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Key Publications 2019

Hubers, F.C.W., Cucchiarini, C., Strik, H. & Dijkstra, A.F.J. (2019). Normative data of Dutch idiomatic expressions: Subjective judgments you can bank on. Frontiers in Psychology, 10:1075. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01075

The processing of idiomatic expressions like hit the road or turn the tables is a topical issue in empirical research. Important determinants of idiom processing like idiom familiarity and idiom transparency are usually measured through subjective judgements that appear to be questionable.

This study investigated the reliability of subjective judgements, the relation between subjective and objective idiom frequency, and the impact of these dimensions on the participants’ idiom knowledge by collecting normative data of five subjective idiom properties from 390 native speakers and objective corpus frequency for 374 Dutch idiomatic expressions. The results show high reliability (D-coefficient) and provide important methodological and theoretical insights.​

Reijnierse, W.G., Burgers, C., Bolognesi, M. & Krennmayr, T. (2019). How Polysemy Affects Concreteness Ratings: The Case of Metaphor. Cognitive Science, 43 (8):e12779. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12779

In this paper, Reijnierse, Burgers, Bolognesi and Krennmayr argue that metaphoricity should be taken into account to increase the validity of frequently-used concreteness ratings. By presenting the items to be rated in isolation (i.e., without a definition), many rating studies ignore the fact that words may be polysemous. This is particularly problematic for metaphorical words, which typically describe something abstract in terms of something more concrete. By collecting and comparing concreteness ratings for metaphorical versus non-metaphorical meanings of a series of nouns, the authors show that nouns are perceived as less concrete when a metaphorical (versus non-metaphorical) meaning is triggered.

Tamati, T., Janse, E., & Baskent, D. (2019). Perceptual discrimination of speaking style under cochlear implant simulation. Ear & Hearing, 40, 63-76. DOI: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000591

Acoustic-phonetic cues in the speech signal differentiating between speaking styles are poorly encoded in cochlear implants (CIs), which may render discrimination of speaking style difficult. The present study investigated perception of different speaking styles in normal-hearing (NH) listeners with and without CI simulation. Utterances were presented with unmodified speaking rates in experiment 1 and with modified speaking rates (set to an average rate) in experiment 2. NH listeners’ ability to discriminate the speaking styles was reduced under CI simulation. The rate manipulation showed that listeners may use additional cues to perform the task in the absence of more salient cues.

Stöhr, A., Benders, A.T., Hell, J.G. van & Fikkert, J.P.M. (2019). Bilingual preschoolers' speech is associated with non-native maternal language input. Language Learning and Development, 15 (1), 75-100. doi: 10.1080/15475441.2018.1533473

Bilingual children are often exposed to non-native speech, but the relation between their speech production and speech input remains largely unexplored. This study investigated productions of voice onset time (VOT) by Dutch-German bilingual preschoolers and their late-bilingual mothers. The findings show that maternal VOT predicts bilingual children’s VOT in the heritage language as well as in the majority language. By contrast, no input-production association was observed in monolingual German-speaking and Dutch-speaking children. These results constitute the first empirical evidence that non-native and attrited maternal speech contribute to the often-observed linguistic differences between bilingual children and their monolingual peers.

Mak, M., & Willems, R. M. (2019). Mental simulation during literary reading: Individual differences revealed with eye-tracking. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(4), 511–535. https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2018.1552007

We used eyetracking to study mental simulation during literary reading. We pinpointed how different kinds of simulation (perceptual and motor simulation, mentalising) affect reading behaviour. We collected eye-tracking and questionnaire data from 102 participants, who read three literary short stories. The results show fundamental differences between different kinds of simulation. Motor simulation reduces gaze duration (faster reading), whereas perceptual simulation and mentalising increase gaze duration (slower reading). Individual differences in simulation were related to individual differences in story world absorption and story appreciation. In this experiment we combine on-task measurements of literary reading with off-task subjective experience to get better insight into how people mentally simulate what they read.