O PPGI, PPGLg e o LABLING convidam para o Seminário
Language use and language processing across the lifespan
Fundo Newton/FAPESC/CONFAP/REINO UNIDO
Local: Sala Machado de Assis (CCE Bloco B – 4o. andar)
Language processing and use across the lifespan
Coordenadora: Mailce Borges Mota (UFSC/CNPq)
Debatedora: Roberta Pires de Oliveira (UFSC/CNPq)
Syntactic priming effects as measured in syntactic choices and the timing of sentence generation
Katrien Segaert (University of Birmingham)
Syntactic priming refers to the facilitation that occurs in syntactic processing when a syntactic structure is repeated across consecutive sentences (i.e. a prime and a target sentence). This has frequently been observed as a tendency to repeat passives across sentences. More recently, researchers have found that a target sentence with a repeated syntactic structure is also produced faster. I will present my most recent paper on syntactic priming (Segaert, Wheeldon & Hagoort, 2016, Journal of Memory and Language). In two behavioural experiments we investigated whether structural priming of production latencies are sensitive to the same factors known to influence structural priming of choices, using active/passive voice alternation in a picture description paradigm. The Two-stage Competition model (Segaert et al, 2014) is an integrated model of structural priming effects for both aspects of sentences generation, and predicts that structural priming effects on both choices and latencies will be modulated by: a) cumulativity (i.e. exposure to multiple primes vs. 1 prime), b) verb repetition between prime and target, and c) structure preference (i.e. the frequency with which the structure occurs in the language). In Experiment 1 we tested for immediate and long-lasting cumulative effects of structural priming. In choices we found priming for passives to be influenced by immediate and long-lasting cumulativity. In latencies we found priming for actives sensitive to long-lasting cumulativity. In Experiment 2 we tested whether the structural priming effects are boosted by verb repetition. In choices we found priming of passives to be boosted by verb repetition. In latencies we found priming for actives overall, while for passives the priming effects revealed as the cumulative exposure increased but only when also aided by verb repetition. Since actives versus passives are high versus low frequent structures respectively, we could also assess the effect of structure preference on priming observed in both dependent measures. In both experiments there were priming effects in choices only for passives (i.e. referred to as the inverse preference effect), while the effects in latencies were stronger for the actives (i.e. referred to as the positive preference effect). These findings are consistent with the Two-stage Competition model suggesting that common mechanisms underpin structural priming observed in the choice and latency of sentence generation.
Reading disorder in the brain: a longitudinal study
Augusto Buchweitz (PUCRS)
I will present recent brain imaging data of a study of brain correlates of dyslexia. The goal of the study is to investigate functional and connectivity differences in dyslexic children relative to typical readers in the brain. The results show (1) more activation of the anterior cingulate cortex for typical readers; and (2) decreased connectivity in dyslexic’s occipitotemporal (visual word form area) region and the posterior cingulate cortex. The results suggest executive control processes associated with typical reading development, and impaired connectivity between a key area for reading and the brain’s posterior cingulate cortex. The results are discussed in the light of noninvasive brain imaging evidence on atypical brain function in dyslexia.
EEG changes during word processing predict MCI conversion to Alzheimer’s disease
Ali Mazaheri (University of Birminhgam)
Over half of the individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) progress to develop dementia within 5 years of MCI diagnosis. The objective of the current study was to identify EEG (electroencephalography) markers related to the processing of words which could predict conversion of MCI to dementia. EEG recordings were obtained during a language comprehension task in which a phrase describing a category (e.g., `a type of wood’, `a breakfast food’) was presented first, followed by a single target word that was either congruent (i.e., oak, pancake) or incongruent with the category established by the preceding phrase. We examined the EEG recordings of 25 patients with MCI (mean age 73.2 years), a subset of whom developed Alzheimer’s disease within 3 years, as well as 11 matched controls (mean age 74.1 years). We found that anomalies in the EEG signal during the lexical processing of single words could distinguish stable MCI individuals from those who would convert into dementia 3 years later. We believe these anomalies detected using EEG are related to subtle neural break down that precedes observable behavioural symptoms.
About the speakers:
I am a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. The research in my lab focuses on the neurobiology of sentence level language processing, with a special focus on how syntactic and semantic processing are instantiated in the brain and how the neurobiological infrastructure for sentence processing changes throughout the lifespan. I use a combination of different methodologies to answer these questions, ranging from behavioural experiments, Virtual Reality, to fMRI and hyperscanning experiments, and EEG. Before taking up a position in Birmingham, I was a staff researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. I received my PhD from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and my MA in Psychology from the University of Leuven, Belgium.
I am a professor at the graduate schools of Language/Linguistics and Medicine/Neurosciences at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grade do Sul (PUCRS). I am also the coordinator for research with fMRI at the Brain Institute at PUCRS. Currently my research interests focus on reading disorders. I am the primary investigator in an umbrella study that investigates the neurodevelopment of children in at-risk situations in Brazil; more specifically, children at-risk for learning disorders (persistent difficulties learning to read and learning maths).
I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. My laboratory is currently engaged in two independent, but complementary research lines. The first research line focuses on how neural fluctuations (quantified using EEG) prior to the onset of an event can bias perception and ultimately behavior and if these fluctuations could be regulated in a top-down fashion. My second research line focuses on using EEG as an objective biological marker for certain cognitive deficits present in attention deficit disorder, psychosis, and dementia. I completed my B.Sc in Psychology and M.Sc in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto, Canada. My PhD was completed at the FC Donders Centre of Cognitive Neuroimaging, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. I did my post-doctoral training at the Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis. Prior to starting my position in Birmingham, I was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Amsterdam.
Roberta Pires de Oliveira
I am a professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina and a member of its Graduate Program in English. I am also faculty in the Graduate Program in Letters at the Federal University of Paraná. My main research area is the semantics/pragmatics of nominal phrases across languages (CNPq research project) and of modals. I am also interested in Logic, Philosophy of Language and, more recently PsychoSemantics, which is a new branch of psycholinguistics. My perspective is naturalistic.
Mailce Borges Mota
I am a professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, faculty in its Graduate Program in English and Graduate Program in Linguistics, and director of the Language and Cognitive Processes Lab. My research focuses on the interface between language processing, memory systems, and attention. I am also interested in the effects of poverty and anxiety on language development and learning.