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1.  High-level context effects on spatial displacement: the effects of body orientation and language on memory 
Three decades of research suggests that cognitive simulation of motion is involved in the comprehension of object location, bodily configuration, and linguistic meaning. For example, the remembered location of an object associated with actual or implied motion is typically displaced in the direction of motion. In this paper, two experiments explore context effects in spatial displacement. They provide a novel approach to estimating the remembered location of an implied motion image by employing a cursor-positioning task. Both experiments examine how the remembered spatial location of a person is influenced by subtle differences in implied motion, specifically, by shifting the orientation of the person’s body to face upward or downward, and by pairing the image with motion language that differed on intentionality, fell versus jumped. The results of Experiment 1, a survey-based experiment, suggest that language and body orientation influenced vertical spatial displacement. Results of Experiment 2, a task that used Adobe Flash and Amazon Mechanical Turk, showed consistent effects of body orientation on vertical spatial displacement but no effect of language. Our findings are in line with previous work on spatial displacement that uses a cursor-positioning task with implied motion stimuli. We discuss how different ways of simulating motion can influence spatial memory.
PMCID: PMC4080763  PMID: 25071628
representational momentum; motion simulation; spatial displacement; motion comprehension; language comprehension; body orientation
2.  Cross-recurrence quantification analysis of categorical and continuous time series: an R package 
This paper describes the R package crqa to perform cross-recurrence quantification analysis of two time series of either a categorical or continuous nature. Streams of behavioral information, from eye movements to linguistic elements, unfold over time. When two people interact, such as in conversation, they often adapt to each other, leading these behavioral levels to exhibit recurrent states. In dialog, for example, interlocutors adapt to each other by exchanging interactive cues: smiles, nods, gestures, choice of words, and so on. In order for us to capture closely the goings-on of dynamic interaction, and uncover the extent of coupling between two individuals, we need to quantify how much recurrence is taking place at these levels. Methods available in crqa would allow researchers in cognitive science to pose such questions as how much are two people recurrent at some level of analysis, what is the characteristic lag time for one person to maximally match another, or whether one person is leading another. First, we set the theoretical ground to understand the difference between “correlation” and “co-visitation” when comparing two time series, using an aggregative or cross-recurrence approach. Then, we describe more formally the principles of cross-recurrence, and show with the current package how to carry out analyses applying them. We end the paper by comparing computational efficiency, and results’ consistency, of crqa R package, with the benchmark MATLAB toolbox crptoolbox (Marwan, 2013). We show perfect comparability between the two libraries on both levels.
PMCID: PMC4073592  PMID: 25018736
cross-recurrence analysis; cognitive dynamics; methodology comparison; behavioral data; R library
3.  Joint perceptual decision-making: a case study in explanatory pluralism 
Traditionally different approaches to the study of cognition have been viewed as competing explanatory frameworks. An alternative view, explanatory pluralism, regards different approaches to the study of cognition as complementary ways of studying the same phenomenon, at specific temporal and spatial scales, using appropriate methodological tools. Explanatory pluralism has been often described abstractly, but has rarely been applied to concrete cases. We present a case study of explanatory pluralism. We discuss three separate ways of studying the same phenomenon: a perceptual decision-making task (Bahrami et al., 2010), where pairs of subjects share information to jointly individuate an oddball stimulus among a set of distractors. Each approach analyzed the same corpus but targeted different units of analysis at different levels of description: decision-making at the behavioral level, confidence sharing at the linguistic level, and acoustic energy at the physical level. We discuss the utility of explanatory pluralism for describing this complex, multiscale phenomenon, show ways in which this case study sheds new light on the concept of pluralism, and highlight good practices to critically assess and complement approaches.
PMCID: PMC4006048  PMID: 24795679
explanatory pluralism; philosophy of science; joint decision-making; alignment; complexity matching
4.  Good things peak in pairs: a note on the bimodality coefficient 
PMCID: PMC3791391  PMID: 24109465
distribution analysis; bimodality
5.  Local dynamics in decision making: The evolution of preference within and across decisions 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2210.
Within decisions, perceived alternatives compete until one is preferred. Across decisions, the playing field on which these alternatives compete evolves to favor certain alternatives. Mouse cursor trajectories provide rich continuous information related to such cognitive processes during decision making. In three experiments, participants learned to choose symbols to earn points in a discrimination learning paradigm and the cursor trajectories of their responses were recorded. Decisions between two choices that earned equally high-point rewards exhibited far less competition than decisions between choices that earned equally low-point rewards. Using positional coordinates in the trajectories, it was possible to infer a potential field in which the choice locations occupied areas of minimal potential. These decision spaces evolved through the experiments, as participants learned which options to choose. This visualisation approach provides a potential framework for the analysis of local dynamics in decision-making that could help mitigate both theoretical disputes and disparate empirical results.
