Séminaire de psycholinguistique (Printemps 2016)



Responsables: Prof. Ulrich Frauenfelder, Dr Julie Franck

Les séminaires ont lieu les lundis de 12h15 à 13h45 dans la salle M3393 à Uni Mail


Programme des invités externes

29 Janvier 2016

Sven Mattys (University of York, UK), Effects of cognitive load on speech perception

Improving the validity of speech-recognition models requires an understanding of how speech is processed in everyday life. Unlike listening conditions leading to a degradation of the signal (e.g., noise), adverse conditions that do not alter the integrity of the signal (e.g., cognitive load, CL) have been under-studied. Drawing upon behavioural and imaging methods, our research shows that CL reduces sensitivity to phonetic detail and increases reliance on lexical knowledge. Importantly, we also show that increased reliance on lexical knowledge under CL is a cascaded effect of impoverished phonetic processing, not a direct consequence of CL. A CL-related deactivation of parts of the auditory cortex associated with early phonetic analysis confirms the early, sensory locus of CL. Ways of integrating CL into the functional architecture of existing speech-recognition models are presented.


8 Février 2016

Timothy C. Papadopoulos (Univ. Nicosie ; Chair of the Department of Psychology Founding  (CAN)), PA and RAN: Demystifying their relationship with word reading

Phonological awareness (PA) and rapid automatized naming (RAN) have been shown to be strong predictors of reading in several alphabetic and nonalphabetic languages, accounting for unique variance above and beyond general cognitive ability, short-term memory or letter knowledge. However, until recently little was known about the nature and conceptualization of these skills and the reasons why PA and RAN are related to word reading, an uncertainty that emanated from both PA’s and RAN’s multi-componential nature. This lecture focuses on the longitudinal evaluation of theory-driven conceptualizations of PA and RAN in a sufficiently transparent orthography (Greek) in two different cohorts of young readers, using advanced techniques within SEM. It also reports findings from studies aiming to understand the RAN-reading relationship on the basis of the partition of RAN total time into its constituent components (articulation and pause time). Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.


29 Février 2016

Silvia Roncoli (UCL Institute of Education), Phonological and semantic processes in children aged years with different types of developmental dyslexia

The locus of naming impairment in dyslexic children has been attributed to difficulty in retrieving the phonological representations of words due to a phonological deficit, but previous studies did not include an independent assessment of dyslexics’ phonological abilities. Moreover, recent research indicates that dyslexia is not a homogeneous disorder and that there can be different underlying causes. The aim of the present study was to revisit the phonological deficit hypothesis of naming problems in dyslexic children, and to investigate naming in relation to different reading profiles. Thirty-five dyslexic children aged 8-9 years and 122 typically developing (TD) children aged 4 to 9 were assessed. Standardised and newly developed tasks of naming, phonology and semantics, were employed. Dyslexic children were assigned to subtypes on the basis of nonword and irregular word reading. Overall, results indicated that a naming and phonological deficit was apparent in the sample of dyslexic children when compared to age-matched controls, but naming accuracy was in line with that of reading age controls. However, only the children classified as having a primary sublexical reading deficit were identified as having a naming and phonological deficit. The findings are consistent with the view that classifying developmental reading difficulties is crucial in order to identify underlying deficits and to provide targeted remediation.


14 Mars 2016

Arne Lervåg (Université d’Oslo, Norvège), Development of Reading Comprehension and General Language Skills: Can General Language Skills be Enhanced by Training?

This talk consists of two parts: 1) the reciprocal development of reading comprehension and general language skills in primary school and 2) the training of general language skills in children with poor language skills in kindergarten.

In the first part we show that language is a consistent predictor of the growth of both early and later reading comprehension skills. In addition, language and word decoding explains almost all individual differences (approximate 95%) in the early years of primary school. Later on it still explains a lot of variance but not all (approximate 70% in Grade six). Further, even if general Language skills have an extreme relative stability between second and sixth grade, both beginning and early growth of reading comprehension are able to explain additional variance beyond the strong autoregressor – suggesting a reciprocal development.

In the second part we rapport the results of two randomized control trials (RCT’s) where we aimed to train general language skills in 1) minority speaking children and 2) monolingual children with poor language skills.  The results show that it is possible to train language skills in both groups and to get moderate to large effects on several distal measures (vocabulary, grammar narrative retelling). However, even if the results suggest that it is possible to train several important language components it is difficult to reach a general language factor and thereby improve the language skills all over.


