Publications

Bhandari, Pratik; Demberg, Vera; Kray, Jutta

Semantic Predictability Facilitates Comprehension of Degraded Speech in a Graded Manner Journal Article

Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers, pp. 3769, 2021.

Previous studies have shown that at moderate levels of spectral degradation, semantic predictability facilitates language comprehension. It is argued that when speech is degraded, listeners have narrowed expectations about the sentence endings; i.e., semantic prediction may be limited to only most highly predictable sentence completions. The main objectives of this study were to (i) examine whether listeners form narrowed expectations or whether they form predictions across a wide range of probable sentence endings, (ii) assess whether the facilitatory effect of semantic predictability is modulated by perceptual adaptation to degraded speech, and (iii) use and establish a sensitive metric for the measurement of language comprehension. For this, we created 360 German Subject-Verb-Object sentences that varied in semantic predictability of a sentence-final target word in a graded manner (high, medium, and low) and levels of spectral degradation (1, 4, 6, and 8 channels noise-vocoding). These sentences were presented auditorily to two groups: One group (n =48) performed a listening task in an unpredictable channel context in which the degraded speech levels were randomized, while the other group (n =50) performed the task in a predictable channel context in which the degraded speech levels were blocked. The results showed that at 4 channels noise-vocoding, response accuracy was higher in high-predictability sentences than in the medium-predictability sentences, which in turn was higher than in the low-predictability sentences. This suggests that, in contrast to the narrowed expectations view, comprehension of moderately degraded speech, ranging from low- to high- including medium-predictability sentences, is facilitated in a graded manner; listeners probabilistically preactivate upcoming words from a wide range of semantic space, not limiting only to highly probable sentence endings. Additionally, in both channel contexts, we did not observe learning effects; i.e., response accuracy did not increase over the course of experiment, and response accuracy was higher in the predictable than in the unpredictable channel context. We speculate from these observations that when there is no trial-by-trial variation of the levels of speech degradation, listeners adapt to speech quality at a long timescale; however, when there is a trial-by-trial variation of the high-level semantic feature (e.g., sentence predictability), listeners do not adapt to low-level perceptual property (e.g., speech quality) at a short timescale.

@article{bhandari2021semantic,
title = {Semantic Predictability Facilitates Comprehension of Degraded Speech in a Graded Manner},
author = {Pratik Bhandari and Vera Demberg and Jutta Kray},
url = {https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.714485/full},
doi = {https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.714485},
year = {2021},
date = {2021-09-09},
journal = {Frontiers in Psychology},
pages = {3769},
publisher = {Frontiers},
abstract = {Previous studies have shown that at moderate levels of spectral degradation, semantic predictability facilitates language comprehension. It is argued that when speech is degraded, listeners have narrowed expectations about the sentence endings; i.e., semantic prediction may be limited to only most highly predictable sentence completions. The main objectives of this study were to (i) examine whether listeners form narrowed expectations or whether they form predictions across a wide range of probable sentence endings, (ii) assess whether the facilitatory effect of semantic predictability is modulated by perceptual adaptation to degraded speech, and (iii) use and establish a sensitive metric for the measurement of language comprehension. For this, we created 360 German Subject-Verb-Object sentences that varied in semantic predictability of a sentence-final target word in a graded manner (high, medium, and low) and levels of spectral degradation (1, 4, 6, and 8 channels noise-vocoding). These sentences were presented auditorily to two groups: One group (n =48) performed a listening task in an unpredictable channel context in which the degraded speech levels were randomized, while the other group (n =50) performed the task in a predictable channel context in which the degraded speech levels were blocked. The results showed that at 4 channels noise-vocoding, response accuracy was higher in high-predictability sentences than in the medium-predictability sentences, which in turn was higher than in the low-predictability sentences. This suggests that, in contrast to the narrowed expectations view, comprehension of moderately degraded speech, ranging from low- to high- including medium-predictability sentences, is facilitated in a graded manner; listeners probabilistically preactivate upcoming words from a wide range of semantic space, not limiting only to highly probable sentence endings. Additionally, in both channel contexts, we did not observe learning effects; i.e., response accuracy did not increase over the course of experiment, and response accuracy was higher in the predictable than in the unpredictable channel context. We speculate from these observations that when there is no trial-by-trial variation of the levels of speech degradation, listeners adapt to speech quality at a long timescale; however, when there is a trial-by-trial variation of the high-level semantic feature (e.g., sentence predictability), listeners do not adapt to low-level perceptual property (e.g., speech quality) at a short timescale.},
pubstate = {published},
type = {article}
}

