SAP members presented results at the Beyond Language Learning Workshop on September 29-30 in Barcelona:
Social status and learning, how infants trust more on high rank agents Jesús Bas, Alba Ayneto, & Núria Sebastián-Gallés
Social status and learning, how infants trust more on high rank agents
Jesús Bas, Alba Ayneto, and Núria Sebastián-Gallés
When infants receive conflicting information from different adults, they use several cues to determine which one is the most reliable. Here we study how the social status acts as a cue that helps infants to choose relevant informants.
The study had three parts. First, infants were presented with a video of two female agents competing for the same goal and one of them always prevails (the high rank). The second part consisted in the face of one of the agents appearing in the centre of the screen followed by the sound of an animal (sheep/cat for one agent and cow/cat for the other agent). Then the agent looked at one of the corners of the screen and the corresponding animal appeared (similar to Tummeltshammer et al., 2014). Critically, one animal (the cat) appeared in different locations depending on the agent. In the third phase, only the sounds and the pictures of the animals were presented to test infants’ looking preferences.
The analysis of the eye movements of 18- and 21-month olds showed that only older infants preferred to look where the high rank agent did. These results confirm that they use information about status to guide their learning.
Traces of Statistical Learning in Functional Connectivity after Artificial Language Exposure
Pallabi Sengupta, Gorka Zamora-López, Miguel Burgaleta, Gustavo Deco, Núria Sebastián-Gallés
One fundamental step when learning a new language is to segment words from the speech signal. To achieve this, humans rely on Statistical Learning (SL), a domain-general ability that enables the implicit detection of probabilistic regularities in our surrounding environment. The role of brain connectivity on SL has been previously explored, highlighting the relevance of structural and functional connections between frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices. However, whether SL can induce changes in the functional connections of the resting state brain has yet to be investigated. To address this question, we applied a pre-post design where participants (n=38) were submitted to resting-state fMRI acquisition before and after in-scanner exposure to either an artificial language stream (formed by 4 concatenated words) or a random audio stream. We then adapted, for the first time, a technique well used in genetic studies to compare connectivity changes in the active links between the two conditions. Our results showed that exposure to an artificial language stream significantly changed (corrected p < .05) the functional connectivity between Right Superior Parietal Gyrus and
Left Inferior Parietal Lobule, as well as between Left Middle Frontal Gyrus and Left Inferior Frontal Gyrus, Orbital Part.