Richard N. Aslin's research while affiliated with University of Connecticut and other places

Publications (300)

Article
Full-text available
The ability to predict upcoming information is crucial for efficient language processing and enables more rapid language learning. The present study explored how shared reading experience influenced predictive brain signals and expressive vocabulary of 12-month-old infants. The predictive brain signals were measured by fNIRS responses in the occipi...
Article
Normative learning theories dictate that we should preferentially attend to informative sources, but only up to the point that our limited learning systems can process their content. Humans, including infants, show this predicted strategic deployment of attention. Here, we demonstrate that rhesus monkeys, much like humans, attend to events of moder...
Article
The efficiency of spoken word recognition is essential for real-time communication. There is consensus that this efficiency relies on an implicit process of activating multiple word candidates that compete for recognition as the acoustic signal unfolds in real-time. However, few methods capture the neural basis of this dynamic competition on a msec...
Article
Previous research has suggested that top-down sensory prediction facilitates, and may be necessary for, efficient transmission of information in the brain. Here we related infants’ vocabulary development to the top-down sensory prediction indexed by occipital cortex activation to the unexpected absence of a visual stimulus previously paired with an...
Preprint
The efficiency of spoken word recognition is essential for real-time communication. There is consensus that this efficiency relies on an implicit process of activating multiple word candidates that compete for recognition as the acoustic signal unfolds in real-time. However, few methods capture the neural basis of this dynamic competition on a msec...
Article
Full-text available
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive and painless recording of cerebral activity, particularly well-suited for studying young infants, allowing the inspection of cerebral responses in a constellation of different ways. Of particular interest for developmental cognitive neuroscientists is the use of rhythmic stimulation, and the analysis o...
Article
Full-text available
A key question in studies of cognitive development is whether bilingual environments impact higher-cognitive functions. Inconclusive evidence in search of a “bilingual cognitive advantage” has sparked debates on the reliability of these findings. Few studies with infants have examined this question, but most of them include small samples. The curre...
Article
Full-text available
Time-resolved multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA), a popular technique for analyzing magneto- and electro-encephalography (M/EEG) neuroimaging data, quantifies the extent and time-course by which neural representations support the discrimination of relevant stimuli dimensions. As EEG is widely used for infant neuroimaging, time-resolved MVPA of in...
Article
A large and growing body of work has documented robust illusions of area perception in adults. To date, however, there has been surprisingly little in‐depth investigation into children's area perception, despite the importance of this topic to the study of quantity perception more broadly (and to the many studies that have been devoted to studying...
Article
Understanding language neurobiology in early childhood is essential for characterizing the developmental structural and functional changes that lead to the mature adult language network. In the last two decades, the field of language neurodevelopment has received increasing attention, particularly given the rapid advances in the implementation of n...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent works suggest that striking a balance between maximizing idea stimulation and minimizing idea redundancy can elevate creativity in self-organizing social networks. We explore whether dispersing the visibility of idea generators can help achieve such a trade-off. We employ popularity signals (follower counts) of participants as an external so...
Article
Full-text available
A bilingual environment is associated with changes in the brain's structure and function. Some suggest that bilingualism also improves higher-cognitive functions in infants as young as 6-months, yet whether this effect is associated with changes in the infant brain remains unknown. In the present study, we measured brain activity using functional n...
Preprint
Normative learning theories dictate that we should preferentially attend to informative sources, but only up to the point that our limited learning systems can process their content. Humans, including infants, show this predicted strategic deployment of attention. Here we demonstrate that rhesus monkeys, much like humans, attend to events of modera...
Preprint
A large and growing body of work has documented large, robust illusions of area perception in adults. To date, however, there has been surprisingly little in-depth investigation into children’s area perception, despite the importance of this topic to the study of quantity perception more broadly (and to the many studies that have been devoted to st...
Preprint
Full-text available
Time-resolved multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA), a popular technique for analyzing magneto- and electro-encephalography (M/EEG) neuroimaging data, quantifies the extent and time-course by which neural representations support the discrimination of relevant stimuli dimensions. As EEG is widely used for infant neuroimaging, time-resolved MVPA of in...
Article
Full-text available
The characteristics of social partners have long been hypothesized as influential in guiding group interactions. Understanding how demographic cues impact networks of creative collaborators is critical for elevating creative performances therein. We conducted a randomized experiment to investigate how the knowledge of peers’ gender and racial ident...