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Project:   A4

Chingacham, Anupama; Demberg, Vera; Klakow, Dietrich

Exploring the Potential of Lexical Paraphrases for Mitigating Noise-Induced Comprehension Errors Inproceedings Forthcoming

Proceedings of Interspeech 2021, 2021.

@inproceedings{Chingacham2021,
title = {Exploring the Potential of Lexical Paraphrases for Mitigating Noise-Induced Comprehension Errors},
author = {Anupama Chingacham and Vera Demberg and Dietrich Klakow},
year = {2021},
date = {2021},
booktitle = {Proceedings of Interspeech 2021},
pubstate = {forthcoming},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

van Os, Marjolein; Kray, Jutta; Demberg, Vera

Recognition of minimal pairs in (un)predictive sentence contexts in two types of noise Inproceedings Forthcoming

Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci), 2021.

Top-down predictive processes and bottom-up auditory processes interact in speech comprehension. In background noise, the acoustic signal is degraded. This study investigated the interaction of these processes in a word recognition paradigm using high and low predictability sentences in two types of background noise and using phonetically controlled contrasts. Previous studies have reported false hearing, but have not provided insight into what phonetic features are most prone to false hearing. We here systematically explore this issue and find that plosives lead to increased false hearing compared to vowels. Furthermore, this study on German for the first time replicates the overall false hearing effect in young adults for a language other than English.

@inproceedings{vanOs2021,
title = {Recognition of minimal pairs in (un)predictive sentence contexts in two types of noise},
author = {Marjolein van Os and Jutta Kray and Vera Demberg},
year = {2021},
date = {2021},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci)},
abstract = {Top-down predictive processes and bottom-up auditory processes interact in speech comprehension. In background noise, the acoustic signal is degraded. This study investigated the interaction of these processes in a word recognition paradigm using high and low predictability sentences in two types of background noise and using phonetically controlled contrasts. Previous studies have reported false hearing, but have not provided insight into what phonetic features are most prone to false hearing. We here systematically explore this issue and find that plosives lead to increased false hearing compared to vowels. Furthermore, this study on German for the first time replicates the overall false hearing effect in young adults for a language other than English.},
pubstate = {forthcoming},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Häuser, Katja; Demberg, Vera; Kray, Jutta

Effects of aging and dual-task demands on the comprehension of less expected sentence continuations: Evidence from pupillometry Journal Article

Frontiers in Psychology-Cognition, 2019.

@article{Häuser2019,
title = {Effects of aging and dual-task demands on the comprehension of less expected sentence continuations: Evidence from pupillometry},
author = {Katja H{\"a}user and Vera Demberg and Jutta Kray},
doi = {https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00709},
year = {2019},
date = {2019-10-17},
journal = {Frontiers in Psychology-Cognition},
pubstate = {published},
type = {article}
}

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Project:   A4

Tröger, Johannes; Linz, Nicklas; König, Alexandra; Robert, Philippe; Alexandersson, Jan; Peter, Jessica; Kray, Jutta

Exploitation vs. Exploration - Computational temporal and semantic analysis explains semantic verbal fluency impairment in Alzheimer’s disease Journal Article

Neuropsychologia, 131, pp. 53-61, 2019.

Impaired Semantic Verbal Fluency (SVF) in dementia due to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and its precursor Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is well known. Yet, it remains open whether this impairment mirrors the breakdown of semantic memory retrieval processes or executive control processes. Therefore, qualitative analysis of the SVF has been proposed but is limited in terms of methodology and feasibility in clinical practice.

