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Linguistic and non-linguistic non-adjacent dependency learning in early development

MPS-Authors
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Männel,  Claudia
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany;

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Paul,  Mariella
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Friederici,  Angela D.
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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vanderkant_2020.pdf
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Citation

van der Kant, A., Männel, C., Paul, M., Friederici, A. D., Höhle, B., & Wartenburger, I. (2020). Linguistic and non-linguistic non-adjacent dependency learning in early development. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 45: 100819. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100819.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-A192-E
Abstract
Non-adjacent dependencies (NADs) are important building blocks for language and extracting them from the input is a fundamental part of language acquisition. Prior event-related potential (ERP) studies revealed changes in the neural signature of NAD learning between infancy and adulthood, suggesting a developmental shift in the learning route for NADs. The present study aimed to specify which brain regions are involved in this developmental shift and whether this shift extends to NAD learning in the non-linguistic domain. In two experiments, 2- and 3-year-old German-learning children were familiarized with either Italian sentences or tone sequences containing NADs and subsequently tested with NAD violations, while functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) data were recorded. Results showed increased hemodynamic responses related to the detection of linguistic NAD violations in the left temporal, inferior frontal, and parietal regions in 2-year-old children, but not in 3-year-old children. A different developmental trajectory was found for non-linguistic NADs, where 3-year-old, but not 2-year-old children showed evidence for the detection of non-linguistic NAD violations. These results confirm a developmental shift in the NAD learning route and point to distinct mechanisms underlying NAD learning in the linguistic and the non-linguistic domain.