Julia UddénAssistant Professor
A selection from Stockholm University publication database
Audience design and frame of reference in adolescents' reference production
2021. Caroline Arvidsson, David Pagmar, Julia Uddén. Abstracts, 1519-1519Conference
When participating in dialogue, speakers design their utterances to accommodate the individual needs of listeners (Bentz, et al., in prep). This feature is known as audience design (Clark & Murphy, 1982). Although audience design is central to conventional conversation, it is not known at which age speakers begin taking into account the world knowledge/frame of reference of their interlocutors. Indications from recent studies suggest that albeit preschool and first grade children engage in basic forms of perspective taking (Nadig & Sedivy, 2002), they fail to adapt their utterances in accordance with listener-specific needs in reference production (Pagmar, et al., in prep). Adult participants do however adapt their utterances, and individual differences in the adult population were not dependent on cognitive control function (Bentz, et al., in prep). The dependence on cognitive control function, e.g. switching, may be hypothesized to be greater in children. The current study aims to test the referential production of two age groups; early and mid adolescents (11;0-12;11 and 15;0-16;11), with the purpose of tracing the development of the ability to use information regarding listener-perspective during on-line referential production, and test its relation to cognitive control. The paradigm builds further on the well-established Director’s task but does not require the participants to take the visual perspective of the listener. Instead, participants are presented with a set of pictures portraying referents well-known to them, e.g. popular cartoon characters, hosts of children’s tv-shows, etc. Knowledge of the referents are controlled through post-test surveys. Furthermore, they are asked to direct listeners of two distinct groups, small children and elders, into choosing the target referent. Participants who take the frame of reference of addressees into consideration are expected to adopt different strategies when addressing the different groups, i.e., increase informativeness when denoting referents assumed to be unknown to the listener vs using less informative referential expressions (such as proper names) when denoting referents judged to be known to the listener. Cognitive control/executive function is assessed using the Wisconsin card sorting task. Results are discussed in terms of cognitive costs of switching strategies and the Gricean maxim of quantity.
Hierarchical Structure in Sequence Processing
2020. Julia Uddén (et al.). Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (3), 910-924Article
In many domains of human cognition, hierarchically structured representations are thought to play a key role. In this paper, we start with some foundational definitions of key phenomena like “sequence” and “hierarchy," and then outline potential signatures of hierarchical structure that can be observed in behavioral and neuroimaging data. Appropriate behavioral methods include classic ones from psycholinguistics along with some from the more recent artificial grammar learning and sentence processing literature. We then turn to neuroimaging evidence for hierarchical structure with a focus on the functional MRI literature. We conclude that, although a broad consensus exists about a role for a neural circuit incorporating the inferior frontal gyrus, the superior temporal sulcus, and the arcuate fasciculus, considerable uncertainty remains about the precise computational function(s) of this circuitry. An explicit theoretical framework, combined with an empirical approach focusing on distinguishing between plausible alternative hypotheses, will be necessary for further progress.
Toward Robust Functional Neuroimaging Genetics of Cognition
2019. Julia Uddén (et al.). Journal of Neuroscience 39 (44), 8778-8787Article
A commonly held assumption in cognitive neuroscience is that, because measures of human brain function are closer to underlying biology than distal indices of behavior/cognition, they hold more promise for uncovering genetic pathways. Supporting this view is an influential fMRI-based study of sentence reading/listening by Pinel et al. (2012), who reported that common DNA variants in specific candidate genes were associated with altered neural activation in language-related regions of healthy individuals that carried them. In particular, different single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of FOXP2 correlated with variation in task-based activation in left inferior frontal and precentral gyri, whereas a SNP at the KIAA0319/TTRAP/THEM2 locus was associated with variable functional asymmetry of the superior temporal sulcus. Here, we directly test each claim using a closely matched neuroimaging genetics approach in independent cohorts comprising 427 participants, four times larger than the original study of 94 participants. Despite demonstrating power to detect associations with substantially smaller effect sizes than those of the original report, we do not replicate any of the reported associations. Moreover, formal Bayesian analyses reveal substantial to strong evidence in support of the null hypothesis (no effect). We highlight key aspects of the original investigation, common to functional neuroimaging genetics studies, which could have yielded elevated false-positive rates. Genetic accounts of individual differences in cognitive functional neuroimaging are likely to be as complex as behavioral/ cognitive tests, involving many common genetic variants, each of tiny effect. Reliable identification of true biological signals requires large sample sizes, power calculations, and validation in independent cohorts with equivalent paradigms.
Artifical Grammar Learning and its Neurobiology in Relation to Language Processing and Development
2018. Julia Uddén, Claudia Männel. The Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics, 755-783Chapter
The artificial grammar learning (AGL) paradigm enables systematic investigation of the acquisition of linguistically relevant structures. It is a paradigm of interest for language processing research, interfacing with theoretical linguistics, and for comparative research on language acquisition and evolution. This chapter presents a key for understanding major variants of the paradigm. An unbiased summary of neuroimaging findings of AGL is presented, using meta-analytic methods, pointing to the crucial involvement of the bilateral frontal operculum and regions in the right lateral hemisphere. Against a background of robust posterior temporal cortex involvement in processing complex syntax, the evidence for involvement of the posterior temporal cortex in AGL is reviewed. Infant AGL studies testing for neural substrates are reviewed, covering the acquisition of adjacent and non-adjacent dependencies as well as algebraic rules. The language acquisition data suggest that comparisons of learnability of complex grammars performed with adults may now also be possible with children.
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