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Speech Prosody Serves Temporal Prediction of Language via Contextual Entrainment Temporal prediction assists language comprehension. In a series of recent behavioral studies, we have shown that listeners specifically employ rhythmic modulations of prosody to estimate the duration of upcoming sentences, thereby speeding up comprehension. In the current human magnetoencephalography (MEG) study on participants of either sex, we show that the human brain achieves this function through a mechanism termed entrainment. Through entrainment, electrophysiological brain activity maintains and continues contextual rhythms beyond their offset. Our experiment combined exposure to repetitive prosodic contours with the subsequent presentation of visual sentences that either matched or mismatched the duration of the preceding contour. During exposure to prosodic contours, we observed MEG coherence with the contours, which was source-localized to right-hemispheric auditory areas. During the processing of the visual targets, activity at the frequency of the preceding contour was still detectable in the MEG; yet sources shifted to the (left) frontal cortex, in line with a functional inheritance of the rhythmic acoustic context for prediction. Strikingly, when the target sentence was shorter than expected from the preceding contour, an omission response appeared in the evoked potential record. We conclude that prosodic entrainment is a functional mechanism of temporal prediction in language comprehension. In general, acoustic rhythms appear to endow language for employing the brain’s electrophysiological mechanisms of temporal prediction.

Neuroethics, Covert Consciousness, and Disability Rights: What Happens When Artificial Intelligence Meets Cognitive Motor Dissociation? In this article, we consider the intersection of cognitive motor dissociation (CMD) and artificial intelligence (AI), hence when CMD meets AI. In covert consciousness, there is a discordance between the observed behavior, the traditional bedside mode of assessment, and the response to volitional commands as depicted by neuroimaging or EEG studies. This alphabet soup of acronyms represents both the promise and peril of nascent technology in covert consciousness. On the diagnostic side, there is the complexity and uncertainty of identifying the discordance between cognitive activity and overt behavior. On the therapeutic side, when AI is used to generate speech, there is the possibility of misrepresenting the thoughts and intentions of those who are otherwise voiceless. This concordance of factors makes the application of AI to CMD worthy of deeper consideration. We offer this analysis in the spirit of anticipatory governance, a prudential process by which one plans to prevent or mitigate unintended consequences of novel technology. We first consider the normative challenges posed by CMD for clinical practice, neuroethics, and the law. We then explore the history of covert consciousness and the relationship of severe brain injury to the right-to-die movement, before introducing three biographies of brain injury that highlight the potential impact of disability bias or ableism in clinical practice, assistive technology, and translational research. Subsequently, we explore how AI might give voice to conscious individuals who are unable to communicate and the ethical challenges that this technology must overcome to promote human flourishing drawing upon what Nussbaum and Sen have described as a “capabilities approach” to promote normative reasoning.

Inspired to act: motivational effects of being moved by love and willpower People can be moved and touched by exceptional closeness between people or by outstanding willpower. We investigated the causal effect of these feelings on motivations. We based our research on the previously identified phenomenon that feelings of being moved are stronger in unfavourable circumstances (e.g. psychological closeness after conflict, high achievement against all odds). In two studies in the US (N1 = 136) and in Germany (N2 = 161), we independently varied context (love vs. willpower) and circumstances (favourable vs. unfavourable) in short stories and assessed feelings of being moved as well as the motivation to show love and the motivation to show willpower after each story. In both contexts and consistent across the two studies, unfavourable circumstances elicited stronger motivations to show love as well as stronger motivations to show willpower. Multilevel mediation modelling revealed that these effects were mediated by feelings of being moved. This indicates that feelings of being moved enhance pro-social as well as achievement-related motivations.

Aristotle’s tyche (τύχη) and contemporary debates about luck This paper proposes an interpretation of Aristotle’s understanding of tyche (τύχη), a Greek term that can be alternatively translated as luck, fortune, or fate. The paper disentangles various threads of argument in the primary sources to argue for a realist understanding of what we moderns call “luck.” In short, it contends that Aristotle’s account of these issues is mostly correct and merits close attention when canvassing recent philosophical debates about luckology. Aristotle argues that science pertains to the general rule; it is not about the particular. Particular events have contingent content that exceeds the scope of science. Even if we could predict all future events with ultimate accuracy, we would still be left wondering why good or bad things happen to specific people. Although luck is not a scientific category, it has an existential reality that leaves momentous events open to metaphysical and even religious interpretation.

