Published Papers

Morpheme position coding in reading development as explored with a letter search task

Journal: 

Journal of Cognition

Date: 

February, 2021

in this project, we investigated the development of sensitivity to affixes -- and their position within words -- during reading acquisition via a letter search task. A pre-registered experiment was conducted in Italian with 3rd graders, 5th graders, and adults. Results indicated position-specific processing differences between suffixes and non-suffix endings that develop throughout reading development; however, some effects were weak and only partially in line with the hypotheses. Therefore, we conducted a second experiment, and the effects of position-specific suffix identification could not be replicated. A combined analysis additionally using a Bayesian approach suggest no processing differences between suffix and non-suffix endings in our task.

The paper is freely accessible here. A pre-print and all data and scripts related to this project are available here.

A general-purpose mechanism of visual feature association in visual word identification and beyond

Journal: 

Current Biology

Date: 

January, 2021

In this series of experiments, we assess whether an effect that is typically studied in the context of letter and word visual identification -- and sometimes taken as a marker for orthographic processing -- that is, bigram coding, also applies to other types of visual objects. Subjects were passively familiarized with a set of composite visual items and tested in an oddball paradigm for their ability to detect novel stimuli. Participants showed robust sensitivity to the co-occurrence of features (‘‘bigram’’ coding) with strings of letter-like symbols, but also with made-up 3D objects and sinusoidal gratings. This suggests that the processing mechanisms involved in the visual recognition of novel words also support the recognition of other novel visual objects. These mechanisms would allow the visual system to capture statistical regularities in the visual environment.

The paper is published in Current Biology (and available for free download without a subscription to the journal until February, 26, 2021). A pre-print is also available on biorXiv, while you should click on the title to get an author-formatted post-print.

Algorithms for the automated correction of vertical drift in eye tracking data

Journal: 

Behavior Research Methods

Date: 

January, 2021

We evaluate nine algorithms for the correction of “vertical drift” in eye tracking data — the vertical displacement of fixations that results from a gradual loss of eye tracker calibration over time. Our results — based on both simulated and natural eye tracking data — show that certain algorithms are better than others on particular kinds of vertical drift and reading behavior. We offer evidence-based advice to researchers on how to choose an appropriate technique and concrete suggestions on how drift correction software can be improved going forward. A preprint and all the materials related to this project are available here and here, respectively.

Cognitive and communicative pressures in the emergence of grammatical structure: A closer look at whether number sense is encoded in privileged ways

Journal: 

Cognitive Neuropsychology

Date: 

August, 2020

In this short commentary, we contest the possibility that the distribution of Number values in natural languages is economically explained as consequence of cultural factors, as proposed by Everett (2019). We discuss in favor of a in interplay of referential, cognitive and communicative pressures, related to the core knowledge and to general properties of codes; we wish that our proposal can a first step to operationalize further experimental questions targeting each of these levels.
 

Morphemes as letter chunks: Discovering affixes through visual regularities

Journal: 

Journal of Memory and Language

Date: 

August, 2020

During visual word processing readers identify chunks of co-occurring letters and code for their typical position within words. Using an artificial script, we examined whether these phenomena can be explained by the ability to extract visual regularities from the environment. Participants were first familiarized with a lexicon of pseudoletter strings, each comprising an affix-like chunk that either followed (Experiment 1) or preceded (Experiment 2) a random character sequence.

Effects of animacy on the processing of morphological Number: a cognitive inheritance?

Journal: 

Word Structure

Date: 

March, 2020

Language encodes into morphology part of the information present in the referential world. Some features are marked in the great majority of languages, such as the numerosity of the referents that is encoded in morphological Number. Other features do not surface as frequently in morphological markings, yet they are pervasive in natural languages. This is the case of animacy, that can ground Gender systems as well as constrain the surfacing of Number. The diffusion of numerosity and animacy could mirror their biological salience at the extra-linguistic cognitive level.

Orthographic consistency influences morphological processing in reading aloud: Evidence from a cross-linguistic study

Journal: 

Developmental Science

Date: 

February, 2020

This is a cross-linguistic experiment that we were involved in by Betty Mousikou and Sascha Schroeder. We tested children's reading of morphologically structured words and nonwords in English, German, Italian and French, and find that orthographic consistency determines how important is morphology in reading aloud. Go the journal article here and the OSF repository (with data and analyses) here.

Consistency measures individuate dissociating semantic activation networks in priming paradigms: A new look on semantics in the processing of (complex) words

Journal: 

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

Date: 

February, 2020

Here we show (see also Marelli et al., QJEP 2015; Amenta et al., PBR 2017; and Marelli and Amenta, BRM 2018) how the reading/language system is sensitive to islands of (probabilistic) regularity in the mapping between form and language. In particular, we show how this qualifies priming patterns, both morphological and semantic, masked and overt. Paper available here[Read more by clicking on the title.]  

A new test of action verb naming: Normative data from 290 Italian adults

Journal: 

Neurological Sciences

Date: 

November, 2019

In this paper, we provide normative values for the action verb naming test used in Crepaldi et al. (2006, Neuropsychologia, 44, 73-89). This work makes the test, whose material is available upon request to the authors, effectively usable in day-to-day clinical activity.

Long term follow-up of neuropsychological functions in patients with high grade gliomas: can cognitive status predict patients' outcome after surgery?

Journal: 

Acta Neurochirurgica

Date: 

September, 2019

Here we tested whether the neuropsychological profile of High-Grade Glioma patients can predict tumour relapse, on an unselected sample of 102 patients. It turns out that this is indeed the case. We also developed and validated a wide-spectrum neuropsychological battery for HGG. [Click on the title to read more.] 

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