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Retrieval-based word learning II (Haebig et al., 2019)

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posted on 2019-04-04, 22:07 authored by Eileen Haebig, Laurence B. Leonard, Patricia Deevy, Jeffrey Karpicke, Sharon L. Christ, Evan Usler, Justin B. Kueser, Sofía Souto, Windi Krok, Christine Weber
Purpose: Retrieval practice has been found to be a powerful strategy to enhance long-term retention of new information; however, the utility of retrieval practice when teaching young children new words is largely unknown, and even less is known for young children with language impairments. The current study examined the effect of 2 different retrieval schedules on word learning at both the behavioral and neural levels.
Method: Participants included 16 typically developing children (MTD = 61.58 months) and 16 children with developmental language disorder (MDLD = 59.60 months). Children participated in novel word learning sessions in which the spacing of retrieval practice was manipulated: Some words were retrieved only after other words had been presented (i.e., repeated retrieval that required contextual reinstatement [RRCR]); others were taught using an immediate retrieval schedule. In Experiment 1, children’s recall of the novel word labels and their meanings was tested after a 5-min delay and a 1-week delay. In Experiment 2, event-related brain potentials were obtained from a match–mismatch task utilizing the novel word stimuli.
Results: Experiment 1 findings revealed that children were able to label referents and to retain the novel words more successfully if the words were taught in the RRCR learning condition. Experiment 2 findings revealed that mismatching picture–word pairings elicited a robust N400 event-related brain potential only for words that were taught in the RRCR condition. In addition, children were more accurate in identifying picture–word matches and mismatches for words taught in the RRCR condition, relative to the immediate retrieval condition.
Conclusions: Retrieval practice that requires contextual reinstatement through spacing results in enhanced word learning and long-term retention of words. Both typically developing children and children with developmental language disorder benefit from this type of retrieval procedure.

Supplemental Material S1. Additional model results for the word form outcome.

Supplemental Material S2. Additional model results for meaning outcome.

Supplemental Material S3. Additional model results for the meaning outcome.

Supplemental Material S4. Full event-related brain potential (ERP) within-condition mixed-effect models with region of interest (ROI) electrodes.

Supplemental Material S5. Event-related brain potential (ERP) between-condition mixed-effect model with region of interest (ROI) electrodes.

Haebig, E., Leonard, L. B., Deevy, P., Karpicke, J., Christ, S. L., Usler, E., ... Weber, C. (2019). Retrieval-based word learning in young typically developing children and children with development language disorder II: A comparison of retrieval schedules. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 944–964.

Publisher Note: This article is a companion to Leonard et al., “Retrieval-Based Word Learning in Young Typically Developing Children and Children With Developmental Language Disorder I: The Benefits of Repeated Retrieval,”


This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01-DC014708 awarded to Laurence B. Leonard; Eileen Haebig was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship on training grant (T32-DC00030; PI: Leonard).