Brain and Language Research Institute

Marseille, France

Brain and Language Research Institute

Marseille, France
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Snell J.,Aix - Marseille University | Snell J.,Brain and Language Research Institute | Meeter M.,VU University Amsterdam | Grainger J.,Aix - Marseille University | Grainger J.,French National Center for Scientific Research
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

A hotly debated issue in reading research concerns the extent to which readers process parafoveal words, and how parafoveal information might influence foveal word recognition. We investigated syntactic word processing both in sentence reading and in reading isolated foveal words when these were flanked by parafoveal words. In Experiment 1 we found a syntactic parafoveal preview benefit in sentence reading, meaning that fixation durations on target words were decreased when there was a syntactically congruent preview word at the target location (n) during the fixation on the pre-Target (n-1). In Experiment 2 we used a flanker paradigm in which participants had to classify foveal target words as either noun or verb, when those targets were flanked by syntactically congruent or incongruent words (stimulus on-Time 170 ms). Lower response times and error rates in the congruent condition suggested that higher-order (syntactic) information can be integrated across foveal and parafoveal words. Although higher-order parafoveal-on-foveal effects have been elusive in sentence reading, results from our flanker paradigm show that the reading system can extract higher-order information from multiple words in a single glance. We propose a model of reading to account for the present findings. © 2017 Snell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Grainger J.,Aix - Marseille University | Grainger J.,Brain and Language Research Institute | Dufau S.,Aix - Marseille University | Dufau S.,Brain and Language Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences | Year: 2016

Different fields of research within the cognitive sciences have investigated basic processes in reading, but progress has been hampered by limited cross-fertilization. We propose a theoretical framework aimed at facilitating integration of findings obtained via these different approaches with respect to the impact of visual factors on reading. We describe a specialized system for parallel letter processing that assigns letter identities to different locations along the horizontal meridian within the limits imposed by visual acuity and crowding. Spatial attention is used to set up this system during reading development, and difficulty in doing so has repercussions in terms of efficient translation of the orthographic code into its phonological counterpart, and fast access to semantics from print. Processing of orthographic information begins with scale-invariant gaze-centered letter detectors that conjunctively encode letter identity and letter location. Visual acuity, crowding, and spatial attention conjointly determine activity in these gaze-centered letter detectors.Location-invariant orthographic processing involves the computation of orthographic chunks and orthographic features. Orthographic chunks encode highly co-occurring letter combinations using precise information about letter order. Orthographic features encode diagnostic information with respect to word identity using more flexible letter position information.Orthographic processing operates in parallel across multiple words and is pooled into a single processing channel, hence allowing orthographic overlap across neighboring words in a sentence to exert a mutually facilitatory influence. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

German E.S.,Aix - Marseille University | German E.S.,SIM University | Herschensohn J.,University of Washington | Frenck-Mestre C.,Aix - Marseille University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Neurolinguistics | Year: 2015

This study investigated offline, behavioral, and online cortical responses to French clitic and strong pronouns by two groups of anglophone learners (L2) and native French controls. English in situ object pronouns behave morphosyntactically like full lexical noun phrases (I saw Bill/I saw him), whereas in French they are cliticized to the verb (J'ai vu Guillaume/Je l'ai vu/*J'ai vu le/. lui). We used ERPs, known to be sensitive to word order and morphological violations in natives, to investigate neural responses to word order violations of in situ pronouns. Results indicate native sensitivity to ungrammatical in situ pronoun placement in offline (grammaticality judgment (GJ)), as well as online end-of-sentence and ERP responses, notably a robust P600. L2 groups demonstrated distinct capacities according to level. Both high- and low-intermediates showed online cortical sensitivity to ungrammatical in situ prounouns, producing a P600 in response to such violations (though with distributions that sometimes differed from native controls). However, on behavioral measures the L2 groups differed, both from natives and from each other. Native controls correctly rejected more in situ clitic and strong pronouns than both the L2 groups, and the high-intermediate group correctly rejected more than the low-intermediate group. For natives, the similarity of online/offline responses confirmed a grammaticalized representation and processing of pronouns. Both groups of learners showed a stronger ERP response to in situ pronoun placement than behavioral data would suggest. This is especially true for low-intermediate learners who, despite high rates of acceptance of strong pronouns/clitics in situ, showed a cortical response in the P600 window though without the canonical topography of the native response. While both learner groups are apparently using (at least some) L1 English settings for pronoun placement, their cortical response clearly demonstrates unconscious increasing sensitivity to French parameters. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Intartaglia B.,Aix - Marseille University | Intartaglia B.,Brain and Language Research Institute | White-Schwoch T.,Northwestern University | Meunier C.,Brain and Language Research Institute | And 5 more authors.
Neuropsychologia | Year: 2016

