) that doubly-quantified sentences of the type investigated in here give rise to ambiguities in German, contrary to what is often assumed; (ii) that the availability of different scope interpretations ​​is not categorically regulated by a macroparameter between languages, as has been proposed, but is gradual in nature; (iii) that even within a particular language, scope ambiguities are not a one-dimensional phenomenon that is strictly encoded in the grammar, but is characterized by great variation between speakers and items and therefore depends on a wide range of linguistic and cognitive factors.

Link: https://doi.org/10.16995/glossa.5766

Paper of the Month, June 2022

The Perceptual Span Is Dynamically Adjusted in Response to Foveal Load by Beginning Readers

Authors: Johannes M. Meixner, Jessie S. Nixon, & Jochen Laubrock

Comment:  Weil kognitive Verarbeitung langsamer ist als perzeptuelle Verarbeitung, wählt die Aufmerksamkeit aus dem perzeptuellen Angebot aus. Beim Lesen muss dazu kognitive Verarbeitung das perzeptuelle Sampling der Sakkaden inhibieren können. Beeinflusst kognitive Inhibition beim Lesen, welche perzeptuelle Information zu einem gegebenen Zeitpunkt in das kognitive System hereingelassen wird? Dies ist ein Grundgedanke der Foveal-Load-Hypothese. Sie besagt, dass der Fokus der Aufmerksamkeit beim Lesen kleiner wird, wenn schwierige Wörter kognitiv verarbeitet werden. Deshalb sollen weniger Ressourcen für die parafoveale Vorverarbeitung zur Verfügung stehen und die Wahrnehmungsspanne kleiner werden. Bisher ist die Foveal-Load-Hypothese nur indirekt getestet worden. Hier liefern wir durch Kombination einer großen Stichprobe aus der PIER-Studie mit modernen statistischen Methoden und blickkontingenter Präsentation die erste direkte Evidenz für die Modulation der Wahrnehmungsspanne durch die foveale Wortschwierigkeit. Die Wahrnehmungsspanne wird dynamisch moduliert: sie wird kleiner, wenn schwere Wörter gelesen werden und größer, wenn leichte Wörter gelesen werden. Diese Modulation findet man bereits in frühen Schuljahren, was dafür spricht, dass ein allgemeiner Mechanismus dafür verantwortlich ist, der bereits vor dem Lesenlernen etabliert ist, z.B. ein dynamischer Aufmerksamkeitsgradient.

Ein zweiter wichtiger neuer Aspekt ist die Trennung räumlicher und zeitlicher Informationsakkumulation. In einer Vorarbeit (Sperlich, Meixner & Laubrock, 2016) haben wir Methoden entwickelt, mit denen sich Personenparameter für die längsschnittliche Evaluation individueller Unterschiede in der Wahrnehmungsspanne generieren lassen. Diesen Ansatz mit nichtlinearen gemischten Regressionmodellen haben wir in der vorliegenden Studie genutzt, um wortbasierte Schätzungen für zeitliche und räumliche Verarbeitung zu gewinnen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die Wahrnehmungsspanne sich deutlich zwischen räumlichen und zeitlichen Entscheidungen unterscheidet. Die räumliche Sakkadenzielauswahl nutzt deutlich weitere Vorschau als die zeitliche Steuerung der Sakkaden. 

Drittens zeigen wir, dass die Entwicklung der Wahrnehmungsspanne eher ihre Grenze erreicht als die Entwicklung der Lesegeschwindigkeit. Dies lässt vermuten, dass bei fortgeschritteneren Lesern die Entwicklung postperzeptueller Prozesse zur Erhöhung der Lesegeschwindigkeit beitragen, etwa des lexikalischen Zugriffs, der syntaktischen Verarbeitung, und der Integration eines mentalen Modells des Textes.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0001140

Additional short summary here

Paper of the Month, May 2022

Creating meaning by taking initiative: Proactive work behavior fosters work meaningfulness

Authors: Doris Fay, Karoline Strauss, Christopher Schwake, & Tina Urbach

Comment: To experience meaning is regarded as essential for psychological well-being and individual growth. Work psychologists, who focus on understanding the factors that contribute to experiencing one’s work as meaningful, emphasize the role of work design and the content of the job. This approach puts the working individual into a position of a passive recipient of their working circumstances. The present paper departs from this by assigning the individual an active role.

Proactive work behavior reflects discretionary, future- and change oriented behaviors at work. Based on the observation that meaningfulness is experienced when people are able to connect to the future we propose that proactive work behavior is associated with higher levels of experienced work meaningfulness. Across three studies with working individuals, two scenario-based experiments and one daily-diary study, we show that proactive work behavior is associated with higher work meaningfulness, and that this effect is particularly strong when individuals work in a context where they find it difficult to connect to the future. 

Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12385

Paper of the Month, April 2022

Association of regional socioeconomic deprivation and rurality with global developmental delay in early childhood: Data from mandatory school entry examinations in Germany

Authors: Stephanie Hoffmann, Mira Tschorn, Niels Michalski, Jens Hoebel, Bernd R. Förstner, Michael A. Rapp, & Jacob Spallek

Comment: In dieser populationsbasierten Analyse von Daten Brandenburger Schuleingangsuntersuchungen untersuchten wir den Einfluss individueller sowie regionaler sozioökonomische Faktoren auf die Entwicklung von Vorschulkindern. Regionale Sozioökonomie wurde mittels German Index of Social Deprivation (GISD) operationalisiert, welcher vom Robert Koch-Institut entwickelt und herausgegeben wird und für jede Postleitzahl Indikatoren aus den Bereichen Bildung, Beruf und Einkommen aggregiert abbildet. Die Daten aller 22.801 Kinder, die in 2018 und 2019 in Brandenburg auf Schuleignung untersucht wurden, wurden im Hinblick auf das Vorhandensein einer allgemeinen Entwicklungsverzögerung untersucht, welche mindestens mit Entwicklungsverzögerungen in den Domänen Sprache und kognitive Fähigkeiten einhergehen. Wir konnten dabei zeigen, dass die familiäre Sozioökonomie den deutlich stärksten Zusammenhang zur Entwicklungsverzögerung der Kinder aufwies, jedoch die regionale Deprivation als kontextuelle Sozioökonomie darüber hinaus einen zusätzlichen Einfluss auf die Entwicklung der Kinder zeigt. Demnach konnten wir zeigen, dass selbst unter Berücksichtigung der familiären Sozioökonomie, die regionale Deprivation einen zusätzlichen Einfluss auf Entwicklungsverzögerungen in den Domänen Sprache und kognitive Fähigkeiten bei Vorschulkindern aufweist. 

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2022.102794

Paper of the Month, March 2022

Pupillary entrainment reveals individual differences in cue weighting in 9-month-old German-learning infants

Authors: Mireia Marimon, Barbara Höhle, & Alan Langus

Comment: In this paper, we investigated how German-speaking adults and 9-month-old German-learning infants weight statistical and prosodic cues when segmenting continuous speech. Measuring pupil size, we showed that adult participants’ pupil size synchronized with prosodic words whilst listening to the speech stream. Regarding infants, the variability in temporal alignment of the pupillary changes indicated that prosodic and statistical cues compete for dominance. Whereas some infants’ pupils synchronized more to prosodic words, other infants’ pupils synchronized to statistical words. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that at least some German-learning infants can segment such a speech stream with statistical cues. In addition, we showed for the first time that this variability in word segmentation at 9 months is related to later language development. In sum, our results reveal individual differences in the relative weighting of statistical and prosodic cues in infants of the same age and how these differences influence later language development. We, therefore, open new research questions for further research.
This project was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2022.105054

Paper of the Month, February 2022

Outcomes of a Delirium Prevention Program in Older Persons After Elective Surgery: A Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial

Authors: Friederike Deeken, Alba Sánchez, Michael A. Rapp, Michael Denkinger, Simone Brefka, Juliane Spank,Carola Bruns, Christine A. F. von Arnim, Olivia C. Küster, Lars O. Conzelmann, Brigitte R. Metz, Christoph Maurer, Yoanna Skrobik, Oksana Forkavets, Gerhard W. Eschweiler, & Christine Thomas

Comment: Postoperative delirium is the most common complication following surgical procedures in elderly patients and can be associated with a number of short- and long-term consequences, including increased morbidity and mortality, cognitive impairment, and increased institutionalization rates. The PAWEL study investigated whether the use of a multimodal, multisector, nonpharmacologic intervention leads to a reduction in postoperative delirium in patients over the age of 70 who have undergone elective surgery. Unique to the study is the transsectoral approach with a 12-month follow-up with regard to the long-term consequences of delirium.
The results of the study, with a total of 1470 patients, demonstrate the effectiveness of the intervention. The PAWEL study demonstrates that a structured, non-pharamacological intervention is a safe and effective preventive measure to reduce the incidence of postoperative delirium in the elderly. However, this effect was not demonstrated for patients undergoing cardiac surgery. The publication appeared in JAMA Surgery, the world's most important journal for surgery.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2021.6370

Paper of the Month, January 2022

Effects of competence feedback on therapist competence and patient outcome: A randomized controlled trial

Authors: Florian Weck, Yvonne M. Junga, Reinhold Kliegl, Daniela Hahn, Katharina Brucker, & Michael Witthöft

Comment: In the present study, a randomized controlled design was used to investigate whether psychotherapy can be improved by feedback (regarding the implementation of the treatment). It was found that feedback improved the quality of the therapy, but not the outcome of the treatment (i.e., there was no difference between the feedback and control groups in terms of patient symptomatology). These findings raise important questions regarding previous assumptions about how psychotherapy works. The work also involves an innovative approach to the analysis of the data. The project was funded by the German Research Foundation (WE 4654/7).

(A pdf version of the paper can be requested from Florian Weck.)

Link: https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000686


UFSKW Papers of the Month 2021

Papers of the Month, January 2021

Papers of the Month, February 2021

Paper of the Month, March 2021

Paper of the Month, April 2021

Paper of the Month, May 2021

Paper of the Month, June 2021

Papers of the Month, July & August 2021

Paper of the Month, September 2021

Paper of the Month, October 2021

Paper of the Month, November 2021

Paper of the Month, December 2021