Consequently, research draws no conclusive picture which of these afore-mentioned processes drives the SVF impairment in AD and MCI. This study uses a qualitative computational approach – combining temporal and semantic information – to investigate exploitation and exploration patterns as indicators for semantic memory retrieval and executive control processes. Audio SVF recordings of 20 controls (C, 66-81 years), 55 MCI (57-94 years) and 20 AD subjects (66-82 years) were assessed while groups were matched according to age and education.

All groups produced, on average, the same amount of semantically related items in rapid succession within word clusters. Conversely, towards AD, there was a clear decline in semantic as well as temporal exploration patterns between clusters. Results strongly point towards preserved exploitation – semantic memory retrieval processes – and hampered exploration – executive control processes – in AD and potentially in MCI.

@article{Tröger2019,
title = {Exploitation vs. Exploration - Computational temporal and semantic analysis explains semantic verbal fluency impairment in Alzheimer’s disease},
author = {Johannes Tr{\"o}ger and Nicklas Linz and Alexandra K{\"o}nig and Philippe Robert and Jan Alexandersson and Jessica Peter and Jutta Kray},
url = {https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0028393218305116?via%3Dihub},
doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.05.007},
year = {2019},
date = {2019},
journal = {Neuropsychologia},
pages = {53-61},
volume = {131},
abstract = {Impaired Semantic Verbal Fluency (SVF) in dementia due to Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and its precursor Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is well known. Yet, it remains open whether this impairment mirrors the breakdown of semantic memory retrieval processes or executive control processes. Therefore, qualitative analysis of the SVF has been proposed but is limited in terms of methodology and feasibility in clinical practice. Consequently, research draws no conclusive picture which of these afore-mentioned processes drives the SVF impairment in AD and MCI. This study uses a qualitative computational approach - combining temporal and semantic information - to investigate exploitation and exploration patterns as indicators for semantic memory retrieval and executive control processes. Audio SVF recordings of 20 controls (C, 66-81 years), 55 MCI (57-94 years) and 20 AD subjects (66-82 years) were assessed while groups were matched according to age and education. All groups produced, on average, the same amount of semantically related items in rapid succession within word clusters. Conversely, towards AD, there was a clear decline in semantic as well as temporal exploration patterns between clusters. Results strongly point towards preserved exploitation - semantic memory retrieval processes - and hampered exploration - executive control processes - in AD and potentially in MCI.},
pubstate = {published},
type = {article}
}

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Project:   A4

Vogels, Jorrig; Howcroft, David M.; Tourtouri, Elli; Demberg, Vera

How speakers adapt object descriptions to listeners under load Journal Article

Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, pp. 1-15, 2019.

@article{Vogels2019,
title = {How speakers adapt object descriptions to listeners under load},
author = {Jorrig Vogels and David M. Howcroft and Elli Tourtouri and Vera Demberg},
doi = {https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2019.1648839},
year = {2019},
date = {2019},
journal = {Language, Cognition and Neuroscience},
pages = {1-15},
pubstate = {published},
type = {article}
}

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Project:   A4

Vogels, Jorrig; Demberg, Vera; Kray, Jutta

The index of cognitive activity as a measure of cognitive processing load in dual task settings Journal Article

Frontiers in Psychololgy, 9, pp. 2276, 2018.

@article{Vogels2018,
title = {The index of cognitive activity as a measure of cognitive processing load in dual task settings},
author = {Jorrig Vogels and Vera Demberg and Jutta Kray},
url = {https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02276},
doi = {https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02276},
year = {2018},
date = {2018},
journal = {Frontiers in Psychololgy},
pages = {2276},
volume = {9},
pubstate = {published},
type = {article}
}

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Project:   A4

Häuser, Katja; Demberg, Vera; Kray, Jutta

Surprisal modulates dual-task performance in older adults: Pupillometry shows age-related trade-offs in task performance and time-course of language processing Journal Article

Psychology and Aging, 33, pp. 1168-1180, 2018.

