Here are some representative publications of RICO members, roughly divided by topic:

On language and word learning:

Marchetto, E. & Bonatti, L.L. Words and possible words in early language acquisition. Cognitive Psychology, 63, 130-150.

Endress, A.D. & Pottter, M.C. (2012). Early conceptual and linguistic processes operate in independent channels. Psychological Science, 23(3), 235-245.

Endress, A.D. & Wood, J.N. (2011). From movements to actions: Two mechanisms of learning movement sequences. Cognitive Psychology, 63(3), 141-171.

Endress, A.D. & Hauser, M.D. (2011). The influence of type and token frequency on the acquisition of affixation patterns: Implications for language processing.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 37(1), 77-95

Endress, A.D. & Hauser, M.D. (2010). Word segmentation with universal prosodic cues. Cognitive Psychology, 61(2), 177-199.

Hochmann, J.R., Endress, A.D. & Mehler, J. (2010). Word frequency as a cue for identifying function words in infancy. Cognition, 115(3), 444-457.

Pons, F. & Toro, J.M. (2010). Structural generalizations over consonants and vowels in 11-month-old infants. Cognition, 116(3), 361-367.

Here we show that infants generalize simple rules more easily over vowels than over consonants even before they have a totally-developed lexicon.

Endress, A.D. & Hauser, M.D. (2009). Syntax-induced pattern deafness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 106(49), 21001-21006.

Endress, A.D., Nespor, M. & Mehler, J. (2009). Perceptual and memory constraints on language acquisition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(8), 348-353.

Endress, A.D. & Mehler, J. (2009). Primitive Computations in Speech Processing. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62(11), 2187-2209.

Toro, J.M., Shukla, M., Nespor, M., & Endress, A. (2008).  The quest for generalizations over consonants: asymmetries between consonants and vowels are not the by-product of acoustic differences. Perception & Psychophysics, 70, 1515-1525.

This paper presents a more detailed introduction to the problem of functional asymmetries between consonants and vowels. It also provides evidence that such asymmetries are not the result of, at least, the difference in salience between them.

Endress, A.D., Dehaene-Lambertz, G., & Mehler, J. (2007). Perceptual constraints and the learnability of simple grammars. Cognition, 105(3), 577-614.

Toro, J.M., Sinnett, S., & Soto-Faraco, S.  (2005).  Speech segmentation by statistical learning depends on attention.  Cognition, 97, B25-B34.

A pretty straightforward study showing that if you divide attention away from a speech stream, the extraction of statistical dependencies between syllables is compromised. So, statistical learning is incidental, but is not attention-independent.

Toro, J.M., Sebastián-Gallés, N. & Mattys, S. (2009).  The role of perceptual salience during the segmentation of connected speech. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 21, 786-800.

An experiment with Spanish, English and French participants showing an effect of perceptual salience largely independent of their native language.

Bonatti, L. L., Peña, M., Nespor, M., & Mehler, J. (2006). Generalization, segmentation and language learning : How to hit Scylla without avoiding Charybdis. Journal of Experimental Psychology:General.

This is a clarification of some issues raised by our Science article, and a response to some unfounded critisms it received.

Endress, A. & Bonatti, L. L. (2007). Rapid learning of syllable classes from a perceptually continuous speech stream. Cognition, 105 (2), 247-299.

This is a paper to test your patience.It also required a lot of patience to be written. We show that learning quasi-linguistic regularities requires little input and occurs fast, and that experience actually deteriorates this first learning. If you get to the end and understand everything, you win a coffe at our favorite coffe shop. (But really, there are nice things in this paper. I would give a try if I were you.).

Bonatti, L. L., Peña, M., Nespor, M., & Mehler, J. (2005). Linguistic constraints on Statistical Computations. Psychological Science, 16(6), 451-9.

An attempt to assess the different role of vowels and consonants in word learning. We show that while language learners can easily compute probability relations among consonants within syllables, the same does not occur for vowels. We argue that this asymmetry is due to the different role of vowels and consonants in language.

Mehler, J., Peña, M., Nespor, M. & Bonatti, L. L. (2006). The "Soul" of language does not use statistics: Reflections on Vowels and Consonants. Cortex, 42, 846-54.

This continue the argument of the preceding paper with a different experimental approach.

Bonatti, L. L., Peña, M., Nespor, M., & Mehler, J. (2007). On Consonants, Vowels, Chickens, and Eggs. Psychological Science, 18(10), 924-5.

This is a rejoinder to a sharp commentary by Keidel, Jenison, Kluhender & Seidenberg, who try to explain our data about vowels and consonants by using mutual information. I don't think they succeed, but they made a nice attempt.

Toro, J., M., Nespor, M., Mehler, J., & Bonatti, L. (2008). Finding words and rules in a speech stream: functional differences between vowels and consonants. Psychological Science, 19(2), 137-144.