Article
Word learning entails the mapping of an auditory word-form to its appropriate grammatical category (e.g., noun, verb, adjective), but before that mapping can occur, the naïve learner must infer which of the myriad of possible referents of that word was intended by the speaker. This creates a computational explosion of referential ambiguity referred...
Article
Significance: With the increasing popularity of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), the need to determine localization of the source and nature of the signals has grown. Aim: We compare strategies for removal of non-neural signals for a finger-thumb tapping task, which shows responses in contralateral motor cortex and a visual checkerboa...
Article
categories (i.e., groups of objects that do not share perceptual features, such as food) abound in everyday situations. The present looking time study investigated whether infants are able to distinguish between two abstract categories (food and toys), and how this ability may extend beyond perceived information by manipulating object familiarity i...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive states, such as rest and task engagement, share an 'intrinsic' functional network organization that is subject to minimal variation over time and yields stable signatures within an individual. Importantly, there are also transient state-specific functional connectivity (FC) patterns that vary across neural states. Here, we examine functio...
Article
How do we represent extent in our spatial world? Recent work has shown that even the simplest spatial judgments - estimates of 2D area - present challenges to our visual system. Indeed, area judgments are best accounted for by 'additive area' (the sum of objects' dimensions) rather than 'true area' (i.e., a pixel count). But is 'additive area' itse...
Article
Full-text available
A key goal of human neurodevelopmental research is to map neural and behavioral trajectories across both health and disease. A growing number of developmental consortia have begun to address this gap by providing open access to cross-sectional and longitudinal 'big data' repositories. However, it remains challenging to develop models that enable pr...
Article
Full-text available
Tools from computational neuroscience have facilitated the investigation of the neural correlates of mental representations. However, access to the representational content of neural activations early in life has remained limited. We asked whether patterns of neural activity elicited by complex visual stimuli (animals, human body) could be decoded...
Article
We agree with the authors regarding the utility of viewing cognition as resulting from an optimal use of limited resources. Here, we advocate for extending this approach to the study of cognitive development, which we feel provides particularly powerful insight into the debate between bounded optimality and true sub-optimality, precisely because yo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Computational tools have allowed cognitive neuroscientists to move beyond measuring neural activations to examining neural representations. However, access to the representational content of neural activations early in life has remained limited. We asked whether patterns of neural activity elicited by complex visual stimuli (animals, human body) co...
Preprint
How do we represent extent in our spatial world? Recent work has shown that even the simplest spatial judgments — estimates of 2D area — present challenges to our visual system. Indeed, area judgments are best accounted for by ‘additive area’ (the sum of objects’ dimensions) rather than ‘true area’ (i.e., a pixel count). But is ‘additive area’ itse...
Article
Human adults are adept at mitigating the influence of sensory uncertainty on task performance by integrating sensory cues with learned prior information, in a Bayes‐optimal fashion. Previous research has shown that young children and infants are sensitive to environmental regularities, and that the ability to learn and use such regularities is invo...
Preprint
Human adults are adept at mitigating the influence of sensory uncertainty on task performance by integrating sensory cues with learned prior information, in a Bayes-optimal fashion. Previous research has shown that young children and infants are sensitive to environmental regularities, and that the ability to learn and use such regularities is invo...
Article
Full-text available
Jeff Elman (1/22/1948–6/28/2018) was a major and much beloved figure in cognitive science, best known for his work on the TRACE model of speech perception, simple recurrent network models of the temporal dynamics of language processing, and his coauthored monograph, Rethinking Innateness. Beyond his individual and collaborative research, he is wide...
Article
Full-text available
Although infants acquire specific information (e.g., motion of a specific toy) and abstract information (e.g., likelihood of events repeating), it is unclear whether extraction of abstract information interferes with specific learning. In the present study, 8- to 11-month-old infants were shown four audio-visual movies, either with a mixed or unifo...
Article
Synesthetes automatically and consistently experience additional sensory or cognitive perceptions in response to particular environmental stimuli. Recent evidence suggests that the propensity to develop synesthesia is genetic while the particular associations experienced by a given synesthete are influenced by learning. Despite the potential role o...
