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  Children's learning of non-adjacent dependencies using a web-based computer game setting

Marimon, M., Hofmann, A., Verissimo, J., Männel, C., Friederici, A. D., Höhle, B., et al. (2021). Children's learning of non-adjacent dependencies using a web-based computer game setting. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 734877. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.73487.

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 Creators:
Marimon, Mireia1, Author
Hofmann, Andrea1, 2, Author
Verissimo, Joao1, 3, Author
Männel, Claudia4, 5, Author              
Friederici, Angela D.4, Author              
Höhle, Barbara1, Author
Wartenburger, Isabell1, Author
Affiliations:
1Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam, Germany, ou_persistent22              
2Early Childhood Education Research, University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, Portugal, ou_persistent22              
4Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, Leipzig, DE, ou_634551              
5Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Non-adjacent dependencies; Rule learning; Web-based; Implicit learning; Serial reaction time (SRT) task; SRT
 Abstract: Infants show impressive speech decoding abilities and detect acoustic regularities that highlight the syntactic relations of a language, often coded via non-adjacent dependencies (NADs, e.g., is singing). It has been claimed that infants learn NADs implicitly and associatively through passive listening and that there is a shift from effortless associative learning to a more controlled learning of NADs after the age of 2 years, potentially driven by the maturation of the prefrontal cortex. To investigate if older children are able to learn NADs, Lammertink et al. (2019) recently developed a word-monitoring serial reaction time (SRT) task and could show that 6–11-year-old children learned the NADs, as their reaction times (RTs) increased then they were presented with violated NADs. In the current study we adapted their experimental paradigm and tested NAD learning in a younger group of 52 children between the age of 4–8 years in a remote, web-based, game-like setting (whack-a-mole). Children were exposed to Italian phrases containing NADs and had to monitor the occurrence of a target syllable, which was the second element of the NAD. After exposure, children did a “Stem Completion” task in which they were presented with the first element of the NAD and had to choose the second element of the NAD to complete the stimuli. Our findings show that, despite large variability in the data, children aged 4–8 years are sensitive to NADs; they show the expected differences in r RTs in the SRT task and could transfer the NAD-rule in the Stem Completion task. We discuss these results with respect to the development of NAD dependency learning in childhood and the practical impact and limitations of collecting these data in a web-based setting.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-07-012021-10-132021-11-03
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.73487
Other: eCollection 2021
PMID: 34803816
PMC: PMC8595475
 Degree: -

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Grant ID : WA2969/6-2; HO1960/18-2; FR 519/20-2; MU 3112/5-2
Funding program : (258522519)
Funding organization : German Research Foundation (DFG)

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Title: Frontiers in Psychology
  Abbreviation : Front Psychol
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Pully, Switzerland : Frontiers Research Foundation
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 12 Sequence Number: 734877 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1664-1078
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1664-1078