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    ABSTRACT: Research in children's language acquisition has recently benefited from the application of network theory to large sets of empirical data, which has illuminated interesting patterns and trends. Network theory is an extremely powerful modelling and analysis tool, and its full potential in terms of extracting useful information from raw data has yet to be exploited. In the present paper, we argue that well-established network analysis techniques can, and should be applied to the study of language acquisition, in order to reveal otherwise invisible patterns. We show that a key network parameter – the ranked frequency distribution of the links – provides useful information about the data, even though it had been previously neglected in this domain.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Young English-speaking children often produce utterances with missing 3sg -s (e.g., *He play). Since the mid 1990s, such errors have tended to be treated as Optional Infinitive (OI) errors, in which the verb is a non-finite form (e.g., Wexler, 1998; Legate & Yang, 2007). The present article reports the results of a cross-sectional elicited-production study with 22 children (aged 3;1-4;1), which investigated the possibility that at least some apparent OI errors reflect a process of defaulting to the form with the highest frequency in the input. Across 48 verbs, a significant negative correlation was observed between the proportion of 'bare' vs. 3sg -s forms in a representative input corpus and the rate of 3sg -s production. This finding suggests that, in addition to other learning mechanisms that yield such errors cross-linguistically, at least some of the OI errors produced by English-speaking children reflect a process of defaulting to a high-frequency/phonologically simple form.
    Journal of Child Language 06/2014; 41(4):756-779.
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    ABSTRACT: The limits of generalization of our 3-D shape recognition system to identifying objects by touch was investigated by testing exploration at unusual locations and using untrained effectors. In Experiments 1 and 2, people found identification by hand of real objects, plastic 3-D models of objects, and raised line drawings placed in front of themselves no easier than when exploration was behind their back. Experiment 3 compared one-handed, two-handed, one-footed, and two-footed haptic object recognition of familiar objects. Recognition by foot was slower (7 vs. 13 s) and much less accurate (9 % vs. 47 % errors) than recognition by either one or both hands. Nevertheless, item difficulty was similar across hand and foot exploration, and there was a strong correlation between an individual's hand and foot performance. Furthermore, foot recognition was better with the largest 20 of the 80 items (32 % errors), suggesting that physical limitations hampered exploration by foot. Thus, object recognition by hand generalized efficiently across the spatial location of stimuli, while object recognition by foot seemed surprisingly good given that no prior training was provided. Active touch (haptics) thus efficiently extracts 3-D shape information and accesses stored representations of familiar objects from novel modes of input.
    Attention Perception & Psychophysics 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Weight loss does not necessarily decrease the negative appraisal of a formerly overweight individual. Since past weight history tends to be disclosed in several contexts, this study aims to investigate whether negative appraisals are gender-specific and if they are modulated by the evaluators' own BMI. Methods: 202 young adults (106 male and 96 female) viewed a picture of a young attractive female (target) accompanied by one of two statements about her past weight (overweight (OW) or always kept a normal weight (NW)), and then rated her using the Fat Phobia Scale (FPS). Results: Female evaluators rated the target with the OW statement more negatively than the target with the NW statement. In contrast, males exposed to the OW statement rated the target as having fewer emotional/psychological problems and being less stupid/uncreative. BMI only influenced ratings in males, where those with higher BMI ascribed more negative attributes to the target with the NW statement than the OW statement. Conclusion: Information on weight history impacts upon the appraisal of peers. These effects are dependent on gender and BMI. Knowing that a young female was overweight triggered negative evaluations from females but did not appear to impact the judgment of males. © 2013 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg.
    Obesity Facts 10/2013; 6(5):433-442.