Article
Full-text available
Recent work provides evidence that the infant brain is able to make top-down predictions, but this has been explored only in limited contexts and domains. We build upon this evidence of predictive processing in infants using a new paradigm to examine auditory repetition suppression (RS). RS is a well-documented neural phenomenon in which repeated p...
Article
We regularly make predictions about future events, even in a world where events occur probabilistically rather than deterministically. Our environment may even be non-stationary such that the probability of an event may change suddenly or from one context to another. 4-6 year olds and adults viewed 3 boxes and guessed the location of a hidden toy....
Article
Full-text available
Face perception abilities in humans exhibit a marked expertise in distinguishing individual human faces at the expense of individual faces from other species (the other-species effect). In particular, one behavioural effect of such specialization is that human adults search for and find categories of non-human faces faster and more accurately than...
Conference Paper
This study presents the implementation of a within-subject neural decoder, based on Support Vector Machines, and its application for the classification of distributed patterns of hemodynamic activation, measured with Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) on children, in response to meaningful and meaningless auditory stimuli. Classification...
Article
Full-text available
The present study investigated how grouping related items leads to the emergence of benefits (facilitation when related items are search targets) and costs (interference when related items are distractors) in visual search. Participants integrated different views (related items) of a novel Lego object via (a) assembling the object, (b) disassemblin...
Article
Complex systems are often built from a relatively small set of basic features or operations that can be combined in myriad ways. We investigated the developmental origins of this compositional architecture in 9-month-old infants, extending recent work that demonstrated rudimentary compositional abilities in preschoolers. Infants viewed two separate...
Article
Full-text available
A large body of prior research has evaluated how humans combine multiple sources of information pertaining to stimuli drawn from continuous dimensions, such as distance or size. These prior studies have repeatedly demonstrated that in these circumstances humans integrate cues in a near-optimal fashion, weighting cues according to their reliability....
Article
Recent research reported the surprising finding that even 6-mo-olds understand common nouns [Bergelson E, Swingley D (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:3253-3258]. However, is their early lexicon structured and acquired like older learners? We test 6-mo-olds for a hallmark of the mature lexicon: cross-word relations. We also examine whether properti...
Article
Behavioral evidence has shown that humans automatically develop internal representations adapted to the temporal and spatial statistics of the environment. Building on prior fMRI studies that have focused on statistical learning of temporal sequences, we investigated the neural substrates and mechanisms underlying statistical learning from scenes w...
Article
This study uses representational similarity-based neural decoding to test whether semantic information elicited by words and pictures is encoded in functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) data. In experiment 1, subjects passively viewed eight audiovisual word and picture stimuli for 15 min. Blood oxygen levels were measured using the Hitachi...
Article
Successful language acquisition hinges on organizing individual words into grammatical categories and learning the relationships between them, but the method by which children accomplish this task has been debated in the literature. One proposal is that learners use the shared distributional contexts in which words appear as a cue to their underlyi...
Article
The present study investigated infants’ knowledge about familiar nouns. Infants (n = 46, 12–20-month-olds) saw two-image displays of familiar objects, or one familiar and one novel object. Infants heard either a matching word (e.g. “foot’ when seeing foot and juice), a related word (e.g. “sock” when seeing foot and juice) or a nonce word (e.g. “fep...
Article
Infants are readily able to use their recent experience to shape their future behavior. Recent work has confirmed that infants generate neural predictions based on their recent experience (Emberson, Richards, & Aslin, 2015) and that neural predictions trigger visual system activity similar to that elicited by visual stimulation. This study uses beh...
Article
Full-text available
Infants preferentially discriminate between speech tokens that cross native category boundaries prior to acquiring a large receptive vocabulary, implying a major role for unsupervised distributional learning strategies in phoneme acquisition in the first year of life. Multiple sources of between-speaker variability contribute to children's language...
Article
Full-text available
The MRI environment restricts the types of populations and tasks that can be studied by cognitive neuroscientists (e.g., young infants, face-to-face communication). FNIRS is a neuroimaging modality that records the same physiological signal as fMRI but without the constraints of MRI, and with better spatial localization than EEG. However, research...
Data
Supplementary material, Results, Tables and Figures. (DOCX)
Article
For synesthetes, sensory or cognitive stimuli induce the perception of an additional sensory or cognitive stimulus. Grapheme-color synesthetes, for instance, consciously and consistently experience particular colors (e.g., fluorescent pink) when perceiving letters (e.g., u). As a phenomenon involving multiple stimuli within or across modalities, re...