@article{Häuser2018,
title = {Surprisal modulates dual-task performance in older adults: Pupillometry shows age-related trade-offs in task performance and time-course of language processing},
author = {Katja H{\"a}user and Vera Demberg and Jutta Kray},
doi = {https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000316},
year = {2018},
date = {2018-10-17},
journal = {Psychology and Aging},
pages = {1168-1180},
volume = {33},
number = {8},
pubstate = {published},
type = {article}
}

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Project:   A4

Howcroft, David M.; Klakow, Dietrich; Demberg, Vera

Toward Bayesian Synchronous Tree Substitution Grammars for Sentence Planning Inproceedings

11th International Conference on Natural Language Generation (INLG2018), Tilburg, The Netherlands, 2018.

@inproceedings{Howcroft2018,
title = {Toward Bayesian Synchronous Tree Substitution Grammars for Sentence Planning},
author = {David M. Howcroft and Dietrich Klakow and Vera Demberg},
year = {2018},
date = {2018-10-17},
publisher = {11th International Conference on Natural Language Generation (INLG2018)},
address = {Tilburg, The Netherlands},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Shen, Xiaoyu; Su, Hui; Niu, Shuzi; Demberg, Vera

Improving Variational Encoder-Decoders in Dialogue Generation Inproceedings

32nd AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-18), New Orleans, USA, 2018.

@inproceedings{Shen2018,
title = {Improving Variational Encoder-Decoders in Dialogue Generation},
author = {Xiaoyu Shen and Hui Su and Shuzi Niu and Vera Demberg},
year = {2018},
date = {2018-02-02},
publisher = {32nd AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-18)},
address = {New Orleans, USA},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Vogels, Jorrig; Howcroft, David M.; Demberg, Vera

Referential overspecification in response to the listener's cognitive load Inproceedings

International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, Tarttu, Estonia, 2017.

@inproceedings{Vogels2017,
title = {Referential overspecification in response to the listener's cognitive load},
author = {Jorrig Vogels and David M. Howcroft and Vera Demberg},
year = {2017},
date = {2017},
publisher = {International Cognitive Linguistics Conference},
address = {Tarttu, Estonia},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Häuser, Katja; Demberg, Vera; Kray, Jutta

Age-differences in recovery from prediction error: Evidence from a simulated driving and combined sentence verification task. Inproceedings

39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2017.

@inproceedings{Häuser2017,
title = {Age-differences in recovery from prediction error: Evidence from a simulated driving and combined sentence verification task.},
author = {Katja H{\"a}user and Vera Demberg and Jutta Kray},
year = {2017},
date = {2017-10-17},
publisher = {39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Klakow, Dietrich; Howcroft, David M.; Demberg, Vera

The Extended SPaRKy Restaurant Corpus: Designing a Corpus with Variable Information Density Inproceedings

Proc. Interspeech 2017, pp. 3757-3761, 2017.

@inproceedings{Howcroft2017b,
title = {The Extended SPaRKy Restaurant Corpus: Designing a Corpus with Variable Information Density},
author = {Dietrich Klakow and David M. Howcroft and Vera Demberg},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1555},
doi = {https://doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1555},
year = {2017},
date = {2017-10-17},
booktitle = {Proc. Interspeech 2017},
pages = {3757-3761},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Howcroft, David M.; Vogels, Jorrig; Demberg, Vera

G-TUNA: a corpus of referring expressions in German, including duration information Inproceedings

Proc. of the 10th International Natural Language Generation Conference (INLG), Association for Computational Linguistics, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2017.

@inproceedings{W17-3522,
title = {G-TUNA: a corpus of referring expressions in German, including duration information},
author = {David M. Howcroft and Jorrig Vogels and Vera Demberg},
url = {http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W17-3522},
year = {2017},
date = {2017},
booktitle = {Proc. of the 10th International Natural Language Generation Conference (INLG)},
publisher = {Association for Computational Linguistics},
address = {Santiago de Compostela, Spain},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Howcroft, David M.; Demberg, Vera

Psycholinguistic Models of Sentence Processing Improve Sentence Readability Ranking Inproceedings

Proceedings of EACL 2017, Valencia, 2017.

