Empirical Evidence
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Ute Bohnacker ◽  
Josefin Lindgren ◽  
Buket Öztekin

Abstract The empirical evidence for whether narrative macrostructure skills are shared between a bilingual child’s two languages is inconclusive, and it is not known how macrostructure (overall story structure) is influenced by general language proficiency and amount of exposure. The present study investigates these issues in 100 Turkish-Swedish bilingual 4-to-7-year-old children growing up in Sweden. Oral narratives were elicited in both Turkish and Swedish with two picture-based tasks from the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN) in the telling mode. We investigated to what extent the language of elicitation influences bilingual children’s macrostructure (story structure, episodic complexity), and explored effects of age, narrative task, narrative length, expressive vocabulary and language exposure, both separately and combined, on macrostructure in the respective language. Story structure and episodic complexity were found to increase similarly with age in both Turkish and Swedish from 4 to 7 years. Scores did not differ between the two MAIN storytelling tasks. Expressive vocabulary and narrative length influenced story structure scores positively and similarly in both languages. Daily language exposure and length of exposure to Swedish did not show any significant effect. The results can be interpreted in support of a carry-over of narrative macrostructural skills between the two languages.

2021 ◽  
Nina Zdorova ◽  
Svetlana Malyutina ◽  
Anna Laurinavichyute ◽  
Anastasiia Kaprielova ◽  
Kromina Anastasia ◽  

Noise, as part of real-life communication flow, degrades the quality of linguistic input and affects language processing. According to predictions of the noisy-channel model, noisemakes comprehenders rely more on word-level semantics and good-enough processing instead of actual syntactic relations. However, empirical evidence of such qualitative effect of noise on sentence processing is still lacking. For the first time, we investigated the qualitative effect of both auditory (three-talker babble) and visual (short idioms appearing next to target sentence on the screen) noise on sentence reading within one study in two eye-trackingexperiments. In both of them, we used the same stimuli — unambiguous grammatical Russian sentences — and manipulated their semantic plausibility. Our findings suggest that although readers relied on good-enough processing in Russian, neither auditory nor visualnoise qualitatively increased reliance on semantics in sentence comprehension. The only effect of noise was found in reading speed: only without noise, semantically implausible sentences were read slower than semantically plausible ones, as measured by both early and late eye-movement measures. These results do not support the predictions of the noisy-channel model. With regard to quantitative effects, we found a detrimental effect ofauditory noise on overall comprehension accuracy, and an accelerating effect of visual noise on sentence processing without accuracy decrease.

2021 ◽  
Collin B. Edwards ◽  
Stephen B. Ellner ◽  
Anurag Agrawal

As a general rule, plants defend against herbivores with multiple traits. The defense synergy hypothesis posits that some traits are more potent when co-expressed with others, compared to their independent potency. However, this hypothesis has rarely been tested outside of synergies within a class of particular phytochemicals, and seldom under field conditions. We tested for synergies between multiple defense traits of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) by assaying the performance of two specialist herbivores on plants in natural populations. We employed both standard regression and exploratory analysis using a novel application of Random Forests that allowed us to detect synergies between defense traits. In hypothesis testing, we found the first empirical evidence for a previously hypothesized synergy between one pair of co-expressed defense traits (latex and cardenolides), but not another (latex and trichomes). When exploring all potential interactions between pairs of traits we found eight synergies and five antagonisms in predicting herbivore performance. Half of the identified synergies involved carbon, which is the basis of several defenses including chemical and physical barriers to feeding, and also essential nutrients. Our findings suggest that defense synergies could explain co-expression of latex and cardenolides in milkweeds. This synergy may be common among the diverse plant species that employ latex as a defense. Future studies should test carbon-based synergies, which our work suggests are prevalent, as well as the other synergies identified in our exploratory analysis. Our analytic approach provides a general, flexible framework for more broadly discovering and predicting the coexpression of traits through their synergistic function.

