When Expectancies Collide: the Interaction between Stimulus Plausibility and Congruency during a Cross-Modal Verification Task

Moreno Coco - Leverhulme Research Fellow, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences - University of Edinburgh

 

When Expectancies Collide: the Interaction between Stimulus Plausibility and Congruency during a Cross-Modal Verification Task

Moreno Coco
Leverhulme Research Fellow, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
University of Edinburgh

The cognitive architecture routinely relies on expectancy mechanisms to process the plausibility of stimuli and establish their sequential congruency. Electrophysiology research, for example, has shown that implausible (e.g., an odd word in a sentence), as well as, mis-matching stimuli (e.g., a narrative of scenes with an incongruent ending), elicit a negative shift of brain activity. In this talk, I will present evidences from mouse-tracking (study 1) and electrophysiology (study 2) uncovering the interaction between plausibility and congruency during a cross-modal verification task, where participants verified the content congruency of sentence and scene pairs that varied in plausibility.

In study 1, we find that implausible but congruent stimuli triggered less accurate and slower responses, and were associated with more complex verification trajectories.

In study 2, we find that:
(1) incongruent pairs elicited an early negative response (N100),
(2) implausible stimuli elicited a later negative response (N300) and finally
(3) incongruent and implausible pairs elicited a stronger negativity compared to congruent and implausible pairs, peaking at 400ms (N400).

Taken together, these studies demonstrate that the matching of congruency expectations is not sufficient for facilitating cognitive processing, but depends greatly on the plausibility of information that is being integrated.

If you would like to meet with the speaker, please contact Vera Demberg

 

 

Moreno Coco

Moreno Coco is Leverhulme Research Fellow working at the Department of Psychology (Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology), University of Edinburgh, currently investigating visual working memory in healthy and neuro-degenerate populations (e.g., Alzheimer). Previously, he was a Post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Psychology, University of Lisbon, awarded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia,  examining event plausibility and contextual congruency of visual and linguistic information in verification tasks using behavioral (mouse-tracking) and imaging (EEG) techniques. Prior to this, he was first a PhD (with scholarship), and then a Post-Doc at the Institute of Language, Cognition and Computation of the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, working on an ERC grant uncovering the interaction of visual attention and sentence processing during communicative tasks situated in visual contexts.

His research combines quantitative experimental psychology with computational modeling to bring novel insights into the cognitive dynamics sustaining the processing of visual and linguistic information, their formation and access from memory, as well as their interactive exchange during cooperative, goal-oriented, dialogue tasks. He is also an active software developer in the R language.