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      Investigating the relationship between individual differences and island sensitivity


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          It is well-attested that native speakers tend to give low acceptability ratings to sentences that involve movement from within islands, but the source of island effects remains controversial. The grammatical account posits that island effects result from syntactic constraints on wh-movement, whereas the resource-limitation view posits that low ratings emerge due to processing-related constraints on the parser, such that islands themselves present processing bottlenecks. We address this debate by investigating the relationship between island sensitivity and individual differences in cognitive abilities, as it has been argued that the two views make distinct predictions regarding whether a relationship should hold. Building directly on Sprouse et al. ( 2012a), we tested 102 native English speakers on four island types ( whether, complex NP, subject, and adjunct islands) using an acceptability judgment task to quantify island sensitivity and three cognitive tasks to capture individual differences in working memory (via reading and counting span tasks) and attentional control (via a number Stroop task). Our results reveal strong island sensitivity effects across all island types. However, we did not find evidence that individual differences in working memory and attentional control modulated island sensitivity, which runs counter to the resource-limitation view ( Kluender & Kutas 1993). These results are in line with grammatical accounts of island effects rather than due to processing difficulties.

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          lmerTest Package: Tests in Linear Mixed Effects Models

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            Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models Using lme4

            Maximum likelihood or restricted maximum likelihood (REML) estimates of the parameters in linear mixed-effects models can be determined using the lmer function in the lme4 package for R. As for most model-fitting functions in R, the model is described in an lmer call by a formula, in this case including both fixed- and random-effects terms. The formula and data together determine a numerical representation of the model from which the profiled deviance or the profiled REML criterion can be evaluated as a function of some of the model parameters. The appropriate criterion is optimized, using one of the constrained optimization functions in R, to provide the parameter estimates. We describe the structure of the model, the steps in evaluating the profiled deviance or REML criterion, and the structure of classes or types that represents such a model. Sufficient detail is included to allow specialization of these structures by users who wish to write functions to fit specialized linear mixed models, such as models incorporating pedigrees or smoothing splines, that are not easily expressible in the formula language used by lmer. Journal of Statistical Software, 67 (1) ISSN:1548-7660
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              The role of prefrontal cortex in working-memory capacity, executive attention, and general fluid intelligence: An individual-differences perspective

              We provide an "executive-attention" framework for organizing the cognitive neuroscience research on the constructs of working-memory capacity (WMC), general fluid intelligence, and prefrontal cortex (PFC) function. Rather than provide a novel theory of PFC function, we synthesize a wealth of single-cell, brain-imaging, and neuropsychological research through the lens of our theory of normal individual differences in WMC and attention control (Engle, Kane, & Tuholski, 1999; Engle, Tuholski, Laughlin, & Conway, 1999). Our critical review confirms the prevalent view that dorsolateral PFC circuitry is critical to executive-attention functions. Moreover, although the dorsolateral PFC is but one critical structure in a network of anterior and posterior "attention control" areas, it does have a unique executive-attention role in actively maintaining access to stimulus representations and goals in interference-rich contexts. Our review suggests the utility of an executive-attention framework for guiding future research on both PFC function and cognitive control.

                Author and article information

                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                17 September 2020
                : 5
                : 1
                : 94
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, US
                [2 ]Department of Linguistics, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, US
                [3 ]Second Language Acquisition Laboratory, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, US
                [4 ]College of Languages and Translation, Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, SA
                [5 ]Neurolinguistics and Language Processing Laboratory, Department of Linguistics, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, US
                Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                : 21 January 2020
                : 30 July 2020

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                attentional control,working memory,individual differences,acceptability judgments,syntax,island constraints


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