This is a very nice paper which continues our work on the differential role of vowels and consonants in speech processing. Just as in the Bonatti et al.'s (2005) paper we found that adults tend to identify lexical elements in a speech stream by using consonants, here we show that they also tend to identify structural generalizations preferentially by using vowels. Indeed, we show that they really have hard time in using consonants even in very simple cases.

Peña, M., Bonatti, L. L., Nespor, M., & Mehler, J. (2002). Signal-driven computations in speech processing. Science, 298.

An attempt to find the scope and limits of statistical computations in word- and rule- learning. And much more, if you read it carefully.

On the imagination of simple physical events:

Levillain & Bonatti (2011). A Dissociation Between Judged Causality and Imagined Locations in Simple Dynamic Scenes Psychological Science, 22(5) 674–681.

... where we show that even skilled physicists are very poor when they have to imagine where objects are in simple dynamical scenes, and other things.

On Reasoning:

Bonatti, L. (1994). Propositional reasoning by model? Psychological Review, 101(4).

A criticism of the implementations of the mental model theory. A bit old, but still correct in each of its words.

Bonatti, L. (1994). Why should we abandon the mental logic hypothesis? Cognition, 50(1-3), 17-39. (reprinted in J. Mehler, & S. Franck (Eds.), Cognition on cognition. Cambridge, MA, USA: The Mit Press).

In those years, an insisting rumor was spreading, suggesting that compelling arguments existed against the Mental Logic Hypothesis and in favor of the Mental Models Hypothesis. This paper showed that it was just a rumor. Oddly enough, that rumor is still circulating. Why, it beats me.

Bonatti, L. (1998). What the Mental Logic-Mental Models controversy is not about, in M. Braine & D. O'Brien (Eds), Mental Logic, (pp. 435-45).Mahwah, NJ, USA: LEA.

This is a discussion of some issues related to the representation of logical disjunction in a mental logic theory, if you ever happened to care about such problem in your life.

Bonatti, L. (1998). Why it took so long to bake the mental-logic cake: Historical analysis of the recipe and its ingredients. In M. D. S. Braine, & D. P. O'Brien (Eds.), Mental logic (pp. 7-22). Mahwah, NJ, USA: NJ, USA: LEA.

This is sort of a historical introduction to the notion of mental logic.

O'Brien, D., & Bonatti, L. (1999). The semantics of logical connectives and mental logic. Current Psychology of Cognition,18, 87-97.

This is, well, a paper on the semantics of logical connectives and mental logic.

Bonatti,L. (1998). Possibilities and real possibilities for a theory of reasoning. In Z. Pylyshyn (Ed.), Essays on Representations (pp. 85--119). Ablex.

This is an attempt to figure out what real options exist for a theory of reasoning.

Bonatti, L. (1996). SHRUTI's ontology is representational. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 19(2), 326--28.

This is a BBS commentary showing that the (very interesting) Shastri and Ajjanagadde's SHRUTI's model of deductive reasoning requires the full power of a representational theory of mind.

Bonatti, L. (2002). Raisonnement predicatif. In G. Politzer (Ed.), Traité de Sciences Cognitives: Le Raisonnement Paris: Hermès (in French).

A sort of introduction to predicative reasoning and the different open theoretical  options as I see them.

Reverberi, C., Shallice, T., D'Agostini, S., Skrap, M., & Bonatti, L. L. (2009). Cortical bases of elementary deductive reasoning: Inference, memory, and metadeduction Neuropsychologia, 47(4), 1107-1116.

This is a study of frontal patients engaged in simple deductive reasoning tasks, and an attempt to come up with a more refined model of human elementary deductive reasoning.

Reverberi, C., Bonatti, L. L., Frackowiak, R. S., Paulesu, E., Cherubini, P., & Macaluso, E. (2012). Large scale brain activations predict reasoning profiles. Neuroimage, 59, 1752-1764.

We show that certain brain activation patterns predict whether subjects will be more or less prone to attend to the logical structure of a problem or to look for a valid conclusion. We find no brain pattern that predicts subjects following heuristics strategies, which means something if you think about it. This paper has been awarded the Editor's Choice Award as the Best 2011 paper published in Neuroimage at the 18th Congress of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Beijing, China.  

On Infant Cognition:

Téglás, E., Vul, E., Girotto, V., Gonzalez, M., Tenenbaum, J. B., & Bonatti, L. L. (2011).  Pure reasoning in 12-month-old infants as probabilistic inference. Science, 332(6033), 1054-1058.

Here we test how smart kids are when they have to negotiate different, sometimes conflicting cues to predict an unknown future event. We find that they are pretty smart. And other things. This work has been ranked as #40 among the 100 most important discoveries of the year by Discover Magazine.