The neuroscience of athletic excellence – what sets champions apart? One of the greatest sporting events, the Summer Olympics, is just around the corner. Kicking off July 26th in Paris, France, more than 10.000 athletes from over 200 nations will compete in 32 sports (329 medal events) to bring home an Olympic gold medal. Originating in ancient Greece in 776 BCE as a tribute to honor Zeus, the King of the Greek gods, the Olympics have transformed into a global celebration of athleticism and are captivating millions of sports enthusiasts worldwide. While many dream about participating in their chosen discipline, this aspiration only comes true for a small fraction of athletes. Regardless of whether it comes to track and field, swimming, skating, or archery – what is it that distinguishes competitors from those of us who are simply watching? It’s tempting to simply attribute their success to physical characteristics such as strength and agility. However, the true key to elite performance may lie in cognitive processes such as self-regulation, perception, or decision-making. Below is the pursuit to unravel some of the intricate neural and behavioral mechanisms underpinning athletic excellence, unveiling what it really takes to become an Olympic champion.

A skeptical look at universalism – and the future of consciousness science I’ve just got back from Tokyo where I had an enjoyable time at ASSC27, adeptly organised by Ryota Kanai and his team. As usual, on the trip home I started thinking about the current state of consciousness science, especially in light of all that unfolded after last year’s meeting (see here and here). In general, my sense is that consciousness science is doing well in places, but in danger of running into difficulties in others.

The core issue is this: is consciousness part of “normal science”, that can be tackled in incremental steps using the methods of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience? Or is it “anomalous science”, that requires revolutionary new approaches?

The incremental, normal science approach holds that phenomenal consciousness will eventually yield to the explanatory framework of cognitive neuroscience. This is allied to the dominant position in psychology on other aspects of mental function – that psychological capacities such as remembering, perceiving, deciding, etc can be explained by internal processes that are revealed through third-person experimental data.

In defense of language-independent flexibility, or: What rodents and humans can do without language There are two main approaches within classical cognitive science to explaining how humans can entertain mental states that integrate contents across domains. The language-based framework states that this ability arises from higher cognitive domain-specific systems that combine their outputs through the language faculty, whereas the language-independent framework holds that it comes from non-language-involving connections between such systems. This article turns on its head the most influential empirical argument for the language-based framework, an argument that originates from research on spatial reorientation. I make the case that neuroscientific findings about spatial reorientation in rodents and humans bolster the language-independent framework instead.

Word Meaning Word meaning has played a somewhat marginal role in early contemporary philosophy of language, which focused more on the compositional processes whereby words combine to form meaningful sentences, rather than on their individual meanings (see the entry on compositionality). Nowadays, there is widespread consensus that the study of word meaning is crucial to our understanding of human language. This entry provides an overview of the way issues related to word meaning have been explored in analytic philosophy and a summary of relevant research on the subject in neighboring domains. Though the main focus will be on philosophical problems, contributions from linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience will also be considered.

.Poetry as Prayer: The Great Russian Poet Marina Tsvetaeva on Reclaiming the Divine “Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer,” Simone Weil wrote in her exquisite reckoning with attention and grace. Because poetry is the art of attention, anchored in a total receptivity that judges nothing and rejects nothing, every poem is a kind of prayer, kneeling before the wild wonder of the world with faith and love.

The great Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva (October 8, 1892–August 31, 1941) articulates this dialogue between the poetic and the divine in Art in the Light of Conscience (public library) — the wonderful essay collection that gave us Tsvetaeva on the paradoxical psychology of our resistance to ideas.

.Staking Claims in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) (Part 1) (Part 2) It’s considered the definitive film on greed, a demonstration of just what the lust for gold can do to a man’s heart. Fred C. Dobbs starts out as a down-on-his-luck panhandler in a poor Mexican town and comes into a fortune of over $100,000 before the film’s end. Yet, in more ways than one, Dobbs never stops panhandling, never stops being subject to the vagaries of fate, to forces that might just as soon give as take away his fortune, and to the darkness within himself that he can neither understand nor control. Perhaps the film doesn’t chart his moral corruption and gradual descent into greed-fueled madness so much as it critiques the system that turned Dobbs into a beggar in the first place—a system which, the film might argue, teaches all of us to stick out our hands (and our necks) in the pursuit of profit. Wes & Erin discuss John Huston’s 1948 classic, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”