Spaced retrieval supports semantic learning (Haebig et al., 2021)
journal contributionposted on 05.08.2021, 19:43 by Eileen Haebig, Laurence B. Leonard, Patricia Deevy, Jennifer Schumaker, Jeffrey D. Karpicke, Christine Weber
Purpose: Recent behavioral studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of implementing retrieval practice into learning tasks for children. Such approaches have revealed that repeated spaced retrieval (RSR) is particularly effective in promoting children’s learning of word form and meaning information. This study further examines how retrieval practice enhances learning of word meaning information at the behavioral and neural levels.
Method: Twenty typically developing preschool children were taught novel words using an RSR learning schedule for some words and an immediate retrieval (IR) learning schedule for other words. In addition to the label, children were taught two arbitrary semantic features for each item. Following the teaching phase, children’s learning was tested using recall tests. In addition, during the 1-week follow-up, children were presented with pictures and an auditory sentence that correctly labeled the item but stated correct or incorrect semantic information. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were time locked to the onset of the words noting the semantic feature. Children provided verbal judgments of whether the semantic feature was correctly paired with the item.
Results: Children recalled more labels and semantic features for items that had been taught in the RSR learning schedule relative to the IR learning schedule. ERPs also differentiated the learning schedules. Mismatching label–meaning pairings elicited an N400 and late positive component (LPC) for both learning conditions; however, mismatching RSR pairs elicited an N400 with an earlier onset and an LPC with a longer duration, relative to IR mismatching label–meaning pairings. These ERP timing differences indicated that the children were more efficient in processing words that were taught in the RSR schedule relative to the IR learning schedule.
Conclusions: Spaced retrieval practice promotes learning of both word form and meaning information. The findings lay the necessary groundwork for better understanding of processing newly learned semantic information in preschool children.
Supplemental Material S1. Linguistic and pictorial stimuli.
Haebig, E., Leonard, L. B., Deevy, P., Schumaker, J., Karpicke, J. D., & Weber, C. (2021). The neural underpinnings of processing newly taught semantic information: The role of retrieval practice. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_JSLHR-20-00485