L’influence de l’apprentissage du langage écrit sur les aires du langage/The impact of literacy on the language brain areas Régine Kolinsky ULB 2014 10

Kolinsky, R., Morais, J., Cohen, L., Dehaene-Lambertz, G. & Dehaene, S. (2014). L’influence de l’apprentissage du langage écrit sur les aires du langage/The impact of literacy on the language brain areas. Revue de Neuropsychologie, 6, 173-181.

L’acquisition de la lecture et de l’écriture, ou littératie,constitue vraisemblablement l’un des plus puissants instruments de transformation cognitive et cérébrale que nous acquérons au cours de notre vie. Dans cette revue, nous discutons du fait que, en plus de permettre l’acquisition de nouvelles connaissances (par l’intermédiaire de la lecture) et le stockage extérieur de l’information (via les notes manuscrites, les livres, les ordinateurs, etc.), la littéeatie entraîne trois grands types de changements dans les circuits cérébraux du langage. Nous illustrons le fait que l’apprentissage de l’écrit mène non seulement à une activation des aires du langage parlé par l’écrit, mais aussi à des modifications du traitement du langage parlé lui-même, et ce par deux mécanismes. En effet, la littératie améliore le codage phonologique (dans le planum temporale) et conduit, dans certaines situations d’écoute, à une activation « top-down » des représentations orthographiques (dans le cortex occipito-temporal gauche). En outre, l’acquisition de la littératie s’accompagne de changements anatomiques, notamment dans la connectivité intra- et inter-hémisphérique. Pour finir, nous discutons des implications théoriques et pratiques de ces découvertes pour les neuropsychologues.

A cultural side effect: Learning to read interferes with object identity processing Régine Kolinsky ULB 2014 10

Kolinsky, R., & Fernandes, T. (2014). A cultural side effect: Learning to read interferes with object identity processing. Frontiers in Psychology. 5: 1224 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01224

Based on the "neuronal recycling hypothesis" (Dehaene and Cohen, 2007), we examined whether reading acquisition has a cost for the recognition of non-linguistic visual materials. More specifically, we checked whether the ability to discriminate between mirror images, which develops through literacy acquisition, interferes with object identity judgments, and whether interference strength varies as a function of the nature of the non-linguistic material. To these aims we presented illiterate, late literate (who learned to read at adult age), and early literate adults with an orientation-independent, identity-based same-different comparison task in which they had to respond “same” to both physically identical and mirrored or plane-rotated images of pictures of familiar objects (Experiment 1) or of geometric shapes (Experiment 2). Interference from irrelevant orientation variations was stronger with plane rotations than with mirror images, and stronger with geometric shapes than with objects. Illiterates were the only participants almost immune to mirror variations, but only for familiar objects. Thus, the process of unlearning mirror-image generalization, necessary to acquire literacy in the Latin alphabet, has a cost for a basic function of the visual ventral object recognition stream, i.e., identification of familiar objects. This demonstrates that neural recycling is not just an adaptation to multi-use but a process of at least partial exaptation.

How formal education and literacy impact on the content and structure of semantic categories Régine Kolinsky ULB 2014 10

Kolinsky, R., Monteiro-Plantin, R. S., Mengarda, E. J., Grimm-Cabral, L., Scliar-Cabral, L., & Morais, J. (2014). How formal education and literacy impact on the content and structure of semantic categories. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 3, 106-121. DOI: 10.1016/j.tine.2014.08.001

We examined the hypothesis that formal education and literacy impact the richness and precision of semantic knowledge but not the organization of semantic categories and basic mechanisms of access to them.
In Experiment 1, adults of varying levels of formal education were presented with semantic fluency tests and a superordinate naming task. Experiment 2 examined the impact of reading proficiency on adults of varying degrees of literacy. They were presented with simple semantic, alternating semantic and phonemic fluency tasks, as well as with literacy-related, reasoning and memory tests.
Fluency was analyzed in terms of overall performance, sequential order and speed of responses. Despite lower performance, illiterates and adults with null or limited formal education displayed taxonomic clustering and retrieval by semantic subcategory, as did participants with higher formal education levels. Yet, formal education and literacy slightly speed up access to categories, probably providing useful cues for generating category exemplars.

How learning to read influences language and cognition Régine Kolinsky ULB 2014 10

Kolinsky, R. (2015). How learning to read influences language and cognition. In A. Pollatsek & R. Treiman (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Reading. New York: Oxford University Press (pp. 377-393). doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199324576.013.29.

As illustrated in this handbook, a substantial body of work now exists that examines which factors
and functions affect reading acquisition and reading pro ciency, and which brain areas are involved. The converse relationship—namely, which functions and brain areas are affected by literacy—has received
far less attention, probably because reading acquisition lags speech and vision by several years and because the crucial comparison of illiterate adults with people who learned to read as adults is difficult to undertake. However, this chapter illustrates that learning to read has profound influences on the processing of spoken language and beyond the domain of language, in particular on visual nonlinguistic perception. The chapter discusses research with literate adults in these areas, including the influence of spelling knowledge on speech perception. It also covers research with illiterate adults and on people who first learned to read as adults.