PMCID: PMC3713532  PMID: 23860466
6.  Modulation of Stromal Cell-Derived Factor-1/CXC Chemokine Receptor 4 Axis Enhances rhBMP-2-Induced Ectopic Bone Formation 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2012;18(7-8):860-869.
Enhancement of in vivo mobilization and homing of endogenous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to an injury site is an innovative strategy for improvement of bone tissue engineering and repair. The present study was designed to determine whether mobilization by AMD3100 and/or local homing by delivery of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) enhances recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) induced ectopic bone formation in an established rat model. Rats received an injection of either saline or AMD3100 treatment 1 h before harvesting of bone marrow for in vitro colony-forming unit-fibroblasts (CFU-F) culture or the in vivo subcutaneous implantation of absorbable collagen sponges (ACSs) loaded with saline, recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), SDF-1, or the combination of SDF-1 and rhBMP-2. AMD3100 treatment resulted in a significant decrease in CFU-F number, compared with saline, which confirmed that a single systemic AMD3100 treatment rapidly mobilized MSCs from the bone marrow. At 28 and 56 days, bone formation in the explanted ACS was assessed by microcomputed tomography (μCT) and histology. At 28 days, AMD3100 and/or SDF-1 had no statistically significant effect on bone volume (BV) or bone mineral content (BMC), but histology revealed more active bone formation with treatment of AMD3100, loading of SDF-1, or the combination of both AMD3100 and SDF-1, compared with saline-treated rhBMP-2 loaded ACS. At 56 days, the addition of AMD3100 treatment, loading of SDF-1, or the combination of both resulted in a statistically significant stimulatory effect on BV and BMC, compared with the saline-treated rhBMP-2 loaded ACS. Histology of the 56-day ACS were consistent with the μCT analysis, exhibiting more mature and mineralized bone formation with AMD3100 treatment, SDF-1 loading, or the combination of both, compared with the saline-treated rhBMP-2 loaded ACS. The present study is the first that provides evidence of the efficacy of AMD3100 and SDF-1 treatment to stimulate trafficking of MSCs to an ectopic implant site, in order to ultimately enhance rhBMP-2 induced long-term bone formation.
PMCID: PMC3313617  PMID: 22035136
7.  Exploring the movement dynamics of deception 
Both the science and the everyday practice of detecting a lie rest on the same assumption: hidden cognitive states that the liar would like to remain hidden nevertheless influence observable behavior. This assumption has good evidence. The insights of professional interrogators, anecdotal evidence, and body language textbooks have all built up a sizeable catalog of non-verbal cues that have been claimed to distinguish deceptive and truthful behavior. Typically, these cues are discrete, individual behaviors—a hand touching a mouth, the rise of a brow—that distinguish lies from truths solely in terms of their frequency or duration. Research to date has failed to establish any of these non-verbal cues as a reliable marker of deception. Here we argue that perhaps this is because simple tallies of behavior can miss out on the rich but subtle organization of behavior as it unfolds over time. Research in cognitive science from a dynamical systems perspective has shown that behavior is structured across multiple timescales, with more or less regularity and structure. Using tools that are sensitive to these dynamics, we analyzed body motion data from an experiment that put participants in a realistic situation of choosing, or not, to lie to an experimenter. Our analyses indicate that when being deceptive, continuous fluctuations of movement in the upper face, and somewhat in the arms, are characterized by dynamical properties of less stability, but greater complexity. For the upper face, these distinctions are present despite no apparent differences in the overall amount of movement between deception and truth. We suggest that these unique dynamical signatures of motion are indicative of both the cognitive demands inherent to deception and the need to respond adaptively in a social context.
PMCID: PMC3608909  PMID: 23543852
deception; non-linear measures; Dynamical Systems Theory; embodiment; recurrence quantification analysis; multiscale entropy analysis; body and facial movements; time series analysis
8.  Prediction during statistical learning, and implications for the implicit/explicit divide 
Advances in Cognitive Psychology  2012;8(2):196-209.
Accounts of statistical learning, both implicit and explicit, often invoke predictive processes as central to learning, yet practically all experiments employ non-predictive measures during training. We argue that the common theoretical assumption of anticipation and prediction needs clearer, more direct evidence for it during learning. We offer a novel experimental context to explore prediction, and report results from a simple sequential learning task designed to promote predictive behaviors in participants as they responded to a short sequence of simple stimulus events. Predictive tendencies in participants were measured using their computer mouse, the trajectories of which served as a means of tapping into predictive behavior while participants were exposed to very short and simple sequences of events. A total of 143 participants were randomly assigned to stimulus sequences along a continuum of regularity. Analysis of computer-mouse trajectories revealed that (a) participants almost always anticipate events in some manner, (b) participants exhibit two stable patterns of behavior, either reacting to vs. predicting future events, (c) the extent to which participants predict relates to performance on a recall test, and (d) explicit reports of perceiving patterns in the brief sequence correlates with extent of prediction. We end with a discussion of implicit and explicit statistical learning and of the role prediction may play in both kinds of learning.
