Cognitive Science


April 23, 2021

Semester Welcome Meeting

Speaker: Thomas Lachmann

April 30, 2021

Speaker: Omar Jubran (Graduate School member)

Topic: Combining different modalities in the investigation of cognitive load

Abstract: The Cognitive Load Theory by sweller attempts to quantify the extent of cognitive processing capacity required during a working memory task. Over the past decades, different techniques have been used to measure cognitive load. These methods include subjective measures, task- and performance-based indices, and also physiological measurements such as galvanic skin response, pupil dilation, and electroencephalography (EEG)). In this talk, a few experimental paradigms will be introduced, that expand and adapt classical measures into modern environments, and provide more method of analysis to the classical ones.

May 07, 2021

Speaker: Abdullah Jelelati (Graduate School member - Supervisors: Thomas Lachmann & Maria Klatte)

Topic: Auditory streaming and short-term memory: Effects of talker variability on serial recall and auditory distraction

Abstract: Immediate serial recall of visually presented verbal items is impaired by task-irrelevant background speech. According to the “changing-state”-account of this “irrelevant speech effect” (ISE), pre-attentive, obligatory processing of changing sound elements in a coherent speech stream results in cues to serial order, which then interfere with the deliberate rehearsal of the serial order of the list items. In the current experiment, we analyse whether the ISE is attenuated when the coherence of the irrelevant speech stream is reduced by different talkers. In part 2 of the experiment, we assess the talker variability effect in serial recall performance for spoken items, which has also been attributed to auditory streaming. We expected a correlation between talker variability effects in both paradigms, resulting from individual differences in preattentive auditory streaming. Data, however, show no sign of a relationship between the TVE (auditory task) and the changing-state effect (visual task).

May 21, 2021


May 20th-21st, 2021

June 11, 2021

Speaker: Felix Hekele (Graduate School member)


June 18, 2021

Speaker: Christoph Giehl (Graduate School member)

Topic: Identification and control of question order effects using structural equation models. A Monte Carlo simulation study

Abstract: Evaluating data quality is an important part of quantitative research, no matter the scientific discipline. Thanks to survey research and cognitive science, various cognitive effects are known that can lead to response biases and thus to biased measures of data quality. One of those effects known from survey research is the question order effect which describes the tendency to give responses not only based on an individuals' attitudes, believes etc. but based on the already given answer to a previous question. Since such question order effects often happen within indicator batteries of latent constructs, measurement errors of those indicators aren't independent from each other, thus violating basic test theory assumptions. Therefore, an approach was developed to identify and control for question order effects using structural equation modelling, leading to less biased measures of data quality when applied. The overall performance and power of the approach was tested using a Monte-Carlo simulation study.

June 25, 2021

Speaker: Dr. Radha Nila Meghanathan (Graduate School member)

Topic: Memory in sequential eye movements

Abstract: We can learn how we interact with the external world by observing eye movement patterns. In enabling us to encode information from and interact with the world, eye movements become part of memory. Using three different studies, I will demonstrate patterns in eye movements that reveal memory -  eye movements for memorization, eye movements for rehearsal and long-range memory in eye movements.

July 02, 2021

Speaker: John Gamboa (Graduate School member)

Topic: The usage and processing of nominal compounds in academic settings

Abstract: Nominal compounds (in English) are sequences of words denoting a single concept (e.g., "brain activation pattern"). Their usage is especially common in academic settings, where their prevalence and complexity have substantially increased over the course of the last century. In this talk, I will present a few eye-tracking experiments aiming to understand how they are processed during reading by native and non-native English speakers; as well as work investigating in which situations nominal compounds are used in scientific text.

July 16, 2021

Speaker: Aishvarya Aravidan (KU Leuven, Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Bert De Smedt & Prof. Dr. Thomas Lachmann)

Topic: Development of Mathematical Competencies in Kindergarten Children and the Role of Cognitive Factors: A Latent Profile Analysis

Abstract: The present study investigates individual differences in early mathematical competencies of kindergarten children using a person-centered approach. Previous studies have found significant individual differences in a range of early mathematical competencies, but they were seldom jointly examined. The present study aims to identify unobserved homogenous subgroups of kindergarten children based on their core mathematical competencies using the latent profile analysis method. The components of early math competencies and cognitive competencies were also strongly related, and the pattern of cognitive competencies emerging with respect to math ability was also examined. Data of children in the third year of kindergarten (n=380, Mage = 63.73 and 70.08 months at T1 and T2 respectively) tested six months apart at T1 (2017), and T2 (2018) time-points were utilized. Cognitive competencies of language ability, spatial ability, verbal and visuospatial- working memory at T1 and mathematical competencies categorized under numbering, relations and arithmetic domains at T2 were assessed. Latent profile analysis identified five distinct profiles with varying strengths and weakness in each of the core mathematical domains. Additionally, the examination of cognitive competencies and home numeracy environment revealed that the pattern of cognitive competencies of each math ability profile was unique, but no significant difference between profiles was observed for home numeracy environment. The limitations and future research scope are discussed.

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