Article
Understanding how the human visual system develops is crucial to understanding the nature and organization of our complex and varied visual representations. However, previous investigations of the development of the visual system using fMRI are largely confined to a subset of the visual system (high-level vision: faces, scenes) and relatively late...
Article
A prominent theoretical view is that the brain is inherently predictive [1, 2] and that prediction helps drive the engine of development [3, 4]. Although infants exhibit neural signatures of top-down sensory prediction [5, 6], in order to establish that prediction supports development, it must be established that deficits in early prediction abilit...
Article
Full-text available
How does the developing brain respond to recent experience? Repetition suppression (RS) is a robust and well-characterized response of to recent experience found, predominantly, in the perceptual cortices of the adult brain. We use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to investigate how perceptual (temporal and occipital) and frontal corti...
Article
How do infants learn so rapidly and with little apparent effort? In 1996, Saffran, Aslin, and Newport reported that 8-month-old human infants could learn the underlying temporal structure of a stream of speech syllables after only 2 min of passive listening. This demonstration of what was called statistical learning, involving no instruction, reinf...
Article
Full-text available
Forming an accurate representation of a task environment often takes place incrementally as the information relevant to learning the representation only unfolds over time. This incremental nature of learning poses an important problem: it is usually unclear whether a sequence of stimuli consists of only a single pattern, or multiple patterns that a...
Article
Full-text available
Most current theories regarding the development of synesthesia focus on cross-modal neural connections and genetic underpinnings, but recent evidence has revitalized the potential role of associative learning. In the present study, we compared synesthetes’ and controls’ ability to explicitly learn shape-color pairings. Using a continuous measure of...
Article
Although cross-modal neural connections and genetic underpinnings are prominent in most current theories regarding the development of synesthesia, the potential role of associative learning in the formation of synesthetic associations has recently been revitalized. In this study, we investigated implicit associative learning in synesthetes and nons...
Article
Full-text available
Compositional "language of thought" models have recently been proposed to account for a wide range of children's conceptual and linguistic learning. The present work aims to evaluate one of the most basic assumptions of these models: children should have an ability to represent and compose functions. We show that 3.5-4.5 year olds are able to predi...
Article
Previous visual search studies suggest that an attentional template for the target can be prioritized, but the breadth and nature of this attentional template has not been clarified. Grouping features into objects and objects into categories should facilitate search performance by maximizing the amount of information carried by the attentional temp...
Article
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) research to date has tended to publish group-averaged rather than individual infant data due to normative basic research goals. Acquisition of individual infant time courses holds interest, however, both for cognitive science and particularly for clinical applications. Infants are more difficult to stud...
Preprint
Full-text available
s The MRI environment restricts the types of populations and tasks that can be studied by cognitive neuroscientists (e.g., young infants, face-to-face communication). FNIRS is a neuroimaging modality that records the same physiological signal as fMRI but without the constraints of MRI, and with better spatial localization than EEG. However, researc...
Article
Successful knowledge acquisition requires a cognitive system that is both sensitive to statistical information and able to distinguish among multiple structures (i.e., to detect pattern shifts and form distinct representations). Extensive behavioral evidence has highlighted the import of cues to structural change, demonstrating how, without them, l...
Article
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) records hemodynamic changes in the cortex arising from neurovascular coupling. However, (noninvasive) fNIRS recordings also record surface vascular signals arising from noncortical sources (e.g., in the skull, skin, dura, and other tissues located between the sensors and the brain). A current and import...
Article
Full-text available
A large body of research has established that, under relatively simple task conditions, human observers integrate uncertain sensory information with learned prior knowledge in an approximately Bayes-optimal manner. However, in many natural tasks, observers must perform this sensory-plus-prior integration when the underlying generative model of the...
Article
Previous work on visual search has suggested that only a single attentional template can be prioritized at any given point in time. Grouping features into objects and objects into categories can facilitate search performance by maximizing the amount of information carried by an attentional template. From infancy to adulthood, earlier studies on per...
Article
Visual experiences increase our ability to discriminate environmentally relevant stimuli (native stimuli, e.g., human faces) at the cost of a reduced sensitivity to irrelevant or infrequent stimuli (non-native stimuli, e.g., monkey/ape faces)-a developmental progression known as perceptual narrowing. One possible source of the reduced sensitivity i...