@inproceedings{Howcroft2017,
title = {Psycholinguistic Models of Sentence Processing Improve Sentence Readability Ranking},
author = {David M. Howcroft and Vera Demberg},
url = {http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/E17-1090},
year = {2017},
date = {2017-10-17},
booktitle = {Proceedings of EACL 2017},
address = {Valencia},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Schwenger, Maximilian; Torralba, Álvaro; Hoffmann, Jörg; Howcroft, David M.; Demberg, Vera

From OpenCCG to AI Planning: Detecting Infeasible Edges in Sentence Generation Inproceedings

Calzolari, Nicoletta; Matsumoto, Yuji; Prasad, Rashmi (Ed.): COLING 2016, 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Proceedings of the Conference: Technical Papers, ACL, pp. 1524-1534, Osaka, 2016, ISBN 978-4-87974-702-0.

@inproceedings{DBLP:conf/coling/SchwengerTHHD16,
title = {From OpenCCG to AI Planning: Detecting Infeasible Edges in Sentence Generation},
author = {Maximilian Schwenger and {\'A}lvaro Torralba and J{\"o}rg Hoffmann and David M. Howcroft and Vera Demberg},
editor = {Nicoletta Calzolari and Yuji Matsumoto and Rashmi Prasad},
url = {http://aclweb.org/anthology/C/C16/C16-1144.pdf},
year = {2016},
date = {2016-12-01},
booktitle = {COLING 2016, 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Proceedings of the Conference: Technical Papers},
isbn = {978-4-87974-702-0},
pages = {1524-1534},
publisher = {ACL},
address = {Osaka},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Zarcone, Alessandra; van Schijndel, Marten; Vogels, Jorrig; Demberg, Vera

Salience and attention in surprisal-based accounts of language processing Journal Article

Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 2016, ISSN 1664-1078.

@article{Zarcone2016,
title = {Salience and attention in surprisal-based accounts of language processing},
author = {Alessandra Zarcone and Marten van Schijndel and Jorrig Vogels and Vera Demberg},
url = {http://www.frontiersin.org/language_sciences/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00844/abstract},
doi = {https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00844},
year = {2016},
date = {2016},
journal = {Frontiers in Psychology},
volume = {7},
number = {844},
pubstate = {published},
type = {article}
}

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Projects:   A3 A4

Ahrendt, Simon; Demberg, Vera

Improving event prediction by representing script participants Inproceedings

Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Association for Computational Linguistics, pp. 546-551, San Diego, California, 2016.

@inproceedings{ahrendt-demberg:2016:N16-1,
title = {Improving event prediction by representing script participants},
author = {Simon Ahrendt and Vera Demberg},
url = {http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/N16-1067},
year = {2016},
date = {2016-06-01},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies},
pages = {546-551},
publisher = {Association for Computational Linguistics},
address = {San Diego, California},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

Fischer, Andrea; Demberg, Vera; Klakow, Dietrich

Towards Flexible, Small-Domain Surface Generation: Combining Data-Driven and Grammatical Approaches Inproceedings

Proceedings of the 15th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation (ENLG), Association for Computational Linguistics, pp. 105-108, Brighton, England, UK, 2015.

@inproceedings{fischer:demberg:klakow,
title = {Towards Flexible, Small-Domain Surface Generation: Combining Data-Driven and Grammatical Approaches},
author = {Andrea Fischer and Vera Demberg and Dietrich Klakow},
url = {https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W15-4718/},
year = {2015},
date = {2015},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 15th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation (ENLG)},
pages = {105-108},
publisher = {Association for Computational Linguistics},
address = {Brighton, England, UK},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Projects:   A4 C4

Howcroft, David M.; White, Michael

Inducing Clause-Combining Operations for Natural Language Generation Inproceedings

Proc. of the 1st International Workshop on Data-to-Text Generation, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 2015.

@inproceedings{howcroft:white:d2t-2015,
title = {Inducing Clause-Combining Operations for Natural Language Generation},
author = {David M. Howcroft and Michael White},
url = {http://www.macs.hw.ac.uk/InteractionLab/d2t/papers/d2t_HowcroftWhite},
year = {2015},
date = {2015},
booktitle = {Proc. of the 1st International Workshop on Data-to-Text Generation},
address = {Edinburgh, Scotland, UK},
pubstate = {published},
type = {inproceedings}
}

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Project:   A4

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