Cesana-Arlotti, N., Téglás, E. & Bonatti, L. L. (2012).  The Probable and the Possible at 12 Months: Intuitive Reasoning about the Uncertain Future. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 43  1-25.

Here we try to develop a theory explaining why infants have intuitions of probabilities, and the relations of this ability with logical reasoning. We hope to be right, but if we are wrong, the theory is still nice.

Kovács, Á.M., Téglás, E. & Endress, A.D. (2010). The social sense: susceptibility to others' beliefs in human infants and adults. Science, 330(6012), 1830-1834.

Teglas, E., Girotto, V., Gonzalez, M., & Bonatti, L. (2007).   Intuitions of probabilities shape expectations about the future at 12 months and beyond PNAS, 104(48).

This paper asks whether infants can predict the future without knowing the past. More specifically, it asks whether infants have intuitions about probable future events without having previously collected frequency information about the outcomes of those events. And guess what, ....

Bonatti, L., Frot, E., Zangl, R., & Mehler, J. (2002).  The human first hypothesis: Identification of conspecifics and individuation of objects in the young infant. Cognitive Psychology, 44(4).

This paper tries to show that specific properties of our species influence the way infants count objects.

Bonatti, L., Frot, E., & Mehler, J. (2005).  What face inversion does to infants' numerical abilities. Psychological Science.

This paper reports the puzzling result that face orientation changes the way infants count objects. We propose a reason why it should be so.

Bonatti, L. (1997)  How Far beyond Modularity? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 20, 351-69.

This is a critical commentary on Karmiloff-Smith's notion of "modularization", which  has some problems.

Comparative Studies:

De la Mora, DM, & Toro, JM. Rule learning over consonants and vowels in a nonhuman animal. Cognition,  forthcoming.

By testing rats' abilities to extract rule-like patterns either over consonants and vowels, we attempted to answer if the functional asymmetries between these linguistic categories are due to their acoustic differences, or they reflect the constraints imposed by the linguistic system. We found that rats extract rule-like patterns either over consonants and vowels, whereas humans succeed in this task only when the rules are implemented over vowels, but not over consonants. We suggest that these findings reflect the way language constrains over which informational units computations are performed. In the absence of a linguistic system, rules can be extracted either over consonants and vowels. 

De la Mora, DM, Nespor, M. & Toro, JM . Do humans and nonhuman animals share the grouping principles of the iambic-trochaic law. Atten Percep Psychophys,  forthcoming.

This paper approaches the extent to which humans and nonhuman animals share the principles of the Iambic-Trochaic Law. The results seem to suggest that the iambic rhythmic grouping bias based on duration might depend on language experience, whereas the trochaic rhythmic bias based on pitch might be a universal perceptual ability shared by humans and nonhuman animals.

Endress, A.D., Carden, S., Versace, E. & Hauser, M.D. (2010). The apes' edge: Positional learning in chimpanzees and humans. Animal Cognition, 13(3), 483-495.

Endress, A.D., Cahill, D., Block, S., Watumull, J. & Hauser, M.D. (2009). Evidence of an evolutionary precursor to human language affixation in a nonhuman primate. Biology Letters, 5(6), 749-751.

Versace, E., Endress, A.D., & Hauser, M.D. (2008). Pattern recognition mediates flexible timing of vocalizations in nonhuman primates: experiments with cotton-top tamarins. Animal Behaviour, 76(6), 1885-1892.

Toro, J.M., & Trobalón, J.B.  (2005).  Statistical computations over a speech stream in a rodent.  Perception & Psychophysics. 67, 867-875.

Here we show that rats can compute some simple statistics among syllables in a speech stream. Nevertheless, we did not find evidence they could extract more complex relationships among speech elements with the methods we used.

Toro, J.M., Trobalón, J.B., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2005).  The effects of backward speech and speaker variability in language discrimination by rats.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Animal Behavior Processes, 31, 95-100.

A more systematic exploration of the cues rats can use for discriminating two samples of speech....and well, we got the 2007 IgNobel prize on Linguistics for this study!

Toro, J.M., Trobalón, J.B., Sebastián-Gallés, N.  (2003).  The use of prosodic cues in language discrimination tasks by rats.  Animal Cognition, 6, 131-136.

This was the first study showing that rats, just like human infants, could detect speech rhythm and use it for discriminating among languages belonging to different categories.


Bonatti, L.(1991). Introduzione a "Quidditates", in V.W.Quine, Quidditates, Garzanti, (in Italian).

This is an introduction Lua wrote to the Italian edition of a book written by Quine, which contains a brief introduction to Quine's thought. The book was beautiful, and the Italian translation excellent (Luca did it). However, it must have sold at most 3 copies, including the one Luca bought. Too bad.