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated reciprocal prospective relationships between multiple behavioural impulsivity tasks (assessing delay discounting, risk-taking, and disinhibition) and alcohol involvement (consumption, drunkenness, and problems) among adolescents. We hypothesised that performance on the tasks would predict subsequent alcohol involvement, and that alcohol involvement would lead to increases in behavioural impulsivity over time. Cross-lagged prospective design in which impulsivity and alcohol involvement were assessed five times over two years (once every six months, on average). Classrooms in secondary schools in North West England. Two hundred and eighty seven adolescents (51% Male) who were aged 12 or 13 at study enrolment. Participants reported their alcohol involvement and completed computerized tasks of disinhibition, delay discounting, and risk-taking at each assessment. Cross-sectional and prospective relationships between the variables of interest were investigated using cross-lagged analyses. All behavioural impulsivity tasks predicted a composite index of alcohol involvement six months later (all ps < .01), and these prospective relationships were reliable across the majority of time points. Importantly, we did not observe the converse relationship across time: alcohol involvement did not predict performance on behavioural impulsivity tasks at any subsequent time point. Several measures of impulsivity predict escalation in alcohol involvement in young adolescents, but alcohol use does not appear to alter impulsivity.
    Addiction 06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with substance use disorders typically show an "attentional bias" for substance-related cues: Those cues are able to grab and hold the attention, in preference to other cues in the environment. We discuss the theoretical context for this work before reviewing the measurement of attentional bias, and its relationship to motivational state and relapse to substance use after a period of abstinence. Finally, we discuss the implications of this research for the treatment of substance use disorders. We conclude that attentional bias is associated with subjective craving, and that moment-by-moment fluctuations in attentional bias may precede relapse to substance use. The evidence regarding the predictive relationship between attentional bias assessed in treatment contexts and subsequent relapse is inconsistent. Furthermore, there is currently insufficient evidence to endorse attentional bias modification as a treatment for substance use disorders. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are highlighted.
    CNS spectrums 05/2013;
  • European Addiction Research 05/2013; 19(6):303-304.
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    ABSTRACT: Generativist models of grammatical development assume that children have adult-like grammatical categories from the earliest observable stages, whereas constructivist models assume that children's early categories are more limited in scope. In the present paper, we test these assumptions with respect to one particular syntactic category, the determiner. This is done by comparing controlled measures of overlap in the set of nouns with which children and their caregivers use different instances of the determiner category in their spontaneous speech. In a series of studies, we show, first, that it is important to control for both sample size and vocabulary range when comparing child and adult overlap measures; second, that, once the appropriate controls have been applied, there is significantly less overlap in the nouns with which young children use the determiners a/an and the in their speech than in the nouns with which their caregivers use these same determiners; and, third, that the level of (controlled) overlap in the nouns that the children use with the determiners a/an and the increases significantly over the course of development. The implication is that children do not have an adult-like determiner category during the earliest observable stages, and that their knowledge of the determiner category only gradually approximates that of adults as a function of their linguistic experience.
    Cognition 03/2013; 127(3):345-360.
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    ABSTRACT: RATIONALE: Alcohol dependence is characterised by motivational conflict (or ambivalence) in controlled cognitive processes, but it is unclear if ambivalence also exists within automatic cognitive processes, and if ambivalence operates between controlled and automatic processes. OBJECTIVE: To investigate ambivalence operating within and between controlled and automatic processes in alcohol dependence. METHOD: Alcohol-dependent patients who had recently completed inpatient alcohol detoxification (N = 47) and social drinking controls (N = 40) completed unipolar implicit association tests and self-report measures of alcohol approach and avoidance motivation and alcohol outcome expectancies. RESULTS: As predicted, both positive and negative alcohol outcome expectancies were stronger in alcohol-dependent patients compared to controls, indicative of ambivalence. Groups did not differ on implicit alcohol-positive associations, but alcohol-dependent participants had significantly weaker alcohol-negative associations than controls. Regression analyses revealed that implicit negative associations accounted for unique variance in group membership after controlling for alcohol outcome expectancies. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that alcohol dependent patients possess weak automatic alcohol-negative associations but not strong automatic alcohol-positive associations, and they suggest the presence of conflict between controlled and automatic processes with regard to negative alcohol cognitions.
    Psychopharmacology 03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children is a critically important issue in the context of a global childhood obesity pandemic. This special issue reviews the existing evidence and brings together a number of new and exciting research developments on this topic from leading researchers and policy advocates in the field. There is still considerable work to be done to ensure that effective regulatory regimes can be designed and implemented to reduce the impact of promotion of foods high in fat, sugar and/or salt (HFSS) on child health.
    Appetite 12/2012;
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