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Welcome, First Years!

by Melissa Troyer

Welcome to the incoming first-year class of 2014, introduced here. (more)

Borovsky, A., & Creel, S. C. (2014). Children and adults integrate talker and verb information in online processing. Developmental Psychology, 50(5), 1600–13. doi:10.1037/a0035591
Children seem able to efficiently interpret a variety of linguistic cues during speech comprehension, yet have difficulty interpreting sources of nonlinguistic and paralinguistic information that accompany speech. The current study asked whether (paralinguistic) voice-activated role knowledge is rapidly interpreted in coordination with a linguistic cue (a sentential action) during speech comprehension in an eye-tracked sentence comprehension task with children (ages 3–10 years) and college-aged adults. Participants were initially familiarized with 2 talkers who identified their respective roles (e.g., PRINCESS and PIRATE) before hearing a previously introduced talker name an action and object (“I want to hold the sword,” in the pirate’s voice). As the sentence was spoken, eye movements were recorded to 4 objects that varied in relationship to the sentential talker and action (target: SWORD, talker-related: SHIP, action-related: WAND, and unrelated: CARRIAGE). The task was to select the named image. Even young child listeners rapidly combined inferences about talker identity with the action, allowing them to fixate on the target before it was mentioned, although there were developmental and vocabulary differences on this task. Results suggest that children, like adults, store real-world knowledge of a talker’s role and actively use this information to interpret speech.
Creel, S. C. (2014). Impossible to _gnore: Word-Form Inconsistency Slows Preschool Children’s Word-Learning. Language Learning and Development, 10(1), 68–95. doi:10.1080/15475441.2013.803871
Many studies have examined language acquisition under morphosyntactic or semantic inconsistency, but few have considered word-form inconsistency. Many young learners encounter word-form inconsistency due to accent variation in their communities. The current study asked how preschoolers recognize accent-variants of newly learned words. Can preschoolers generalize recognition based on partial match to the learned form? When learning in two accents simultaneously, do children ignore inconsistent elements, or encode two word forms (one per accent)? Three- to five-year-olds learned words in a novel-word learning paradigm but did not generalize to new accent-like pronunciations (Experiment 1) unless familiar-word recognition trials were interspersed (Experiments 3 and 4), which apparently generated a familiar-word-recognition pragmatic context. When exposure included two accent-variants per word, children were less accurate (Experiment 2) and slower to look to referents (Experiments 2, 5) relative to one-accent learning. Implications for language learning and accent processing over development are discussed.

Research Opportunities (199s)
  • Body Movements: Dots, Humans, Robots
    The perception and comprehension of others’ actions and body movements is ubiquitous and important. Our lab carries out a range of behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological experiments on how people perceive others' body movements. In many experiments, we use body movements depicted by point-lights (like this: We are also exploring ...
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  • Language Development and Remediation in Children
    We are evaluating two interventions for dyslexia that involve training the temporal dynamics of the visual system (magnocellular pathway) and the auditory system, and whether the two interventions together have super-additive effects. As a Research Assistant, you would be traveling to one or two of five participating local elementary schools ...
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  • Tools, Virtual Reality and Your Body
    In everyday life there is a boundary between our bodies and the external environment. Is this perceived boundary fixed or can it be altered? What happens to your body perception when you use a tool? What about when you immersed in virtual reality? The Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology Lab ( ...
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  • Space, Time, and Gesture
    While it is clear that people around the world talk and think about time in terms of spatial concepts, many questions remain regarding the link between spatial and temporal concepts. The Embodied Cognition lab is interested in understanding cognition from the perspective of the embodied mind, investigating how the peculiarities ...
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  • Cognitive Processes
    “Raednig thees wrods semes to be esaeir tahn you mgiht hvae tohuhgt; waht colud epxlian tihs?” Could you read the sentence above? Having any trouble understanding or recognizing these words? How possible it could be to understand such a sentence, with/without recognize words? What could you explain your effortless ability ...
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Recent News & Links (see all)

UCSD Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program

The UC San Diego Strategic Planning process has identified four research themes to focus on as we build the student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university of the future.

UCSD Professor Uses Zombies To Teach About Neuroscience

KPBS article: There's no escaping zombies. They've infected every corner of pop culture and more recently have been shambling into academia. Professor Bradley Voytek combines the living dead and neuroscience in the new book, "Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?"

Founding Chair of Cognitive Science returns to UCSD

Don Norman, an engineer and psychologist famous for pushing companies to develop products that are easy to use, is setting up a design lab at UC San Diego, a campus he left decades ago to help shape the future of Apple Computer.

Coursera and UC San Diego Partner to Offer New Interaction Design Specialization

Learners in massive open online courses offered by Coursera can now enroll in 18 new Specializations – a targeted sequence of courses designed to build high-demand skills and subject matter expertise. One of the specializations  “Interaction Design”  is being led by University of California, San Diego Professor Scott Klemmer.

Brad Voytek and brainSCANr

BrainSCANr is designed to help neuroscientists choose research projects, a device by Bradley Voytek of the University of California, San Diego, and his wife Jessica.

