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Online Learning From Input Versus Offline Memory Evolution in Adult Word Learning (Storkel et al., 2014)

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posted on 01.10.2014, 00:00 authored by Holly L. Storkel, Daniel E. Bontempo, and Natalie S. Pak
Purpose In this study, the authors investigated adult word learning to determine how neighborhood density and practice across phonologically related training sets influence online learning from input during training versus offline memory evolution during no-training gaps.
Method Sixty-one adults were randomly assigned to learn low- or high-density nonwords. Within each density condition, participants were trained on one set of words and then were trained on a second set of words, consisting of phonological neighbors of the first set. Learning was measured in a picture-naming test. Data were analyzed using multilevel modeling and spline regression. Results Steep learning during input was observed, with new words from dense neighborhoods and new words that were neighbors of recently learned words (i.e., second-set words) being learned better than other words. In terms of memory evolution, large and significant forgetting was observed during 1-week gaps in training. Effects of density and practice during memory evolution were opposite of those during input. Specifically, forgetting was greater for high-density and second-set words than for low-density and first-set words.
Conclusion High phonological similarity, regardless of source (i.e., known words or recent training), appears to facilitate online learning from input but seems to impede offline memory evolution.


The project described was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants DC 08095, DC 05803, and HD 02528. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The second author was supported by the Analytic Techniques and Technology Core of the Center for Biobehavioral Neurosciences of Communication Disorders (DC 05803). We would like to thank staff of the Participant Recruitment and Management Core of the Center for Biobehavioral Neurosciences of Communication Disorders (DC 05803) for assistance with recruitment of preschools and children and the staff of the Word and Sound Learning Lab (supported by DC 08095) for their contributions to stimulus creation, data collection, data processing, and reliability calculations.