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  Gradual development of non-adjacent dependency learning during early childhood

Paul, M., Männel, C., van der Kant, A., Mueller, J. L., Höhle, B., Wartenburger, I., et al. (2021). Gradual development of non-adjacent dependency learning during early childhood. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 50: 100975. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2021.100975.

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 Creators:
Paul, Mariella1, 2, 3, Author              
Männel, Claudia1, 4, Author              
van der Kant, Anne5, Author
Mueller, Jutta L.6, 7, Author
Höhle, Barbara5, Author
Wartenburger, Isabell2, 5, Author
Friederici, Angela D.1, 2, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634551              
2Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Research Group Psychology of Language, Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
5Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam, Germany, ou_persistent22              
6Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, Germany, ou_persistent22              
7Department of Linguistics, University Vienna, Austria, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Development; Language acquisition; Statistical learning; Artificial language learning; Non-adjacent dependencies; Event-related potentials
 Abstract: In order to become proficient native speakers, children have to learn the morpho-syntactic relations between distant elements in a sentence, so-called non-adjacent dependencies (NADs). Previous research suggests that NAD learning in children comprises different developmental stages, where until 2 years of age children are able to learn NADs associatively under passive listening conditions, while starting around the age of 3–4 years children fail to learn NADs during passive listening. To test whether the transition between these developmental stages occurs gradually, we tested children’s NAD learning in a foreign language using event-related potentials (ERPs). We found ERP evidence of NAD learning across the ages of 1, 2 and 3 years. The amplitude of the ERP effect indexing NAD learning, however, decreased with age. These findings might indicate a gradual transition in children’s ability to learn NADs associatively. Cognitively, this transition might be driven by children’s increasing knowledge of their native language, hindering NAD learning in novel contexts. Neuroanatomically, maturation of the prefrontal cortex might play a crucial role, promoting top-down learning, affecting bottom-up, associative learning. In sum, our study suggests that NAD learning under passive listening conditions undergoes a gradual transition between different developmental stages during early childhood.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-04-302020-09-082021-06-102021-06-112021-08
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2021.100975
Other: epub 2021
PMID: 34139635
PMC: PMC8217683
 Degree: -

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Title: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Amsterdam : Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 50 Sequence Number: 100975 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1878-9293
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1878-9293