25 avril 2016

Pierre Barrouillet (Université de Genève), Verbal working memory within the TBRS model

 The time-Based Resource-Sharing model of working memory (TBRS, Barrouillet & Camos, 2015) assumes that processing and storage share a unique and limited attentional resource, a central bottleneck constraining these activities to take place one at a time. Thus, the model predicts that any kind of attention demanding processing (either verbal or visuospatial) should interfere with the maintenance of any kind of material, something that has been observed in several experiments. However, there seems to be an asymmetry between visuospatial and verbal working memory. Whereas there is no domain-specific mechanism dedicated to the maintenance of visuospatial information, which relies on a central attentional system akin to an episodic buffer, verbal information can be indifferently maintained in this central mechanism or in an articulatory loop. After having described the WM architecture hypothesized by the TBRS model, I review a series of studies that aimed at exploring the structure and functioning of verbal working memory within the TBRS framework and the differences between the two maintenance systems for verbal information.

9 mai 2016

Alexandra Reis (Univ. Algarve), The cognitive profile of adults and children with dyslexia in a semi-transparent orthography (European Portuguese): where are the differences ?

Cross-linguistic research on typically developing and dyslexic children demonstrates that cognitive predictors of reading and dyslexia are universal but that orthographic consistency does have an impact on the rate at which reading develops and the ways in which symptoms are expressed. Although these studies are important to investigate if orthographic consistency can influence the dynamic of reading predictors during the first years of literacy, they do not address questions about long-term stability or the patterns of prediction at different stages of development (from childhood to adulthood). Behavioral profiles and concurrent predictors of reading in adults with developmental dyslexia can provide valuable insight into long-term stability of the cognitive predictors identified in children. In this lecture we will review a set of studies (with dyslexic adults and children) that show a developmental change of predictors of word reading from childhood to adulthood. Despite some developmental changes probably explained by increasing reading automaticity, the data from adults with dyslexia are in agreement with the idea that the concurrent cognitive predictors of reading impairments are universal and have persisted from childhood.

23 mai 2016

Géraldine Legendre (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore), Early L1 knowledge of Subject-Verb agreement: Evidence from comprehension and early

By the age of 3 children spontaneously produce agreeing third person singular and plural verbal forms, which they reportedly don’t comprehend until the age of 5 (Johnson, de Villiers, & Seymour, 2005 for English; Pérez-Leroux, 2005 for Spanish). This has been attributed to the un-interpretable nature of the number features involved. I present two sets of experimental evidence in children ranging from 14 months to ~5 years of age, depending on the language (French, Spanish). The first set of results from preferential looking and pointing tasks reveals that comprehension is not universally late. Miscomprehension, when present, is best characterized as relative mis-perception of agreement markers. The second set of experimental evidence pertains to very early sensitivity to (un-)grammaticality of French Subject-Verb agreement dependencies in

preverbal children, as well as their changing preferences for (un-)grammatical stimuli over the course of 10 months (from 14 to 24 months of age). I propose to interpret these changes as evidence for young children’s maturing agreement representations, from surface phonological to abstract number feature-based dependencies and provide independent experimental evidence regarding coordinated singular subjects that knowledge at 24 months is indeed feature-based. Overall, young children’s knowledge of Subject-Verb agreement is abstract and productive by the time they spontaneously produce any verbal forms.


6 juin 2016

Dr. Nicolas Dumay (University of Exeter, United Kingdom, and BCBL. Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Spain), On the pivotal role of memory consolidation in the formation of lexical entries

In this talk, I will present behavioural and ERP data on orthographic processing confirming the role of memory consolidation in the development of fully fleshed lexical representations. I will also illustrate one methodology capitalising on consolidation in order to examine the role of phonological neighbours in speech production and explain recently observed crosslinguistic discrepancies.


27 juin 2016

Prof. Rushen Shi (Université du Québec à Montréal), Development of Liaison Parsing in Infants

Previous studies showed that infants from 6 months of age have remarkable abilities to use statistical cues to segment words (e.g., Saffran, Aslin & Newport, 1996; Thiessen & Saffran, 2003). In those studies the syllable was the unit for statistical computation, with word boundaries always aligned with syllabic boundaries. It is unclear whether infants can use statistical cues to segment sub-syllabic units, which are misaligned with syllabic edges. Natural languages have sub-syllabic units. In French liaison, for example, consonants are prefix-like units (e.g., the plural morpheme /z/) that surface as the syllabic onset of the following vowel-initial word, yielding misalignment of syllabic and word boundaries and making segmentation potentially harder, especially for infants who do not yet know many words. In this talk I will present our experiments on the early development of liaison parsing (e.g., Babineau & Shi, 2014, 2016), showing that statistical segmentation is constrained in early infancy. Furthermore, we found that when liaison parsing later emerges (by age 24 months), top-down processing starts to bias infants’ interpretation of word boundaries in liaison and liaison-like cases. Lab website: http://www.gr.uqam.ca/Anglais/research.htm

23 février 2016