PMCID: PMC3376885  PMID: 22723817
prediction; consciousness; dynamics; implicit learning; statistical learning; serial reaction time; computer-mouse tracking
9.  The Dynamics of Reference and Shared Visual Attention 
In the tangram task, two participants are presented with the same set of abstract shapes portrayed in different orders. One participant must instruct the other to arrange their shapes so that the orders match. To do this, they must find a way to refer to the abstract shapes. In the current experiment, the eye movements of pairs of participants were tracked while they were engaged in a computerized version of the task. Results revealed the canonical tangram effect: participants became faster at completing the task from round 1 to round 3. Also, their eye-movements synchronized over time. Cross-recurrence analysis was used to quantify this coordination, and showed that as participants’ words coalesced, their actions approximated a single coordinated system.
PMCID: PMC3230789  PMID: 22164151
language; reference; vision; attention; coordination; synchrony; interaction; communication
10.  Hand in Motion Reveals Mind in Motion 
Recently, researchers have measured hand movements en route to choices on a screen to understand the dynamics of a broad range of psychological processes. We review this growing body of research and explain how manual action exposes the real-time unfolding of underlying cognitive processing. We describe how simple hand motions may be used to continuously index participants’ tentative commitments to different choice alternatives during the evolution of a behavioral response. As such, hand-tracking can provide unusually high-fidelity, real-time motor traces of the mind. These motor traces cast novel theoretical and empirical light onto a wide range of phenomena and serve as a potential bridge between far-reaching areas of psychological science – from language, to high-level cognition and learning, to social cognitive processes.
PMCID: PMC3110497  PMID: 21687437
hand; motor; real-time; temporal dynamics; time-course; mouse-tracking
11.  Language Structure Is Partly Determined by Social Structure 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8559.
Languages differ greatly both in their syntactic and morphological systems and in the social environments in which they exist. We challenge the view that language grammars are unrelated to social environments in which they are learned and used.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted a statistical analysis of >2,000 languages using a combination of demographic sources and the World Atlas of Language Structures— a database of structural language properties. We found strong relationships between linguistic factors related to morphological complexity, and demographic/socio-historical factors such as the number of language users, geographic spread, and degree of language contact. The analyses suggest that languages spoken by large groups have simpler inflectional morphology than languages spoken by smaller groups as measured on a variety of factors such as case systems and complexity of conjugations. Additionally, languages spoken by large groups are much more likely to use lexical strategies in place of inflectional morphology to encode evidentiality, negation, aspect, and possession. Our findings indicate that just as biological organisms are shaped by ecological niches, language structures appear to adapt to the environment (niche) in which they are being learned and used. As adults learn a language, features that are difficult for them to acquire, are less likely to be passed on to subsequent learners. Languages used for communication in large groups that include adult learners appear to have been subjected to such selection. Conversely, the morphological complexity common to languages used in small groups increases redundancy which may facilitate language learning by infants.
We hypothesize that language structures are subjected to different evolutionary pressures in different social environments. Just as biological organisms are shaped by ecological niches, language structures appear to adapt to the environment (niche) in which they are being learned and used. The proposed Linguistic Niche Hypothesis has implications for answering the broad question of why languages differ in the way they do and makes empirical predictions regarding language acquisition capacities of children versus adults.
PMCID: PMC2798932  PMID: 20098492
12.  Exploring Action Dynamics as an Index of Paired-Associate Learning 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(3):e1728.
Much evidence exists supporting a richer interaction between cognition and action than commonly assumed. Such findings demonstrate that short-timescale processes, such as motor execution, may relate in systematic ways to longer-timescale cognitive processes, such as learning. We further substantiate one direction of this interaction: the flow of cognition into action systems. Two experiments explored match-to-sample paired-associate learning, in which participants learned randomized pairs of unfamiliar symbols. During the experiments, their hand movements were continuously tracked using the Nintendo Wiimote. Across learning, participant arm movements are initiated and completed more quickly, exhibit lower fluctuation, and exert more perturbation on the Wiimote during the button press. A second experiment demonstrated that action dynamics index novel learning scenarios, and not simply acclimatization to the Wiimote interface. Results support a graded and systematic covariation between cognition and action, and recommend ways in which this theoretical perspective may contribute to applied learning contexts.
PMCID: PMC2253184  PMID: 18320047

Results 1-12 (12)