The development of the phoneme inventory is driven by the acoustic-phonetic properties of one's native language. Neural representation of speech is known to be shaped by language experience, as indexed by cortical responses, and recent studies suggest that subcortical processing also exhibits this attunement to native language. However, most work to date has focused on the differences between tonal and non-tonal languages that use pitch variations to convey phonemic categories. The aim of this cross-language study is to determine whether subcortical encoding of speech sounds is sensitive to language experience by comparing native speakers of two non-tonal languages (French and English). We hypothesized that neural representations would be more robust and fine-grained for speech sounds that belong to the native phonemic inventory of the listener, and especially for the dimensions that are phonetically relevant to the listener such as high frequency components. We recorded neural responses of American English and French native speakers, listening to natural syllables of both languages. Results showed that, independently of the stimulus, American participants exhibited greater neural representation of the fundamental frequency compared to French participants, consistent with the importance of the fundamental frequency to convey stress patterns in English. Furthermore, participants showed more robust encoding and more precise spectral representations of the first formant when listening to the syllable of their native language as compared to non-native language. These results align with the hypothesis that language experience shapes sensory processing of speech and that this plasticity occurs as a function of what is meaningful to a listener. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Molina A.,University of Avignon | SanJuan E.,University of Avignon | SanJuan E.,Brain and Language Research Institute | Torres-Moreno J.-M.,University of Avignon | And 2 more authors.
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2013

This paper deals with a new strategy to evaluate a Natural Language Processing (NLP) complex task using the Turing test. Automatic summarization based on sentence compression requires to asses informativeness and modify inner sentence structures. This is much more intrinsically related with real rephrasing than plain sentence extraction and ranking paradigm so new evaluation methods are needed. We propose a novel imitation game to evaluate Automatic Summarization by Compression (ASC). Rationale of this Turing-like evaluation could be applied to many other NLP complex tasks like Machine translation or Text Generation. We show that a state of the art ASC system can pass such a test and simulate a human summary in 60% of the cases. © 2013 Springer-Verlag.

Pope S.M.,Georgia State University | Pope S.M.,Aix - Marseille University | Meguerditchian A.,Aix - Marseille University | Meguerditchian A.,Brain and Language Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Animal Cognition | Year: 2015

Cognitive set can be both helpful and harmful in problem solving. A large set of similar problems may be solved mechanically by applying a single-solution method. However, efficiency might be sacrificed if a better solution exists and is overlooked. Despite half a century of research on cognitive set, there have been no attempts to investigate whether it occurs in nonhuman species. The current study utilized a nonverbal, computer task to compare cognitive set between 104 humans and 15 baboons (Papio papio). A substantial difference was found between humans’ and baboons’ abilities to break cognitive set. Consistent with previous studies, the majority of humans were highly impaired by set, yet baboons were almost completely unaffected.Analysis of the human data revealed that children (aged 7–10) were significantly better able to break set than adolescents (11–18) and adults (19–68). Both the evolutionary and developmental implications of these findings are discussed. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Fagot J.,Aix - Marseille University | Fagot J.,Brain and Language Research Institute | Gullstrand J.,Aix - Marseille University | Gullstrand J.,Brain and Language Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2014

Fagot and Paleressompoulle [Fagot and Paleressompoulle (2009) Behav Res Methods 41: 396-404] described a new automated learning device for monkeys (ALDM) to test the cognitive functions of nonhuman primates within their social groups. However, the impact of the ALDM procedure on animal well-being needs to be investigated. The present study assessed the consequences of ALDM testing on the behavioral repertoire of Guinea baboons (Papio papio) and their stress levels as inferred from measurements of saliva cortisol. Accessibility to ALDM test computers reduced the number of resting periods as well as the number of stereotypies. Lower cortisol levels were also found during ALDM testing. These findings and others demonstrate that ALDM testing has a positive impact on animal well-being and can be considered as a means for behavioral enrichment in captive primates. Am. J. Primatol. 76:56-64, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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