Selectivity in associative learning: A cognitive stage framework for blocking and cue competition phenomena Tom Beckers KUL 2014 10

Blocking is the most important phenomenon in the history of associative learning theory: For over 40 years, blocking has inspired a whole generation of learning models. Blocking is part of a family of effects that are typically termed “cue competition” effects. Common amongst all cue competition effects is that a cue-outcome relation is poorly learned or poorly expressed because the cue is trained in the presence of an alternative predictor or cause of the outcome. We provide an overview of the cognitive processes involved in cue competition effects in humans and propose a stage framework that brings these processes together. The framework contends that the behavioral display of cue competition is cognitively construed following three stages that include (1) an encoding stage, (2) a retention stage, and (3) a performance stage. We argue that the stage framework supports a comprehensive understanding of cue competition effects.

Program 3rd COOL meeting Tom Beckers KUL 2014 11  
New frontiers in the rubber hand experiment: When a robotic hand becomes one’s own Axel Cleeremans ULB 2014 12

Caspar, E., De Beir, A., Magalhaes de Saldanha Da Gama, P., Yernaux, F., Cleeremans, A. & Vanderborght, B.
Behaviour Research Methods - doi:10.3758/s13428-014-0498-3

The rubber hand illusion is an experimental para- digm in which participants consider a fake hand to be part of their body. This paradigm has been used in many domains of psychology (i.e., research on pain, body ownership, agency) and is of clinical importance. The classic rubber hand para- digm nevertheless suffers from limitations, such as the ab- sence of active motion or the reliance on approximate mea- surements, which makes strict experimental conditions diffi- cult to obtain. Here, we report on the development of a novel technology—a robotic, user- and computer-controllable hand—that addresses many of the limitations associated with the classic rubber hand paradigm. Because participants can actively control the robotic hand, the device affords higher realism and authenticity. Our robotic hand has a comparative- ly low cost and opens up novel and innovative methods. In order to validate the robotic hand, we have carried out three experiments. The first two studies were based on previous research using the rubber hand, while the third was specific to the robotic hand. We measured both sense of agency and ownership. Overall, results show that participants experienced a “robotic hand illusion” in the baseline conditions. Furthermore, we also replicated previous results about agency and ownership.

A Propositional Model of Implicit Evaluation Jan De Houwer UGENT 2015 01

De Houwer, J. (2014). A Propositional Model of Implicit Evaluation. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 8, 342-353.

Implicit evaluation can be defined as the automatic effect of stimuli on evaluative responses. A major advantage of this definition is that it is neutral with regard to the mental processes and representations that mediate implicit evaluation. Whereas many existing models postulate that implicit evaluation is mediated by the automatic spreading of activation along associations in memory, it is also possible to entertain the idea that implicit evaluation is due to the automatic formation or activation of propositions. In line with such a propositional model of implicit evaluation, evidence suggests that implicit evaluation (a) can be based on instructions and inferences, (b) is sensitive to information about how stimuli are related, and (c) can reflect several propositions that differ only with regard to how stimuli are related. Although it might be difficult to differentiate between propositional models on the one hand and association-activation or dual-process models on the other hand, merely considering the idea that implicit evaluation might be mediated by propositions offers a new perspective on existing findings and leads to novel predictions about the conditions under which implicit evaluation occurs.

Do CS-US pairings actually matter? A within-subject comparison of instructed fear conditioning with and without actual CS-US pairings Jan De Houwer UGENT 2015 01

Raes, A. K., De Houwer, J., De Schryver, M., Brass, M., & Kalisch, R. (2014). Do CS-US pairings actually matter? A within-subject comparison of instructed fear conditioning with and without actual CS-US pairings. PLoS ONE 9(1): e84888. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084888

Previous research showed that instructions about CS-US pairings can lead to fear of the CS even when the pairings are never presented.In the present study, we examined whether the experience of CS-US pairings adds to the effect of instructions by comparing instructed conditioning with and without actual CS-US pairings in a within-subject design. Thirty-two participants saw three fractals as CSs (CS+1, CS+2, CS-) and received electric shocks as USs. Before the start of a so-called training phase, participants were instructed that both CS+1 and CS+2 would be followed by the US, but only CS+1 was actually paired with the US. The absence of the US after CS+2 was explained in such a way that participants would not doubt the instructions about the CS+2-US relation. After the training phase, a test phase was carried out. In this phase, participants expected the US after both CS+s but none of the CS+s was actually paired with the US. During test, self-reported fear was initially higher for CS+1 than for CS+2, which indicates that the experience of actual CS-US pairings adds to instructions about these pairings. On the other hand, the CS+s elicited similar skin conductance responses and US expectancies. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.

COOL3 – WP3 update Jan De Houwer UGENT 2015 01

Powerpoint slides used for the progress report of WP3 at the annual IUAP meeting, Leuven, 11 December 2014

COOL 3 – WP6 Update Nura Sidarus UCL.UK 2015 01  
COOL3 – WP7 update Axel Cleeremans ULB 2015 02  
COOL3 – Irène_Cogliati_talk Irène Cogliati Dezza ULB 2015 02  
COOL ANNUAL REPORT #2 (2014) Axel Cleeremans ULB 2015 02  
Luyten L., Boddez Y., Hermans D. (2015). Positive appraisal style: the mental immune system?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 38, e112. Yannick Boddez KUL 2015 02  


Mechanisms of conscious and unconscious learning