2021 ◽  
Vol 1 (15) ◽  
pp. 125-137
Pawel Mlodkowski

This note is a systematic review of arguments provided by Feldstein (2008) on the necessity for global readjustments, both in the U.S. and in main trading partners. The purpose is to address the main arguments in the scientific and political debate on persistent To date, there has been no publication that challenged the opinions leading to totally wrong forecasts concerning the global imbalance. With a perspective of more than 10 years of post-2008-crisis developments, and together with empirical evidence one can easily see how erroneous were the arguments formulated in 2008. The tasks included a systematic review of all arguments formulated by Martin Feldstein in 2008, and casting them against empirical evidence. The U.S. current account (CA) deficit has continued for many years, since 1982, and has not changed, as foreseen by Feldstein. The primary method is a simple comparative analysis, supported by basic macroeconomic data. They allow to reveal multiple processes leading to further deterioration of the U.S. trade balance. Neither savings rate domestically nor abroad adjusted to give a basis for solving the global imbalance. In the same time, all traditional arguments presented on global imbalances seem undeniable. However, an alternative interpretation of the imbalance does not recognize the CA deficit as “a gift to the U.S. economy”. This paper sheds new light on the “global imbalance”, suggesting that increasing domestic absorption by China may be an important factor in resolving the U.S. problematic and persistent trade deficit. Disaster-scenarios may be not there in the U.S. to experience. Future developments may be far from those announced, and previously expected by Feldstein in his seminal paper. A careful reader may conclude that all coming changes and adjustments will be slow, gradual, and will not cause any major issues in the global economy. Such conclusions seem most justified by hard data and therefore encouraging. As the topic remains central to open economy empirical macroeconomics, continuation of studies on this issue seems natural. The U.S. and China will remain the biggest economies, and, as such, they are central to the global situation.

2021 ◽  
pp. 0095327X2110398
Jennifer Turner ◽  
Dominique Moran

Prior research into military–civilian transition has suggested that the Prison Service may be a popular destination for Armed Forces leavers, but the experience of former military personnel within the prison system as prison staff (rather than as Veterans in Custody) has so far been overlooked. As a result, we know very little about their route into prison work. This article reports on a UK study investigating the experience of prison personnel who have previously served in the military and presents the first set of empirical evidence addressing these critical questions. Whilst our findings mirror prevailing assumptions of a relatively seamless transition to post-military careers (and, in particular, those within Protective Service Occupations), few had intended a career in prison work specifically. Such trajectories may influence personal military–civilian transitions, as well as job performance in prison work and, by extension, the everyday lives of prisoners and other prison staff.

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Svenja Hammerstein ◽  
Christoph König ◽  
Thomas Dreisörner ◽  
Andreas Frey

The COVID-19 pandemic led to numerous governments deciding to close schools for several weeks in spring 2020. Empirical evidence on the impact of COVID-19-related school closures on academic achievement is only just emerging. The present work aimed to provide a first systematic overview of evidence-based studies on general and differential effects of COVID-19-related school closures in spring 2020 on student achievement in primary and secondary education. Results indicate a negative effect of school closures on student achievement, specifically in younger students and students from families with low socioeconomic status. Moreover, certain measures can be identified that might mitigate these negative effects. The findings are discussed in the context of their possible consequences for national educational policies when facing future school closures.

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Anastasia Besika ◽  
Andrea B. Horn ◽  
Mike Martin

Studies infer Psychological Balance from the absence of psychopathology. In this article, we investigated this construct as an antecedent of well-being. We present empirical evidence toward the validation of a new theoretical model regarding Psychological Balance, a dynamic state with relatively constant characteristics, comprising Consistency and Flexibility and influenced by a Self/Others Ratio. A battery of 31 items, as indicators of Consistency, Flexibility, and Self/Others Ratio, aided this empirical investigation. In an online study (N = 933), we collected cross-sectional data from the United Kingdom. Results of cross-validation analyses provided evidence toward the validity of the proposed model and the psychometric properties of its instrument. There were statistically significant associations between Consistency (i.e., degree of integration of a universal value structure as self-related characteristics that motivate personal goals and behavior), Flexibility (i.e., degree of ability to re-define meaningful and important goals in response to situational challenge), and five well-being variables (e.g., Meaning in Life). Self/Others Ratio (i.e., ratio of motivation to serve self-interest and the interest of others), operationalized as a binary variable (e.g., close and away from 1), moderated some of these associations. Altogether, this work may contribute toward a nuanced understanding of well-being and form the basis of interventions that aim to decrease emotional discomfort and increase meaning, happiness, and life satisfaction.

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