UCSD Conference for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, & Humanities (CRASSH)

Are you an undergraduate interested in the Arts, Social Sciences, or Humanities?  Then consider presenting your research at the UCSD Undergraduate Conference for Research in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities (CRASSH) to be held on November 4 from 10am to 2pm at the UCSD Price Center.

Department Events (see all)

Tanya Luhrmann (CogSci Colloquium)

Invisible others: How metacognitive practices make the unseen real

For a while now my work has settled on the way that people monitor and attend to their cognitive and affective experiences. The first part of my talk will describe my ethnographic
work with evangelical Christians who seek a personal, intimate relationship with God—one
in which God will talk back. My work suggests that these Christians use prayer practice to
monitor their mental experience and that they selectively ...
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Mon, Nov 3rd, 12:00pm-1:00pm (CSB 003)
(4 days from now)

D@L: Gad Shaanan

The #1 factor in great design is STRATEGY!
Without it, design is a commodity.

ABSTRACT: The story behind my presentation is twofold and intertwined. It is first and foremost how I integrated strategy into all the individual product designs that I have worked on over the years, and at the same time about how I used this larger strategic thinking in the creation and development of my companies. With this strategic philosophy at the forefront, I built GadShaananDesign to ...
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Mon, Nov 3rd, 4:00pm-5:15pm (Design Lab, Atkinson Hall)
(4 days, 4 hours from now)

Sarah Creel (CRL talk)

In constrained contexts, preschoolers’ recognition of accented words is excellent

Do unfamiliar accents impair young children’s language comprehension? Infants detect familiarized word-forms heard in accented speech by 13 months, yet 4-year-olds have difficulty repeating isolated words in unfamiliar accents. The current work attempts to integrate these disparate findings by testing accented word recognition with or without semantic constraint, visual-contextual constraint, and rapid perceptual accent adaptation. Monolingual English-learning preschoolers (n=32) completed an eye-tracked word recognition test. On each trial, four ...
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Tue, Nov 4th, 4:00pm-5:00pm (CSB 280)
(5 days, 4 hours from now)

Dedre Gentner (CogSci Colloquium)

Analogy: The key to higher-order cognition

Analogical processes are central in higher-order cognition. Analogical comparison engages a process of structural alignment and mapping that fosters learning and reasoning in at least three distinct ways: it highlights common relational systems; it promotes inferences; and t calls attention to potentially important differences between situations. It can also lead to re-representing the situations in ways that reveal new facets. An important outcome of analogical comparison is that the common relational structure becomes ...
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Mon, Nov 10th, 12:00pm-1:00pm (CSB 003)
(1 week, 4 days from now)

CRL talk

Tue, Nov 11th, 4:00pm-5:00pm (CSB 280)
(1 week, 5 days from now)

Campus-wide Events (see all)

Liz Harrison (Psych PhD defense)

Circadian disruption, specifically in shiftwork, entails significant health risks including metabolic and sleep-related disorders. Most current interventions involve the manipulation of the phase, or timing, of circadian rhythms, while those involving the waveform, or shape, of rhythms have received relatively little attention. The studies in this dissertation characterize behavioral, physiological, and cognitive effects of a novel circadian waveform manipulation, both under steady state conditions and under simulated jet lag paradigms. Here we clearly demonstrate that both a natural, photoperiodic change ...
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Thu, Oct 30th, 10:30am-11:30am (The Crick Conference Room, Mandler 3545)
(started 38 minutes ago)

Joaquin Rapela (INC talk)


If we observe a fluid at the molecular level we see random motions, but if we look at it macroscopically we may see a smooth flow. An intriguing possibility is that by analyzing brain activity at a macroscopic level, i.e., at the level of neural ensembles, we may discover patterns not apparent at the single-neuron level, that are as useful as velocity or temperature are to understand, and predict, the motion of ...
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Thu, Oct 30th, 12:30pm-1:30pm (San Diego Supercomputer Center, East Annex - South Wing, Level B1, EB-129)
(1 hour, 21 minutes from now)

Drew Bailey (Psych talk)

Underlying Trait Effects in Children's Mathematical Development: Implications for Understanding Fade-Out of Early Childhood Intervention Effects

Substantial longitudinal relations between children’s early mathematics achievement and their much later mathematics achievement are firmly established. These findings are seemingly at odds with studies showing that early educational interventions have diminishing effects on children’s mathematics achievement across time. Based on findings from observational and experimental studies of children's mathematical development, I propose that individual differences in children’s later mathematical knowledge are more ...
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Thu, Oct 30th, 4:00pm-5:00pm (The Crick Conference Room:
 Mandler Hall Room 3545)
(4 hours, 51 minutes from now)

John M. Ravits (Neuro talk)

Focality, stochasticity and neuroanatomic propagation in ALS pathogenesis

John M. Ravits MD
Head, ALS Translational Research
Neurosciences Department

Stephen F. Heinemann Seminar in Neuroscience

Hosts: Dr. Dongxian Zhang & Dr. Stuart Lipton
Contact: Yvette Villegas;
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Fri, Oct 31st, 10:00am-11:00am (Fishman Auditorium, La Jolla: Room #A1330, La Nona)
(22 hours, 51 minutes from now)