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Novel adjective processing in preschool children (Gerwin et al., 2021)

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posted on 09.02.2021, 23:35 by Katelyn L. Gerwin, Laurence B. Leonard, Jennifer Schumaker, Patricia Deevy, Eileen Haebig, Christine Weber
Purpose: Recent findings in preschool children indicated novel adjective recall was enhanced when learned using repeated retrieval with contextual reinstatement (RRCR) compared to repeated study (RS). Recall was similar for learned pictures used during training and new (generalized) pictures with the same adjective features. The current study compared the effects of learning method and learned/generalized pictures on the neural processes mediating the recognition of novel adjectives.
Method: Twenty typically developing children aged 4;6–5;11 (years;months) learned four novel adjectives, two using RRCR and two using RS. Five-minute and 1-week tests assessed adjective recall using learned and generalized pictures. Also, at the 1-week visit, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded to assess children’s processing of learned/generalized pictures, followed by naturally spoken novel adjectives in a match–mismatch paradigm.
Results: Naming recall and match–mismatch judgment accuracy were similar for the RS and RRCR conditions and across learned/generalized pictures. However, ERPs revealed more reliable condition effects in the phonological mapping negativity, indexing phonological expectations, and the late positive component, indexing semantic reanalysis, for the adjectives learned in the RRCR relative to the RS condition. Unfamiliar pictures (generalized) elicited larger amplitude N300 and N400 components relative to learned pictures.
Conclusions: Although behavioral accuracy measures suggest similar effects of the RS and RRCR learning conditions, subtle differences in the ERPs underlying novel adjective processing indicate advantages of RRCR for phonological processing and semantic reanalysis. While children readily generalized the novel adjectives, ERPs revealed greater cognitive resources for processing unfamiliar compared to learned pictures of the novel adjective characteristics.

Supplemental Material S1. Supplemental analysis.

Gerwin, K. L., Leonard, L. B., Schumaker, J., Deevy, P., Haebig, E., & Weber, C. (2021). Novel adjective processing in preschool children: Evidence from event-related brain potentials. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00332

Funding

This research was supported in part by Research Grant R01 DC014708, awarded to Laurence B. Leonard. Eileen Haebig was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship Training Grant T32 DC00030.

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